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2014 Schedule Breakout – October

crystal-ball2With football season fast approaching — the first leagues games are 18 weeks from tomorrow — it’s time to start the summer schedule talk.  On Monday, we took a look at each football weekend in August and September.  Today, we grade the games on the SEC schedule for the month of October.  Which are can’t miss and which are mere flip-bys… if that?

We break things down below.  And, yes, we’re trying to be discriminating when it comes to picking “can’t miss” games.


October 4th Weekend

Can’t Miss:

LSU at Auburn

Ones To Watch:

Alabama at Ole Miss (If the Rebels take another step forward, this could become “can’t miss.”)

Florida at Tennessee

Vanderbilt at Georgia

South Carolina at Kentucky

Texas A&M at Mississippi State

What Else Is On:

None!  (Gotta love those few weekends when all of the SEC’s teams are playing one another.)


October 11th Weekend

Can’t Miss:  

LSU at Florida (One of the league’s best games, especially if Florida rebounds this season.)

Georgia at Missouri (This could be an East Division elimination game.)

Ones To Watch:

Alabama at Arkansas

Auburn at Mississippi State

Ole Miss at Texas A&M (Depending on whether Ole Miss rises and/or A&M falls this, too, could become “can’t miss.”)

What Else Is On:

LA-Monroe at Kentucky

UT-Chattanooga at Tennessee

Charleston Southern at Vanderbilt

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SEC Schools Have Averaged 3 Changes In Power Positions Over The Past Decade

gfx-by-the-numbersThe University of Tennessee is currently searching for it’s third new basketball coach since 2005.  The Vols have also had to hire three new football coaches in that span.  We believe such turnover suggests to outsiders that there’s some serious dysfunction that exists inside the walls at Tennessee.  And we stated yesterday that Vol AD Dave Hart will likely have to answer questions about all of UT’s changes when discussing his hoops job with candidates.

Our observations didn’t sit too well with a few folks who let us know about it via email.  The general gist was this: Every SEC school has turnover.

We decided to take a look and see just how much turnover should be considered normal.

We tallied the number of football coaches, basketball coaches and athletic directors for each athletic department from 2005 to now.  While we list them below, we did not count interim hires as changes (because a full-time hire could have been made instead).  We also did not count retirees who were allowed to walk away after lengthy careers (though they are listed below, as well).  We were simply looking for changes necessitated by firings, force-outs and unexpected departures.

Below is our look at stability in the power positions across the SEC:


Alabama 2005-2014

Football:  Mike Shula, Nick Saban

Basketball:  Mark Gottfried, Anthony Grant

AD:  Mal Moore (died), Bill Battle

Total:  3 changes… We count this as 2 changes as Moore left office due to illness shortly before his death.


Arkansas 2005-2014

Football:  Houston Nutt, Bobby Petrino, John L. Smith (Interim), Bret Bielema

Basketball:  Stan Heath, John Pelphrey, Mike Anderson

AD:  Frank Broyles (retired), Jeff Long

Total:  6 changes… We count this as 4 as Broyles retired and Smith was hired purely as an interim.


Auburn 2005-2014

Football:  Tommy Tuberville, Gene Chizik, Gus Malzahn

Basketball:  Jeff Lebo, Tony Barbee, Bruce Pearl

AD:  Jay Jacobs

Total:  4 changes


Florida 2005-2014

Football:  Urban Meyer, Will Muschamp

Basketball:  Billy Donovan

AD:  Jeremy Foley

Total:  1 change


Georgia 2005-2014

Football:  Mark Richt

Basketball:  Dennis Felton, Mark Fox

AD:  Damon Evans, Greg McGarity

Total:  2 changes


Kentucky 2005-2014

Football:  Rich Brooks (retired), Joker Phillips, Mark Stoops

Basketball:  Tubby Smith, Billy Gillispie, John Calipari

AD:  Mitch Barnhart

Total:  4 changes… We count 3 as Rich Brooks actually retired from coaching.


