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Bama BCS Favorites According To Top Vegas Sportsbook

lvh-sportsbookWhen it comes to Las Vegas sports gambling, the LVH SuperBook is as hardcore as you can get.  The book boasts some of the best lines in the desert, including plenty of halftime and mid-game lines all in a massive arena-sized environment.

One of the guys here at swears by the LVH (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton).  He’ll hardly go anywhere else.  (Personally, I’m more of a Bellagio sportsbook man.  Comfortable seats, a big venue but not too big, and very few gamblers who look like they’ve been trapped in the place since 1964.)

At any rate, the LVH SuperBook has updated its BCS Championship futures odds to reflect the fact that Notre Dame will be without quarterback Everett Golson in 2013.  The odds on the Irish dropped from 30-1 to 50-1 after this weekend’s announcement.

As for the other schools favored to be in the championship mix, a whopping six of the to eight teams on the LVH board play ball in the SEC.  Here’s a look at the odds for the book’s top 10, as well as for some additional SEC squads:


1.  Alabama 5-2

2.  Ohio State 6-1

3.  Oregon 7-1

4.  Georgia 10-1

5.  Texas A&M 12-1

6t.  LSU 15-1

6t.  South Carolina 15-1

6t.  Florida 15-1

9.  Stanford 18-1

10.  Clemson 25-1


Arkansas 300-1

Tennessee 300-1

Vanderbilt 500-1

Missouri 500-1

Ole Miss 500-1

Auburn 1000-1

Mississippi State 1000-1

And if you want to bet Kentucky, you’ve got to put your money on “the field” at 30-1 odds.  (Of course, according to the folks who set the lines for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, the Wildcats are the runaway 5-1 favorite to win next year’s NCAA basketball tournament.  So they’ve got that going for them.)


Someone might want to alert Bob Stoops and Charlie Weis that Texas and Oklahoma State are the favorites coming out of the Big XII at 30-1 odds.

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SEC Headlines 5/26/2013

headlines-sun3-150x150SEC Football

1. Expect nine-game conference schedule to be a hot topic of debate at the SEC spring meetings this week. Here are five things to watch.

2. Scott Rabalais: “For the sake of Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia (but really just Alabama-Tennessee) the conference has forced permanent opponents down everyone else’s throats.”

3. Mark Wiedmar: “SEC championship game…arguably did as much to change college football as the forward pass.”

4. Nine of 14 SEC schools suffered attendance declines last year.  Georgia A.D. Greg McGarity: “It’s at the top of our list of concerns, and we talk about it constantly.”

5. JUCO defensive tackle Jarran Reed won’t be able to transfer and play at Florida this fall – not enough credits. Now planning a spring transfer.

6. Former Alabama offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland on Nick Saban: ”I improved as a coach in my two years at Alabama because of him and his knowledge of football and his willingness to share that with me.”

7. Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee on his wide receiving corps: “The best guys are going to play — I don’t care if you’re a freshman or a senior.”

8. Could Ole Miss backup quarterback Maikhail Miller emerge as a short-yardage option this fall?

9. Three of the top four most expensive opening weekend game tickets on StubHub involve SEC teams.

SEC Basketball

10. Both Alabama and LSU will participate in a tip-off event at American Airlines Center in Dallas in early November.  ”The plan is to generate a lot of excitement and hype about college basketball in the city that’s hosting the Final Four.”


11. Ever wonder how much of your cable bill is from ESPN? “Basic cable customers paid an average of $5.06 a month for ESPN in 2012, making ESPN… by far the most expensive product on basic cable.”

12. Starting quarterback Everett Golson no longer enrolled at Notre Dame. Academic violation reportedly the cause.

13. Could Gunner Kiel return to Notre Dame? Apparently not.

14. An incident from her past at Tennessee could return to haunt new Rutgers A.D. Julie Hermann.

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Bama Unveils BCS Title Rings

Twitter lit up with photos of shiny, flashy rings yesterday.  Auburn fans, you might want to look away.

The BCS championship rings presented to Alabama’s football players are now on display (you can see other angles here).  You’ll note the traditional Alabama “A” is topped off by three footballs, one for each of Crimson Tide national crown in the last four years.




Alabama’s 13-1 record is featured on the side of the ring as is the final score from the Tide’s 42-14 win over Notre Dame in January’s BCS title game.


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Kansas’ Weis Backs Stoops’ Criticism Of SEC

charlie-weis-smile-uf-presserBob Stoops coached in the SEC many moons ago, when the league was dominated annually by Florida and Tennessee.  So last week when he said the SEC’s repuation as a strong league was a product of “propaganda,” it was easy to say he didn’t know what he was talking about.

