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SEC Game Previews – 10/12/12

Here’s your weekly rundown of all the SEC action on tap for Week Seven of the regular season.  As always, you’ll find everything from TV listings to the betting lines to our own predictions.

Enjoy the games, be safe, and best of luck to your favorite school this weekend.

Here goes…


Auburn at Ole Miss

12:21pm ET on SEC Network

Opening Line:  UM -1

Current Line:  UM -5.5

Storylines:  Ole Miss will be looking to finally snap a 16-game SEC losing streak when the Tigers visit.  Hugh Freeze continues to voice displeasure over QB Bo Wallace’s decision-making, but after a failed 4th down try on the Rebels’ end of the field helped Texas A&M race past UM last week, Ole Miss fans might not be too thrilled with their head coach’s decision-making.  For Auburn, the Tigers will be looking to get their own fans (and possibly Satan, if you listen to Gene Chizik’s wife) off their backs.  That BCS title two years ago was nice and all, but SEC boosters don’t like watching their teams open 1-4.  Ever.

Keys for Auburn:  Pick a quarterback, running back and punt returner.  Then hope the old or new faces selected to will improve over last week’s horrific 24-7 home loss to struggling Arkansas.  QB Clint Moseley finally saw game action last week but he performed about the same as QB Kiehl Frazier.  Whoever’s behind center will need better protection from their offensive line.  The Tigers have given up an SEC-worst 17 sacks on the season (including eight last week).   Well guess who’s second in the SEC in recording sacks.  Uh-huh.  Ole Miss has gotten to the quarterback 17 times.  Not a good sign for the Tigers.

Keys for Ole Miss:  Run the football and protect it.  The Rebels are fourth in the SEC in rushing offense while Auburn is dead last in rush defense (allowing 189 yards per game).  Wallace, RB Jeff Scott and crew roll up an average of 213 yards per game and nearly five yards per carry.  Tiger tackling has been a problem and Ole Miss needs to take advantage.  The Rebels have turned the ball over 15 times on the season and are minus-one in turnover margin.  No wonder Freeze isn’t happy.  But Auburn is 14th in the league in turnover margin and has lost the ball a whopping 17 times.  Run the ball and protect the ball and the Rebels should finally snap their long losing streak.

Pick:  Ole Miss 27, Auburn 20

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SEC Releases TV Schedule For October 13th… Games Just Keep Getting Later And Later

The networks have made their choices and the SEC television schedule is now set for Saturday, October 13th.  Here’s when and where your favorite team can be found a week from this Saturday:


Auburn at Ole Miss — 12:21pm ET on SEC Network

Alabama at Missouri — 3:30pm ET on CBS

Florida at Vanderbilt — 6:00pm ET on ESPNU

Kentucky at Arkansas — 7:00pm ET on FSN

South Carolina at LSU — 8:00pm ET on ESPN

Tennessee at Mississippi State — 9:00pm ET on ESPN2

Texas A&M vs Louisiana Tech at Shreveport — 9:15pm ET on ESPNU


Like everybody else, I’m a fan of having every SEC football game on television every week.  And the schools sure like the money the networks fork over for the broadcast rights.  But the death of the Saturday day game is a pretty big drawback in my view.

When five out of seven SEC games kickoff after 6:00pm ET and two of them don’t start until after 9:00pm ET, well, that’s just too much of a push to get games into primetime slots.

Personally, I don’t know which is worse — the 11:21pm CT start that comes from being on the SEC Network or a post-9pm ET start on one of ESPN’s alternate channels.  I remember a day when fans could drive in, tailgate, enjoy a game, and still get home by midnight.  Thanks to television and the almighty dollar, those days are dying off pretty quickly.

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Michigan’s Hoke Just Made Texas A&M’s Sumlin Look Bad

Hurricane Isaac provided Kevin Sumlin with an early test of his brand of discipline at Texas A&M.  Compared to the action taken today by Michigan coach Brady Hoke, Sumlin failed that test.

A&M’s new coach had initially suspended starting linebacker Steve Jenkins and backup defensive back Howard Matthews for his squad’s season opener with Louisiana Tech.  But when Isaac hit Louisiana and the Aggies’ Thursday night opener with Louisiana Tech in Shreveport was postponed, Sumlin backpedaled faster than a corner at the NFL combine.  Instead of sitting Jenkins and Matthews for A&M’s opener — which will now come against Florida in College Station — the coach decided to delay their suspensions.  They’ll still miss the LaTech game… on October 13th.