LSU 2005-2014

Football:  Les Miles

Basketball:  John Brady, Trent Johnson, Johnny Jones

AD:  Skip Bertman, Joe Alleva

Total:  3 changes

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SEC Headlines 4/10/2014

headlines-thuSEC Football

1. Are Columbia police having difficulty getting cooperation from a victim or witness in a case potentially involving Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham? Update: Investigation complete – no arrests will be made. Update II: Victim and roommate feared retaliation.  Girlfriend text:  ”The coaches talked to me and explained to (me) how serious this is and there’s no time to waste at this point.”

2. Certain people who show up for Mississippi State’s spring game may get dinner with coach Dan Mullen.

3. Is Alabama running back Derrick Henry poised for a breakout season? “During the Oklahoma game, I could tell that they didn’t want to tackle me.”

4. Alabama coach Nick Saban on his quarterbacks: “Cooper Bateman and Blake Sims have both done a nice job this spring and are improving very nicely.”

5. Position battle to watch at Georgia’s spring game?  Left guard.

6. Florida wide receiver Chris Thompson had only two catches last season but has been a standout performer this spring.

7. More debate over Vanderbilt’s decision to move its game against Ole Miss to LP Field.

8. More than 1.2 million fans watched Auburn play football in 2013 - more than any other team in the country.

9. South Carolina defensive tackle J.T. Surratt: “I wasn’t too boisterous last year, but this year I gotta step up into that roll and say more things now.”

10. Arkansas names Southeastern Louisiana associate head coach E.K. Franks as the program’s recruiting director.

11. With its entire starting group gone, plenty of opportunities along Tennessee’s offensive line.

12. Tennessee will have a flag football game for former Vols at halftime of the spring game.


13. Zach Mettenberger on his performance at LSU’s Pro Day: ”I’ve been saying for a couple of weeks now that I’m healthy, and good enough to go, and I don’t think all of y’all believed me. ”

SEC Basketball

14. The mother of Kentucky star Julius Randle denies an ESPN report that her son has decided to declare for the NBA draft.

15. Kentucky coach John Calipari on the NCAA: “The situation reminds me a little of the Soviet Union in its last years.”

16. Florida forward Chris Walker says he’s returning for sophomore year.

17. Ole Miss guard Derrick Millinghaus is planning to transfer.

18. Former Texas Tech guard Dusty Hannahs is transferring to Arkansas.

19. Former Missouri player Earnest Ross filed a restraining order against teammate Zach Price a before Price was arrested twice for assault.

20. Auburn coach Bruce Pearl has one more spot to fill on his staff.  Interviewed 12 candidates during the Final Four.

SEC History

21. How much did Bear Bryant make when he coached Texas A&M?  $15,000 plus 1% of the gate.


22. This is how you become a college football bag man.

23. Big Ten opening an office in New York City.

24. David Letterman’s replacement is Stephen Colbert.

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SEC Headlines 3/28/2014

Friday HeadlinesSEC Football

1. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen on former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron: “He’s a guy I have tremendous respect for and think is a fabulous football coach.”

2. Sophomore Quincy Adeboyejo expected to be a starting slot receiver at Ole Miss this fall.

3. At least for one day, Georgia’s spring practice was open to the media.

4. Auburn defensive lineman Tyler Nero hospitalized following incident at practice.

5. Auburn’s director of external operations Phillip Lolley is leaving to join the staff of the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL.

6. Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson on the debate over the pace of college football: ”I think the slow-down guys are really not worried about injuries, and I think the speed-up guys are really not worried about how many plays they get.”

7. You can add the kicking game to the list of depleted positions this spring at LSU. Tigers anxiously await the arrival of running back Leonard Fournette.

8. Report: Old Dominion turns down $1.3 million to play at Alabama in 2015.

9. Alabama quarterback Blake Sims spent part of his spring break working out with a private quarterback coach.

10. Is South Carolina safety Brison Williams moving to cornerback this fall?

11. Tennessee was last in the SEC in sacks in 2013.  Vols hope outside linebacker/defensive end Curt Maggitt can change those numbers this fall. Butch Jones: “We’ll be much more talented, but very youthful.”

