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Sunday, October 8, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Well, another game that ends with a Drew Bledsoe INT. And man, the Eagles’ D was fanastic in the 2nd half. It was a dramatic game, to be sure.

Ah well, at least Texas beat OU.

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Saturday, September 9, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

While it isn’t over, but it’s over.

The Texas D wasn’t up to the task and we did miss Terrell Brown.  And Colt McCoy looked like a Redshirt Freshman.

Of course, that funmble in the 1st half wasn’t the QB’s fault (but that INT in the 2nd half was egregious).

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Traditional is nice and everything, but I think it is time for PSU and ND to put the names of the players on the backs of the jerseys.

There’s a point where “tradition” equals refusing to improve something just because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

Update:  the second sentence has been fixed–it was garbled when posted yesterday, and I just noticed.

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Monday, September 4, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

How stoopid can one be?

Via the Austin American-Statesman’s Bevo beat: Top cornerback Tarell Brown arrested on marijuana, weapon charges

Longhorn starting cornerback Tarell Brown was arrested early today on marijuana and weapon charges.

Brown and former teammate Aaron Harris, a linebacker on last year’s national championship team, were booked into Travis County Central Booking Facility at 4:55 a.m. Monday.

Brown was charged with a Class A misdemeanor of unlawfully carrying a weapon. He and Harris were both charged with Class B misdemeanors of possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana.

[…]
The charge against Tarell Brown comes as the Longhorns begin to prepare to play No. 1-ranked Ohio State on Saturday in Austin. Brown was expected to draw the assignment of covering Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State’s Heisman Trophy candidate at receiver.

Sheer genius.

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Saturday, September 2, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via Yahoo Sports: Montana State Bobcats 19 - Colorado Buffaloes 10

I guess the Buffs haven’t recovered from the pounding Texas gave them in the Big XII title game last December. I mean, gee whiz, Montana State is a IAA club.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Ok, so I was curious as to whether Texas’ new starting QB’s first name was, indeed “Colt” or whether it was a nickname. In consulting his bio page at the UT sports and I find that it is his middle name (full name: Daniel Colt McCoy).

Well, then I note his birthday: 9/5/1986, which was over three months after I graduated from High School.

Just a reminder that pretty soon all of students will have been born while I was an undergradute myself.

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Friday, July 14, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

The NYT has a lengthy, depressing and yet (unfortunately) not especially surprising tale of grades and athletes from Auburn University: Top Grades and No Class Time for Auburn Players. The surprising part has nothing to do with Auburn, per se, but with the whole “student athlete” situation in general.

The basics of the story have to do with football player taking guided readings courses with a specific member of the sociology faculty and receiving high grades, to the point that it helped the overall academic ranking of the football program.

Specifically, the interim chair [!] of the Sociology Department was offering a remarkable number of directed readings:

The number of directed readings that Professor Petee offered had jumped to 152 in the spring of 2005, from 120 in the fall of 2004. Professor Gundlach described them as fake courses and said they were undermining the department’s integrity.

Professor Petee offered 15 different courses as directed readings both semesters, along with teaching regular courses. His full-time-equivalent number on his teaching schedule for the fall of 2004 was 3.5, or the workload of three and a half professors. In the spring, it rose to 3.67. He was not compensated for the extra work.

The numbers included his in-classroom teachings and directed readings, but they did not include the time commitment for his responsibilities as interim department chairman.

[…]

After the confrontation, Professor Petee’s directed readings dipped to 25 last fall from 152. His full-time-equivalent number dropped to 1.0 from 3.67.

That is an insane amount of students and it is difficult to imagine that they were being adequately managed or instructed.

Further, the pattern of grading is suspicious as well:

Also after the confrontation in the faculty meeting, Professor Petee’s grades for the football players dropped sharply. Professor Gundlach found that before the meeting, the players received 81.1 percent A’s and 16.8 percent B’s in directed-reading courses with Professor Petee. After the meeting, those numbers fell to 40.9 percent A’s and 51.7 percent B’s.

And even with the shift, that is a highly unusual mix of combined percentage of As and Bs–certainly not one wold consider normal.

And then there is this example of the academic rigor in question:

In the fall of 2004, Mr. Langenfeld found himself in an academic bind. More than two months into the fall semester, he realized he had been attending the wrong class because of a scheduling error.

[…]

Mr. Langenfeld then went to his academic counselor in the athletic department, Brett Wohlers, with a plea: “I got dropped from a class and need a class to stay eligible for the bowl game,” Mr. Langenfeld recalled in a recent telephone interview. “I need a class, and I’ll take any class right now. I don’t not want to play in my last bowl game.”

He said Mr. Wohlers told him about a “one-assignment class” that other players had taken and enjoyed. So in the “ninth or 10th week,” Mr. Langenfeld said, he picked up a directed-reading course with Professor Petee. Semesters typically run 15 weeks.

Mr. Langenfeld said he had to read one book, but he could not recall the title. He said he was required to hand in a 10-page paper on the book. Between picking up the class and handing in the paper, he said, he met several times with Professor Petee in his office.

Such a tale is hardly the academy at its finest.

One sometimes wonders why schools don’t just design majors in football and be done with it.

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Monday, May 15, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via ESPN: Texas RB Taylor charged with felony drug possession

Texas running back Ramonce Taylor, who scored a touchdown in the Longhorns’ Rose Bowl win over Southern California, was arrested early Sunday by Bell County sheriff’s deputies who said they found marijuana in a backpack in his car.

[…]

The sheriff first reported that deputies who were responding to calls about a fight involving as many as 100 people found more than five pounds of marijuana in Taylor’s backpack, which would be a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in jail and $10,000 in fines.

Ok, so you play for the National Champions, are getting a free education at a premiere state university, and you have a real shot at playing in the NFL. So, what do you do? You decide that marijuana is better than a shot at a very good life.

My word.

What is it with weed and stupid UT running backs?

(And yes, Ricky Williams, I’m looking at you).

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Friday, May 5, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: New contract keeps Texas-OU rivalry in Dallas until 2010

The Red River Rivalry is staying in Dallas until 2010.

Texas and Oklahoma officials announced Thursday they have agreed to keep their annual football game at the Cotton Bowl for another five years, replacing the current contract that expires in 2008.

On the one hand, cool, as the game should be in Dallas.

On the other, while an extension to 2010 sounds like a lengthy one, the sad fact of the matter it isn’t.

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Friday, April 28, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via Yahoo Sports: Homeowner alleges Bush family paid no rent:

Michael Michaels, who owns the Spring Valley, Calif., home in which Reggie Bush’s family lived for nearly a year, said Thursday he will file a $3.2 million lawsuit for fraud against the Bush family Friday to recoup unpaid rent and other finances given to the USC star’s family.

Michaels’ attorney, Brian Watkins, alleged Thursday night that Bush’s mother and stepfather, Denise and LaMar Griffin, failed to pay $54,000 in rent for the home that has become the center of a joint Pacific 10 Conference and NCAA investigation. Watkins also said that Michaels supplied money to the Bush family, including financing that allowed them to travel to several USC road games last season.

Not good.

However, I can’t imagine that this will effect Bush’s draft status one iota. It could come back to bite the USC program, however, if Bush is declared ineligible retroactively.

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