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The NCAA Puts A Beatdown On Sheridan

After meeting with USA Today oddsmaker Danny Sheridan regarding his claims that an NCAA source had told him a bagman in the Auburn-Cam Newton case had been found, that same organization has published on its website a scathing rebuke of the man:

“Danny Sheridan continues to make vague, unsubstantiated claims without backing them up with proof.  Contrary to his claims of having an inside source with details on the Auburn investigation, the NCAA has not provided information to Sheridan or anyone else.  As a matter of due diligence, the NCAA spoke with Sheridan this week to determine if he had any facts pertaining to the investigation.  Sheridan, however, did not provide any information to the enforcement staff and certainly did not provide a name.  Instead, he unsuccessfully attempted to gather information for his own use.”

Wow.  And that appears on

Some thoughts…

On Sheridan:  Sheridan has made a career out of setting gambling lines for ball games.  It doesn’t take much credibility to do that, just a knack for projecting said ball games.  Good thing.  Because any actual “news” credibility Sheridan might have had is gone with the wind this afternoon.

On the NCAA:  Think college sports’ governing body is tired of scandals and accusations?  They have a tough enough job trying to monitor hundreds of schools with a small team of investigators.  With today’s media, every $50 handshake becomes a mega-scandal.  The last thing they need is to have someone suggest that a) they have information they’re not acting on and b) that they themselves leak information to someone tied to sports gambling.

Kudos to the NCAA for stepping on Sheridan and his nonsense.  They should do this kind of thing more often.  Then again, for all the sleazy people making scurrilous accusations in the media these days, no one else has gotten as specific with his malarkey as Sheridan.

On Alabama fans:  I can’t count the number of emails and comments this site has received from Tide fans angry that we would dare question the motivations of a man like Sheridan.  “Why would he lie?”  “He’s got to worry about his own reputation!”  “If the NCAA wants to talk to him that means he’s got the goods on Auburn!”

Uh, no.  The lesson — should any of you now feel ridiculous for publicly backing Sheridan — don’t believe something just because you want to.  Wanting something to be true doesn’t make it so.  I’d like to think I’m a pretty good looking guy.  But the mirrors in my house tell me otherwise.  We all know you hate Auburn, but that doesn’t mean every crackpot with a baseless accusation against AU is telling the God’s honest truth.

On Auburn fans:  Don’t laugh too loudly, folks.  The NCAA hasn’t closed its investigation into the Tiger program.  Sheridan might not have had a clue regarding what they’ve found — if anything — but they are still looking.  And as we say when the NCAA starts snooping around any SEC school… uh-oh.  You don’t want NCAA investigators nosing around on your campus.  Ever.

Also, how ’bout taking a lesson from the disappointment Bama fans are feeling right now.  For all the photos floating around of Tide players sharing dinner with a booster — a booster who wasn’t even banned from UA at the time of the dinners — there’s no hard proof that the owner of T-Town Menswear was paying players in cash or in clothes.  It doesn’t mean that those players — in the NCAA’s eyes — were promoting the man’s business.  Just because you want it to be true, doesn’t make it true.

In the end, the NCAA will rule on what is and what isn’t legal.  If history is any judge, they’ll have no problem smacking around Alabama or Auburn if one of them is actually cheating.  Lord knows they’ve done so quite a few times in the past.

And as has previously been the case, if they do spank one of those schools, they’ll likely do so without giving Danny Sheridan a heads-up.

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SEC Headlines – (Mostly) Expansion Edition

Looking at some of the SEC-centric writing from around the nation this morning, expansion continues to be the hottest topic out there.  But this is the SEC we’re talking about, so naturally there are new accusations, allegations and rumors surrounding the football programs at Auburn and Alabama.  We’ve thrown those in at the bottom.


1.  Ex-Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said this weekend that he would be “shocked” if FSU switched conferences.

2.  Some Georgia football assistants with ties to Florida State and Virginia Tech talked expansion this weekend.

3.’s Andy Staples reaffirms the belief that the SEC did not slam the door on A&M… it just slowed the process down.

4.’s Dennis Dodd says A&M should still be embarrassed this morning.

5.  Pete Fiutak of says fans should want superconferences.

6. — the Rivals site covering the University of Texas — claims that the SEC and A&M will announce a union with 21 days.

7. is still showing photos of Alabama football players dining with the owner of T-Town Menswear.

8. reports that USA Today oddsmaker Danny Sheridan claims he knows the name of the alleged bagman in the Auburn/Cam Newton scandal.  Naturally, Sheridan promises to reveal more on Paul Finebaum’s radio show this week.


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Panthers Looking At 4 SEC Stars With First Pick

If you want to know just how talent-rich the SEC is, consider the following:

The Carolina Panthers have reportedly narrowed their options with tonight’s #1 pick in the NFL draft down to four players.  If they choose to grab a quarterback, their choice will be Auburn’s Cam Newton.  But they might decide to snare a receiver instead, in which case Georgia’s AJ Green will get the call.  The Panthers might choose to look at the opposite side of the ball, too.  If they want a defensive tackle, Alabama’s Marcel Dareus will reportedly be the guy.  And if they should opt for a cornerback, that player will be LSU’s Patrick Peterson.

