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Rumors Swirl That Calipari Will Leave Kentucky After This Season

john-calipari-would-you-trust-this-man-faceEach spring the sun comes out, flowers blossom, birds chirp, and John Calipari is rumored to be headed to the NBA.  Every.  Single.  Year.

Only this time the Coach Cal rumors are arriving a bit early.

According to, ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said yesterday on “Pardon The Interruption” that he believes Calipari will leave Kentucky after this season.  Then this morning Dan Patrick cited on his radio show a source close to the UK program who says Calipari could leave after the year:


Dan Patrick talks about John Calipari 3/04/14


Perhaps Calipari is ready to bail out on the UK job because his last two squads have disappointed.  The 2012-13 Wildcats missed the NCAA Tournament and fell to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT.  His current Cats — once aiming for “perfection” — now have eight losses on the season, five in the SEC and one to a South Carolina team that’s just 4-12 in league play.  That’s not what Big Blue fans want to see.

Calipari might be ready to leave because of those Everest-high fan expectations.  And signing five NBA prospects each year doesn’t exactly lower the bar for a coach.  Especially at a school where anything less than a Final Four trip is viewed as a failed season.

Calipari got the heave-ho via technical fouls during Kentucky’s loss at Carolina last weekend.  He then by-passed his postgame press conference.  A sign that pressure is getting to UK’s boss?  Or just an opportunity for folks to get in some digs?

Kentucky’s coach said all the right things yesterday, taking the blame for the Cats’ recent woes and refusing to “put this on 18-, 19-year-old kids.”  Whether or not he’ll be coaching another group of 18-, 19-year-old kids in Lexington next year is anyone’s guess.  Hell, Coach Cal could have had someone intentionally leak that he might leave in order to remind Wildcat fans to appreciate what they’ve got.  (Alabama’s Nick Saban did that very thing this past January by allowing Texas rumors to swirl for a week.)

But one thing’s for sure — the Calipari rumors are starting early this year.

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Carolina’s Martin Apologizes For Rant At Player (And It’s Unlikely To Be The Last Time We Write That)

Frank MartinYesterday afternoon in Columbia, Frank Martin did it again.  The South Carolina hoops coach apologized for an angry tirade.

The tirade in question came during the Gamecocks’ 75-74 road loss to Ole Miss on Saturday.  Senior Brenton Williams drew the coach’s ire early in the contest.  He then went on to nearly lead Carolina to the victory, knocking down three straight free throws to bring the Cocks to within a point.

Said Martin yesterday:


“I got after (Williams) pretty darned good on the sideline in the first half, and I visited with him about it and apologized to him.  And I do want to apologize to any fans that were behind the bench that maybe heard what was said.  I was wrong for that, and there’s no excuse for it…

I got wrapped up in the moment trying to get our program to take a step forward.  We all look on mistakes all the time, and I’m no different than everyone else, and I’m nowhere near being perfect.  There’s no place for me or any other coach to speak to Brent, or any other athlete, the way I did that moment there.”


Tirades are nothing new for Martin.  The coach is perhaps better known for his scowl, coarse language and his animated behavior.  A quick YouTube search of Martin’s name calls up a list of Martin rants, including this one from last February following a Carolina loss to LSU:


Frank Martin Post-Game LSU **EPIC RANT**


Martin ripped his team by saying such things as: “If this was the NBA, we’d fine them, we’d take their money, we’d release them and say, ‘Good luck with ever finding another job.’  I shouldn’t coach ever again if this is how my team plays.”

After that geyser of insults, Martin told the press: “If you know anything about me, for 28 years I have never thrown my players under the bus… I fight for my guys.  I don’t kick them.”

Wonder if Williams or anyone sitting behind USC’s bench at Oxford would agree with that last statement?

This is just Martin’s makeup.  He’s yeller and a blamer.  He’s Bobby Knight minus the chair throws and fists to chins.  He got away with that at Kansas State because he won basketball games.  That part of his personality was ignored by the Carolina brass who hired him because he won basketball games.  But if he wants to continue to behave like that at South Carolina — and is there anyone who thinks he’ll suddenly turn into Prince Charming? — he’ll eventually need to turn the Gamecock program around.