12. Kentucky defensive end Marcus Dupree: “Next year will be our year.”

Unionization of college athletes

13. Poll says 75% of Americans oppose the idea but support for the idea from Georgia athletes.

14. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “Of course they should be able to organize.”

15. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier: “ I’ve advocated giving college football players and college basketball players a stipend.”

16. Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin: “You pay the tennis player the same as you play the football player. I don’t think that changes.”


17. 75 NFL personnel turn out for Johnny Manziel’s pro day. Former President George HW Bush and wife Barbara were in attendance.

18. Where might Auburn’s Dee Ford land?  “I hear a lot of talk about Philadelphia and New Orleans.”

SEC Basketball

19. “Florida coach Billy Donovan is rapidly cementing a reputation as the best coach in the SEC since the late Adolph Rupp.”

20.  ”It is difficult to imagine this Florida team — so close to the Final Four in each of its past four seasons, and more complete than ever before — missing out now.”

21. John Calipari on his relationship with Rick Pitino: ”I would say we’re friends.”

22. “The Vols enter the Midwest Regional semifinal against Michigan acting like a team scorned.”

23. Auburn playing UAB in the future?  ”We would love it.”

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Amadi Chooses Ole Miss

Ole Miss received good news this week when defensive back Ugo Amadi from John Overton High School in Nashville, Tenn., announced his commitment to Ole Miss.


The University of Ole Miss is starting to become one of the more prominent schools in recruiting – right up there with “the University of LSU.”

Amadi, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 20 cornerback by Rivals, chose Ole Miss over offers from Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Cincinnati and Purdue, among others.

“I chose Ole Miss just because I felt like it was a good fit,” he told Rivals. “Not just because of the coaches but because it’s close to home and I felt like I wanted to get out of Tennessee for a better situation. Now it’s a relief and I can just go out there and play ball keep my focus on getting better and getting ready for the next level.”

Amadi said Ole Miss has plans for him to help the Rebels immediately. He could make an impact on defense and specials teams.

“They said they’re going to let me play early,” Amadi said. “They want to give me a shot to earn the job as a punt returner and if I work for it I’ll be playing defense early, too. They told me they’re going to be playing five defensive backs and they’re only taking two in my class so that makes me feel comfortable knowing that they believe in me.”

Amadi is the fourth prospect and first defensive back to commit to Ole Miss’ 2015 class. He told Rivals he doesn’t anticipate any change with his decision.

“Right now my mind is made up about where I want to play the next four years,” Amadi said. “I don’t see that changing.”


Sheffield sticks with Vandy

Defensive back Donovan Sheffield from Ensworth High School in Nashville decided last weekend he wants to remain committed to Vanderbilt.

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SEC Headlines 3/18/2014

headlines-tueSEC Football

1. Four Georgia football players, including safety Tray Matthews, were arrested and charged with theft by deception.

2. Georgia will begin spring practice today. Here are five things to know about the Bulldogs.

3. Nick Saban is happy with Alabama’s start to 2014. Veteran Tide players are, too.

4. Auburn will continue to have a “blue-collar, lunch-pail mentality,” coach Gus Malzahn said.

5. Mississippi State has some offensive holes to fill as spring practice gets started.

6. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze discussed the latest off-field issue involving linebacker Denzen Nkemdiche.

7. Tennessee’s defensive line still has plenty of work to do.

8. Four Missouri athletes – two play football, two play basketball – were arrested and cited for suspicion of possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana.

SEC/NCAA Tournament

9. Florida wants to break its Elite Eight streak and finish with a national championship.

10. John Calipari still isn’t happy about Kentucky receiving a No. 8 seed in the tournament.

11. But Kentucky has to play where its sent. Here’s a look at what the Wildcats are facing.

12. Tennessee players scoffed at “play-in” criticism. Jordan McRae: “The whole tournament thing, ‘We’re in, but we’re not in,’ I’ve never heard of that. You’re either in or you’re not.”

SEC Basketball

13. The Associated Press All-SEC team was released Monday. Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan. Player of the Year: Scottie Wilbekin.

