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SEC Headlines 1/2/2014

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1. Are the Cleveland Browns targeting Gus Malzahn or James Franklin for their next head coach?

2. Vanderbilt A.D. says people have contacted him about talking to Franklin. Penn State makes Bill O’Brien’s departure official.

3. Former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer attended practice at Florida State in September.  What he saw reminded him of his days in the SEC.

4. The Auburn-Florida State game that never happened - Bowden vs. Bowden.

5. Gregg Doyel: “Alabama is the best team in the country.” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops agrees.

6. With Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans likely gone to the NFL, what’s the future look like for the Texas A&M offense?

7. Five predictions for the 2014 Aggies.

8. Mississippi State’s senior class going out in style – four straight bowl games after just one in eight years.

9. Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief and safety Cody Prewitt are both expected to soon make decisions on whether or not to enter the NFL Draft.

10. Missouri lineman Max Copeland on the distraction of the enormous scoreboard at AT&T Stadium: “The first time I walked out here for our first practice, it was like a chicken in the rain.”

11. Several Mizzou players reportedly invited to NFL Combine – but they’ve yet to hear the news. Running back Henry Josey may leave early for the NFL.

12. South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington may decide to leave early to the next level.

13. Connor Shaw finished his South Carolina career with a 27-5 record as a starting quarterback.

14. Conflicting reports about AJ McCarron’s status for the Senior Bowl.

15. Florida’s downfall started one year ago at the Sugar Bowl.”It was an embarrassing night for the Gator Nation before the game ever kicked off.”

Extra

16. Is Lane Kiffin headed to Tampa Bay?

17. Time to change the rules for NFL extra points?  Bill Belichick thinks so.

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ESPN Plays Up Saban Rumors, Others Play Them Right Back Down

On Monday, we said that Alabama’s big distraction for the month leading up to the BCS Championship Game would be Nick Saban’s rumored return to the National Football League.  A report in The Boston Globe this past weekend claimed that Saban — at some point — had told league sources that if he were to return to the pro ranks, he would do so with old Cleveland Browns co-worker Michael Lombardi as his GM.  Well, the Cleveland Browns might just hire Lombardi in the coming weeks.

Ah, ha!

Yesterday, the endless run of game show-like daily programming on ESPN ran the Saban story over and over.  Each of the network’s “I’ll take this point, you take that point and we’ll pretend to have a heated discussion” shows brought up The Globe’s story for discussion/argument.  After running all day on ESPN, the Saban story became America’s hottest game of connect-the-dots.

Trouble is… that’s all the story is.  It’s connecting dots.  Saban supposedly told someone if he returned to the NFL he’d do so with Lombardi.  Dot #1.  Lombardi might be hired in Cleveland.  Dot #2.  So if he is, Saban will go.  Dot #3.

Well, if we ever record and release a MrSEC.com reggae album, we’ll do so in December of 2012.  But the fact that it’s December of 2012 doesn’t mean we’re actually going to put out a reggae album.  Follow?

Forget logic, though.  The reading of signs has already begun.  Lombardi appeared on WKRK-FM in Cleveland yesterday and said of Saban: “He’s got great drive and he’s never satisfied.  Nick is always about the next challenge.”

So he must be leaving.

But at Alabama: “(Saban) can control all the things he wants to control in his environment.  I think he’s very content there.”

So he must be staying.  Whatever your view, Lombardi gave you something you could read into.

Taking things a step further, ESPN personalities Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic — as a kickoff to the wall-to-wall coverage to come on ESPN television — claimed yesterday morning that Saban would probably be interested in the Browns job because he appears to be unhappy at Alabama.

He does?

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