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Phillip's Lunchtime Musings, Dec. 9

NCAA president Mark Emmert has twice strongly defended the NCAA’s decision to allow Auburn quarterback Cam Newton to retain his eligibility. SEC commissioner Mike Slive has said it would have been “dead wrong” to sit Newton.

Phillip Marshall, Senior Editor,

Yet, a day doesn’t go by that someone doesn’t write or say that they’re not voting for Newton for the Heisman Trophy because they’re not sure he’s eligible. The NCAA is sure. The SEC is sure. But people who have little knowledge of the circumstances aren’t sure.

After all, Newton’s father has admitted wrongdoing, right? So, Newton must have known about it right? Oh, there’s no evidence of that after weeks of investigation, interviews and checking telephone and financial records? What the heck, penalize him anyway. It’ll make for a good blog.

What a bizarre time the past month has been.

Of course, all the self-righteousness isn’t going to change anything. Newton is still going to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday and he’s still going to play for the national championship on Jan. 10. …

This basketball season is going to be a long and hard one for Auburn. No doubt about it. But better days are ahead.

Tony Barbee’s first Auburn team would be significantly more competitive if Frankie Sullivan and Ty Armstrong were playing instead of rehabbing knee injuries. They’ll be back next season, along with Texas Transfer Varez Ward and a very good recruiting class.

The future looks much brighter than the present. …

Has any Auburn coach done a better job than Wade Benson? He took over a volleyball program that was, without much question, the worst in the SEC. In short order, he got the Tigers into the first NCAA Tournament in school history and won a first-round match. …

Gus Malzahn questions are flying all over the pace these days. My opinions: Would he take a head coaching job at a mid-major school? No. Would he go somewhere else as offensive coordinator? No. Would he take the Vanderbilt job? No. Would he take the Mississippi State job? Probably. Would he take the Arkansas job? Absolutely. …

To be a successful head coach in the SEC, you have to be good at a lot of things. You have to be able to motivate young men and motivate assistant coaches. You have to be a salesman who can talk players into coming to your school. You have to make boosters feel good about your program and deal with administrators.

You also have to know how to deal with getting your butt kicked.

In the SEC, it happens to every coach. The 2010 Alabama team isn’t all that much different from the 2009 national championship team. But it has three losses. That’s life in the SEC.

Maybe Florida coach Urban Meyer, who announced his resignation Wednesday, never figured that out.

Until next time …

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