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SEC Headlines Thanksgiving Day 2012

SEC West

1. One of the things potentially at stake in the NCAA investigation at Auburn – Gene Chizik’s buyout.

2. Just two years ago in the Iron Bowl game, both teams were ranked in the top 10.  How did the gap between the two widen so quickly?

3. The buzz words recruits hear when being pitched by Alabama or Auburn.

4. Texas A&M is talking about returning to a Thanksgiving day game. A&M president Bowen Loftin: “It’d be nice to have one against a nationally prominent rival in the SEC.”

5. He speaks.  Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel will meet with the media for the first time next week, according to coach Kevin Sumlin.

6. After five long years, looks like LSU has a legitimate quarterback in Zach Mettenberger.

7. Backup Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott could be a weapon against Ole Miss.

8. The prize of last February’s Ole Miss recruiting class is starting to pay dividends.

9. Arkansas coach John L. Smith on his seniors: “This has been a great class.”

SEC East

***Update*** Jeff Fisher/Tennessee rumors/ Some other chatter here.

10. Former Tennessee player and current TV analyst Charles Davis on Jon Gruden and the Vols:  ”Jon hasn’t said word one to me. But if Tennessee’s interested in him, I’m pretty sure he’s going to listen.”

11. Vanderbilt A.D. David Williams on coach James Franklin: “I don’t worry about James leaving, but I’m happy to worry that other people are interested in James.”

12. Commodores kicker Carey Spear isn’t afraid to tackle people.

13. Could Georgia’s coordinators be offseason targets for other schools?

14. Is the rivalry between South Carolina and Clemson about to enter a golden era?

15. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease is facing something at Florida he never heard at Boise State – criticism of his offense.

16. Facing the possibility of his first losing season since 2004, will Missouri coach Gary Pinkel shakeup his staff this offseason? ”No, no,” Pinkel said firmly. “There will be no staff changes.”

17. Only three assistants have left Mizzou in Pinkel’s 12 years.  

18. Missouri quarterback James Franklin could be a game-day decision.

19. On their way out the door, why are Kentucky coaches endorsing Maxwell Smith for quarterback?

SEC/College News

20. Goodbye to the Big East?

21. Duke coach David Cutcliffe isn’t going anywhere – signs a contract extension through 2019.

22. ESPN is paying $470 million a year to air the college football playoffs once it starts after the 2014 season.

23. Oddsmakers have Alabama as the overwhelming BCS title favorite.

24. Dennis Dodd:  ”If realignment has taught us one thing, it’s that rivalries don’t matter.”

SEC Basketball

25. Kentucky 81 – Morehead State 70. Cats go on a 16-2 second-half run. Guard Ryan Harrow still not ready to play.

26. Boston College 50 – Auburn 49. Frankie Sullivan with 23 points for the Tigers.

27. Texas 69 – Mississippi State 55.  Bulldogs drop three straight in Hawaii.

28. Elon 66 – South Carolina 53. First loss of the year for the Gamecocks.

29. Missouri faces its first real test of the season with a game against Stanford in the Bahamas.

30. Vanderbilt faces Davidson in Florida this afternoon.

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WOW Headlines – 11/5/12

Alabama remains #1 in the latest BCS standings with Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame following
Georgia, Florida, LSU and South Carolina are ranked 5th through 8th in the new BCS standings
Joker Phillips’ firing at Kentucky has led to speculation that Sonny Dykes, David Cutcliffe and Phillip Fulmer might be targets
Phillips is the 9th straight Kentucky football coach to leave Lexington with an overall losing record
Georgia WR Marlon Brown has torn an ACL and will miss the remainder of the season
Missouri TE Brandon Holifield has been booted from the Tiger team following a marijuana-related arrest
Auburn will start QB Jonathan Wallace against Georgia on Saturday
Arkansas has suspended LB Terrell Williams for a DWI arrest over the weekend
Kentucky’s John Calipari will hold a telethon in Lexington to raise cash for Hurricane Sandy relief
Georgia QB Aaron Murray and Tennessee QB Tyler Bray have been named the SEC’s co-offensive players of the week
Alabama LB Adrian Hubbard is the SEC’s defensive player of the week
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley says defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri might move into the pressbox this week
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The Search Begins At UK: Keep An Eye On Cutcliffe, Dykes And Fulmer

