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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Midseason report: Ohio State - OSU paid players' lawyer $142K -

Stephen Garcia’s dad responds to dismissal
Hours ago, it was announced that South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia had been dismissed from the team after reportedly failing an alcohol test. It’s been well-documented that Garcia was on an especially short leash with head coach Steve Spurrier following the senior’s fifth suspension last April for — again — what is reported to be an alcohol-related incident.

But even though the troublesome Garcia era is over in Columbia, the reactions of the dismissal are only just beginning, and there’s probably no one who can give as intimate a look into Garcia’s life as his own father. Speaking with the Tampa Tribune, Gary Garcia said that his son, and his son only, was responsible for his collegiate outcome.

“Obviously, Stephen is responsible for his actions, which we’ve told him from the beginning,” the elder Garcia told the Tampa Tribune. “He should’ve known better. He should’ve made better decisions. I don’t know how many college kids can handle zero tolerance, but those were the choices he had.”

Stephen “decided to have a couple of beers. And then they decided to random alcohol test him and that’s what he failed,” Garcia added. “I don’t hold the university responsible for it. Stephen did it. He should be responsible. You only get so many chances.”

Garcia reportedly blew his final one on Oct. 4. The State newspaper reports that’s when Garcia failed his most recent alcohol test. Now that Garcia is off the team, it appears he’ll be moving back to the Tampa area with his family for the time being.

“We’re coming home and letting the dust settle here,” Gary Garcia said. “We’ll look at his options. What those options are, I have no idea.”

Midseason report: Ohio State
rittenberg espn.com
Ohio State Buckeyes

Record: 3-3 (0-2 Big Ten)

The Big Ten's flagship program for the past decade has been brought to its knees in the first half of the season. While it's not a total surprise after a tumultuous spring and summer that brought the departures of head coach Jim Tressel and starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the Buckeyes and their fans aren't used to this. First-year coach Luke Fickell has been dealt a difficult hand from the start, particularly on offense, as Pryor's departure and the suspensions of three other multiyear starters have taken a toll. Ohio State had two of its worst offensive performances in recent memory in losses to Miami and Michigan State, the latter nearly marking Ohio State's first scoreless effort at home since 1982. QBs Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller struggled through the first five games, but Miller emerged Saturday night against Nebraska, displaying his athleticism as Ohio State surged to a 27-6 third-quarter lead. On the brink of a breakthrough win, things fell apart as Miller left the game with an ankle injury and Ohio State melted down in a 34-27 loss. It capped a lousy weekend where Ohio State learned top receiver DeVier Posey would be suspended five more games. Meanwhile, Ohio State awaits a bigger decision from the NCAA's infractions committee. The second half doesn't get much easier for Fickell and the Buckeyes.

Offensive MVP: Running back Carlos Hyde.
The offense struggled mightily in the first half, but Hyde emerged as a bright spot in the backfield. Filling in for two suspended projected starters -- Jordan Hall and Dan "Boom" Herron -- Hyde has recorded 400 rush yards and five touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards per attempt. He has eclipsed 75 rush yards in three games and racked up 104 yards and two touchdowns, including a 63-yarder, on Saturday night at Nebraska.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Andrew Sweat.
Sweat is the team's only returning starter at linebacker, and he has looked like it in the first half. He leads Ohio State in both total tackles (43) and tackles for loss (5), and he has added three passes defended, an interception and a forced fumble. Linemen John Simon and Johnathan Hankins and safety C.J. Barnett also have stood out.

OSU paid players' lawyer $142K
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State Lantern is reporting that the university has paid a Columbus law firm nearly $142,000 to represent players during recent NCAA investigations into the eligibility of several Buckeyes athletes.
The student newspaper reports that the firm of Crabbe, Brown and James LLP has been paid $141,814.30 as of mid-September. Ohio State spokeswoman Shelly Hoffman confirmed the total.
Larry James, who has represented several suspended players, says the money has not come from the university's general fund but directed questions to Ohio State.
Ohio State has had players suspended from three different NCAA investigations over the past 10 months, including accepting improper benefits from a tattoo-parlor owner, taking too much in pay for summer jobs and receiving money to attend a charity event. The university is awaiting a ruling from the NCAA for the violations.

Ohio State's Williams likely out for year with knee

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State defensive end Nathan Williams, who injured his left knee in the first game of the season, likely will not play again this year.
Interim coach Luke Fickell said Tuesday that Williams is "likely done for the season" and probably needs a microfracture surgery to treat the injury.
Williams already has had arthroscopic surgery on the left knee.
The Buckeyes (3-3) play at No. 16 Illinois on Saturday and then after a bye week host No. 4 Wisconsin.
Williams, a 6-foot-3, 255-pound senior, had two tackles in the season opener against Akron before being injured. He could request a medical redshirt or might make himself available for the NFL draft next spring.

