Each week during the off-season we will be doing this feature that is simply called "This Week In College Football". We will cover the biggest news and stories of the past week and give some opinions and analysis. In addition to covering the weekly happenings we are also mid-way through our Pre-Season Previews and we currently have almost 70 FBS previews up on the site.
This week we previewed Hawaii, Kentucky Iowa St, Nevada, NIU, Tennessee, and UConn. Next week we will have Arizona State, California, Colorado, Kansas and UNC among the teams that we will preview. Last week in this column we discussed NCAA issues at West Virginia and Ohio State and also hit on the loss of Dee Hart for Bama and the re-addition of Janzen Jackson for the Vols. This week was just as busy so let's talk some college football:
GEORGIA TECH GETS STUNG BY THE NCAA
The NCAA reached out and smacked someone this week. You were probably expecting that it would have been Ohio State, UNC, Auburn or maybe Oregon. Those are the teams that have had the biggest NCAA buzz around them recently. Well, you guessed wrong. It was Georgia Tech. What? Nobody even knew the NCAA was investigating them. Top notch job there AJC! The penalty was that Georgia Tech was put on probation for four years, fined $100,000 (which is a pretty big deal for a school that held onto Paul Hewitt longer than they wanted because of his hefty buy-out clause), and they were stripped of their ACC title game victory from 2009. Ouch. The basketball team also had some recruiting restrictions levied against it. So what did Tech do?
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The NCAA said that they used an ineligible athlete when they continued to let stud WR Demaryius Thomas play after he received $312 worth of clothing from a former Tech player. Seems pretty harsh for $312. What really pissed the NCAA off was that AD Dan Radakovich (recently thought of as a rising star in the AD world) broke NCAA rules in letting Thomas and Morgan Burnett know they would be interviewed by the NCAA. Radakovich defended his actions without saying that it was important that the Tech student athletes got their stories straight. And no Clemson, you aren't the 2009 ACC Champs. Nobody is. The moral of this story? Don't piss off the NCAA. Dan Radakovich was rumored to be one of the top candidates for the open Tennessee AD job. Not anymore.
JEFF DEMPS: WILL HE STAY OR WILL HE GO?
One of the most popular topics in this column during the off-season has been the attrition of the Florida Gators football team. This week a rumor popped up that one key member of the team might not be around next year when the season starts. Dan Hicken tweeted a couple of days ago that Demps was rumored to be leaving the football team and that he might stick to track and field. He then followed that up saying that Will Muschamp wanted him to choose between the two.
Demps probably doesn't fit perfectly into the Charlie Weis offensive system but he is a senior and was the leading rusher on the team last year. It's hard to believe that Florida could not find something useful for him to do in their offense. Unless there are other things going on behind the scene, losing Demps would not be a good thing for the Gators. Keep an eye on this one.
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GEORGIA SURE WAS BUSY THIS WEEK
The first thing that happened this week was that 5th year senior RB Caleb King was declared academically ineligible. Caleb had some issues last year with academics and was suspended for the bowl game against UCF but it seemed like he was on the right track to play this fall. Boy were we wrong about that one. This loss, combined with the earlier loss of Washaun Ealey, prompted Mark Richt to ask RB turned LB Richard Samuel if he wanted to move back to RB. Samuel's answer was yes and this move, which we will have to see if it pays off for Samuel and Georgia, provides much needed depth to the Georgia backfield.
In addition to the saga of the backfield, the Dawgs had a huge recruiting night on "Dawg Night" this Friday. "Dawg Night" is basically where Georgia invites a bunch of prospects up to campus to sell the Georgia brand, watch the kids compete, see who can impress them and also see who they can impress. Last year the Dawgs landed two OL verbal commitments on this night (both of which later signed with Georgia and are attending this fall). This year Georgia got five verbal commitments. Yes, five in one day. Four of which committed to Mark Richt at the exact same time. For a fanbase that has suffered through some bad news this off-season this was a much needed break.
GREG ODEN'S BROTHER BOOTED BY PETRINO
Arkansas OL Anthony Oden was kicked off the Razorbacks squad this week for his second DUI in a year. Oden was challenging for playing time this upcoming season on an OL that is one of the bigger question marks for the Razorbacks this season. For his first offense, Oden received just a one game suspension but for this offense he was kicked off the team. I think the second penalty fit the crime but was it the relative non-punishment the first time around that caused this second offense by Oden? The same thing happened with Janoris Jenkins at Florida. On his first offense (under Muschamp) there seemed to be just a slap on the wrist and then with the second offense he was playing football in North Alabama. I know coaches don't want to set the prescedent of dropping the hammer on their players with big suspensions but if some of them were a little tougher it might just help them out in the long run.
- Gene Chizik opened his big mouth at the SEC meetings a couple of weeks ago when he supposedly started grilling NCAA VP Julie Roe Lach with questions about why the NCAA had not publicly announced their investigation was over. Roe Lach responded by telling Chizik that he would know when they were finished. Ouch. Sometimes it's just better to keep your mouth shut.
- EA Sports NCAA Football 12 released this week to differing reviews. I still have not picked one up yet so if you want to donate one to the guys at CFBZ just shoot me an e-mail.
- Former West Virginia LB Branko Busick apparently went on a crime spree this month. He was kicked off the team on Tuesday as he stands accused of multiple robberies.