The big news in the SEC this week is Florida running back Chris Rainey’s arrest on stalking charges, after the junior threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend via text message. (Unless there is an alternative interpretation for a message which simply reads “time to die, bitch.”)
If you’re scoring at home, that brings the felony count to seven for Urban Meyer recruits while he’s been at Florida, and the number of total arrests is now 30.
Surely Urban Meyer, the paragon of righteousness and virtue that he is, will levy a stern punishment, right? Well, offensive coordinator Steve Addazio says that Rainey is “not part of the team right now,” which I guess means his status could change, likely around the same time the Gators get into the meat of their conference schedule.
Now I’m not saying Urban Meyer would reinstate a suspended player just to win a few conference games or anything. It’s just that, well, he’s done it before. In October of 2006, just three days before a game with LSU, Meyer reinstated defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, who had been on suspension for failing a drug test. Thomas would go on to play in the following two games against Auburn and Georgia before being booted from the team permanently on November 4. Essentially, Thomas was reinstated for a month, during a critical stretch against three ranked opponents, and then discarded once he was no longer needed.
That’s the kind of guy Urban Meyer is. Tough on discipline, but only when it’s convenient. Sadly, the handling of the Thomas situation looks pretty stellar when compared to some other transgressions committed by Gators since “The Pope” took over.
There’s Cameron Newton, who before becoming a dark-horse Heisman candidate at Auburn, was a laptop thief in Gainesville. There’s also Ronnie Wilson, who was allowed back on the team after firing an AK-47 in 2008.
But of all the scumbags Florida has recruited, Jamar Hornsby takes the cake. The former safety was arrested for credit card fraud in 2008 when it was discovered he had been running up charges on a card which belonged to the (dead) girlfriend of teammate/roommate Joe Haden.
To be fair, Meyer immediately kicked Hornsby off the team, but he still recruited the guy for crying out loud. (Hornsby would go on to blow his second chance, given by the similarly unscrupulous Houston Nutt, when he was arrested nearly a year later for felony assault after hitting a man with brass knuckles in an Oxford parking lot.)
I realize that every school has its fair share of arrests, DUIs, bar fights, and what have you. But only from Florida do we routinely get headlines like “Gator threatens to kill ex girlfriend” or “Gator runs up credit card of dead girl.” To borrow a phrase from Pope Urban, Florida truly is the top 1 percent of the 1 percent when it comes to douchebaggery.
If you’re a terrible person who is great at football, head on over to Gainesville, there’s a morally bankrupt coach who’d be glad to have you. Just know that if you get caught, you’ll only be in trouble until the LSU game.
And now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest, let’s rifle through some quick SEC picks.
Game of the Week: #12 Arkansas (2-0, 0-0) at Georgia (1-1, 0-1)
After coasting against two inferior opponents (Tennessee Tech and Louisiana-Monroe) to start the season, the Arkansas offense will get its first true test in Sanford Stadium on Saturday night. Georgia’s new-look 3-4 defense will look to bounce back from last week’s disappointing effort vs. South Carolina, when All-everything freshman running back Marcus Lattimore broke 42 tackles for the Gamecocks en route to a huge game on the ground. I think the defense rebounds a bit this week, and the edge rush of Georgia makes life miserable for the slow afoot Mallett. Dawgs 31, Hogs 28
Upset Alert: #10 Florida (2-0, 0-0) at Tennessee (1-1, 0-0)
I thought I was done talking about the Gators, but I guess not. They are 14 point favorites despite traveling to Neyland Stadium. The Vols have dropped five straight in this series, but I think the Gators will have their hands full. Quarterback John Brantley has just 285 passing yards in two games this season, and the Gators have committed ten fumbles on offense. Tennessee needs a lot of breaks to win outright, but covering the two-touchdown spread should be doable. Gators 20, Vols 13
#1 Alabama 42, Duke 0
#13 South Carolina 38, Furman 10
#15 LSU 20, Mississippi State 7
#16 Auburn 31, Clemson 21
Ole Miss 21, Vanderbilt 17
Kentucky 31, Akron 7
– Georgia cornerback Branden Smith might miss the Arkansas game after sitting out Wednesday’s practice with concussion symptoms.
– South Carolina has dismissed tight end Weslye Saunders.
– Alabama will be back at full strength for Saturday’s tilt with Duke. Running back Mark Ingram will return from his preseason knee injury and defensive end Marcell Dareus will be back after serving a two game suspension for contact with an agent.
– With these comments, Les Miles hinted that a quarterback change could be on the way for my Tigers:
“I think there’s a point in time where a guy that works as hard as Lee needs the opportunity to get on the field and play because he has … competed really well,” Miles said. “And I don’t know that it’s even with regard to how Jordan’s playing. I don’t think that’s necessarily a negative that I’d go with another guy.”