What Alabama doesn’t want is the Reggie Bush and Southern California treatment from the NCAA, if the latest reported allegations get that far.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Yahoo Sports has reported that the financial adviser for offensive lineman D.J. Fluker and his family received nearly $34,000 in cash and benefits from an intermediary for agents while playing for the Crimson Tide, and at risk could be the Tide’s record while Fluker played.
That record includes the last two BCS national championships.
If this allegation follows the same trail as USC and Bush, Alabama could be faced with the same type of losses as the Trojans’, who were stripped of their 2004 BCS title because of sanctions stemming from Reggie Bush’s extra-benefits violations.
Fluker, now a rookie with the San Diego Chargers, is one of five former Southeastern Conference players implicated in the story. The intermediary reportedly is former Alabama defensive end Luther Davis.
There’s plenty of moving parts. The report didn’t hit until Wednesday, the NCAA hasn’t opened an investigation, and even it does, Fluker and Davis don’t have to talk to the NCAA.
But there’s also this: Al.com reminds us that in April, Fluker posted on his Twitter account, “Yea I took $ n college so wat. I did wat I had to do. Agents was tryin to pimp me so I pimped them. Cast da 1st stone.”
The tweet was brushed off at the time, with Fluker’s agent saying the account had been hacked. It plays like Fluker’s last laugh leaving college, but Alabama can’t be amused today.
• Louisville at Kentucky, 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN: Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw for nine touchdowns in two games, and the total could climb against Kentucky’s shaky pass defense. The Wildcats must match Louisville’s offense, and last week’s 675-yard outburst against Miami (Ohio) was a good sign.
• Southern Mississippi at Arkansas, 11:21 a.m. Saturday on KSMO (Ch. 62): The Golden Eagles were terrible at Nebraska last week, and the Razorbacks shouldn’t be on upset alert. Still, last week’s 10-point victory over Samford was a too-close-for-comfort performance.
• Tennessee at Oregon, 2:30 p.m. Saturday on ABC (Ch. 9): Can the Vols keep this one close? They played excellent defense in the Western Kentucky triumph last week, but the Ducks haven’t lost a step under new coach Mark Helfrich. Oregon’s defense has allowed one offensive touchdown in two games.
• Alabama at Texas A&M, 2:30 p.m. on CBS (Ch. 5): Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is the first in college football to get a second chance at Johnny Manziel. Last year, Manziel set the early tone on keepers and scrambles. Let’s see what Alabama brings to take away that part of Manziel’s game.
• Mississippi State at Auburn, 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2: Interesting conference opener for both teams. The early returns are positive for Auburn — and doesn’t that victory over Washington State look better now? — and the Tigers played great defense last week against Arkansas State. The Bulldogs played four quarterbacks in two games, but Tyler Russell gets the start if he’s healthy.
• Vanderbilt at South Carolina, 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN: The loser goes to 0-2 in league play. South Carolina running back Mike Davis is averaging 9.4 yards per carry. Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews leads the SEC with 16 receptions.
• Kent State at LSU, 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU: The Golden Flashes have followed their 11-3 season with a sluggish start: a 17-10 victory over Liberty and a 19-point loss to Bowling Green. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger is off to a terrific start, but the Tigers need to unlock their running game.
Big 12 Games
• Georgia State at West Virginia, 11 a.m. Saturday on Mountaineer Network: Not all the shakeups happened at Texas this week. Georgia State is in disarray. After last weekend’s loss to Chattanooga, in which the team rushed for 30 yards, two starting offensive linemen quit the team and the running backs coach was reassigned to another position.
• Tulsa at Oklahoma, 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN2: The Bell-dozer gets the call at QB for Oklahoma. Blake Bell will start his first game in place of Trevor Knight, who injured his knee in last week’s victory over West Virginia. The Sooners are looking for more production after that 16-7 victory.
• Iowa at Iowa State, 5 p.m. Saturday on Fox Sports 1: The Cyclones have had two weeks to burn over their opening-week loss to Northern Iowa. Two weeks to get it all fixed, from a slow-starting offense to a poor run-stopping defense. Iowa got to cleanse its palate after an opening game loss to Northern Illinois with a taut triumph over Missouri State. Iowa State has won two straight in the series, both by field goals.
• Massachusetts at Kansas State, 6 p.m. Saturday, no TV (webcast on K-StateHD.tv): The Minutemen don’t help the Mid-American Conference’s giant-killer reputation. Last week, Maine, an FCS team, rolled up 514 total yards. This should be the easiest task on the Wildcats’ schedule.
• Kansas at Rice, 6:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS Sports Network: The Owls had the week off after their 52-31 loss at Texas A&M. They amassed 509 total yards, driving 96 yards for a touchdown on their opening possession. Rice rushed for 306 yards and averaged six yards per attempt.
• Lamar at Oklahoma State, 6:30 p.m. Saturday on Fox Sports KC: Football goes on in Stillwater, despite the distractions. The Cowboys take on a Lamar team that won its opening game 75-0 but lost to Louisiana Tech last week 27-14. Lamar is an FCS program picked to finish seventh in the eight-team Southland Conference.
• Mississippi at Texas, 7 p.m. Saturday on Longhorn Network: We know Manny Diaz won’t be there for Texas. Greg Robinson replaced him as defensive coordinator. What we don’t know is the status of quarterback David Ash (head and shoulder injuries) and wide receiver Daje Johnson (twisted ankle). A guess: Ash plays; Johnson doesn’t. In any event, the Longhorns are coming off an embarrassing loss to Brigham Young.
To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.