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SEC Headlines – 3/27/12 Part One

1.  Florida’s Will Muschamp is telling his players to produce in spring or else someone else will get their spots in August.

2.  The Gator basketball team will host Wisconsin and visit Arizona next season.

3.  Here’s a quick look at the odds of Georgia and Aaron Murray winning the BCS title and Heisman Trophy, respectively.

4.  South Carolina is looking for the next Alshon Jeffery.

5.  Little-used guard Wes Washpun has been granted a release from Tennessee while big man Kenny Hall has been reinstated.

6.  Vol linebacker Herman Lathers is back to “85 or 90 percent” speed after a nasty ankle injury last summer.

7.  SEC commissioner Mike Slive will make a speech and talk to the media in Kansas City today as he further opens the door of his conference to Missourians.

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SEC Headlines – 1/26/12 Part Two

1.  Florida’s three-guard lineup will be tested by Ole Miss’ size tonight.

2.  Here’s another look at Florida’s new gray/silver Nike basketball uniforms.

3.  Will it be Georgia or South Carolina who grabs control of the SEC East this fall?  (Or someone else?)

4.  John Calipari doesn’t feel his top-ranked, 20-1 Kentucky team is “special” yet.

5.  Who will be the successor to Alshon Jeffery at Carolina?

6.  Jeronne Maymon says Tennessee doesn’t “bring the same energy” away from Knoxville.

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USC’s Jeffery Should Be “Full Go” For Bowl

From a numbers perspective, 2011 had to be a disappointment for South Carolina wideout Alshon Jeffery.  Perhaps the most hyped SEC receiver coming into the year, Jeffery tallied 45 catches, 614 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns over the course of the season… good for sixth, seventh and fourth in the SEC in those categories, respectively.

Stephen Garcia’s struggles, his eventual dismissal, and the transition to Connor Shaw certainly didn’t make life easy on Jeffery.  Neither did the fact that opposing defenses focused on shutting him down over the top.

Still, he managed about 20 catches and 300 yards more than Carolina’s second-leading receiver, Ace Sanders.  So it’s good news for the Gamecocks that Jeffery’s surgically-repaired left hand “feels fine” and is “starting to get better.”

Asked if he’ll be ready to face Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on January 2nd, the junior said, “I definitely feel good about that.”

Indeed, Steve Spurrier says his top offensive playmaker looks to be healing right on schedule.

“The docs say in another week or so, he should be full go.”

Jeffery broke a bone in his hand in Carolina’s season-ending 34-13 win over Clemson.

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SEC Headlines – 11/7/11 Part One

As we await the press conference in Oxford, Mississippi, we’re going to be posting a few headlines from across the league right here…

1.  Saturday night’s game of the century was CBS’ highest-rated regular-season game in 22 years.

2.  Despite losing to LSU, Alabama remains in the hunt for the national title.

3.  Auburn is looking for a strong finish (as opposed to all the other teams out there who want to finish weakly).

4.  After an open date, the Tigers have turned their attention to Georgia.

5.  Arkansas contained South Carolina’s pass rush and Alshon Jeffery in cruising to a big win Saturday.

6.  The Razorbacks could still reach the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.

7.  LSU continues to control its own BCS destiny.

8.  Eric Reid’s interception at the 1-yard-line might have saved a national title shot for the Tigers.

9.  The Tiger players aren’t interested in a rematch with Alabama.  (Nor should they be.  They won on the road.  While we’d like to see a rematch because these are the best two teams in the country, it wouldn’t be fair to LSU if there are other unbeaten teams to face.)

10.  Houston Nutt is out and the press conference to announce the move will start at 3:00pm ET.

11.  Dan Mullen needs all hands on deck when MSU hosts Alabama on Saturday.

12.  State’s basketball team is out to prove the doubters wrong.

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Carolina’s Jeffery And Bama’s Richardson On SI Cover

Sports Illustrated’s college football preview issue will hit the market on Thursday and a pair of SEC stars will be featured on the cover.  Alabama tailback Trent Richardson is flanked on either said by South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery and Nebraska’s Jared Crick.  Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones are also featured on the fold-out cover.

