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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recruiting trail leads Mark Richt to jail - Group of professors mull a 64-team college football playoff - Photos of NBA Championship Rings

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Group of professors mull a 64-team college football playoff
The idea of a college football playoff, however small or mildly adjusted as it may be compared to the current BCS system, has gained more support than it ever has in recent years among college football’s powers that be.

For the immediate future, meaning 2013 or ’14, a plus-one seems like the most likely alternative. Down the road, that could expand to, say, eight teams. Perhaps, one day, 11*. It is, after all, the consumer’s natural instinct to want more to the point of saturation (see: bowl season).

But a four, eight or 11-team playoff, as realistic as those ideas may be, is child’s play compared to what one group is considering.

The Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, a group of over 50 university professors and faculty members, met over the weekend to discuss changes they feel are necessary in collegiate sports. The Associated Press report details the COIA’s wide-ranging agenda, but one idea catches some attention:

Among the topics: Should COIA advocate changes in the BCS?

Not surprisingly, the dividing lines on many issues among the 50 or so faculty members were often split between those who represent schools from automatic-qualifying conferences and those who don’t. One of the ideas that came through on the BCS debate was to exchange some of the noncompetitive “guarantee” games at the beginning of the season for a 64-team playoff at the end and use the TV money from the playoff to recoup losses from the missing regular-season games.

It’s a proposal that could puncture the long-held contention of college presidents that a playoff would take too many athletes out of the classroom for too long. It’s also the kind of proposal — a December version of March Madness — that resonates with fans who have grown tired of the BCS; a pie-in-the-sky idea for sure, though some faculty think a little dreaming isn’t bad for a group such as this one.

“This is my first time here and I’m seeing very little dreaming,” said Timothy Ross, a civil engineering professor at New Mexico. “I’m seeing people wedded to the current model and asking, ‘What tweaks do we need to make this work?’ Well, it’s not going to work because the thing is spiraling out of control.”

That’s not to say a 64-team playoff is a top choice — it’s not even a realistic idea if you want to talk about spiraling out of control — but it does show how far some people are willing to go to get away from the current postseason format.

Would it be fun? Maybe; the first 48 hours of March Madness might be the best two days in sports. But you can’t really link college football to college basketball in determining what’s best for the game.

The important thing is that ideas are being put forward, and almost any idea at this point is better than the status quo.

Recruiting trail leads Mark Richt to jail
Ah, the lengths coaches will go to in their efforts to land a top recruit.

Josh Harvey-Clemons is a five-star player in the Class of 2012, rated as the No. 2 “athlete” in the country and the top player in the state of Georgia. Along with Florida, late-surging Florida State and Miami — he’s taking a visit there this Saturday, the final weekend before signing day — Georgia is considered one of the front-runners and would, obviously, love to keep the top-rated player in the state home.

As part of that effort, head coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo paid a visit to Harvey-Clemons Wednesday night, taking in a Baptist church service with the linebacker/wide receiver’s family. During the course of that service, Harvey-Clemons’ grandfather and legal guardian Woodrow Clemons, owner of a bail bondsman’s company, received a call that three individuals needed his services in order to get out of jail post-haste.

Harvey-Clemons and Clemons’ daughter, the player’s aunt, are also bail bondsmen and left church to go spring the individuals. Richt initially decided to stay but, after Harvey-Clemons’ aunt forgot her ID in a vehicle at the church, Harvey-Clemons’ uncle Roy Hart told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Coach Richt and Coach Bobo went to jail with my wife to take the ID to them. Coach Richt wanted one more time to talk with Josh before they hit the road. They talked at jail for about 20 or 30 minutes I guess.”

Ever the recruiter, Richt returned to the church following his trip to jail and, as he was saying the obligatory goodbyes, attempted to gauge where his program stood in its pursuit of Harvey-Clemons.

“Coach Richt said ‘Tell me Roy, how do we look with Josh?’” Hart said. “I said ‘Coach, you’re in the running. Nobody really knows except for Josh. He’s not saying much. He hasn’t made up his mind so nobody knows except for him.’ Then Coach Richt asked if Georgia was still looking good and if they still had an opportunity to get him. I assured him that they did.”

While Harvey-Clemons is taking his final official visit to the Hurricanes this weekend, it’s believed his top two choices are the Bulldogs and Gators. Based on the latter’s legal history over the past few years, having a recruit who also doubles as a bail bondsman could come in very, very handy for the Gainesville school.

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