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Auburn Officials Dead Set On Preserving Georgia Rivalry

gfx - they said itFor all the talk this week of the SEC’s schedule being held hostage by Alabama and Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia have been pretty darn vocal about keeping their rivalry alive, too.  And with good reason… it’s the Deep South’s oldest rivalry dating back to 1892.

Tuesday, Bulldog coach Mark Richt let everyone know that his school doesn’t want the UGA/AU game to go away.  Yesterday, Auburn officials took a similar stance:

 

“Our Auburn/Georgia rivalry is a big thing.  Particularly the proximity, the difference we’ve had with different coaches, administrators being at Georgia, being at Auburn, an Auburn graduate being at Georgia.  We have to be real careful moving forward…

There’s certain things about college football, that just because you change them doesn’t mean it’s better.  The South’s oldest rivalry, that’s important.”

– Auburn AD Jay Jacobs

 

“That’s very important, one of the oldest rivalries in football.  It’s important to our fans, it’s important to our players and coaches…

Of course, me personally, I like the way it’s been with the 6-1-1 (format).  I know playing Georgia’s very important to Auburn fans, and if you look back from the last seven years, the conference has been very successful at the end.  That’s the most important thing.”

– Auburn coach Gus Malzahn

 

No need to fear, Auburn and Georgia fans.  It doesn’t look like LSU has the votes to ix-nay your rivalry anytime soon.

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Richt Wants To Keep Georgia/Auburn Game On The Schedule

gfx - they said itCount Mark Richt and Georgia among those in favor of keeping permanent rivalries alive in the SEC future scheduling format.  That’s no surprise as the Bulldogs and Auburn Tigers share the oldest rivalry in the Deep South.

Yesterday at the SEC meetings in Destin, Richt said:

 

“The one thing I will say that I would vote on is to continue to have our rival game with Auburn.  I don’t know how it’s going to go, but I vote for us to continue to play Auburn…

It truly is a rival game for us.  For over 100 years we’ve been playing them, so I’d like that to continue.”

 

Richt was asked if playing the game less frequently might somehow make the game more special.  The former Miami Hurricane player responded by pointing to his alma mater’s rivalry with Florida: “I was there when we played every year.  I think it was much more meaningful when we played every year as opposed to when it got taken from the schedule.”

In other words, don’t touch the Georgia/Auburn game.

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Yo, Aggie Fans, You Can’t Complain About ‘Horn Fans If You Act Like ‘Em

Since Texas A&M joined the SEC, Aggie-backers have told tale upon tale of the evils of the Texas Longhorns.  Their athletics program, their network, their fans.

A few Horns have, of course, also come to our site to post attacks against A&M, as well.  To be blunt, it all seems really quite silly.

But Aggie fans will need to pipe down a bit about Texas fans if they were behind a string of pro-TAMU messages recently spray-painted across the University of Texas’ campus in Austin.  We say if because when a pro-A&M taunt aimed at Florida appeared in billboard form in Gainesville back in September, Aggie fans immediate claimed it had to be the work of a Texas fan who wanted to make A&M look bad.  The school itself tracked down the person(s) behind the board and had it taken down, but the school never released — to my knowledge — any information about who actually posted that billboard.

And if it had really been a Texas fan or booster group behind the sign, we’re guessing A&M officials would have pointed that out pretty dang quickly.

At any rate, the messages left on the campus of the Big XII’s UT included such Aggie-centric phrases as “Howdy,” “gig ‘em,” “farmer’s fight,” “atm” and, of course, “SEC.”

One message also read, “Do you miss us yet?”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaac Targets The Gulf

SEC football fans, the opening week of the season could get a bit hairy depending on the final track of Isaac — which depending on when you read this — could be categorized as a hurricane or a tropical storm.  Most projections expect it to become a hurricane late tonight or early tomorrow.

As you can see from the Weather.com-provided map below, the Deep South is in the target zone for the storm and that could eventually impact a number of SEC football games.  Texas A&M’s game with Louisiana Tech in Shreveport on Thursday appears to be in the greatest danger, though lingering winds, rain and storm damage could affect other contests later in the week as well.

There have been no announced game changes yet, but folks from Florida to Georgia to Alabama to Missisissippi to Louisiana to Texas are all eyeballing the storm.

 

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West Coast Prospect Talks About Southern Football Passion

Four-star California D-line prospect Eddie Vanderdoes is looking South when it comes to his collegiate football home.  With scholarship offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss and Tennessee… no wonder.

According to The Sporting News, Vanderdoes — and this is why we’ve got a recruiting story on the home page and not simply on our Recruiting Pageopened up about the differences he’s already seen between West Coast players and southern players:

 

“It’s almost like a culture change being around the southern guys.  If you compare them to the California and West Coast guys, they just take it a lot more personally.  They’re more physical.  When they’re going against you in drills, it just seems like they have a bigger purpose—that they’re representing everything that backs them up back home.”