Win and you can be as big a jerk to your players as you like.  Lose and that stuff starts to get old.

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Hoops Hall-Of-Famer King Says He Faced Racism At Tennessee

double-trouble-king-grunfeldTonight, former Tennessee and NBA basketball legend Bernard King will be featured in a new “30 for 30″ documentary on ESPN called “Bernie and Ernie.”  It focuses on the friendship he enjoyed with fellow New Yorker Ernie Grunfeld while playing for UT in the 1970s.

Volunteer fans will be surprised to see the “Bernie and Ernie” tag as the duo was more commonly known as “The Ernie and Bernie Show” at the time.  Chalk it up to marketing.  King is a basketball Hall of Famer.  Grunfeld — while a tremendous player and the current GM of the Washington Wizards — doesn’t have the name recognition of King, once one of the NBA’s top scorers.

Another way ESPN promotes its programs?  By releasing controversial snippets from them.  And that’s just what ESPN has done to promote tonight’s show.

The AP is reporting today that King reveals in the documentary that he faced racism while at Tennessee.  Specifically, he states that a police officer struck him with the butt of his gun while responding to a loitering charge.  It sounds as if there will be more talk on the racism front as well.

King and the University of Tennessee have reconnected during the past decade.  King’s jersey was retired at Thompson-Boling Arena in 2007.  He began aiding the UT program with pep talks and such.  All appeared to be well between alum and school.  But one wonders what these “revelations” — Is anyone really surprised that a black man from New York dealt with prejudice in the South 40 years ago? — will have on the King/UT relationship.

“I wish the university and the basketball team all the success in the world,” King told the AP.  “I would recommend that any athlete on the basketball side or football side or any sport, I would recommend the University of Tennessee for them.  I don’t harbor any bitterness.  You can’t go through life like that.  It eats you up.”

King added: “Everyone in Knoxville has always been very warm to me during my trips back to town.  It’s a different era.  It’s a different time.  It’s a different generation.  Therefore, my interaction with everyone is quite different than it was back then.”

Sounds good, but The Big Story today still ties the words “Tennessee” and “racism” together.  Now Vol fans know how Ole Miss fans felt last year.

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Calipari: “If You Kill One Of Mine, I Burn Your Village,” Ex-Cat Not Impressed

gfx - they said itIt’s the kind of quote that mesmerizes a coach’s fanbase.  It’s the kind of quote designed to show just how much a coach cares about his players.

It’s also the kind of quote you don’t read every day.

An excerpt from John Calipari’s new book, “Players First: Success From The Inside Out” has been released online and several passages are interesting.  None more so than this particular snippet:


“I coach for the names on the back of the jersey — not the front.  My players.  They’re sent to me by their fathers, their mothers, their grandmothers, their aunts — whoever in this world raised them and loves them.  Others look a their NBA bodies and consider them lucky.  Future millionaires, just stopping through before they cash in.  That’s not what I see.  They’re kids, some of them as young as seventeen.  They all need me in a different way.  Some want my affection, others my approval.  It’s a burden to be responsible for other people’s children, sometimes a heavy burden.

I go to Mass every morning.  It’s how I start my day and it’s my moment of peace, almost meditation.  If I’m struggling with a player, it’s where I ask myself: How would I want my own son treated?

But I’m also a sinner, as we all are.  If you come after one of my players, I come after you twice as hard.  If you kill one of mine, I burn your village.  It’s the Italian in me.  I’m not proud of that, but it’s who I am.”


It’s also — like every book ever written by an employed college coach — a sales pitch to future recruits and their parents.

No doubt fans of other SEC programs are retching after reading the above selection, but a  Calipari book isn’t for them.  Kentucky fans, on the other hand, will likely accept Calipari’s publication as the 67th book of the Bible.

Regardless of your feelings about UK’s coach or his book, here’s guessing you’ve never seen another coach write the words: “If you kill one of mine, I burn your village.”  That’s a new one.

