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SEC Gameday Links: Alabama vs Texas A&M

gameday-linksAlabama at Texas A&M

1. Not a down has  been played but this is already considered the biggest game in the history of Kyle Field.

2. Dennis Dodd:  “Alabama-Texas A&M has become a living, breathing example of why (Mike) Slive’s model works best — for the SEC, first and foremost.”

3. Paul Finebaum on Johnny Manziel:  ”I think the nation will be pulling for Johnny Manziel…He is the reason why the ratings…will be a record number.” More Finebaum: “A&M will never be irrevelant again, but ‘Will Texas stop being irrevelant?”

4. Suspended for the first half, the Texas A&M-Rice game shows how Johnny Manziel moves the TV needle.

5. Today’s game is an early opportunity for both Manziel and AJ McCarron to state their credential to the Heisman voters.

6. Manziel’s scheduled interview with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit did not take place.

7. What would a victory for A&M mean? “Alabama is the sport’s measuring stick.”

8. Even though Alabama lost last year, it did a lot right in the game’s final 45 minutes.

9. From suspensions to media investigations, both of these teams have dealt with plenty of off-field distractions.

10. What do Alabama fans think of College Station?  It’s the anti-LSU.

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Finebaum, SEC Ambassador, Returns To Radio Today

PrintAfter a month-long publicity push on ESPN’s television properties, Paul Finebaum will make his debut on ESPN’s radio arm this afternoon.  The long-time, controversial host went off the air six months ago and waited out a non-compete clause before launching his new show, which will be regionally-syndicated under the ESPN Radio brand.

A simulcast of Finebaum’s show is already scheduled to become the anchor program for the SEC Network when it launches in August of 2014.  In fact, ESPN unveiled the logo for Finebaum’s new show (at left) and it has the SEC logo built right into it.  If the SEC has a media ambassador, it’s now Paul Finebaum.

The host has made a career of turning his show over to mostly Alabama-based callers who wage the Alabama/Auburn war over the phone lines each day.  A number of his regular callers have become “radio personalities” due to their extreme opinions and vocal schtick.  Many of those who religiously listened to Finebaum’s old show did so to have a laugh at the characters dialing in and ranting.

While we don’t necessarily think Finebaum’s callers help put the South’s best foot forwardand therefore might not be the best choice for an SEC television channel hoping to grab a national foothold — the host himself plans to pick up right where he left off:


“I feel like the callers have been incredibly loyal in the absence of the show, and I feel like it should be their day.  That’s my goal.”


Scott Masteller, the senior director of content for ESPN Radio agrees.  “When people tune in, it’s going to be pretty much what they’re used to hearing,” he told  “Paul has had great success, a great track record.  We are all very ecstatic and about him joining the company.”

To hear the show you might have to do a little searching.  ESPN has not officially announced which stations will be carrying the radio program, though Cumulus has signed a deal for the show’s “terrestrial radio distribution” rights.  There’s still no word on a satellite distribution plan.

Finebaum is an intelligent, funny host.  Our only wish is that his show featured more opinions from him and his guests, as opposed to over-the-top, lengthy rants from listeners.  But then — as so many Finebaum fans have told us in the past — we don’t get the joke.

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Finebaum On Manziel: “He’s Trending Towards Becoming A Punch Line”

gfx - they said itNew ESPN personality Paul Finebaum didn’t mince words during an appearance on the network yesterday.  Asked to weigh in on The Johnny Manziel Offseason Circus, the longtime radio host had this to say:


“I’m sad to say, I think he’s trending towards becoming a punch line.  I hate to say that because I think all of us are fans of Johnny Manziel.  You can’t help but be, and you want the best for him, but there have been too many instances from him…

When you say what he did the other day.  When you say, ‘Walk in my shoes’ and you’re the Heisman Trophy winner and you have the world in front of you, that’s unacceptable.  We’re reasonable people here.  You can look past a lot of silly things, but I’m having a hard time looking past that.

Manziel is likeable, but Manziel is becoming less likeable every day.”


And that’s really the heart of it, isn’t it?  Last season, the redshirt freshman who was recruited to Texas to play safety (according to Will Muschamp) became the most electrifying quarterback in the country and a hero at Texas A&M.  His on-field exploits wowed fans across the SEC and the nation.

But now his off-field exploits and tweets are quickly turning him into a guy who fans will heartily root against.

If Kevin Sumlin is smart, he’ll make Twitter and other social media outlets off-limits to his star quarterback.  Manziel hasn’t shown that he can use those tools responsibly.

