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Top MrSEC Clicks For The Week

 

 

SEC Headlines 4/12/2014

headlines-saturdayDorial Green-Beckham’s Dismissal

1. The first player in Missouri history to catch four touchdown passes in a game is no longer a Tiger. ”This decision was made with the best interests of all involved in mind.”

2. Missouri A.D. Mike Alden on whether Green-Beckham’s girlfriend was contacted by Mizzou coaches.  ”We were assured by our coaches that that, in fact, did not take place.”

3. Beckham’s dismissal comes on same day independent report is released regarding alleged assault of a swimmer by members of the Missouri football team.

 4. “It will be easy for some to think of Green-Beckham as the sacrifice, the one paying for the sins of others. But that’s not fair.”

5. “There are coaches out there right now salivating over the possibility of adding him for a year, until he leaps to the NFL.”

6. Beckham – from Springfield, Missouri – won’t land at Missouri State.  ”That’s not the kind of player we recruit to our program.”

SEC Spring Games

7. Starting quarterback job on the line?  Spring game at Vanderbilt could determine the leader.

8. One of the storylines this spring at Florida - linebacker/defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. has been a beast.

9. Gator running back Kelvin Taylor has separated himself from the pack.

10. With defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt being new, don’t expect Georgia to reveal the entire playbook. “Being the fact that it is Jeremy’s first year as the coordinator, people look at our TV spring game.”

11. Mississippi State’s defense has been physical and impressive this spring.

12. Plenty of questions about South Carolina’s defense and its backup quarterback.  ”For much of spring, the gap between Dylan Thompson and his backup candidates has been the Grand Canyon. ”

13. Tennessee coach Butch Jones:  “We’re not going to be the best team on the field, but that’s OK. We’ve won championships with not having the best collection of talent. ”

14. One week from today, both Auburn and Alabama will have their spring games.  ”There’s only one state in the country where anticipation builds to see not only who shows out…but how many show up.”

SEC Football

15. Backup quarterback battle at Ole Miss could continue through the fall.

16. Former Alabama quarterback Luke Del Rio granted immediate eligibility at Oregon State.

SEC/NFL

17. Could be the first year since 2010 that Auburn produces two first-round picks.

SEC  Basketball

18. Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes on his decision to enter the NBA draft. “I feel like I can produce on a team in the NBA. I really do. ”

19. Auburn center  Matthew Atewe underwent surgery on his left shin Friday.

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SEC Headlines 4/11/2014

headlines-friSEC Legal Beat

1. Alabama linebacker Dillon Lee arrested on charges of driving under the influence.

2. Little Rock, Arkansas prosecutors say they’ll drop Alabama running back Altee Tenpenny’s drug possession charge if he doesn’t get in trouble in the next year.

3. Arrested in January for resisting arrest, Alabama freshman Tony Brown was granted youthful offender status Thursday.

4. With no charges filed against Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham – is this a defining decision for  Gary Pinkel? “Does the Missouri coach stand on his stated principle or side with expediency?” MrSEC:  ”Pinkel now sits in Coaching Hell.” 

5. Zach Price kicked off Missouri basketball team by coach Frank Haith.   Louisville transfer – who never played at Mizzou – was arrested twice after former teammate Earnest Ross had filed a restraining order against him.

6. Seven Mizzou football and men’s basketball players have been arrested eight times since January.

7. A former intern in the Vanderbilt athletics department files a lawsuit in federal court – says he should have been paid.

SEC Football

8. Thanks to Vanderbilt moving the game to LP Field, Ole Miss will play three straight games in NFL stadiums. 

9. Florida coach Will Muschamp on the impact of new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper: “I think there’s a lot of confidence level on our offensive side of the ball for the first time in a while. Quarterback Jeff Driskel has lost 15 pounds.

10. Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt doesn’t have a lot of patience for mistakes in the secondary.  “You mess up a couple of plays, you’re out.”

11. Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee: “I want to make it very clear, we’ve not made any changes to our offensive line.”

12. Texas A&M running backs coach Clarence McKinney likes no longer having offensive coordinator responsibilities.  “I can focus on some technical things with those guys we kind of got away from last year.”

