Preseason Notes And Quirks: Gundy Faces Legal Case
By Steve Barnes
Still a month away from the start of college football season, here is a look at some cool stuff across the nation.
Some folks seem to wonder how Ole Miss radio announcer David Kellum will keep Denzel and Robert Nkemdiche straight in his broadcasts, especially since the brothers are wearing numbers 4 and 5 respectively. I believe everyone in the nation now can correctly pronounce the brothers' last name. Kellum has an easy gig.
The guy I worry about is Wake Forest play-by-play man Stan Cotten. Kellum has to keep up with a pair of brothers. Cotten has the task of keeping up with three Josh Harrises on the Demon Deacons' roster. Josh Harris is a tailback from Duncanville, Texas. Josh T. Harris is a guard from Georgia and Josh M. Harris is a defensive back from North Carolina. Good luck, Stan.
AN UNUSUAL DAY OFF: Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy will have to miss the Cowboys' practice Aug. 19. It seems he has a day in court. A contractor who was hired to do some work at Gundy's home in Stillwater showed up with a shirt that read "Oklahoma Baseball." He was fired. The contractor says he was due $80,600 for the job, yet was not allowed to do the work. The case goes to court soon. The contractor should lose on general principle. Who would go to work for Nick Saban with a shirt that read "War Eagle" and expect to get paid?
ABOUT TIME: It took John Elway a long time to win a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos. It took a little longer for him to receive some love from his Stanford Cardinal. Elway's No. 7 will be retired by Stanford, coincidentally, on Nov. 7, when the Cardinal hosts Oregon. The only other Stanford players with their number retired are Ernie Nevers (1) and Jim Plunkett (16).
TRIVIA QUESTION NO. 1: Which major conference, and what teams, have three schools with nicknames not ending in the letter "s"? Answer later.
JUST SAY NO: Florida State's players have decided not to use Twitter or Facebook for the duration of the season. Instead, the Seminoles have decided to let their actions on the field represent them. FSU did this last season as well. An ACC title and an Orange Bowl win seems to indicate it works.
FANTASY MAN: For those who play college fantasy football, here is a guy who will give you a lot of points. Corey Robinson is the quarterback at Troy. He heads into his senior season as the school's all-time leader in attempts, completions and yards. In the Trojans' fast-break offense, Robinson will get plenty of opportunities to rack up some huge numbers and he has Eric Thomas, who is on the Biletnikoff Award watch list. Mounting statistics are nothing new for Robinson, who recently was named to the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Watch List. As a senior in high school, he threw for 91 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Yes, that is correct, NINETY-ONE touchdowns.
TRIVIA QUESTION NO. 2: Only two FBS schools, apart from the service academies, do not have the word "university" in their school name and they are in the same conference. Name them. Answer later.
FOOTBALL ALGEBRA: Most football teams have more than 100 players on the roster in spring and in fall camp. Therefore they are forced to use duplicate numbers. It is not unusual to see two players with No. 40, for example. Georgia Tech doesn't see things that way. Instead, the Yellow Jackets assign a letter with the number for duplicates, like 40 and 40a. Leave it to an engineering school to toss calculus into college football.
UNSUNG HERO: Michigan equipment manager Jon Falk is set to retire at the end of the season. The man has served the university for 40 years without much fanfare. Anyone who has been around a college football program knows just how important the equipment manager's job is. He is truly a player's best friend. Congrats, Jon. Enjoy the retirement.
A RECORD BEFORE PLAYING: Louisville is building on its Sugar Bowl win over Florida. The Cardinals have been ranked in the preseason as high as ninth (ESPN/USA Today). Louisville never has been ranked that high entering a season. Charlie Strong's team, led by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, is also the front-runner for the inaugural American Athletic Conference championship.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK, LITERALLY: New Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck is the nation's youngest coach at age 32. He takes over the honor from fellow MAC member Matt Campbell of Toledo, who is 33. Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury also is 33.
TRIVIA ANSWER NO. 1: With the addition of Notre Dame and Syracuse, the ACC boasts three schools with nicknames that don't end in the letter "s." The Fighting Irish and Orange join the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Other notable teams in the category include the Alabama Crimson Tide, Illinois Fighting Illini, Navy Midshipmen, Stanford Cardinal and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. The ACC can stretch it if it wants: Some people still call Georgia Tech the Ramblin' Wreck.
TRIVIA ANSWER NO. 2: Speaking of the ACC and Georgia Tech, the conference pulls off a twin killing. The two schools without "university" in its name are the Georgia Institute of Technology and Boston College.
SPEAKING OF NICKNAMES: The SEC has three separate Tigers in the league. Auburn, LSU and Missouri all share the moniker. Also, Missouri and South Carolina share towns with the name of Columbia. By the way, Mizzou and Vanderbilt compete in the SEC East division despite being located in the Central Time Zone.