Kentucky’s decision to replace Joker Phillips as head coach has officially opened the door on America’s annual speculation season.  The race to find out who UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart will hire is on and it will likely provide a landslide of misinformation, Twitter and messageboard rumors and, sadly, some flat-out lies (for the sake of grabbing pageviews).

That’s what the media provides these days.  Because that’s what fans want these days.

We can tell you that various outlets from The Lexington Herald-Leader to Kentucky’s Rivals site (paywall warning) to have already posted candidate lists and “hot boards” for fans to peruse.  In addition, John Clay of The Herald-Leader has tossed out longshot Mike MacIntyre of San Jose State as a possibility.  Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports writes — as we did a few weeks ago — that Bobby Petrino won’t be among the candidates, but a number of assistant coaches in the college and pro ranks will be.

At, we’ll simply pass along the three names that we’ve heard most often from folks in or close to the Kentucky program.  Names of men that we believe Barnhart will have an interest in speaking to.  Names of people who might also be interested in the Wildcats’ job.

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Wow Evening Headlines 10/29/2012

The SEC has five teams ranked in the top eight of the latest BCS standings…
#1 Alabama, #5 LSU, #6 Georgia, #7 Florida and #8 South Carolina
More than 1,000 people turn out in Columbia, South Carolina Monday afternoon to wish running back Marcus Lattimore a quick recovery and happy 21st birthday
Lattimore tore “several ligaments” in his right knee as it was hyperextended during Saturday’s game, not expected to be career-ending
Sources tell that Arkansas’ top choice as a new coach is TCU’s Gary Patterson
Sources tell that Jon Gruden and Bobby Petrino will be Tennessee’s top choices should the school fire Derek Dooley
Sources tell that Kentucky will have an interest in Phillip Fulmer, David Cutcliffe and Sonny Dykes if Joker Phillips is fired
Follow all the SEC news and scuttlebutt at on on Twitter at

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WOW Headlines – 10/29/12

The SEC has five teams ranked in the top eight of the latest BCS standings…
#1 Alabama, #5 LSU, #6 Georgia, #7 Florida and #8 South Carolina
South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore’s knee injury versus Tennessee on Saturday is not expected to be career-ending
Lattimore tore “several ligaments” in his right knee as it was hyperextended during Saturday’s game
Sources tell that Arkansas’ top choice as a new coach is TCU’s Gary Patterson
Sources tell that Jon Gruden and Bobby Petrino will be Tennessee’s top choices should the school fire Derek Dooley
Sources tell that Kentucky will have an interest in Phillip Fulmer, David Cutcliffe and Sonny Dykes if Joker Phillips is fired
Follow all the SEC news and scuttlebutt at every single day of the year

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Petrino For UK? Someone Like Cutcliffe’s More Likely… But How Will New Prez Weigh In?

There’s been much speculation throughout the Bluegrass State that Kentucky’s next football coach — and currently sitting at 1-7 overall it’s hard to imagine UK not having a new football coach next season — might be a certain motorcycle-riding, ex-Louisville coach.  But those decked in blue hoping that ex-Arkansas (and ex-Louisville) coach Bobby Petrino will land in Lexington better not get their hopes up.

Speaking to a UK source recently, I was told that Petrino isn’t likely to get too much consideration from Wildcat AD Mitch Barnhart.  It’s more likely — according to the source — that UK will consider ex-Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer and current Duke coach (and ex-Ole Miss coach) David Cutcliffe for the job.

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SEC Headlines 7/29/2012

1. Similarities between Les Miles and Steve Spurrier? “If you’re wondering if a coach that’s not used to losing can bounce back from the worst defeat of his career, let your mind wander back to 1995 and 1996.