13. Brandon Allen on the quarterback battle at Arkansas: “My mindset is I’m the starter and I need to go out and prove to everyone that I’m still the starter.”  A.J. Derby moving to tight end.

14. Tennessee defensive end  LaTroy Lewis getting reps at tight end.

15. In addition to unveiling new uniforms, Mississippi State signs extension with Adidas - seven-year deal worth $17.5 million.

16. Economic study on the impact of LSU football: “Over a 7-game home season, total spending by fans from outside the metro is $62.8 million in Louisiana, with $47.7 million of that spent within Baton Rouge metro.”

17. Daniel Bush spent the past three years working on Alabama’s player personnel staff.  He’s now Arkansas’ new Assistant Recruiting Coordinator/Director of Personnel.

SEC/NFL

18. Johnny Manziel reportedly had the highest Wonderlic score among quarterbacks.

SEC Basketball

19. Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes expected to announce he’s entering the NBA draft.

20. For Kentucky basketball fans “no one in recent years — not Duke, not Louisville, not North Carolina, certainly not Tennessee — has been responsible for more heartache than the Connecticut Huskies.”

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Lock Helps Missouri Bolster Offense

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxMissouri’s offense received a big lift this week when it received commitments from quarterback Drew Lock from Lee’s Summit (Mo.) High School and running back Natereace Strong from East St. Louis (Ill.) High School.

Lock, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 5 pro-style quarterback by Rivals, chose Missouri over Tennessee. Kentucky, Ole Miss, Michigan State, Ohio State and Texas also offered Lock a scholarship.

Lock said during a press conference Wednesday night that Missouri led throughout the recruiting process. His father, Andy Lock, played on the offensive line for the Tigers from 1986-89.

“I don’t feel like I could have played anywhere but Missouri because I feel like that’s where their heart lies, and that’s where my heart lies, too,” Drew Lock said. “(Lock’s father) did walk out into that stadium. To think that so many years later, I’m going to get the chance to actually do that, it’s surreal.”

Missouri’s recruiting on the offensive side of the ball is off to a strong start in the 2015 class.

The commitment from Strong, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 21 running back by Rivals, is the third running back commitment for the Tigers. He told Rivals he believes he will fit in nicely to Missouri’s offense.

“Their offense is a good offense – they are powerful and physical,” Strong said. “They put up numbers and I want to be in an offense that puts up numbers because that will help me get to the next level and that’s where I want to be.”

Lock plans to help Missouri put up those numbers. The Tigers’ recent quarterbacks, including Chase Daniel, James Franklin and Maty Mauk, have shown the ability to throw and run. Lock believes he can follow in that line.

“I would definitely say that my label is a pocket passer,” Lock said. “But I feel like I can bring so much more to the University of Missouri and the college level. I can get out and make plays if I need to, if the pocket breaks down. That’s something I take pride in.”

Lock has always taken pride in his family’s connection to Missouri. Andy Lock recalled a conversation he had with Drew about the future of the quarterback position at Missouri.

“Drew, would you be comfortable with somebody else quarterbacking the University of Missouri for three or four years, however long you get to play?” Andy remembered. “He goes, ‘Absolutely not.’ I said, ‘There you go. You just answered your own question.’

“That right there. He kind of went, ‘No, Dad, I’m not OK with that because I love that school and my family loves that school so, no, it would hurt me.’”

And Missouri is glad Lock will be there to help the Tigers.

 

Tennessee continues in-state run

Athlete Jauan Jennings gave Tennessee good news when he committed to the Vols on Monday.

Read the rest of this entry »

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SEC Headlines 4/10/2014

headlines-thuSEC Football

1. Are Columbia police having difficulty getting cooperation from a victim or witness in a case potentially involving Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham? Update: Investigation complete – no arrests will be made. Update II: Victim and roommate feared retaliation.  Girlfriend text:  ”The coaches talked to me and explained to (me) how serious this is and there’s no time to waste at this point.”

2. Certain people who show up for Mississippi State’s spring game may get dinner with coach Dan Mullen.

3. Is Alabama running back Derrick Henry poised for a breakout season? “During the Oklahoma game, I could tell that they didn’t want to tackle me.”