Former Wildcat Jeff Sheppard, however, does not appear to be frightened by Calipari’s words.  He jokingly referred to UK’s coach as “the enemy” at an event in Ohio — because Sheppard’s Cats played against Calipari’s UMass team in the 1996 Final Four — and he made some serious complaints about his old school’s decision to bring in so many one-and-done players.

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SEC Headlines 7/13/2013

headlines-saturdaySEC Football

1. Kentucky running back Josh Clemons suffered an Achilles tendon injury during a workout on Friday.

2. Here are five questions about Tennessee, which will play Alabama on Oct. 26.

3. Here’s a look at Georgia from Auburn’s point of view. They’ll play each other on Nov. 16.

4. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he has to pinch himself as he was inducted into the Arkansas high school coaches hall of fame.

5. Barrett Sallee believes Arkansas should take running back Michael Dyer, who played at Auburn from 2010-11.

6. Archie Manning believes Johnny Manziel can “have the same type of year” if he stays healthy this season.

7. This is an important year for Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel and Missouri quarterback James Franklin.

8. The rivalry between Johnny Manziel and AJ McCarron hasn’t kept them from being friends.

9. McCarron isn’t worried about one-upping Manziel or anyone. “I just want rings,” McCarron said.

10. Defensive end Cameron Whigham is the No. 26 most important player for Ole Miss.

11. Here’s a look at Mississippi State’s wide receivers, a group with plenty of questions entering the season.

12. Georgia tight end Jay Rome expects to have a breakout year. Here’s his Q&A with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

13. Seth Emerson looks at the spectacle that has become SEC media days. It gets started on Tuesday in Hoover, Ala.

SEC Basketball

14. Suspended Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson has had multiple run-ins with police, according to USA Today.

15. John Calipari continues to speak out against the one-and-done rule that allows players to leave college after one year.

16. Calipari is the nation’s best recruiter, according to Scott Gleeson. Who else is in the top five?

17. Marco Harris has been promoted to director of basketball operations at Tennessee.


18. Report: A federal grand jury is investing Pilot Flying J and its CEO Jimmy Haslam, who’s a top booster at Tennessee.

19. Penn State could be preparing a potential proposal to try to convince the NCAA to reduce the school’s sanctions.

20. The NCAA is expected to get involved with North Carolina and P.J. Hairston, according to Gary Parrish.

21. NBA teams aren’t happy about the way the Brooklyn Nets are putting together their roster, writes Adrian Wojnarowski.

22. Metta World Peace’s options reportedly include the NBA, China and arena football.

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SEC Headlines 6/28/2013

headlines-friSEC Football

1. Kentucky is reportedly an option for former Pitt running back Rushel Shell (not to be confused with a “a young girl’s strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk.”

2. Here are 12 newcomers to the SEC expected to make an impact this fall.

3. Florida defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson gets a $60,000 raise.

4. Georgia defensive end Garrison Smith: “I’m not in jail and I’m not dead. You feel me? So I’m just thankful to be alive and be here.”

5. A 96-year-old Georgia fan gets a surprise visit from quarterback Aaron Murray.

6. There’s more to the Texas A&M offense than quarterback Johnny Manziel.  Sophomore wide receiver Mike Evans ”could truly be one of the best in the country.”

7. Here’s a roundup of early Heisman odds.  No surprise that Manziel is the favorite in all of them.

8. One man reading of preseason magazines.  They “remain in love with Alabama despite the Tide’s key losses on the offensive and defensive lines.”

9. Michigan State AD on the planned upcoming series against Alabama starting 2016: “We have a contract to play and we’re excited to come down there and excited to have Alabama in East Lansing,”

10. Why August practices are so important for South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson.

11. ESPN’s Colin Cowherd is bullish on Ole Miss.

12. Ranked as the nation’s top punter in high school, Jimmy Hutchinson was expected to enroll at Auburn in January of 2014.  He’s now enrolling August 1. Where Auburn’s early enrollees fit in the big picture.

