Sheridan Struggles with Scrutiny

Ever wonder what it feels like to have the world close in on you? Look no further than Alabama graduate Danny Sheridan. The oddsmaker has a record of making controversial claims over the years; but this time his world is caving in from inside the state he calls home.

The Mobile native's desperate attempt to save his credibility backfired again on Thursday when he took to the airwaves in Atlanta and Birmingham to argue that the outlandish comments he made during SEC Media Days a few weeks back were more than attention-getting hyperbole.

Speaking on The Paul Finebaum Show, Sheridan came across as a man clearly beaten down by the scrutiny placed on him by media members. Vowing to identify the "bag man" in the Cam Newton case in the next week or two, Sheridan rambled at times, blabbering about taking a polygraph test and even challenging callers to wager money on whether he would deliver. It was pathetic and sad on many levels.

Dig deeper into Sheridan's past and you'll find this is not the first time he's made outlandish claims in his career. An old Sports Illustrated article written way back in December 1977, calls into question his credibility.

The story points to a claim Sheridan made about correctly predicting 184 winners out of 205 games, including hitting 28 of his "specials" (picks) in a row. The writer points out that the odds of hitting 28 "specials" in a row likely exceeded 200 million to one.

After appearing on an NBC television program in the 1970's, where he picked five of seven games correctly against the spread that week, Sheridan advertised later that he was correct on 17 of 19 games according to SI.

Hoping to make it big in the business, SI says Sheridan called the late Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder to recite his record. SI writes, "When Sheridan insisted he picked 85% winners, Snyder was incredulous. ‘He's pure applesauce,'" Snyder said.

It's a remarkable story that gives a glimpse into the young Sheridan nearly 34 years ago. Make of it what you will, but it's enough to make anyone question his claims today.

I may get a lot of hate mail for this, but I found Gene Chizik's recent book, "All In" to be pretty much a snoozer. There were some interesting parts to it, including a behind the scenes look at his dealing with Auburn officials leading up to his surprise hire. Outside of that, it's pretty much a rehash of what you've already read and heard.

The book is well written and probably appeals more to people who are casual fans of Auburn. Those who follow Chizik and Auburn daily will find it to be monotonous. Heavy on faith (which is a good thing), I wish he would have opened up more about his life. As in real life, Chizik is guarded in his words. Then again, Auburn didn't hire him for his personality.

As the Cam Newton story unfolded last fall, you couldn't pick up a newspaper or reference a web site that wasn't on top of it. Fast forward to now and you find hardly a mention of the Alabama Menwear Scandal. A quick look at al.com will net you almost nothing.

Outside of Birmingham News columnist Kevin Scarbinsky, the state media is largely ignoring the story. The fact that writers are ignoring something with such incriminating evidence tells you everything you need to know about the uphill battle Auburn faces in this state.

Alabama officials can disregard it all they want; those photos are incriminating. It will be interesting to see if Nick Saban has the guts to put Trent Richardson on the field this year in light of the mounting evidence. It's a story that's getting more and more attention each day nationally - even if it's a non-story in Alabama.

By now you've probably heard the news that Cam Newton will wear number-one on his jersey when the season starts in Carolina. Second-year quarterback Jimmy Clausen refuses to give up the number-two jersey he currently holds despite wearing number-seven while playing at Notre Dame.

Asked whether he and Newton had come to a resolution, Clausen said, "Not yet. It's my No. 2 right now, so we'll see what happens." My guess is, Newton will get his number by week one. Hold off on buying those new Carolina jerseys for now.

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