SI ranks Alabama #1 in its preseason rankings with LSU (#3) and South Carolina (#7) also making the Top 10. 

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SEC Headlines 8/1/2011

1. Texas A&M and Missouri?  The latest SEC expansion rumors.  The Texas Longhorn Network controversy may be decided today.  A&M goes to the NCAA to get the network stopped from airing high school games.

2. Whatever happens in the Big 12 would start other dominoes falling.

3. Kirk Herbstreit: “I think Arkansas is this year’s version of Auburn.”

4. South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia expected to be reinstated today.

5. Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery will provide the offensive firepower for South Carolina this year.

6. A preseason view of the Gamecocks from Florida.

7. Kentucky has the ingredients for a better defense this year.

8. Four players who could be crucial for Tennessee this fall.

9. The Volunteers have experience in three key areas – at quarterback, offensive line and in the secondary.

10. Georgia’s new strength and conditioning program - the rest of the story.

11. Breaking down Florida’s receiving corps.

12. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen says the SEC West is the toughest division in all of college football.

13. Could the Bulldogs Chad Bumphis blossom into a 1,000 yard wide receiver?

14. A question about Nick Saban, NCAA rules and the T-Town Meanswear controversy.

15. Off-field scandals and bringing accountability to college sports.

16. Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins makes the final training roster for the USA Basketball World University Games. Darius Miller made the cut and so did Alabama’s JaMychal Green.

17. An outsider adjusts to life in SEC Country.

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Spurrier Sounds Off On Academics, Ohio State, Tennessee And More

Last summer at SEC Media Days, Steve Spurrier looked like a shell of his former self.  Gone was the bravado, the rapier wit and sharp tongue.  Instead, an aging coach stood before the media.  Just another aging coach.

Fast-forward through a 9-win, East Division-title-winning season and the Ol’ Ball Coach is back.  Not only was the he #1 hit at last week’s Media Days, but Spurrier’s still talking smack.  And unlike Lane Kiffin — who he spoke of as part of his engagement in Chattanooga on Saturday — Spurrier’s digs are usually pretty funny.

Last week, Carolina’s coach said that coaches who win have more reason to talk.  And while the coach says he still hasn’t won very much in Columbia, he’s clearly won enough to get his tongue wagging again.  Try on these quotes (reported by Mark Wiedmer of The Chattanooga Times Free Press):

On Mike Slive’s proposal to raise academic standards for players — “Some of these guys are not academically capable of raising standards.”  (That’s not exactly brochure material for the University of South Carolina, now is it?)

On the need to get athletes more money — “Marcus Lattimore doesn’t have a car.  He’s probably had a $15-20 million impact on our school.  But he can’t get a car unless a bank qualifies him for a loan.  I told him the other day, ‘Go get a loan.  I think you’re a good risk.”

On Ohio State’s recent rumored issues with a car dealer — “Ohio State has a better car arrangement than we do.”

On former Tennessee coach — and foil — Phillip Fulmer — “They ought to put Coach Fulmer on an NCAA committee (to change college football).  He’s a common sense guy and they need some of that.  We’re really pretty good friends these days.”

On his multiple wins in Knoxville (with Duke, Florida and Carolina) — “If you beat Tennessee in Knoxville, you’ve got to learn how to sing ‘Rocky Top.’  We were fortunate enough to beat them a few times up there.”

On former UT coach Lane Kiffin – “I didn’t think much of him, did you?”

And on Kiffin’s suggestion to then-recruit Alshon Jeffery that he’ll wind up pumping gas if he signs with Carolina (a statement Kiffin denies making) — “Yeah, Alshon was laughing about that when we were getting ready to fly to Birmingham for SEC Media Days.”

It’s been a long while since Spurrier felt confident enough to start throwing jabs.  And that should tell SEC watchers just how good he feels about his 2011 squad.

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Ticket Demand Higher At Carolina

Funny things about ticket sales — they always seem to go up when a team is winning.

