Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to JaMarcus Russell…
PACK DUNKS ’DORES: It was a battle of two 6-6 teams. They had nothing to play for except a winning season. After taking a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, Vanderbilt’s vaunted defense succumbed to 28 unanswered points posted by N.C. State. The Atlantic Coast State Wolfpack won, 41-17.
It left the Commodores with a 6-7 record. They looked nothing like the Vanderbilt team that torched Tennessee in the regular season finale. Quarterback Kyle Shurmur was a shadow of his performance against the Vols. Meanwhile, N.C. State soared through the air behind quarterback Ryan Finley.
At one point in the third quarter, Vanderbilt had gone only 1 for 10 on converting first downs. They finally scored a touchdown on a Ralph Webb run with 58 seconds left in the third quarter. It left them trailing 28-10 going into the fourth quarter.
SOONER BUMMER: I lost a lot of respect for Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops. He basically turned a blind eye when a then-freshman Sooner running back Joe Mixon delivered a knockout punch to female student Amelia Molitor, breaking four bones in her face and putting her in the hospital.
The school had a clear video of the incident and kept it to themselves. Instead of doing what they should have done, they put Mixon on a redshirt program to sit him out a year. Mixon now has three years beyond high school and will be eligible for the NFL draft in 2017.
The video found its way into the public recently and you have to see it to understand the force Mixon used to attack the young woman. No matter what she did, or did not do, no one, especially a female, should have to be attacked like she was by Mixon.
Previously Stoops was defensive coordinator at Florida under Steve Spurrier. He later landed at Oklahoma. He should have learned something from Spurrier, who responded thusly after another similar incident.
Spurrier was asked by a reporter when he was still coaching what his policy was if a male football player hit a woman. He said his policy was easy. He said if one of his players ever hit a woman, he would be gone. No second chances.
Not only did Stoops mess up, the school’s AD Joe Castiglione and President David Boren failed to do the right thing, and all three of them saw the entire video.
Sports Illustrated writer Lindsay Schnell wrote a poignant piece on the situation on Dec. 17.
She noted the Sooners were 21-4 when Mixon played and is rated as one of the top running backs in college football.
What would Stoops have done if Mixon was a third string non-scholarship player and did the same thing? Nothing, I would say.
SAGER STRONG: I always got a kick out of NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager, not his outstanding ability to get relative information out of a player or coach, but I always checked out his attire. It was widely noted for his suit or sports coat, his shirt and tie down to his shoes and socks.
Sager waged a fierce war with leukemia for three years. The Thursday before he died, he was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. He was 65.
Former NBA star and analyst Charles Barkley was also an admirer of Sagers.
“I feel like I lost a brother today,’’ Barkley said. “No person that I’ve ever met in my life wanted to live more.’’
SEC STRONG: According to 24/7 Sports recruiting, the SEC has three schools in the top five teams. I know you are shocked, but Alabama is No. 1 with 25 commitments. No 3 is Georgia with 20 commitments. No. 5 is LSU with 20.
The conference adds six more teams in the top 20. They include Auburn at No. 10 and Tennessee at 11 with 26 commitments. South Carolina is ranked No. 14 with Florida at No. 19 and Mississippi State at No. 20.
Arkansas comes in at No. 21 and Kentucky is No. 23.
Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com Sports Columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.