 

Such a comment should come as no surprise to anyone who’s experienced the madness surrounding high school football in the Deep South.  There’s as much interest in some high school rivalries as their is in some college games.

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Can We Please Stop The “Big Ten Teams Have To Play In Hot Weather At Bowl Time” Nonsense?

This morning I was reading a razor-sharp attack on the Big Ten’s undying allegiance to the Rose Bowl by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports.  In it, Wetzel treads awfully close to an argument that’s been used by dozens of Big Ten supporters during the recent push to put the semifinals of a new college football playoff — if we actually get a new college football playoff — on campuses, rather than at bowl sites:

 

“And what about the chance for the Big Ten to finally stop playing games in SEC/Pac-12 country, maybe see if one of those sunshine programs can handle a few flakes of Midwest snow?”

 

Ah, yes, the weather.  You know the line as you’ve probably heard it/read it as many times as this writer has: “SEC teams should have to go play in the cold instead of Big Ten teams always having to go play bowls where it’s hot.”

Whether you like the idea of on-campus semifinals or not — and the SEC would have hosted more games than any other conference under such a set-up, by the way — it’s time to drive a stake through the heart of the “it’s the heat” myth.

Currently, the Big Ten plays three bowl games against SEC teams in the state of Florida — the Capital One in Orlando, the Outback in Tampa, and the Gator in Jacksonville.  All are played on New Year’s Day.  According to Weather.com:

 

* The average high in Orlando on that day is 71 degrees with an average low of 50.

* In Tampa, the average high on New Year’s Day is 70 degrees and the average low is 52.

* In Jacksonville, the average high is 65 degrees with an average low of 41.

 

I’ll buy that Big Ten schools have farther to travel than their SEC counterparts when it comes to bowling in the Sunshine State.  I’ll freely admit that the crowds on hand for those games are likely to have a pro-SEC slant.  I’ll even admit that seeing SEC teams play in the snow of January would be darn fun.

But the idea that Big Ten teams melt in 50-70 degree temperatures like the Nazis in “Raiders of the Lost Ark?”  Sorry, not buying it.  Even the average afternoon humidity in January in those three cities is in the 53-57% range.

Look, if the bowl games were played in Florida on August 1st instead of on January 1st, those many Big Ten folks who’ve been beating the “we have to play in their heat” drum would get my support.

As it stands, however, not even the Saskatchewan Roughriders should wilt at 71 degrees.

Folks who want to make the case for on-campus semifinals — an idea which appears to be dead anyway — can pick from any other number of good reasons.  They just need to drop the bit about Big Ten teams playing in Deep South heat.  ’Cause in January, there is no Deep South heat.

 

Unbelievable Update — Those of you who read this site know that we often link you to the work of Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News.  We think he’s sharp as a tack (probably because we agree with most of his work).  Well, as we were putting today’s headlines together just now — 11:30am ET — we found his latest column:  “Big Ten fans: Chill the griping about SEC football weather patterns.”

No wonder we like that guy.

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SEC Headlines 11/12/2011 Part One

Florida at South Carolina

1. The Gamecocks expect they will be able to put pressure on Gators QB John Brantley.

2. Brantley was born in Columbia, S.C. Expect him to be in the pistol formation again today.

3. Can Florida deliver what’ s been lacking all season? Consistency.

Kentucky at Vanderbilt

4. Vanderbilt lost to Florida, Georgia and Arkansas by a combined 13 points.  Last year?  119 points.

5. Vandy desperately trying to pack the stadium today.

6. Vanderbilt had the first men’s basketball team in the league to integrate, and Kentucky was the first football team to do so.

Auburn at Georgia

7. Cam Newton was blowing kisses at the end of this game last year.  Georgia hasn’t forgotten.

8. Is the oldest rivalry in the Deep South also the dirtiest?

9. Players downplay the tensions.

10. A focus on stopping on Michael Dyer means Clint Moselely is key to Auburn’s chances.

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Auburn To The SEC East? If The League Expands West, Then Yes

If the SEC were to expand and add Texas A&M and another member from the Big 12 (Oklahoma or Missouri, for argument’s sake), the big question would be: How will the league divvy up its 14 schools?

The simplest plan — and a plan that we believe would be A-1 on top of Mike Slive’s list of options — is one that Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News writes of today.

Auburn would move to the SEC East. 

That’s not far-fetched, folks.  There was debate when the SEC split into divisions 19 years ago over the placement of Auburn and Vanderbilt.  Grab a map and you’ll see that Auburn is actually a good bit east of Nashville.

Also — as Scarbinsky points out here – the Tigers have a deeper history with teams in the SEC East than with many of the teams in the SEC West.

