NCF Nation: Zach Lee

1. In the 15-year life of the BCS, only three schools from AQ conferences have never appeared in the standings: Duke, Indiana and Vanderbilt (Iowa State broke its schneid last fall). It’s a quirky thing. For the BCS’ first five years, the ratings stopped at No. 15. And, of course, the ratings don’t appear until midseason. All three teams are improving. Vandy, in fact, is No. 25 in Mark Schlabach’s most recent way-too-early rankings. The Commodores -- and the others -- have one more year to break through.

2. Zach Lee, the No. 3 quarterback recruit in 2010, left LSU right before classes began to sign a $5.25 million deal to pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his last six starts at Class AA Chattanooga last season, Lee went 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA and a 0.917 WHIP, so he’s not coming back soon. No one knows if Lee would have overtaken Jordan Jefferson, Jarrett Lee or Zach Mettenberger. But LSU’s quarterbacking has yet to return to the level where Matt Flynn played in taking the Tigers to the 2007 BCS title.

3. There will be 14 Saturdays between Labor Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend, which we haven’t had since 2008. That eased the task of assembling an ACC schedule that includes new members Pittsburgh and Syracuse. The Orange will close the season at home against the Panthers and Boston College. The Eagles last went to the Carrier Dome a decade ago, in the same week that Boston College announced it would leave for the ACC. With Syracuse fans mocking the Eagles by chanting “A-C-C!”, Syracuse grabbed an emotional 39-14 victory.

What we know in the SEC

August, 19, 2010
8/19/10
6:14
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Now that everybody in the SEC has gone through at least one scrimmage in the preseason, what do we know now that we maybe didn’t know when practices began earlier this month?

Right tackle battle: The consensus coming into the preseason was that junior college transfers Brandon Mosley and Roszell Gaydon would battle it out for Auburn’s right tackle job. But after three scrimmages, sophomore John Sullen and junior A.J. Greene (the other one) are the two guys fighting it out for the final starting spot on Auburn’s offensive line, which returns four senior starters.

Davis sighting: In danger of being labeled a bust, Ole Miss junior running back Enrique Davis has played some of his best football this preseason and displayed some of the same moves that made him one of the top running back prospects in the country when he signed with the Rebels.

Please remove your hat: You better not wear a Florida hat to one of Arkansas' press conferences. If you do, you might not have a job the next day, especially if you’re in the media. Wonder what would have happened if Renee Gork had been wearing one of those Hog heads instead of a Gators cap?

Lee to baseball: Zach Lee was intent on playing football and baseball at LSU and possibly could have played his way into some snaps this season at quarterback for the Tigers. That all changed when the Los Angeles Dodgers offered him a $5.25 million signing bonus, leaving LSU with just two scholarship quarterbacks on its roster.

Brown is back: Nobody questioned Jeremy Brown’s ability, but there were major questions about his back. So far, so good for the Florida sophomore cornerback, who’s in line to replace Joe Haden after missing two straight seasons with chronic back problems. Brown is due some good luck.

Turning the Tide: Nobody’s saying Alabama is going to be subpar on defense, but the personnel losses from a year ago have been obvious so far during camp. It’s a secondary that has a ways to go, especially when you consider how much Nick Saban likes to use five and six defensive backs.

Freshmen of influence: It’s still a little bit of a crap shoot, but the early returns are that South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, Auburn receiver Trovon Reed, Auburn running back Michael Dyer, Tennessee receiver Justin Hunter, Tennessee offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James, Alabama cornerback DeMarcus Milliner, Arkansas defensive tackle Byran Jones, Florida defensive end Ronald Powell and Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd are 10 true freshmen we’re going to see early.

Masoli’s impact: We haven’t heard much from Jeremiah Masoli this preseason. He’s been extremely guarded with the media, but he’s fit in well with his teammates and has made a difference for Ole Miss offensively with his ability to scramble around and make plays.

Getting defensive: Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino told us that the Hogs would be improved on defense. The real proving ground comes in several weeks, but star quarterback Ryan Mallett is a believer. He said the Hogs have been aggressive, fast and nasty on defense this preseason.

Houston, we have a problem: It’s clear that Georgia’s Justin Houston is going to be a problem for opposing offenses, and it’s equally clear that he’s a perfect fit as an outside linebacker in the Bulldogs’ new 3-4 defense. He had 7.5 sacks last season. Here’s betting he gets 10-plus this season.

LSU loses Zach Lee to baseball

August, 17, 2010
8/17/10
7:30
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LSU coach Les Miles raved about freshman quarterback Zach Lee following last Saturday's scrimmage.

Whether or not it was Miles' way of trying to combat what he knew was coming from the Los Angeles Dodgers -- a big, fat contract offer -- it was the last time anybody will see Lee on a football field any time soon.

Lee reached a contract agreement with the Dodgers just prior to Monday's deadline. A source told ESPNLosAngeles.com that Lee's signing bonus will be between $5 million and $6 million.

Lee, the Dodgers' top draft pick, had talked like he wanted to play football and baseball at LSU for at least the next couple of seasons, but $5 million has a way of making a lot of people reconsider.

Miles said this past weekend that he envisioned Lee competing for the starting job, although it's unlikely he was going to beat out junior Jordan Jefferson.

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