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OSU A.D. Smith Says Big Ten “Not Agressively Pursuing Anyone”

gfx - they said itLast month, Ohio State president Gordon Gee got the sporting world a’talkin’ when he said “there has been ongoing discussion” within the Big Ten regarding further conference expansion.  Maryland and Rutgers have already accepted invitations to join the soon-to-be 14-school league.  The cost of Maryland’s move will eventually decided in the courts barring a negotiated settlement with the ACC, the school’s current home.

It appears that Gee and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith must have different definitions of the term “ongoing discussions.”  That’s because the employee has seemingly refuted the statement made by his employer just about 30 days ago.

Smith told CBSSports.com:

 

“I think you’re going to have all types of rumors about us and the Big XII.  We’re not doing anything right now.  We’ll sit and evaluate Rutgers’ and Maryland’s transition.  We don’t want to screw that up.  Right now we’re not aggressively pursuing anyone.”

 

Most believe that the Big Ten and Virginia (and possibly Georgia Tech and North Carolina and others) are biding their time until Maryland’s exit fee is finalized.  At that point, additional Big Ten moves will come.

Regardless of his intent, Smith’s statement certainly doesn’t quash those theories.

As for the Big Ten “not aggressively pursuing anyone,” well…

 

Ripley's Believe it Or Not – TV intro 1983

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SEC Recruiting Headlines 2/25/2013

recruiting-headlines-gfx SEC Basketball

1. Huntington Prep’s Andrew Wiggins wins the 2013 Naismith Boys High School Player of the Year award. That award is given annually to the best player in high school basketball. Wiggins is taking an official visit to Kentucky Tuesday through Thursday this week.  He’s considering Kentucky, Kansas, Florida State and North Carolina.

2. Andrew and Aaron Harrison are twin guards from Richmond, Texas and headed to Lexington to play basketball for John Calipari at Kentucky this fall.  Their high school coach, Craig Brownson,  is expecting big things from them. ”I’d be surprised if they weren’t starting. They’ll definitely earn their share of playing time, and the NBA is definitely in their future if everything works out.”

SEC Football

3. Baton Rouge, Louisiana athlete Dylan Moses received an offer from Alabama over the weekend.  He’s in the 8th grade.  Here’s what his dad had to say. “Coach Saban said the Alabama staff believes Dylan has a chance to be the best player in the country in the Class of 2017 and they were ready to offer him a scholarship. That’s when the fireworks started going off in our heads.” Moses is already 6’1″ and 215 pounds.  He received an offer from LSU last summer.

4. More than 100 prospects attended Junior Day at Alabama over the weekend.  Included in that crowd was Elizabethtown, Kentucky lineman Matt Elam (not to be confused with the former Florida safety with the same name).  Elam has plans to visit Tennessee but says Kentucky and Alabama top his list.  ”It was great knowing I have an offer from Alabama and then just talking to Nick Saban. Two dreams came true today.”

5. Crimson Tide also in the running for four-star defensive back  Kalvaraz Bessent and his Camden, County (Ga) teammate Chris Williams. Bessent says Alabama and Florida are currently his top two while Williams says Alabama is his favorite: ”Alabama is at the top for me now.” Alabama also in top two for Texas running back Samaje Perine. 

6. Auburn wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig played for the Tigers, but that’s something he’s reluctant to tell recruits: ”Sometimes I don’t even tell guys that I played here. I want to walk in and recruit them and focus on them — not me.”

7. Tyrone, Georgia wide receiver Demarre Kitt was reportedly set to visit Tennessee this weekend but when his transportation plans fell through, he chose to spend time at Auburn instead. KItt says Auburn is “in my top five.”  With Clemson and Ohio State reportedly in the lead, he also plans to visit Oregon and Tennessee.

8. Homewood, Alabama lineman Jordan Sims has offers from both Alabama and Auburn while Prattville running back Kamryn Pettway, a Florida State commitment, admits an offer from Auburn could change his mind.  ”They are close to home. I think that’s important to have my family and friends come see me on the weekend.”

9. LSU got a commitment over the weekend from in-state linebacker Donnie Alexander.  He’s the fifth commitment of LSU’s 2014 class. And the sixth commitment is apparently not far behind.  Texas cornerback Ed Paris is making his announcement tonight. He’s expected to commit to the Tigers.”Everything just feels right at LSU. The coaches, the fans and the football program are all top notch.”

10. Jacksonville, Florida linebacker Kain Daub originally committed to LSU but decided to open up his recruiting back in November.  He now says Alabama and Florida State are his top two.

