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Spurrier Speaks, Morris Apologizes, And A Penn State Comparison That Does Make Some Sense

After Saturday’s big win over Missouri, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier gave a statement at his postgame presser… and then he left the room without taking questions.  Sunday, on his teleconference, the coach gave a statement… and then he hung up the phone before taking questions.

On Monday, we suggested that the Ol’ Ball Coach was a) feeling powerful enough to do whatever he liked because he’s winning and b) probably mad at something written by Ron Morris, a columnist for The State newspaper in Columbia who Spurrier strongly dislikes.

Yesterday, Spurrier was talking to the media again.  He spoke long enough to plainly state what many already know — that unbeaten Carolina should defeat Kentucky this weekend in Lexington:

 

“I think we are better than them.  But if we don’t play better than them, they can certainly beat us.  Personnel-wise, they might be a little below some of the SEC teams, but they are a well-coached bunch.  We know that upsets happen, and we know why they happen, usually when a team is not ready to play.  Simple as that…

We know the meat of the schedule is down the road, but this is a game this week that’s one of 12, and we’re going to try to play our best.”

 

That’s kind of a far cry from Nick Saban’s “Why won’t you people take Western Kentucky seriously?” rant, no?  Last year, Spurrier suggested that his Gamecocks could have hung 70 points or more on UK.  Obviously, Carolina’s coach doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for Kentucky, a team that upset his Cocks on their last visit to Commonwealth Stadium.

But the key here is that Spurrier’s talking to the press again.  Now the question is: Why did he go silent on everybody in the first place.

The aforementioned Morris seems to know that he’s the reason.

Today, Morris explains in column form that he was simply doing his job when he dared to suggest last week that Spurrier shouldn’t have played an already banged-up Connor Shaw in a victory of UAB.  (And to be fair, most of the folks I spoke with also wondered why Spurrier would risk playing Shaw.).  Here’s a piece of Morris column from today:

 

“Football coaches are hired to win football games. Sports columnists are expected to praise and critique those coaches, their teams and their programs.

It is natural for coaches — in any college town — to ask about columnists: ‘Who the heck are you to judge me?’

The answer is today, as it always has been: ‘I’m just a sports columnist doing my job.’”

 

All of that’s true.  Many fans don’t care, of course, because many fans want only “positive” stories about their team or coach.  Right up until said team and coach start losing.  At that point, they tend to get angry with the media for “overhyping” a team.  Trust me, I’ve experienced it firsthand.

“Negative” columns are also the ones that tend to be most remembered, as Morris also states in his column:

 

“The same week that I wrote about Shaw starting against UAB, I also wrote in celebration of Spurrier’s 200th win, the novelty and success of USC’s ‘Rabbits’ defense and how coordinator Lorenzo Ward’s defense excelled against Missouri. (Credit to Spurrier for placing Ward in charge of the defense).”

 

No one cared about the other columns, just the one questioning Spurrier’s use of Shaw and whether or not it would impact the rest of Carolina’s season.

If the story ended there, fans would back Spurrier and the media would back Morris (even though I’ve disagreed with several of Morris’ columns on this site in the past).  Morris was doing his job.  Spurrier punished everyone — including Carolina fans — by childishly zipping his lips and pouting.

But Morris took things a step further yesterday while appearing on Bill King’s radio show on XM Radio.

Read the rest of this entry »

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SEC Headlines – 8/6/12

1.  ESPN has unveiled its list of 2012 announcer pairings.

2.  This isn’t an SEC topic — yet — but one lawyer/ex-NCAA employee says Penn State wasn’t facing a negotiation with the NCAA over its penalties… it was facing a “cram-down.”

3. Florida’s Dominique Easley will be playing more at defensive end this season.

4.  Georgia appears to have a nice trio of freshman outside linebackers.

5.  Nerlens Noel has passed his classes and is ready to block shots for Kentucky.

6.  UK fans weren’t happy with one analyst’s critique of Noel (because all UK fans have seen him play, of course).

7.  South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore is glad to be back from his knee injury.  (Ever heard of anyone who’s not glad to be back from injury?)

8.  Here’s a practice report from Tennessee’s work on Sunday.

9.  For the first time since 2006, Vanderbilt will open its football season against a ranked opponent (South Carolina).

10.  Top receiver signee Dorial Green-Beckham is aware of Missouri fans’ expectations for him.

11.  Folks are liking what new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is bringing to the table at Alabama.

12.  Freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace has impressed in his first week of practice… but he’s still #3 on Auburn’s depth chart.

