John Clay

Hood makes sure others keep giving

Let us be thankful for our random notes:

■ Who knows how they actually do it, but some coaches just have a knack for creating a football feast of turnovers.

Dean Hood is one of those coaches. As defensive coordinator at Wake Forest, Hood's units ranked sixth in the nation in turnover margin in 2006, then fourth in the nation in turnovers gained in 2007. This year, in Hood's first year as Eastern Kentucky's head coach, the Colonels are sixth nationally in turnovers gained with 30 for the season.

Better still, EKU is fourth nationally in turnover margin with a plus-16.

That's how your team wins the OVC and earns a spot in the FCS playoffs.

And if you're Hood, that's how you (deservedly) win conference coach of the year.

■ To me, Texas gets the BCS nod over Oklahoma because of the Longhorns' head-to-head head-butting of the Sooners in Big D.

And don't forget, while Texas did lose to Mike Leach and Texas Tech, the Horns did so on (pretty much) the last play of the game. And in Lubbock.

■ Spoiler alert: Whoever comes out of the Big 12, however, will lose to Florida in the BCS title game.

■ Admission is free for the nationally ranked UK volleyball team's home finale 7 p.m. Friday against Tennessee in Memorial Coliseum. Not only is admission free, but parking (this time) is free, as well. Seriously.

■ Ex-USC offensive coordinator and ex-Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin is reportedly now at the top of the Tennessee list, and word is the impossibly young Mr. Kiffin, a mere 33, would bring ex-Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron with him to Knoxville. The two were assistants together at Southern Cal. Orgeron couldn't win in Oxford, but he sure could recruit.

■ A blog reader offered that he doesn't care who Tennessee hires, as long as he's as successful as Steve Kragthorpe.

■ After Billy Gillispie complimented DeAndre Liggins' second-half play at North Carolina, Liggins earned a season-low 16 minutes in UK's next game, against Delaware State.

After Gillispie promoted Darius Miller to the starting lineup against Longwood, the freshman ended up tying his season-low of 13 minutes.

Wouldn't want it to go to their heads.

■ When a caller on his weekly radio show complimented Rich Brooks on the "good season," UK has had this year, the Cats coach was quick to correct the listener.

"This has not been a good season," said Brooks. "We should have more than six wins."

■ Start your pickin'-and-grinnin'. The guess here is a third straight Music City Bowl is in the Cats' future. UK fans know the way.

■ Don't tell the people of Arkansas, but Ole Miss's Houston Nutt gets my vote for SEC coach of the year.

■ Loved the caller to Colin Cowherd's ESPN show who said Bill Belichick could take those guys playing with Brett Favre in that Wrangler jeans commercial and post a winning NFL record.

■ As much as I love Patrick Patterson, Oklahoma's Blake Griffin is making a strong case for not only the nation's best sophomore, but the nation's best player, period. Going into last night's NIT semifinals, Griffin was averaging a ridiculous 26 points and 19.8 rebounds.

■ Dick Vitale is right, about football. He argued Monday that a 6-6 Notre Dame does not deserve to go to a bowl game. No 6-6 team does. But with a zillion bowl game spots to be filled, what are you going to do?

■ The jerkish behavior of Charlie Weis was considered amusing, until Notre Dame started losing.

■ Speaking of Notre Dame, Rich Brooks couldn't resist another dig at the tarnished Domers. As he left his Monday press luncheon, with a wicked smile, Brooks asked a couple of reporters, "By the way, how's Notre Dame doing?"

■ Props to Duke point guard Nolan Smith, son of the late, great Derek Smith, former U of L basketball star. Not only has Nolan beaten out Greg Paulus for the Blue Devils' starting job, he's starring.

■ Instead of cutting Tiger Woods from its endorsement list, maybe General Motors should be asking Woods for a loan.

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