But Charlie Weis coached in the SEC in 2011.  He knows the current slobber-knockin’ SEC.  And the Kansas head coach — who like Stoops served as an assistant at Florida — agrees that the SEC ain’t all it’s cracked up to be:


“Do you know the stats?  In the SEC, the record of the good guys and the bad guys?

… I’m just sayin’, you look at the bottom of our league and the bottom of their league, just going based off the numbers, there’s validity in what he said.  I’m just going based off the numbers, I mean, I’m a numbers guy.  Just based off the numbers, you’d have to say (Stoops) has got a point.”


Apparently the argument that the good guys and bad guys are worlds apart is based on the fact that the top six teams in the SEC went 30-0 against the bottom eight teams in the league last year.  And, yep, that’s a pretty ugly nugget for the bottom eight teams to have to swallow.

But in how many leagues can you talk about a “top six?”

The Big Ten over the past decade has basically had Ohio State on top.  Southern Cal and Oregon have owned the Pac-12.  In the Big XII, the league title has gone to Texas or Oklahoma every year since 2004.  By comparison, the SEC hasn’t had a repeat champion since 1998.

Just last season the SEC finished the year with five teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll.  The Pac-12 had two teams.  The Big Ten had one.  The ACC had one.  Notre Dame was also in the top 10.  No Big XII team finished in the AP top 10.

In the Big XII’s case, was that a product of uber-parity or the lack of nationally-strong teams up top?  In the SEC’s case, was the domination at the top due to a weak bottom of the league or superior talent among the frontrunners?  Seven consecutive BCS championships would suggest it had more to do with the strength at the top than weakness at the bottom.

A quick scan of both leagues’ records against the remaining “big five” conferences (plus Notre Dame) shows that Big XII teams went 9-5 against the big boys in 2012 for a .642 winning percentage.  The SEC went 13-6 against teams from the ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, and Pac-12 (plus Notre Dame) for a winning percentage of .684.

But this argument isn’t about numbers.  It’s about SEC fatigue.  Everyone outside the SEC is tired of hearing how strong the conference is – they probably shouldn’t listen to NFL GMs — and they’ll look for any possible excuse to run down the league that’s run up seven BCS titles in a row.

Even if it means coaches from a two-team league attacking a conference that’s only six teams deep.

Get used to it.  As long as the SEC is winning, this talk will continue.  And once the SEC finally loses a national championship game, the “I told ya so” chorus will be deafening.  Be prepared.


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Buck Up, Expansion Fans, You Might Be Thankful For This Unanswered Prayer

disappointed 3Assuming that the just-announced ACC grant of rights agreement is as solid as a rock, there are going to be some very disappointed people around the US of A today.

In an effort to cheer the masses, we have a special dedication to make to…


*  The websites and talk radio shows that have thrived on expansion mania (It’s been good for business during summer downtimes.)

*  The messageboard operators who’ve seen traffic explode with every realignment rumor

*  Florida State fans who wanted to erase a 20-year-old mistake and finally jump to a football-first conference

*  West Virginia fans who wanted out of the Big East and moved to the Big XII expecting a few other regional schools to eventually jump in after them

*  Big XII fans who expected their league to swallow up Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame and others in order to zip past the SEC as the nation’s best football conference

*  Anyone who wanted Texas AD DeLoss Dodds to not get his way for once

*  Proponents of super-conferences who wanted to see the creation of 18-, 20-, or even 24-school leagues

*  All of the folks who thought we’d wind up with four 16-school leagues and a nice, neat eight-team college football playoff to go along with them

*  Cincinnati and UConn fans who thought they’d finally find a way into the ACC, Big XII or Big Ten if expansion continued to boom

*  The makers of cocktail napkins (as there will be less need for sports bar chit-chatters to draw up explanations of their favorite realignment scenarios)

*  The folks who’d already penciled North Carolina State and Virginia into the SEC

*  The Big Ten which clearly had eyes on a few more Eastern and Southern schools for the purposes of dealing with population shifts and demographic changes


Yes, to all of those groups and more, here’s hoping Garth Brooks’ ol’ #1 hit from 1990 rings true.


Unanswered Prayers Garth Brooks


Just a great, surprising move by John Swofford.  On behalf of, we’d like to thank him for doing his part to try and put a lid on three years of craziness.

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New Notre Dame TV Deal Does Nothing To Slow Realignment

nbc-leprechaunFor the ACC, the best way to achieve stability would be for the league to add Notre Dame as a full member.  Currently the Irish are scheduled to join John Swofford’s conference in 2013-14, but only those sports not using a pigskin will officially join.  The Notre Dame football team will play five ACC opponents each year, but it will maintain it’s independence.