NCAA Football Power Rankings
1 Last Week: 1 LSU Tigers (6-0)
The Chimes in Baton Rouge, La.: After you polish off an andouille-encrusted oyster po-boy and wash it down with something brewed in Abita Springs, La., at this spot on the edge of LSU's campus, your friendly server will offer you a slice of the fried cheesecake of the day. Does cheesecake need to be fried? Of course not. But excess has never been a problem at LSU, where the Tigers' defensive dominance is getting nothing short of excessive. Depending on the severity of Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray's thumb injury, LSU could be facing a backup quarterback for the second consecutive week. That's like putting a hive full of larvae in front of a honey badger. Speaking of Tigers cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, he had another interception against Florida. Also, while I realize it makes for good talk radio to debate whether the Jarrett Lee/Jordan Jefferson quarterback dynamic will ultimately be LSU's undoing, the Tigers have shown no fissures in the two games since Jefferson returned. Remember, neither one of these guys has proven himself to be a star, and they've split time in some fashion for their entire LSU careers.
Last game: Beat Florida, 41-11
Next game: Saturday at Tennessee

2 Last Week: 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0)
Archibald's in Northport, Ala.: There are two barbecue joints in the greater Tuscaloosa area that have the word Archibald in their name. Archibald's is the one with America's best ribs. It's six stools, a pit and a few picnic tables. If they're out of the perfect pork spareribs with thin, vinegary sauce, too bad. You might be able to go back in six hours and get some. Where exactly are these ribs? I'm not telling you, because the people of Tuscaloosa are already mad enough at me for even revealing the name of the best place in town. They would prefer all the tourists eat their ribs at Dreamland. If you can't figure it out from the clues I've offered, you deserve to eat inferior ribs. I don't want to get shut out at Archibald's. Speaking of shutouts, Alabama hasn't allowed a point in seven quarters. The Crimson Tide play at Ole Miss on Saturday, so unless there is a special teams breakdown or a score on Alabama's backups in garbage time, that streak is quite likely headed to 11 quarters.
Last game: Beat Vanderbilt, 34-0
Next game: Saturday at Ole Miss

3 Last Week: 3 Oklahoma Sooners (5-0)
Van's Pig Stand in Norman, Okla.: The original Pig Stand opened in 1930, and the Shawnee, Okla., store has been in its location since 1935. Van's expanded to Norman in 1994. The ribs are the stars here. I had originally hoped to use a different Norman eatery, but the Subway where Oklahoma walk-on tailback Dominique Whaley worked during his first season with the Sooners has been torn down. Whaley is the newest star on a loaded team, and you can read more about him in this week's Sports Illustrated: Dead Tree Edition. It almost seems unfair that the Sooners would have a freakishly fast and athletic walk-on drop into their laps; they already have an embarrassment of talent. If Oklahoma keeps playing the way it did Saturday against Texas, I may have to reconsider my decision to drop the Sooners behind the SEC's fearsome twosome.
Last game: Beat Texas, 55-17
Next game: Saturday at Kansas

4 Last Week: 4 Wisconsin Badgers (5-0)
State Street Brats in Madison, Wis.: There should be a federal law that requires a bar that serves brats and soft pretzels to be within walking distance of every major state university in America. When my lobbying is through, State Street Brats will serve as the template. (My pork barrel politics will continue with a rider to my proposed bill that would require every college town to have a bar like Wando's, which serves free bacon every Tuesday.) Sound a little heavy? That's OK. Sweat it off with the Bucky Badger Workout. Wisconsin's mascot has to do a push-up for each Wisconsin point scored. For example, in the Nebraska win, Bucky did 190 push-ups. With Indiana on the schedule Saturday, Bucky may need to devour some double-red brats to power him through all the push-ups that quarterback Russell Wilson and tailbacks Montee Ball and James White will force him to endure if the Hoosiers keep going three-and-out in their hurry-up offense.
Last game: Beat Nebraska, 48-17
Next game: Saturday vs. Indiana

5 Last Week: 5 Stanford Cardinal (5-0)
Evvia in Palo Alto, Calif.: The great Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com recommends this Greek spot two miles from Stanford's campus. Evvia does all the Greek favorites (stuffed grape leaves, stuffed phyllo, braised lamb, lemon-oregano chicken) well, but the most enthusiastic reviews are for the braised goat, which appears only semi-regularly as a special. Also, Evvia has been known to serve rotisserie goat, which is a huge hit among the local Greek community. There are no goats among the Cardinal, who continue to steamroll opponents behind quarterback Andrew Luck and a defense that has allowed an average of 10.6 points. Of course, Stanford's vanquished opponents have a combined record of 10-19. The Cardinal will have to prove themselves against better competition to show they truly belong on the same elite level as the SEC powers, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. After Washington State on Saturday, Stanford begins a four-week stretch that includes games against Washington, USC and Oregon. That should provide more insight into whether this Cardinal team is merely good or the GOAT: the Greatest (Stanford team) Of All Time.
Last game: Beat Colorado, 48-7
Next game: Saturday at Washington State