The Charleston Post & Courier reports today that season ticket sales “are up a bit” at South Carolina.  The Gamecocks won the SEC East for the first time ever last season and they’ll likely be picked to finish first or second in their division this year, too. 

“Folks need tangible evidence,” Carolina associate AD Marcy Lirton told the paper.  “That’s what the success has provided us.” 

It doesn’t hurt that the talents of receiver Alshon Jeffery and running back Marcus Lattimore have earned the national spotlight.  Signing the nation’s top recruit — defensive end Jadeveon Clowney — was a plus, too.

“It helps to have recognizable players,” she said.  “We’ve had players like that before, sure, but this is a strong contingent right now.”

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USC’s Jeffery Denies Report Of Arrest; Reporter & Ex-Cock Apologizes

Yesterday afternoon, a report surfaced that star South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery had been arrested for fighting in the Five Points bar district of Columbia.  Corey Miller — a former South Carolina footballer and current radio host in Carolina’s capital city — tweeted the news and broke the story. 

The fight was believed to have also involved redshirt freshman Cody Gibson in some fashion.

Travis Haney of The Charleston Post & Courier reports “with some confidence” that Gibson was missing several teeth on Saturday.  He also says that someone told him Gibson was “hurt pretty badly” in the fight.

While that part may be true, it doesn’t sound like Gibson or Jeffery were arrested recently.  The Columbia Police Department told Haney that it had no record of an arrest of either Gibson or Jeffery. 

And Jeffery took to his own Twitter account to write the following nuggets:

“Why people lien talking about I got arrested and was in a fight friday night smdh #MediaPeople stop telling these lies”

“#CoreyMiller smh at you dude”

For those of you who aren’t Twitterites, “smh” means “shaking my head.”

Jeffery also wrote on his Facebook page:

“To all you fans out their it is all lies talking about I got arrested and in a fight Friday media people will tall kinds of lies on you but it is good.”

According to Brian Linder of The Times & Democrat (Orangeburg, SC) Miller responded late last night via his own Twitter account:

“I apologize to Alshon Jeffery for reporting he was arrested!  Turns out he wasn’t.”


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Garcia’s Status Still A Question Mark For USC

The forecast for South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is still cloudy these days.  A decision on the senior’s status — and that’s a decision that will impact the entire SEC East race — isn’t coming anytime soon.

Travis Haney of The Charleston Post & Courier reports today that Steve Spurrier said on a post-spring teleconference the following:

* The decision on Garcia will be made by Spurrier, AD Eric Hyman and Carolina president Harris Pastides.

* The decision will likely come “sometime during the summer.” 

* “We’ll see how he’s reacting to certain issues.”

* Garcia has been given guidelines.  “We’ll see how he follows those.”

* The coach has kept in touch with Garcia during his current suspension.

* The QB is just two classes shy of graduation and — notice this — Spurrier said, “With his degree in hand, obviously he’s eligible to play anywhere in the country.”

* He then said, “Hopefuly it’ll work out that he’ll get back with us with a lot better attitude than he’s ever had.”

Meanwhile, Cocks’ quarterbacks coach GA Mangus says that Garcia has been throwing with receivers Tori Gurley and Alshon Jeffery.  “He’s doing everything,” the coach said.  “Based on what I’ve been told, he’s been throwing with those guys on a daily basis.  He’s doing all the things, just like I’ve asked him.”

Mangus believes Garcia’s efforts are telling.  “If a guy comes over there and throws with his teammates every single day, and is going to class every day, I’m assuming his plans are to come back.”

He also made it clear that many of Garcia’s teammates are still fond of him.  “The kids love Garcia.  Garcia is a Velcro-type guy.  The kids like hanging out with him.  If I was 22, I’d hang out with him.”

If Garcia once again stumbles or if Carolina’s administration decided he’s out of chances, Mangus believes Connor Shaw will be ready for action.  “I think by the end of the summer, Connor’s going to be ready to play.  Connor’s a kid that I think is ready to take the next step.”

In the end, Haney writes that: “Mangus joked that he has no idea what makes Garcia tick, but that Shaw ‘is from our planet.’”

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