2. Penn State players and possible SEC targets.”Veterans who may be better fits for SEC programs include linebacker Khairi Fortt, defensive end C.J. Olanlyan and defensive tackle Evan Hailes.”

3. The nation’s No. 1 recruit and package deals: “Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze is the only BCS-level coach to have offered a scholarship to the final member of the Grayson Five…”

4. With only 4 of the top 10 rushers returning this year, who is the best running back in the SEC?

5. Ranking SEC receivers – from No. 1 Tennessee to No. 14 Ole Miss.

6. John Adams on the similarities between Tennessee and Ole Miss: “Ole Miss and UT each finished last in its division last season. The most famous quarterback from each school is a Manning. Both programs have employed Ed Orgeron and David Cutcliffe. Both have a huge fan base in Memphis. Both have had three different head coaches since the 2007 season. Both program’s coaches appeared in the “The Blindside.” ”

7. Tennessee coaches are impressed with all the technology built into their new practice facility.

8. Defensive end C.J. Johnson and right tackle Pierce Burton are key players for Ole Miss this fall while wide receiver Donte Moncrief gives the Rebels hope.

9. Wide receivers at LSU may have felt overlooked last year, but that’s about to change.

10. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin: “Guys, based on every question I got, they don’t think we have any defense. They don’t think our offense will work, and we don’t have a quarterback or kicker. Other than that we have no problem guys.”

11. Why the Aggies should be on upset alert against Ole Miss.

12. Expect a healthy competition for the Kentucky starting quarterback job this fall.

13. “Spending has increased substantially at Arkansas since 2008 – athletics director Jeff Long’s first year on the job – and it isn’t expected to slow down any time soon.”

14. How much impact will new Auburn defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder have on this years’ team?

15. Who will be available in the secondary and some other preseason questions for the Georgia Bulldogs.

16. With a new college football playoff on the way, what’s the future of the state of Florida’s bowl games?

17. Was giving rapper Drake a national championship ring another stroke of genius by John Calipari?

18. Memphis paper gets details on a year’s worth of secondary violations for Ole Miss and Tennessee.

19. When Tennessee and Vanderbilt played basketball this past season, two Tennessee swimmers bet on the game.


20. Will Penn State change its uniforms?

21. Heckled by fans - welcome to New York, Tim Tebow.

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Bama, UT Say Goodbye To Douglas

The family of former Alabama and Tennessee offensive lineman Aaron Douglas held a “celebration of life” service in Knoxville on Sunday night.  Representatives from both schools — and about 2,000 people total – showed up to pay their respects to the player who passed away in Fernandina Beach, Florida last week.

Those in attendance included:

* Nick Saban, Phillip Fulmer and Johnny Majors — who coached Aaron’s father David at Tennessee.  Derek Dooley and Duke head coach David Cutcliffe were also there.  (CORRECTION — Dooley was not in attendance at the funeral as was initially reported.)

* Alabama AD Mal Moore, offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, and former O-line coach Joe Pendry.

* Tennessee linebackers coach Lance Thompson, and former UT D-line coach Dan Brooks — now at Clemson.

* Former Tennessee assistant Steve Caldwell — now at Arkansas — could not attend the service so he flew into the Knoxville area Saturday to visit with Douglas’ family.

* Former Douglas teammates at Tennessee and Alabama were in attendance.  At least 30 members of the Tide football team carpooled up for the service.  That’s in addition to the two planes worth of Alabama representatives who attended… including those mentioned above.

In the words of Cecil Hurt of The Tuscaloosa News, “Let’s hope that something good will come from a service where two teams — and may more family members and friends — remember Aaron Douglas, and the good parts of a life that was too short.”

For all of the name-calling and ugliness that sports can sometimes give birth to, it’s important to remember that in the end — we’re talking about games.  About entertainment. 

Perhaps Douglas’ death (coupled with the tragic tornadoes that hit Tuscaloosa) can help to cool some of the nastiness in some parts of the SEC for at least a little while. 

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