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Happy birthday, Les Miles. The turf cake should be delivered this afternoon.

AND NOW A WORD FROM JOE SCHAD. The first direct link between "pay for play" and "Cam Newton" comes from Joe Schad, who has recruiters for Mississippi State coming forward and saying the Newton explicitly told them he wasn't going to Mississippi State because...well, here. 

After Newton committed to Auburn, another source said an emotional Cam Newton phoned another recruiter to express regret that he wouldn't be going to Mississippi State, stating that his father Cecil had chosen Auburn for him because "the money was too much."

So put him on the vast anti-Auburn conspiracy wagon along with Mark Schlabach, Pat Forde, Chris Low, the New York Times, Thayer Evans, the FBI, John Bond, the Gnomes of Zurich, the Trilateral Commission, the Jews, penguins (THE ANTARCTIC MENACE, EVER WADDLING FORWARD,) the NCAA, Alabama, the ghost of Logan Young, Terry Bowden's man-girdle, a snickering Tommy Tuberville, and France. Why France? JUST BECAUSE, that's why.


BUT THE PROBLEM IS GOSSIP. GOT IT. I love Tony Barnhart, but this is the churchmarmiest thing he's ever written. Additional Cam-ness: even if the academic rumors are true, they likely wouldn't have expelled Newton, since academic fraud rarely results in expulsion at Florida. This isn't pleasing to note, but hey, it's there just like the rest of it. Additionally, the source of the Newton academic foibles might not have been an employee at all, thus making the hyperventilating over the breaking of federal privacy laws a bit overblown. (Unless the source is a current employee, in which case you best get five bullets and a lawyer pronto.)

INTRODUCING THE MAFIA PORTION OF THE PROGRAMMING. The introduction of the FBI into the case takes us into a vast stream of speculation, so follow us through this wormhole (one done with the consult of a few attorneys, so thus not completely internet university-borne.) If the FBI is involved, they have a specific charge in mind if they're talking to people. The use of telephones or other devices across state lines--i.e. from Alabama to Georgia--puts them in the case via a wire fraud charge or, if really broad powers need to be invoked, RICO. (Do you watch mafia movies? Did your ears just perk up? They should have.)

None of this means they'll remain involved in the case, but that's their entry point here if cash did cross lines. They're not there for nothing, and certainly not without a targeted charge or charges in mind.

CLASSY GANDHI SHOWED UP. Dan Hawkins' departure speech yesterday was spectacularly classy, and by "classy" we mean "Tony Bennett and caviar apps at the Copa," not "Fred Blassie," but with the new agey touch you expect from the Zen-dog coach.

"Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed in the things you did not do than by the things you do do. So throw off the tow lines, sail away from the safe harbor, cast the trade winds in your sails, explore, dream, discover," Hawkins said quoting Twain. "And that's kind of been my mantra. So I appreciate everything, and hopefully there are good times in the future. God bless you. Go Buffs."

/wipes tear away.

THAT MAKES SENSE. Brady Hoke is on the list for Minnesota, and given his actually winning games at the reanimated carcass of the SDSU program, that makes plenty of sense since Minnesota is indeed in need of its own killer zombification. (Remember, zombies move slowly but are unstoppable, and this sounds purrfect for the Big Ten.)

THIS REALLY HAPPENED. That IS Adam Jacobi talking with Jack Arute and Mike Leach. That happened, and life is spectacular.

IF YOU'D LIKE TO LEARN NOTHING ABOUT DEFENSE. There's always this seminar. (See speaker list, and be GERG'D.)