The NFL schedule's very likely to expand as part of the new collective bargaining agreement whenever it gets hashed out over the next couple of years. When it does, Jacksonville owner Wayne Weaver says the Jaguars will look into playing some games in Orlando. There are a couple of issues with this plan. It doesn't appear to take into account that Tampa Bay has territorial rights in Orlando as well and may not be real keen on someone bringing NFL football within 75 miles of their stadium. Beyond that, the Citrus Bowl is a pit that's needed to be replaced or renovated extensively for years. It wasn't, and UCF eventually built their own place and moved out. How would a city already spending huge money on a new Magic arena and performing arts center justify a new football stadium for a couple of NFL games a year? The last problem is this: not many people in Orlando give a crap about the Jags. Think that'll change if they play two games a year there? Talk to the Tennessee Titans about how their year in Memphis went. Fans embrace their city's team. Dropping in for a few days does not merit them switching their support.
While acknowledging that they mean a great deal to some people, I believe recruiting rankings are silly. (Full disclosure note: I write articles about Florida athletics and college sports in general for the scout.com site fightingators.com, although I am not involved with recruiting coverage.) The only thing sillier than getting worked up about the rankings on signing day is getting worked up about them four months before signing day. Who knows how many kids who are committed will switch schools by then, not to mention how many there are who've already picked a school but are keeping it quiet? Despite that, there was something I found noteworthy in ESPN's release of their current rankings yesterday. That super recruiting staff of Lane Kiffin's in Knoxville has the Volunteers fifth in the country right now. That would be more impressive if they weren't behind three other SEC schools, all of whom are on their schedule every year. Currently seven SEC schools are in the top 13. Kiffin will learn this the hard way - he is not going to win in this conference by landing overwhelming talent. That will work against Vandy or Mississippi State, but the top programs in the SEC will always be just as loaded as anything UT puts together. We know Monte can coach - still waiting for some evidence on Lane.
When ESPN the Magazine announced it would put out a "body issue" dedicated to stirring up publicity... err... chronicling the various physiques of athletes, the immediate question was who they would get to pose for them. I still don't think it's kosher journalism to ask athletes to pose nude as a favor when you cover them on a regular basis, but here's the list of who they landed. Mark Martin - really?!
It was announced yesterday that Nike has signed Michael Vick to a new endorsement deal. The word came from Vick's people, not Nike, and thus far the company has not confirmed it. My guess is that either:
1. Vick's marketing guy jumped the gun and the plan was to roll the news out once he did something of note as a player again or
2. this is a trial balloon to see if groups begin to organize protest campaigns against Nike.
People are buying Vick's jersey, even though he's made zero impact on the field thus far. It still surprises me that a company would think having him endorsing their product in some form is an asset right now. Coincidentally, I'm about to buy a new pair of shoes. The chance they'll be Nikes just went down.
Rick Morrissey, the same Chicago Tribune sports columnist who was insistent that the Bulls had to get rid of Joakim Noah midway through last season, has penned another masterpiece. Actual headline: Is Jay Cutler the Second Coming of Tom Brady? Let me help you with that, Rick. No, he's not. I thought that would be the dumbest thing I read yesterday, and then Sports Illustrated's Selena Roberts had to come along and proclaim that Tiger Woods won't catch Jack Nicklaus. The guy's 33. He's done things no other golfer has even thought about, and I'm supposed to believe he can't win five more majors in his life because he's been at it a long time and Selena Roberts thinks he'll feel pressure if he gets within two of Jack? Suuuuure. Hey Selena, how are those ARod book sales coming?