13.  Backup quarterback and basketball player Brandon Mitchell spent most of Sunday practicing as an Arkansas’ receiver.

14.  Two football signees failed to qualify academically for LSU’s 2012 season.

15.  Walk-on quarterback Jamil Gordon is looking good at Mississippi State.

16.  With little depth, Ole Miss didn’t need to see three veterans leave Sunday’s practice with injuries.

17.  Entering the SEC, Texas A&M linebacker Sean Porter says he doesn’t think the Aggie defense will “struggle our first year… at all.”

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SEC Headlines – 8/1/12

It’s going to be a quick day at the site for three reasons today.  First, I’m writing a longer piece that will go up tomorrow (most likely).  Second, I’m doing a few radio and podcast interviews today.  Third, it’s the one-year anniversary of my cancer surgery and I don’t intend to spend the day typing for hours on this site.

That said, let me also take this moment to encourage you fellas out there to see your doctor, get a prostate exam — it’s 20 seconds of discomfort — and ask your doc about a PSA test — which is simply a blood test.

A group that previously came out and said women shouldn’t get mammographies has recently come out against PSA tests as well.  That groups has caused some to think twice about getting tested.  As someone who had a cancer spreading so quickly that I was given just one or two years to live, I can tell you that my PSA test flat-out saved my life.  And getting the disease at 40, I can also tell you that it’s not just something to have checked when you’re 50 or 60.

If you like this site, do me a favor and ask your doctor about a prostate exam and PSA test.  By speaking about my condition, I know of two men who’ve taken my advice, followed up with testing, found cancer and licked it.  Odds are you will not be #3… but be smart and see your doctor anyway.  Again, those of you who like the site, well, I want to keep you folks around!

Now, onto the headlines:

 

1.  The AP has published its 2012 SEC preview.

2.  Here are five headlines to watch as Florida prepares for fall camp.

3.  Turns out, Georgia told Penn State it would be contacting 19 Nittany Lion players before Mark Richt abruptly changed his mind.  (Or was told to change his mind.  Or found that the 19 PSU players weren’t interested.)

4.  UGA had 105 players report for practice yesterday… but only 76 of those players are on scholarship.

5.  This writer says it’s time Kentucky fans give AD Mitch Barnhart a break.  (ADs never get breaks.  They’re almost always the most unpopular guy in town.)

6.  Dick Vitale has praise for John Calipari, baby!

7.  The SEC made a snap decision to tweak this year’s in-conference basketball schedule and Tennessee has now opened up about who they’ll face twice per year this winter.  (No schools’ permanent rivals have been changed, by the way.)

8.  Vanderbilt has inked a new deal with WLAC-AM 1510 in Nashville which should help boom their football and basketball game further across the region.

9.  Suspended Auburn quarterback Zeke Pike is still at home in Kentucky and won’t be around for the start of the Tigers’ fall camp.

10.  Standard stuff: Alabama is trying to focus on the future, not the past.

11.  Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson and Knile Davis whipped a number of ESPN employees in flag football last week.

12.  Rob Bolden may be transferring to LSU, but most folks don’t expect anything close to a quarterback controversy in Baton Rouge.

13.  At Mississippi State, all eyes are on quarterback Tyler Russell.

14.  Hugh Freeze has a lot to worry about at Ole Miss.

15.  Texas A&M’s offensive line had better be improved this season.

16.  And just because a few of you have ordered me to stop mentioning the many facets of the NCAA/Penn State situation — which will come back to bite another school at some point — here’ something else to stew over:  A blog run by attorneys has looked at the Freeh report and determined that the case against Joe Paterno is “weak to non-existent.”

17.  And then they answered some of their critics here.  An interesting pair of reads for those on both sides of this issue.  (If you have an open mind and are okay with calm, cool, rational, debate.  If not, it’s the devil’s work.)

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Bolden To Transfer From Penn State To LSU

Quarterback Rob Bolden — once a 4-star prospect coming out of high school — has decided to transfer from Penn State to LSU, making him the first ex-Nittany Lion from the NCAA-smacked team to land in the SEC.  The New Orleans Times-Picayune quotes a source saying Bolden will report for the start of fall camp today.

In terms of adding an experienced ex-starter behind starting QB Zach Mettenberger, the move is a sound one.  Bolden will be a junior this year.  The Tigers’ next two reserves at that spot are redshirt freshmen.

