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SEC Headlines 11/27/2013

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Why did CBS analyst Gary Danielson watch a tape of the 2009 Tennessee-Auburn game to prepare for this weekend’s Iron Bowl?

2. Alabama guard Anthony Steen on the difference in this year’s Auburn team: ”Maybe the same guys but they have a different mindset and they play harder, so we know it’s going to be a tough game.”

3. Auburn center Reese Dismukes on Alabama: “They’ll be the best we’ve played, and we’re going to have to play our best game to have a shot.”

4. Not surprisingly, Alabama/Auburn is the most expensive ticket in college football this weekend and it’s not even close.

5. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin clarifies his comments regarding Johnny Manziel’s future: “I didn’t say that he’s going to make a decision before the bowl game is played.”

6. Why did Texas A&M turn away from the run against LSU?  Coaches explain.

7. LSU coach Les Miles on players departing early for the NFL:  ”I can tell you that I have been as animated and as opinionated and as forthcoming as I could possibly be, and frankly, it’s their decision.”

8. The numbers tell the story - Cam Cameron’s big impact on the LSU offense.

9. South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw is 16-0 as a starter in games at Williams-Brice Stadium.

10. It will be quite the night at South Carolina – kicking off against Clemson at 7:00 Eastern and then scoreboard watching the A&M/Missouri  contest which starts 45 minutes later. Jadeveon Clowney is resting his foot.

11. Steve Spurrier: “If you ask me whether I’d win the SEC Championship or beat Clemson, I’d rather win the SEC Championship if I had a choice.”

12. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel on running back Henry Josey: “I think he’s playing as good or better than he ever has.”

13. Big part of Mizzou’s success this season?  Red zone defense.

14. Missouri and Auburn are two teams that have wildly exceeded expectations this year.

15. The numbers on Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen: A .622 winning percentage in his first 45 games – but has only won about 35 percent of contests since then.

16. Mullen on playing Ole Miss: “I bet if you talked to a lot of our fans and said, ‘Hey you’re going to go 11-1 and lose the Egg Bowl,’ they’d be pretty disappointed.”

17. Why the weather has Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze worried.   Mississippi State will wear special uniforms Thursday night.

18. Does Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease think he’ll return next season? “I would hope so.”

19. Why Florida assistant coach Travaris Robinson is one of the best recruiters in the country.

20. The one game Arkansas will play in Little Rock next year will be against Georgia.

21. Arkansas fullback Keiro Small on coach Bret Bielema: “He’s a stand-up guy.”

22. David Climer looks ahead to the 2014 Tennessee season - “here’s the scary part for UT fans: Next season will be more of the same.”

23. Jacques Smith’s time at Tennessee: “Played for two head coaches, three defensive coordinators and four different position coaches. ”

24. Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs: “I’m extremely confident in my skills,”

25. Vanderbilt safety Kenny Ladlar – who leads the SEC in interceptions – will miss the first half of the Wake Forest game after being slapped with a targeting penalty against Tennessee.

26. Ron Higgins on the SEC’s secret formula: “College football became ingrained in our culture more than in any other part of the nation.”

SEC Basketball

27. Alabama faces Duke tonight at Madison Square Garden in the NIT Season Tip-Off.

28. Kentucky plays Eastern Michigan this afternoon at Rupp Arena.

29. Mississippi State hosts Jackson State this afternoon. Coach Rick Ray: “Defensively, I’m a little worried where the team is right now.”

30. Missouri coach Frank Haith’s suspension has lifted.  “It feels really good to be back.”

31. Ole Miss has signed the loan documents to build a new basketball arena.

32. Our SEC hoops roundup from earlier today.


33. Accusations fly at a court hearing involving former Vanderbilt players accused in a rape case.

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Auburn To Show Iron Bowl In Hoops Arena For Free

auburn-arena-480x237Ticket prices for next Saturday’s Iron Bowl are a hot item right now.  How hot?  Well, the lowest price for a pair of upper deck tickets on is $750.  That’s $375 per ticket on the low end.

