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Take ‘Em All In – All The SEC Network Promos In One Place

Earlier this week, the ESPN uploaded customized SEC Network ads for all 14 schools in the Southeastern Conference.  Below, you can watch them all.

For kicks, we’ve ranked them in terms of most views (through 10:50am ET on 4/24/14).  Does this tell us which fanbases are craziest about sports?  Or do the views just tell us some spots are better than others?  We’ll let you decide…

 

Alabama (92,000+ views)

SEC Network 'Take It All In' — Alabama

 

South Carolina (60,000+ views)

SEC Network 'Take It All In' – South Carolina

 

Auburn (45,000+ views)

SEC Network 'Take It All In' — Auburn

 

Tennessee (44,000+ views)

SEC Network 'Take It All In' — Tennessee

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Carolina’s Spurrier Says He Might Coach Another Five Years

gfx-they-said-it4Ten years ago, South Carolina took a chance on hiring a 59-year-old football coach.  In an era when age is being looked upon more and more as a liability, the Gamecock brass bucked the “hire a young guy” trend.  Of course, when that 59-year-old coach is Steve Spurrier, it makes that decision just a tad bit easier.

Now entering his 10th season in Columbia, Spurrier has had more high-end success — three 11-2 seasons in a row — than any of his USC predecessors.  But Spurrier just turned 69 last Sunday.  It must be time to start thinking about replacements, right?

Not if you ask Spurrier.

The Ol’ Ball Coach told a Gamecock Club fan assembly this week that he’s still got plenty of gas in the tank:

 

“Going into (Year) 10?  I think it depends on if you want to go anywhere else — see, I don’t want to go anywhere else now.  I could go between 10 and 15 (years) maybe.  But if you want to go somewhere else, then you ought to go 10-12 then go somewhere else 10-12…

I had hoped to go 8-10 (years when I arrived at South Carolina), because I said one of my goals was to be the winningest coach — only 64 (wins) — had to get to 65.  It looked like it was going to take about 12 years to do it, then all of a sudden we started winning 11.  We started getting better player, and the facilities got better.  The fans are super.  It’s good football in our state.”

 

Good luck to the guy who follows Spurrier in Columbia.  You never want to be the guy who follows the legend.  Ask Ron Zook.

Spurrier is 77-39 in 116 games with South Carolina.

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2014 Schedule Breakout – November

crystal_ball_swamiFootball season will be here in the blink of an eye and that means it’s time to start looking ahead.  We at MrSEC.com have already been marking our calendar for the best SEC games this fall.  Week by week we’ve already shown you the “can’t miss” games and the “ones to watch” in August, September and October.  Now we look to closin’ time — the month of November.

We’ve tried to be pretty choosy in labeling games as “can’t miss” affairs.  But if we’ve smelled a cupcake game, we’ve been quick to slap it in the “what else is on?” category.  Below are our grades for the SEC’s November matchups.

 

November 1st Weekend

Can’t Miss:

Georgia vs Florida in Jacksonville

Auburn at Ole Miss (If you want fast, no-huddle offenses this one’s for you.)

Ones To Watch: 

Arkansas at Mississippi State

Kentucky at Missouri

Tennessee at South Carolina

What Else Is On:

LA-Monroe at Texas A&M

Ole Dominion at Vanderbilt

 

November 8th Weekend

Can’t Miss:  

Alabama at LSU

Texas A&M at Auburn

Ones To Watch: 

Florida at Vanderbilt

Georgia at Kentucky

What Else Is On:

Presbyterian at Ole Miss

TN-Martin at Mississippi State

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Slive Doesn’t Sound Too Terribly Thrilled To Have Pearl Back In The SEC

PEARL-SLIVESoon after landing at Auburn, basketball coach Bruce Pearl put in a phone call to SEC commissioner Mike Slive.  Not a bad move since Pearl has already left one SEC school on probation (Tennessee).  He also was handed an eight-game suspension by Slive and the league office during his final year in Knoxville for his transgressions.

The commissioner’s take?