11. Bentonville, Arkansas tight end Jack Kraus will visit the Razorbacks next week.  He has offers from Arkansas, Illinois and Utah State. Greenwood, Arkansas quarterback Jabe Burgess will visit Arkansas this week.

12. Offensive lineman Jhamahl Bell will visit Arkansas March 9th. Sounds like he’s a Razorbacks commitment should an offer surface.  ”I’ve liked Arkansas since I was a little boy. Arkansas has always been my favorite team. ”

13. Ole Miss reportedly gets a commitment from wide receiver Dayall Harris. That would mark the fifth 2014 commitment for the Rebels – all of them in-state.

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SEC RPI Watch 2/25/13

gfx - by the numbersAs we told you earlier today, a compilation of information from 89 different bracket projections suggests that four SEC schools are currently NCAA Tournament-bound.  We say: Not so fast.  In fact, as of today, we believe there are only two SEC schools who are assured of making the tourney.

Those of you who’ve read our site for a while know that each year we track the RPI information and other important data for SEC schools throughout hoops season.  You probably also know that we’re usually dead-on in our tourney picks (as was the case just last year when we projected four teams all along, as opposed to other services who’d predicted five right up until Selection Sunday).

While the powers-that-be annually tell us that many factors go into selecting the NCAA field, the reality is that Selection Sunday almost always comes down to simple math.  There’s a reason guys like Jerry Palm are so accurate in their yearly assessments — its a science, not an art.  And when it comes to the math of selecting NCAA teams, most often the selection committee lets teams play themselves out rather than in.

So how do the current SEC tourney resumes stack up?  See below:

 

 

  School   RPI   SOS   Vs SEC   Vs D-I   Vs RPI Top 50   Vs RPI Top 100   Road W Vs Top 100   L Outside Top 100   Last 10
  Florida   4   22   12-2   22-4   5-3   11-4   3   0   8-2
  Missouri   38   52   8-6   19-8   3-4   7-8   0   0   6-4
  Kentucky   46   49   10-4   19-8   1-4   6-8   2   0   7-3
  Ole Miss   56   126   9-5   20-7   1-4   4-6   1   1   5-5
  Tennessee   57   36   8-6   16-10   2-4   7-9   1   1   7-3
  Alabama   62   84   10-4   17-9   1-2   7-5   0   4   7-3
  Arkansas   80   82   8-6   17-10   3-4   5-8   0   2   6-4
  Texas A&M   86   55   6-8   16-11   2-4   5-3   1   4   4-6
  LSU   97   133   7-7   16-9   1-4   4-6   0   3   7-3
  Georgia   123   51   7-7   13-14   0-6   4-9   2   5   6-4
  Vanderbilt   143   54   5-9   11-15   0-6   4-14   1   1   4-6
  S. Carolina   201   146   3-11   13-14   0-3   3-7   1   7   2-8
  Auburn   218   103   3-11   9-18   0-5   3-11   0   7   1-9
  Miss. State   241   112   2-12   7-19   0-5   0-14   0   5   0-10

 

So what would it take for each SEC team to make the NCAA Tournament at this point?  Read on…

Read the rest of this entry »

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WOW Headlines – 2/25/13

Tennessee G Trae Golden has been named the SEC’s Player of the Week
Kentucky F Willie Cauley-Stein has been named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week
Backup Florida G Michael Frazier will not play tomorrow at Tennessee due to a concussion
Tennessee RB coach Jay Graham is leaving Knoxville to join Florida State’s staff
Georgia coach Mark Richt says he doesn’t “have any plans on naming anybody recruiting coordinator” to replace Rodney Garner, who’s gone to Auburn
NFL writer Peter King predicts four of the first five picks in the NFL draft will come from SEC schools
The defensive coaching staff of the Green Bay Packers will visit Texas A&M and coach Kevin Sumlin for a crash course on the read-option offense
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UGA’s Richt Believes Some Of The New Recruiting Rules Will Be “Put On Hold”

gfx - they said itFor years the NCAA has fielded complaints that its rulebook worries too much about minutae.  So the university presidents who make the NCAA’s decisions finally made some big ones — they decided to tear page after page out of their rulebook.

The response from coaches, athletic directors, and conference commissioners has been darn near unanimous in its negativity.

But you can’t add Mark Richt’s name to the list of people decrying the changes.  At least not yet:

 

“I would just say this: I will answer that question (about his feelings on the new rules) after March because there’s an override period.  My guess is that a lot of these things are going to be put on hold, so I don’t know if we need to get too concerned about them.  We do need to plan for them.

