Friday, Urban Meyer spoke out about the climate around the UF program when he arrived in Gainesville. It wasn't a premeditated thing - he did it in response to a question about a Miami player getting injured in a locker room fight. It's not the first time Meyer has expressed distaste for the team's attitude when he arrived, and there's been plenty of evidence to support him. Remember this Jarvis Herring admission to the New York Times in 2005?
"Last year, Herring said, he and some of his teammates often started drinking alcohol in the morning on summer days and did not stop until well into the night. Or, as Herring said with a smile, until there was no more to drink."
Meyer was honest about what he encountered upon arrival, and he criticized the results that a team with hazing on its mind as a priority had mustered. Despite not being mentioned by Meyer, Ron Zook decided to issue a pissy response in return...
"I was surprised to see that, once again, five years later, we're blamed for something else at Florida. But by now I guess I shouldn't be. This one was most disappointing because it implies we didn't look out for our players. From someone who wasn't there at the time. I can assure you I've never, ever been accused of that. I thought I was too much of a players' coach. The implication is incorrect — there is no place for hazing in college football and we've put a stop to that if we've ever seen it."
Ron Zook is a bad liar. When the 1991 Kinko's incident with Jack Sells faxing him plays came to light, he lied about it and got caught. When his inappropriate behavior in the frat house incident during the 2004 season came to light, he lied to his bosses about it (not knowing a University dean witnessed the episode) and got caught. He is lying again. Claiming they put a stop to hazing at UF is simply not accurate, not to mention that Zook's attitude toward discipline was lax at best. The comment about being "too much of a players coach" shows just how obtuse he is. Players were doing whatever they wanted, including hazing guys. That's the whole point, Ron!
All but two media members with votes in the AP poll selected Florida as their number one team. I was curious to see the logic of anyone who didn't put them at the top spot to start. After all, we're talking about a defending champ with its entire defensive two deep back, a Heisman winner at QB, and a pretty accomodating looking schedule. Well, say hello to J.P. Giglio of the Raleigh News and Observer. He voted Texas ahead of UF because, er, well just because. Let me get this straight - Mack Brown, who has fewer conference titles in his career than Urban Meyer has BCS titles at UF, is going to win the national title because the game is in Pasadena again? Great point, J.P.! Almost makes Lou Holtz's pick of Notre Dame to be UF's opponent for the national title sound well reasoned. Almost, but not quite.
The fact the Jaguars didn't even produce a broadcast of Jacksonville's game with Tampa Bay over the weekend speks volumes about where the fan support for the franchise is right now. Plenty of NFL teams don't sell out their preseason games, but they still produce a tape delay broadcast of the event. Instead, Jacksonville's already projecting that they'll black out their entire home season. This is a perfect example of how the blackout rule is counterproductive. Seeing other games instead of your home team doesn't build fervor to go buy tickets. In fact, Los Angeles residents have been hostile to the idea of bringing in a team again because they'd rather see the best matchups on TV each week. Common sense says Jacksonville's more likely to play well at home than on the road, so the NFL's ensuring already apathetic fans will mostly be exposed to the team at its least effective. Is that going to make them feel like going to buy tickets? It's bad marketing by the Jaguars to already be presuming blackouts, and bad management by the NFL that they'll happen.
On a Saturday two weeks before the college football season, there are a lot of things you might expect a sports columnist in Columbus, Ohio to want to write about. It was the day of Ohio State's "jersey scrimmage", the biggest day of their fall drills. The AP poll was coming out that day. Cleveland had a preseason game that night, and there are two MLB teams in the state even though they stink. So what was on Michael Arace's mind? Ripping Tim Tebow's post Ole Miss speech from last year being put on a plaque. While I thought the plaque was unnecessary, especially while Tebow was still on campus, it's not a bad thing. Two and a half years after the beatdown in Glendale, if UF was in the OSU fanbase's head any more they'd be getting charged rent.