Jacksonville has locked up Maurice Jones-Drew long term with a new contract that makes him the third highest paid running back in the NFL. Imagine what they would have done if he actually had a thousand yard season on his resume. I like Jones-Drew, but that's a bunch of money for a guy who's never had to carry the load as a featured back for a full year. The Jaguars gave David Garrard a big contract and the dropoff in his performance was noticeable. They're in big trouble if the same thing hapens with Jones-Drew. On the other hand, when you've had two recent first round picks at receiver arrested on cocaine charges in the last nine months alone, I guess it feels good to reward the quality player you found in the late second round.
Good news for Florida - they're in next year's NCAA tournament field as an eighth seed! At least, according to Joe Lunardi's Bracketology on the ESPN website they are. Not sure how someone evaluates a group of teams with no idea who's returning next season or who has signed some talented players still out there, but Joe has found a way. Do you think he and Mel Kiper do mock drafts and brackets to each other on the phone in early June when they're suffering from withdrawl because no one wants to talk to them?
Some of the guys I'd have thought Lunardi might need to know about include Patrick Patterson of Kentucky and Dominique Archie of South Carolina. Both put their names in for the NBA draft, even though neither one is assured of being a first rounder. Archie wouldn't even be guarunteed of being a third rounder if that part of the draft still existed. A guy who's not first team all-conference (in a league that names eight guys to the first team for some reason) probably doesn't need any NBA feedback right now. This is what the current system encourages, though. Stick your name in, see what happens. Unfortunately, every year some kids have too much pride to admit they aren't good enough yet or simply believe BS from the wrong people and wind up losing out on the rest of their college career while getting no benefit from it. How many Jamont Gordons will there be this year?
The LA Times reveals that ABC was trying to put together a season opener for the Georgia Dome in 2010 between UCLA and Auburn. Atlanta's trying to make a yearly tradition of having an SEC team against someone to open the year there. Last year it was Bama wrecking Clemson, this year it's them against Virginia Tech. The UCLA-Auburn matchup didn't happen because Auburn nixed it. In turn, UCLA refused to play Georgia Tech instead. Both teams would have unquestionably had a home field advantage over the Bruins, so it's clear Rick Neuheisel's guys think they'd beat Auburn but don't want to deal with Paul Johnson and the rapidly on the rise Yellow Jackets. It's interesting to see an SEC program with tradition dissed that way. Secondly, UF opens the 2010 season in Gainesville with Miami of Ohio and USF. That's better than their usual fare. But once it's back to crap like Furman in 2011, they should look into doing this at least once. Just imagine the anticipation if this season was starting with Virginia Tech or UCLA instead of Charleston Southern. It would be a nice recruiting tool, a fun and easy trip for fans, and it would help get the team ready for the SEC Championship Game. What's not to like?
If there's any scenario where the words "I totally understand OJ. I get it." pass your lips, it's probably time to stop talking. Hulk Hogan is about to learn that the hard way. In an interview with Rolling Stone (huh?), Hogan discusses his ongoing divorce battle and says "I could have turned everything into a crime scene, like OJ, cutting everybody's throat." But he didn't - what a guy! Apparently that's supposed to be some kind of selling point to sway folks view of the Hulkster. After seeing what's happened to the Osbourne and Hogan families since they allowed TV to take over their lives, hopefully no one is desperate for more fame as well as stupid enough to ever take part in that kind of crap again. As for Hulk, whatever happened to "say your prayers and take your vitamins"?