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SEC Headlines 9/20/2013

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1. How could Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels be “misidentified” in a text message linked to a rape case?  Prosecutors won’t say.

2. Is Florida “the most underrated team in the country right now”?  And here’s what CBS analyst Gary Danielson says about Tennessee: ”If it becomes a game where Tennessee depends on their quarterback to win it, they don’t have a chance.”

3. What Tennessee wants to avoid.  Third downs against the Gators defense.

4. Trash talk! Indiana tweets fire up Missouri’s secondary.

5. Mizzou redshirt freshman nose guard Harold Brantley drawing comparisons to former Tiger Sheldon Richardson? “You’re going to put him on the same level pretty soon.”

6. NFL-style critique of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron:  ”He has not consistently shown the ability to get flushed and make a play.”

7. And Johnny Manziel? “He’s the Curly Neal of the Harlem Globetrotters on offense. He’s really that good.”

8. Is the SEC starting to look like the Big 12?

9. Heading into LSU’s Tiger Stadium, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn sees an improved Nick Marshall:  ”I’ve seen a difference in him. I think he’s confident.”

10. And what will the atmosphere be like?  ”Should be the largest and rowdiest crowd of the season.”

11. Arkansas getting strong play up front.  In three weeks, Razorbacks have twice won defensive lineman of the week awards.

12. What does Georgia expect from North Texas?  Mark Richt: “They’re a team that’s only given up six points in the second half in three games.”

13. No offense in the country has more fourth-down attempts than Mississippi State.

14. Early verdict on Ole Miss freshman defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche?  “He’s getting better every week.” Leads all freshman nationally in tackles for loss.

15. Ole Miss sets a record for season-ticket sales.

16. Expect a mostly empty Gillette Stadium for Vanderbilt-UMass this weekend.

Nick Saban/Mack Brown

17. Pat Forde on those Nick Saban to Texas rumors: ”If Mack Brown goes down, the price for Nick Saban may go up to an unprecedented figure.”

18. Kevin Scarbinsky: “As power plays go, this one described Thursday by the Associated Press was weaker than the Longhorn defense.”

19. Chris Low: “The news would be if people weren’t calling.”

20. Matt Hayes: “The storm is swirling again at Texas. And everyone wants a piece of Mack Brown.”

21. Did Saban do enough to stamp out the rumors? “They are probably as durable as those cockroaches that will survive nuclear war.”

Injuries/Player Updates

22. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema says he hasn’t received “100 percent assurance” from doctors that quarterback Brandon Allen will play at Rutgers.  Remains a game-time decision.

23. Florida expects starting cornerback Marcus Roberson right tackle Tyler Moore to play against Tennessee.

24. Alabama lineman Anthony Steen will be a game-time decision. 

25. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops on what’s doctors have told him about quarterback Max Smith’s shoulder injury - “a different part of the shoulder, and that this shouldn’t have any effect on what’s previously been hurt, so we’ll see how he progresses.”

26. Source confirms Texas A&M freshman receiver Ricky Seals-Jones is having knee surgery today.

27. Georgia safety Corey Moore has bounced back quickly from a sprained knee.

28. South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington’s hamstring is healthy - career-high eight catches last week.

SEC/College Football

29. Site of 2016 College Football Playoff championship?  Pretty good chance it will be in SEC country.

30. Former Auburn coach Gene Chizik defends Nebraska coach Bo Pelini: “For people to be calling for his job because this (audiotape) was displayed to the public is insanity.”

31. T. Boone Pickens has a message for Sports Illustrated in the wake of their investigation into Oklahoma State.

32. It’s good to be the king. Nike’s Phil Knight, aka “Uncle Phil”, has his own locker at Oregon.


33. End of an era in Oxford, Mississippi.  You can now get store-bought cold beer.


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Forde Nails It On NCAA’s Amateur Status Rules

gfx - they said itThe big story today has been that of Johnny Manziel and an NCAA investigation into alleged cash-for-autographs deal.  Many — especially those in Texas — have focused on the rule supposedly violated rather than on the violation.  As if it’s OK for a college player to break a rule if it’s a dumb rule.

