1.After I wrote Tuesday that I had dropped Oregon running back LaMichael James to fourth on my Walker Award ballot, several LaMike fans e-mailed me to defend him and attack my lack of reporting. One called -- Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who suggested I read the sentencing memorandum that accompanied James’ guilty plea. The Lane (Ore.) County DA’s office described James’ reaction and his culpability. The memo said that police reacted without all the facts when they charged James with five crimes. Sounds familiar.
2.Kelly suspended James for one game after his guilty plea but the coach defends his player’s integrity. Kelly also pointed to the Pac-10 naming James to its All-Academic first team Tuesday. James lines up behind Stanford fullback Owen Marecic. “He has stated that his only goal was the All-Academic team,” Kelly said of James. “When he made the first team, he was more excited than he’s been after a game. It’s unfair that he’s getting maligned.”
3.During my chat Wednesday, someone asked if the Pac-10’s decision to play a nine-game, round-robin schedule had cost the league at least one bowl bid. My colleague Ted Miller projects that only four league schools will qualify for the league’s seven bowl berths. Yes, had the league played only eight conference games, teams like UCLA, Oregon State and Arizona State might have scheduled another win. Are schedule strength and ticket sales worth endangering a bowl bid? I think the Pac-10 comes out ahead.