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SEC Headlines 12/17/2012

SEC Football

1. LSU linebacker Kevin Minter named team MVP.

2. 6,000 seat, $85 million expansion going on at Tiger Stadium.  Capacity at LSU will increase to just short of 100,000 at the start of the 2014 season.

3. With Drew Alleman’s days drawing to a close, James Hairston looks to be the next in line as kicker at LSU.

4. If your nickname is the Crimson Tide, why does an elephant mascot roam the sidelines?

5. Focus shifts today at Mississippi State – bowl game against Northwestern is two weeks from tomorrow.

6. Nick Griffin’s injury at MSU will give redshirt freshman running back Josh Robinson more opportunities.

7. With three weeks to prepare for the bowl game against Pittsburgh, Hugh Freeze will spend time this week focusing on his younger players.

8. Nearly 21,000 tickets have been sold through Ole Miss for the BBVA Compass Bowl.

9. South Carolina has three less Michigan players to worry about for the Outback Bowl.  Starting cornerback J.T. Floyd, the punter and a backup linebacker all suspended by coach Brady Hoke.

10. After playing both ways this year at Georgia, Malcolm Mitchell would love to focus on one side of the ball: “If I had to pick between offense and defense, one or the other, I’m going to pick offense just because I love doing it.”

11. Georgia players choose whiffle ball.

12. Tennessee junior tackle Ja’Wuan James says he’ll return for his senior year. “Blessed to have another year…”

13. Florida’s Sugar Bowl opponent, Louisville, slashing some ticket prices to the game thanks to the local pizza baron.

14. With Josh Henson the new offensive coordinator at Missouri – a look at how much previous experience every OC in the SEC has.

SEC Basketball

15. At the end of the first and second halves Saturday night against Arizona, Florida was outscored 15-0.

16. Missouri finally gets to see what Oregon transfer Jabari Brown can do tonight against South Carolina State. Frank Haith: “We’ve got to understand, here’s a guy that hasn’t played in a year and will be playing (tonight) for the first time in a long time.” Illinois-Missouri on Saturday one of Andy Katz’ “must watch” games this week.

17. Auburn’s legitimate center duo?

18. Vanderbilt tries to make it three in a row tonight against Cornell. Dai-Jon Parker will make his season debut after serving a 10-game suspension.

19.  This list of college hoops’ most overpaid coaches features three names from the SEC.

Extra

20. A North Alabama player’s racist tweet aimed at President Obama last night -he’s no longer on the team.

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SEC Bowl Game Odds Update 12/16/12 Update

Wondering what the lines are for the SEC’s bowl games this holiday season?  Here’s an updated look and, yes, the Vegas bookmakers know full well that betters will be plunking down big cash on SEC teams based on their reputation.  That’s why every single team from Mike Slive’s league opened as a favorite:

 

Music City Bowl in Nashville – Monday, Dec. 31st

Vanderbilt vs NC State

Opened:  VU -5

Current:  VU -7 (moved up a half-point this week)

 

Chik-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta – Monday, Dec. 31st

LSU vs Clemson

Opened:  LSU -3

Current:  LSU -4 (no change this week)

 

Gator Bowl in Jacksonville – New Year’s Day

Mississippi State vs Northwestern

Opened:  MSU -2

Current:  MSU -2 (no change this week)

 

Outback Bowl in Tampa – New Year’s Day

South Carolina vs Michigan

Opened:  USC -4.5

Current:  USC -5 (no change this week)

 

Capital One Bowl in Orlando – New Year’s Day

Georgia vs Nebraska

Opened:  UGA -8.5

Current:  UGA -10 (no change this week)

 

Sugar Bowl in New Orleans – Wednesday, Jan. 2nd

Florida vs Louisville

Opened:  UF -15

Current:  UF -13.5 (moved down a half-point)

 

Cotton Bowl in Arlington – Friday, Jan. 4th

Texas A&M vs Oklahoma

Opened:  A&M -3

Current:  A&M -4.5 (no change this week)

 

BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham – Saturday, Jan. 5th

Ole Miss vs Pittsburgh

Opened:  UM -2

Current:  UM -3.5 (no change this week)

 

BCS Championship Game – Monday, Jan. 7th

Alabama vs Notre Dame

Opened:  UA -9.5

Current:  UA -10 (moved up a half-point)

 

Nine bowl games – still nine SEC favorites, three of them double-digits. The first SEC bowl games kickoff two weeks from Monday.

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SEC Bowl Game Lineup

 

 

Computer Guru Palm Makes SEC Bowl Picks

Jerry Palm — the computer guru/numbers-cruncher who made a name for himself ranking college basketball teams — has posted his predictions for this season’s bowl matchups.  You might want to hold off on ordering tickets with the season still a month away and all, but for a late-summer read, eh, it’s worth a look.