Earlier today, we at explained why the NCAA’s rule protecting amateur status is in place.  This afternoon, Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports has traveled some of the same road.  He, however, went deeper into the troubles that would arise should the NCAA just throw up its arms and say, “Everyone can get paid.”

A snippet:


“Let’s say the (Ed) O’Bannon case against the NCAA breaks the amateurism dam.  Let’s say college athletes can suddenly be paid for appearances, for autographs, for doing commercials, etc.  Let’s say a school’s boosters are free to massively overpay a five-star recruit for his “autograph” in hopes of swaying him to their alma mater.

Who is going to handle the business side of the young players’ sudden profitability?

Agents, naturally.

Those rules would have to be changed, allowing players have agents.  Some — including Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive — believe that may be a good thing, because schools could have some control over the process.

But anyone who thinks agents would sit around waiting for star athletes to get to college is fooling themselves.  They don’t wait for them to turn pro as it is now.

And so the trickle-down effect would really get going.  Agents and runners would be all over the kids in high school or earlier.  Many already are involved with elite high schools prospects, especially in basketball, no matter what the rules say, but this would only accelerate the process.”


Forde’s views on a high school world gone mad go on from there.  They’re views we happen to share.  All those in favor of just opening the flood gates when it comes to paying players should take the time to give it a read.

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Report: Bielema To Arkansas

And here’s why all the calls and texts and messageboard-studying and flight-tracking is really meaningless: Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports is now reporting that Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema will be named Arkansas’ next head coach at some point today.

If true, so much for talk of Gary Patterson, Chris Peterson, Mike Gundy, et al.  Bielema has been so far off the radar on this one you’d have thought he was in the Bermuda Triangle.  Instead, the ex-Iowa player and seventh-year Badgers coach will head to Fayetteville fresh of a 70-31 win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship Game and three consecutive Rose Bowl trips.

If true, that’s an outside the box hire and one must wonder how far down on AD Jeff Long’s list Bielema was.  He has no strong recruiting ties to Texas or the southeast region so far as we’re aware at first blush.  Then again, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin (and his entire staff) had few ties to the south and he’s done pretty darn well.

Regarding recruiting, let’s not forget that this past offseason Bielema was pretty vocal about his dislike for Urban Meyer’s practice of dialing up Wisconsin commitments.  In fact, he said “We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC in any way, shape or form.”  (Think Bielema will be reminded of that one?)

If true — like how we keep throwing that out there? — the Razorbacks would have grabbed a “name” coach and that was clearly Long’s goal from the get-go… whether Bielema was first on his list or not.

Oh, and you can be sure Long will claim Bielema was his choice all along.  Again, if this one’s true.


UPDATEOthers are now confirming Bielema to Arkansas.  The 42-year-old Badgers’ coach was 68-24 overall in Madison.

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UF O-Coordinator Pease Interested In The UK Job? Muschamp Would Be OK With That

Brent Pease hasn’t had the best of years leading Florida’s offense for the first time this season.  The Gators have lost only one game in 2012, but UF’s defense deserves the largest share of credit for that achievement.  After Saturday’s 14-7 win over Missouri, Will Muschamp even promised fans that a more explosive offense is still to come somewhere down the line.

But according to Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports and a story we linked you to yesterday, Pease would still like to be considered for the head coaching slot now open at Kentucky, where he served as offensive coordinator in 2001 and 2002 (much to ex-Cat quarterback Jared Lorenzen’s chagrin).

In September, Pease had some flattering things to say about Lexington.  Asked if he would be supportive of his first-year coordinator moving to UK if offered, Muschamp said yesterday:


“Brent is certainly an outstanding football coach.  Any opportunity he has as a head coach I know that I will fully endorse that as well as Jeremy Foley our athletic director, and our president.  He is a really good football coach and that goes for any of our coaches.  If they have an opportunity to be a head coach, I am all for it.”


