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Phillip's blog: Rising volume

Man, did something get a lot of folks stirred up. It’s dangerous – very dangerous – to take a flurry of talk on the Internet as meaning anything.

Senior Editor Phillip Marshall

But what I find interesting is the sudden rising volume. A lot of it, as usual, is just hate talk, something of which there is far too much these days in college football in general and in our state in particular. That’s sad for an old goat who can remember when the Auburn-Alabama rivalry was a sports rivalry and did not come with the desperate hope that your opponent would literally be destroyed.

I’ve probably talked about that too much previously. I’m not going there today.

What I’m wondering is what stirred up the sudden rash of “sources” who say all kinds of disasters are about to come down on the Auburn football program.

You have to wonder, really, where the obsession – I can’t think of a more appropriate word – with Auburn football has come from.

Has it come because Auburn went 14-0 and won the national championship?

Is it because of the Cam Newton saga?

Is it back-to-back top five recruiting classes?

Is it the fact that Gene Chizik has been true to his word about more than holding his own in recruiting in the state of Alabama?

Is it that Chizik doesn’t spend a lot of time schmoozing with reporters – national or local?

Is it the release of Chizik’s book and the attention for him and Auburn that has gone with it?

It’s probably some of all of those things, fueled by talk radio and Internet message boards that allow people to put their hatred into words and to make claims of having inside sources without ever having to identify themselves. Heck, lots of so-called bloggers don’t even identify themselves.

Regardless, as is often the case, dark predictions tend to get people worried, even if there is no evidence to back them up.

Points to ponder:

People in NCAA enforcement do not talk out of school. They don’t talk specifics about any individual case “on background” to reporters, whether it’s your humble senior editor or the most prominent national reporter covering college football. Because they don’t, anyone who claims to have inside knowledge of what the NCAA has done or will do simply isn’t telling the truth.

The only possible source of information would be people to whom the NCAA has talked or asked to talk. And those people would have no inside information about anything other than what they might have told an NCAA investigator.

I know it would make people feel good if I would come here and say that there is no possibility of any kind of trouble for Auburn. I can’t say that. I can’t say that about any school. At any given time, the NCAA is asking questions about dozens of schools. With most of them, that’s as far as it goes.

I can’t say categorically Auburn has done nothing wrong. Neither can reporters who cover other schools say those schools have done nothing wrong. How could we?

I can say I have an informed opinion that the Cam Newton saga is as good as over.

I can say that compliance chief Rich McGlynn, in my interview with him, talked more about what took place with Newton and his feelings about it than he had any time previously.

I can say that Chizik addressed it in his book far more indepth than he has at any time previously.

I can say that I have seen no flurry of the kind of activity that would normally accompany an impending full-blown NCAA investigation.

I can say talk of debit cards, dog tracks, etc., is about as far-fetched as I’ve ever heard.

And I can tell you that, unfortunately, I have no sources at the NCAA, the FBI, the Lee County district attorney’s office, the U.S. Attorney’s office, the governor’s office, the White House or the CIA.

I do, however, have a very good source in the Auburn athletic department who tells me practice starts on Aug. 2. Maybe, then, we can all focus on football and the season to come.

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