Is Stephen Garcia the modern-day equivalent of Che Guevara or Napoleon? Whichever one looks better on a T-shirt, probably.
Also: A landmark free-speech showdown looms, a notoriously intimidating coach shows his generous side, and an offense looks backward in the name of art. All the sordid tales from the nation's greatest and most scandalous conference.
EXILED. Stephen Garcia, quarterback and leader of the Gamecock Resistance Army, from Columbia, S.C., on Oct. 11. A guerilla leader known for his unorthodox tactics and hedonistic lifestyle, Garcia espoused a socialist philosophy that "every man is my brah" and exhorted his followers to fight under the banner of "freedom, touchdowns and cold ones." However, he ran afoul of Steve Spurrier, a feared warlord in control of most of Columbia and the surrounding area, who grew tired of Garcia's increasingly erratic actions and repeated violent incursions into the city's bars and nightclubs. A communique issued by the Garcia camp vowed to "fight the power or, you know, whatever," but the leader's current whereabouts are unknown.
APPEALED. The decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Wing v. NCAA, by LSU punter Brad Wing, to the United States Supreme Court. The Seventh Circuit upheld the lower court's ruling that the NCAA did not violate Wing's free speech rights when it penalized the player for his "excessive celebration" by negating his touchdown on a 52-yard fake punt. Wing's attorneys, however, held firm in their belief that his score should stand. "Ninety thousand people saw his feet cross that goal line," said P. Raymond Lamonica, general counsel and J.B. Nachman Professor of Law at LSU. "Under the United States Constitution, Mr. Wing's touchdown was both protected and totally awesome." Amicus briefs have already been filed by the ACLU, the Freedom Forum, People for the American Way and Wing's coach, Les Miles; Miles' submission may not be accepted, however, as it consisted entirely of the words "TIGER BAIT" typed on athletic department stationery.
FILED. In related news, Amnesty International filed suit against Miles himself for "cruel, unusual and unlawful" treatment of the Florida Gators in the same game. The organization singled out the LSU football team's extraordinary rendition of Gator running back Chris Rainey, who was confined to a mere 52 yards on 13 carries Saturday. "This is an offense that had already suffered immeasurably over the last few weeks," said Amnesty International's spokesperson, "yet they were held captive in such deplorable conditions that Mr. Rainey was hallucinating and babbling nonsense." LSU confirmed that Miles has already filed his response to the lawsuit, though reports say that response consisted entirely of the words "TIGER BAIT" scrawled on the back of an Olive Garden receipt.
ARRESTED. Kentucky players Morgan Newton, Maxwell Smith, Josh Clemons and Matt Roark, for aggravated abuse of offense, in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday. The four players combined to complete four of 26 passes for 17 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions, for a combined quarterback rating of -9.9, before police put them into custody. "It was as sickening a display as I've ever seen. No playbook should ever be treated like that," said officer Will Sutherlin. "I mean, my God, there were children at that stadium." Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips insisted that the foursome were "just kids playing around, not knowing what they were doing," and has vowed to fight the charges.
Coincidentally, Auburn players Barrett Trotter, Kiehl Frazier, Clint Moseley and C.J. Uzomah were arrested on identical charges the same afternoon in Fayetteville, Ark.; they combined for a line of 9-of-25, 104 yards, no touchdowns and three picks, or a QB rating of 47. However, a secret deal brokered by Auburn's athletic department for an undisclosed sum led to charges being dropped for Trotter, Moseley and Uzomah, while Frazier was allowed to plead down to a single charge of disorderly spelling of the name "Kyle."
FORMED. A new charity, Tide of Mercy, by Alabama head coach Nick Saban. The organization's goal, according to Saban, is to "provide realistic but safe athletic experiences for underprivileged youth without access to real football"; its first event was a scrimmage with an intramural squad from Vanderbilt, which the Tide won 34-0. Observers agreed that the score could've been much, much worse, but Saban showed uncommon forbearance in calling off the dogs early. "I mean, these kids don't even have an athletic department to call their own, for gosh sakes," said Alabama running back Trent Richardson. "Running it up would've been cruel. We weren't here to put huge numbers on the scoreboard, we just wanted to show them how a real football team operates, and that if they work hard and follow their dreams, they might just play on one themselves someday."
TOURING. The Georgia Bulldogs' offense, in support of their recently released album, I Just Want to Hold You, starting Oct. 8. In keeping with the album's theme of love song covers, the tour began as an "intimate" one held exclusively in Knoxville, Tenn., with appearances in Neyland Stadium at the Tennessee 23, 33 and 44 yard lines as well as the Georgia 46 and 31. Early reviews of the Bulldogs' covers of songs such as Wilson Phillips' "Hold On," 38 Special's "Hold On Loosely" and The Miracles' "You Really Got a Hold on Me" were mixed at best; one critic said the songs "got the job done, but the execution was hit-or-miss at best." Another, harsher review said they "set rock 'n' roll music back by decades."
QUALIFIED. Tennessee quarterbacks Tyler Bray and Matt Simms, for the shotput in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Both Bray and Simms discovered their unique talents while being sacked in Saturday's loss to the Georgia Bulldogs, but while the referees flagged them for intentional grounding, U.S. track and field coach Bob Watson said he "liked the boys' mettle" and said they give the American team a chance to win its first gold medal in the event since Randy Barnes in Atlanta in 1996.