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SEC Hoops Roundup 12/22/2013

gfx-hoops-round-upA 6-3 basketball Saturday for the SEC.  Two teams hit with roster shakeups and the last undefeated team in the conference goes down to defeat.

1. Kentucky 93 – Belmont 80. Video Highlights. Career-high 29 points for Julius Randle who also added 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season.

2. Georgia 65 – West Carolina 63. Tied at 63, Charles Mann hits two free throws with just seconds left to give Bulldogs the victory.  Georgia trailed by 10 points with seven minutes to go in the game.

3. Vanderbilt 76 – Georgia Tech 63. Video Highlights. Down by 14 in the first half, Vandy rallies to win by 13. Rod Odom led the Commodores with 18 points.

4. Florida 66 – Fresno State 49.  Gator defense holds Fresno State to 32 percent from the floor. Billy Donovan: “This was probably our best game defensively from start to finish..” Damontre Harris leaving team.  Former South Carolina transfer never played a game for the Gators.

5. LSU 86 – UAB 63.  Tigers jump out to 16-point first-half lead.  Johnny O’Bryant led LSU with 17 points, one of four players to score in double digits.

6. Illinois 65 – Missouri 64.  Jabari Brown’s three pointer put Mizzou in the lead with just under 15 seconds.  Illinois hits two free throws with less than five seconds to win it and knock Tigers from the ranks of the undefeated.

7. Oklahoma 64 – Texas A&M 52.  Aggies lose the game and J-Mychel Reese.  Sophomore point guard dismissed from team after the game. Neither Reese nor his father – an assistant coach on the team - made the trip for Saturday’s game.

8. Xavier 77 – Alabama 74. Crimson Tide lose 12-point second-half lead.  Loss drops Alabama to 5-6 on the season.

9. Arkansas 72 – South Alabama 60. Video HighlightsRazorbacks get a team-high 15 points from Bobby Portis.  Arkansas now 9-2 on the season.

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Tennessee 31 – South Alabama 24 (Video)

Watch video highlights of the Tennessee 31-24 victory over South Alabama.

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Butch Jones: “We Live In A Week-To-Week World”

Tennessee coach Butch Jones meets the media Monday to break down the loss to Florida and looks ahead to the matchup with South Alabama.


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SEC Odds And Television Listings – 9/23/13

tv-remotesThe SEC has released the television listings for this Saturday and the Saturday that follows.  We’ve also included the early betting lines from Las Vegas (or an offshore book) for this weekend’s action:


September 28th

South Carolina at UCF — 12:00pm ET on ABC — Line: South Carolina -7.5 (now -7.5)

South Alabama at Tennessee — 12:21pm ET on SEC Network — Line: Tennessee -19 (now -19)

LSU at Georgia — 3:30pm ET on CBS — Line: Georgia -3 (now -3)

Ole Miss at Alabama — 6:30pm ET on ESPN — Line: Alabama -16.5 (now -17)

Texas A&M at Arkansas — 7:00pm ET on ESPN2 — Line: Texas A&M -3 (now -3)

Florida at Kentucky — 7:00pm ET on ESPNU — Line: Florida -14 (now -14)

UAB at Vanderbilt — 7:30pm ET on FSN — Line: Vanderbilt -20 (now -20)

Arkansas State at Missouri — 7:30pm ET on CSS — Line: Missouri -21 (now -21)


October 5th

Georgia State at Alabama — 12:21pm ET on SEC Network

Arkansas at Florida — 3:30pm ET on CBS or 7:00pm ET on ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU

Ole Miss at Auburn — 3:30pm ET on CBS or 7:00pm ET on ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU

Georgia at Tennessee — 3:30pm ET on CBS or 7:00pm ET on ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU

LSU at Mississippi State — 3:30pm ET on CBS or 7:00pm ET on ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU

Kentucky at South Carolina — 7:30pm ET on FSN

Missouri at Vanderbilt — 7:30pm ET on CSS


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WOW Headlines – 5/21/13

Former Arkansas QB Brandon Mitchell is transferring to North Carolina State
Alabama WR Danny Woodson Jr. is transferring to South Alabama
Without a returning scholarship TE, Ole Miss will lean on freshman Evan Engram at that position this fall
LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis on a unit that’s lost seven starters: “We’re not afraid to play freshmen.”
New Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson has installed a 4-2-5 system with the Tigers
Tennessee associate AD Gus Manning on new coach Butch Jones: “I’ve been here for 11 football coach. Butch Jones is the best public-relations man of all of them.”
Florida has won the 2012-13 SEC All-Sports Trophy
Former Baylor G Deuce Bello is transferring to Missouri’s basketball team
Follow the Southeastern Conference every single day at