Sumlin has not opened up about what those players did to deserve their suspensions, but if it was bad enough to miss the opening game, why alter that plan just because the opener will now be against a better foe?  Is that really teaching a lesson to those players and to the team as a whole regarding discipline?

Apparently Michigan’s Hoke would think not.  His team will face Alabama tomorrow night in what most are viewing as the game of the week in college football.  The Wolverines will try to beat the defending BCS champs without starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and backup defensive end Frank Clark.  Hoke made the call today to suspend his players today.

Toussaint pleaded guilty to drunk driving on Tuesday.  Clark stands accused of stealing a laptop computer from a dorm room.  Maybe those actions are worse than whatever it was Jenkins and Matthews did to land in Sumlin’s semi-doghouse in College Station.  Maybe not.

Either way, Hoke comes out looking tough on crime while Sumlin looks rather weak.

“The decision was not easy, but I feel it is in the best interest of this program and for these kids, and that will always be my priority,” Hoke said in a press release.  “We have choices every day, and you have to be accountable to this program, your teammates, your family and the University of Michigan.”

Hoke also added: “It’s not always just about football, or a football decision.  It’s about teaching life lessons, and if this helps these kids or someone else make a right decision later, then we’ve won.  That is ultimately what we are here for, to help them grow and mature to become better sons, fathers, husbands and members of society… They are good young men who made poor choices, and we will continue to support them as members of our team and family.”

Big advantage: Hoke.

That said, the reality — sadly — is that if Jenkins and A&M beat Florida next week and a Toussaint-less Michigan gets clocked by Alabama tomorrow, Aggie fans will approve of Sumlin’s backtrack and Wolverine fans will question Hoke’s choice.

That’s too bad.  Because in cases like these, if you’re going to have discipline you shouldn’t pick and choose when it will be meted out based upon your upcoming opponent’s skill level.  Sumlin is hardly the first coach to go that route, of course.  But we at would be a lot more impressed if he’d stuck to his guns in this matter, his first true test as Aggie head coach.

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SEC Headlines 8/30/2012

SEC East Football

1. It starts tonight.  South Carolina – Vanderbilt in Nashville and SEC officials will be sporting a new look.

2. Vandy’s offense vs. the South Carolina defense has been a bad matchup for the Commodores the past three years.

3. Is Jordan Rodgers the key to a potential Vanderbilt victory?

4. North Carolina State Tom O’Brien remembers recruiting current Tennessee player Daniel McCullers: “”He wanted to play defense. He kind of told us to go take a hike.”

5. A matchup to watch Friday night: Vols wide receiver Justin Hunter vs. All-American cornerback David Amerson.

6. Will the remnants of Hurricane Isaac have an impact on the Kentucky-Louisville game? Joker Phillips: “We’ll practice a little bit on Friday with some wet balls and some wet gloves.”

7. Florida cornerback Jaylen Watkins on the new-look Gators offense under Brent Pease: “We’ve never seen anything like it.”

8. What would constitute a good year for Florida? “As much as UF’s royally spoiled fans don’t want to hear it, eight victories would actually show progress and constitute a successful season for the Gators in 2012.”

9. When a gambling website puts the over/under line on average points allowed at 11, you know your defense is expected to be good. But exactly how good will Georgia’s defense be this year?

10. A redshirt junior, Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason sits and waits.

11. Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel on the status of injured defensive backs Kip Edwards and Braylon Webb: “I think they’ll both play.”

SEC West Football

12. Texas A&M offered Kyle Field to Louisiana Tech but the home team said no thanks. Aggies AD Eric Hyman: “If we had a hurricane here, would we go play in Shreveport? Probably not.”

13. Even though it’s no longer the season opener, Texas A&M starting linebacker Steven Jenkins and backup safety Howard Matthews will serve their suspensions against Louisiana Tech. 

14. With Arkansas and Texas A&M set to resume their series at Cowboys Stadium, what is the fate of Razorback home games in Little Rock?

15. Auburn running backs coach Curtis Luper: “It will be running back by committee, I would say, until someone emerges as the leader of that group.”