On the other end of the spectrum, you’d have to pay $3,450 for a ticket on the lower West sideline at Jordan-Hare Stadium.  (And, yes, we’re ignoring one ticket offering of $30,000.)

With prices so high and limited room in the stadium, many a fan will be forced to watch this year’s Alabama/Auburn clash on television.  For Auburn fans, that’s not as disappointing as one might think.

AU officials have decided to open up Auburn Arena so Tiger fans can watch the game with fellow fans on the videoboard inside the facility.  Concession stands will be open and fans will be allowed to bring in food and drinks as well.  The best part?  Auburn is opening up its arena free of charge.

With schools struggling to milk every last dime from their supporters and boosters, it’s nice to see an SEC school give its fans a little something for free.  Kudos.

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SEC Headlines 10/18/2012

SEC West

1. LSU offensive tackle Alex Hurst has returned home to Bartlett, Tennessee, hasn’t practiced since early last week.  May not be back. “It’s a family thing,” said senior left tackle Josh Dworaczyk.

2. An education in the Alabama – Tennessee rivalry. Alabama linebacker Trey DePriest:  ”A lot of the older fans take this game real seriously. It’s bigger than Alabama-Auburn to them.”

3. What will happen to assistant coaches’ salaries when Arkansas makes a a change?  AD Jeff Long: “We’re not at the top, we’re certainly not at the bottom.”

4. Long spoke Monday in public – what was the fan reaction? “He gave answers fitting for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, but not as an athletic director of the flagship university…”

5. Starting quarterback at Auburn still undecided for this weekend – Kiehl Frazier has a nagging injury that affects his passing.

6. Mississippi State wide receiver Chad Bumphis doesn’t like talking to the media -prefers to let his on-field performance speak for him. Stat breakdown of MSU’s offense and defense.

7. Texas A&M coach  Kevin Sumlin on Johnny Manziel’s Heisman hype: “It’s just something you let play out.”

SEC East

8. South Carolina linebacker Shaq Wilson on the Florida game: “It’s going to be a physical, smash-mouth game and I like that.”

9. What’s at stake for Steve Spurrier in his return to the Swamp.

10. Mike Bianchi: “If Muschamp wants to be the head ball coach, he must beat The Head Ball Coach.”

11, Pat Dooley: “If Florida wins its next two games (I know, Will, one at a time) the Gators will clinch the SEC East title, before Halloween.”

12. David Pollack called Georgia lineman John Theus a “liability” on ESPN.  What does the freshman think? “His opinion is his opinion. It doesn’t bother me at all.”

13. With Jarvis Jones questionable for Saturday, Georgia freshman linebacker Jordan Jenkins could get more playing time: “I’m starting to get the feeling, just seeing him not practicing today, that I may start Saturday.”

14. Georgia’s defense has only 10 sacks so far this season – ended last year with 35.

15. Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer will be honored before the Alabama game.   Will he ever coach again? “I don’t think you can ever say never.”

16. Ron Higgins on Vols quarterback Tyler Bray -  ”who still reacts with thin skin and who has a head coach who basically dismisses it.”

17. A father and coach on one sideline, a son and player on the other;  Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri and Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri: ”It’s gonna be hard on Saturday night when that kid walks on the field, when he hugs me.”

18, Vanderbilt coach James Franklin and his message to recruits: “(G)et a great education, have a chance to play early, be a part of history turning this program around.”

19. Missouri officials are considering speeding up part of the expansion of Memorial Stadium.

20. Kentucky offensive coordinator Randy Sanders on freshman quarterback Jalen Whitlow: ”We’re trying to figure out what he does well.”

SEC/College News

21. The four winless teams in conference play account for five of the six lowest six passer efficiency ratings (both Missouri quarterbacks are counted).