It will also maintain its television contract with NBC.

Yesterday it was announced the school and the network had extended their current contract by another 10 years, running through the 2025 gridiron campaign.  In the past the school and the network had agreed to five-year extensions of the deal that was initially signed back in 1991.

NBC — now merged with Comcast — can offer “additional avenues to expand the breadth of Notre Dame-related sports programming on NBC platforms,” according to Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick.  In other words, expect NBC to continue to air Notre Dame home football games while the new NBC Sports Network (which reaches 80 million homes) will launch specialty programming focused on Notre Dame athletics.  NBC Sports Network will also have access to the school’s other sports and a home football game on occasion.

ESPN owns the rights to Notre Dame road football games played at ACC schools via its contract with that conference.

In a statement, NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus said, “We are particularly excited that this extension offers enhanced rights that allow us to bring Notre Dame Football to fans on more platforms than ever before.”

So why write of this on an SEC-centric website?  Because Notre Dame’s extension with NBC impacts the ACC and the ACC is the conference that’s currently most vulnerable to another league’s raid.

“I think it strengthens us in a lot of different ways,” Swarbrick said yesterday.  “It’s not intended to be a signal about (independence).  Our commitment to it isn’t more today than it was two years ago.  It’s a starting point for our planning what we wanted to achieve.”

Maybe so, but the deal most certainly does button-up Notre Dame as a football independent for the foreseeable future.  With NBC/Comcast cash rolling in, the school can continue along as an adjunct football member of the ACC.  Or another conference.

From an ACC standpoint, Notre Dame won’t be rushing in as a last-minute hero to save the day.  If the Irish had joined the league full-time — and no one really expected that they would — it would have meant four additional ND/ACC football games each season.  That would would have meant more inventory to sell to ESPN and more cash for the league’s schools.  It would also would have meant that “football schools” like Florida State and Clemson would’ve seen Notre Dame more often.  As it stands, 14 ACC schools will be pushing for matchups with Notre Dame but only five per year will get them.

It’s believed that several ACC schools have had discussions with the Big Ten regarding a potential jump to Jim Delany’s league.  Maryland is currently fighting to escape the ACC’s $50 million exit fee by way of the court system.  If that fee is eventually negotiated down — like just about every other exit fee that’s ever been challenged — it’s possible schools like Virginia, Georgia Tech, and/or North Carolina could get invites from the Big Ten.

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Ex-Notre Dame QB Kiel Says Three SEC Schools Are On His List Of Possible Transfer Sites

gunner-kielGunner Kiel is looking for a new football home and the transferring Notre Dame quarterback says three SEC schools are on his radar.  According to’s Joe Schad, Kiel — who visited Cincinnati this past weekend — “said he has been contacted by Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Kansas State and that Tennessee, Ball State, Northern Illinois and Miami (Ohio) are also all options.”

The one-time star quarterback prospect initially committed to Indiana.  Then he flipped his commitment to LSU, only to back out there because his Indiana-based family wanted him to stay closer to home.  Tiger coach Les Miles, you might remember, uncharacteristically took some shots at the teenager when he signed with Notre Dame over LSU.

Kiel was beaten out for Notre Dame’s starting job last year by Everett Golson, a redshirt freshman who led the Irish to the BCS title game.  Rather than sit behind Golson for years, Kiel has decided to transfer.  He could redshirt during his transfer year and then compete for the starting spot at a school in 2014 with three years of eligibility remaining…

Assuming he’s developed “the chest and the ability to lead a program,” of course.

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Krzyzewski On New ACC: “Most Powerful Basketball Conference…Ever”

KrzyzewskiDuke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is an outspoken critic of the realignment and expansion underway in college sports.  When his Duke team meets Louisville on the basketball court today, it will do so as NCAA Tournament rivals battling it out to go to the Final Four.  But when the Cardinals move to the ACC in 2014, these two teams will meet regularly as conference rivals.  He was asked about the changes at a Saturday news conference.


For all these schools that have joined, it makes us the most powerful basketball conference, I think, ever.  And I hope our league is able to understand the assets that we’ve accumulated and what it does to the assets we already have. I think if positioned properly, it sets us apart from anybody.  And we shouldn’t look at where football is or whatever.  We have the best assets as a result of Louisville, Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame, and the assets we have — we’re joining together.  I mean, we better know how to make use of it.


In a follow-up question, Krzyzewski showed he’s not only a coach, but thinking more like a conference commissioner. In a football-first world, he’s putting the focus on the marketing of college basketball.


