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Rolling weekend coverage, 12/7-9

Hey everyone. I don't think there's enough going on right now to justify new blogs each day during the weekend. Plus, it's my first true responsibility-free weekend since mid July. The HOTTIES know what that means: Christmas parade, XBox 360, "Superbad" and the Haynes Family Annual Holiday Party. We're very geeked.

The Haynes are Bammers through and through, but they moonlight as HOTTIES since they invite us to their shindig.

Petrino to Arkansas? That's hot. The HOTTEST Auburn blog is sweltering.

Outlets in Arkansas are reporting that defensive coordinator Will Muschamp could become a candidate at Arkansas. The story also mentions Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino. You know Petrino has to consider offers to leave Atlanta. You wanna talk about hard times? How about taking a job and then learning that your franchise player is headed for the pokey. I bet Petrino would go for a do-over there.

News of the day, 12/6

Hey everyone. I'm still in awe of that fine performance from the men's basketball team against West Virginia. I'll go into more detail below.

We love Jim and Holly Grobe. We're also the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net.

Today's stories from the Advertiser:
Tuberville goes public with his "plan"
Auburn men lay an egg against West Virginia

Sorry for the blogging delay. I got home at 1:30 a.m., slept late, worked out and held a series of meetings at the paper with higher-ups about our unnamed sources policy. We're trying to come to an amicable accord on this issue. I'll keep you posted.

As far as the men's basketball team goes, wow, what an epically bad performance against West Virginia on Wednesday night. The problem, as often is the case with Jeff Lebo's teams for whatever reason, is a lack of depth.

I really believe Auburn could be semi-successful playing this way. I wouldn't play this way. I'd conform to popular norms like recruiting guys taller than 6-foot-7 and maybe beating the bushes for a few guys who can shoot. Lebo's problem is that he has seven guys. Two of those guys (Lucas Hargrove and Matt Heramb) clearly aren't ready for major exposure just yet.

This won't work. Not like this. Auburn played essentially no defense on Wednesday night and the guards were sloppy with their ball-handling. I know some of you all are big Lebo defenders. He deserves credit for eradicating some of the problems left by his predecessors, but I do not believe the program is making progress overall.

I don't mean to come off as homery or whatever, but the All-SEC team was a joke. I didn't vote this year. Maybe I shouldn't complain. Then again, any SEC survey that doesn't include Antonio Coleman simply is not credible. No way.

Someone asked on the comments section about who votes for this stuff. It's a big group of sports writers from all over the Southeast. The problem is that Coleman doesn't have that big name yet. Auburn writers are going to know him, obviously, but I talk with a lot of the writers who cover other teams and they never ask me about Coleman. I'm always hearing about Brandon Cox and Quentin Groves and Tray Blackmon.

Hard times for Arkansas. First Tommy Bowden turned them down. Now Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe has turned them down.

I saw this quote from former Arkansas WR Anthony Lucas in another story:

"I'm just kind of embarrassed, personally," Lucas said. ``I just hate what's going on with this up there. I don't understand why we can't find a coach. I don't understand why a coach wouldn't want to take this job. As a [Southeastern Conference] school, of course, I know our fans are a little tough. They can be a little bit aggressive at times, but that's the love for it. They want to know what's going on with their Razorbacks."

Look, a tenured guy just went 8-4, finished the season with a win at (probable national champion) LSU and still felt the need to resign. You don't think that makes prospective coaches wary of the place? This is a really bad mess.

Minor housekeeping issue: Don't use the comments section to rip writers. This is my blog and those are my rules. Take that business somewhere else. You have plenty of options.

News of the day, 12/5

Hey everyone. Fun times. Let's get to business.

Thanks, as always, for doing your part to make this the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net.

Tommy Tuberville spent approximately 20 minutes today taking questions from reporters about the contract extension, the negotiations, the erroneous report about him taking the Arkansas job and life in general. Tuberville can be a frustrating guy to cover at times because he can be unnecessarily evasive, but he comes correct when it's time. I'll give him that. It was pretty cool of him to hold an open forum like this. A lot of coaches couldn't handle it.

