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SEC Gameday Links: Afternoon Delights 10/26/2013

gameday linksVanderbilt at Texas A&M

1. Two of college football’s finest wide receivers on display in this game – Mike Evans for A&M and Jordan Matthews for Vanderbilt.

2. Texas A&M needs its defense to get pressure on Vanderbilt redshirt freshman quarterback Patton Robinette

3. What does Vanderbilt coach James Franklin think about Johnny Manziel and his injured shoulder?  ”He’s going to be fine. I think he’s got like titanium bones.”

4. Vanderbilt needs to score a lot to have any chance to win this one.  Texas A&M averaging 46.9 points per game.

5. Vanderbilt gets introduced to Kyle Field today.

Tennessee at Alabama

6. The last Tennessee coach to beat Alabama in his first attempt?  Former Vols coach and current Alabama A.D. Bill Battle.

7. Not the first time this year Alabama has faced a team that’s playing better and seemingly has a little momentum.

8. Tennessee defensive tackle Daniel McCullers played a great game against South Carolina – he’ll need to do it again to give the Vols a chance today.

9. Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley on playing Tennessee and the possibility of shaking up the SEC schedule: “If we lose a game, this would not be the game to lose.”

10. Alabama’s secondary is banged up – could it mean a big day for Tennessee wide receiver Marquez North?

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SEC Headlines 10/23/2013

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Dylan Thompson will get the start at quarterback for South Carolina against Missouri.  As for the injured Connor Shaw? “He may be able to dress and get backup.”

2. Max Smith will start the game at quarterback Thursday night at Mississippi State.  Jalen Whitlow battling a sprained ankle but will be “ready to go.”

3. Mississippi State wide receiver Jameon Lewis has eclipsed his career numbers this season in catches, receiving yards and touchdown receptions.

4. Auburn center Reese Dismukes on coach Gus Malzahn: “I’m glad he’s our head coach, and he’s a heck of a coach.”

5. Big change for Tennessee in recent games – field position.  Coach Butch Jones: “Field position in the game of football is everything..”

6. Nick Saban on Tennessee’s offensive line: “This is probably the best overall offensive line we’ve had to play this year.”

7. Alabama opponents have only made 11 red-zone trips this year - tied for lowest in the country.

8. Alabama officials not happy about the mass exodus of students from Bryant-Denny Stadium.

9. Is this year Nick Saban’s best coaching job of his Alabama career?

10. Who’s the SEC Coach of the year - Gus Malzahn or Gary Pinkel?

11. Like much of the country, South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore is starting to learn about the 7-0 Missouri Tigers: “This week was my first time actually watching any type of film on them.”

12. Time to root for Alabama and Mizzou? What if Missouri really is this good?

13. Big difference this year for Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace is health.  Played the last nine games in 2012 with a separated throwing shoulder.

14. Les Miles sent a message to running back Jeremy Hill after a first-half fumble against Ole Miss.

15. Just two interceptions in five SEC games for LSU’s defense.

16. Vanderbilt senior linebacker Karl Butler on planning for Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M offense: “You have to give credit to the offensive line for giving him so much time to do what he does.

17. Bye week for Florida.  Coach Will Muschamp: ”We’ve got an off week to get it turned around.” Florida coaches planned to be out recruiting Sunday/Monday but Muschamp pulled them off the road to evaluate team.

18. Arkansas gets a bye week and a chance to regroup.  Tight end Hunter Henry: “We’re down right now.”

19. Story much the same at Georgia where the Bulldogs have a bye week after losing two straight.  Aaron Murray: I think we can be proud if we go out there and finish the season strong, go 9-3.”

SEC/College News

20. Alabama reported $143.4 million in athletic revenue in 2012-13.  That’s a 16% jump from the year before.

21. ESPN analyst Danny Kannell ranks Alabama third behind Oregon and Florida State.  ”I’m still waiting for them to be tested again before I’m ready to buy in.”

22. Athlon gives grades to 31 first-year football coaches.  A+ for Gus Malzahn.

23. Urban Meyer on the targeting rule: “The NCAA and everybody is going to want to relook at that rule.”

Practice/Injury Reports

24. Georgia running back Todd Gurley returned to practice Tuesday. Hasn’t played since suffering a sprained ankle against LSU.

25. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin on Johnny Manziel and his injured right shoulder: “Our practice rotation will change a little bit depending on what Johnny can or can’t do.”

26. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin: “Well, Manziel is playing. I don’t think there’s any doubt or question about that.”

27. Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri had surgery Tuesday on his left knee.  Could he be ready by spring practice?

28. Injuries have hit Auburn’s secondary.  Gus Malzahn: “Where we’re at depth-wise on defense, in some areas, is pretty scary.”

