The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Monday, January 03, 2005

College Football Recap and Ramblings

We’ll start off 2005 here at The Book with a non-baseball post.

  • I’m back from Atlanta after ringing in the New Year just down the street from the Georgia Dome, site of the Hurricanes 27 – 10 win over the Gators on New Year’s Eve. I’m not even going to get into the game much or the rivalry at all. The Gators and their fans just aren’t worth it. Their arrogance is unsubstantiated, and they’re amongst the worst folks to attend a sporting event with of all the groups of fans that I’ve ever seen at an event.

    The outlook for the Hurricanes 2005 season is somewhat murky. If all or most of the key underclassmen return for next season, the 05 campaign could be a special one. However, rumors persist that a number of Canes – including RB Frank Gore, CB Kelly Jennings, WR Roscoe Parrish, DL Orien Harris, and LB Rocky McIntosh – will leave school early and enter the NFL draft.

    It’s not like the Canes haven’t seen this happen before. It happens nearly every year, in fact. What’s different this time around is that the players in question aren’t mortal locks to be high first round draft picks. In fact, there are serious questions as to whether any of the underclassmen would even be picked on the first day of the draft. Still, some players, most notably Frank Gore, likely have ample reason to enter this year’s NFL draft.

    Gore comes from a poor family, his father is deceased, and his mother is terminally ill. Frank will also receive his bachelor’s degree in May, so if he did return for his 5th season, he would in all likelihood be entering a graduate program. Gore has also overcome two reconstructive knee surgeries. Although many feel that returning to Miami for another year could boost Gore’s stock and turn him into a first round pick, Gore would also be risking it all. Unlike other NFL prospects, Gore is (apparently) unable to buy insurance against his potential future earnings because of his history of knee injuries. This alone makes it likely that Gore will enter the NFL draft. By coming out this year, he can take some sure money (which can be used to defray his mother’s medical bills) instead of risking it all (although he would have a college degree) and potentially ending up with nothing (if he suffers another injury next season).

    The other underclassmen who are allegedly considering the draft are doing so for various reasons. Apparently Roscoe Parrish feels that he’s surrounded by so much talent at Miami that he may not be enough of a focal point of the offense next year. If that’s the case, I can’t imagine how it would be any better for Parrish in the NFL.

    Jennings and McIntosh also are apparently unhappy with their roles on the team and feel they should be given more starring roles on the defense. Such sentiment is not likely to sit well with NFL front office people, who typically like mid-round picks to be good team players and non-disruptive forces in the locker room. I don’t know that Jennings or McIntosh would be negative forces in an NFL locker room, but coaches and general managers probably don’t know for sure either.

    Of the group of potential early entrants, Harris is the most likely to return to school next year.

  • Virginia Tech will pull off the upset of the bowl season tonight, by beating Auburn soundly. You heard it hear first.

  • Tomorrow night’s national championship game also probably decides next year’s preseason number one team. Even if it doesn’t, I expect USC to be ranked no lower than second in next year’s earliest rankings. This will happen despite Matt Leinart entering the NFL draft following the Orange Bowl.

  • I would also like to thank ABC News for naming me person of the year. This is quite an unexpected accolade. I only learned the news this morning. Previously, I was thinking that yesterday’s plug in the Sunday comics was the blog related highlight of my week (if you didn't see it, check out Opus - sorry, I can't find a link).


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