But in terms of karma, well, we’re not in love with the idea of a coach raiding another coach’s roster.  When the NCAA declared it open season at (Un)Happy Valley, everyone knew this would happen and now more and more players are fleeing Penn State.  Still, how would Les Miles feel if someone came nosing around his roster?

Moving forward, one has to wonder if Miles intends to use Bolden strictly as a reserve or if he has a mind to make the former #2 ranked dual-threat quarterback in high school football a bigger part of the Tiger offense.  For that, it’s wait-and-see time.

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Free Advice To Schools: Don’t Ask For Outside Reviews On Scandals

As the academic/athletic scandal at North Carolina continues to get worse and worse — and it’s getting worse and worse — a special faculty committee at UNC is now “calling for an independent commission of outside experts” to review the athletics and academics at the school.

Carolina officials, are you NUTS?  If the Penn State scenario has shown us anything it’s that no school should hire an outside party to file a summary report regarding an on-campus scandal ever again.  Ever.  Are you listening, SEC administrators?

Penn State hired a team led by former FBI man Louis Freeh to look into the school’s Jerry Sandusky scandal and then put everything into writing.  Freeh’s team did as instructed.  They researched and read emails.  They drew conclusions and included opinions.  They speculated on some points.  They provided circumstantial evidence on others.

They did not provide a law enforcement investigation into the matter.  Heck, they didn’t even interview a single Penn State coach.

Who says?  On Friday The Chronicle of Higher Eduction cited “a source familiar with the investigation” whom it called “a member of the team” that produced the Freeh report as saying the NCAA was way, way out of bounds in taking that document and using it to batter Penn State:

 

“That document was not meant to be used as the sole piece, or the large piece, of the NCAA’s decision making.  It was meant to be a mechanism to help Penn State move forward.  To be used otherwise creates an obstacle to the institution changing…

In using this report largely as the basis for their decision, the NCAA could hurt Penn State’s enrollment, recruiting, and outside relationships and partnerships.  If you don’t attract good faculty and research dollars, your institution has no stature…

The report is critical, but nothing is black and white.  No investigation can totally answer all the questions everyone has…

The NCAA took this report and ran with it without further exploration.  If you really wanted to show there was a nexus to cover up, interview the coaches.  See their knowledge and culpability and how far this went…

The sanctions against Penn State were really overwhelming, and no one imagined the report being used to do that.  People thought it would help others draw conclusions about what happened and provide a guide for leaders to be able to identify minefields and navigate through them.

Instead, Emmert took the report and used Penn State’s own resources to do them in.  The institution is made of people, too.  And they don’t deserve this.”

 

Last week, someone reading this site suggested that my assertion that the Freeh Report not be taken as gospel was “basically akin to Holocaust denial.”  No.  Really.  Holocaust denial.  See?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, now none other than someone either on or close to the Freeh group has said that, indeed, it was just one view of events, it was not a full exploration into what Joe Paterno and other coaches knew, and it should not have been taken by the NCAA and used as a de facto investigation.

The lesson in all of this is that no school — again, are you listening, SEC administrators? — should ever hire anyone from outside that school to put anything in writing that the NCAA could grab and use in place it own investigation.  Because the NCAA has now proven it will do just that.  And according to several PSU sources, the NCAA told the school to accept the penalties that were based upon the Freeh Report or get the death penalty.  Mark Emmert denies making that ultimatum, but if you’re North Carolina or any other school would you really want to find out if the NCAA prez would or wouldn’t make such either/or threats?  I think not.

So the quick and easy, sure-thing takeaway of this matter is — whatever you do — do not ask someone else to provide a written summary of what they think went on inside your own school.  To do so is just asking for trouble.  Just ask Penn State officials today.  Or someone close to the Freeh group for that matter.

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Bad Karma: How Would Coaches Raiding PSU Feel If The Cleat Were On The Other Foot?

In November of 1864, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman issued “Special Field Orders, No. 120.”  The key part of that famous — or infamous, depending on your view — missive stated that his army would “forage liberally on the country during the march” through Georgia.  The same order was given when Sherman decided to march back up from Savannah through the Carolinas, as well.

Well last Monday, the NCAA issued its own Special Field Orders regarding Penn State.  By allowing Nittany Lion players to transfer without the penalty of having to sit out a year — and even allowing schools to go over the 85-man scholarship limit in order to ink them — Mark Emmert basically gave rival coaches the go-ahead to forage liberally upon Penn State’s roster.