 

“He called, and I thought he might…

I think Bruce has faced up to some mistakes he made publicly.  We cleared the air.  Assuming he does what he says he’s going to do, we’re ready to move ahead…

Bruce is an energetic guy who brings a lot of enthusiasm.  He and I have had our moments.  I think you are all aware.  I think there is a lot of excitement that he is back in the league by the folks at Auburn.”

 

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, eh?

Ironically, the same Auburn fans who once wanted Slive and the SEC to slap Pearl around while he was at Tennessee are now likely wanting Slive to butt out when it comes to flamboyant coach.  According to Slive, he does butt out when it comes to the hires made by league schools.

“I really try to stay out of personnel issues,” the commish said.  ”If I was involved every time a coach came or left the SEC, I wouldn’t have time to do anything else.  I really try to stay out of those things the best I can.”

Clearly the onus is on Pearl at this point.  He’s been hired right back into the league he left.  If he plays by the rules, Auburn couldn’t have made a better hire.  But with his tenures at Iowa (as an assistant) and at Tennessee ending in controversy, there’s no guarantee of good behavior.  Tiger AD Jay Jacobs has swung big on this one.  Expect a home run or a strikeout with little room in between.

 

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Bama’s Saban: Little Support For A 9-Game SEC Schedule

gfx-they-said-it4Nick Saban has been the only vocal proponent among SEC coaches when it comes to switching to an nine-game league schedule.  According to the coach, that’s because there’s not much support whatsoever for adopting a nine-game slate… vocal or otherwise:

 

“I don’t think there’s any support for that, it doesn’t seem like.  I think there’s a little bit more support for staying with an eight-games schedule and everybody playing a ninth opponent that’s in the five major conferences.

My thing is I’m for playing nine conference games and still playing another team in the major conferences, so you play 10 games because of fan interest, people coming to games looking forward to seeing more good games.

So that’s the starting point for me.  I think it’s important for the players to be able to play more teams in the SEC East, on the other side, which we only get to play one now.  I don’t know if we stay with the 6-1-1 or 6-0-2.  I don’t know.”

 

Saban might be the only smart coach in the conference when it comes to scheduling.  In terms of strength of schedule for the new playoff, it appears now that the SEC would be the only league not playing nine conference games and a 10th game against a power league.  That means each SEC team would play three cupcakes instead of two and that will give the playoff selection committee reason enough to exclude a second SEC team from the playoff in coming years.

Also, with schools battling attendance issues, one would think adding a league game would make for a better box office draw.  If you’re an Auburn fan, for example, would you rather see your team play Oregon or Charleston Southern.  Exactly.

The league’s coaches met yesterday.  SEC commissioner Mike Slive said last week that a decision on future schedules could come in the next couple of weeks.  One small group — likely led by Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia — is probably going to vote in favor of a nine-game slate or an eight-game slate that protects crossover rivalries like Alabama/Tennessee and Auburn/Georgia.  Another small group — led by LSU and South Carolina — is expected to push for an eight-game schedule with no permanent rivals.  The SEC presidents will ultimately make the decision.  Best bet?  The compromise would seem to be the status quo — eight games with permanent rivals.

If/when the SEC gets bumped from the College Football Playoff over a strength of schedule issue, you can bet this topic will be revisited.

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2014 Schedule Breakout – October

crystal-ball2With football season fast approaching — the first leagues games are 18 weeks from tomorrow — it’s time to start the summer schedule talk.  On Monday, we took a look at each football weekend in August and September.  Today, we grade the games on the SEC schedule for the month of October.  Which are can’t miss and which are mere flip-bys… if that?

We break things down below.  And, yes, we’re trying to be discriminating when it comes to picking “can’t miss” games.

 

October 4th Weekend

Can’t Miss:

LSU at Auburn

Ones To Watch:

Alabama at Ole Miss (If the Rebels take another step forward, this could become “can’t miss.”)