4. Alabama coach Nick Saban on his quarterbacks: “Cooper Bateman and Blake Sims have both done a nice job this spring and are improving very nicely.”

5. Position battle to watch at Georgia’s spring game?  Left guard.

6. Florida wide receiver Chris Thompson had only two catches last season but has been a standout performer this spring.

7. More debate over Vanderbilt’s decision to move its game against Ole Miss to LP Field.

8. More than 1.2 million fans watched Auburn play football in 2013 - more than any other team in the country.

9. South Carolina defensive tackle J.T. Surratt: “I wasn’t too boisterous last year, but this year I gotta step up into that roll and say more things now.”

10. Arkansas names Southeastern Louisiana associate head coach E.K. Franks as the program’s recruiting director.

11. With its entire starting group gone, plenty of opportunities along Tennessee’s offensive line.

12. Tennessee will have a flag football game for former Vols at halftime of the spring game.

SEC/NFL

13. Zach Mettenberger on his performance at LSU’s Pro Day: ”I’ve been saying for a couple of weeks now that I’m healthy, and good enough to go, and I don’t think all of y’all believed me. ”

SEC Basketball

14. The mother of Kentucky star Julius Randle denies an ESPN report that her son has decided to declare for the NBA draft.

15. Kentucky coach John Calipari on the NCAA: “The situation reminds me a little of the Soviet Union in its last years.”

16. Florida forward Chris Walker says he’s returning for sophomore year.

17. Ole Miss guard Derrick Millinghaus is planning to transfer.

18. Former Texas Tech guard Dusty Hannahs is transferring to Arkansas.

19. Former Missouri player Earnest Ross filed a restraining order against teammate Zach Price a before Price was arrested twice for assault.

20. Auburn coach Bruce Pearl has one more spot to fill on his staff.  Interviewed 12 candidates during the Final Four.

SEC History

21. How much did Bear Bryant make when he coached Texas A&M?  $15,000 plus 1% of the gate.

Extras

22. This is how you become a college football bag man.

23. Big Ten opening an office in New York City.

24. David Letterman’s replacement is Stephen Colbert.

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Saban Says Alabama Lost Its Identity Last Year

fake-id-mcLovinAlabama won BCS championships in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.  In 2013, the Crimson Tide came within one second — literally — of perhaps punching a ticket back to the SEC title game which could have propelled them back to another BCS title clash.  After Bama’s loss to Auburn, however, the team got scorched by Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

Now at most schools a 12-2 season would be a pretty darn good year.  But that’s not the case at Alabama where Nick Saban says his program lost its identity last year and will have to struggle to get it back:

 

“Alabama football’s supposed to be a tough, physical team that nobody really like to play against.  That’s been our identity.  We’ve lost that identity a little bit, I think, the way we finished the year last year.  That’s something that we’ve got to get back, and it’s hard, and you really can’t make it easy…

You have to start all over to reestablish it.  It’s not easy.  It’s not easy.  It’s difficult.  It’s tough.  To have the psychological toughness to sustain the season to play the kind of football that we’ve won playing around here, you have to pound.  You have to pound your hand in the sand until it’s tough enough to go through it.

I don’t know that we every paid that price last year, and I think it’s important that our players understand why we do the things we do so they can make it through the season and play the kind of football that we want to play.”

 

Is that an overall mental state Saban’s referring to or an actual style of play?  Let’s look at some Alabama stats from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons:

 

  Year   Rush Offense   Rush Defense   Pass Offense   Pass Defense
  2011   2788 yds (508 carries)   938 yds allowed (2.43 ypca)   2797 yds (357 attempts)   1449 yds allowed (4.3 ypa)
  2012   3185 yds (570 carries)   1069 yds allowed (2.43 ypca)   3052 yds (328 attempts)   2431 yds allowed (6.1 ypa)
  2013   2673 yds (461 carries)   1381 yds allowed (3.32 ypca)   3230 yds (365 attempts)   2344 yds allowed (6.6 ypa)

 

Saban may be referring to an overall attitude with his team, but the numbers suggest that attitude is tied directly to being a “tough, physical team” that can control a game on the ground..

