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SEC Headlines 12/31/2013

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1. Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo reportedly set to talk to Georgia Southern about its head coaching vacancy. Makes $575,000 a year at Georgia under a three-year contract. Mark Richt: “I’m not shocked that Mike’s getting some attention in that regard.”

2, Bobo on Jacksonville: “Our philosophy is Jacksonville is just an extension of Georgia.”

3, Is LSU coach Les Miles still a Big Ten man at heart? LSU A.D. Joe Alleva on Miles: “He has five years left on his contract, and I expect him to be our coach for a long time to come.”

4. Enjoy the Johnny Manziel to Mike Evans connection tonight.  Could be the last time you see them in Texas A&M uniforms. The Aggies Malcome Kennedy nearly two months ago: “It was fun playing with them.” Watch them tonight in person for under 10 bucks.

5, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin once interviewed at Tennessee for the wide receivers coaching position.  Job went to Pat Washington (now at Missouri) instead.

6. A win for Dan Mullen today would give the Mississippi State head coach the most bowl victories in school history.

7. One of the reasons why the SEC is going for its 8th straight title?  Avoiding major NCAA penalties.  ”This can’t be overstated enough.”

8. Who benefits most from the four-week layoff before BCS title game?  Kirk Herbstreit says it’s Florida State’s defense.

9. Herbstreit on Alabama-Oklahoma:  ”I think the game will be much, much closer than what a lot of people who I’m listening to or talking to think.”

10. Is Alabama junior safety HaHa Clinton-Dix NFL bound?  Says he’s yet to make up his mind.

11. Alabama’s struggles at the cornerback position this year are something new for defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

12. South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward to Jadeveon Clowney: ”I told him, ‘You’ve gotta slow down.’ Life is precious.”

13. Why exactly is Wisconsin favored to beat South Carolina?

14. LSU and the Outback Bowl: “For a litany of reasons, some that still don’t make a ton of sense, the interest in this game has been lukewarm from the LSU fan base.”

15. Missouri’s L’Damian Washington has been bothered with a sore foot but expected to play in the Cotton Bowl.

16. With all starters coming back, the linebacking corps projects as a position of strength at Florida.

17. The future at Ole Miss: “The team’s top two rushers, top two receivers and 15 of its top 20 tacklers all have eligibility remaining…”

SEC Media

18. ESPN hires Tim Tebow as analyst for the SEC Network.

19. Richard Deitsch: “ESPN’s research department has pushed a singular mantra when it comes to college football: You can never have too much SEC. ”

Extras

20. University of Texas A.D. Steve Patterson says he hopes to have a replacement in place for Mack Brown by January 15. Cross Jimbo Fisher off the list?

21. Why Peyton Manning could lose his record for single season passing yardage.

22. Want to read the University of Kentucky’s entire contract with Nike?

23. What would you name a newborn in Alabama?  Krimson Tyde of course.

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That Weird Eminem Interview On ABC? Don’t Blame The Announcers

In the internet age there’s no telling what the viral story/topic/video of the day is going to be.  One day it’s “Gangnam Style,” the next it’s some girl “twerking” until she literally catches on fire.

Well for the past couple of days, the topic seemingly everyone has been talking about — and this has nothing to do with the SEC, by the way — is the bizarro halftime interview of rap star Eminem (or Marshall Mathers, if you prefer) during Saturday’s Michigan/Notre Dame game.  That clip is everywhere.  Hell, it’s even right here:

 

Eminem talks Berzerk, MMLP2 & asks Brent Musburger to call a Lions Game

 

Now, the go-to joke in all of this has been that Brent Musburger is so obsessed with gambling that he just had to question Eminem about the Detroit Lions’ ability to cover the spread on Sunday.  (They did.)

OK.  Got it.  Ha ha.  Everyone picks on Brent.

But just what were Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit going to ask Mathers that would have worked?  Herbstreit tried to be hip by asking Mathers’ about his new album.  And when asked what excited him about his new recording, Mathers said, “Um, nothing.”

Now where would you go at that point?

Hey, for all the mockery being tossed at the two broadcasters, Saturday’s failed, goofy interview can be traced to one person only… and it’s not even the goofball being interviewed.  No, the person who should have to wear a little egg on their face today is whoever decided it would be a good idea to put Eminem in the broadcast booth with Herbstreit and Musburger during a football game in the first place.

I’ve worked in television for 20+ years.  I’ve been a producer and I’ve been, ahem, “talent.”  The first rule of producing is this: Don’t make the talent look stupid.  I can tell you that as someone who’s been on both sides of the camera.

No one should be fired for swinging and missing on this one.  It happens.  But for all the grief the two pros are getting for their inability to steer that vessel away from the falls, the person who should be saying “my bad,” today is the same person who said last week, “Eminem, football, Musburger… yeah, that could work.”