Here are The Things You Need To Know about what he said today:

1.) Tuberville thinks this was all a big misunderstanding. "I'm glad this is behind us. I think there was a lot of misunderstanding in terms of what this was all about. There was never any doubt I was coming back. It was in terms of whether I wanted to add to more years onto my contract, so we sat down. We had discussions. They were a little bit drawn out. You can't do them all in one day. Of course, I had some things to do, and they had some things to do, but, in the long run, we wanted to do what was best for Auburn and for Auburn's football program and athletics department, and we come to a conclusion that some things that could be worked out, and my family and I and our coaches decided to add to years onto the contract."

2.) Tuberville won't actually sign the deal until his lawyer, Montgomery's Jere Beasley, adjusts some of the contract's language. "It took a month to sign it the last time, but we've agreed on it, the terms. Then what you do is you work out wording, words and if-ands and all of those things. That's very easy to do, but you just want to make sure for both sides everything is the way you want it."

3.) Tuberville is satisfied with proposed facility upgrades. Work will begin in January on a complete facelift of the Athletic Complex's bottom floor, which is where the players spend most of their time. Work will continue through the spring and into the summer. Tuberville also said a new dorm catering to athletes will be build near the new coliseum during the next two years. The coaches' offices are getting a facelift, too.

4.) The assistants got something out of this.
Tuberville said administrators were receptive to ideas about instituting an incentive system for assistants. Many assistants are one year away from being vested for an education-related retirement plan. Tuberville said something about assistants getting raises, though that hasn't been discussed in detail yet.

5.) Tuberville doesn't think there are any hard feelings between him and The People Who Matter. "It's a business. You don't want to let anything go by."

6.) Tuberville didn't say much last week because he didn't think it was necessary. "There wasn't anything out there that I could have intelligently addressed because there wasn't anything to it."

7.) Tuberville got a good laugh out of the report last week that he was leaving for the Arkansas job. ``I happened to be in Arkansas that night. We were at a deer camp. We go every year. It's not that I just happened to go this year. I usually go the week of Thanksgiving. They moved the game back. One of my best friends is a farmer in Arkansas. He always picks me up and some of the coaches. We hunt one afternoon, hunt the next morning and come back.

``We were sitting around the fire. We'd just got through eating. It came on the news that I'd accepted the job. We all turned around and looked at each other very slowly and started laughing about it. That's how things start. It really had nothing to do with Arkansas officials. This is just rumors. It's rumors that get started, internet, talk and everybody thought I was probably over there interviewing for the job. It was a little different. My wife even called me and wanted to know what in the world was going on. There was no basis to it on either side. It was strictly bad reporting."

Tuberville said that he expects defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to return next season. He apparently withdrew from consideration for the Southern Miss job and Muschamp's degree from Georgia apparently didn't go over well with the people at Georgia Tech. No problem. He'll get a nice raise and probably snag a top job somewhere in 2008.

I submitted my Heisman Trophy ballot today ... hours before the deadline. I was leaning toward Darren McFadden. Then I talked with Al Borges, who essentially demanded that I vote for Tim Tebow. Borges described him as "an entire offense by himself." My wife intervened, she of the recent bonus that gets me to Vegas, and asserted her belief that McFadden is the best player.

So with that in mind, here are my official choices:

1.) Darren McFadden
2.) Tim Tebow
3.) Todd Reesing, Kansas: 3,259 yards, 32 TDs, 6 ints, BCS bowl for Jayhawks.

News of the day, 12/4

BREAKING NEWS: Tuberville signs extension that keeps him at Auburn through 2013 with $200,000 raise and amended buyout schedule. See below.

Hey everyone. I'll just add items as they come available today.

We're grateful that you have chosen the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net to spend the next two minutes of your life.

It's finally finished. Tuberville made a verbal agreement today to accept a two-year extension that keeps him at Auburn through the 2013 season. His salary gets bumped to $2.8 million in 2008 and he's guaranteed $200k raises each season. His buyout schedule also changed. Take a peek:

2008: $6 million
2009: $5 million
2010: $4 million
2011: $3 million

2008: $6 million
2009: $5 million
2010: $4 million
2011: $4 million
2012: $4 million
2013: $4 million

I find that so interesting. All the information I received indicated that he was absolutely DYING to get that buyout lowered. I totally believe that was his intent. Then he agrees to this extension (which he's expected to actually sign on Wednesday morning) that actually raises his buyout. I'm sure this makes sense to someone somewhere, but not this person right here.

