Dr. Saturday - NCAAF

Making the morning rounds.

Random negativity, engage. It's time again, kids, for the annual pre-draft slide, in which nitpicking NFL draftniks collectively throw a first-round lock onto the pike despite a complete lack of new information since the end of the season. This year's first victim: Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, who dropped from Mel Kiper Jr's all-knowing "Big Board" last week and is now "almost certain" to fall out of the first round – possibly all the way to the third – due to "baggage," per Fox Sports' Adam Caplan. Presumably, he's referring to Mallett's 2009 arrest for public intoxication, the only tangible off-field issue in his college career. Personally, though, I'd be more concerned about this. [Pro Football Talk]

Maybe Cecil can pay them back in a few months. In other NFL-bound quarterback news, Auburn has reportedly spent $170,000 on legal fees (so far) related to the ongoing NCAA investigation into the recruitment of übermensch quarterback Cam Newton in 2009-10. Cam was tentatively cleared in December to play in the SEC and BCS championship games, but the probe into Cecil Newton's attempts to solicit money for his son's services apparently remains open, according to SEC commissioner Mike Slive. "You’re going to have to ask [the NCAA]," Slive told ESPN's Chris Low over the weekend, "But nobody has written me a letter that says it's over." [Birmingham News, ESPN]

Writing's on the wall. Shawn Watson is still Nebraska's offensive coordinator, but the Lincoln-Star Journal is so certain of his impending exit and/or demotion that it spent nearly 1,000 words this week profiling his possible replacement, running backs coach Tim Beck, who the paper speculates could be promoted to co-coordinator alongside Watson and possibly handed play-calling duties. Beck's major qualifications: Building a Texas high school powerhouse from scratch and serving as passing-game coordinator for Kansas during the Jayhawks' 12-1 Orange Bowl run in 2007. [Lincoln Journal-Star]

How could this possibly come back to haunt me? He was probably speaking in terms of, you know, an attitude, not a literal yardstick, but brand new Michigan coach Brady Hoke did say on record that anything short of a Big Ten title amounts to failure, beginning this year. Hoke told the Detroit News' Bob Wojnowski (who suggested "an 8-4 record, minimum" for a veteran lineup) that "If we don't win the championship, we failed, period." OK, sounds good. You won't mind when a self-serving columnist pulls that quote out in December, when you're preparing for the TicketCity.com Bowl, right? [Detroit News]

Cavs on ice. Three Virginia players – linebacker Ausar Walcott , cornerback Devin Wallace and center Mike Price – were suspended indefinitely Tuesday for "[choosing] not to represent themselves in the appropriate manner," per head coach Mike London. (No word on how, specifically, they did choose to represent themselves.) Walcott and Wallace were both starters last year on one of the worst defenses in the ACC. [Washington Post]

Quickly… USC gets proactive with its persistent agent problem. … A widow explains how she fell into Art Schlichter's clutches. … Wide receiver Jesse Grandy is leaving Ole Miss at the end of the semester because of a family illness. … Suspended running back Washaun Ealey can return to good standing at Georgia, if he goes about it "the Georgia way." … Somehow, Maryland's choice to replace Ralph Friedgen failed to spark immediate ticket sales. … Arkansas goes to great lengths to corner the Arizona junior college market. … The Wall Street Journal on Kansas' elderly watchdogs. … Oregon may still add another quarterback to its 2011 recruiting class. … What's the best win of the Ferentz era at Iowa? (I say Penn State in 2008.) … And Urban Meyer's no longer at Florida, but the arrests continue.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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