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You Watching, SEC? The Big Ten Gets It Right On Scheduling

gfx - honest opinionYesterday the Big Ten officially announced its new divisions, its new division names (thankfully), and its new scheduling plan.  While not perfect — three of the league’s 13 “trophy games” will be lost as annual tilts — Jim Delany’s plan could provide Mike Slive and his conference with one very good idea.

Beginning in 2016, the Big Ten will feature a pair of seven-team divisions under simple East and West banners, just as the SEC currently boasts.  The league will begin playing a nine-game conference schedule as well.  And for those SEC fans who’ve barked about an uneven number of home and road games being the signature feature of a nine-game slate, the Big Ten came up with a pretty straight-forward remedy.  In even-numbered years, teams from the East Division will play five home games and four road games.  In odd-numbered years, all the West Division teams will host five league games and travel to play four.

In other words, no team within a division will hold a home/road advantage over another team in its division.  Ever.

Problem solved.

We believe that a nine-game slate with a 6-1-2 format still is the safest bet for the SEC moving forward.  (Short of that, the league should adopt an eight-game conference schedule without divisions and simply ask the NCAA for a waiver regarding its championship game in Atlanta.)  Currently, no one knows who will be picking the teams for the new College Football Playoff or what criteria they will use to do so.  If schedule strength is as big a component as expected, the question then becomes a matter of personal opinion.  And with just about everyone outside of the SEC footprint completely and totally exhausted by the SEC’s dominance, it’s not hard to imagine Slive’s conference getting the short end of the stick if its teams don’t play each other “enough.”  What “enough” is will depend on those individual voters, of course.

So why not just go ahead and make the move that will someday be required?  Eventually, a nine-game conference schedule will come to pass.  The league will make more money with better inventory on its soon-to-launch network.  Playing another game inside the league will also help negate any possible charges from selection committee members that Big Ten, Pac-12, and Big XII teams play nine conference games while SEC teams play eight and four patsies.  There’s also the added benefit of keeping more SEC rivalries alive.

Some claim that an added SEC game would lead league schools to stop scheduling quality non-conference foes.  Well, if those programs want to be taken seriously, that won’t be the case.  It appears — though we won’t know for sure for a couple more years — that most conferences are planning to have their teams play 10 quality foes per year (nine conference games, one good non-conference game).

But most SEC teams currently play only nine quality games per season (eight league games, one good non-conference foe, and three creampuffs).  The league’s 2013 schedule shows SEC teams squaring off against Georgia State, Chattanooga, Louisiana-Lafayette, Samford, Arkansas State, Western Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Toledo, Georgia Southern, North Texas, Appalachian State, Miami (Ohio), Alabama State, Kent State, Furman, Alcorn State, Troy, Bowling Green, Murray State, Southeast Missouri State, Idaho, Coastal Carolina, Austin Peay, South Alabama, Sam Houston State and UMass.

If you are interested in paying money to see any of those teams play an SEC school then you should look up a famous quote often attributed to PT Barnum.  Keyword: Sucker.

Nine is coming.  Sooner or later.  The new playoff and push toward strength of schedule should allay fears that SEC teams will drop good nonconference foes to make room for the added league game.  And the Big Ten just easily swept aside the overblown argument that some teams would hold an advantage over their division foes when playing five home games in a year.

Next argument?

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LaGrange Lineman Commits To Tennessee

Tennessee has received a commitment from defensive lineman Joe Sanders from Troup High School in LaGrange, Ga.

Sanders told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he picked Tennessee over offers from South Florida, Western Kentucky, Central Florida, Eastern Kentucky and South Alabama.

“I committed tonight because I had it made up in my mind that I wanted to go to Tennessee,” Sanders told the AJC on Wednesday. “I liked the atmosphere, the coaches, and how they push you once you’re down there.”

There have been questions about the future of Tennessee coach Derek Dooley, who has a 15-19 record since becoming the Vols’ head coach in 2010. Sanders told the AJC he’s not concerned about Dooley’s job status.