The Tide ran the ball fewer times last year for fewer yards than it had the two previous seasons.  Look at the passing offense numbers and it’s easy to see that senior quarterback AJ McCarron was called on to put the ball in the air more often, making good with more yards through the air.  But did that decision to throw the ball a bit more and run the ball a bit less contribute to Alabama’s late-season stumbles?  Saban seems to think so.

On defense there’s a more obvious trend — giving up more yards on the ground.  Bama allowed almost a full yard per carry more on the ground last year than it had the previous two seasons.  The Alabama secondary (and pass rush) allowed more yards per attempt than it had the previous two years as well, but the bigger decline is in the run game.

Saban’s comments and a quick look at the stat book suggest that new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will be instructed to pound the ball more than his predecessor, Doug Nussmeier, did a season ago.  Breaking in a new quarterback that would be a smart tack anyway.  Also, it’s a probably a safe bet that Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart are putting an added emphasis on stopping the run this spring.

Run the ball; stop the run.  That was the “identity” of Alabama’s football teams in 2011 and 2012.  The 2013 team slipped a hair in those areas last season.  It slipped enough, at least, to lose two whole ballgames.

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SEC Headlines 4/9/2014

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Tennessee coach Butch Jones on the team’s Sunday night opener against Utah State: “We’re very, very excited about that. It’s also a great opportunity to perform on the SEC Network.”

2. Tennessee quarterbacks Justin Worley and Riley Ferguson took first- and second-team reps, respectively, on Tuesday.

3. Georgia and Notre Dame reportedly working on a home-and-home series starting in 2018. A.D. Greg McGarity: “We talk with a lot of institutions about future scheduling and Notre Dame is one of them.”

4. Bulldogs turn to fans for playcalling help?

5. Judge says Auburn fan was guilty of disorderly conduct when he stormed the field following the Iron Bowl. His attorney asks why his behavior was any different than thousands of others.

6. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn’s message to his team: “The big thing is we needed to be more physical.”

7. Florida coach Will Muschamp on quarterback Jeff Driskel: “He’s throwing the ball very accurately.”

8. Over the weekend, Alabama coach Nick Saban mentioned three quarterbacks by name.  Yesterday, he left one of them out.

9. Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason on Aaron Murray: “I think one of the great things is he kind of just passed the torch,”

10. Injuries taking their toll on spring practice at Missouri.  Coach Gary Pinkel: “We had to cut our reps back a little bit…”

11. South Carolina All-SEC freshman kicker Elliot Fry is now on scholarship. ”It’s awesome, obviously. Love it.”

12. Mississippi State’s Justin Cox is moving back to safety.  “I can see the field. Free safety was my first love.”

13. Arkansas linebacker Otha Peters is changing numbers.  “Five, I felt like, was a curse,”

14. Ole Miss had its spring game early in order to get a full month with the strength and conditioning coordinator.

15. The long-time PA announcer at Neyland Stadium has died.  Bobby Denton had been battling cancer.

16. Steve Spurrier and the advantages of living close to Augusta, Georgia.

SEC/NFL

17. Big turnout expected today at LSU’s pro day. Seventeen players on display with all 32 NFL teams expected in attendance.

SEC Basketball

18. Tim Sullivan on John Calipari rumors: “Was Rex Chapman wrong? Too soon to say.”

19. Regardless of how many players Kentucky loses to the NBA draft, expectations will still be high in Lexington next season. Wildcats at 12-1 to win it all in 2015.  Arizona the favorite at 6-1.

20. Arkansas guard Dee Wagner is transferring.

21. Missouri assistant coach Mark Phelps leaving for a job on the Marquette staff.

Extra

22. UMass guard Derrick Gordon says he’s gay.

23. Are you ready for the AJ McCarron/Katherine Webb reality television show?  

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Missouri And Texas A&M Worth $41 Million To The SEC In Year One

offering-cashAccording to the SEC’s federal tax return for 2012, the conference saw its revenue grow by $41 million dollars in its first year as a 14-school league.  USA Today requested the return which shows the SEC took in $314.5 million in 2012.  Missouri and Texas A&M were welcomed into the Southeastern Conference in the summer of 2012.

