A few thoughts to jump start your Monday morning.
The countdown to National Signing Day is at 9 as Will Muschamp and his staff scramble to put the final pieces in place. These are names you should hear a lot this week: cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (5-10, 172, Gardena, CA Junipero Serra); defensive end Lorenzo Carter (6-5, 232, Norcross, GA); wide receiver/athletic Isaiah McKenzie (5-8, 165, Plantation, FL American Heritage); offensive tackle Damian Prince (6-5, 292, Forestville, MD Bishop McNamara); wide receiver C.J. Worton (6-0, 170 Homestead, FL South Dade); quarterback Treon Harris (5-11, 180, Miami, FL Booker T Washington) and offensive lineman Andrew Mike (6-7, 280, Tucson, AZ Sabino). Out of that bunch, I believe the Gators land Jackson because he also wants to run track, McKenzie, Prince and Worton, an FSU commit whose brother was a walk-on at Florida during the Urban Meyer years. I would love to see Lorenzo Carter in this class, but I think he goes to Georgia. I believe Harris will stick with his FSU commitment and Mike winds up at Arkansas although it wouldn’t be a shock if both were Gators.
DONOVAN IN RARE COMPANY
With his win over Tennessee Saturday, Billy Donovan moved one step closer to a 16th consecutive 20-win season. To put it in perspective how impressive that is, prior to Billy’s arrival at Florida there were only five 20-win seasons in school history. The current streak of 15 straight 20-win seasons (and counting) is the Southeastern Conference record. Remember, this is the same conference that produced Adolph Rupp, who won 876 games in 41 years at Kentucky. The only two active coaches with longer streaks of 20 or more wins in a season are Mike Kryzyzewski (Duke, 17 years) and Jim Boeheim (Syracuse, 16 years). Bill Self of Kansas also has won 20 or more for 15 straight seasons, but his record has been accomplished at four different schools while Billy has gotten all of his 20-win seasons at Florida. Dean Smith of North Carolina holds the all-time record of 27 consecutive 20-win seasons.
EXPECT THE GATORS TO RISE TO #4 IN THE POLLS
When the Associated Press and USAToday/Coaches polls come out later today expect the Gators to rise to #4 behind the three unbeatens – Arizona, Syracuse and Wichita State. Last week’s #3 and #4, Michigan State and Villanova, both suffered home court losses while the Gators extended their winning streak to 11 and their home court winning streak to 26 with Saturday’s 67-41 win over Tennessee at the O-Dome. Following Thursday’s game at Mississippi State, the Gators will play three straight at home (Texas A&M, Missouri and Alabama) before hitting the road at Tennessee and Kentucky.
JACOB COKER TO ALABAMA
Not that there was any doubt about where he was going to play college football next year, but Jacob Coker officially signed transfer papers to Alabama on Sunday. With A.J. McCarron gone and Blake Sims the incumbent backup, there isn’t much doubt that Coker will be given every chance in the world to become the #1 quarterback at Alabama next year. Coker is good enough that Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston only emerged as Florida State’s starter in August of 2013. It is a big enough deal that Ricky Town decommitted Alabama and committed to Southern Cal over the weekend. This has to be an awkward situation for Coker, however. He’s got to finish class at Florida State so he can graduate and be eligible next year, which means he won’t be a part of spring practice in Tuscaloosa and will be seeing all his old Seminole buddies every day on campus at FSU.
MORE ON THE TROUBLE AT MISSOURI
The University of Missouri announced Sunday that it has turned over information and names connected to an alleged rape of former swimmer Sasha Menu Courey, who committed suicide approximately one year after the alleged rape took place. Missouri is claiming it never acted on the incident “because there was no complaint brought forward by the alleged victim or her parents.” Missouri claims it never investigated because it was honoring what it believed to be the wishes of Menu Courey. Former Missouri wide receiver Rolandis Woodland claims that multiple teammates raped Menu Courey and that he saw a now lost video of the alleged incedent. his has the feel of a cover-up and a genuine scandal that is going to cause heads to roll.
RIP TOM GOLA
Tom Gola died Sunday at age 81. A member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, Gola averaged 20.9 points and 19 rebounds per game in his college career at LaSalle and holds the NCAA record for grabbing 2,201 rebounds in his college career. Gola led LaSalle to the NCAA championship in 1954 (he was MVP of the tournament) and to the championship game in 1955. As a rookie with the Philadelphia (now Golden State) Warriors in 1956, he helped lead the Warriors to the NBA championship.
BAD COACHING BEHAVIOR
Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Ray issued an apology Sunday after television cameras caught him saying “F%$# you!” to Marshall Henderson of Ole Miss in the closing seconds of Saturday’s game in which Ole Miss hosed Mississippi State, 82-63. Ray issued an apology to both Henderson and Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, calling his actions in appropriate and claiming that he was more upset with his own players than Henderson. Henderson has a way of rubbing people the wrong way but even so there is no excuse for Ray to lash out that way at another team’s player. Ray is a legitimately good guy but he was totally out of line. It will be interesting to see if the SEC office issues a fine.
THE OBLIGATORY SUPER BOWL WEATHER FORECAST
Weather Underground forecasts a 70% chance of precipitation for next Sunday’s game with light freezing rain likely. The high for East Rutherford, New Jersey, where Giants Stadium is located, is forecast for 34 during the day with game time temperature expected to be 32. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has contingency plans to move the game back one day to Saturday or forward one day to Monday, which is absolutely brilliant considering the forecast for both days is snow.
MUSIC FOR TODAY
I have a growing appreciation for the music of the soul-funk band Mingo Fishtrap, which is based out of Austin, Texas. Roger Blevins Jr. is the lead singer. His dad Roger Sr. plays bass and they’ve got a very righteous horn section. This is “Land of Dreams” from their second album, “From the Private Bag” that was released in 2000. They’ve released four albums since that one. If you ever catch them live you’ve got to hear their version of Steve Wonder’s “Living for the City.”