In chronological order, here’s how Palm expects things to shake out for the SEC’s team this season (the comments after each game are mine):

 

Music City Bowl, 12/31 (SEC #7 vs ACC #6): Missouri vs Georgia Tech (A so-so first year for Mizzou.)

Liberty Bowl, 12/31 (SEC #8 or #9 vs C-USA #1): Tennessee vs Houston (Enough to save Derek Dooley?)

Chick-fil-A Bowl, 12/31 (SEC #5 vs ACC #2): South Carolina vs Virginia Tech (A disappointment for the Cocks?)

Capital One Bowl, 1/1 (SEC #2 vs Big Ten #2): Georgia vs Michigan State (A rematch from last year and another reason we don’t like automatic tie-ins.)

Gator Bowl, 1/1 (SEC #6 vs Big Ten #4 or #5): Mississippi State vs Iowa (Pretty good expectations for the Bulldogs.)

Outback Bowl, 1/1 (SEC #3 or #4 vs Big Ten #3): Florida vs Nebraska (Will Muschamp makes some progress.)

Sugar Bowl, 1/2 (SEC champ or At-large BCS bid vs At-large BCS team): Alabama vs Louisville (Bama fans still remember the name of Browning Nagle.)

Cotton Bowl, 1/4 (SEC #3 or #4 vs Big 12 #2): Arkansas vs Oklahoma State (Good, but probably not good enough to land John L. Smith the full-time gig.)

BBVA Compass Bowl, 1/5 (SEC #8 or #9 vs Big East #5 or a C-USA fill-in): Auburn vs Cincinnati (Folks would start to have their doubts about Gene Chizik.)

BCS Championship Game, 1/7 (BCS #1 vs BCS #2): LSU vs Southern Cal (Tiger fans won’t have to wonder if Les Miles will play Jarrett Lee.)

 

The squads Palm doesn’t envision going bowling: Kentucky, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

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SEC Afternoon Headlines 7/23/2012

1. Key to success at Arkansas this fall?  Stop the run.

2. Best battle at quarterback for Alabama?  Backup to AJ McCarron.

3. Auburn coach Gene Chizik is impressed with redshirt freshman linebacker Kris Frost.

4. What cornerback Dehendret Collins means to Ole Miss this fall.

5. Why the next few years of Florida basketball could be very good. 2013 class gets a No. 1 ranking.

6. Former South Carolina and current Texas A&M AD Eric Hyman on the challenges he faced in his old job: “I’ve talked to other athletic directors, and they don’t have some of the challenges that we have here.”

NCAA and Penn State

7. LSU coach Les Miles: ”As unfortunate as the sanctions are, I think we’re all in support. He needed to make a statement and he did.”

8. Stewart Mandel: “Justice has been served, assuming your idea of justice for rape victims is to deprive a school of its next four Outback Bowl invitations.”

9. Jeff Schultz:  ”NCAA president Mark Emmert acted swiftly and justly. “

10. Gene Frenette: “Not one coach or player currently at Penn State had anything to do with the coverup of Sandusky, a convicted felon, abusing so many young boys while serving as Paterno’s defensive coordinator.”

11. Roundup of quotes and reaction.

12. With transfer rules relaxed – expect a feeding frenzy: “I get the feeling that the likes of Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Michigan’s Brady Hoke have already perused PSU’s roster and commenced a game of “need it… got it… need it… need it… got it…”

13. What happens when BOTH teams vacate a football game?

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SEC Bowl Schedule In Detail

Yesterday we noted that the Football Bowl Association had finalized its 2012-13 schedule of postseason games.  We provided you with a link to the master list as well.

But a few of you asked for an SEC-only breakdown of the games, so below are the contests that feature SEC tie-ins (including the BCS Championship Game which has basically become an additional SEC bowl).

We include day, date and time as well as broadcast network and the opponent’s conference affiliation.  Print it, save it, post it on the fridge:

 

Friday 12/28, 2:00pm ET on ESPN — AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl

SEC vs ACC

 

Monday 12/31, 12:00pm ET on ESPN — Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

SEC vs ACC

 

Monday 12/31, 3:30pm ET on ESPN — AutoZone Liberty Bowl

SEC vs C-USA

 

Monday 12/31, 7:30pm ET on ESPN — Chick-fil-A Bowl

SEC vs ACC

 

Tuesday 1/1, 12:00pm ET on ESPN2 — TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl

SEC vs Big Ten

 

Tuesday 1/1, 1:00pm ET either ESPN or ABC — Capital One Bowl

SEC vs Big Ten

 

Tuesday 1/1, 1:00pm ET either ESPN or ABC — Outback Bowl

SEC vs Big Ten

 

Tuesday 1/1, 8:30pm ET on ESPN — Allstate Sugar Bowl

SEC vs BCS Foe

 

Friday 1/4, 8:00pm ET on Fox — AT&T Cotton Bowl

SEC vs Big 12

 

Saturday 1/5, 1:00pm ET on ESPN — BBVA Compass Bowl

SEC vs Big East

 

Monday 1/7, 8:30pm ET on ESPN — Discover BCS National Championship Game

SEC? vs SEC? (Hey, it happened last year.)

