Tennessee, Ole Miss losing even before season has started

By David Moorman  |   Monday, May 11, 2009  |  Comments( 1 )

College Football
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Tennessee and Ole Miss already have begun to suffer losses, and yet the start of the college football season remains months away.

Since Tennessee hired Lane Kiffin as its head coach, the Volunteers have seen 11 players leave the team. Considering the depths to which the program had sunk before Kiffin’s arrival, that might not be such a bad thing.

As for Ole Miss, three scholarships for the 2010 signing class were taken away because of its low score on the NCAA Academic Progress Rate Report. That’s definitely not a good thing, particularly because Ole Miss couldn’t score better than 910 for the 2007-08 academic year. The minimum required score was 925. Ole Miss and Minnesota were the only two BCS football programs penalized.

Ole Miss officials explained that the Rebels were penalized because they didn’t retain three academically ineligible players. No matter the reason, Ole Miss must show academic improvement because it can ill afford to lose many more scholarships.

Meanwhile, Tennessee is likely to weather its defections, including the loss of quarterback B.J. Coleman to Tennessee-Chattanooga. Coleman played briefly as a redshirt freshman but was to face strong competition for playing time this season. Coleman will be eligible immediately because Tennessee-Chattanooga competes in the Bowl Championship Subdivision.

Coleman certainly won’t play for a national championship in 2009, though. The Moccasins’ low ARP score brought about a postseason ban from the NCAA.

GATORS HAVE BRAINS: Florida has proven that it is possible to do well both on the field and in the classroom.

The defending national champions had an APR score of 963 to place in the 80th-90th percentile.

Not only has Florida won two of the last three national titles, but it has graduated 67 players over the last four years, including all 13 from the 2008 national championship team. More than 32 percent of scholarship players earned a 3.0 grade-point average last fall.

Georgia actually scored higher than any SEC school at 976, or seven points better than academically oriented Vanderbilt. Georgia tied with Penn State for the best score among teams ranked in the Top 25 at the end of last season.

CHARTING ARKANSAS' DEPTH: While it has become more commonplace than ever for coaches to downplay the existence a depth chart, Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino had no qualms about releasing a post-spring one.

Interesting as it might be for the media and fans to discuss, the chart didn’t provide any eye-opening revelations. Seven returning offensive starters are listed as first-teamers, while eight returning starters are No. 1 on the defensive side.

As expected, sophomore quarterback and Michigan transfer Ryan Mallett drew the starting nod.
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About David Moorman

Dave Moormann is an award-winning journalist, who has covered LSU athletics since 1980. He began his coverage with the Baton Rouge Advocate, where he was a writer and editor from 1980-98. In 1996, he authored a book on the history of LSU football entitled, "Fighting Tigers Handbook: Stories, Stats...
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