21. A battle over class-action status in a NCAA lawsuit involving college athletes’ names and likenesses.

SEC Basketball

22. Kentucky (3), Florida (10), Missouri (17) ranked in the USA Today coaches  poll.

23. Arkansas’ schedule includes seven games against teams in the preseason top 25.

24. The triangle that rules college hoops.

25. ESPN’s All-Access Kentucky: “I want to know what’s in that salad.”

26. Bruce Pearl on John Calipari: “He’s much tougher to coach against now than he was when he first started coaching at Memphis.”

27. Florida center Demontre Harris – who transferred from South Carolina - suffered a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum in practice and is considering surgery that would sideline him until March.

28. Andy Kennedy on the depth on his Ole Miss team: “If you asked my staff and me to rank the top seven players you’d probably get four different answers,” Kennedy said. “That speaks to the competition we’re seeing.”

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SEC Meetings Headlines – 5/31/12

Here’s a quickie look at what made news yesterday in Destin.


SEC Football Scheduling

1.  The 6-1-1 (fast rotation) plan might still be the most popular scheduling option, but a 6-2 format (with no permanent cross-division rivals) or a nine-game schedule are back from the dead.

2.  LSU AD Joe Alleva says “even though it’s unfair and inequitable” only his school, South Carolina and Texas A&M are strongly against the 6-1-1 plan.  (Then it must not be that unfair and inequitable.)

3.  Texas A&M might just replace Arkansas at the end of LSU’s football schedule.

4.  Georgia AD Greg McGarity said yesterday that schedule talks were “kind of all over the place.”

5.  Here’s another look at all the schedule possibilities being kicked about.

6.  Yet another writer believes a nine-game slate would fix a lot of the SEC’s woes.  (Too bad then that Mike Slive seems happy to leave things to his coaches and ADs to decide.)  A must read from John Clay of The Lexington Herald-Leader.

7.  New Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork basically admits that cowardice and a love of creampuffs are the only reason not to go to nine games: “From a bowl-eligibility standpoint eight games makes the most sense.” 


SEC Basketball Scheduling

1.  The 1-4-8 hoops plan seems to be the leader in the clubhouse.  The league gave the coaches the choice of keeping one, two or three permanent home-and-away opponents and the coaches liked the idea of keeping just one.  (Wonder how the fans would have voted.)

2.  The permanent home-and-away hoops matchups appear to be Florida-Kentucky, Georgia-South Carolina,  Vanderbilt-Tennessee, Ole Miss-Mississippi State, Arkansas-Missouri, Alabama-Auburn, and LSU-Texas A&M.

3.  Alabama’s Anthony Grant doesn’t care what passes so long as the league gets a bunch of teams into the NCAA Tournament.

4.  LSU’s Johnny Jones says, “I think it’s great to always have a rival.”  (Imagine how great having three or four might be.)


SEC Network

1.  Here’s a look at the SEC’s potential network partnership with ESPN which is — for now — being referred to as “Project X.”  No, really.

2.  Bjork says the SEC now reaches 80 million households across its geographic footprint and that it should get good news from ESPN and CBS this summer as a result.


Spurrier’s New Proposal

1.  Last year, Steve Spurrier proposed that coaches pay some of their players — not all, just some — out of their own pockets.  Now he’s calling for athletes in the revenue-producing sports to get $3,500 to $4,000 a year.  Though all the league’s coaches claim to be in favor of aiding athletes, some realize that it would be impossible to just pay athletes in some sports.

2.  Spurrier’s latest proposal came just as his “let’s not count cross-division games” proposal was dying in committee, as expected.  Mark Richt: “We were not able to come to a consensus on that.  The more that was discussed, the more everybody realized that’s not gonna happen.  Your crossover game sare gonna have to count.  It’s true in just about every sport in America; you may have your divisional games in the NFL, and you may have your games that are not.”  (Apparently Les Miles even pulled his support from Spurrier’s division champion plan.)

