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Notes from the Beat, 7/14

BONOMOLO. Just in case there was any confusion.

A few assorted Auburn-related news stories for your lunch hour:

The complete set. With Joel Bonomolo having received his official confirmation this week and preparing to enroll August 1st, the Auburn class of 2010 is complete at the maximum 25. There will be no further academic casualties, leaving Jeremy Richardson as Auburn’s only non-qualifier out of 27 signees. Here, just a quick mathematical comparison you may find interesting:

2007: 10 non-qualifiers / 30 signees = 33 percent non-qualifying

2010: 1 non-qualifier / 32 signees = 3 percent non-qualifying

Well gosh, you think that’ll help the football team?

Back to Bonomolo, the reports that we never had anything to worry about with him were accurate:

“I wasn’t worried about it,” Bonomolo said. “I was already admitted and could have gone to summer school, I actually drove half way out there to Alabama and then turned around. Now I’m just training and preparing for the season.”

Bonomolo said head coach Gene Chizik advised him not to rush to Auburn for summer school, and instead take some time off and continue to train to be prepared for fall camp while he waited on the official letter of admittance from the NCAA.

“I was actually admitted for the summer, but coach Chizik just decided it was best for me to take the summer off,” Bonomolo said. “I took 29 hours in the winter and spring semesters and I was burnt out on school. They just decided it was best for me to stay here and work out and get ready.”

And for the record, true to his reputation, it sounds like Bonomolo is taking the “work out” part of that equation very seriously.

One last note: thanks to the spring enrollees that back-counted into the 2009 class, this makes two straight maximum classes for Chizik and Co., 50 new players in two years. The premature departures of Rollison and Aycock have dropped that number to 48, but still, the commitment to returning Auburn’s numbers back to normal is much appreciated.

You could have it so much worse. Yeah, Auburn might be playing 11 weeks without a bye, they might be playing in the toughest division in college football, they haven’t gotten any luck with gutted Tennessee rotating off the slate for Spurrier’s most potent Carolina team yet (and suddenly-reeling Vandy still nowhere to be seen). But I don’t think anyone’s going to complain about the schedule this season.

Why? Because as Evan Woodbery illustrated with his overview of the Vegas view of Auburn’s schedule, the road slate will be just about as soft as you can get in the SEC. If you’re an 8-5 team that’s favored–and not just by a point or two–in three of your four road games, and Auburn very likely will be, that is a very kind draw indeed. If you’re not convinced, please contrast “at Mississippi St., at Kentucky, at Ole Miss, at Alabama” with the 2007 gauntlet–at Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, and LSU. Auburn had better take advantage of this particular season for a lot of reasons, and this is one of ’em.

As for Woodbery’s point that “Auburn might be an underdog only once until its final game of the season”–or even not at all, depending on how Arkansas, and LSU get out of the blocks–it’s accurate, but I’d caution about reading too much into it. Maybe Auburn will be the favorite, and maybe there is a not-insignificant correlation between substantial Vegas favorites and wins, but if you accept the old adage that home-field advantage is worth three points alone, Woodbery’s projected lines (which seem about right) still put Auburn in the middle of three total toss-ups at home and possibly as many as five. (Since Carolina and Georgia could narrow those spreads … and in my opinion, probably will).

Will Auburn really run the table on all those toss-ups? Maybe, but I wouldn’t cull too much optimism from Woodbery’s analysis.

Gettin’ paid. Walt McFadden has agreed to terms with the Raiders; financial terms available here. Hopefully he’ll actually see that full $1.99 million, and you have to think with the Raiders–not good, but traditionally an excellent home for cornerbacks–he’ll have his shot.

Congratulations. Ruthie Bolton-Holifield is being inducted into the women’s basketball Hall of Fame, a fitting conclusion to the career of–this is not an exaggeration–one of the greatest athletes to ever put on an Auburn uniform. The accomplishments are still eye-popping:

In four seasons at Auburn, Bolton-Holifield led her team to a combined record of 119-13, which included three Southeastern Conference Championships, four NCAA Tournament appearances and two runner-up finishes (1988 and 1989).

When Bolton’s time at Auburn was up, the McLain, Miss., native continued advancing her skill and went on to a highly-successful 15-year professional basketball career including being a part of 10 U.S. national teams.

A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1996 and 2000) and WNBA All-Star, Bolton scored over 2,000 career points, is fourth on the WNBA’s all-time 3-pointer list and is the only player in the history of the Sacramento Monarchs to have her number retired.

So money.

Blowin’ up. Trent Mummey is owning fools in single-A ball.

Photo found here.

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