A bunch of emails came in overnight about Ryan Perrilloux so we'll open this week's mailbag with him.
From Dino in Baton Rouge, La.: So the inevitable finally happened, Ryan Perrilloux screwed up again and Les Miles kicked him off the team. How much do you think this hurts the Tigers?
Feldman: From a big picture sense, I actually think this move ultimately helps the Tigers' program. Perrilloux had long since passed the point of becoming a distraction to the team. It also should be noted that all major colleges have built-in check points so the coaches are aware of guys who may be getting off-track. In most cases, the head coach is given weekly academic reports that show if a player has missed a class or even shown up late to a class or study session. These things are generally well-monitored by the academic support people. The coaches also get daily reports from their strength coaches as well as trainers about who is doing what on a daily basis. Reports of failed drug tests usually go to the coaches as well as the athletic director. So such problems, never mind just the ones that can show up on the police blotter, don't sneak up on anyone.
Miles didn't want to make this move, I'm sure. According to a source close to the program, Miles had given Perrilloux more than enough chances to mature, but it never happened. The problem was Miles surely would've dumped a lesser talent sooner and I'm sure he wrestled with that. Ultimately he knew how cancerous it can be to a program when other players see a guy given preferential treatment, knowing the rules really don't apply to him.
It's sad that Perrilloux blew this opportunity. Long before he had arrived at LSU he had been touted by the recruiting analysts as a prodigy along the lines of Vince Young. Throughout the recruiting process he exhibited a warped sense of entitlement and apparently he never really did grow out of it, exhibiting behavior that indicates he didn't think the rules applied to him.
The move might cost LSU this year's SEC championship. Redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee and junior Andrew Hatch, the Harvard transfer, are Miles' two most viable options at quarterback. The Tigers, with Perrilloux, were the favorites to win the SEC West. Without him, and with less experience and less playmaking ability behind center, you have to believe that Auburn now becomes the favorite. LSU probably will lose at least one more game because of the move, but the program should be better for it down the road.
From Kerri in Cincinnati: I was disappointed to hear Ben Mauk's appeal (for a sixth year) got denied. Do you think he'll ever get cleared by the NCAA?
Feldman: I was disappointed too. A little over a week ago, I spoke to both Ben and his father about why he was hoping to get that sixth year. As I said then, I believe Mauk is the kind of person the NCAA should be welcoming, not turning down.
He said he is going to continue on with the appeal process, although I think if the NCAA turned him down after having all of the medical documentation that the Mauks supplied before, I doubt anything is going to change the NCAA's mind.
From Rick in New York City: I have two Notre Dame related questions: Do you think too much was made of the comments Charlie Weis made on the booster circuit when he said he could win if he took thugs? And two, I have mixed feelings about the Irish trying to dictate to another school (Rutgers) where their end of a home-and-home series should be, especially when it's someone in the Big East, a league we have ties to.
Feldman: The Weis comment sounds strange, although I'm not quite sure what he was trying to say. Does he believe that the teams that beat him last year had loaded up on "thugs"? Keep in mind Notre Dame lost to Navy and Air Force, which have tougher admission standards than Notre Dame does for a football player. My hunch is things often get said in these booster meetings that are never intended to get out into the mainstream.
The scheduling problem is interesting in that I wonder what the Big East office really thinks about this. Notre Dame gets some benefit of being in the Big East in other sports where it doesn't have the leverage it has in football. From a Q rating standpoint Notre Dame still has a lot of appeal, although I don't think even the most loyal fan would say that the level of the program is anywhere near where it was a generation ago.
Speaking of Rutgers, there is an interesting item from Tom Luicci on the growth of that program in yesterday's Star-Ledger about the fan support:
"A year after setting a school record for average attendance, Rutgers saw a "99 percent" renewal rate for 2008 football season tickets by today's deadline, said Kevin MacConnell, deputy director of athletics. With sellouts for all eight home games last fall, Rutgers averaged 43,633 in 2007 - the highest per-game average in school history. Even with ongoing construction, the stadium's capacity is expected to remain around 43,000 for the 2008 season."
From Ryan in Boulder, Colo.: I'm surprised that Syracuse wasn't also on the revenue list. While it hasn't been the best of years for either basketball or football the last few years, basketball can still sell out the dome, while football games hope to get as many fans as a lacrosse game can.
Feldman: That's a good point. I'm surprised too.
From Ken in Baltimore: Is Jeremy May quickly becoming the most-hated character to ever appear on "The Ultimate Fighter"? Man, do I wanna see that guy get pounded next week.
Feldman: I would have to agree. Thus far most of the fighters on this season, at least from what we've been shown, have all been likeable except for one guy, May. The Matt Brown-Jeremy May staredown was good TV though. By the way, if you're an MMA fan, you should check out ESPN Mag editor Ryan Hockensmith's new MMA blog here. He has some good stuff on Chuck Liddell today.
From Jamie in Atlanta: I agree with your point about the blogs in relation to the "Costas Now" show. I am one of those people who spend more time surfing blogs, checking out links from those sites and I do think they actually work in conjunction better than either side would like to admit. How soon before we see college players and coaches with their own blogs?
Feldman: It's actually already happening. Some coaches are already using blogs and their own web sites as a way to, not only reach fans, but also woo recruits. I know at USC, Pete Carroll has his own personal blogger, Ben Malcolmson, who updates many times a day and often breaks news on the site about injuries and things of that nature.
As for players doing their own blogs, I suspect many schools would discourage it just because of all of the troubles they've faced with MySpace and Facebook .
Like I said the other day, I thought the "Costas Now" show could serve as a launch point for some good banter about the growing world of blogs.