Some stuff that caught my eye while pondering if athletic directors truly understand the meaning of the term "offer."
*The money men have spoken, with online betting site Bodog.com installing the Oklahoma Sooners as the favorite to win the 2011 national championship at 7/2. That's in keeping with a host of pundits' preseason rankings released this week, including Rivals.com, Andy Staples of SI.com and Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com.
Homerism is high on the Sooners in the coming season, too. Even so, I wouldn't advocate playing OU at those odds. Truthfully, I wouldn't really advocate playing these kinds of futures ever.
Odds on some of OU's 2011 opponents:
- Florida State (10/1)
- Oklahoma State (30/1)
- Missouri (60/1)
- Texas (20/1)
- Texas A&M (35/1)
- Texas Tech (125/1)
- Kansas State (150/1)
*Clearly, that date with the Seminoles in Tallahassee on Sept. 17 looms awfully large. Our buddies at FSU site ChantRant.com offered Homerism some preliminary thoughts on the question marks for next season:
After a 10-win season, the future looks bright for Florida State football. The team loses only a handful of seniors – seven on the two-deep roster – Christian Ponder and Rodney Hudson being the most recognizable names. Fortunately, 2011 starting QB E.J. Manuel has plenty of experience and wins under his belt – including the bowl game victory over South Carolina – and the defense returns almost everybody.
But if there's one segment on the team that has FSU fans fretting, it's the offensive line. All-American Rodney Hudson anchored the OL and will be a huge loss, as will Ryan McMahon, a four-year starter at center. Two other starters are questionable: Andrew Datko has two bad shoulders and needs surgery, while David Spurlock may have suffered one too many concussions.
That leaves only one upperclassman who'll line up next season: OT Zebrie Sanders. Redshirt freshman Bryan Stork and Henry Orelus, who earned their stripes during 2010, will need to grow up in size and in-the-trenches savvy to be every-down starters.
Hopefully, junior college signee Jacob Fahrenkrug (6'4", 320 lbs.) can bring immediate girth and experience to the OL. He was the nation's top JUCO lineman in 2010.
The Noles offensive line coach Rick Trickett, a Vietnam era Marine, should have a solid lineup together by midseason. The only problem: Oklahoma is the second game on FSU's 2011 schedule, and that after a cupcake FCS opener.
Interesting that the only questionable spot for the Sooners, the DL, will go against the Noles' weakest link.
*Some more big news came for the Sooners today, as former Iowa diaper dandy Brandon Wegher has decided to transfer to OU.
Given the Sooners' already crowded backfield, the decision by Wegher, who starred at running back in 2009 for the Hawkeyes, strikes me as odd. Homerism's Iowa contacts claim he has the tools to be a star in Norman. Of course, they also added the ominous caveat of "if he keeps his head on straight."
Wegher intends to walk on, so the risk here for OU coach Bob Stoops appears minimal. If Wegher does stick it out, he could end up at another position when all is said and done.
*Really enjoyed the pilot episode of FX's new series "Lights Out." Don't let the boxing angle scare you off if you're not a fan of the sweet science.
*Leading up to the national championship game, SI.com had an eye-opening look at Nike mogul Phil Knight's influence over the Oregon football program. Boosters trying to buy championships for their favorite programs is as old as the sport of college football itself. Knight may take the cake, though.
What I find interesting about billionaires like Knight and Oklahoma State benefactor T. Boone Pickens is the true enormity of what they're trying to do. We're not talking about Texas or USC here. The only tradition at Oregon is mediocrity – and that's being kind.
More importantly, the Ducks have no surefire recruiting pipeline to speak of, which means they have to come up with a pitch and facilities that will enable them to draw top-tier talent to Eugene. It provides a true litmus test of the ability to not only buy championships, but to buy a class-A program, too.
Personally, I have my doubts. At the end of the day, the majority of kids want to stay closer to home. Still, it's fun to see what these uber-boosters can dream up.
*Sounds like Tulsa has zeroed in on Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee to replace duplicitous deserter Todd Graham. I can see why McGee appeals to TU – former schoolboy star, knows the area, hungry, etc.
However, when a guy works for a mastermind such as Bobby Petrino, it does give me pause. You have wonder how much of McGee's success running the Razorbacks' offense really starts with the Dark Prince. It's not unlike the concerns that have arisen over coaches coming from Bill Belichick's tree in the NFL.
*A couple quick thoughts on college basketball now that I'm starting to really follow it:
–The Sooners look like a hoops equivalent of SMU football post-death penalty. Just brutal. Really, that goes for the state of basketball in Oklahoma in general.
–The Big East is just flat-out nasty. I guess that's what happens when a conference gets that big. No league can match it in terms of depth.
–San Diego State may turn out to be one of those mid-majors that is so underrated that it turns out to be overrated.
–The Dukies' post game could do them in. They showed last night how vulnerable they are down low.
*Lastly, our man Bomani Jones' piece for the ESPN.com series on Martin Luther King's legacy in the world of sports hits all the right notes regarding the NCAA and the inequities of "amateurism."