***I'm told what punter Matt Turk wants from the Rams is reasonable. IF--IF that is true then the Rams are playing with fire by letting him shop the market. The guy had the best net punting average in the Rams' 12 seasons here. But, the organization has never believed in paying punters. And, not surprisingly, the position has been a mess more often than not.

***I have to believe SIU's Chris Lowery is going to get a lucrative offer from a "bigger" school. Why not? He's done an incredible job in Carbondale with some athletes that those " bigger" schools never gave the time of day to in recruiting. Why wouldn't Michigan be interested? Or Iowa, if Steve Alford leaves to take the New Mexico job.

***Remember that you read it here first: the Arizona Cardinals will make major improvement in 2007 and will become legit contenders to win the NFC West in 2008. New coach Ken Whisenhunt "gets it". The NFC West will be a LOT tougher next season.

***Check out UNLV guard Kevin Kruger when the Running Rebels play here this weekend. He's the spit and image of his father, head coach Lon Kruger who used to coach the Illini. Kevin transferred from Arizona State to play his final year for his dad. He didn't have to sit out a season because he already earned a bachelors degree from Arizona State. Stop the presses: the NCAA actually has a good rule.

***Speaking of the NCAA, its President Myles Brand was clueless as usual on Costas Now on HBO this week. His defense of "student-athlete" requirements at major universities was pathetic. Bob Costas was respectful. He could have embarrassed him. Instead, he let Brand embarrass himself. I'm no big fan of Bob Knight but the more I hear Brand talk, the more I side with Knight in that old feud. The NCAA needs major reforms and a new president.

***By the way, Costas Now is one of the best shows on television. In fact, HBO has the best sports programming on cable with Costas Now, Real Sports, and Inside the NFL. I'll watch any of those programs before I tune in to anything ESPN has to offer.

***Let me get this straight: North Carolina super soph Tyler Hansbrough grew up in Poplar Bluff. His dad was an athlete at Mizzou and his mom was Miss Missouri and Tyler wouldn't even consider playing for Mizzou. Good work, Quin Snyder.

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