3.  Sidenote — Last week, Spurrier told ESPN’s Chris Low that he doesn’t care if folks like what he says or not “because it’s all just a bunch of talk.”  This writer has come to the conclusion that Spurrier just likes to stir the pot in Destin every year for the simple sake of doing so.  Paying 70 players out of his pocket wasn’t going to happen.  Not counting cross-division games wasn’t going to pass.  Doubling the stipend currently being discussed for just football and basketball players won’t pass muster, either.  I think the Ol’ Ball Coach just enjoys pulling folks’ chains.


And Finally…

Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News does a good job — as always — of conveying the frustration that seemed to permeate the mood in Destin yesterday.  He explains that the conference is currently bogged down in the “muck” of its own expansion.  

Mike Slive compared the situation to what happened in 1992 after the league’s last expansion.  ”What happens in the short is there’s difficulties.  But over time tradition builds, rivalries build and they develop.  I anticipate that over time we’ll be as cohesive as we were.”

But as we noted earlier today, the men leading the SEC in 1992 were more focused on protecting as many rivalries and traditions as possible while still growing.  This current batch of SEC trustees seem much more interested in grabbing greenbacks and sissifying their own schools’ schedules.

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SEC Headlines 6/19/2011

1. John Clay on vacated wins - wake up and smell the Internet, Grandma.

2. Mark Wiedmer: “I think the NCAA is going to gently move away from hammering schools and inch toward hammering the individuals responsible for violating those rules.”

3. Scott Rabalais: “Criticizing (Jordan) Jefferson is unfair.”

4. Rotnei Clarke’s decision to go public backfires.

5. Alabama – Auburn and the lost decade of NBA talent.

6. Who had the better year in 2010/2011 - Kentucky or Louisville?

7. With only six seniors on the two-deep depth chart, leadership could be an issue for the Tennessee football team.

8. A challenge modern technology has yet to figure out – syncing radio play-by-play with television pictures.


9. Unsigned NFL rookies cut the grass to pay the bills.

10.  Every wiffle ball in the country starts here.

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Petrino Wants Arkansas-LSU Back On Fridays

CBS decided last year to make a break from tradition.  Instead of airing Arkansas-LSU on the Friday after Thanksgiving — as it had from 1996 through 2008 — the network opted to show Alabama-Auburn.  That two-year experiment ends after Friday’s Iron Bowl.

Bobby Petrino hopes it ends for good.

“I liked (Arkansas-LSU) on Friday,” Arkansas’ coach said yesterday.  “I liked the difference, mixing up the week, shorter preparation.  Sometimes you don’t do as much and you play better.”

Yes, but there’s another reason Petrino liked playing on the Black Friday. 

“I like the fact that everybody was home on Friday and watched it.”  Bingo.  That’s the one.  “Everyone that first year (we were in Arkansas), when we went out on the road recruiting after the game in Little Rock, it seemed every school we went into, every home we went into, they watched that game on TV.”

Alabama, Auburn and LSU are all blessed to be located in fertile recruiting ground.  Arkansas is not.  The Natural State has a small population and it fails to produce a great number of NFL-caliber athletes.  That puts Petrino and the Hogs at a disadvantage.

Being the only big-time afternoon game on TV the Friday after Thanksgiving was a great way for Petrino and Arkansas to show off their program to people who might not have caught the Hogs otherwise.

But according to, Petrino isn’t likely to “do a lot of lobbying” for CBS to move Arkansas-LSU back to Friday next year.  “But maybe upstairs they can do it,” he said.  In other words, UA athletic director Jeff Long is already working the phones.

From a league perspective, the Iron Bowl will draw viewers whether it is played on Friday or Saturday.  Like Ohio State-Michigan, Alabama-Auburn is a game national fans will watch simply based on tradition and name value alone. 

Arkansas-LSU, however, might not draw big numbers if it’s played on Saturday instead of Friday.  So it is our view that the non-guaranteed draw should be the game scheduled for the Friday “can’t miss” slot.  That would insure that both games get a maximum number of eyeballs.

We’ll see if the league and CBS agree when they lay out the 2011 schedule.

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