I’ve got a pretty good feeling that a lot of things are just going to be put on hold because of the amount of schools that just don’t think it’s a good idea.”

 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that just 75 institutions need to cast votes to override the changes for them to be rescinded.

If/when those changes are rescinded, it will be interesting to see how schools — like Alabama — decide to re-purpose the employees they’ve recently hired in preparation for a less-regulated recruiting world.

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SEC Headlines 2/25/2013

headlines-monSEC Basketball

1. In Tennessee’s four-overtime victory Saturday against Texas A&M, there were several under the radar key moments.

2. Tennessee had plenty of alums on hand to watch the win.  “We have a huge Tennessee fan base in Dallas-Fort Worth. It’s one of the strongest chapters in all of the United States.”

3. Biggest win of any bubble team Saturday?  Kentucky. Andy Katz: “Don’t sweat, Kentucky and North Carolina.”

4. So what were Missouri’s Phil Pressey and Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin chatting about late in the game Saturday night?

5. What do Missouri’s five true road losses that came down to a final possession have in common? “A bad decision by Pressey costing the Tigers down the stretch.”

6. “Compared to the other visiting SEC schools this season, Missouri fans had the biggest contingent in Rupp Arena and the Lexington area in general…”

7. Maybe coach Johnny Jones should have been at LSU a long time ago. ”Considering the start Jones has had, there is no telling how far along LSU’s basketball program might be now had he been hired in 2008.”

8. Florida’s Michael Frazier II suffered a concussion Saturday against Arkansas – coach Billy Donovan says he’s out for tomorrow’s game. 6’6″ Casey Prather may play some center against Tennessee.

9. Tennessee’s Trae Golden SEC Player of the Week - Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein the SEC Freshman of the Week.

SEC Football

10.  We told you this morning Jay Graham is leaving Tennessee to join Jimbo Fisher’s staff at Florida State.  He’ll join former Tennessee assistants Randy Sanders and Sal Sunseri.

11. Georgia doesn’t appear to be in any hurry to replace Rodney Garner as recruiting coordinator.  Mark Richt: “I don’t have any plans on naming anybody recruiting coordinator.” A spring preview of the Bulldogs offense.

12. New Auburn coach Gus Malzahn tried to convince defensive end Corey Lemonier to stick around for his senior year instead of entering the NFL draft.  ”They were trying to convince me like crazy.”

13. Auburn will have 18 defensive linemen on the roster this fall.

14. Best one-two punch at quarterback in the SEC?  South Carolina with Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson.

NFL Scouting Combine

15.  Former Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is never shy about voicing an opinion.  “I see myself as the top pick, not a top-10 pick.”

16. Neither is former Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner: ““I feel like I am the best DB in this draft.”

17. Biggest draft-status threat for former Alabama players appears to be Eddie Lacy’s hamstring problems.

18. Dismissed for multiple failed drug tests, former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu says he’s learned his lesson.  ”To go back down that road? Not a chance in this world. Not a chance in this lifetime.”

19.. LSU defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo have a $5,000 bet on which player will get selected first.

20. Former Mississippi State defensive tackle Josh Boyd did 32 reps on the 225 lb bench press – fourth best among defensive linemen.

21. Former Arkansas running back Knile Davis ran a 4.37 forty.  “I think the thing that sets me apart is the size, speed, agility combination.” Former teammate Chris Gragg “most surprising” tight end?

22. Former Auburn running back Ontario McCalebb’s official 40-yard dash time – 4.34 seconds.  That’s tied for the second-best in the 2013 combine.

23. Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson ran a 4.42, fellow wide receiver Justin Hunter ran a 4.44.  Quarterback Tyler Bray has added 24 pounds.

24. NFL analyst on Bray: “If you are an elite quarterback, you force guys around you to be better. And to me, Bray just doesn’t seem to have that innate ability to lead at this point.”

25. Former Missouri wide receiver T.J. Moe was the slowest wide receiver timed in the forty-yard dash but he also did the most repetitions in the bench press.

26. Vanderbilt’s Zac Stacy is projected as a late-round pick.  “There are a lot of great quality backs here. For the most part they have a chip on their shoulder just like I do.”

27. How does the NFL view former Alabama nose guard Jesse Williams and the hundreds of tattoos covering his body? ”I haven’t had any negative comments about them or it affecting anything to do with the Draft or why people view me.”