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Texas A&M AD Hyman Jokes About Controlling The Tide

gfx - they said itExactly three months from today, Alabama and Texas A&M meet on the football field.  In between now and then, expect plenty of Internet chatter, perhaps the occasional verbal shot and maybe even a Twitter dustup or two.  Texas A&M AD Eric Hyman got the ball rolling Thursday night.  Speaking to the Brazos County A&M Club Coach’s Night, Hyman told the crowd:


“What do the moon and Texas A&M have in common? They both control the Tide.”


Of course, Texas A&M defeated Alabama last fall.  Speaking to a crowd of about 800, Hyman also told coach Kevin Sumlin he “wants to be able to say the same thing” next year.  When it was his turn to speak, Sumlin said, “No pressure, Eric. Thank you.”

This being the age of instant media. no verbal shot can be fired without immediate commentary from the Twitterati.  Radio host Paul Finebaum chimed in, saying “Nick (Saban) is going to be mad!” to which A&M president R. Bowen Loftin replied, “Paul, he is already mad.”

Alabama travels to Texas A&M on September 14th.  Until then, expect plenty of verbal repartee in 140 characters or less.  Enjoy your summer.

P.S. Something about the line “the moon and Texas A&M” makes me think of  ”the moon and New York City” from the Christopher Cross song Arthur’s Theme.  Yes, it’s in my head and now it can be in yours all day. You’re welcome.

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SEC Headlines 6/5/2013

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Georgia coach Mark Richt on the one-game suspension for Josh Harvey-Clemons: “Even if Josh was starting for us, he’s a pretty inexperienced player right now.”

2. Richt on the season opener against Clemson: “I know both teams will be highly ranked, highly motivated.”

3. Georgia receiver Malcolm Mitchell on the transition facing freshman players: “It’s going to be a tough transition for a lot of people.”

4. South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward compares Jadeveon Clowney to former Alabama player Derrick Thomas:  ”They’re both freakish athletes, but I’ve seen Jadeveon do some things that I didn’t even see Derrick Thomas do.”

5. Auburn had two backup linebackers transfer but coach Gus Malzahn says he isn’t worried about depth.

6. Malzahn on his five quarterbacks competing for a starting job:   “Once we decide who our starting quarterback is in the fall…We’ll build around his strengths.” Football first for Jeremy Johnson.

7. The Ole Miss – Texas game on September 14 will be carried on the Longhorn Network. Ole Miss working with ESPN to get the game shown on secondary channels as well.

8. Record-attendance at Ole Miss camp.

9. Is Bowling Green a trap game for Mississippi State in October?

10. Is Kentucky a trap game for Missouri this fall? Tigers a candidate for a rebound in offense?

11. Seats near the 50-yard line will cost about $4,000 at the renovated Kyle Field.

12. Updated look at opening week kickoff times.

13. David Climer on SEC scheduling: “Do what you must, SEC, but keep the traditional rivalries intact.”

14. Phil Steele’s preseason All-American teams feature plenty of SEC names.

15. Panel discussion on the integration of football programs at Alabama and Auburn will be moderated by Paul Finebaum.

16. Why the NFL doesn’t need as much contact in practice as college?  ”When players get to the NFL, they actually know what they’re doing,”

17. It appears offensive coordinators have the edge over their defensive counterparts when it comes to getting a head coaching job.l

SEC Basketball

18. Not so fast.  Former Missouri guard Michael Dixon hasn’t committed to Memphis just yet.  Not getting any support from Mizzou.  ”[Missouri A.D. Mike Alden] shredded him to my AD — just absolutely shredded him.”

19. Once Memphis transfer Antonio Barton completes three online courses - he’s free to enroll at Tennessee.

20. Mark Wiedmar on the troubles facing Alabama basketball player Devonta Pollard and former Auburn player Varez Ward:  ”They’re basketball players rather than football players, which means most of the league’s fan bases will never know it happened.”

21. Kevin Scarbinsky: “At Alabama, baseball and men’s basketball have fallen behind in the chase for championships.”

Goodbye Gordon Gee

22. Ohio State president to retire July 1. 

23. Gordon’s greatest gaffes.

24. Matt Hayes:  ”Ohio State has become bellwether in college sports; the powerful, prosperous program you follow to just watch it trip up—and then revel in its misery.”

25. Andy Staples: “When we in sports media see a major public figure bashing Notre Dame AND the SEC at the same time, it’s like hitting the Web traffic lottery. Gee never stood a chance.”


26. Former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin on the hot seat at Southern Cal?

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Tweeting The SEC – 9/18/2012

SEC Network By August 2014?


Florida – Tennessee No.1 Game

Recruits Are Asking

What Will Kentucky AD Barnhart Do?

