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Last Call Drinks Bourbon, Talks Premature Draft Defections

It's cold as hell.  The North is blanketed in a bone white skeleton of ice.

Pour yourself a few ounces of Knob Creek Bourbon, and pull up a chair.  Tonight, we're going to talk premature draft defections.

If cold is merely the absence of energy, then it's right where it belongs in Big 10 country.

Esq_bullet_medium Mercury rising?  Having edged past Thursday's official declarations deadline, we now have a focused picture of the junior draft.  Here are the temperatures for a few notables who jumped ship:

75 Degrees and Sunny: Florida's Percy Harvin is touch and go.  And why not?  As fragile as he is fluent, this playmaker has notched two national championships under his belt as a Gator.  For this razzle and dazzle wideout, it's been there, done that.

Who can blame him for cashing out?

67 Degrees: Although I hate to say it, you've got to respect Chris "Beanie" Wells' decision to get while the going is good.  There are few lateral backs I've seen that boast Wells' raw size, power, and speed.  At the same time, there are few players that are as injury prone. 

Reports have surged that Jim Tressel put a little extra pressure on Beanie to get out.  While it's no secret that Tress puts his player's futures first, some have speculated that disciplinary issues led to problems with focus for the star back.  I'd take it with a grain of salt.  The guy did nothing but make it happen for the scarlet for the past three years.

We'll miss you, bruiser. 

41 Degrees, Feels Like 33: Who wouldn't kill to be in sun soaked Los Angeles right now?  Mark Sanchez, apparently.  After just one season at the helm at USC he announced yesterday that he'll forgo his senior season to make a break for the league.

His decision is questionable, at best. 

Although Sanchez racked up 3,207 yards and 34 touchdowns on a Pac 10/Big 10 defensive diet, he ran a Trojan offense that lacked synergy across-the-board.  Sure they came up big when they needed to -- but this year's unit is the worst to come out of the So Cal factory since 2001.

Sanchez's defection met protest from Pete Carroll who felt his main man could have benefitted from another year of experience behind center.  It's not often you hear a coach tell a projected late first round pick to stay put.

Sanchez's sinora rates just above freezing because of the overall draft picture.  With Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, and Sam Bradford all returning to the FBS, Mark will enter a decidedly diluted quarterback pool -- with just one other household name -- Georgia's Matthew Stafford.  Still, he'll have to beat the odds if he wants to succeed in the NFL.  As Carroll put it, "[T]here's a 62 percent failure rate for underclassmen quarterbacks."

19 Degrees: Penn State's troubled but talented Defensive End Maurice Evans.  2008-09 was his first season as starter, and he's already shown a disciplinary soft belly. 

-2 Degrees: Yeah, we all know why Brian Hartline punched his card.  The dude's stuck in an offense that keeps getting less and less pass-friendly.  In 2006 he was a go-to on the short slant, in 2007, he was a steady -- if not spectacular -- presence -- this year, he was bathwater soft.  Sure, Jim Bollman's Ez Offense didn't exactly give Hart the opportunity to show his stuff; but 6 times out of 8 he was four yards out of positiion -- failing for the ball like an inebriated Zorro. 

Comedy of errors: Brian hopes to go in the second to fourth round range.  Don't count on it.

Esq_bullet_medium You can't be serious.  Texas' Mack Brown announced he would have voted his Longhorns No. 1, but for his misinterpretation of the voting criterion.  Enough with the politics.  One would think that Texas' near death experience in the Fiesta Bowl would have compelled them to be thankful they weren't Gator bait.  But no -- after all, in the world of truth functional conditionals, almost counts.

Esq_bullet_medium It's called an oligopoly, you idiot.'s Pat Forde demonstrates his saber command of microeconomics in chronicling the dominance of the Big 12/SEC duopoly.