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Gameday Links: South Carolina At LSU, Tennessee At Mississippi State

South Carolina at LSU

1. South Carolina’s offense spent time preparing for the noise it will face in Baton Rouge.

2. Will Death Valley make a great difference tonight?

3. Here are “three musts” for LSU to beat South Carolina.

4. Steve Spurrier isn’t completely remade from his days at Florida.

5. Is LSU offensive lineman Alex Hurst “burned out” on football?

Tennessee at Mississippi State

6. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley is still looking for his first win over a ranked opponent.

7. What does Tennessee need to do to win? Find out here.

8. Here are some matchups you need to watch between the Bulldogs and Vols.

9. Mississippi State needs a win to show its 5-0 start is for real.

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SEC Headlines – 10/11/12

SEC WEST

1.  Tony Barnhart says it’s possible a 12-1 Alabama team could miss out on the BCS title game.  (Right now, Bama would probably be #5 in the BCS standings with #2 — in the polls — Oregon unranked and Florida — yes, Florida — ranked #1.)  But don’t tell that to Gary Pinkel.

2.  The family of a deceased North Carolina high school coach is happy Nick Saban took the time to recognize the man.

3.  Auburn is looking to simplify its play-calling, pick a quarterback, pick a punt returner, and hopefully find a lead running back before Saturday’s game with Ole Miss.

4.  And the beat goes on.  Arkansas running back Ronnie Wingo is now questionable for Saturday’s game with Kentucky.

5.  And there’s another O-line issue at LSU as tackle Alex Hurst has missed practice time this week with “personal issues.”

6.  Les Miles says uncalled holding penalties are a bigger threat to safety than no-huddle offenses.

7.  Miles also says running back Spencer Ware could run a little Wildcat offense.

8.  Mississippi State continues to be a puzzle: “Weird for MSU to have a two-touchdown, SEC road win and you don’t really know what to think about it.”

9.  A big round of applause for State as they’ve locked in a season-opening game in Houston against Oklahoma State next year.  (See?  We’re not anti-MSU.  We’re anti-cupcake scheduling.)

10.  Ole Miss is getting leadership from its young defenders.

11.  The Rebels expect to get receiver Korvic Neat back from injury this weekend.

12.  Kevin Sumlin says high-scoring Louisiana Tech is “not going to be intimidated by (Texas A&M) one bit, and they shouldn’t be.”

13.  Aggie sensation Johnny Manziel isn’t catching on with Heisman voters yet.

 

SEC EAST

14.  Florida’s conditioning is paying off late in ball games.

15.  Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is bouncing back from a loss to Carolina, embarrassingly bad treatment from some Bulldog fans, and news that his father has cancer.  (I didn’t have time to chime in on the fan thing, but what a ridiculous showing by a what hopefully a small band of morons.)

16.  Mark Richt on the loss to the Gamecocks: “It feels like three or four losses, but it’s only one.”

17.  South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is trying to stay grounded amidst the hype.

18.  Folks in the Sunshine State remember Steve Spurrier’s previous media feuds.  “I guess he has the clout and leverage to strike back at anybody who refuses to kiss his toenails.”

19.  Backup quarterback Morgan Newton is earning praise at Kentucky for his attitude.

20.  Less than 24 hours after having hip surgery, Derek Dooley was at Tennessee’s practice today in a golf cart… and coaching from the press box on Saturday, “nothing’s going to get disrupted other than my ability to look players in the eye.”  (Anyone who’s had surgery — any surgery — knows that getting out and about within 24 hours takes some grit and some good pain meds.)

24.  The Vols haven’t beaten an SEC team not named Kentucky or Vanderbilt on the road since a win at Mississippi State in 2007.

25.  With Florida coming to town on Saturday, Vanderbilt has its first home sellout in four years.

26.  James Franklin wants everyone to know that his Commodores have improved in 10 of 17 statistical categories this year.  “It is reality.  We’re getting better.”

27.  Missouri receiver TJ Moe’s mouth made him the hit of SEC Media Days… now he’s trying to keep a stiff upper lip.

28.  Forced into the starting lineup against #1 Alabama, quarterback Corbin Berkstresser promises: “This week I will be composed on every play.”

 

SEC/COLLEGE NEWS

29.  NCAA: Coaches can’t doctor photos to help recruit.

30.  Who’s better Nick Saban or Steve Spurrier?

31.  Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says he’ll “always be a Gator.”

32.  SEC bowl projections, anyone?

33.  Perhaps a midseason look at the SEC, too?

34.  Legendary college football commentator Beano Cook died today at age 81.

 

SEC BASKETBALL

35.  LSU’s Johnny Jones is ready for his first season as the Tigers’ hoops coach.

36.  Florida’s Billy Donovan wants Kenny Boynton to emerge as a leader.

37.  John Calipari hopes his new Kentucky team learns from his last one: “The shared sacrifice on that team shows us all… that anything can be overcome if the team comes together and no one cares who gets the credit.”

