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The 10 Easiest Targets In College Sports

The hottest of all #hotsportstakes in recent years seem to center on LeBron James.

It started with “The Decision,” the television special in which James announced he would be leaving “taking his talents” from Cleveland to Miami to join fellow superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Then, there was the tumultuous first season in South Beach in 2010-11, when the Heat started 9-8 before losing in The Finals to Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks.

And finally, the most recent event to criticize occurred during Game 1 of the championship series against San Antonio, when James missed the final four minutes of his team’s loss to the Spurs with leg cramps.

All of this adds up to James sporting the biggest bullseye in athletics.

"I know I'm the easiest target that we have in sports, I'm aware of it," James said in an interview with ESPN's Michael Wilbon on Friday. "I really am. I believe it."

What about college sports? Who’s the easiest target in the collegiate sports world?

We’ve put a list together. It’s 10 names long, comprised of people currently involved in college athletics. Unfortunately, A.J. McCarron, Aaron Craft, Marshall Henderson and Johnny Manziel have departed from our world over the past couple of months. They're not eligible. 

The criteria: Who is “easiest” to target? The people on our list are usually a topic of debate, a focus of criticism. They’re under a metaphorical microscope. Everything they do is looked upon closely. Maybe they’ve been involved in a scandal or two, as well.

Whatever the reason may be, the following 10 people combine to make our list of “The Easiest Targets In College Sports.”

Disagree with the list? Please tell us. We can be an easy target at times, too.

Start with No. 10, Will Muschamp >>>

10. Will Muschamp, Florida football coach

What makes him an easy target? 

The 2013 football season, basically. Last year, Florida...

  • Went 4-8 (3-5 in the SEC), the first losing record by a Gators' team since 1979
  • Fell to Georgia Southern, an FCS team
  • Lost at home to Vanderbilt for the first time since 1945
  • Missed a bowl game for the first time since 1991

This also happened:

Many people called for Muschamp's firing. With a 22-16 record as the Gators' coach, the 42-year-old somehow remained athletic director Jeremy Foley's man. 

Next: No. 9, Bobby Petrino >>>

9. Bobby Petrino, Louisville football coach

What makes him an easy target?

Let's flash back to April 2012, when Petrino, then the coach at Arkansas, was involved in a motorcycle crash, sliding off Highway 16 near Crosses, Ark. At first, Petrino said he was alone, but he later revealed that Jessica Dorrell, an All-SEC Razorbacks' women's volleyball player, was riding with him. The student, hired by Petrino as a development coordinator for the football team, was also the lover of the 51-year-old married man. 

Petrino was initially put on indefinite paid leave of absence before being fired days later. 

Now, it's nearly impossible for the Cardinals' coach to be talked about without mentioning a motorcycle. 

">March 9, 2014

">January 20, 2014

Next: No. 8, Everett Golson >>>

No. 8, Everett Golson, Notre Dame quarterback 

What makes him an easy target?

In 2012, the Notre Dame football team went undefeated in the regular season before getting blown out by Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game. The massive loss, having come on such big a stage, was embarrassing, but there were signs of great promise in South Bend. 

Brian Kelly's coaching performance was impressive, top recruits were beginning to flock to the Irish, and Notre Dame had a young, talented quarterback to build around in Golson. Until...

">May 26, 2013

Golson is now back in South Bend, enrolled in classes and will likely be the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish come fall. Having cheated on a test that led to a public dismissal from one of the nation's premier universities, though, Golson will surely find himself at the center of a lot of humiliating chants in opposing stadiums. Next: No. 7, Rick Pitino >>>No. 7, Rick Pitino, Louisville men's basketball coachWhat makes him an easy target?Rick Pitino had an embarrassing affair with a woman named Karen Sypher, the wife of Louisville equipment manager Tim Sypher, in 2003. Instead of describing the situation ourselves, we'll let the New York Daily News, a paper that reported on the incident, do it for us. 

According to a report of the July 12 interview conducted by the police, Pitino said that he met Sypher (then named Karen Cunagin) at a restaurant, and after some initial flirting was soon involved in a sexual encounter with her. Sypher asked him that night if he had a condom. He did not.

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They had sex in the back of the closed restaurant and Karen Sypher later drove the coach home, badgering him about getting tickets to Louisville games during the ride, according to the report.

Two weeks later, Sypher told Pitino she was pregnant. According to the report, Pitino asked her if she was sure of this and she was offended by the question.

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Pitino admitted to giving Sypher $3,000 for the abortion, though his attorney, Steve Pence, qualifies the transaction by saying that the money was actually used to pay for the health insurance that eventually paid for the procedure. Pence has gone to great lengths to deliver the message, through the media, that the abortion decision was not something Pitino took lightly, and a voice message Karen Sypher produced for the media last week seemed to reflect that.