Florida at Tennessee

Vanderbilt at Georgia

South Carolina at Kentucky

Texas A&M at Mississippi State

What Else Is On:

None!  (Gotta love those few weekends when all of the SEC’s teams are playing one another.)

 

October 11th Weekend

Can’t Miss:  

LSU at Florida (One of the league’s best games, especially if Florida rebounds this season.)

Georgia at Missouri (This could be an East Division elimination game.)

Ones To Watch:

Alabama at Arkansas

Auburn at Mississippi State

Ole Miss at Texas A&M (Depending on whether Ole Miss rises and/or A&M falls this, too, could become “can’t miss.”)

What Else Is On:

LA-Monroe at Kentucky

UT-Chattanooga at Tennessee

Charleston Southern at Vanderbilt

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Missouri Might Go Back In Time With Anderson (Not That One)

kim-anderson-cutting-netsIt sounds as though Anderson is a serious candidate for the Missouri coaching job.  No, not Mike Anderson.  Kim Anderson.  The Missouri alum and former assistant under Tiger legend Norm Stewart looks to be a potential “back to the future” hire in Columbia.

First things first, the Tigers reportedly have Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall high upon their list.  No surprise there as every school with an opening has considered Marshall.  It’s just that it’s unlikely that Marshall will leave a safe gig for anything smaller than $3 million per season.

Next come the names of Chris Mack (Xavier), Matt Painter (who turned down Mizzou and stayed at Purdue three years ago), Michael White (Louisiana Tech) and Ben Howland (who everyone else has passed on).

But Anderson might make the most sense.  At 58, he just led Central Missouri to the NCAA Division II national title.  He’s been to three D-II Final Fours in 12 years.  He was named the D-II Coach of the Year after his work last season and he’s got an overal winning percentage of .745.  For those wondering if he can recruit at the D-I level, he’s been a Mizzou assistant twice as well as a Baylor aide.

More importantly, Anderson might buy Missouri AD Mike Alden some good will.  Yes, Alden’s the man who hired and stuck by Gary Pinkel, but ADs aren’t judged by their successes so much as by their failures.  And Alden’s had some failures in his hardwood searches.  He replaced Stewart with Quin Snyder, who blew up the program and his career with off-court issues.  Then came Mike Anderson who split for Arkansas after five years.  Then Alden handed the reins of the program to Frank Haith.  Behind-the-scenes issues reportedly played a role in Haith skedaddling for a job with Tulsa — Tulsa! — after going 76-28 in three seasons in Columbia.  It is believed that Alden asked Haith for his resignation when the NCAA started snooping into Haith’s Miami days a few years back.  Haith had the guts to say no, but his relationship with Alden never fully healed.

So with fans now starting to train their sites on the Tiger athletic director, Alden might feel that a good backup plan — in case a “name” like Marshall can’t be hired — would involve the hiring of someone tied to Mizzou’s hoops heydey.  That would be Anderson, who’s clearly earned consideration with his deeds, as well.  Already, some ex-Tigers are hailing a potential Anderson hire as “a no-brainer.”

Barring a surprise “off the radar” hire, we suspect Anderson will go from coaching the Mules of Central Missouri to the Tigers of Mizzou before next season.  Especially if Alden is wanting to win back a little fan love.

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Vols Finally Land Their Man In Tyndall, But What Does The Future Hold For Him?

donnie-tyndall-coachingBy most accounts Donnie Tyndall looks to be a pretty good hire for Tennessee’s basketball program.  The Vols’ new coach built up Morehead State over the span of six years.  At Southern Miss he slightly improved upon Larry Eustachy’s rebuilding job the last two years.  He knows the South, has recruited in the SEC before (as an LSU assistant) and — perhaps most importantly for some UT fans — he’s said to have a “big personality.”

There was also an NCAA run-in while at Morehead State, but apparently Tennessee brass heard a good explanation from Tyndall during their rushed Monday romance.