14. What’s the latest with Auburn’s coaching search? Brandon Marcello checks in as a few other jobs have come open.

15. LSU forward Jarell Martin said he plans to return for his sophomore season next year.

16. The Tigers’ season isn’t over yet. LSU will play San Francisco in the NIT Wednesday night.

17. Ole Miss coaches have already started their offseason plans.

18. Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson still has plenty to prove as the Tigers prepare for the NIT.


19. Florida held its Pro Day on Monday. Defensive tackle Dominique Easley did not participate.

20. CBS Sports experts gave their predictions for the NCAA Tournament.

21. Scott Gleeson makes 10 bold predictions for the NCAA Tournament.

22. Teddy Bridgewater’s Pro Day reviews weren’t too good. Mike Mayock: “Most quarterbacks have good pro days. Today, I thought it was very average at best.

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Ole Miss’ Kennedy Plays Down Rumors Of Interest In South Florida; Rebel Fans Should Be Careful What They Wish For

andy-kennedy-hands-upJudging from the reaction on Twitter and messageboards, many, many Ole Miss fans would love to see coach Andy Kennedy depart Oxford for the open job at South Florida.  ”Don’t let the door hit you,” seems to be the most common refrain.

This view ignores one rather large question that a Kennedy defection would raise — Just who is UM gonna get that’s better?  Wait, we know.  Bruce Pearl.  Of course.  The man will have his choice between the traditional hoops hotbeds of Ole Miss and Auburn.  Color us skeptical.

Now back to reality — Just who could the Rebels lure to Oxford?  State law prevents the school from giving out contracts of longer than four years (disadvantage).  The school typically sits at the bottom of the SEC with Mississippi State when it comes to the US Department of Education’s annual breakdown of athletic departments’ finances (disadvantage).  No matter how you cook the books, the Rebs just aren’t on the same financial footing as some of their SEC rivals.  The Tad Pad is finally set to be replaced, but the new venue will seat just 9,500 (disadvantage).  You can donate to the cause here, by the way (apparently Fox’s Shepard Smith is “Fired Up!”).  There’s also the issue of racism that must be dealt with on the recruiting trail every time a few morons hang a noose on a statue and pick the scab off old self-inflicted wounds (disadvantage).

But let’s say AD Ross Bjork can turn all those issues into positives.  There’s still one other thing that might deter someone like a Jim Boeheim from leaving Syracuse for Ole Miss (sarcasm).  That’s the fact that Kennedy has done a pretty good job.  In the eyes of any coach on solid-footing the following records look pretty good all things considered: 21-13, 24-11, 16-15, 24-11, 20-14, 20-13, 27-9, 19-14.  That’s a .630 winning percentage and six seasons with 20 wins or more.  Granted there’s only one NCAA bid in that eight-year stretch, but most coaches realize that the tournament bubble can be pretty unpredictable and Kennedy has lived on the tournament bubble.  Plus, it’s not like the NCAA selection committee is doling out bids by the bushel to the SEC right now.

Many a coach will likely look at Kennedy’s record — if he leaves — and wonder if they could do any better.  And if seven seasons of 19 or more wins didn’t please the UM masses before, what the heck would those fans expect of a new guy?

Look, we’re not saying Ole Miss can’t reach for the stars.  Go for it.  But the old line from a Clint Eastwood “Dirty Harry” flick is worth remembering: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Someone can win in basketball at Ole Miss.  Hell, Kennedy has won at Ole Miss.  But replacing Kennedy with a big name — even Bruce Pearl — is going to be tall order for Bjork.

Perhaps Mississippi fans should just look down US 278 a piece if they’re not happy with the words we’ve written here.  Mississippi State forced Rick Stansbury to fall on his sword.  Stansbury had won 293 games for the Bulldogs and taken them to six NCAA tourneys.  He’d rolled up 10 20-win seasons, too.  But the Bulldogs barked, Stansbury got the message, and the school was left to hire… Rick Ray.  Now, he seems a fine fellow and he might win some games eventually, but Rick Ray was not a name MSU fans were dreaming of when Stansbury was put to sleep.  And while State fans blame the last two years — 24-40 overall, 7-29 in the SEC — on Stansbury, there’s no one outside of Starkville who thinks things would have been that bad had Stansbury simply been retained.