Some schools took quick advantage.  LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee have all already been connected with PSU players, for example.  Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, on the other hand, has said he isn’t actively pursuing any of Bill O’Brien’s players.  Georgia’s Mark Richt initially said he would contact Penn Staters but then reversed course (as though he’d been ordered by UGA brass to do so… or had an angel visit him to instruct him otherwise).  Richt even wished O’Brien well.

Naturally, Southern Cal’s Lane Kiffin took things to the extreme by actually flying across the country to meet with current Penn State running back Silas Redd in Connecticut.

While the raiding parties have been formed, to date no big-time PSU players have transferred.

To date.

On this matter, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer actually provides the voice of reason when it comes to recruiting players from another man’s roster:

 

“I have a problem with it.  I think if a player reaches out and says, “I’m outta here and I’m gone,’ a player has a right to do what he wants to do.  But to go actively recruit, I have a problem with that.” 

 

That’s the correct take, but 20 bucks says a Penn Stater or two will still land on Meyer’s roster anyway.

We all know that illegal contacts are made all the time.  When you see a coach place restrictions on an athlete’s potential landing spots, it usually means the coach feels another coach has been tampering with his roster.  Coaches don’t like that.  Which is exactly why coaches should put themselves in O’Brien’s shoes and think about how they would feel if open season had been declared on their roster.

If a Nittany Lion player calls a coach?  Hey, the coach should answer the phone.  You don’t want to be rude (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).  But to openly chase, lure and hunt another school’s players is bad form.  And whether the NCAA has given the green light to wipe Penn State from the face of the Earth or not, it certainly takes the moral high ground away from any coach who leads a raiding party into Happy Valley.  If someone actively seeks out the signature of a current Penn State player, he had better keep his own lips zipped the next time some other school’s coach makes behind-the-scenes contact with an unhappy player on his roster.

All’s fair in love and recruiting and if Coach X doesn’t take part in the Penn State feeding frenzy then it’s possible he’ll be at a disadvantage when he faces Coaches Y and Z in his own conference.  Them’s the breaks.  There’s right and there’s wrong.  Answering a Penn State player’s phone call is alright.  Trying to swipe guys right out from under O’Brien’s nose is wrong.

Coaches better realize that.  ‘Cause what comes around often goes around when it comes to big-time athletics.

 

Instant Karma – John lennon

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LSU Wooing Penn State QB Bolden; Not A Bad Idea

Maybe Les Miles is just taking a shot in the dark.  Maybe he wants more depth at the quarterback spot.  Maybe the potential of any ex-starting, BCS-level quarterback is too good to pass up.  Maybe he’s still not over losing Gunner Kiel (swagger, confidence, and chest be damned).

Or maybe Miles just misses having the ability to rotate quarterbacks.

Over the weekend, former Penn State starter Rob Bolden made an official visit to LSU.  According to The New Orleans Times-Picayune (what’s left of it), a source claims Bolden might transfer to Baton Rouge now that the NCAA has declared it open season on the Nittany Lions’ roster.  Bolden could join the Tigers without having to sit out this season.

Bolden is a former 4-star prospect who became the first freshman to start a season opener in Happy Valley in 100 years.  He went on to make 16 starts total before losing his job.

Down in Baton Rouge, Zach Mettenberger is expected to bring a new downfield passing element to LSU’s offense in 2012.  (He himself came to LSU from SEC rival Georgia… via the juco route.)  But behind Mettenberger on the depth chart are two redshirt freshman.  So having a junior with big-time starting experience fall out of the sky probably isn’t the worst thing that could happen.

But…

We all know Miles’ devotion to Jordan Jefferson.  Jarrett Lee — the passing quarterback for the Tigers last season — handled the job admirably while Jefferson dealt with a suspension.  The combination of Jefferson’s return and Lee’s struggles at Tuscaloosa gave Miles enough ammo to make the switch at starter.  Lee became little more than an afterthought, was given a mop-up snap in the SEC Championship Game, and was completely ignored as Jefferson took his turn struggling against Alabama in the BCS title game.

So might Bolden become a change-of-pace guy in the same way that Jefferson/Lee flip-flopped at times the past couple of years?  Not likely.