Interestingly, the SEC showed an overall deficit for its fiscal year which ended on August 31st, 2013.  While the league brought in $314.5 million, it spent $317.9 million.  Most of that money went back to the member institutions in the form of annual payments.  The league will hand out new checks next month during the SEC Meetings in Destin, Florida.

The SEC’s tax return also shows:

 

*  Missouri and Texas A&M each made about $19.5 million in their first year in the SEC.  The two schools made a little more than $12 million in their final year in the Big 12.

*  Mike Slive’s base pay increased to nearly $1.2.  His overall income was down from 2011 when he received more than half a million dollars in bonuses.

*  Slive’s base salary in 2012 was less than what fellow commissioners John Swofford (ACC), Jim Delany (Big Ten) and Larry Scott (Pac-12) made in 2011.

 

The Southeastern Conference fell $1 million shy of the Big Ten’s revenue total ($315.5 million) from the previous year.  When compared to all other conferences, the SEC and Big Ten are still dominant financially.  For example, the ACC ranked third in revenue in 2011, making $223.3 million.

The SEC’s revenue will continue to rise over the next few seasons as the new playoff system will debut, new bowl partnerships will kick off and the SEC Network will launch.

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SEC Commitment Comparator – 4/9/13

blue_poker_chipsYou know what today is?  It’s exactly 44 weeks from National Signing Day 2015.  So why the heck not compare the league recruiting classes to date?

As usual, we’ve used Rivals.com’s star rankings as our foundation.  For each star they award a prospect, we assign one point.  We also give a point to the 0-star recruits who’ve yet to be graded by Rivals.  Toward the right of the table below you’ll see the total points amassed by each SEC program up until now.  On the far right you’ll also see the average points per commit for each school.

It’s early — obviously — but as the recruiting process begins earlier and earlier each year, it’s not too early to begin to draw a few conclusions.  Over the past few years we’ve seen that those programs that can lasso a large number of commitments early create a momentum that’s hard to stop.  In the age of social media, committed prospects serve as additional recruiters.  And those players who’ve already committed will have the opportunity to woo other prospects at various camps and combines this summer.

In most cases it pays to get the ball rolling early.  The table below will give you an idea of who’s done just that…

 

  School   Commits   5-stars   4-stars   3-stars   2-stars   1- & 0-stars   Total Points   Avg. Pts/Commit
  Alabama   9   0   8   1   0   0   35   3.88
  Texas A&M   9   0   8   1   0   0   35   3.88
  Tennessee   10   0   5   4   1   0   34   3.40
  LSU   9   2   1   5   1   0   31   3.44
  Miss. State   9   0   2   5   0   2   25   2.77
  S. Carolina   7   1   3   2   0   1   24   3.42
  Arkansas   7   0   4   2   0   1   23   3.28
  Georgia   5   0   4   0   0   1   17   3.40
  Kentucky   6   0   0   5   0   1   16   2.66
  Ole Miss   4   0   1   3   0   0   13   3.25
  Auburn   5   0   1   2   0   2   12   2.40
  Missouri   4   0   2   1   0   1   12   3.00
  Florida   5   0   0   3   0   2   11   2.20
  Vanderbilt   2   0   1   0   0   1   5   2.50

 

As you can see, Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M — as usual — are off to good starts.  Ditto Tennessee where Butch Jones is off to a hot start for the second year in a row.  Dan Mullen and Mississippi State are racking up commitments as well.  And while MSU’s point total isn’t quite as high as those mentioned ahead of them, there is reason for optimism in Starkville.

At the other end of the spectrum, Auburn, Georgia and Florida all have just five commitments to this point.  For Auburn and Georgia, there’s little reason to worry as those schools typically finish strong.  The same can typically be said for Florida, but the temperature of Will Muschamp’s seat leaves us wondering: Are the Gators just taking their time or are prospects leery of committing to a coach who might not be in Gainesville a year from now?  Time will tell.

