From the Eagle’s Nest
Greetings once again Tiger fans. Let’s take a more illustrated look back at the week in college football.
The NFL combine has officially wrapped up and ‘Mel Kiper season’ is officially underway. Players hoping to join the professional ranks of football are already being ranked, re-evaluated, and prodded relentlessly by scouts, analysts,and fans alike. Mock drafts will be drawn and redrawn furiously by some as if the fate of the human race depended upon their accuracy. The combine serves as a potent catalyst to this phenomenon of mock draft obsessiveness (much like disciples of March Madness bracketology). There are always players who disappoint, and always ones that surprise. When either of those things occur, the new data is devoured by experts and armchair-quarterbacks alike in hopes of deciphering its true value and correctly predicting a player’s fate and future in the league. So when a player like Manti Te’o puts up numbers at the combine that are less-than-equivalent to the lofty expectations placed on his shoulders, there tends to be some scrambling by the “experts.”
Manti Te’o didn’t have a great time in the 40-yard dash. For a guy that has been in need of a break for some time, combine week showed no signs of his downward spiral ending anytime soon. When Te’o posted a time of 4.8 in the 40-yard dash a lot of experts considered it the final nail in his coffin. I’m almost certain a dozen articles have been written on this in every language, but I just don’t see the big deal. In what was a very vanilla year as far as Heisman candidates were concerned Te’o was the classic example of a player sought out by the media in order to have a challenger to the almost-too-far-ahead-to-catch Heisman front-runner (Manziel). Te’o was a fantastic player for Notre Dame, but he’s no once-in-a-generation player. He was simply a toy for the writers to kick around until the Heisman race was over. Put aside his girlfriend hoax/scam/whatever it was and you’ve got a great college linebacker (not elite) that was simply over-hyped. Te’o may yet prove to be the biggest scumbag in this scenario, but this also highlights the gonzo-esque journalism style that has become more and more prevalent in the past decade.
Onterio McCalebb is fast. Apparently only Auburn fans knew this prior to this year’s combine. I am interested to see if he is able to carve himself out a niche in the league. His size will limit him to mainly a return-specialist role, but possible new rules could mean that such a thing as a return-specialist is no longer relevant in the pro game. Either way, I wish him the best. War Eagle O-Mac! This is how I’ll always remember you!
The NCAA is still drawing criticism over their handling of the Miami case. I thought Jason Whitlock summed up a lot of their shenanigans quite well. It’s always easy to simply pass judgement and remain cynical on an issue, but I honestly don’t feel like Mark Emmert can piece together one trust-worthy sentence addressing the NCAA’s erratic investigative practices. Find a way to cost the NCAA significant amounts of money every time they re-write the rules to benefit themselves (or flat out ignore them) and you’ll have found a way to make them think twice. Until then, they’ll keep raking in hundreds of millions of dollars while only investigating and regulating the institutions under their authority at their own convenience.
Saban recruiting for the future. I’ll preface this with the (obviously) fact that I am an Auburn homer, but why on Earth would anyone put any value whatsoever in a scholarship offer 4-5 years in advance from a coach with the recruiting background of Nick Saban? Kids can’t trust an offer they get from him 5 weeks from signing day and he’s throwing around offers that won’t be valid until after the following two Olympics! Seriously? To be fair, LSU had offered this kid prior to Saban’s so they are lumped in with this as well. I’m pretty sure Auburn has also made offers like this in the past, and we probably would today if we felt the need. In general, I believe it to be very poor form. When Nick Saban, the king of oversigning and roster manipulation, begins making these outlandish offers the irony becomes unbearable.