29. Auburn tackle Patrick Miller could miss his third straight game because of off-field issues.

30. Florida redshirt freshman Jeremi Powell reportedly tore his ACL against Missouri.

Missouri coach Frank Haith/NCAA 

31. Missouri coach Frank Haith will not appeal his five-game suspension but he doesn’t agree with the NCAA decision: “This is not an admission of guilt because I do not agree with the findings of the NCAA.”

32. Mike DeCourcy: “If he were to appeal his penalty, there are three possible results, and only one of them would be positive for him.”

33. ESPN’s Eamon Brennan: “The confusing bit…is how Haith was able to avoid charges of misleading the NCAA…”

34. “At best…Haith looked away from shenanigans…At worst, Haith choreographed the payment…

35. Mark Wiedmar: Bruce Pearl and Southern Cal should sue the NCAA.

36. MrSEC: Trying to compare NCAA cases is folly.

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A&M’s Sumlin, Staff See A Different Auburn Team On Saturday

Changes_in_Latitudes,_Changes_in_AttitudesLast year Auburn finished the season with a miserable 3-9 record that meant the gallows for Gene Chizik, a head coach who’d won the BCS title just two years earlier.

This year Auburn is 5-1 overall and ranked #24 in the nation under new head coach Gus Malzahn, the man who ran the offense for Chizik during that 2010 championship season.

With the Tigers coming to town for a ballgame Saturday, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin says it’s not just the record that’s changed on the Plains:


“That (success is) very different than the team we played last year.  It might be a lot of the same guys, but it’s completely different from an attitude standpoint and I think that shows up in not only their record, but their approach to the game on Saturday.”


Aggie offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney sees a different attitude as well:


“Once the game began (last year), it just felt like we ran up and down the field on them.  I thought their players really didn’t want to play at that particular time.  This year’s tape — you watch the tape — and they’re a totally different team.”


Texas A&M smoked Auburn 63-21 on its home field a season ago.  The Aggies rolled up 671 yards of total offense and averaged an insane 7.3 yards-per-carry on a whopping 48 rush attempts.  Johnny Manziel accounted for 350 yards on his own.

That loss dropped the Tigers to 1-7 overall and 0-6 in the SEC… a far cry from this year’s 5-1 and 2-1 (in the SEC) marks.

The differences between 2013 AU and 2012 AU are eye-popping:


* 474 yards per game on offense now versus 305 yards of total offense then

*  399 yards per game allowed now versus 420 yards per game allowed then

*  An average score of 19-28 (a loss) then to an average score of 34-19 (a win) now


A&M’s defense has been suspect all season.  In fact, the Aggie D is the worst in the SEC.  All indicators point to a Lone Star shootout on Saturday night.  And Auburn’s change in attitude from ’12 to ’13 might be the biggest reason for that outlook.

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Pssst. Wanna Buy Some Grass? A&M’s Got Some For Sale.

GrassHey, Aggie fans, how’d you like to score some of the same grass that’s been used by Johnny Manziel?  Now you can.  Texas A&M is selling live grass from the playing surface at Kyle Field.

What’d you think we were talking about?

For $400 you buy a 450 square-foot pallet of live sod.  The donor grass will be harvested after the Aggies’ home finale against Mississippi State.  A new field — which is currently being grown elsewhere — will be installed in A&M’s stadium before next season.

Those looking for a smaller supply of grass and kick in $20 for a single square.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Kyle Field grass is a mixture of tifway bermuda and rye grass.  Too bad.  We hear a mix of Kentucky bluegrass, featherbed bent and Northern California Sensimilla is really the way to go.


Playing Through

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Marshall To Start At QB For Auburn Vs Texas A&M

nick-marshallAny Auburn fans wowed by Jeremy Johnson’s performance against Western Carolina and hoping he would take over the Tigers’ starting job can forget it.  At least for now.

Nick Marshall will be the starter on Saturday at Texas A&M, back from the knee injury that kept him out of action last week and opened the door for Johnson to show off his running and throwing abilities.  To date, Marshall’s own running abilities have surpassed his passing skills.  Johnson — in completing 17-of-21 passes for 201 yards and four touchdowns — matched Marshall’s passing TD total from five games in one.

Though that one was against the less-than-formidable Catamounts.

As for Marshall, Gus Malzahn said he looked “pretty good” at practice on Sunday and that with another day’s rest yesterday, he’ll hopefully “be looking good today” at practice.

The Tigers are 5-1 on the season and are currently ranked #24 in the nation heading into Saturday’s tussle with Johnny Manziel and A&M.



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Manziel Leads Texas A&M To Exciting Win At Ole Miss

postgame-links-150x1501Texas A&M 41 – Ole Miss 38

1. Johnny Manziel was terrific for Texas A&M, tallying 439 yards of offense and five touchdowns.

2. Texas A&M had to rally multiple times in the second half. “Championship teams know how to handle adversity,” running back Ben Malena said.

