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SEC Headlines – 12/20/11

1.  Auburn slipped past Florida A&M 76-69 last night, but Tony Barbee isn’t happy his team plays down to the level of its competition.

2.  Might AU use a “mystery tailback” in the Chick-fil-A Bowl?

3.  Alabama is getting back to basics for its bowl preps.

4.  Outgoing offensive coordinator Jim McElwain got emotional when Nick Saban praised him to the team during practice… and the team responded with applause.

5.  Freshman quarterback Brandon Allen is drawing praise at Arkansas during bowl practice.

6.  Will tailback Knile Davis play in the Cotton Bowl and burn a medical redshirt?  Will he return next year?  Or turn pro?  No one’s saying.

7.  Of LSU’s two All-American cornerbacks, Morris Claiborne is the low-key one.

8.  MSU’s linebacking corps jelled as the season played out.

9.  Quarterback Tyler Russell will play through the pain of an MCL sprain in the Music City Bowl.

10.  Mississippi’s Hugh Freeze and his staff of five assistants are trying to play catch-up on the recruiting trail.

11.  The Rebels’ new head coach said yesterday that he’ll be calling plays next season… even though he still might give someone else the “offensive coordinator” title.

12.  In hindsight, Will Muschamp says he should have put his first Florida team through a more physical August camp.

13.  The roundball Gators whooped up on Mississippi Valley State 82-54 last night.

14.  Georgia has wrapped up the on-campus part of its Outback Bowl preps.

15.  The Dawgs want to make amends for last season’s bowl loss to UCF when they face Michigan State.

16.  Mark Fox’s basketball team hosts Mercer tonight.

17.  Kentucky’s Darius Miller says he’s been rushing the 3-point shot.

18.  John Calipari is trying to create a “Breakfast Club” on his Wildcat team.  (That’s my cue to do this for those of you who are children of the ’80s.)

19.  UK and the city of Lexington continue to differ over the future of Rupp Arena.

20.  Melvin Ingram told fellow Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to “keep pushing” through the freshman wall.

21.  When Ellis Johnson is announced as Southern Miss’ new head coach, Steve Spurrier will lose a solid recruiter.

22.  Tennessee may be on a four-game losing streak but Cuonzo Martin is “sticking to the script.”

23.  Martin also won’t cut Trae Golden’s minutes just because he’s got a broken nose.

24.  Vanderbilt got a 29-point performance from Jeffery Taylor — who was coming off a bad stomach bug — in a 99-71 win over Longwood last night.

25.  It looks like Cincinnati will have a healthy Zach Collaros at quarterback when they face the Commodores in the Liberty Bowl.

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SEC Headlines – 12/19/11

1.  Freshman Bradley Beal already looks comfortable at Florida… what with that 15.2 points-per-game average.

2.  Erik Murphy will be back in the Gators’ starting lineup tonight.

3.  Prepping to meet Michigan State in the Outback Bowl, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham remember his own three years in East Lansing.

4.  This writer puts odds on which UGA underclassmen will turn pro.

5.  John Calipari was happy with the play of point guard Marquis Teague this weekend.

6.  For freshman All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, his best days at South Carolina are ahead of him.

7.  It doesn’t show in the record, but this writer says Tennessee’s hoopsters are making progress.

8.  Vanderbilt will hope to get more than 15 combined points from John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli tonight against Longwood.

9.  Alabama is a healthier team as it resumes preparations for the BCS Championship Game…

10.  And it resumes those preps today.

11.  One area of consistency for Auburn in 2011?  Punter Steven Clark.

12.  The basketball Tigers will face Florida A&M tonight before heading to Hawaii for Christmas.

13.  You can probably forget finding cheap tickets to the BCS title game.  (Duh.)

14.  Trent Johnson’s Tigers have won four in a row, but tonight they host #11 Marquette.

15.  Linebacker Ferlando Bohanna — now that’s a name — gives Mississippi State options moving forward.

UPDATE – The SEC has named its Players of the Week.

UPDATE/BONUS — We usually don’t cover baseball, but the league announced today that the SEC tourney will go from 8 to 10 teams in May.