Pease came to Florida from Boise State this past offseason.

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De’Vinner Opens Up Further About Redmond And MSU Booster

Byron De’Vinner called into a syndicated radio show in Mississippi yesterday to clear his name.  In doing so, he also said that a Mississippi State booster — who’s been disassociated from the school — had paid at least $200 to Bulldog freshman defensive back Will Redmond.  (Redmond, for the record, has not played this season.)

Now De’Vinner has opened up to Yahoo! Sports and Pat Forde claiming that the MSU booster “made cash payments to a recruit and arranged for complimentary lodging and meals for De’Vinner, who was Redmond’s 7-on-7 coach.  He even provided hotel bills and other documentation to Yahoo! Sports to attempt to prove his claims:


“In an interview with Y! Sports, Nashville-based seven-on-seven coach Byron De’Vinner – recipient of the lodging and meals – explained in detail how former Mississippi State booster Robert Denton Herring broke multiple NCAA rules in 2011 and ’12 in an effort to land Memphis East High School defensive back Will Redmond.

De’Vinner said he also told his story to NCAA enforcement representatives, who have been investigating the allegations jointly with Mississippi State’s compliance department over the course of several months. In July the school sent Herring, who lives in Roswell, Ga., a letter informing him that he had been disassociated from the athletic program for “impermissible contact” with a recruit. In August, Bulldogs assistant coach Angelo Mirando resigned for what the school termed “unforeseen personal issues,” but sources told Y! Sports that his resignation was because of the NCAA inquiry. De’Vinner said Mirando introduced Redmond to Herring, but that the coach and booster both wanted De’Vinner “to take the fall” for their relationship.

Vanessa Brown, Redmond’s mother, declined comment to Yahoo! Sports Wednesday morning. Attempts to reach Herring and Mirando were unsuccessful. Herring has not cooperated with investigators from both the NCAA and Mississippi State.”


It gets worse for State as De’Vinner also claimed that fellow Memphis prospect Sheldon Dawson — who signed with Georgia — was questioned by the NCAA about MSU’s recruitment of him.  Also, “a source with knowledge of the investigation said the NCAA contacted nearly a dozen players who were recruited by Mississippi State.”

If those “nearly a dozen” players weren’t offered illegal benefits, no problem.  But the fact that the NCAA has spoken with that many MSU recruits should be worrisome to folks in Starkville.

On the positive side, De’Vinner told Yahoo! Sports that he believed Mirando to be the only State coach who was aware of Herring’s actions.  Herring had not previously been named as the booster in question.

De’Vinner also admitted to receiving clothes and gear from several schools other than MSU:


“If me getting gear from schools when I work a camp is a violation, then everything’s a violation. … Do I have a relationship with coaches at virtually every school?  Yeah, I do.

I’m the scapegoat for everything that’s going on. … I’m telling the truth.”


Whether De’Vinner is telling the truth or not, the more he talks, the more all those coaches he has a relationship with are puckering up a bit.

Forde’s piece is a long one and we’ve only given you a taste of it.  Click above to read the piece in its entirety.

Update: De’Vinner tells the Clarion-Ledger in a phone interview this morning that Herring attempted to persuade “at least 10″ recruits to attend MSU.

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SEC Headlines – 7/13/11 Part One

1.  Pat Forde of says “playing for pay in college is a topic whose time has come.”

2.  ESPN is breaking down the Department of Education’s budget numbers for BCS schools and here’s there look-in at Florida’s info.  (Keep in mind that each school prepares its budget in its own way… so this data — even though it’s the only data we ever see — can’t be used for a true apples-to-apples comparison.)

3.  Can LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson turn the corner under new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe just as Auburn’s Jason Campbell once did under first-year coordinator Al Borges?

4.  Mississippi State’s basketball team will kick off a European tour in Amsterdam on August 7th.  (Not to be too cute, but with the surge in marijuana use among college athletes, is Amsterdam really where a coach wants to take his team?)

