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Plainslinks says a quick goodbye

Best of luck, Dontae.

Well that was unexpected, wasn’t it? Occasionally the rumor mill gets it right: Dontae Aycock has been dismissed from Auburn’s football teams for the dreaded undisclosed violation of team rules.

The news brings Aycock’s brief and unfortunately undistinguished Auburn career to an abrupt end. Aycock was one of the biggest prizes in Chizik and Co.’s first class, a top-200 overall player at Rivals and four-star at ESPN, but he never seemed to get any traction on the Plains; he redshirted as the team’s scout back as a freshman, and under pressure to make his move in the spring before Michael Dyer arrived, he wound up splitting carries nearly 50/50 with Davis Hooper on the A-Day second team. And now, despite a reputation as a high-character student-athlete in high school boasting an offer from Duke and a 3.2 GPA, he’s gotten the boot. There’s no other way to look at Aycock’s tenure other than as a big, big disappointment.

(Wags from Atlanta may say “that’s what he gets” after wavering on an early Ga. Tech commitment and having his offer yoinked by Paul Johnson, but his reasoning for jumping ship to Auburn–that playing RB here would get him closer to the NFL than QB there–was sound, as Ben Tate proved last fall. He just wasn’t good enough.)

From Auburn’s big-picture perspective, the depth at running back–of all positions–is actually starting to become an issue. Aycock wasn’t likely to become a major contributor this fall, but Dyer, Eric Smith, and Onterio McCalebb are now the only three scholarship running backs currently on Auburn’s projected 2011 roster. The pressure is now on the staff to find a running back in the class of 2011, maybe even two, who’d be able to handle carries here and there as true freshmen. (You hear that, Mike Blakely?)

This, on the other hand, was extremely expected. There’s nothing to see here any longer, is there? Best of luck to Rollison at Sam Houston.

Sweet, sweet victory.
I don’t think you need me to tell you that Auburn won 5-3 on the diamond last night in Oxford, thanks to a three-run eighth-inning shot from slugging dynamo Kevin Patterson. One more win will clinch the SEC West and probably a home Regional. Good times. As for Ole Miss, they slip to 11-1 in games decided by two runs or less, because you quite literally cannot win them all with margins that slim.

Regression to the mean, how I love you in certain situations. DocSat breaks down Alabama’s chances of repeating as national champions in his typically on-point fashion. The conclusion is in line with yours truly’s: they’ll be good, but not undefeated-again kind of good:

More importantly for the offense, though, will be avoiding the occasional letdowns that place a decisive burden on the defense, which cannot possibly reprise its role as the best overall unit in the country – offense or defense – sans 10 departing starters. That number includes six draft picks, three All-Americans, the top four cornerbacks, the Butkus Award winner and every member of the starting front seven over the second half of the season, amounting in all to one of the single greatest exoduses of accomplished talent from one side of the ball in recent memory. The new lineup, including at least seven front-liners with zero career starts to date, cannot possibly scale the same heights …

Even if last year’s team was returning almost entirely intact, a la Florida’s 2008 championship squad before last season, the law of averages almost commands a slight step back: The Tide have won 24 straight regular season games, 16 straight in the SEC, an absurd run in a league that hasn’t had a repeat champion since 1997-98. This isn’t a strong year for the conference, and there certainly isn’t another team that looks poised to make a run at ‘Bama as the resident frontrunner. When it comes to running the table for the third year in a row, though, the turnover on defense is too steep and too many potential snipers on the schedule to warrant the benefit of the doubt.

That’s just about the long and short of it right there. (While we’re talking about DocSat, back in Hinton’s old SMQ days, there were deserved regular paeans to his brilliance throughout the CFB bloggitysphere. Those seem to have diminished as we’ve come to take him for granted, I guess, and the move to Yahoo! has removed some of the need to make sure the proverbial word got out about his work, but still–I read posts like this one on the revisionist history of the ACC’s 2003 expansion push, maybe not groundbreaking but easily the most perceptive, most clearly-written “state of the ACC”-type piece  you’re going to read anywhere by anyone, and I have to think more attention should still be paid.)

This will be interesting, to say the least. So there’s a new site at the URL oversigning.com bearing the Coachbot’s “the fans don’t need to know” quote as its header and tracking the Tide’s “March to 85” player-by-player over the past few weeks. 5 bucks says summer gets a lot less boring whenever Saban gets around to his annual purge.

Even I think the tone at the site is a little too strident right at the moment–it’s hard to say there’s really anything fishy about a talented QB stuck squarely on the third string deciding to transfer–but there’s a valid point here:

How can Nick Saban say that he hates for any player to leave the program?  He oversigns his classes by 10 players nearly every year which means that players are going to have to leave in order for Alabama to stay under the 85 player limit.  Nick, if you hate to see players leave the program then quit signing more than you have room for every year and no one will have to leave unexpectedly, or at least not as many.

I think there probably are players Nick Saban hates to see leave the program. But I seriously, seriously doubt Star Jackson was one of them.

Steele! He’s released his preseason All-SEC and All-America teams. Lee Ziemba’s the only Auburn representative on the All-American level (he’s fourth team tackle) but there’s a goodly number of Tigers in his SEC lists: Darvin Adams, Ziemba, and Craig Stevens 1st team; Mario Fannin, Josh Bynes, and Neiko Thorpe (!) 2nd team; Ryan Pugh and Mike Blanc 3rd team; and Cam Newton, Mike Berry, and–in what’s got to be the single biggest WTF on the entire list–Wes Byrum on the fourth team. I’m fine with Blair Walsh getting the first-team nod, but what have Caleb Sturgis and Josh Jasper (Who? Exactly) done to get the benefit of the doubt? (HT: TSK.)

Etc. Yes, Joel Bonomolo does in fact carry a grudge against LSU (and really, shouldn’t we all?) … B&B’s Michael was at the insane Braves game yesterday; too bad he left right before the fireworks started, cursing himself to stay to the end of every blowout he’ll ever attend … out of the millions and millions of “random person films themselves doing something silly in front of their computer” videos in the history of the Internet, this one–Ian McKellen’s Gandalf channeling the Fresh Prince–is the champion, now and possibly forever:

Enjoy your weekend.

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