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Tide Fan Speechless After Getting A BCS Title Game Ticket For Christmas

While we put together headlines and a lengthy piece that will post a little later, here’s a holiday appetizer for you.  Alabama fan Don Buckhannan received a ticket to next month’s Tide-Notre Dame BCS title game clash in Miami.  His son posted his father’s reaction to the gift on YouTube.  That reaction has now turned into a viral video and the family has gotten calls about it from ESPN and CNN.

Needless to say, ol’ Don liked the ticket as much as Ralphie Parker liked his Red Ryder BB gun.


Dad's Reaction To Getting A Ticket To The Game


Only in the SEC.

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A&M Coaches React To Nearby Shooting

Yesterday’s shooting in College Station — three dead, four wounded, shooter killed — was just a matter of blocks from Texas A&M’s football facilities.  That fact left a number of Aggie coaches stunned.

Head coach Kevin Sumlin:


“A lot of times you see thigns on the national news, and (then) you look up, and the national news is (just) blocks away.  It really hits home for you.  From my office window, you can see across the street, and they had blocked off the street.”


Tight end coach Mike Lamothe:


“When I first heard about it, I thought I was dreaming.  It was (happening) in College Station?  Really?  It was just shocking and really sad, and I’m praying for the families affected.”


Special teams coach Brian Polian:


“It was hard to fathom, and for something like that to happen three blocks from our practice field is scary.  Honestly, (the coaches) live in such a bubble and such an isolated world, and we were in the meetings, and suddenly everybody’s cell phone started buzzing.

I didn’t realize CNN had picked it up, too, and we have family all over the place, so I was geting texts asking, ‘Is everybody all right?’  We didn’t even know what was going on…

It’s a scary deal.  My heart breaks for the people who were affected, and my heart breaks for this community.  It was just shocking that something like this could happen in Bryan/College Station.  It doesn’t feel liek that kind of place, but unfortunately it’s the world we live in today.

I guess nobody is immune.”

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Hogs’ Petrino Put On Leave Amidst Scandal; We Find It Sad, Not Funny

These are the kinds of stories that get great headlines.  They draw in big pageviews.  They’re scandalous.  They’re hot.

And they make this writer frickin’ sick.

Bobby Petrino has been placed on paid leave after University of Arkansas officials learned he failed to disclose that a female UA employee was riding with him when he wrecked his motorcycle over the weekend.

As so gleefully put it in the story linked to above, the employee was “half his age.”  Petrino is 51.  His passenger is 25.

The Hogs’ football coach apologized Thursday for keeping that part of the story a secret.  He claimed he was trying to protect his family and wanted to keep an “inappropriate relationship from becoming public.”

Arkansas AD Jeff Long said during a late-Thursday press conference that he was “at the beginning of the review” into Petrino’s actions and that he did not know “what I’m going to find.”  Long gave no timeline for Petrino’s return to the Razorback football program that he has so quickly rebuilt.

Via press release, Petrino said: 

“I will fully cooperate with the university throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my athletic director, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks.”

At the moment, assistant head coach Taver Johnson has been placed atop the Arkansas football program.  Johnson joined the Razorback staff from Ohio State in January.

The passenger on Petrino’s motorcycle was 25-year-old football program employee Jessica Dorrell.  Dorrell is a former UA volleyball player who was hired on March 28 — yes, just about a week ago — as the football program’s student-athlete development coordinator by Petrino himself.  That fact could prove to be the ultimate downfall of the coach.  As a state employee, hiring one’s mistress is most likely a no-no.

Long was reportedly unaware of Dorrell’s involvement in the accident until Petrino called him just minutes before a police report was released to the public on Thursday evening.  That report said Petrino was riding with Dorrell when he lost control of his motorcycle.

The coach suffered broken ribs and various other cuts and abrasions in the accident.  He returned to the practice field Tuesday wearing a neckbrace.  Part of the coach’s Thursday statement read:

“I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces.  That said I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell’s name being revealed. 

In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details.  Today, I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.”

Initially the coach told the press that he was alone on his bike at the time of the accident.  Lying to the press will only add to Petrino’s misery.

Petrino is married and has four children and those two facts will help kick this story into absolute hyperdrive.  Everyone loves to jump on the sins of others and Arkansas’ head football coach is about to learn that lesson the hard way. 

A motorcycle crash?  That’s a top story for one episode of “SportsCenter.”  An “inappropriate relationship” with someone “half his age,” is day-in, day-out fodder for all the shows featuring talking heads (who’ve likely engaged in worse behavior themselves).  Hiring the person with whom you’re having said inappropriate relationship? “Ugh” is the only word that comes to mind.

Sadly, this writer isn’t a fan of the moral majority in this country.  I feel a bit queasy whenever the time comes to jump on someone else for a moral failing.  (Do a quick site search of our Damon Evans coverage and you’ll find that we tried to handle the dismissal of Georgia’s AD as a sad story rather than as a joke.) 