The Volunteers’ latest coach will officially begin his tenure today at 2:00pm ET in Knoxville.  You can bet he’ll say all the right things at that introductory presser.  He’ll know why a vocal part of the Big Orange fanbase turned on Cuonzo Martin — a slow style of play and an unwillingness to “sell his program.”  Expect Tyndall to talk about “embracing the fans,” playing “an exciting style” of basketball as well as stating that he’ll be happy to wear a bright orange jacket that Bruce Pearl and Martin wore for special rivalries.

It was only four years ago that a fella named Derek Dooley won Vol fans over by saying such un-Kiffiny things as “embrace the traditions” and “britches” at his press conference.  He never said “britches” again, never embraced Tennessee’s traditions and flopped on the field, proving that introductory comments really don’t mean much once the actual games begin.

For Tyndall’s sake, he certainly needs everyone in the UT fanbase to come together behind him.  That never happened for Martin.  From Day One he was simply “Not Pearl.”  He won 19, 20 and 24 games and went to a Sweet Sixteen.  Only John Calipari and Billy Donovan won more SEC games the last three years.  His thanks was an extension that would have put him at eighth on the league’s pay chart and a decreased buyout.  It’s a safe bet that no other SEC school outside of Kentucky would have run off someone with Martin’s record.  And Tennessee is no Kentucky when it comes to history.

Those against Martin were vocal from the start and with an underachieving regular season — not unlike Kentucky this year — their discontent spread quickly.  Several thousand folks put their names on a petition that helped steer several candidates (by all accounts) away from the UT job.  Not only A-listers passed, but so too did a three-year coaching veteran from Louisiana Tech.  Michael White wanted a big buyout for security’s sake.  No wonder.  But that didn’t happen and the La Tech coach passed on the Tennessee job, bringing to mind this:

 

 

So Tyndall became the guy because several other guys said “no thanks.”  That doesn’t mean he’ll flop anymore than saying the right things today will mean he’ll succeed.  If he does play an exciting style — Ken Pomeroy’s tempo ratings suggest his teams play only slightly faster than Martin’s teams — and if he does play the role of showman — one Vol writer says UT hoops fans require an “experience” to support hoops — then he’ll likely do just fine.

That is until he loses to Pearl and Auburn.  At that point, don’t be surprised if someone doesn’t break out a new petition.

Martin’s tenure showed that winning isn’t enough at Tennessee.  A coach has to win big and act as a salesman/promoter/carnival barker if he’s to win over all the Vol backers.  (It’s a good thing UT didn’t make a run at a guy like Ben Howland who’s not exactly known for being PT Barnum — though it sounds like his UCLA program did become a circus away from the court.)

Until Tyndall sinks or swims with his coaching and warmth, we would suggest Volunteer fans actually support the guy.  Buy in from the outset and let Tyndall prove you wrong.  If folks start out as skeptics, it’s much harder to win them over.  Ask Martin.

Tyndall is UT’s fifth basketball coach in 15 years.  If Tennessee’s fans support the man from the get-go and if he proves to coach and sell well, maybe he’ll be around Knoxville longer than the man he’s replacing.

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Coaching Carousel: White Turning Down Tennessee, Donovan An NBA Candidate?

rumors-cartoonWhile Missouri’s search for a new coach creeps along stealthily, the same can’t be said for Tennessee’s hunt.  After attempting to woo some “A-list candidates” to Knoxville — only to be met with a lack of interest — the Volunteers turned their attention to Michael White of Louisiana Tech on Saturday.

White is a former point guard at Ole Miss and a former assistant coach there.  He has been at Louisiana Tech for three years and has never reached an NCAA Tournament (which means his resume is quite similar to the one Cuonzo Martin’s owned when he was hired by UT three years ago).

White is also on the verge of saying “thanks, but no thanks” to Tennessee’s offer.  According to CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish:

 

parrish tweet

 

We at MrSEC.com were told last night that White would likely stay in Ruston.  We believe White is asking for a large buyout from the school and after paying buyouts for numerous coaches over the years, Tennessee does not want to go down the big buyout road.  The school’s reserve fund is currently less than $5 million.  Most SEC schools have reserves greater than $50 million.