13. Auburn A.D. Jay Jacobs is optimistic about the Tigers this fall under Gus Malzahn.  ”I do believe that what we’re going to see this fall is exciting for our fans and I think it’s going to rejuvenate them.” Auburn adding more than 2,000 free parking and tailgate spots.

14. John Clay critiques MrSEC’s story about the four new coaches in the league and what it means for Kentucky.

15. Arkansas’ uniforms getting an update – numbers now solid white.

SEC Basketball

16. 18-year old Archie Goodwin was the youngest player taken in the NBA draft.

17. His former teammate, Nerlens Noel, went from jitters to dejection, according to USA Today’s behind-the-scenes report.

18. Since 2006, 32% of early entrants in the NBA draft have gone undrafted. One of those players is former Mississippi State Bulldog Renardo Sydney.

19. With five draft picks, the SEC had as many selections as the Big Ten.  ACC and Pac-12 tied for the most with seven.

20. “If ever there was a concrete indictment of the AAU summer basketball system, this draft was it.”

21. Former Auburn guard Jordan Price is reportedly transferring to La Salle.

22. Auburn’s point guard of the future is freshman Tahj Shamsid-Deen.

23. Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin on freshman Darius Thompson: “He has every opportunity to be a starter in our program.”


24. For the 18th straight year, LSU No. 1 in college baseball attendance.

25. Bill Raftery reportedly teaming up with Gus Johnson for college basketball coverage on the new Fox Sports 1.

26. Big Ten plays more BCS games than any other conference.

27. Another waterfall - this one at Oregon.

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SEC Coaches Sound Off About The NBA’s One-And-Done Rule

gfx - they said itFirst things first, the only people who like basketball’s one-and-done rule — the rule that allows college athletes to jump to the NBA after a single season — are:


1.  Players who decide to leave after their freshman seasons.  Obviously.

2.  The NBA players union.


That’s it.

Fans don’t like the rule.  NBA franchises don’t like the rule.  (Teams don’t like having to grow young players while paying them top dollar).  The folks in the NBA league office don’t like the rule.  And college coaches really don’t like the rule.

A few SEC hoops coaches shared their feelings on the one-and-done situation this week, as The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports today:


“The one-and-done rule has hurt the game overall, and not just the college game.  It’s hurt the NBA game, too.  The NBA is supposed to be a league of men who are prepared and ready to play, and it’s become a developmental league.  That’s not what they wanted the one-and-done rule to turn into, but that’s what happened.” — Auburn coach Tony Barbee


“Michael Jordan played three years in college.  Larry Bird played forever, as did guys like Ralph Sampson and Akeem Olajuwon.  The whole climate of that path has changed, and that’s why I think that the NBA is not as good as it was years ago, and college basketball is not as good as it was years ago.  If the Lakers rolled out there today with Kareem, Magic and Worthy, it would be over.  The Miami Heat would have no chance.” – Georgia coach Mark Fox


“There are certainly some positives and negatives to the rule.  The positives are what Kentucky experienced two seasons ago, and the negatives might be what Kentucky experienced a season ago… I think we all thought we were doing a good thing by having them all go to college for a year.  We got what we wanted, and then I think we realized that what we wanted maybe wasn’t ideal.” — Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings


Most everyone — everyone but the NBA’s Players Association — seems to prefer the idea of basketball following in baseball’s footsteps.  A baseball player can jump directly to the major leagues from high school… or he can sign with a college and stay at that level for three seasons.

The problem in basketball, however, is that many, many more players would try to jump straight from high school to the pros if drafted.  In fact, underdeveloped high schoolers washing out helped lead to the current one-and-done rule.

While we at believe the baseball model would be a better solution than the current system, the differences between the two sports must be considered.  A high school baseball player is choosing between a college career and a minor league career.  You don’t see a whole helluva lot of baseball players jump straight from their prom to the majors.

