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SEC Headlines – 2/11/13


1. Tennessee earned its first road win of the season on Sunday by beating South Carolina 66-61.

2. Vols point guard Trae Golden returned from injury and played aggressively.

3. South Carolina coach Frank Martin on the Gamecocks’s offense: “It’s embarrassing.”

4. Florida and Kentucky’s are the SEC’s top two teams again, writes John Clay.

5. Florida is the only SE team in the Top 25 (and one). Missouri dropped out.

6. Mississippi State guard Jalen Steele has been suspended indefinitely for “violation of team rules.”


6. Alabama introduced highly-touted running back Derrick Henry this weekend.

7. One word appropriately described the level of recruiting in the SEC West: “stacked.”

8. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin: “Our phones were ringing off the hooks” following a 11-2 season.

9. Running backs coach Jay Graham says Tennessee was recruiting Jabo Lee “all the way through.”

10. Ole Miss should see improvements on offense next fall.

11. Nick Marshall is back in the SEC and Auburn and back playing quarterback.


12. Kentucky is among the nation’s elite hoops programs needing a late-season jilt.

13. Kentucky center Nerlens Noel is one player to watch vs. the entire Florida team.

14. No surprise: the nation’s top recruiting on defense took place in the SEC.

15. LSU coach Les Miles was tweeting to himself Sunday about the Miami Heat-LA Lakers game.

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Gameday Links: Auburn At Ole Miss, Alabama At Missouri

Auburn at Ole Miss

1. Auburn needs a win today to help turn its season around.

2. Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazer – now the backup – is doubtful to be available today.

3. Auburn is in great need of a win today. Well, so is Ole Miss.

4. Here’s a look at key matchups between Auburn and Ole Miss.

Alabama at Missouri

5. Alabama believes it has a lot to improve on coming off a bye week.

6. Missouri assistant on Alabama’s offensive line: ‘They’re like dancing bears.’

7. Can Missouri slow down Alabama nose guard Jesse Williams? And other matchups.

8. Tough challenge for Missouri quarterback Corbin Berkstresser, who will start today.

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Report: Texas Lawmakers About To Get Involved In SEC Expansion

According to — the Rivals site covering the University of Texas — lawmakers in the Long Star State are on the verge of involving themselves in Expansionpalooza 2011.  If they do, that could potentially be bad news for the SEC.

Until late last week, Texas politicians had given Texas A&M a free-pass to exit and head east to the Southeastern Conference.  But now legislators are worried that Texas and Texas Tech could bolt from the Big 12 and race west to the Pac-12.  Some/many/most politicos in Texas don’t want to see that happen.  So…

According to Orangebloods:


“Sources said the reason lawmakers are hot is that they received assurances from the Big 12, including (UT president Bill) Powers, that the Big 12 would survive without Texas A&M.

And because of those assurances, lawmakers did not take an aggressive stand against Texas A&M withdrawing from the Big 12.  But that may be changing.

Sources said members of the Legislature are or will be reaching out to Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin to tell him the Aggies may no longer have the blessing of lawmakers to leave the Big 12, especially if it looks like the Big 12 will collapse.”


In addition the site claims that Big 12 sources have said there is “an increasing likelihood of litigation” against the SEC.

Good luck to the Big 12 on that front.

The Big Ten began the expansion craze last summer.  The Pac-10 then began flirting with Texas and others in an effort to swipe four- to six-teams from the Big 12, which would have extinguished the conference in one push.  The Pac-1o was conducting an all-out raid last summer.  By comparison, the SEC simply answered a phone call this July.

When the smoke cleared in 2010, Nebraska had left for the Big Ten and Colorado had departed for the Pac-12 (as it’s now called).

Unless the judge overseeing such a silly case attended Baylor, the Big 12 would have a hard time convincing any sane person that it was actually the third school out the door that destabilized the league.  Especially when Oklahoma president David Boren has been making comments like this to the press:


“The Big 12 is not the same Big 12.  I was extremely disappointed when Nebraska departed.  Disappointed when Colorado departed.”


Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel also stated last week:


“Obviously we have some issues in our league… When Nebraska leaves one year, Colorado leaves and then also now Texas A&M.  So it’s three real good football teams (that) are leaving.”


Do a Google search and you’ll find countless other Big 12 figures who’ve been publicly stating the obvious — that Nebraska and Colorado exited and hurt the league a full year before A&M started looking for an escape hatch.

But while a tortious interference case would likely be hard to prove, that doesn’t mean such a lawsuit still couldn’t gum up the works for Mike Slive and the Aggies.  The mere threat of a lawsuit could cause SEC presidents to slow down out of fear that the person hearing such a case really would be a Baylor grad… angry that his Bears are in danger of being left for dead in this round of realignment.  (Nevermind the fact that the Bears left TCU, SMU, Houston and Rice for dead when Baylor jumped to the Big 12 without remorse in the mid-90s.)

Back in 2003, several Big East schools filed suit against the ACC for a raid that netted the Southern league Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech.  In 2005, the ACC settled that suit for a grand total of $5 million.  Pocket change.

But television contracts have jumped to another level since 2005 and the Big 12 — whoever’s left of the Big 12 — would likely ask for a cool billion of SEC cash.  Well, even if there were just a 1% chance of losing that kind of cash, the SEC would need to do some serious risk/reward analyses.  Perhaps the league would decide to stand pat and not offer A&M a landing spot.  If that were to happen, would the Big 12 then be forced to re-admit a suddenly homeless Texas A&M?  Now that would be a happy, long-lasting marriage, to be sure.

Bottom line?  This thing isn’t over, folks.  In some ways, it may just be getting started.

Oh, boy.  Great.  ’Cause who wants to talk about football?


UPDATE — Pete Thamel of The New York Times reports that Judith Zaffirini — the chairwoman of the Senate Higher Education Committee in Texas — claims the state senate has no intention of getting involved in conference expansion and realignment.

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Tide starts where it finished: No. 1

Alabama starts this season where it ended last season – No.

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Caldwell’s humor disguises strong coaching skills

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Robbie Caldwell might have missed his true calling the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. The South Carolina
Source: USA Today

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Beefy line protects Florida Gators’ QB Brantley

GAINESVILLE — Over the summer, new Florida quarterback John Brantley showed he’s no idiot. While different schedules made things a little difficult, he made it a point to have the Gators’ offensive linemen visit his family’s home in Ocala for a few meals.
Source: Florida Today

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Running backs ready for Gators

Running backs ready for Gators GAINESVILLE — With Tim Tebow gone, the University of Florida running backs are going to have to carry a bigger chunk of the load this fall.

And they’re excited about it.
Source: Florida Today

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NCAA picks format for 68-team basketball tournament

The NCAA has settled on the format for the new 68-team men’s basketball tournament, though the announcement isn’t scheduled until sometime next …


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Stansbury disputes Turner’s story

Stansbury disputes Turner's story Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said Saturday morning that Phil Turner “forced us to make other plans” by…
Source: The Clarion-Ledger

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Payne hired as assistant to Calipari at Kentucky

Former Louisville basketball standout Kenny Payne has been hired as one of John Calipari’s assistant coaches at rival Kentucky.


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