Sadly for athletic director Dave Hart’s sake, those fans who signed a petition to bring back Bruce Pearl have made the UT job a tough sell.  Everyone — from the national media to most in the Knoxville media to the majority of the Volunteer fanbase — admits that fact.  (Those who did the petitioning say the job is peachy and Hart must be a bad salesman.)

White’s desire for security is quite natural.  If you were looking at a roster that’s losing four of its top five players — which doesn’t help matters — and you knew that the last guy was petition’d right out of town despite win totals of 19, 20 and 24 games in his three years, wouldn’t you be asking for petition insurance, er, I’m sorry, a big buyout?

If the White negotiations are indeed finished, look for Tennessee to turn to Donnie Tyndall of Southern Miss and Will Wade of Chattanooga as their search stumbles along.  As was the case when Mississippi State fans were driving away Rick Stansbury, we warned, “Careful what you wish for.”  And like MSU (which has lost 29 of its last 36 SEC games), UT  is having to come to grips with the fact that their job looks better through their orange-colored glasses than it does to outsiders.

Meanwhile, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves are considering Florida’s Billy Donovan as their next coach.  Yes, Billy Donovan.

 

donovan tweet 1

 

donovan tweet 2

 

 

That would seem like a very long shot from our perspective.  In June of 2007, Donovan left the Florida Gators to become the head coach just down the road with the Orlando Magic.  But he changed his mind soon after and returned to Gainesville within the week.

If he couldn’t leave Gainesville for Orlando, would he really uproot his family for Minneapolis?

Still, it’s an interesting story to keep an eye on.

As for Missouri, the Tigers’ search seems to be focused in on the same list of candidates that were on Tennessee’s initial list: Gregg Marshall of Wichita State, Mick Cronin of Cincinnati, Archie Miller of Dayton, Tim Miles of Nebraska and Chris Mack of Xavier.  Marshall will want about $3 million to move and it’s doubtful AD Mike Alden will go that far.

If Mizzou finds it’s hunt to be as tough as Tennessee’s search, one wonders if ex-UCLA coach Ben Howland — a man whose name hasn’t gained traction in any search this offseason — might creep into the Tiger mix.  He certainly has a good track record on the court.  Not so much off it.

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2014 Schedule Breakout – August/September

crystal-ball-fortune-teller2Over the next three days we’ll be breaking down the SEC’s schedule month by month.  Fans at Missouri and Tennessee still have an eye towards basketball, but elsewhere the beginning of summer means the beginning of serious football discussion.  And that means figuring out which games are the ones to watch each week.

Today, we start with the last weekend of August and roll right on through the final Saturday in September.

 

August 30th Weekend

Can’t Miss:

Alabama vs West Virginia in Atlanta

Clemson at Georgia

LSU vs Wisconsin in Houston (like a BCS bowl game in August)

Ole Miss vs Boise State in Atlanta (Thursday the 28th)

Texas A&M at South Carolina (Thursday the 28th and a biggie for the SEC Network)

Ones To Watch:  

Arkansas at Auburn

Idaho at Florida (to see the Gators’ new offense)

Southern Miss at Mississippi State (kudos to MSU for playing their in-state rival)

Utah State at Tennessee (Sunday the 31st and the Aggies will be a preseason Top 25 team)

Temple at Vanderbilt (to see Derek Mason’s debut)

What Else Is On:

TN-Martin at Kentucky

South Dakota at Missouri

 

September 6th Weekend

Can’t Miss:

None!

Ones To Watch:  

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt

Missouri at Toledo (the Rockets aren’t bad and an SEC team is visiting their pad)

East Carolina at South Carolina (the Pirates were 10-3 last season)

Arkansas State at Tennessee (another solid team visits a young UT squad)

What Else Is On:

Florida Atlantic at Alabama

Nicholls State at Arkansas

San Jose State at Auburn

Eastern Michigan at Florida

Ohio at Kentucky

Sam Houston State at LSU

UAB at Mississippi State

Lamar at Texas A&M

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