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SEC Headlines 9/3/2011 Part Two

1. Dennis Dodd: “As the Big 12 looks for new dance partners and Texas A&M waits to be asked to the SEC prom, realignment is centering on Texas and Oklahoma.”

2. Late Friday afternoon Big 12 conference call – presidents from Oklahama, Texas and Texas A&M reportedly excluded.

3.  University of Oklahoma president David Boren: “There is no school in the Big 12 more active than we are right now.”

4. Coaches and television contracts have turned the SEC into the dominant league in college football.

5. Jon Solomon: “The games are back. Lord, do we need them.”

6. The three Boise State players withheld from tonight’s game are all from Amsterdam.

7. Mark Bradley:” I still can’t get over Boise State being favored against Georgia — in the Georgia Dome.

8. Jim Kleinpeter:” LSU might even need this game a little more than Oregon, with a tougher schedule to follow.”

9. Scott Rabalais: “If you think that (Jarrett) Lee might be panicked by suddenly being thrown into the role of starting quarterback and leader...you’d be mistaken.”

10.  ”(R)arely has a game on Labor Day weekend featured as much significance to the BCS title hunt as this one does.”

11. With both Alabama and Tennessee waiting for his answer, Dave Hart considers his options.

12. John Adams on Montana- Tennessee: “You want insight and information? Wait till next week.”

13. For only the second time in his 19 seasons as a head coach, Houston Nutt will not call plays this year.

14. By position, best and worst case scenarios this season for the Florida Gators.

15. Some of the rule changes impacting college football this year.

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UGA’s Crowell And Samuel Could Be Out Til Next Week

If you’re Mark Richt, the last thing you needed were injuries at the tailback position.  After a wave of departures this offseason, the Bulldogs’ coach found himself with a tailback-turned-linebacker-turned-tailback and a true freshman as his 1-2 options heading into the fall.  Now both are on the shelf for a few more days.

First-team tailback Richard Samuel has already missed two practices with a left quad injury.  “I don’t know how long he’ll be, but he definitely isn’t ready yet,” Richt told The Macon Telegraph.  “My guess is it’ll be early next week before we even start thinking about it.”

Isaiah Crowell — the all-everything freshman who some are expecting to be this year’s version of Marcus Lattimore — is still limited with a groin injury.

“He still can’t really move quick enough to be safe and be competitive,” Richt said.  “I mean he gave it a go today, but it’s not ready yet.  He thought he was ready and he wasn’t.  He’s farther along than I’d say Richard right now.”

Richt said he expects both players to be back for the opener against Boise State.  But in Crowell’s case especially, any missed practice time — true learning time — has to be a concern.

No one is worried about the rookie’s ability to run the football.  And so far, he’s gotten good grades for picking up the offense.  But if he’s going to be a complete player right from the get-go, Crowell will also have to master blitz pick-ups and quarterback protections.  The more reps he misses in practice, the more likely it is that Samuel will get the bulk of the work against the Broncos in the Georgia Dome.

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Bama To Open With Virginia Tech In 2013

Alabama has become the king of the made-for-TV football season kickoff games.  Specifically those held in Atlanta.

The 2013 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome will pit the Crimson Tide against the ACC’s Virginia Tech.   Bama and Tech met in the 2009 edition of the game, too, with Nick Saban’s squad winning 34-24.  The Tide went unscathed the rest of the season to capture the BCS crown in January 2010.

Alabama also met Clemson in the first Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game back in 2008.  The Tide won that one, too, 34-10… announcing their return to national prominence.

This year’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff event features Georgia versus Boise State.  Next year’s edition will be a double-header with Tennessee against NC State and Auburn against Clemson on the season’s opening weekend.

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Calipari Isn’t Worried About Winning The SEC Tourney

Winning the SEC Tournament in Atlanta — where thousands of Big Blue fans will take over the Georgia Dome — isn’t a top priority for Kentucky’s John Calipari.

“We’re just playing for the (NCAA Tournament) seed, really,” Doron Lamb said yesterday.  “That’s the main thing.  Coach said it doesn’t matter if we lose or win, but we’re trying to win every game we can right now.  If we get the championship, we get it.”

