Happy for SEC football after title

Published 12:25 am Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I am happy for the SEC and Southern football that LSU so easily handled Ohio State in last week’s college football Championship Game in New Orleans. For many years, the Big 10 Conference has dominated college football rules making, and recently seem to have taken over the rules for college football officials.

While the national coordinator for college football officiating has been from the Big Ten, an individual from the SEC will soon begin duty as the secretary-editor for the NCAA College Football Rules Committee.

I cannot say with any certainty that the officiating assignments for the bowl games have been impacted by the national coordinator, but it is obvious that officials from the smaller leagues and conferences appear often in bowl games involving highly-ranked teams.

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A few weeks ago I commented about the rumors flying around at the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta concerning coaching changes. You will remember that before the championship game there was absolute certainty that LSU Coach Les Miles was on his way to Michigan.

It was not until after the game that the truth came out. Coach Miles had signed a multi-year contract extension to stay at LSU. I guess that is how real sports writers make their living.

The coaching carousel continued well past the bowl season. The Michigan job was eventually filled by West Virginia’s Rick Rodriguez. It is funny that the move by Coach Rodriguez caused such an uproar among West Virginia fans.

Had their team gone 1 – 11 instead of 11 – 2, those fans would have been glad to help him pack. The same about the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons. That coach left with a couple of games remaining to take the Arkansas job. Had he waited one more game (and had that been another loss) those fans and players would have had an entirely different attitude.

The governor of Hawaii tried to no avail to keep June Jones as coach at the University of Hawaii. Coach Jones left that paradise to try to rejuvenate the SMU football program. SMU has been in the dumps since former Southern Mississippi Coach Bobby Collins got them in trouble several years ago.

I was delighted to see that Duke had hired David Cutcliffe to attempt to revive the Blue Devils’ football program. Duke, like Vanderbilt, Tulane, and a few other colleges, has a tough recruiting situation because of their high academic requirements.

When a coach can find a superior athlete who can handle academics as necessary at one of those schools, he better make every effort to sign him up. Coach ‘Cutt’ is a really good offensive coach (think the Mannings) and if he can surround himself with the right assistant coaches and players, he will do well at Duke. I am pulling for him.

Good for Brett Favre and Green Bay for their win in the snow Sunday. If both Mannings (Peyton at Indianapolis and Eli with the New York Giants) can had won and advanced in the NFL Playoffs, I might have kindled some interest in professional football. But, I really think the NFL’s officials’ uniforms suck.

And, That’s Official.

Al Graning is a former SEC official and former Natchez resident. He can be reached by e-mail at AlanWard39157@aol.com.