Does our conference develop its own TV network? Where we play the tournament — when do we play the tournament?  How do we position our regular season?  How do we have the teams play schedules that are worthy of being considered for NCAA consideration? In other words, (we need) to take a real close look at our league with the new members and say: Why are we different, why are we better, and how can we be the top league?


In addition to the schools scheduled to join the ACC, the conference is losing Maryland to the Big Ten.  However, as we told you this week, Maryland’s move is being held up in court.


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SEC Headlines – 3/22/13

headlines-friSEC Football

1.  Here are five players to watch in the SEC this spring.

2.  Take a closer look at Auburn’s linebacking corps as spring practice opens.

3.  Three Alabama reserves are no longer with Nick Saban’s football team (as the Tide whittles is scholarship list down toward 85).

4.  LSU will holds its first scrimmage of spring tomorrow.

5.  Will receiver Malcolme Kennedy be the man to replace Ryan Swope in Texas A&M’s offense?

6.  Former coach Gene Stallings compares Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel to his former Alabama pupil, David Palmer.

7.  Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is about eight pounds slimmer and trimmer this spring.

8.  Murray wishes he could keep his new frame indoors, but UGA doesn’t have a full-size indoor practice field.

9.  Receiver Shamier Jeffery — younger brother of Alshon — is turning heads this spring at South Carolina.

10.  Tennessee’s coaches say there’s still lots of work to be done as the Vols rolls into spring break.

SEC Basketball

11.  Will Yeguete has battled back from injury to be part of Florida’s NCAA Tournament run.

12.  Erik Murphy on coach Billy Donovan’s playing career at Providence: “He lets us know once in a while, just kidding around, that he led the NCAA Tournament in scoring.”

13.  Comedian and Kentucky native Ben Hoffman on the Wildcats’ NIT loss: “I thought we were literally playing a guy named Robert Morris.”

14.  Jordan McRae’s cool-off from the field didn’t help the Tennessee basketball team come tournament time.

15.  Great news in Oxford where Ole Miss’ will spend $6 million for architects to design a new $10,000-seat basketball arena.  Any step away from the Tad Pad is a good step.

16.  An SEC Tournament title and today’s NCAA appearance should boost UM’s hoops reputation.

17.  Ole Miss had a PR person sit beside Marshall Henderson during his interview session yesterday, but the Rebel (literally) star still managed to dis Wisconsin’s defense: “We also know that Florida and Alabama have better defenses than them.”

18.  Mississippi State coach Rick Ray expects to have a full roster next season.  (That might help.)


19.  New Alabama AD Bill Battle is expected to pick up where Mal Moore left off.  (Folks in Alabama are already digging out photos of Battle with Bear Bryant.)

20.  After a year on the job, Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork has been given a raise and a contract extension.

21.  The replacement for the two poisoned oaks at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn?  Three concrete poles.  (If they’d gone with a single metal pole it would have been a Festivus miracle.)

22.  President Obama might not want it, but Notre Dame coach Mike Brey is sending him one of those hideous lime green jerseys the Irish wore in the Big East tourney.

23.  If you didn’t like Notre Dame’s new unis, you probably won’t like these either.

24.  And you might not like these proposed basketball court designs for FIU. 

25.  Ex-Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones didn’t have the Pro Day workout for which he’d hoped.  (There’s football speed and track speed and I’ve enough of Jones to know some NFL team would be wise to forget about his 40 time.)

26.  Vanderbilt’s Pro Day is today.

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No Surprise: The ACC Would Welcome Notre Dame ASAP

welcome_mat2Until November, Notre Dame was scheduled to begin play full-time in the ACC (in all sports but football) by 2015.  But then Rutgers announced it was leaving the Big East.  That led to a breakaway by the “Catholic 7″ and even the loss of the Big East name altogether.  As of today, Notre Dame has no home for the 2013-14 academic year.

It should come as no surprise, however, that sources tell ESPN the ACC would allow the Fighting Irish to join its ranks this summer, ahead of schedule if the school desires.

After losing Maryland to the Big Ten, John Swofford’s league is currently attempting to fend off further potential raids from the Big Ten (and maybe the SEC and the Big XII).  Getting Notre Dame into the fold as soon as possible might not prevent future departures, but it can’t hurt.

Of course, nothing ever goes smoothly when it comes to schools switching conferences.

What’s left of the Big East — or whatever it will be called — apparently intends to make the Irish pay an exit fee before it can flee the shrinking league.  “Nobody’s going to let Notre Dame just leave; it needs to be negotiated,” a Big East source told ESPN.

Anybody else sick of all this realignment/expansion/lawsuit/negotiations nonsense?

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