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SEC Football Coaches “Structure” An Attack On Proposed Slowdown Rule

gfx-they-said-it4If you’ve noticed many of the up-tempo-inclined football coaches of the SEC saying many of the same things regarding a proposed rule change to slow down the game… there’s a reason.  Several of the league’s coaches have been working the media and members of the Football Rules Committee with a similar script.

On Tuesday, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze had this to say regarding a proposal to allow 10 seconds for defensive substitutions between plays:


“We’ve kind of structured a nationwide attack of how we’ll go about (getting our) voices heard before this is final.  From our conference, Coach (Kevin) Sumlin, Gus (Malzahn), myself and Coach (Butch) Jones ahve led the way the most and Coach (Steve) Spurrier.  We divided up names that we were going to call that we felt like had an interest in this.”


The battle over the rule — a battle that will be won by the no-huddle, up-tempo coaches, by the way — is being fought squarely in the Southeastern Conference.  While the aforementioned coaches are against the rule, Nick Saban and Bret Bielema have made it clear they’re in favor of it.  Saban because of injury risk and officials not being in the proper position to view hurry-up plays; Beilema for every reason under the sun, including “death.”  Literally.

Freeze added: “There’s a very important conference call tomorrow that the rules committee is maybe being instructed to reconvene and be sure their thoughts are all the same after the feedback has been received.  We’ll see if they continue after their meeting or whatever it is tomorrow; if they get together and decide this is going to move forward then we hope and pray that the prop committee see that there’s not adequate evidence under the umbrella of player safety to push that rule through in a non-rule change year.”

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun — the head of the committee — has already said publicly that he does not believe the proposed rule will be approved without “pretty resounding (evidence)” that “it is a safety concern.”  To date, no such evidence has been put forward.  Which is why we don’t think this thing should be of very much concern for fans of no-huddle, up-tempo teams.

Though fighting against a windmill at this point, Saban has finally began pushing the rather obvious point that we have shared in recent weekslogic dictates that playing more plays increases the risk of injury.

“The fastball guys (up-tempo coaches) say there’s no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic,” Alabama’s coach told ESPN.  ”What’s the logic?  If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20?  I guess there’s not study that specifically says that.  But logically, we would say, ‘Yeah, there probably is.’”

But without evidence, there will be no rule change this year.

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Louisville Tops Kentucky, Freshman Sparks Tennessee To Victory, Auburn’s Upset Bid Falls Short, SEC Goes 6-3 In Saturday Hoops



Sunday Wow Headlines 12/30/2012

Saturday SEC Basketball
Louisville 80 – Kentucky 77
Tennessee 51 – Xavier 47
South Carolina 76 – Presbyterian 60
Illinois 81 – Auburn 79
Georgia 82 – Florida A&M 73
Florida 78 – Air Force 61
Texas A&M 61 – Army 55
Butler 68 – Vanderbilt 49
Arkansas 79 – Northwestern State 61

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Ex-Navy Hoops Coach: “No Chance In Hell” Navy Enters SEC

There’s a new idea that’s been heating up the messageboards (and my inbox) the past couple of days — Navy joining the SEC as School #14.

Hold your laughter.  From the number of emails I’ve gotten on this one, a lot folks seem to think it would make sense.

First, who could complain about Navy?  Second, there are ex-Navy guys across the country who’d watch Navy’s SEC games.  Third, it’s a good school (academy, technically) and fourth, it opens up Maryland.

But it’s not going to happen.  As a matter of fact, we asked former Navy basketball coach Don DeVoe — who spent 12 years in the SEC before coaching the Midshipmen for 12 years — if he thought Navy would be a good fit for the win-at-all-costs SEC.  His take:

“There’s no chance in Hell the brass at Navy would ever go for that.  They just couldn’t compete at that level.  They couldn’t compete for SEC-caliber recruits (due to government-mandated height/weight and academic restrictions).  And there’s also the military commitment.  No kid who could play at Florida or Tennessee is going to sign up with Navy.  You don’t see many pro-caliber kids go that route.  (Navy) would have a hard time keeping pace with Vanderbilt.”