"I think that the best thing in all scenarios is to go through with it (have the baby), but that it has to be your call," Pitino said on the message left on Sypher's phone. "I think, I really can't give you any advice, except I have thought about it."

To sum it up: Pitino, a married man with kids, reportedly had an affair with a woman, they had sex, she got pregnant, and he paid for her to have an abortion. Pitino is one of college basketball's finest coaches, having won the national championship two seasons ago at Louisville. But many people will likely never let go of the disgusting scandal. He also has slicked-back hair and sometimes wears white suits on the sideline. You can't wear white after Labor Day, Rick. 

">April 9, 2013

Next: No. 6, Dick Vitale >>>

No. 6, Dick Vitale, ESPN college basketball broadcaster

What makes him an easy target?

When you think of college basketball's most famous broadcasters, Vitale is likely one of the first names that come to mind. For many people, the idea of Vitale calling a college basketball game also comes with a headache. 

Vitale yells, he screams "Oh, baby!" every other sentence, and he's in love with Duke, a program people love to hate. 

He's not the best person to follow on Twitter, either. He once went to a Billy Joel concert and tweeted nearly every song title that was played.

">January 18, 2014

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">@JL23TV — Dick Vitale (@DickieV)

DON'T ASK ME WHY -Billy Joel has Tampa rocking - Hope Napier & Smith have Gampel in Hoops Hysteria #PIANOMAN@espnmiles@JL23TV

— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) January 18, 2014

">January 18, 2014

Vitale, 75, will probably be retiring soon, which likely comes as good news to many. 

Next: No. 5, Bret Bielema >>>

No. 5, Bret Bielema, Arkansas football coach 

Why is he an easy target?

His wife, partly. 

Bret Bielema left Wisconsin in the spring of 2013 to become Arkansas' football coach. It was a surprising move to some, but the Razorbacks' gig offered more money in a better football conference. Last fall, following a Badgers' defeat to Arizona State, Bret Bielema's wife, Jen, took a shot at her husband's former program. 

Bret Bielema hasn't helped himself, either. He tried to make an argument that college football's hurry-up offenses should be make illegal because they can cause players to die

He also looks pretty bad shirtless. 

">January 13, 2014

Next: No. 4, Lane Kiffin >>>No. 4, Lane Kiffin, Alabama football's offensive coordinatorWhat makes him an easy target?Kiffin has failed in nearly every aspect of his coaching career since becoming the Oakland Raiders' head coach in 2007. After one season at Tennessee, Kiffin departed for USC, upsetting the Volunteers' fan base. Following roughly three seasons in Los Angeles, Kiffin was fired midway through the 2013 campaign. The biggest issue many people have with Kiffin, though, is his attitude. "Offten his arrogant attitude turned people off," former Tennessee coach Philip Fulmer said. "The bigger question in my opinion is how does a guy like this end up with two jobs with historic football teams like Tennessee and USC?"The following video also does a pretty good job explaining Kiffin being a target. Next: No. 3, Mark Emmert >>>No. 3, Mark Emmert, NCAA presidentWhat makes him an easy target?He's the president of the NCAA, an organization many feel is corrupt, greedy, and unfair to the most-important people involved, the student-athletes.Back in April, the president had an #AskEmmert session on Twitter. It backfired, greatly. 

">April 18, 2014

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Next: No. 2, John Calipari >>>No. 2, John Calipari, Kentucky men's basketball coachWhat makes him an easy target?Unlike James, Calipari has actually been involved in some scandals. He reached the Final Four at UMass and Memphis, but those achievements were later revoked by the NCAA. He remains the only coach in college basketball history to have Final Fours revoked at two different schools. There's the recruiting stuff, too. Each year, Calipari brings in a host of five-star talents who often end up departing from Lexington after one season. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist; the list could go on for a while. "How does he get so many good recruits?" people ask. "He must be cheating," others will answer. He has had no major NCAA violations at Kentucky, though, and most college basketball analysts will say he's a very good coach and great recruiter. In today's college basketball world, that's a good recipe for success. Next: No. 1, Jameis WinstonNo. 1 Jameis Winston, Florida State quarterbackLeBron James was surely right in saying that he's the easiest target in all of sports. For one week in late April, though, it was Winston. The Florida State Heisman winning quarterback--who was also at the center of a sexual assault scandal in 2013-- was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a Publix grocery store in Tallahassee. The internet could not control itself in the days to follow. 

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There was also the post-game speech following Florida State's national championship victory, during which Winston seemed to struggle to put coherent words together.

Congratulations, Jameis Winston, you are the easiest target in college sports.

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