Richt On His Scout Team

Tyler Wilson “Looked Great”

Gamecocks Secondary

Razorbacks Facing Veterans

Former Tennessee AD Praises Current AD

South Carolina & Mizzou QBs

Gary Danielson On Bama

The Ups & Downs Of A College QB

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Tweeting The SEC 9/10/12

A roundup of some our favorite tweets regarding SEC football.

Tennessee Football on Saturday’s games vs. Florida

Dave Matter – Columbia Tribune

Matt Hayes – Sporting News

Paul Finebaum quotes Pat Dye

Wes Rucker on Tennessee’s offense

ESPN’s Edward Aschoff on Ole Miss vs. Texas

Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin

Kendall Rogers


Follow SEC football year-round on Twitter with MrSEC.

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Enough Already: More Docs Released In Petrino Scandal

Bobby Petrino had an affair.  He also lied to his boss and hired his mistress and tried to cover-up who was with him during a motorcycle crash… but the big news is he had an affair!  Oooooh.  Scandalous.

And that’s why there’s still a big dig going on for any document tied in any way to Petrino’s ouster from Arkansas.  Late yesterday, the University of Arkansas released 300 pages from the personnel file of its ex-coach following a Freedom of Information Act request.  A full 131 of the pages were added during the review that eventually led to the coach’s ouster earlier this month.

In the notes we basically learn three things:

* Jessica Dorrell was more forthcoming than Petrino.

* Petrino tried to deny everything right up until the end.

* AD Jeff Long was skeptical of Petrino from the beginning of the process and he didn’t find many of the coach’s answers to his questions to be believable.

Aside from that, most of the info that’s being talked about today regards the affair – when did it start, when did it end, did it ever really end, etc.  And that’s where I lose interest.  When Petrino first kissed Dorrell doesn’t matter nearly as much to this writer as does the fact that he hired the woman and gave her $20,000 in gifts. 

The AP’s version of the story actually includes this bit:

“At one point last October, Petrino and Dorrell were sitting in a car, eating lunch and talking and ‘she said are you going to kiss me,’ according to Long’s notes of his April 10 conversation with Petrino.”

Ah, important to know.

We said we’d cover the news of this story when it first broke.  For soap opera coverage, you can find plenty of other outlets.  Paul Finebaum, for example, has had a bevy of sex experts and urologists on to discuss ED and sexual addictions.  Ha-ha.  Several lives are ruined so let’s all laugh about it.  (Until of course we’re the ones caught with our flies open and then we have to beg for forgiveness and mercy and understanding.)

Eventually this story was going to bring out the gawker in all of us.  That’s happening now. 

We know why Petrino was fired.  We know why Dorrell is gone, too.  Sorry, but I don’t care to know how many dinners or evenings the two shared together before were exited from the UA campus.

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Accused Tree-Poisoner Updyke Will Need Another Attorney

Last week, alleged tree-poisoner Harvey Updyke went on Paul Finebaum’s radio show and apologized to Auburn fans for “all the damage” he had done.

Today, he’s in need of a new attorney.  Glennon F. Threatt said yesterday, “I just don’t feel I am the person (to defend Updyke) anymore.”

Threatt said he advised his client not to make the call or the apology.  “He needs somebody he will trust, and he needs somebody he will listen to,” the attorney said.

If the judge allows Threatt to walk away from the case, he will be the fourth attorney to ditch Updyke’s defense.

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Ex-Auburn A.D. Preaches Competition, Not Hate In Iron Bowl Rivalry

Former Auburn athletic director and sports information director David Housel believes it’s time to ratchet down some of the hate in the Iron Bowl rivalry.  (Who doesn’t?)

Speaking at a quarterback club in Montgomery yesterday, Housel made it clear that he’s no fan of accused tree-poisoner Harvey Updyke, but he also believes Auburn fans need to move on from the poisoning at Toomer’s Corner:

“Some Auburn fans, who pull for the school I love, are starting to come across as tree-worshipers.  We’ve been rolling that corner for years, way before we started rolling those trees.  Some of our fans just need to get over it and move on.  There’s much more to Auburn than two oak trees.”

Housel also believes that a classless act during last year’s Iron Bowl actually helped illuminate what’s right with the Iron Bowl rivalry:

“You know, ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ (played on the PA as a gig at Cam Newton) and all that.  But you know what?  The guy who did that was fired the next day.  I thought that was a fine statement made by the University of Alabama about what this rivalry can and should be about.  I thought Alabama showed real class there.  There’s no room for hate.  There’s room for competition, but there’s no room for hate.”

No room for hate?  Apparently Housel doesn’t listen to Paul Finebaum’s show very often.

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