And that’s from a man who absolutely loves the Naval Academy… its academics and its athletics.

The Naval Academy is such a different beast from all other SEC schools — including Vanderbilt — that there are hundreds of issues that would have to be worked through.  Heck, let’s start with money.  While the SEC is one of the BCS leagues pushing for “cost-of-admission” scholarships and other stipends, it’s debatable whether or not service academy cadets could legally be given any extra cash by the US government.

And what about BCS splits, tax issues, television contracts?  Would dealing with a government-run academy be like dealing with a major land-grant university?  With the government involved, we’re guessing there’s the potential for a lot of additional red tape.

We asked DeVoe how Navy currently splits its Patriot League money in basketball and other sports:

“There is no money in the Patriot League.  The Army-Navy game is a great tradition and it brings in some cash, but there’s no way to compare the Patriot League to the SEC.  It’s just not the same.”

Speaking of Army, the Cadets actually went down the big-conference road — and we use the term “big conference” loosely — from 1998 through 2004 as a football-only member of Conference-USA.

Playing against schools like Tulane, Southern Miss, East Carolina, Houston and Memphis, Army compiled an in-conference record of 9-42 in seven seasons before putting an end to the experiment and returning to its current independent status.

Again, that was in Conference-USA, not the SEC.  While Navy is stronger than Army in football at the moment — and we predicted they would put a scare into South Carolina last week — the Midshipmen program is just not ready for the week-in, week-out grind of BCS-level football.

Navy’s schedule this year consists of Delaware, Western Kentucky, South Carolina, Air Force, Southern Miss, Rutgers, East Carolina, Notre Dame, Troy, SMU, San Jose State and Army.

Now nix eight of those foes and replace them with SEC opponents.  Knowing that Navy would keep its rivalries with Air Force, Army and Notre Dame alive, that would leave the Academy with just one slot on its schedule each year to bring in a patsy.

Now, at this point, some will no doubt point out that the Big East is looking at adding Army and Navy and that the Big 12 is rumored to have Air Force on its list of potential partners.  True enough.  Problem is — those league are desperate for survival.  They’ll jump through any and every hoop necessary just to keep themselves alive at this point.

The SEC is most certainly not desperate.

There’s a reason Army, Navy and Air Force haven’t been connected to the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 or SEC discussions.  There’s no way a healthy, wealthy BCS league would grab one of them.  And there’s no way the Naval Academy would line up to take such a tremendous beating year-in and year-out.

Look at the SEC’s profile, folks: Big, public universities located in areas where they are the dominant sports entity.  Think Missouri, Virginia Tech, Florida State, etc.  Not East Carolina, TCU or Navy.  Those are desperation fallback moves.

And there’s “no chance in Hell” of one of them happening.

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Tennessee Lands Georgia Linebacker Henderson

Tennessee received a commitment from linebacker Khalid Henderson from Pebblebrook High School in Austell, Ga.

Henderson gave his commitment to UT coach Derek Dooley after he offered Henderson on Tuesday morning.

“Coach Dooley was a little surprised when I committed,” Henderson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was like he didn’t want to put pressure on me to commit. He asked me, ‘What other camps do you plan on attending this summer?’ I told him probably Clemson, Georgia Tech and some others. Then I said, ‘Coach, you don’t have to worry about that because you’ve got a Volunteer with me.’ He was really excited to hear that, congratulated me, and welcomed me to the Tennessee family.”

Henderson isn’t a well known prospect but has received more college interest in recent weeks. He chose UT over offers from Louisville, Connecticut, Air Force, Middle Tennessee State, and others.

Kentucky, Clemson, South Florida and Central Florida have recently shown interest in Henderson.