In basketball, those kids with stars in their eyes would be choosing between three years of college and the NBA (if a team rolled the dice on them).  There have been enough Kobe Bryants, Kevin Garnetts and even Kendrick Perkins to give high schoolers a false hope of hitting the jackpot and jumping all the way to The Show.  And while franchises don’t like the idea of drafting kids who require babysitters, you can bet that they would indeed draft high schoolers if they felt they might miss out on the next big star.  Even if a team drafts a youngster and send him to their version of the minors, the NBA Developmental League just doesn’t provide the same teaching and preparation that multiple levels of minor league baseball provide.

The baseball model might be better than the current model, but it still wouldn’t be perfect.  And the NBA Players Association hasn’t shown the willingness to move the age limit again, regardless.

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SEC Headlines 6/27/2013

headlines-thuSEC Football

1. “There’s no way to dress this up: Alabama’s schedule is awful…It couldn’t be set up better for a return trip to the BCS National Championship Game.”

2. About Oregon’s NCAA punishment.  “It may be left to Alabama to punish the Ducks in the final BCS Championship Game.”

3. Jeff Schultz  is bullish on Georgia:  ”I can foresee a scenario where the Bulldogs lose their season opener at Clemson and win every other game.”

4. A breakdown of the entire Tennessee roster.  How each player was ranked by recruiting services.

5. Vanderbilt offensive line coach Herb Hand is a finalist for a series on the Food Network.

6. South Carolina wide receiver Damiere Bird: “Is this the year he puts it all together and becomes a more consistent, every-down receiver?”

7. Is sophomore defensive end Channing Ward looking at a mid-career redshirt season at Ole Miss?

8. Is wide receiver the weakest position at Mississippi State?

9. Stewart Mandel on Johnny Manziel: “I’d be willing to bet that plenty of other former Heisman winners would have gotten themselves into hot water had Twitter existed during their day.”

SEC Basketball

10. NBA draft tonight. Just two former SEC players projected to go in first round.

11. Jay Bilas on Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin:  ”I’ve got him slated as top of the second round. He’s talented enough to be a first-round pick.”

12. Nerlens Noel on his recovery from knee surgery and when you could see him on an NBA court:  ”I’m on accelerated rehab, so hopefully around October, November.”

13. Kentucky coach John Calipari on the player Cleveland may – or may not – take with the first overall pick.  ”If you want to pass on him because someone help win faster, go ahead. But just realize the potential and drive that you’re missing.”

14. Florida’s Erik Murphy projected as a second-round pick.  Hoping to become the 35th player in UF history drafted.

15. Arkansas coach Mike Anderson on guard B.J. Young: “There is tremendous interest in B.J. and his potential.”

16. Phil Pressey’s decision to leave Missouri - “best for all concerned that he made the choice he did.” Orlando in the second round for Pressey? Or maybe...Boston?

17. Complete SEC draft history - from 1949 through 2012.

18. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy on the NCAA reprimand given to guard Marshall Henderson: “Marshall has accepted responsibility for his actions, and we are moving forward.”

19. A crowded backcourt at Tennessee.  Time for a four-guard offense?

20. Mike DeCourcy on the trend toward redesigned basketball courts.  “What’s on the middle of the court at Duke? At Kentucky? At Louisville? Can anyone picture it?” MrSEC covered some of this ground on Monday.


21. Be prepared to hear the phrase “taken out of context” from attorneys representing Aaron Hernandez. A connection to a Boston double-homicide?

22. Police have made a second arrest in connection with the murder of Odin Lloyd.

23. Las Vegas and the Aaron Hernandez effect.

24. On July 1, the Big East officially returns to its basketball-first ways.

25. Kirk Herbstreit isn’t going anywhere.  Signs ESPN extension through 2022.

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Just 2 Ex-SEC Players Projected In NBA Draft 1st Round

nba_logoIf March Madness wasn’t enough of a wake-up call for SEC hoops fans — the league received just three NCAA Tournament bids — tonight’s NBA draft might do the trick.  According to most mock drafts the SEC won’t have much representation in tonight’s first round.

The specialty site has Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel going first overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Former Georgia star Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is think projected to land with the Minnesota Timberwolves with the ninth pick.  Done.  That’s it.  Just two first-rounders from the SEC.