38.  ESPN.com’s Andy Katz says Ole Miss will have to do well in the conference ’cause their nonconference schedule is lame.

 

SIDENOTE – As you can see, I had to handle headlines, too, today so our stats/numbers pieces will go up a little later this afternoon/evening.  Thanks for your patience.

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LSU – Alabama: A Viewers Guide to the HELLLLZ YEEEAHHH!!!

LSU
Content provided by And The Valley Shook.

You know, the best thing I can think to say about that game is that it was damn satisfying. On to the good stuff…

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Lesticles. I has it.

  • For starters, allow me to lead us all in a salute of Jordan Jefferson, who played his best game in a Tiger uniform. He wasn’t always as decisive as he could have been, but he was when he had to be. The throw on Rueben Randle’s 75-yard TD was a laser that was just out in front of the receiver, and Randle snatched it in stride. The two-point conversion in the fourth quarter was also a strike. It was great to see Randle shrug off that early drop.
  • This game was almost the reverse of the Florida game in terms of showing why LSU has to use two quarterbacks. Jarrett Lee threw one of the three or four worst passes of the season (and this season’s had a lot of bad passes) on the first-half interception (yeah, Bama dropped it, but for all intents and purposes, it was an interception). But to his credit, he came back in and made a strong play on the last third-down pass, stepping up through pressure and finding Randle for the big play. In the end, as good as one played, LSU ultimately needed both. I expect that to continue to be the case the rest of this season.
  • I loved the idea of the first-series play calling, even if the execution wasn’t there. Bama had been vulnerable to outside runs, and it established just what LSU needed to do on the day. The halfback pass maybe should have come from Spencer Ware, but the thought was probably that playing him at that spot would be too obvious. The hurry-up was an excellent wrinkle as well, especially with a defense that requires as many checks as Alabama’s. It was good seeing Russell Shepard involved in the run game as well – and that’s something that should continue to happen.
  • Kudos to Josh Williford and Greg Shaw for doing great jobs as fill-ins for T-Bob Hebert and the injured Alex Hurst. Shaw coming in was a surprise – I would have guessed Chris Faulk would have been the next tackle off the bench – but he did an excellent job against Bama’s defensive left side. The type of commitment to the run LSU had on Saturday was just what we’ve been calling for here. It didn’t spring anything early, but it paid off in the fourth quarter.
  • Les. Fucking. Miles. I can think of two other tight-end reverses (a message to all television announcers, it’s only a reverse if there are two handoffs) that I’ve ever seen before. Both were in the NFL and one was, coincidentally, run by the Saints earlier this year with athletic rookie Jimmy Graham. It was a perfectly called trick play, given this offense’s tendencies and Bama had no idea what was going on. Having a converted receiver like DeAngelo Peterson to run it helps too. People will say it’s a crazy play call because it was unorthodox, but I’d call it a well-calculated gamble.
  • I believe William Vlachos can pick up his manhood at the LSU Football Operations Center whenever Drake Nevis decides to let him have it back. The Cookie Monster was encamped in the offensive backfield, and when he wasn’t it usually took two men and a hand a hand in his facemask.
  • Mark Ingram finished with a respectable 92 yards, but it felt like he was still somewhat contained. Bama never seemed committed to really pounding him or Trent Richardson (though Richardson was obviously hurt), especially if the first-down run didn’t get more than six yards. And honestly, running those two, regardless of how Greg McElroy plays, remains the best part of the Bama attack. Every time McElroy dropped back to pass, I breathed a small sigh of relief.
  • General Zod won the war, but Julio Jones won the battle. I can’t be sure of how accurately I scored things, but I had it at 4-2 for Jones over Peterson, including a huge touchdown. Peterson struggled with the jam a few times, and I think it may have affected his concentration on punt returns, where he looked pensive at times.
  • I thought Bama looked a little flat from an intensity standpoint. That isn’t to say the effort level was lacking, just the defense looked like it was checked-out mentally. When your head coach and defensive coordinator spend most of the game on the field shouting and you still have coverage busts, clearly some players aren’t listening.
  • On a personal note, to the two assholes gentlemen guys sitting next to me in section 213, if a football game is such a miserable experience for you, save all of us the trouble and skip the next couple. These two spent most of the game complaining about every step Jefferson made, screaming for more passes (when I pointed out Lee’s interception was the reason he wasn’t playing more, I was told to shut the fuck up) and generally acting like miserable pricks.


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