Henderson is the third commitment for Tennessee’s class of 2012.

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Calhoun Stays At Air Force

You can apparently scratch Air Force coach Troy Calhoun from the list of potential coaches at Vanderbilt.  Calhoun was a longshot at best for the Commodores.  Last year, the Falcons’ coach turned down the job at Tennessee.  And he quickly jumped to the top of the list for the Denver Broncos when Josh McDaniels was fired yesterday afternoon.

The Air Force Academy announced today that Calhoun will be back in Colorado Springs next year.  In the release both the coach and the academy’s athletic director stated that Calhoun is dedicated to staying.

While coaches often downplay coaching rumors right up until the time they take a new job, it’s unusual for a coach to be quoted in an official release… and then leave.

Besides, even if Calhoun chose to leave Air Force, it would likely be for the Broncos’ multi-millions and not the Commodores’ ” just plain ‘ol” millions.

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Week Ten BlogPoll Ballot Draft Submitted: Auburn Tigers Are Clear No. 1; Nos. 21-25 Are Totally Undeserving

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As all of Bulldog Nation is well aware, Monday marked the 30th anniversary of Buck Belue’s 93-yard touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott, and, in commemoration of that event, I put Georgia’s latest loss to Florida behind me and was able to cast the BlogPoll ballot that I was constitutionally incapable of casting last week. Naturally, I paid no attention to my previous top 25 when compiling the following:

The combination of depression and other time commitments prevented me from watching much football last week. I attended the Georgia-Idaho State game and caught most of the second halves of the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game on Thursday night and the Arkansas-South Carolina game on Saturday night, so I welcome your constructive criticisms to fill in the gaps in my knowledge, and I particularly solicit your suggestions for three-loss teams that might be worthy of inclusion. Beyond that, I will be happy to answer any questions, but here is a thumbnail sketch of why I ranked the teams as I did:

  • Even though five of the Plainsmen’s ten wins came by margins of eight or fewer points, Auburn clearly has the country’s best resume. Of the four remaining Division I-A unbeatens, the Tigers have the most wins over teams with winning records (5) and the fewest wins over teams with losing records (3). All of the Auburn victims who are under .500 sport 4-5 ledgers, so the Plainsmen have not beaten a truly dismal team, and no other contender has a set of scalps comparable to No. 5 Louisiana State, No. 15 Arkansas, No. 17 Mississippi State, and South Carolina.
  • The Ducks are doing what mid-majors are excoriated for doing; namely, destroying bad teams. Six of Oregon’s eight Division I-A wins were over teams with losing records, including a pair of one-win outfits and a couple of 3-6 squads. Texas Christian and Boise State, each of whom has three victories over opponents with winning records and four victories over opponents with losing records, look slightly better overall, but the Ducks got the nod because their best victim (No. 7 Stanford) was vastly superior to the toughest teams tamed by the Horned Frogs (No. 19 Utah) or the Broncos (No. 20 Virginia Tech).
  • The Bayou Bengals staked out a spot in the top five on the strength of triumphs over No. 14 Alabama and No. 17 Mississippi State, plus a quality loss in a close game on the road against No. 1 Auburn. The Spartans, who defeated No. 10 Wisconsin, couldn’t quite keep up because Michigan State was trounced at No. 12 Iowa. The Cardinal rode a convincing win over No. 13 Arizona to a No. 7 ranking, while the Cowboys edged the Cornhuskers in spite of the head-to-head result because Oklahoma State has twice as many wins over teams with winning records (6) as Nebraska (3), and because the Cornhuskers’ loss to 4-5 Texas gets weaker with each passing Saturday. I gave the Badgers credit for beating No. 11 Ohio State and No. 12 Iowa, but their other six wins were sullied by the weakness of the opposition. Wisconsin has defeated Division I-AA Austin Peay, a trio of one-win teams (Minnesota, San Jose State, and UNLV), a 4-5 Arizona State squad (in a nailbiter at home), and 4-5 Purdue (in a game in which the Badgers trailed at the half).
  • The once-beaten Buckeyes check in behind the one-loss Wisconsin team that beat Ohio State, and the twice-beaten Hawkeyes slide in behind them, due to a win over No. 6 Michigan State and close losses to No. 10 Wisconsin and No. 13 Arizona. The Wildcats are a notch behind the Iowa team they beat narrowly at home because Arizona’s losses—at home to a .500 club and on the road in a blowout—did serious damage to the squad’s resume.
  • The run of 7-2 outfits continues with No. 14 Alabama, which went on the road and beat No. 15 Arkansas. Missouri has beaten five teams over .500, including No. 18 Oklahoma and No. 24 San Diego State, but a pair of road losses—a convincing setback suffered at the hands of Nebraska and a close contest dropped against 5-4 Texas Tech—damaged the Tigers’ resume. Mississippi State grabbed the poll position just in front of the Sooners because the Bulldogs have the better set of losses, and because a road win over Florida presently appears to count for more than a home win over Florida State.
  • The Utes have bookended their record with narrow wins over Pittsburgh at home and Air Force on the road. Unfortunately, Utah was blown out at home by TCU, and the team’s other six victories were over teams with records at or below .500, including a trio of 1-8 squads. Virginia Tech continues to be hampered by its loss to James Madison, the luster continues to fade on Nevada’s win over California, and Central Florida has a better claim to the No. 22 spot on the strength of the Knights’ close losses to 6-3 teams from automatically-qualifying conferences than on the basis of UCF’s triumphs over 5-4 East Carolina and Houston.
  • The Owls beat Connecticut, the Aztecs beat Air Force, and the Bulldogs beat no one, but they were the last team standing with a two-loss ledger, unless you count Northern Illinois, which I more or less don’t. Seriously, people, suggest a team for me to include in lieu of anyone I have in the twenties. I’m begging you.