Here are the five league schools Auburn has faced most often in football:


1.  Georgia — 114 games (the oldest rivalry in the Deep South)
2.  Mississippi State — 84 games
3.  Florida — 82 games
4.  Alabama — 75 games
5.  Tennessee — 51 games


The Tigers have played Georgia, Florida and Tennessee more than they’ve played Ole Miss, LSU and, obvisously, Arkansas.  For that reason, moving Auburn east would be quicker and less painful than just about any other scenario. 

The Iron Bowl game would become the permanent non-divisional game for both Auburn and Alabama.  And, yes, that could mean two AU-UA games each year if both schools won their divisions.  (Sidenote — If the SEC wanted to preserve the ancient Alabama-Tennessee rivalry, it might consider going back to having two permanent non-divisional rivals for each school.)

Either way, if the SEC adds just two teams and both come from west of the Mississippi River, we at MrSEC.com would fully expect the league’s divisions to shakeout as follows:


SEC West
SEC East
Alabama
Auburn
Arkansas
Florida
LSU
Georgia
Missouri or Oklahoma
Kentucky
Miss. State
S. Carolina
Ole Miss
Tennessee
Texas A&M
Vanderbilt



As we’ve said time and again, however, we believe we’re still a long way from the SEC announcing any new editions to its roster of schools.

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SEC Headlines – 1/28/11

1.  One former Vol has confidence in new Alabama offensive lineman Aaron Douglas… who transferred from Tennessee.

2.  Ben Eblen has turned into a leader for the Bama basketball team.

3.  Meet Tide assistant hoops coach Dan Hipsher.  (It’s worth your time.)

4.  Was God angling for Auburn in the BCS title game?  (I certainly hope my God isn’t involved in fixing games.  There are more important issues that need the Almighty’s attention.)

5.  If you’ve got an hour (or six), ask John Pelphrey about all the suspensions and injuries at Arkansas in recent years.

6.  Can the Hogs finally manage a road win when they face Vandy tomorrow?

7.  Ralston Turner will be back on the court for LSU when they face Alabama tomorrow.

8.  Weather came between Les Miles and some recruits this week.  (Maybe God likes Auburn and really dislikes LSU.)

9.  In serious news, a Texas law firm is investigating the February, 2010 death of Ole Miss football player Bennie Abram.  The player’s family might sue the school.

10.  Here’s more on the potential lawsuit.

11.  Houston Nutt is chasing corners and safeties.

12.  Rebel Forward Terrance Henry is gearing up to play Tennessee tomorrow, but his mind’s on his due-to-be-born-at-any-minute son.

13.  Mississippi State showed more heart last night against Vandy… but to no avail.

14.  An NBA scout wasn’t impressed with Renardo Sidney when he saw him against Georgia last weekend.

15.  The departure of Manny Diaz has hurt MSU’s recruiting class.

16.  Florida wants to make the most of this final recruiting weekend.

17.  This writer says Gator fans should just forget about signing day.

18.  Gator b’baller Chandler Parsons is fine after a towel injury.  (Yeah, you read that right.)

19.  Kentucky has won 28 home games in a row heading into tomorrow’s game with Georgia… a team that beat the Cats in Athens.

20.  Terrence Jones’ aunt says her nephew and John Calipari have “a really good relationship, actually.”  (I wonder if Jones is getting tired of hearing his aunt talk about him in the press?)

21.  Sounds like Lexington’s new mayor and the powers-that-be at UK don’t see eye-to-eye on a new arena for the Wildcats.

22.  Tennessee’s Melvin Goins needs to bring consistency from the point guard position.

23.  Bruce Pearl says Ole Miss will be tough to guard tomorrow in Oxford.

24.  Vanderbilt’s win in Starkville last night was the program’s first since way back in 1993.  (Or as it relates to me: 250 pounds ago.)

25.  Three SEC coaches received bowl bonuses for taking their teams to bowls with 6-6 records (and Mark Richt, Derek Dooley and Joker Phillips all lost).

26.  America’s elite defensive linemen are in the Deep South.

Sidenote — South Carolina has now passed Vanderbilt as the SEC team getting the least amount of free coverage on the internet.  Sorry, Cock fans.  We would link you to an honest-to-goodness news story if anyone in the Palmetto State cared to write one.

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Vandy Still Looking For A D-Line Coach; Secondary Coach Reportedly Onboard

Earlier this week, we told you that Vanderbilt — though no official announcement has been made — had hired Bob Shoop (from William & Mary) and Brent Pry (from Georgia Southern) to act as co-defensive coordinators.

VandySports.com — the Rivals site covering the Commodores — has also reported that new coach James Franklin has hired former Miami Hurricanes secondary coach Wesley McGriff.  McGriff (photo at left) would be the first member of Vandy’s new staff to have recruited extensively in the Deep South for an FBS school.  In addition to Miami, he also spent two seasons on Guy Morriss’ staff at Kentucky.

As was the case with his offensive staff, Franklin apparently wants to announce his defensive hires all at once.  So until he inks a defensive line coach, expect no official announcements from Nashville’s West End.

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