 

Thoughts:

* As a new bowl day dawns in 2014, here’s hoping the SEC can dump a game against the ACC and pick up a game with the Pac-12.  All the SEC’s existing bowl tie-ins go bye-bye in two more years.  So movement/change is possible/likely.

* The SEC and Big 12 will launch the “Champions” Bowl in 2014 either as a stand-alone event or as a re-branded, rebuilt Sugar or Cotton Bowl.  When the playoff was first rubber-stamped, most believed that a merger was in the offing, probably with Jerry Jones’ Cowboys Stadium-based Cotton Bowl.  Since then, however, it’s looking increasingly like the conferences will indeed create the game on their own and bid it out to a different city each year.  Stay tuned.

* If the SEC and Big 12 want to partner up on another bowl game, St. Louis makes a heckuva lot of sense and there’s no question that city’s sports commission wants in on the bowl action.  If not the Big 12, then The Gateway to the West would serve as a good meeting ground for the SEC versus Pac-12 game we suggested above.

* The rationale behind the SEC and Big Ten scheduling three games opposite each other on New Year’s Day is obvious.  It’s called “roadblocking” in the television industry and it creates the impression that both leagues own New Year’s Day.  No matter where you flip from noon to 3pm ET, you’re probably going to see SEC and Big Ten teams.  But that doesn’t make it any better for the fans of those leagues who have to decide which game to watch, while missing out on two others.

* Here’s hoping the trend of non-BCS bowls being played between New Year’s Day and the BCS title game — I’m looking at you AT&T Cotton and BBVA Compass — will die out with the new playoff.  That’s probably not likely to happen, but here’s hoping.

 

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St. Louis Group Talks New SEC-Big Ten Bowl Game

At a time when college football season’s postseason appears to be in flux, one group is considering birthing a brand new bowl game.  Forget the new playoff that’s now being debated/discussed.  Forget that some school presidents have been talking about raising the win-level for bowl-eligible teams, a move which would result in a cut back in the current number of bowls.  Folks in Show-Me State want a bowl game.

According to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Sports Commission is exploring the feasibility of bringing a bowl to the city.  And the group’s president, Frank Viveritos, already believes the perfect matchup would be an SEC-Big Ten showdown:

 

“If we were able to produce a wish-list game, that would be the one.  If the SEC is making a commitment to the University of Missouri, then this is a market we would like to help them develop for the league…

We want to get meaningful conference tie-ins.  We want to have an event that would be considered a home run for the region in every way.”

 

Currently the group is gauging how much support a bowl game would get from the city and how much money the game would have to pay out to participants.  The more money going to teams, the better the conference tie-ins.  The better the conference tie-ins, the better the media exposure and tourism revenue for St. Louis.

The city of St. Louis is also expected to bid for at least one upcoming SEC basketball tournament.  And SEC commissioner Mike Slive has recently been talking about finding new bowl partnerships for his just-expanded league.  So a St. Louis bowl tied to the Southeastern Conference seems like a natural at this point.

We also don’t believe that in the end of discussions bowl-eligibility qualifications will indeed be raised.  For every school president at Alabama or Ohio State or Oregon who knows they’ll go bowling each season, there are two from Utah State or even Mississippi State who need a six-win cut-off if they’re to rake in some extra exposure — which leads to more cash, better recruiting and better football in the long run — by going bowling each year.  That’s no knock on MSU, their own AD, Scott Stricklin, has admitted that he’s against a nine-game SEC schedule because it might knock State from future bowl games.  Would he or his boss be in favor then of raising bowl-eligibility standards?  We think not.

For that reason, we would be surprised to see the number of bowl games snipped.  A better way of handling things on that end might be to require games to hit a higher minimum payout, anyway.  Such a move would either reduce the current number of games by just a few or lead to the replacement of smaller games by larger ones.  Like, say, one in St. Louis.

If there is room for a bowl on the Mississippi, the Big Ten does make sense as an SEC foe.  Unfortunately those two leagues already have tie-ins in three other games: Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl and Gator Bowl.  For that reason, it already seems that Georgia and Michigan State, for example, have met in a Florida bowl for about nine of the last 10 years, doesn’t it?