As always, I’ll be happy to provide more detail, but that, in a nutshell, is the rationale for my rankings. I welcome your comments and questions concerning my draft ballot, which I am more than willing to alter if persuaded by sufficiently convincing arguments.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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Don’t Bet On It!: Week Nine College Football Forecasts for the National Games of Interest

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You have been treated to an exacting game-by-game analysis in this week’s SEC forecasts, so our attention now shifts to the important outings occurring elsewhere in the country. Another 3-2 ledger in last week’s national predictions stranded me at 26-15 for the fall as a whole, so it should go without saying that I mean it when I tell you . . . Don’t Bet On It!

Here are my picks for this week’s slate of noteworthy national games, all of which will be played on Saturday, October 30, unless otherwise noted, and with respect to which you may detect a recurring theme:

Florida St. Seminoles at N.C. State Wolfpack (Thursday, Oct. 28): No one in Bulldog Nation cares about this game. It’s the week of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, for crying out loud! Florida State.

Oklahoma St. Cowboys at Kansas St. Wildcats: No one in Bulldog Nation cares about this game. It’s the week of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, for crying out loud! Oklahoma State.

Utah Utes at Air Force Falcons: No one in Bulldog Nation cares about this game. It’s the week of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, for crying out loud! Air Force.

Missouri Tigers at Nebraska Cornhuskers: No one in Bulldog Nation cares about this game. It’s the week of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, for crying out loud! Nebraska.

Michigan St. Spartans at Iowa Hawkeyes: No one in Bulldog Nation cares about this game. It’s the week of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, for crying out loud! Michigan State.

Oregon Ducks at USC Trojans: No one in Bulldog Nation cares about this game. It’s the week of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, for crying out loud! Oregon.

I know that’s a treasure trove of insight and minutiae, but, even so, you still shouldn’t put too much stock in my prognostications, so, whatever you do, . . . Don’t Bet On It!

Coming Soon: Another National Game of Even Greater Disinterest.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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