5.  The Gainesville Sun says Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick’s a good player…

6.  And that this year’s Alabama-Florida game should be a dandy.

7.  No breaking news here — Thanks to a year’s worth of scandals, many college football fans believe the SEC is #1 when it comes to being dirty. 

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Continuing Reaction To Hamilton’s Departure

What say we just knock most of the Mike Hamilton news out of the way in one AM post?

Here goes…

1.  A recap of Hamilton’s comments along with a breakdown of his $1.3 million parting gift can be found here.

2.  David Climer of The Tennessean tries to divine what Hamilton’s departure might mean for UT’s NCAA appointment this week.

3.  Andrew Gribble of The Knoxville News Sentinel says there’s no guarantee Hamilton’s move will help.

4.  John Adams, also of The Sentinel, rips Tennessee for giving it’s outgoing AD a severance package.

5.  Ron Higgins of The Memphis Commercial-Appeal suggests Tennessee put women’s AD Joan Cronan and Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt in charge.

6.  Megan Boehnke talks with some UT donors about Hamilton’s exit and about who should fill his shoes.

7.  Well now wait a second.  Hamilton’s coaches are saying good things about him.  What kind of people would say anything nice today?

8.  Apparently Wes Rucker of didn’t get the “trash Hamilton” message either.  He writes a piece that examines what kind of man Hamilton is.

Okay, now back to the really ugly rip jobs…

9.  John Clay of The Lexington Herald-Leader  eviscerates Hamilton and says Kentucky fans will miss him.

10.  Pat Forde of says Hamilton’s departure should have come months ago.

And everyone but the janitor at has a take on UT’s soon-to-be-ex-AD:

Jeff Goodman

Gary Parrish

Dennis Dodd

Matt Norlander

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More Newton Talk. And More. And More.

Just a few more quick Cam Newton headlines from across the country…

1.  Lane Kiffin says the Newtons didn’t ask for money from Tennessee.

2.  Terence Moore of Fanhouse says “everybody should stop piling on” the Newton family.

3.  Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops says he can’t remember hearing any allegations similar to those now being made against the Newtons.  (Meaning a $180,000 pay-for-play request.)

4.  In case you missed it, Dan Mullen said the notion that he leaked Newton’s academic records to’s Thayer Evans “absolutely ludicrous.”

5.  Evans himself did a chat at today… and more than a few Auburn fans stopped by online.

In the chat, Evans wrote the following:

“And as much as some would like to berate my source and I up for allegedly not being truthful, Cameron Newton could simply resolve the matter by answering whether or not he cheated at Florida.”

Whoops.  Nope.  That’s not the issue.

Only Evans seems to care if a player cheated at another school two years ago.  His story has bupkes to do with the NCAA’s current investigation into Newton.

Most fans and writers are berating Evans and his source for violating federal privacy laws.

Evans also suggested that those people most upset about the reporting on the Newton story are connected to the SEC in some way.

“So there’s a lot of SEC-backed spin out there about the Newton situation.  Notice those in the media who are the most defensive and outraged by it work for companies that have a business relationship with the SEC or are folks whose own livelihood is made off SEC football.”

I guess that’s why SEC-partner ESPN has been so quiet.  D’oh!

Anyone who covers the SEC knows that league fans will be just as passionate in 2011 whether Auburn wins the BCS title in 2010 or not.  To suggest that all the people who think Evans stepped over the line are upset because they might lose a buck or two is completely and totally absurd.  It’s a smokescreen.  It’s flak.  It’s also childish, to be completely honest with you.

This site, for example, has repeatedly said that the talk surrounding the Newton allegations should die down until a) someone goes on the record or b) the NCAA finds proof of wrongdoing.  But we’ve not taken any shots at ESPN’s initial report from men like Mark Schlabach and Pat Forde.  The allegations should be investigated.  And they are being investigated.

But violating federal privacy laws in order to trash a 21-year-old kid’s character?  That’s a whole different story.

And Evans damn well knows it.

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