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Ex-Alabama QB McElroy Joins SEC Network Team

gfx-they-said-it4The roster of SEC Network personnel continues to grow as its August launch date draws closer and closer.  Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy has given up on his NFL dreams after a three-year stint with the Jets and Bengals and signed on with ESPN as an analyst for its new start-up channel.

He is the sixth on-air personality to be named so far joining Brent Musburger (lead play-by-play man), Joe Tessitore (top studio host), Paul Finebaum (commentator who’s daily radio show will be simulcast on the channel), Jesse Palmer (lead color analyst) and Tim Tebow (analyst).

In the state of Alabama, there’s really only one question when it comes to McElroy and his new gig — How will he cover Auburn?


“I hope they know that when I go down there, I’ll be going with a very professional manner.  I’ll be going to cover the game and be unbiased and tell what I really think.  I think the world of every one of those schools and there’s not one school I like more than any other.  Of course, I went to the University of Alabama and I loved my time there, but at this point going forward, I’ll have an unbiased opinion and will enjoy covering the game in a neutral way.”


To date that’s two Florida alums and one from Alabama.  More ex-SEC players will likely be coming on board between now and the network’s launch date.  Think that will lead to any complaints or yelps about bias this fall?  Naaaaaah.


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SEC Headlines 3/13/2014

headlines-thuSEC Football

1. Is Florida the best coaching job in the SEC?  Athlon ranks all 128 college football jobs from a coaching perspective.

2. NCAA grants Florida wide receiver/returner Andre Debose a sixth year of eligibility.

3. Who will step up at wide receiver for LSU? 95-percent of receiver production for the Tigers is gone.

4. Will linebacker Kris Frost be a force in the middle for Auburn this fall?

5. South Carolina redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kwinton Smith no longer with the team.

6. Tennessee defensive tackle Danny O’Brien on his offseason arrest: ”I’m glad it happened. It taught me a life lesson that I’ll know forever.”

7. The Internal Revenue Service is auditing three bowls – one of them is the Gator.

SEC Media

8. Expect to see a lot of Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer when the SEC Network launches in August.


9. Several NFL coaches on hand for Alabama’s pro day on Wednesday.

10. Does AJ McCarron think he’s the best quarterback in this draft?  ”Yeah, why not?”

SEC Basketball

11. Texas A&M vs Missouri.  What’s the status of Aggies leading scorer Jamal Jones?  “If he can walk and chew gum, we will play him because we need him.”

12. Does Missouri need to win the SEC Tournament to reach the Big Dance?

13. South Carolina vs Arkansas.  Arkansas guard Mardracus Wade: ”I want to finish out with a bang.”

14. Alabama vs. LSU.  Tigers guard Andre Stringer: “I want that sense of urgency to come now.”

15 .Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss.  Rebels need big contributions from Anthony Perez if they’re to have any chance of repeating as tournament champs.

16. Could the SEC Tournament do more harm than good for Kentucky?

17. When Florida plays Friday, it will be the first time all season the Gators have played in a domed stadium.

18. Since 1979, Tennessee has gone one-and-done in the SEC Tournament 15 times.

19. Cutting former Auburn coach Tony Barbee no slack: “It wasn’t working. So it was time for him to go.”

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ESPN’s Palmer: MSU’s Prescott Is The Best Running QB Mullen Has Coached

gfx - by the numbersBetter than Tim Tebow?  Better than Alex Smith?

According to ESPN analyst and former Florida quarterback Jesse Palmer, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen has never coached a better running quarterback than the guy he’s got now:


“He’s the best running quarterback that Dan Mullen’s ever coached.  Yeah, that includes Alex Smith, who was the #1 pick overall.  That includes Tim Tebow…

The escapability, you don’t have to block everybody in order for him to give you the explosive play.  He makes this offense better in the red zone a lot like Tim Tebow and Alex Smith.”


When healthy, Prescott did make the Bulldogs’ offense tougher to prepare for thanks to his legs.  That much can’t be debated.  It also can’t be debated that both Tebow and Smith had more talent around them (or in Smith’s case played a lesser schedule) during their collegiate careers.  Still, the “big play” talk got us to wondering…

Below are the rushing numbers for each QB mentioned by Palmer.  Let’s see how Prescott stacks up.  We’ll look only at seasons in which the quarterbacks in question topped the 100-carry mark:


  Quarterback   Rushes   Yards   Yds/Carry   TDs
  Prescott, MSU 2013   111   722   6.5   10
  Smith, Utah 2004   135   631   4.6   10
  Tebow, Florida 2007   210   895   4.3   23
  Tebow, Florida 2009   217   910   4.2   14
  Tebow, Florida 2008   176   673   3.8   12
  Smith, Utah 2003   149   452   3.0   5


Tebow was a battering ram.  Prescott is a scrambler.  Smith was somewhere between the two.  All three QBs played in the same system, but all three were used a bit differently.  Still, a look at the numbers does suggest Prescott is more capable of big plays and escapes than the other two greats coached by Mullen.