The site also has Caldwell-Pope going to the T-Wolves at #9.  But in their mock draft, Noel will fall to the Phoenix Suns at #5.  Again, just two SEC players are listed as first-rounders.  Caldwell-Pope is again the ninth pick.  Noel goes second to the Orlando Magic.

Sports Illustrated’s website?  Noel first to the Cavs.  Caldwell-Pope 13th to the Dallas Mavericks. posts two mock drafts.  And the same two ex-SEC stars are listed in those first-round projections

The same goes for’s mock draft (behind a paywall).

The takeaway: SEC fans likely won’t be camped out in front of the television tonight.  What’s the point?  But with any luck, the SEC’s lack of first-round NBA talent tonight will result in a boom in NBA-level talent playing in the league this winter.

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SEC Headlines 6/26/2013

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Understanding the coded language college football coaches use on Twitter.  ”The most creative recruiting announcements on Twitter have come from Butch Jones’ staff at Tennessee.”

2. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin has no issues with recruiting younger players.  “If I see a 6-foot-6 man walking in the mall with his wife, and she’s 6-2 and she’s pregnant, I’ll go up and offer their unborn child.”

3. Who are the SEC’s top Heisman Trophy contenders?  Athlon lists twenty-five names starting with Jadeveon Clowney.

4. Why Clowney’s teammate, sophomore free safety T.J. Gurley, is considered one of the top 12 most important Gamecock players heading into the fall.

5. Auburn assistant coach Rodney Garner returns to Athens.  ”When you come in Sanford Stadium … I mean to Jordan-Hare Stadium,…You better be ready to suit it up.”

6. Freshma running back Peyton Barber becomes the 21st newcomer to arrive on the Auburn campus since December. Status of two Auburn signees still not clear.

7. With A.J. Jackson failing to qualify academically, expect more four wide receiver sets at Ole Miss.

8. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin wrote a letter in support of Johnny Manziel  that helped overturn his suspension last summer.

9. Alabama opens its season against a Virginia Tech team that’s seen multiple changes on the offensive coaching staff.

10. In praise of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron - “easily the most talented college quarterback Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban has worked with since he had JaMarcus Russell at LSU.”

11. “If there’s any stopping the SEC’s runaway train, this may be the year to do it.” Five SEC teams with the best chance to knock off Alabama.

SEC Basketball

12. .Since 2003, only twelve college teams have had at least six first-round picks in the NBA draft.  Two of them are Florida and Kentucky.

13. Florida forward Erik Murphy projected as a second-round pick. “You’re talking about one of the best shooters in the country…”

14. Will Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel be the first player taken?  He’s not a lock.

15. The question facing Missouri’s Phil Pressey: “Is Phil Pressey the guy that you see in the first 35 minutes of a Missouri game or is he the guy you see in the last five minutes?

16. After Thursday night’s NBA draft, it will be 12 straight years without a first-round pick  for both Alabama and Auburn, longest stretches in the modern-era for both teams.

17. With BJ Young and Marshawn Powell off to the NBA draft, Arkansas has lost its top two scorers from last season.

18. Former West Virginia forward Keaton Miles is transferring to Arkansas. Will have two year of eligibility beginning in 2014-2015.

19. Mississippi State’s Wendell Lewis granted a fifth year of eligility.

20. Ole Miss releases its non-conference schedule.

21. Tennessee’s Darius Thompson on fellow freshman Robert Hubbs: “He’s probably the most athletic person on the team.”

22. Will the new block-charge rule help improve scoring?


23. Aaron Hernandez taken from his home in handcuffs this morning. Less than two hours later, the Patriots release him from the team.

24. NCAA penalties for Oregon don’t include a bowl ban.

25. College World Series comes to an end with UCLA beating Mississippi State but it was still the most successful season in Bulldogs history. MSU fans not happy with some comments on ESPN.

26. Matt Hayes lists the ACC’s top five games.  Four of them are against SEC competition.

27. Shaquille O’Neal will go into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Saturday.

28. Yankee Stadium - host to college football playoff games?

29. Meet the man who bets on Major League Soccer.

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