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SEC Headlines – 12/6/11 AM Edition

1.  The AP has handed out its postseason All-SEC honors and awards.

2.  A look inside the Harris Poll vote — part of the BCS system — might scare you.

3.  Auburn fans are trying to get the skinny on bowl opponent Virginia.

4.  One Heisman pundit says Alabama’s Trent Richardson would have won the award… had he played last Saturday.

5.  The Cotton Bowl was a good landing spot for Arkansas.

6.  LSU will do some healing up over the next month.

7.  Les Miles is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year award.

8.  Florida will get a tough test from Arizona tomorrow night.

9.  There are a lot of similarities between Georgia and Michigan State heading into the Outback Bowl.

10.  John Calipari says he’s only looking out for his team — which he says will always be filled with young players — in deciding to drop a rivalry game with either Indiana, Louisville or North Carolina.

11.  South Carolina supporters are studying up on bowl opponent Nebraska.

12.  Tennessee’s compliance department is reminding car dealers not to give Vol athletes any special deals.

13.  James Franklin says the fact that Vanderbilt didn’t have a first-team All-SEC selection shows what a great job his staff did this year.

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NFL Makes Hill’s Departure From UF Official

What has been expected for weeks and was reported on Monday has finally been confirmed today.  The NFL has informed Florida officials that free safety Will Hill is leaving school early to jump to the professional game.

New Gator coach Will Muschamp wished Hill well in a press release.  “Although I didn’t have a chance to coach Will Hill, we certainly wish him the best of luck in the NFL.  Like all of our players, we hope he understands the value of his education and returns to get his degree.”

Hill did not start in the Outback Bowl win over Penn State.

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Surprise, Surprise! Jenkins To Return For Senior Year At UF

Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins has surprised Gator Nation by announcing his decision to return to Gainesville for his senior season.

“After careful consideration, I’ve made a decision to return to school for my senior year,” he said via press release.  “I spent some time with my family and Coach Muschamp and came to the conclusion it was in my best interest to return to school.  Coach Muschamp was very supportive throughout the whole process, regardless of my decision, but he wanted to make sure I had all the facts.  I’m looking forward to working towards my degree, completing my rehab and getting back on the field with my teammates.”

Jenkins had been projected as a first-round pick in April’s NFL draft.  He has been ranked as high as the third-best cornerback in the draft.  He was also the Gators’ best punt returner in 2010.

Last week,’s Joe Schad wrote that a source had told him that Jenkins would be turning pro.

Jenkins missed the Outback Bowl due to shoulder surgery, thus the comment about completing his rehab.

SEC fans should hope Florida’s corner can remain healthy in 2011.  Anytime a star SEC player passes up sure dollars in the pros in order to stay in college, it’s a bonus for league fans.  Best of luck to Jenkins in the year ahead.

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UF’s Jenkins Turning Pro Early

You can add the name Janoris Jenkins to the growing list of SEC underclassmen heading to the NFL.’s Joe Schad reported late last night that “a source close to the decision” confirmed Jenkins’ plan yesterday.

Jenkins missed the Outback Bowl due to a right shoulder injury that required surgery in December.  It’s long been expected that he would leave school early.

ESPN’s Todd McShay ranks him as the 11th best prospect in the upcoming NFL drat and the third-best corner.

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SEC Bowl Game Headlines 1/1/2011

Liberty Bowl

1. Central Florida 10 – Georgia 6.  Bulldogs finish at 6-7, first losing record for Georgia since 1996.

2. David Ching: “This was an uninspired effort from everyone involved.”

3. Georgia kicker Blair Walsh: “Our attitude needs to change.”

4. A.J. Green will wait a few days before making a decision on the NFL.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl

5. Florida State 26 – South Carolina 17.  Steve Spurrier now 1-4 in bowl games at South Carolina.

6. Backup QB burns the Gamecocks.

7. Spurrier: “We didn’t give ourselves much of a chance to win the game.”

Outback Bowl

8. Last hurrah for Urban Meyer and Florida’ seniors.

9. A new life awaits Meyer while a new assistant coach is coming to Florida.  Will Muschamp is targeting Charlie Weis as the next offfensive coordinator for the Gators.

10.  Is this the last game in a Florida uniform for QB John Brantley?

Capital One Bowl

11. Sunshine State or a state of disappointment for the Tide?

12. SEC vs. the Big 10 in bowl games the last 10 years – 14-12 with four more this year, including three today.

13. Jon Solomon: “The pressure is on the Big Ten.”

14. Nick Saban on the two conferences: “If there’s any difference at all, it’s probably the passion of the fans.”

Gator Bowl

15. It’s Chris Relf’s time to shine.

16. Dan Mullen: You watch Denard Robinson and the first thing that does not come to mind is slow.”

17.  With Tate Forcier sent home, the options behind Robinson at QB for Michigan are slim.

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SEC Headlines – New Year’s Eve Edition

Just a few headlines from around the conference today as we prepare to ring in the New Year.