Below are the combined 2010 and 2011 numbers for Jefferson and Bolden:

 

  QB   Comp   Att   Yds   Comp %   YPA   TD   INT   Rush Yds
  J. Jefferson   179   309   2148   57.9   6.95   13   12   713
  R. Bolden   165   328   2045   50.3   6.23   7   14   27

 

As you can see, Jefferson was much more of a running threat while Bolden — a dual-threat QB in high school — was used as more of a traditional passer at Penn State.  Now, it must also be pointed out that Jefferson was playing on a better team than Bolden and that fact no doubt aided his overall numbers.  Taking that into account and noting that Jefferson’s numbers were from his last two years while Bolden’s came from his first two seasons, it’s easy to see why Miles and the Tigers would have some interest.

If nothing else, Bolden’s start as a passer has been in the ballpark with Jefferson’s finish as a passer.  There’s still room for improvement.  And he’s got more experience than either of LSU’s current backups.

While many will pooh-pooh this idea — and don’t you hate having an idea pooh-poohed? — we don’t see the problem.  Bolden has experience and potential.  But he doesn’t appear to be the type of runner at the collegiate level who’s likely to make Miles want to take Mettenberger off the field just for a change of pace.

If that’s the case, win-win.

But if Miles lands Bolden and tries to unleash him as a runner (a la Jefferson), then Tiger fans might once again be left asking, “Why is he in the game right now and not the other guy?”

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SEC Headlines 7/28/2012

1. Georgia coach Mark Richt does an about-face over the recruitment of Penn State players. Georgia had previously given Penn State notification on 19 players they planned to contact – on the same day punishment against the Nittany Lions program was handed down.

2. Current Georgia roster – “fewer than 70 players recruited on scholarship, well below the NCAA limit of 85.”

3. 14-year old runs a 4.46 40-yard dash.  Gets scholarship offer from LSU.

4. Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs on the season opener against Alabama: “It’s a huge game for this conference.”

5. As recently as 2009, Nick Saban’s staff had zero “analysts.” Now Alabama has nine of them.

6. Alabama’s preseason camp opens in six days.

7. No SEC team will start practice sooner than Auburn – drills start on Wednesday.

8. With nine starters returning, Auburn will have an experienced defense.

9. A rundown of important preseason dates at Mississippi State and at Ole Miss.

10. What Denzel Nkemdiche means to the Rebels.

11. A plea from a choked-up Joker Phillips: ”These players don’t need everybody to believe in them. But they damn sure need somebody to.”

12. The reason for  a sharp dropoff in season ticket sales at Kentucky?” UK officials can talk about the economy and the vast number of games on television, but the main factor is performance on the field.”

13. Friday Night Lights at The Swamp.

14. Derek Dooley on Tennessee’s new $45 million practice facility: “This is going to be the gold standard for the next 15-20 years.”

15. New lights, new artificial turf ,  HD video screen and increased capacity at Vanderbilt will all be done by August 11th.

16. Kiero Small’s leadership abilities have Arkansas excited about a transition to the linebacker position.

17. Arkansas linebacker Alonzo Highsmith, Jr. is stepping out of the shadow of his father.

18. Arkansas – Missouri a neutral site game?  Arkansas AD Jeff Long: ”Just off the top of my head, I don’t see how that would be beneficial to Arkansas.”

19. Want to get tickets to the Arkansas – Alabama game?  They won’t come cheap.

20. “The kickoff will be much different in 2012.”

21. Mississippi State will meet North Carolina in the Maui Invitational in November.

Extras

22. Jon Solomon: “North Carolina’s academic scandal is a big deal. And it could be bigger if it becomes attached to Roy Williams’ basketball program.”

23. Knoxville businessman Jimmy Haslam wants to buy the Cleveland Browns?

24. Texas coach Mack Brown on his colleague at Kansas State: “Bill Snyder is the best coach in the country.”

25. Best remembered for an incident caught on camera – choked by his coach Bob Knight back in 1997.  Neil Reed is dead at the age of 36.

26. The Penn State scandal and big money donors – could have repercussions for decades.

 

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SEC Headlines – 7/27/12

Okay, folks… back from my brief time off, but only for the sake of headlines (and maybe one other post).  Next week we’ll get back into the swing of things, but with perhaps a little bit different way of delivering content.  You’ll still get a grip on everything that goes on around the conference, but we may write fewer of the small opinion pieces and more long-form posts.  Heck, if we carry through with that, I might even have time to proofread!

If all goes to plan — and it’s hard for me to force myself to write less, which is why The Sporting News once called the site “prolific” in its output — it’ll mean simply that the site will be just a little bit different.  Sort of like when the “evil” Michael Knight showed up on “Knight Rider.”