Is that true, Coach?

“Yeah, we’d like to win it, obviously,” Calipari said.  “But it’s for seeding more than anything else.  This tournament is to prepare us to play well that following week.”

“Have fun” is another Calipari key come tourney time.

“My best teams, what we drove them with and what they thought about… you’ve got to have more fun than everybody else.  And you really have to stay in the moment.

“You can’t worry about winning.  Just worry about playing hard and executing.  You’ve got to recognize each other’s good play.  You’ve got to be prepared to practice and really bring it every practice. … Help each other during games.  Chest bumps.  Give them layups.  You’ve got to have fun playing, and that’s the only way to have fun.”

Kudos to Calipari for saying what everyone else already knows — the SEC Tournament is about seeding and nothing else.  If you’re a scrub and you’re trying to pry open the door to the NCAA tourney — a la Georgia in 2008 — sure the tourney championship means something.

But to the teams already expected to get a Big Dance invitation, the league tourney is a warm-up, nothing more.

Question: Would you rather your favorite team win the SEC Tournament and go out in the first round of the NCAA tourney… or lose its first game in Atlanta and then make a run to the Final Four?

Exactly.

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Richt Expects Crowell To Be “Heavily” Involved

Interviewed moments ago on ESPN, Mark Richt was asked how much he expects hotshot running back prospect Isaiah Crowell to contribute next year.  He answered with one word and a laugh.

“Heavily.”

“I expect him to come right in and compete right away and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him running that rock in the (Georgia) Dome against Boise State on the opening play if he does what he’s supposed to do.”

Richt has already said that he believes this class to be the best he’s ever signed at Georgia.  Crowell gives that belief some credence.

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Gamecocks to Face FSU in Chick-fil-A Bowl

The University of South Carolina has accepted an invitation to appear in the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl, it was announced today. The Gamecocks (9-4) will face the Florida State Seminoles (9-4), out of the Atlantic Coast Conference at 7:30 p.m. ET on December 31, 2010, in the Georgia Dome. The game will be televised by ESPN, running unopposed in its prime time slot.
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Auburn Makes History in Its ‘Finest Hour’

Auburn made history at the Georgia Dome on Saturday–emphatically punching its ticket to the school’s first BCS National Championship game with a dominating 56-17 win over South Carolina.
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SEC Championship Practice Highlights

Watch highlights of the Gamecocks’ practice at the Georgia Dome on Friday as they prepare to face Auburn in the SEC Championship at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.
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SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMEDAY: No. 16/18 Gamecocks vs. No. 1 Auburn

South Carolina will play for its first SEC Championship on Saturday as the Gamecocks face the Auburn Tigers at the Georgia Dome. Click here for more information on the game.
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SEC Championship Game Headlines – 12/3/10

1.  Carolina’s Ellis Johnson was surprised by Cam Newton’s abilities in their first meeting this year.

2.  Steve Spurrier has the edge over Gene Chizik in big game experience.

3.  Tickets are are going for $460 a pop on StubHub.com.

4.  This SEC Championship Game might be better than the last two.

5.  Spurrier has been a game-changer in the SEC.

6.  When it comes to title game rematches, sweeps are commonplace.

7.  Marcus Lattimore might be tougher for Auburn to stop this time around.

8.  Lattimore has helped Carolina rise to the top of the SEC East.

9.  Auburn’s Eltoro Freeman is fired up to “just play.”

10.  This writer tabs Auburn to win tomorrow’s matchup.

11.  Tony Barnhart likes the Tigers in “an instant classic.”

12.  Carolina fans are enjoying a brand new experience.

13.  Will Cock fans get to hear “Sandstorm” in the Georgia Dome?



(Don’t USC fans know that nobody listens to techno?)

14.  Carolina defenders know what Newton is capable of… this time.

15.  The coaches explain what’s changed since the teams’ first meeting in September.

16.  Auburn’s front will be another big challenge for the Gamecocks’ O-line.

17.  This writer says barring a rout, Auburn deserves a BCS title shot even with a loss.  (Agreed.)

18.  The Cocks and Tigers will have to adjust to playing in a dome tomorrow.

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