We get that “Big Ten versus SEC” would be a better draw for the city and that’s what bowls are all about in the first place — tourism.  Cities don’t hold these games because they just like ‘em some football.

But in a perfect world, the SEC would line-up a new game with a brand new bowl partner.  St. Louis is the Gateway to the West.  Wouldn’t an SEC versus Pac-12 matchup be infinitely more interesting in a new Gateway Bowl?  Heck, even an SEC-Big 12 game would be a better compromise, possibly pitting Missouri against one of its old Big 12 rivals if things broke the right way.

But then, what the heck is ever perfect about college football’s postseason?

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SEC Headlines – 1/5/12 Part Two

1.  A pair of Florida footballers who announced they were last October have decided to join former Gator coach Charlie Strong at Louisville.

2.  Billy Donovan’s guards are having a big year even though they’re not scoring big points.

3.  Georgia AD Greg McGarity says the Dawgs loss in the Outback Bowl won’t have an impact on his contract negotiations with Mark Richt.

4.  Kentucky is out-rebounding its foes at a ridiculous clip.

5.  A state senator from Louisville is pushing a bill that would require the Cats and Cards to meet in football and basketball each year.

6.  Steve Spurrier says Carolina will “try to have a big year next year.”

7.  Tennessee got “out-toughed” in a 69-51 loss at Memphis last night.

8.  James Franklin was pleased with the number of Vanderbilt supporters who showed up at the Liberty Bowl.

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SEC Headlines – 1/3/12 Part Two

1.  Florida wraps up its pre-SEC hoops slate against UAB tonight.

2.  A pair of special teams’ TDs help Florida pull off a Gator Bowl win and now things seem a little bit better in Gainesville.

3.  Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray says his team “could have pulled out a couple more wins,” including yesterday’s Outback Bowl.

4.  Several Bulldogs now need to make decisions about the NFL.

5.  John Calipari believes Kentucky’s Terrence Jones needs to start having more fun on the court.

6.  UK’s coach also wants his team to be more unselfish.

7.  Following a Capital One Bowl victory over Nebraska, safety DJ Swearinger said, “We go down in history as the best team to play at Carolina.”

8.  Receiver Alshon Jeffery was at his best in earning MVP honors yesterday in Orlando.  Oddly, he was also ejected for fighting making him the first ejected MVP I have ever seen.

9.  Derek Dooley said today that the worst is behind Tennessee and now the progress begins.

10.  The Vol basketball team fired up 39 3-pointers in a 76-63 win over Chattanooga last night.

11.  Speaking of shooting threes, John Jenkins scored 26 points to lead Vanderbilt to a 69-62 win over Miami (Ohio).

12.  Kevin Stallings said his team has developed a habit of playing poor second-half defense.

UPDATE – Florida has hired Jeff Dillman as the football program’s new strength coach.

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A Major Mood Swing At Georgia

Oh, what a missed field goal can bring.

Georgia’s fans watched in horror yesterday as the Bulldogs coaching staff went conservative with a 27-20 lead late in the Outback Bowl.  Mark Richt had been on the attack all season long with fourth-down gambles and Aaron Murray deep balls.  But with the game on the line, UGA’s braintrust puckered.  The offense went conservative.  The defense went into a prevent zone that allowed Michigan State to march 85 yards in less than two minutes.  Tie game.  27-27.  Overtime.

But in overtime, Georgia caught a break, picking off its third pass of the day from Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins on MSU’s first possession.  Remarkably, the Dawgs went conservative again.  They appeared to be fine and dandy with a 42-yard field goal attempt from inconsistent kicker Blair Walsh.  Bad move.  He missed.

Overtime continued and you know the rest of the story — Michigan State 33, Georgia 30.

And everything has now changed in the Peach State as a result of that missed potential game-winner.

Up 16-0 at the half on a Top 5 defense, most Georgia fans were saying things like this: “You know, 11 wins this year, easy schedule next year, I really think we’re sitting pretty when it comes to winning the national title!”

After the loss — at least on the UGA messageboards — the talk changed to this:  “You know, we didn’t beat a good team all season.  10 wins against teams we should beat and then another bowl choke.  Nothing’s changed.”

A bowl loss is the worse thing in the world.  Instead of an offseason of positive dreaming, negative grumbling fills the airwaves.  Richt will get his contract extension from Georgia… as he should.

But if the coach’s status were left to fans — after yesterday’s loss — Richt’s seat really wouldn’t be all that much cooler entering 2012.  Especially with the Dawgs’ much-maligned schedule.

His conservatism and a missed field goal will have a lot of Georgians saying that Richt had better win big next season.  Or else many folks will be right back calling for his head.

There’s nothing like the mood swing after a bowl loss.

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