Jacobs confirmed on Tuesday (again) that he wasn't contacted by Arkansas at any point. I know there are ways around him. I'm just passing along information.

Jacobs on the intense interest generated by this negotiation: ``It doesn't surprise me. With the way the world is connected now, everybody knows everything that's going on. That just the way it is now. It's obvious that we have a coach who gets a lot of people talking and that's a good thing in my mind. At least we have a guy people would want."


So I get a great call from my wife today. She received a quarterly bonus from her gig. Wow. Awesome! Three-day bender in Vegas and we're not talking about the Luxor. I'm talkin' Bellagio, nights at the Wynn in Blush, you name it.

Not so fast. Uncle Sam snagged 43.7% of the bonus. What is that? Do we really need to lose that much of a bonus to fund things? I think 30% would be plenty.

News of the day, 12/3

Hey everyone. Pretty slow day in general. Let's get to business. As for today's main picture, doesn't Quentin look like Coolio from the "Fantasic Voyage" days? Slide, slide slippity slide.

Like Tim Tebow, we're a dual threat. We're the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net and we're mildly entertaining. Some believe so, anyway. OK. I believe so.

In a story today, the Northwest Arkansas Times reported earlier today that three men have been interviewed by Arkansas: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, Tulsa assistant Gus Malzahn and Michigan assistant Ron English. No mention of Tommy Tuberville.

I'm now 99% sure Tuberville will be at Auburn next season. I'm convinced that he's not totally content, which could make the 2008 season and beyond an interesting endeavor, but that $6 million buyout presents a major roadblock to schools seeking his services. Cash money says any new deal Tuberville signs with the school will have a re-structured buyout clause. Read: Smaller.

UPDATE: I was to reiterate here something I mentioned in the comments section. Tommy obviously has concerns. If he gets those concerns assuaged to his satisfaction, I think he'll be reasonably content at Auburn in 08 and beyond. That leaves the question: Will he have his concerns assuaged? I don't know. I'm not sure he'll get multi-year contracts for assistants.

I'm a Heisman voter and I gotta tell you, I still haven't voted. I keep hoping a magical candidate will suddenly break away in my mind as the clear winner. I'm leaning toward going with McFadden-Tebow-Todd Reesing of Kansas.

My friend Kari Chisholm of has built a really nice site that accurately projects Heisman winners. It looks like Tebow will win.

News of the day, 12/2

Hey everyone. We've got two significant events happening tonight. Auburn has accepted an invitation to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl (Dec. 31). The Tigers will play Clemson.

Both Tommy Tuberville and athletic director Jay Jacobs are supposed to participate in the conference call addressing the Tigers' berth in the Atlanta-based bowl.

Ticket information is here: CHICK-FIL-A BOWL. I'll have information on how you can tap into Auburn's bowl allotment shortly.

We like the undefeated Hawaii Warriors. We're the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net.

Awesome teleconference. I'd say 75% of the q-and-a portion was dedicated to questions about Tuberville's job status and Jay Jacobs' opinion of Tuberville's job status. The uneasiness was palpable.

Here's The Best Thing we heard from Jacobs: ``There have been a lot of things blowing up, if that's what you call it, but there's never been any doubt in my mind or Tommy's that he's going to be our coach for many years to come."

Here's Tommy's big follow-up to that statement: ``I concur."

Not sure what to make of that. The legal definition of concur, as applied by SCOTUS, means two entities agree on a conclusion but differ in the reasoning used to draw said conclusion. I think that's exactly what you're seeing here. Tuberville probably will be at Auburn next season. That's not because he loves Auburn so much. It's that he doesn't have any other reasonable options available right now.

Tuberville votes in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Here is the top of his ballot:

1.) LSU
2.) Oklahoma
3.) Ohio State
4.) Hawaii
5.) Georgia

On Hawaii: ``It's hard to understand why they don't have a shot at the end. If we had a four-team playoff, they could get a shot at it."

The Auburn women's basketball team won at No. 14 Arizona State today, 75-69. The Tigers, ranked No. 18, are 8-0. This group has the potential to be pretty good. I'm planning to talk with a few of the principles for a few stories this week.

The men's basketball team beat George Washington 74-70 on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers now are 4-1. I'm surprised, I gotta say, but it's clear (to me) that this team won't be competitive on the national or regional scene. The depth situation is terminal.

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