28. Peter King thinks four of the top five picks will come from the SEC.

Extras

29. Bruce Feldman: “A source at a big BCS school I spoke with Saturday night told me he’s heard (NCAA president Mark) Emmert won’t keep his job.”

30. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio on what NFL teams want to know about a certain Notre Dame’s linebacker: “Teams want to know if Manti Te’o is gay.”

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89 Different Bracket Projections Mixed Together = 4 SEC Bids

8-team-bracketIf you’re unfamiliar with the 2013 Bracket Matrix, you should get familiar with it ASAP.  The site has taken 89 different NCAA Tournament bracket projections, pooled their picks together, and summarized the predictions into one mast list.  It’s geekery at its finest.

So according to most prognostications, which SEC teams land bids and what seeds do they receive?

If the experts are correct, Florida would earn a #1 seed if selections were made today.

Missouri would be a #9 seed.  That low seed for the league’s second-best team shows just how poorly SEC hoops is thought of this season.

Kentucky would get in as a #11 seed at the moment.  Ditto Ole Miss.

Alabama would be the 10th team out.  Arkansas would be the 12th team out.  And Tennessee would be the 14th team out.

We’ll give you our NCAA tourney projections for the SEC’s teams later today.

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Vols Lose Assistant/Alum Graham To Florida State

mrsec-breaking-newsNew head football coach Butch Jones has suffered his first big loss at Tennessee.  Volquest.com — the Rivals site covering Tennessee — reports today that Vol running backs coach Jay Graham has verbally accepted an offer from Jimbo Fisher to join his Florida State staff in the same capacity.  Regarded as a strong recruiter, Graham left South Carolina to return to his alma mater under Derek Dooley in late-2011.

The site reports that Graham will receive “more money with more responsibility” in Tallahassee.

Jones and his first batch of Volunteers open spring practice in a little less than two weeks.  They’ll need to find a running backs coach between now and then.  According to the coach’s Twitter feed his search is already underway:

 

butch-jones-tweet

 

 

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Packer Staff Heads To A&M For Lessons On The Read-Option From Professor Sumlin

kevin-sumlin-atm-shirt-smileGo back in time five years and the Wildcat/read-option play was considered a gimmick in the National Football League.  Today, dual-threat quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, and Colin Kaepernick are turning that gimmick into a staple of NFL attacks.

For that reason, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy has decided it’s time to do some research on how to better defend read-option offenses.  And he’s turning to an SEC coach for tips.

“We’re even going to the college ranks,” the Packers head coach said.  “We’ll have a couple college coaches come in, spend time with our staff.  Actually, our defensive staff is going to take a trip to Texas A&M, Kevin Sumlin is someone I have great respect for and with his ability to share from both the offensive side and defensive side his experience in the read option.  It’s something from an education, preparation standpoint that we will grow as a staff and be better prepared for in the future.”

McCarthy offered further praise for Sumlin and the Aggie program.  “Just the fact what they’ve done on offense and the ability to face it on defense all the time in the SEC.  We thought this would be a great opportunity.  We’re very thankful for him to bring our staff in.”

Think A&M officials are already printing those quotes on mailers for next year’s recruits?

There is a bit of history between Texas A&M and Green Bay.  The man who preceded Sumlin in College Station — former coach Mike Sherman — also preceded McCarthy in Green Bay.  And current Packer assistant Shawn Slocum was once an assistant at A&M where his father RC Slocum was the head coach.

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Ex-LSU DE Montgomery: Effort Wasn’t Needed Every Week

gfx - they said itFormer LSU star Sam Montgomery might have been a little too honest for his own good during an NFL combine interview.  The big defensive end freely admitted that he and his mates didn’t always bring their A game to Tiger Stadium:

 

“Definitely some weeks that we didn’t have to play the harder teams, there were some times that effort wasn’t needed, but it was different when we had the big boys and everything coming in — the ‘Bamas or a South Carolina — and I’d grab real close to those guys and go all out for them.  Of course this is a new league, the NFL, so there are no more small teams, small-division teams.  It’s all Alabamas, LSUs every week.”

 

Montgomery won’t tumble down the draft board because of that revelation.  He’s still big, fast, strong and he played in the SEC.  Projected as a second-rounder, he’ll likely still go in the second round.  But you can be sure one or two franchises will decide to steer clear of a guy who says he took not only plays, but games off.

In addition, LSU ticket-buyers might not appreciate finding out that the guys on the field weren’t always trying to give them their money’s worth.

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