Missouri, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt all have four or fewer commitments.  Derek Mason is just getting his feet beneath him at Vandy.  Hugh Freeze has shown that he can recruit, though his most successful class — a top five class two years ago — benefited from a hot start.  Missouri fans — as one pointed out via email today — can be pleased with the fact that Missouri has two four-star prospects out of its four-person class.  Last year the Tigers signed just two four-star prospects in their 28-man haul.

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Kentucky Falls Just Short Of National Crown & Other Basketball Notes (Part 2)

BioIBjOCEAABT9ZThe three SEC squads that did make this year’s NCAA Tournament each had a nice run.  Tennessee reached the Sweet Sixteen and was three missed free throws away from making the Midwest Regional final and SEC versus SEC showdown.  Kentucky went on to win that regional and advance all the way to the national title game before finally running out of steam.  And on the other side of the bracket, Florida cruised all the way to the Final Four before falling to eventual national champ, UConn.

Will that success lead next year’s NCAA Tournament selection committee to send the SEC a few more invitations to the Big Dance?  Probably not.

Hey, in theory, impressing in this year’s tourney could sway next year’s panel when it comes to SEC teams on the bubble.  But the committee doesn’t often take last year’s success/failure into account when doling out at-large bids.  First example: After winning back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007, Florida’s bubble was popped two years in a row sending the Gators to the NIT.  In 2012, Kentucky won the national title.  In 2013, UK was given a thumbs-down on Selection Sunday, dropping them into the NIT.  One year’s success or failure doesn’t have much impact on who the committee picks and doesn’t pick for its tournament the following year.

On the flipside, perhaps the tournament runs by UF, UK and UT will have a positive impact on the SEC’s overall conference RPI ranking.  That might not guarantee more bids in 2015, but it couldn’t hurt.

 

Early top 25 rankings look awfully familiar

Will the SEC be better next season?  Not in the eyes of a couple of national hoops writers.  ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan posted an early top 25 preview for next season.  He has Kentucky — with a new batch of highly-touted freshmen — ranked #3 in the nation and Florida ranked #8.  That’s it.  Two ranked teams.  He does mention Tennessee among his group of 15 teams that “may crack the list at some point before November.”

Meanwhile, Rob Dauster of NBC and College Basketball Talk has posted his own early top 25 rankings.  Kentucky is ranked #5.  Florida is ranked #14.  And that’s it.  No other Southeastern Conference squad earns a mention from Dauster.

 

UConn’s basketball success doesn’t mean much in a football-crazed culture

Connecticut’s men’s basketball team has won four national championships in 16 seasons.  Over that same span the UConn women’s team has won seven national crowns and will be playing for their eighth tonight.  If there’s a D-I campus where basketball is king, it’s the one in Storrs, Connecticut.

And that fact hasn’t helped the Huskies one bit in terms of conference affiliation opportunities.

UConn has campaigned try and gain inclusion in the ACC.  No dice.  Boston College wants to be the New England team in John Swofford’s conference.  For that reason, Louisville — hardly a team located on the Atlantic Coast — got the nod to replace Maryland over UConn and others.

Connecticut hasn’t had much luck talking their way into the Big Ten, either.  UConn lacks the resume — meaning a membership in the Association of American Universities — for which Jim Delany’s league lusts.  Maryland and Rutgers received Big Ten invitations instead.

Conference expansion/realignment has been driven by just about every factor out there except basketball.  And that’s a shame for Connecticut because UConn is fast becoming Basketball U with both its men’s and women’s teams.

 

What would a big game be without a few couch fires

Pity the poor, innocent couches.  It’s become commonplace in recent years for college students to burn couches after big losses (Ohio State).  They also light ‘em up after big wins (West Virginia).  Mostly they just burn them when they’re feeling good and liquored up, regardless of a big game’s outcome.  Last night, Kentuckians got in on the act.

According to The Lexington Herald Leader, there were 19 couch fires, several small trash fires, 31 arrests, and 23 injuries after Connecticut topped Kentucky 60-54.  It was a disappointing, immature reaction that’s made news all across the web, the nation and the world.

There are worse things, however.  Like being stuck with a tattoo bearing the words “2014 National Champions” above the UK logo.  For the record, Tyler Austin Black says he’s going to keep the tattoo.

Betcha he has some work done to cover up the “2014″ at least.

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