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UGA Hands Out Division Title Rings… And There’s Nothing Wrong With That

Yesterday, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray made a bit of new when he posted a photo of his brand new SEC East Division championship ring on Instagram.  To his credit, he posted beneath the photo: “Time to get a National Championship ring next year.”

 

murray-ring

 

The question, of course, is whether or not it’s appropriate for schools to hand out division championship rings.  Not national title rings, not conference title rings, but division title rings.

For the record, Georgia is far from the first SEC program to do this.

On the one hand, there will always be a faction of fans and boosters who believe there should be no reward for finishing in second place.  Inside the conference, that’s where Georgia finished last year (albeit five yards shy of upsetting eventual BCS champ Alabama in the SEC title game).

On the other hand, it’s a reward for the players’ who worked hard.  It’s also a recruiting tool because most 17- and 18-year-olds just see the bling and don’t worry about the text on the ring.

Ten years ago, I’d have told you a division title ring should be verboten.  But age has warmed my heart.  If 100 guys get to look back at their division championship rings when they’re old and grey and remember a pretty darn good season from their youths… who does it really hurt?

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UF’s Pease Sets Site On Bright Future, National Championship

Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease couldn’t provide fireworks in his first season in Gainesville, but this Christmas season he is providing hope.  Football-style hope for Gator fans that is:

 

“These kids, you start getting attached and seeing what they’re doing.  There’s still work to be done.  The future is bright.  And for me, there is a lot to accomplish here.  And there’s still a goal I want to accomplish in winning a national championship or winning an SEC title and all that.

And I like it here.  I like the people I work with.  I really like the kids.”

 

The Gainesville Sun suggests that Pease’s name will come up with regards to head coaching searches, as it briefly did with the Kentucky opening.  Pease said “there was just minimal conversation” with the Wildcats and that he “wasn’t Plan A… maybe I wasn’t Plan B.”

Pease had been the offensive coordinator at Boise State before landing at Florida last offseason.  But while UF finished 11-1 and ranked #3 in the final BCS standings, defense was the team’s calling card in 2012.  The Gators finished 12th in the 14-team SEC in total offense with just 338 yards per game (328 versus league foes only).  For comparison, Texas A&M’s go-go offense posted 546 per game versus SEC defenses this past season (218 yards-per-game more than Florida).

The future may indeed be bright, but Pease — who’s also been a coordinator at Montana, Northern Arizona, Kentucky and Baylor during his career — will likely have to improve his squad’s offensive numbers or else Gator fans might start wishing he would land a head coaching job.

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Spurrier’s Line Of The Day (So Far)

Just a quick one-off quote for you before Steve Spurrier steps into the main media room for his big speech to the print media.

 

“It’s easier to win the National Championship than the SEC.  Ask Nick Saban.”

 

True.

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LSU Adds Second Quarterback To 2013 Class

LSU quarterback commit Hayden Rettig has found some competition in the class of 2013.

That’s because quarterback Anthony Jennings from Marietta (Ga.) High School committed to LSU on Thursday. He chose the Tigers over Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Oregon and others.

“LSU is a perennial powerhouse in college football and I’m looking forward to helping the Tigers continue to be in the National Championship hunt year in and year out,” Jennings said in a released statement. “I’m looking forward to earning the respect of my future teammates at LSU and to play for a coach like Les Miles, someone who has won a National Championship in the past and knows how to get his players to perform at their very best. I’m also very excited to be coached and mentored by Steve Kragthorpe. As my position coach, we have already developed a great relationship and I know that will only get stronger in the future.”

Jennings is considered the nation’s No. 13 dual-threat quarterback by ESPN RecruitingNation. He’s the 17th prospect to commit to LSU for the 2013 class.

Jennings, who ESPN considers to be the nation’s No. 259 prospect overall, gives LSU its ninth commitment inside the newly released ESPN 300.

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Confident LSU Tigers Ready For The Razorbacks

Alex Groberman

The LSU Tigers can almost taste the BCS Championship game at this point, but there is still other work to be done. Namely, taking on the No. 3 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks, who will aim to shock the world this Friday and hand the Tigers their first loss of the 2011 college football season.

While admitting that there is a whole lot on the line this week, LSU players have taken to expressing a certain confidence about what lays ahead. They respect 10-1 Arkansas, no doubt about it, but they also fully believe that they are the best in the land and relish the opportunity to prove it.

Apparently, winning 10 out of your last 11 games by a double-digit margin (read: 30.4 points on average) will have that effect on a group. (The “Game of the Century” versus the Alabama Crimson Tide was the lone exception).

“We all have just one goal: Get to the national championship. And we don’t think anything can stop us from doing that but ourselves,” LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers told reporters this week.

“We’ve played top 5 teams, top 15 teams, it doesn’t matter,” LSU offensive guard Will Blackwell added. “Regardless of whether (Arkansas) was ranked No. 3 or No. 100, it would still mean the same.

“We’ve got some tough games left ahead of us, but we’ve played a lot of tough games this season and I feel like we’re prepared to take on that challenge, mentally.”

Head coach Les Miles was similarly secure in his team’s greatness.

“We play the style of football that, if we do what we are capable (of), it makes it very difficult on our opponents,” Miles said. “We move the ball efficiently without turnovers. Our defense does not allow an opponent to go down the field routinely. They get turnovers. … It does not surprise me that we have been able to have success.”

That positive attitude is key, especially given the kryptonite-esque role that Arkansas has traditionally played for LSU. Amazingly enough, the Razorbacks have beaten the Tigers in three out of their last four meetings.

But that was then, and this is now. This Arkansas team, although undeniably great, has shown a certain propensity for struggling when playing outside the comforts of home. It needed to rally from a 10-point hole to ultimately defeat the Mississippi Rebels, and similarly needed to muster up a comeback against a woefully bad Vanderbilt Commodores team.

Not that Arkansas is running away from their troubles. In fact, the players are the first to admit that their struggles — including a loss to Alabama — hardened them to the outside noise and shaped them into the unbreakable unit that they have become.

“A lot of people wrote us off there after the `Bama game,” Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette said this week. “We had some ugly wins afterward, but we’re playing well right now and we’re going to stay focused and try to get one more.”

As it stands, the Tigers have won their home games by an average of more than 34 points this season. They haven’t lost a game at home, for that matter, since the middle of the 2009 season. The oddsmakers have them keeping the streak alive, listing them as two-touchdown favorites.

Will LSU stay perfect and knock down the latest obstacle placed in front of them en route to a National Championship? Can Arkansas shock the world and turn an already tospy-turvy BCS on its head?

We’ll find out soon enough.

Get more great sports analysis over at OpposingViews.

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