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SEC Headlines – 11/4/11

Sorry to turn into a links fest for you today.  Between radio shows and the time needed to tally up our two “By The Numbers” pieces on turnovers (scroll down the page), we’re swamped.

Later this evening we’ll post our weekly Game Projections — with a in-depth look at the big stories to watch in tomorrow’s clash between Alabama and LSU.

Throughout the afternoon, we’ll be posting predictions on that game from a few media members across the SEC.

For now, here are some headlines from around the league to tide you over (no pun intended):

1.  Newly released NCAA documents show how it almost benched Cam Newton… and how Auburn kept playing him.  (The game of the century is on deck tomorrow and we’re still talking about Cam frickin’ Newton.  I’m sure Mike Slive is thrilled.)

2.  Tenarius Wright is out and Greg Childs is questionable for Arkansas’ game with South Carolina tomorrow.  (That’s the Top 10 showdown no one is talking about.)

3.  New hoops coach Mike Anderson is eager for the Hogs’ exhibition opener tonight.

4.  Randall Mackey has clearly established himself as Ole Miss’ #1 quarterback.

5.  The Rebels bested North Alabama in a hoops exhibition last night.

6.  When Mississippi State hosts UT-Martin, a former Bulldog player will be leading the Skyhawks’ program.

7.  MSU officials are “incredibly disappointed” that the NCAA has suspended basketball signee Kristers Zeidaks for a whopping 42 games.

8.  Chris Rainey has been limited in practice for Florida.

9.  Corner Marcus Roberson has accepted deferred prosecution on an underage drinking beef.

10.  Billy Donovan crushed his son’s team last night in an exhibition game.  (No word on whether he bounced a ball off Billy Jr.’s head like Robert Duvall in “The Great Santini.”)

11.  With four tailbacks out, New Mexico State might be the perfect opponent for Georgia.

12.  Then again, NMSU has a good kick return game and that points right at one of UGA’s biggest weaknesses.

13.  On paper, Kentucky and Ole Miss look pretty evenly matched.

14.  Rumors that Wildcats basketballer Stacey Poole has already left the team are incorrect according to his father.

15.  Tomorrow’s game between Carolina and Arkansas was supposed to feature Knile Davis and Marcus Lattimore.

16.  The Gamecocks knocked off Kentucky Wesleyan in an exhibition basketball game last night.

17.  Tennessee will try to put together a November to remember starting with MTSU tomorrow night.

18.  Cuonzo Martin’s Vols remain a work in progress after a win in their exhibition opener last night.

19.  A pair of first-year coaches — both 4-4 — will clash in Gainesville tomorrow, but Vandy folks are lot happier with their guy’s record.

20.  This Florida beatwriter believes the Gators are lucky to be playing the Commodores in The Swamp.

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Ex-Gator Jenkins Says Meyer Would’ve Kept Him

Urban Meyer received some, ahem, praise from a former player yesterday but it’s doubtful that it’s the kind of praise he’d want.  Ex-Gator defensive back Janoris Jankins — booted by Will Muschamp after a pair of back-to-back marijuana arrests — is starting over at North Alabama.  In his view, he wouldn’t be at North Alabama if Meyer were still running the Florida program:

“No doubt, if Coach Meyer were still coaching, I’d still be playing for the Gators.  Coach Meyer knows what it takes to win.”

Meaning weed?  Or meaning the ability to look the other way when a star player gets busted for weed?

Perhaps that’s why Meyer’s players rolled up some 30 arrests in Alachua County on his watch.  When there’s no fear of punishment, there’s no reason for one to stop “dabbling in the illicits” as a friend of mine used to say.

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Benedict Leaving UGA; Dowtin Finds A New Home

Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Brent Benedict is leaving Georgia due to “personal reasons,” according to a Mark Richt press release yesterday.

Benedict has spent two seasons rehabbing a major knee injury he suffered during his senior year of high school.  He was cleared to play this spring.  While Benedict couldn’t offer much in the way of experience, he was at least a body.  And when it comes to UGA’s offensive line, that’s something the Dawgs don’t have a lot of — just 13 scholarship lineman are on the squad. 

Meanwhile, former Georgia linebacker Marcus Dowtin has landed at North Alabama. 

“I saw a lot of things here that I liked,” Dowtin said of UNA.  “The staff and the facilities are great, and coach (Terry) Bowden’s background was also a factor in my decision.”

Dowtin was fourth on the UGA defense last year with 57 tackles.  He recorded 10 tackles against both Auburn and Florida.  Dowtin says a bar fight that he got into in Maryland last spring was not a factor in his departure from Athens.

North Alabama also added former Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins last week.

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Ex-Gator Jenkins To PIck Between North Alabama and Valdosta State

I’m going to paraphrase a story Tommy Bowden has told on the quarterback club circuit in recent years.  According to the ex-Clemson coach, he and his father were visiting brother Terry who is the head coach at North Alabama.  Papa Bobby commented that Terry’s D-II team looked like a team of D-I athletes.  Terry joked that that was because most of Terry’s players had begun their careers at Florida State.

With that story in mind, ex-Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins says he’s still deciding where he’ll transfer for his senior season — Valdosta State or Bowden’s North Alabama program.

Jenkins was booted by Will Muschamp following two marijuana-related arrests between January and April.

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SEC Headlines 5/23/2011 – Afternoon Edition

1. Harvey Updyke tells ESPN he wanted to get caught. Also here.

2. Former Alabama running back Demetrius Goode has transferred to North Alabama.

3. Former Georgia assistant coach Jim Pyburn is dead after a long illness.

4. Florida wants impact linebackers.

5.  Should the SEC just eliminate divisions for all sports but football?

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Report: MSU’s Hudspeth Takes The ULL Job

Mississippi State receiver and passing game coordinator Mark Hudspeth has reportedly accepted the head coaching job at Louisiana-Lafayette.

In late November, Hudspeth said he was not interested in the job.  Hudspeth said in the last 24 hours that he changed his mind when contacted by ULL officials.  Now, if is correct, he’s completed his flip-flop and accepted the ULL job.

Hudspeth had been the head coach at North Alabama from 2002 to 2008 before joining Dan Mullen’s first staff in Starkville.

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MSU’s Hudspeth Won’t Interview With La-Lafayette

Mississippi State receiver coach Mark Hudspeth said today that he will not interview for the vacant head coaching position at Louisiana-Lafayette. 

“I am not a candidate and I’m full-speed ahead here,” the coach told Brandon Marcello of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

“I’m where I want to be.  Not to say one day down the road a position somewhere wouldn’t interest me, but I’m happy where I’m at.  Recruiting is going great.”

Hudspeth was the head coach North Alabama for seven years before joining Dan Mullen’s staff as State’s passing game coordinator before the 2009 season.

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