16. Some basic advice for first-time starting quarterback Kiehl Frazier: “Get the snap, obviously,” said Auburn offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler. “That’s the most important thing.”

17. Quarterback decision announcement coming today at Ole Miss.  Running back Jeff Scott may not play at all Saturday.

18. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger is impressed with wide receiver James Wright: “We need all the receivers to be more like James, being a great blocker and running perfect routes.”

19. Is Mettenberger the first decent quarterback at LSU since Matt Flynn in 2007?

20. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron on Michigan: “I know what they like to do in certain situations. I know how they’re going to play a lot of things.”

21. What does football do for the state? “It keeps people in Alabama sane.”

22. Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks is a preseason All-American.  What about his counterpart, Darius Slay? “He can be really good…”

SEC/College News

23. John Adams: “One thing that has become increasingly clear in the SEC’s six-year string of national championships: with the exception of great quarterbacks, the best teams in this league can replace their best players.”

24. Ron Higgins: “At least three SEC coaches have agreed with me when I’ve said that football players are targets because the rest of the student body thinks they are privileged. “

25. “Usain Bolt with the wind at his back couldn’t get us to this season fast enough.”

26. Ranking this weekend’s SEC games.  Week 1 predictions.  Storylines and predictions.

27. The best pass-rushers in the SEC.

28. SEC teams and their season-opening winning streaks.

29. This SEC power poll puts LSU on top.

30. Brandon Warren has played at Florida State and Tennessee.  He’s now at North Alabama.

31. A cloudy football forecast  in the Sunshine State?

SEC Basketball

32. Mizzou’s full basketball schedule released.

33. Kentucky’s self-reported secondary violations.


34. “Paterno” will debut at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

35. Business Week profile of ESPN: Everywhere Sports Profit Network

36. The night an Alabama reporter pitched his tent at “The Big House.”

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Texas A&M, Florida Both Put At Disadvantage By Postponement Of Aggie Opener

In the grand scheme of things — with a Hurricane slowly griding its way across Louisiana — the postponement of Texas A&M’s Thursday night opener with Louisiana Tech in Shreveport is small potatoes.  Very small.  Like, Tator Tots or something.

But this is an SEC site and while we wish everyone in the Gulf safety, we do need to discuss the ramifications of delaying A&M’s game with LaTech until October 13th.

As Josh Ward posted yesterday afternoon, the move means that the Aggies’ new season opener will come at home on September 8th against Florida.  Welcome to the SEC, redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel.

The Aggies will have no dress rehearsal before facing what’s expected to be one of the SEC’s better defenses (and we all know that’s saying something).

But there’s a downside for Florida, too.  Yes, you can bet UF’s coaches have looked at tape of A&M’s spring game, but they will now have no actual game footage of Kevin Sumlin’s offensive and defensive plans and schemes in real gameday action.

So while the Aggies will be dropped into the deep end of the pool, the Gators will be flying blind.  (I’m seeing how many cliches I can use in one post.)

Louisiana Tech officials — acting in concert with city leaders in Shreveport — obviously put safety first in deciding to postpone the game.  Good for them.  We’re all for it.

But it’ll still make things a bit tougher on both Texas A&M’s and Florida’s football teams when they meet at Kyle Field in early September.

(As for the Aggies, they’ll also lose their open date on October 13th and will be forced to play 12 consecutive weeks without a break.  That won’t be easy when eight of those 12 games are against SEC foes… including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and LSU.)

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Texas A&M’s Season Opener Postponed

Louisiana Tech announced Tuesday afternoon it has postponed its opening game against Texas A&M because of weather concerns.

The news could be significant for Texas A&M on the field.

The Aggies will now open their season against Florida on Sept. 8. That means Texas A&M, which will begin the season with a redshirt freshman quarterback, will enter SEC play without facing a non-conference test. Florida will host Bowling Green on Saturday.

Texas A&M will also lose its mid-season bye week. The Aggies were scheduled to be off the weekend of Oct. 13 before hosting LSU on Oct. 20.

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Isaac Takes Aim On Louisiana, Game Decisions Coming And A Stormy Weekend Of SEC Football

Hurricane Isaac — expected to be a Category 2 storm with winds of about 100 mph — should make landfall in Louisiana late tonight or early tomorrow morning.  The storm is tracking toward New Orleans at the moment and is set to arrive on the seventh anniversary of Katrina.