That said, here are your Friday headlines.  We’ll do ‘em in two waves ’cause I’ve got to go meet a notary.  (Note to self: Become own notary.)  We’ll also start with SEC troubles and woes and hopefully end with some happier news…

 

1.  John L. Smith said yesterday that three Arkansas players arrested for burglary in May will not be part of his football team this year.

2.  Linebacker Vin Ascolese is still waiting for the NCAA clearinghouse to give him the OK to suit up for the Hogs this year.

3.  Speaking to a Tennessee booster group yesterday, Derek Dooley said that quarterback Tyler Bray’s accuracy “isn’t where it needs to be… he missed the trash can” when throwing beer bottles off a balcony earlier this week.  (Dooley also claimed to be taking the matter “seriously.”)

4.  AthlonSports.com is the latest website to say Dooley is facing a make or break season.

5.  A Pittsburgh sports agent — angry about Penn State’s situation — somehow ties Nick Saban to the story, claims he’s got “enough on Saban right now” to get Alabama’s coach into trouble, and then sorta/kinda apologizes.  (Maybe he does have some dirt, but he sounds as daffy about Saban as Danny Sheridan did about Cam Newton and “the bag man.”  In other words, put up or shut up.)

6.  Auburn is apparently chasing Penn State junior linebacker Khairi Fortt.

7.  According to Les Miles, LSU soccer star and former homecoming queen Mo Isom faces a tough task landing a spot on the Tigers’ roster this fall.

8.  If there have been any talks about moving Texas A&M to the end of LSU’s schedule instead of Arkansas… Razorback AD Jeff Long hasn’t been involved in them.  (He also said that while he wants to protect that tradition, anything’s possible.)

9.  Mississippi State kept things simple with its new football uniforms.  (The jerseys will have a shoulder stripe that’s comparable to what adidas designed for Texas A&M.)

10.  Both State and Ole Miss will play some hoops in Hawaii this fall.

11.  Texas A&M boasts 30 NFL players and two NFL head coaches among its alums.

12.  New Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease says he’s got two good quarterbacks he “can with with.”

13.  Secondary coach Scott Lakatos thinks receiver-turned-DB Malcolm Mitchell is already Georgia’s best corner.

14.  Ticket sales for Kentucky football are down a whopping 27% this year.  (That won’t help Joker Phillips’ cause.)

15.  Expectations are high at South Carolina after the school’s first-ever 11-win season.

16.  Football tickets are on sale today at Missouri.

17.  A number of SEC basketball coaches will take part in a roundtable discussion and Kentucky’s John Calipari will be profiled on ESPNU tonight.

18.  So much for Jim Delany’s holier-than-thou Big Ten.

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SEC Headlines 7/25/12

1. Steve Spurrier took a jab at Ole Miss during his “Car Wash” tour at ESPN on Tuesday.

2. Spurrier sat down with ESPN’s Chris Fowler for a video interview.

3. This ESPNU podcast features several SEC coaches, including Spurrier, Mark Richt and Nick Saban.

4. Texas A&M has something to prove now that it’s in the SEC.

5. Arkansas has launched its “TD2012″  campaign for post-season awards this year.

6. Arkansas fans are ready: The Razorbacks’ home game against Alabama and LSU are sold out.

7. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said yesterday UT has had contact with Penn State players.

8. Florida coach Will Muschamp preached caution with the recruitment of Penn State players.

9. Muschamp isn’t asking for patience but reminded everyone where Florida has been.

10. Can Penn State hold off a mass departure? Ivan Maisel asked coach Bill O’Brien.

11. Here are some highlights from Nick Saban’s “Car Wash” tour on Tuesday.

12. If a Penn State player wants to leave Alabama, Saban “could certainly entertain it.”

13. Auburn could be in the running for Penn State’s players, too.

14. Here’s a look at Auburn’s linebackers heading into fall camp.

15. Mississippi State could be hurting at point guard when the season rolls around.

16. Has the SEC basketball schedule changed for the upcoming season? It appears so.

17. The SEC has the top two coaches in the nation, according to this ranking.

18. Georgia’s running backs coach is again preparing young backs for the SEC.

19. Could Missouri battle Texas A&M for ESPN’s “College GameDay” on Sept. 8?

20. Eddie Crawford has never looked to be anywhere but Ole Miss.

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