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Pollack: ESPN’s “GameDay” To UGA, Clemson Game

gfx - they said itFormer Georgia Bulldog and current ESPN analyst David Pollack revealed yesterday that his network’s “College GameDay” crew will be heading to South Carolina for the season-opening tilt between old rivals Georgia and Clemson.  At least that’s what he thinks is going to happen:

 

“We’ll be there, yeah.  I think with Clemson and their fanbase and how great they are, and GameDay hasn’t been there in a long time… I don’t know if it’s released yet, but I’m pretty sure.  I don’t see anywhere else.  I don’t think TCU and LSU would be the spot.  If you can go to Death Valley with those fans, they’ve got some awesome fans.  It’s an SEC-type atmosphere.”

 

The August 31st game between the Bulldogs and Tigers has already been slotted into ABC’s primetime broadcast, meaning that Kirk Herbstreit would have a much easier day of travel.

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10 For The BCS Title Game – Thursday Edition

Here’s Day Two of our BCS title game look-around:


1.  Alabama players are confident that they’re ready for Monday’s showdown.

2.  LSU’s Jordan Jefferson wants to end his career on a high note.

3.  Here’s a preview of Bama’s receivers versus the Tigers’ secondary…

4.  And here’s a preview of LSU’s receivers versus the Tide’s secondary.

5.  The Tigers might be getting tired of hearing claims out of Alabama that the Tide beat themselves in the first game.

6.  Can Monday’s sequel match the intensity and drama of Game of the Century I?

7.  For Alabama, they’re on a business trip this week.

8.  Les Miles says what sets John Chavis apart is “how much heart he puts into” coaching.

9.  Kirk Herbstreit knows the moment when the SEC started to pull away from the Big Ten and everyone else.  (Hint: We said the same yesterday.)  Another must-read piece from Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News.

10.  If someone’s going to knock off the SEC next year, keep an eye on ex-SEC coach Lane Kiffin and Southern Cal.

Bonus — Ex-MSU coach and Alabama player Sylvester Croom says Bama “changed the way we look at football in the South” when it came to integration.

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A Case For Malzahn’s Departure

Following the news that Gus Malzahn would leave Auburn for the head coaching job at Arkansas State, it took mere nanoseconds for the internet/talk radio world to start suggesting big troubles on The Plains.

In my car for much of Wednesday, I can tell you that the national talk radio shows had a common theme yesterday and it went a little something like this: “With Malzahn and Ted Roof both leaving for lesser schools, you have to wonder if something bad is going on behind the scenes at Auburn.”

Apparently, most of those folks haven’t spoken to anyone at Auburn.  I have.  And the Roof and Malzahn departures should not be lumped together in any way, shape or form.  Roof saw the writing on the wall after three consecutive years of unimpressive defensive numbers and jumped at a chance to work with an old colleague, doing the same job at UCF.  His move saved his own neck.

Malzahn — it appears — is simply trying to further his career.  As we suggested yesterday, he might see that his offense needs a top-flight quarterback to really work in the SEC.  (Urban Meyer learned the same thing at Florida.)  So maybe he felt it was better to leave now than wait another year and possibly see his stock drop further.

Perhaps he simply wanted to get back to familiar surroundings.  We never know what role family issues play into these types of moves. 

And speaking of family issues, Malzahn’s wife’s viral video moment might have played some role in preventing him from landing a bigger gig this year, but to be fair, his wife could have shot a bird at Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler following last year’s BCS title game and it would have had zero impact on her husband’s job search.  Malzahn was hot last January.  Now, he’s not.  His wife’s video only became an issue because Malzahn’s stock had already dropped.

In the end, perhaps Malzahn simply made what he believes to be the best move to land himself a better head coaching job down the road.

Think about it.

Malzahn was mentioned as a potential candidate at Ole Miss.  Instead of getting a serious look from UM, he saw Arkansas State’s Hugh Freeze land that job after just two years in Jonesboro… and only one as the school’s head coach.  Granted, Freeze had been on the Rebel staff under Ed Orgeron and had made some Oxford contacts, but it’s not hard to imagine Malzahn reaching the conclusion that it’s easier to land a head coaching job when you already have a head coaching job.

If Malzahn had stayed at Auburn, he would be in control of the offense and at the mercy of his team’s defense.  Gene Chizik would make the big picture decisions. 

At Arkansas State, Malzahn will run the show.  In effect, he’ll control his own destiny.  Entirely.  In an area he knows.

Push through the smoke stirred up by messageboards and talk show hosts yesterday and Malzahn’s decision — especially considering the fact that he erred by turning down Vanderbilt last year — actually seems to make some sense.

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