Perhaps that’s one reason he finished among the SEC’s 10 best rushers this past season.

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Jesse Palmer On Aaron Murray: “They Could Have Had 800 Yards Of Offense…”

gfx - they said itESPN analyst and former Florida quarterback Jesse Palmer has watched the tape of the Georgia-Clemson game.  Though the Bulldogs lost 38-35 in an offensive shootout, Palmer came away unimpressed with the performance of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, indicating that if he’d played better, Georgia would have won it. Here’s what Palmer told Chip Towers of this week.


“I put that game on Aaron. He just left so many huge plays on the field. He’s got to make better throws. He just wasn’t very accurate. He just wasn’t putting the ball in the strike zone. They could have had 800 yards of offense in that game. I’m being dead serious.”


Georgia didn’t have 800 yards of offense in the game but it did have 545.  Murray threw for 323 yards but Palmer specifically pointed to three plays that he says should have gone for big yardage.


“If you didn’t watch the game and saw the box score you’d assume he played really well. But he’s got to play better and he’d be the first to tell you that. Listen, he made some big-time throws in the game and he was getting some pressure. But with his skillset and as much football as he’s played, being the leader he is on that team, in a shoot-out game like that against an offensive team like Clemson, he’s just got to step up and make those plays.”


Murray and the 0-1 Bulldogs meet South Carolina Saturday.  We’ll have our game previews and picks posted later today.


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Tyler’s Take: Grading The Broadcast Booths

With an empty house this past weekend I took in about 14 hours of college football and am handing out grades to those who share their football wisdom with the viewers.

Verne & Danielson: A++ There’s a reason why these two get the best game each Saturday at 3:30. Combine Verne’s grandfatherly voice with Danielson’s ability to pick up and articulate bits of in-game information that’s invisible to most of watching at home makes this combo untouchable.

Musburger & Herbie: A+ Almost a clone to the pair mentioned above I just can’t give a second + sign that doesn’t exist in the first place. Jay Bilas, for the first time in his life, would say both these broadcasting teams have reached their “tremendous upside potential.”

Fowler & Davis: A Both playing quarterback on Saturday’s for their respective teams these two never fail. Fowler’s the best host college football has ever had, and Davis is amazing considering the players he’s got to coach every Saturday.

Erin Andrews: A It’s Erin Andrews. She could stop Nick Saban while he’s running towards the locker room after a bad half and ask him how to solve world peace and he’d at least try to come up with an answer. After three seconds he’d cuss her out and give her the stinkeye and EA would carry on like Saban just asked her to marry him.

Samantha Steele: B+ Not quite Erin Andrews 2.0, the fantastic porn name gives her the plus. With a name like that I suggest chasing John Brantley into the locker room against UK to check on his injury isn’t the best play. Now if we can get her to do an interview with John Holmes – now known as J.B. Holmes – about life on the PGA tour she automatically moves into A+++ territory.

Jesse Palmer: B+ Palmer’s really starting to shine and isn’t afraid to throw his opinion around. Even rocking the Lloyd Christmas ultra-tight suit and mid-80’s skinny tie, Palmer’s going to be talking about college football on ESPN for a very long time and that “suits” me just fine.

Derek Dooley: B+ He’s funny and good. Dooley’s Southern Comfort and Laney Boy’s Southern California.

David Pollack: B Not in the same league as his buddy Palmer.

Tim Brando: D The “Fly in the Ointment” died a few years ago.

May and Holtz: D- The Dr. Lou segment and the infatuation with Notre Dame is bad. He still thinks they can win 20 games this year is worse. Mark May spending 80% of his air time talking about offensive lineman is like taking 29 Ambien. The entire Courtroom skit has me throwing cushions off my couch to find the remote.

Spencer Tillman: F While Tillman isn’t bad on set – somewhere in the 70’s – any man who wears copious amounts of mascara, eyeliner and sheen in his hair gets downgraded. The sixth Jackson family member really does exist.

Lee Corso: Incomplete. I love Corso to death since he’s been with us since the creation of CGD, but if Auburn’s eagle swooped down and plucked Corso off the set would viewers at home even notice?

Tyler Beam works as a communications specialist for a Louisville, Kentucky company.  A lifetime SEC fan – long before it became “acceptable” to cheer for every team in the conference – he plans on writing several books about college football that have a fantastic chance of never being written. 
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