6 Last Week: 6 Boise St. Broncos (5-0)
Westside Drive In, Boise, Idaho: The menu, like Boise State's offense, is incredibly diverse. Peanut ginger chicken has a place alongside Pepsi-soaked ribs. But, like Boise State's offense, Westside is great because it gets the basics right. The burgers are delicious, and so are the shakes. Anyone who watched former Broncos offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin's Texas unit struggle Saturday against Oklahoma's defense should understand now that it isn't the trick plays that make the Broncos so good. It's the fact that the line opens holes, and Doug Martin doesn't go down on first contact. It's the fact that the receivers know how to find holes in a zone, and Kellen Moore knows how to deliver the ball as soon as they hit an open patch. Remember last week when some Star Wars geek suggested Moore needed to bullseye more Womp Rats? Moore took full advantage of Boise State's final ESPN appearance of the season, completing 23-of-31 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns.
Last game: Beat Fresno State, 57-7
Next game: Saturday at Colorado State

7 Last Week: 8 Oklahoma St. Cowboys (5-0)
Eskimo Joe's in Stillwater, Okla.: Stillwater's Jumpin' Little Juke Joint has grown into an institution, but it is more famous for its T-shirts than its food. The smiling Eskimo has been spotted in just about every civilized country. Last year, Oklahoma State had its own "been-there, done-that, bought-the-T-shirt" experience when it beat Texas in Austin for the first time since 1944. This year, thanks to a scheduling quirk caused by the departures of Nebraska and Colorado from the Big 12, the Cowboys will head back to Austin. It won't be as easy this year. While Oklahoma completely dominated the Longhorns in Dallas this past Saturday, Oklahoma State doesn't have the defense to shut down the Texas offense. Fortunately for the Cowboys, the Texas defense proved unable to stop a strong-armed quarterback who releases the ball quickly to excellent receivers. The point total should be high for both teams, but Oklahoma State should still win.
Last game: Beat Kansas, 70-28
Next game: Saturday at Texas

8 Last Week: 7 Clemson Tigers (6-0)
The Esso Club in Clemson, S.C.: Some restaurants are tucked into a gas station. Some, like the Esso Club, used to be a gas station. Esso is one of the brand names the Standard Oil Company used before 1973, when it changed all its gas brand names to Exxon. The closest restaurant to Death Valley serves standard bar fare, including "Famous Wangs" that cling to the building's roots by getting tossed in Unleaded, Premium or Diesel sauce. (It also serves $1 Natty Light bottles on Friday.) The Tigers seem fueled by Diesel this year, but it appeared their season might be in danger of breaking down when quarterback Tajh Boyd was carted off the field Saturday against Boston College. Clemson coaches said Boyd's injury is a strained hip, and Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said Monday he would be surprised if Boyd didn't play Saturday against Maryland. If Boyd doesn't play, Cole Stoudt, the son of former NFL quarterback Cliff and brother of Ole Miss quarterback Zack, will take his place.
Last game: Beat Boston College, 36-14
Next game: Saturday at Maryland

9 Last Week: 9 Oregon Ducks (4-1)
Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Ore., and Eugene, Ore.: The Eugene store isn't the original, but the best doughnuts in America shouldn't be limited to one city. If you can handle near-toxic levels of salty and sweet, try the maple bacon bar. Otherwise, try the ODB. Those down with the Wu-Tang should comprehend the acronym. Those who aren't should just enjoy the raised doughnut covered in chocolate frosting, Oreos and peanut butter. Also try the O' Captain, My Captain (vanilla frosting and Cap'n Crunch) and the signature Voodoo Doll (a chocolate-frosted, doll-shaped raised doughnut filled with raspberry jelly and stabbed through the heart with a pretzel stake). Visitors to Eugene on Saturday should have plenty of time to load up at Voodoo. The Arizona State game doesn't start until 7:21 p.m. local time. Those who aren't wiped out from a plummeting glycemic index will see the Ducks face the likely winner of the Pac-12 South Division. LaMichael James is a tough son of a gun -- not many people would pop in their dislocated elbow on the field, then give a post-game interview later -- but the Ducks will have to win without him Saturday. Kenjon Barner and DeAnthony Thomas provide the same elite speed, but it will be interesting to see how well Oregon moves the chains without James, who is shockingly good at gaining yards after contact.
Last game: Beat Cal, 43-15
Next game: Saturday vs. Arizona State

10 Last Week: 10 Arkansas Razorbacks (5-1)
The Catfish Hole in Fayetteville, Ark.: College classmate Robbie Neiswanger, who covers the Razorbacks for Stephens Media's Arkansas News Bureau, recommends this local house of fried goodness. For $13.99, you can get a Captain's Catch of catfish steaks on the bones (as the good lord intended). Those too lazy to clean their meat off the bones must pay an extra $2. Even better, all-you-can-eat frog legs are $23.99. Parties of up to 90 people can take their meal in the Razorback Room. Woo Catfish Sooie. The actual Razorbacks are off this week after an impressive win against Auburn. In the meantime, check out Dan Wetzel's fantastic story about Darrell Brown, who was honored by the school this past Saturday for his attempts to integrate the football team all by himself.
Last game: Beat Auburn, 38-14
Next game: Oct. 22 at Ole Miss

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