3. Manziel returned to the game after a brief injury scare in the first quarter. He appeared to be just fine after he returned.

4. The loss to Texas A&M had to bring back memories for Ole Miss. The Rebels lost a close one at home to the Aggies last season.

5. Ole Miss linebacker Serderius Bryant left the game on a stretcher. He was able to give two thumbs up before being taken away.

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Ole Miss Talks, Alabama Wins; Aggies Beat Arkansas

postgame-linksAlabama 25 – Ole Miss 0. Video Highlights

1. Alabama defense gets its first shutout since 2012 Iron Bowl.  Ha-Ha Clinton Dix. “I think we came out and proved a point today.”

2. Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley: “We really wanted to stay in the game the whole time, especially after all the talking they did.”

3, Kevin Scarbinsky: “It has to be considered one of the better defensive performances of the Saban era at Alabama.”

4, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze: “They totally took it to us.”

5. The media circus around quarterback A.J. McCarron after a game.

Texas A&M 45 – Arkansas 33. Video Highlights

6. Texas A&M rushes for 262 yards - no pass attempts for Johnny Manziel in Aggies two second-half touchdown drives.

7. Since joining the conference, Aggies are perfect away from Kyle Field, won all five SEC road games.

8. Apparent left knee injury for A&M defensive tackle Kirby Ennis.

9. Quarterback Brandon Allen returns for Arkansas but interception touchdown return proves costly.

10. A&M safety Toney Hurd Jr on the play: “That changed the momentum of the game.”

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Floyd Mayweather Betting Big (Again) On Johnny Manziel & The Aggies

Boxer Floyd Mayweather is a big believer in Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.  ”Johnny Football never has an off day” he told Howard Stern today.  But Mayweather is not content to talk about Manziel – he’s putting his money where his mouth is.

Mayweather told Stern he’s betting $300,000 on Texas A&M vs. Arkansas this weekend.  Last weekend, Mayweather bet $220,000 on Manziel and the Aggies to cover the 17.5 point first-half spread against SMU.  They did and Mayweather collected a quick $200,000. He tweeted out the picture of the betting ticket over the weekend.


Many sports books don’t have a line up yet on that game perhaps due to questions surrounding the health of Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen.  A few offshore books have the Aggies listed as a three-point favorite. If Mayweather ends up losing he bet – he can afford it.  He just cashed a nearly $41 million check from a boxing match earlier this month.

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Rapper Drake Talks Up Texas A&M’s Manziel

drakeAs Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel dealt with media overexposure and multiple controversies this offseason — some real concerns, some not — the majority of Texas A&M fans stood behind him.  Face it, the kid has incredible talent on a football field and that will make up for NCAA investigations and and naughty tweets in a lot of folks’ eyes.

Aside from Aggie fans, there was one other person who backed Johnny Football throughout his trials and tribulations — rap star Drake.  Stopping by ESPN on Tuesday — which says a lot about what ESPN’s become – the rapper took the time to talk up his new pal:


“He’s a great guy and he’s got the best intentions.  He does nothing with malicious intent.  I love him to death.  We’ve gone from sort of like I’m a fan of his and he’s a fan of mine to genuine friends.  And I think we’ll be friends for a long time…

He is a pure soul… He’s not a wild guy.  He’s passionate about music and he’s passionate about football.  In his free time when he (wasn’t) playing football, he chose to come see me (in Toronto).”


The 26-year-old Drake also sees himself as a type of mentor for Manziel.  “Despite what some people report, I actually consider myself a positive reinforcement in his life,” the rapper said.  “I try to keep him on track.  I know he has a bright future and he’s displaying it right, especially in his last two performances.”

If Drake has had anything to do with Manziel’s numbers to date — 1,228 passing yards, 255 rushing yards, and 15 touchdowns total — he should go into the business of quarterback-whispering.


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Las Vegas Sports Book Has Alabama 3-Point Favorite Over Oregon

Sports BookOne survived on the road against a fellow SEC opponent.  The other one destroyed an SEC team on its home turf Saturday.  With Alabama and Oregon undefeated and ranked No. 1 and No. 2, it was only a matter of time before people began talking about a matchup in a national championship game.

Preparing for a potential matchup, the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas has starting taking wagers with the Crimson Tide listed as a 3-point favorite over the Ducks.

Alabama is a heavy favorite Saturday (40 points in some places) against Colorado State.  Oregon is off this week and kicks off its conference schedule against Cal on September 28th.

This news comes on the same day another sports book says Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is now the favorite to win the Heisman.  He’s a (slight) favorite over Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Here’s how the top five candidates breakdown according to Bovada.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon: 9/2

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: 5/1

AJ McCarron, Alabama: 13/2

Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville: 13/2

Jameis Winston, Florida State: 9/1

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is listed at 25-1.

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