May yours — and your favorite team’s — be happy, safe and blessed.

All the best!

1.  Alabama’s coordinators are prepping for their own days as head coaches.

2.  Bama’s quarterback situation is surprisingly murky heading into 2011.

3.  Oregon’s blitzes remind one Auburn player of Mississippi State’s schemes.

4.  The Ducks’ running backs get the edge over the Tigers’ linebackers.

5.  Arkansas is knocking the rust off in preparation for next week’s Sugar Bowl.

6.  UA and Ohio State spent a lot of money to reach a BCS game.

7.  LSU’s Derek Helton will be tempted to try to punt a ball into the giant video board hanging in Cowboys Stadium.

8.  Freshman Matt Derenbecker is showing off a sweet shooting touch for Trent Johnson’s team.

9.  Mississippi State wants to stop giving up big plays on defense.

10.  Michigan respects MSU’s offense.

11.  Ole Miss blew out Alcorn State 100-62 last night…

12.  And they landed a transfer from Memphis for the future, too.

13.  Excitement is building in Gainesville as the Will Muschamp Era nears.

14.  Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin says he won’t entertain other offers unless he’s let go by Florida.  (Meaning either that he’s lying or dozens of reports of him talking to Texas were completely false.)

15.  Controlling the line of scrimmage will be key in the Outback Bowl.

16.  Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray could break several school records in the Liberty Bowl today.

17.  UGA will be trying to avoid its first losing season in 14 years.

18.  The Dawgs will also be playing for pride.

19.  The intensity of today’s Kentucky-Louisville basketball game will be unmatched.

20.  Here’s how the two teams match up.

21.  The pressure on UK and U of L players — from their fans — is palpable.

22.  South Carolina will be playing for just the second 10-win season in school history tonight…

23.  But this writer says the Chick-fil-A Bowl means more to Florida State.

24.  This head-to-head breakdown gives the edge to FSU.

25.  Tennessee’s basketball team will likely get a tough challenge at home from College of Charleston tonight.

Sorry, no news on Vandy.  What else is new? 

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UF’s Foley Says Most Of Coaching Staff Will Be In Place By Tuesday

Will Muschamp has been off the grid since his introductory press conference in Gainesville on December 14th.  He does have plans to attend the Outback Bowl and the guess here is that he’ll be safely tucked away in a press box alongside athletic director Jeremy Foley.

Foley told The Palm Beach Post yesterday that his new coach has been back home in Austin, Texas trying to work on recruiting and putting his staff together.

According to The Post: “Most or all of the new coaches will be in place by Tuesday, which is the first day they can travel to visit high school prospects in person.”

Foley told the paper, “Some pieces are falling into place; still, there’s other pieces that have to fall into place.  I think he’s making a lot of good progress there and will be in position next week to hit the ground running and go recruit.”

In other notes, a source told the paper that Teryl Austin will definitely not be retained as UF’s defensive coordinator… and Foley said that Muschamp is consulting Urban Meyer about potential hires.

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Meyer Happy With Transition

Urban Meyer is happy with the way he’s going out and Will Muschamp is coming in at Florida.  He told an Outback Bowl press gathering as much this week.

“The guy we hired is fantastic,” Meyer said.  “I think that eased a lot of the burden because the first priority is the players and the coaches.  I’ve really enjoyed these last two weeks.”

“If there’s ever a good time (to resign) — obviously I don’t know that there ever is — but this kind of worked out very well.”

According to the coach, Meyer’s resignation was not a sudden reaction to a bad season.

“I have a great family, as close as you can imagine.  … At one point in a five-year period we lived in four different states bouncing kids in and out of school, not by choice, but just with that in mind that we’re going to go as hard as we can and then at some point pull away.”

Meyer also said, “I think last December was kind of a frontal blow and let’s evaluate this whole thing for a minute, and we did.”

The coach and his family spent the holidays in New York.  ESPN gave him a ring and asked him to drive up.  He did.  And there was a spark.

“What I found out, what a place, what great people,” the coach said.  “I’ll have to do something.” 

For Muschamp’s sake, Meyer doing something in Bristol, Connecticut would be an enormous plus.  For all the talk of keeping Meyer involved, no new coach needs his players being able to drop in and talk with their old coach. 

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