Now some — if not all — of that is pre-draft smokescreen type stuff.  There’s no way that just five hours before their pick is due to the commissioner the Panthers are still weighing four options.  Or at least they shouldn’t be.

But the message is the same, even if they are trying to spook other teams into trading up — For the best players in the country, turn to the SEC.

Four players, four positions… from four different SEC programs. 

Take it away, Darth.

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SEC Stat Analysis – Quick Strike (Offensive Efficiency)

Heading into tomorrow’s SEC Championship Game, we felt it appropriate to unveil some of our own favorite stats.  This will give you a good idea of how Auburn and South Carolina stack up in a number of areas.

Below are our offensive efficiency numbers.  We call this the Quick Strike stat.  It measures how many offensive plays a team must run — on average — to score a touchdown.  This is also a good measure of a team’s overall performance.  Solid defense and good special teams will give a team a shorter field to work with, obviously.  That should decrease the number of plays an offense needs to run to score and, thus, drive up the team’s Quick Strike rating.

We used only the numbers from each team’s eight SEC games.

Quick Strike Rankings

Offensive Plays
S. Carolina
Ole Miss
Miss. State


* As spectacular as Auburn’s Cam Newton-led offense was in 2010, Arkansas’ attack was nearly as productive against SEC foes.  I mean almost exactly as productive.  That’s mighty impressive considering just how good Auburn was.

* Georgia’s Mike Bobo doesn’t get much love — what offensive coordinator does? — but once again his unit ranks near the top of our Quick Strike ratings.  It may not be pretty.  It may not be as consistent as Dawg fans would like.  And it may be all AJ Green.  But UGA’s offense can put up some points.  In a hurry.

* Look who’s ranked just behind Auburn on this chart… South Carolina.  You tend to think of the Gamecocks as a grind-it-out offense with Marcus Lattimore playing the role of Earl Campbell or Jerome Bettis.  This stat reveals that only four schools ran fewer offensive plays in conference play than Carolina.  The Cocks score quickly.

* On average, Auburn runs about 70 plays per game in SEC contests.  Carolina runs about 65.  Using their plays-to-touchdown ration, we would suggest that AU will score 4.66 touchdowns tomorrow to USC’s 3.35.  (I know, “How do you score .66 of a touchdown you mo-ron.”)

* Perspective is an interesting thing.  Florida and LSU have talent and had big expectations.  Their offensive coordinators are in hot water for their lack of production.  Tennessee has little talent and had no expectations, so their offensive coordinator is drawing praise for his team’s improvement in the final month of the season.  Yet all three teams ran between 22 and 24 plays per touchdown.

* I keep reading write-ups of Dan Mullen being an offensive genius.  His departure is supposedly responsible for Florida’s tank job, I’ve heard (though Florida did quite well without him last year).  But look at MSU’s ranking in offensive efficiency and you’ll find that the only team less productive on offense was Vanderbilt.  Mullen is a good coach.  He might be great with State’s offense as he adds talent.  But the Bulldogs won with defense in 2010.

* Look at those Vandy numbers.  On second thought, no, don’t.

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NCAA Rules Newton Eligible for SEC Championship Game

South Carolina
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FILE - This Nov. 13, 2010, file photo shows Auburn's Cam Newton (2) reacting with fans after a 49-31 win over Georgia in an NCAA college football game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. Newton is eligible to play in the SEC title game, even though the NCAA says his father broke rules by shopping his son to another school. The NCAA released its finding in a statement on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

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Dave Martin – AP

about 4 hours ago:

FILE – This Nov. 13, 2010, file photo shows Auburn’s Cam Newton (2) reacting with fans after a 49-31 win over Georgia in an NCAA college football game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. Newton is eligible to play in the SEC title game, even though the NCAA says his father broke rules by shopping his son to another school. The NCAA released its finding in a statement on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

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Apparently, Auburn won’t receive any punishment for the Newton situation. The NCAA ruled that Newton’s father did indeed shop his son around to Mississippi St., but it’s letting Auburn and Newton off because they apparently didn’t know about the actions of Newton’s father. I would assume that this is case closed on this issue unless additional facts become available. That means that in addition to having their star QB this weekend, Auburn won’t forfeit any of its victories or any titles it might win over the next few weeks. Sorry, ‘Bama and UGA fans.

I would say the NCAA is letting Auburn off pretty easy here. Rules were violated and the letter of the law would suggest punishment is in order. However, I guess the NCAA let us off easier than they might have, too, considering that we have several players who not only sought but, at least according to the NCAA, received improper benefits. Fair enough, I say. I’m ready to see our guys play the game and quit worrying about the Newton off-field situation.

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