Hurricane warnings have have stretched across a 280-mile swath from Morgan City, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida state line.  Torrential rain brings the potential for flooding across the Deep South and that will likely test the rebuilt levee system in New Orleans.  In addition to the rain, wind damage and storm surges are also major threats to all those areas in Isaac’s path.  Power outages over huge areas are also likely.

Across the Gulf Coast of Florida to Alabama to Mississippi and to Louisiana, tropical storm warnings and mandatory evacuations have been announced, where hurricane warnings haven’t sounded.














While the safety of people across the South is obviously the most pressing concern, click below for a look at the SEC’s game-by-game forecasts and the latest on possible postponements for Texas A&M and LSU.

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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 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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Kudos To Nutt For Still Trying To Teach Some Lessons

As a lame-duck coach, it would be easy for Houston Nutt to look the other way when it comes to rules violations by his players as they finish off the season.  After all, why not make sure his best players are on the field?  Every loss hurts his reputation, his career mark, and his chances of landing his next coaching job a little bit more.  Best to go out with a fully loaded gun.

But Nutt is choosing to go down with some integrity instead.  And while we’re sure many Arkansas fans will scream bloody murder because we’re crediting Nutt for anything, in this case, he really seems to be putting his players’ needs ahead of his own.

Yesterday, Nutt announced that his starting quarterback Randall Mackey and his leading rusher Jeff Scott will be suspended Saturday against #1 LSU.  He also said it looks like the pair (along with receiver Korvic Neat) will be benched against Mississippi State, too.

The players were done in by the dreaded “violation of team rules.” 

“I hate it,” Nutt said.  “Got to learn how to handle change and it’s tough for a lot of them.  Especially when the season doesn’t go just right, it’s easy to let go.”

Also, receiver/cornerback/playmaker Nickolas Brassell should be back on the field against LSU after being benched for much of last week’s game with Louisiana Tech.  Nutt said of his freshman:

“One thing we have to teach our freshmen is you have to really study the game plan.  It’s a lot different than just waiting until the lights come on and go play.  As talented as you are, you have to study the game and be consistent and do things the right way.”

Nutt has taken a beating over the years for oversigning players.  We ourselves have rolled our eyes at his near-constant suggestions that his job is about “helping young men” (as if football talent had nothing to do with the number of second- and third-chance players he’s tried to rescue).

But in these instances, Nutt has had no need to teach his players how to better respond to change or how to take game preparation more seriously.  He’s vapor, he’s gone.  The next guy can worry about Brassell and Mackey and Scott.

The fact that Nutt isn’t going that route deserves a thumbs-up just as so many of his previous actions have been given thumbs-down.

As his SEC coaching career draws to a close after more than a decade, Nutt’s proving that he’s not just running out the clock.  Kudos for that.

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SEC Headlines – 11/14/11 Part One

1.  The SEC has named its Players of the Week in football…

2.  And in basketball.

3.  Alabama’s BCS title hopes aren’t dead yet.

4.  Nick Saban says his team’s passing game needs to improve.

5.  Auburn is trending in the wrong direction.

6.  The Tigers will try to regroup after being blown out by Georgia.  (Good thing they’ve got Samford up next.)

7.  For the first time all year, Arkansas had more rushing yards than passing yards on Saturday.

8.  The Hogs 49-7 win over Tennessee bumped them two slots higher in the BCS standings (though losses by Boise State and Stanford certainly helped).

9.  LSU is the first regular-season unanimous #1 in the AP Poll since 2008.

10.  The Tigers will try to rebound from a “flat” effort on Saturday to top emotionally checked-out Ole Miss.

11.  Les Miles’ squad has a deep, deep stable of running backs.

12.  After a 24-7 loss to Alabama, Dan Mullen says his Bulldogs are still just a few plays away.

13.  Mullen’s defense continued to play better than his offense.

14.  Following a 27-7 loss to Louisiana Tech, you probably shouldn’t expect Ole Miss to give LSU a tough game…

15.  But that series usually produces competitive games.  (But usually one of the two teams doesn’t have a lame-duck coach.)

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