All that said, please, don’t take the above paragraph as a defense of Petrino’s actions.  He acted stupidly.  And he has his own family to answer to for those actions.  He also owes his boss, Long, and the University of Arkansas’ president an answer.  He represents the University of Arkansas.

But he sure as Hell doesn’t owe me, you or any other ESPN, CNN, FoxNews or Twitter-using smart ass an explanation.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a closet full of my own skeletons to worry about without trying to destroy someone else for his.

But the fact of the matter remains — Petrino’s contract with Arkansas features a clause that could allow UA to dismiss him for “engaging in conduct, as solely determined by the university, which is clearly contrary to the character and responsibilities of a person occupying the position of head football coach or which negatively or adversely affects the reputation of the (university’s) athletics programs in any way.”

Not good. 

In fact, the only thing working in the coach’s favor is his rapid-fire success in Fayetteville.  If Petrino were a .500 coach at this point, he’d already be on his way out the door.  Still, his on-field success to date might not be able to save him from the whole, “you hired your mistress” angle of the story.

Make no mistake, this is a home run of a topic.  And you can bet which trash sites will jump all over it with snarky comments and judgmental attitudes.  What could be funnier than a man ruining his life with a bad decision, after all?

Too bad you won’t get that type of coverage here.  Oh, we’ll cover this crap because it could lead to the firing of one of the SEC’s best football coaches.  We can not ignore that fact.

But we won’t rejoice in it, either.  And as a result we won’t get the pageviews cooked up by those sites that do pile on with five stories per day on this sad tale.

So be it. 

Billy Joel once sang he’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.  Well, I’d rather empathize with the sinners than laugh with the bloggers.

Here’s hoping Petrino can rebound from his failure.  Lord knows he’s not the first person to have one.

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10 LSU-Alabama Headlines 11/4/11

Line Watch:  After opening with Alabama as a four-point favorite and then shifting to five, the Vegas line has settled in at Tide -4.5 for most of the week… and that’s where it sits today.

Ticket Watch:  According to, the highest priced ticket on their site is $1,056.  Prices — on StubHub at least — have fallen all week long.

1.  Is Nick Saban really “reviled” as this CNN headline states?

2.  Fans should appreciate tomorrow’s LSU-Alabama tilt.  (As Ray Zalinsky might say, “Savor the flavor, kid, ’cause it ain’t gonna happen again.)

3.  Bama’s Trent Richardson has extra incentive this week.

4.  A Tide official prevented linebacker Courtney Upshaw from discussing DeAngelo Peterson’s “they’re slow” comment with a reporter.

5.  Don’t be surprised if tomorrow’s contest features a second-half comeback by the winning team.

6.  Here’s a position-by-position look at the matchups involved in tomorrow’s game.

7.  Tomorrow’s clash is expected to be a game for the ages in Tuscaloosa.

8.  ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit breaks down the game.

9.  The Tigers and the Crimson Tide are near mirror images of one another.

10.  The kickers in Saturday’s showdown have some history.

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Our Thoughts Go Out To Our Southern Readers

Discussing SEC sports should be a pleasant pastime.  Football, basketball, great plays, bad calls… all fun.  Unfortunately, sometimes a few of us let our passions run a little too far into the red and we start spending way too much time attacking rival fans and rival schools verbally and on the web.

The devastating real life events of last night show just how silly such actions are (not to mention the people who take part in such mean-spirited nonsense).

Wave after wave of massive tornado-spawning storms sliced across the Southeast region last night, taking 194 lives by this morning’s count.  While Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee all suffered fatalaties, Alabama was the hardest hit state in the region, losing at least 128 residents to the storms.

Hundreds of thousands of people are without power across the South this morning.  Governors in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia have all declared states of emergency. 

“This could be one of the most devastating tornado outbreaks in the nation’s history by the time it’s over,” CNN meteorologist Sean Morris said.

An SEC city was one of the towns hardest hit by last night’s violent weather.  A mile-wide tornado ripped through Tuscaloosa killing at least 32 persons and leaving more than 600 injured. 

“We have large swaths of the city that have been pummeled, and we have to go house to house to make sure there aren’t people who need help,” mayor Walk Maddox said this morning.  “It literally obliterated blocks and blocks of the city.”  Maddox told that the devastation in Tuscaloosa was “unparalleled… the city’s infrastructure has been absolutely decimated.”

A photo tour of the damage in Alabama is both stunning and heartwrenching.

We at urge you to contact the American Red Cross — as we have done this morning — to make a donation to the ongoing relief efforts across the South. 

It’s time now for SEC fans to show their passion by helping their neighbors in need.  And we know that’s exactly what many of you will do.

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