For that matter, maybe the Rebels should look to their old rival if indeed Kennedy has interest in the South Florida job, as The Tampa Tribune has reported.  We suggest, however, that Ole Miss fans start being a bit more appreciative of 19- and 20-win seasons.  Look around the SEC.  There aren’t many guys who are doing much better than what Kennedy has done.

Just sayin’.

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Five-Star Jefferson ‘Giving Everyone A Chance’

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxCeCe Jefferson has more college options than he can count.

The defensive tackle from Baker County High School in Glen St. Mary, Fla., holds offer from schools such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Florida State, Ohio State and Southern California. That’s just the start of it.

The amount of interest Jefferson is receiving is the reason he plans to keep his options open and wait until national signing day to announce his decision.

“I am still fairly even and that is why I decided to make my commitment on national signing day and don’t have a top five or anything,” Jefferson told “I am just giving everyone a chance to prove to me why I should go to their school. The more visits I take the better I will know what I like and don’t like.”

Jefferson, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle by Rivals, has already begun taking unofficial visits. He has recently taken trips to Florida, Florida State and Georgia.

Jefferson’s visit to Florida last weekend came with a similar message from the Gators’ staff: he is a top priority in the 2015 class.

“They made it real sure they let me know that Florida is going to be coming at me hardest,” Jefferson said. “They said to keep a lookout for them because they are going to come to one or two of my football games and I better get used to them because they are going to recruit me to the end.”

So will Georgia. New Bulldogs defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has developed a strong relationship with Jefferson dating back to Pruitt’s previous stop at Florida State. Jefferson visited Georgia’s campus for the first time earlier this month.

“It was my first time up there and they set the bar real high,” Jefferson said. “I talked with coach Pruitt about his change from Florida State to Georgia and obviously he saw something in their program that made him want to go.

“They showed me a real good time and a lot of great facilities and Coach (Mark) Richt is a real good guy. I wouldn’t mind playing for Georgia.”

Other schools are just hoping to remain in the mix as they try to improve their standing with Jefferson, who doesn’t claim a ranking of any of the schools he’s considering.

Jefferson told Rivals he plans to visit Alabama, Auburn, LSU and North Carolina during the spring. That will only be the start of it.


Livington likes the Wildcats

Kentucky continues to make a favorable impression on offensive/defensive lineman Levon Livingston from Ballou High School in Washington, D.C.

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SEC Hoops Roundup 3/14/2014

gfx-hoops-round-up2Missouri 91 – Texas A&M 83 (2 OT).Video Highlights

1. Missouri survives and advances in double overtime.  Tigers outrebound the Aggies 48-28 and make 40 of 53 free throws.

2. Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy: “They shot 53 free throws. You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s too many free throws.”

South Carolina 71 – Arkansas 69. Video Highlights

3. South Carolina wins for the second straight day, getting 17 points from Sindarius Thornwell as the Gamecocks pull off the upset.

4. Did Arkansas blow its chance to make the NCAA Tournament?  Razorback senior Coty Clarke: I’m hoping for the NCAAs. But right now, I don’t know.”

LSU 68 – Alabama 56. Video Highlights

5. LSU freshmen trio of Jarell Martin, Jordan Mickey and Tim Quarterman combined for 31 points. 

6. Alabama ends it season at 13-19 – most losses for the Crimson Tide since the 1968-1969 season.

7. What’s the future hold for Alabama coach Anthony Grant?

Ole Miss 78 – Mississippi State 66. Video Highlights

8, Ole Miss rallies from 13-point second-half deficit.  Jarvis Summers and Marshall Henderson each score 21 points to lead the Rebels.

9. Mississippi State goes nearly 10 minutes in second half without a bucket. Bulldogs end the season losing 14 of last 15 games.

SEC Tournament Friday Schedule

Missouri vs  Florida

South Carolina vs Tennessee

LSU vs Kentucky

Ole Miss vs Georgia

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Ole Miss 78 – Mississippi State 66

Video highlights of the Ole Miss 78-66 win over Mississippi State Thursday night at the SEC Conference Tournament in Atlanta.

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