“I’ve heard things but I haven’t really looked into it,” Sanders said. “Coach Dooley hasn’t said anything about that, so it doesn’t mean that much.”

Sanders is the 19th prospect to commit to Tennessee’s class of 2013.

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Wow Weekend Headlines

Saturday SEC Football Scores
Ole Miss 39 – Tulane 0
Florida 38- Kentucky 0
South Carolina 31 – Missouri 10
Alabama 40 – Florida Atlantic 7
Rutgers 35 – Arkansas 26
LSU 12 – Auburn 10
Mississippi State 30 – South Alabama 10
Texas A&M 70 – South Carolina State 14
Tennessee 47 – Akron 26
Georgia 48 – Vanderbilt 3

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Wow Evening Headlines 9/21/2012

Saturday SEC Football
Ole Miss at Tulane MrSEC’s Pick:  Ole Miss 34, Tulane 17
Kentucky at Florida. MrSEC’s Pick: Florida 38, Kentucky 14
Missouri at South Carolina. MrSEC’s Pick:  South Carolina 27, Missouri 14
Florida Atlantic at Alabama. MrSEC’s Pick:  Alabama 42, Florida Atlantic 6
Rutgers at Arkansas. MrSEC’s Pick:  Arkansas 35, Rutgers 20
LSU at Auburn. MrSEC’s Pick:  LSU 40, Auburn 10
South Alabama at Mississippi State. MrSEC’s Pick:  Mississippi State 42, South Alabama 10
South Carolina State at Texas A&M. MrSEC’s Pick:  Texas A&M 52, South Carolina State 9
Akron at Tennessee. MrSEC’s Pick:  Tennessee 41, Akron 20
Vanderbilt at Georgia. MrSEC’s Pick:  Georgia 31, Vanderbilt 13

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SEC Game Previews – 9/21/12

Here’s your weekly rundown of all the SEC action coming your way in Week Four of the regular season.  As always, you’ll find everything from TV listings to the betting lines to our own predictions.

Enjoy the games, be safe, and best of luck to your favorite school this weekend.

Here goes…


Ole Miss at Tulane

12:00pm ET on FSN

Opening Line:  UM -15

Current Line:  UM -18.5

Storylines:  The Rebels will be trying to bounce back from a thrashing at the hands of Texas last week.  UM’s shorthanded defense gave up 676 yards to the Longhorns.  On offense Bo Wallace finally had a tough day at the office.  But Tulane’s not Texas.  This is, however, the Green Wave’s first game since safety Devon Walker fractured his spine during a game two weeks ago.  Tulane’s emotional state could play a factor in this one.

Keys for Ole Miss:  Hugh Freeze’s team needs to win the turnover battle and with Tulane starting a freshman at quarterback, it can.  A fast start from the Rebel offense could also cause the Green Wave to hang their heads.

Pick:  Ole Miss 34, Tulane 17


Kentucky at Florida

12:21pm ET on SEC Network

Opening Line:  UF – 23.5

Current Line:  UF -23.5

Storylines:  Joker Phillips is struggling to keep his job (unlikely) and will try to do by snapping Florida’s 25-game win streak over the Cats (even more unlikely).  Jeff Driskel put on a “where’d that come from?” performance against Tennessee last week.  As poor as Kentucky’s run defense has been, expect the Gators to run, run and run some more.

Keys for Florida:  Did I mention run, run and run some more?  UK has already allowed nine rushing touchdowns on the year and their opponents have been Louisville, Kent State and Western Kentucky.  The best hope for UF is to build an early lead and pull the starters in order to avoid injuries.

Keys for Kentucky:  The Cats’ best weapon is quarterback Maxwell Smith, but if he has to throw 60 times — as he did in last week’s loss to WKU — the youngsters around him on Randy Sanders’ offense could get him killed.  And if he does manage to stay upright, Smith can’t throw four picks.  To have any chance whatsoever the Wildcats must force turnovers by the bushel.

Pick: Florida 38, Kentucky 14


Missouri at South Carolina

3:30pm ET on CBS

Opening Line:  USC -9

Current Line:  USC -10.5

Storylines:  Welcome to the big time, Mizzou.  This is the first 3:30pm ET game on CBS for one of the SEC’s two new members and it’ll be quite a test for the Tigers.  James Franklin and Connor Shaw are both banged up, though both are expected to start.  If the backups are forced to play, give the advantage to Carolina because Dylan Thompson would have Marcus Lattimore in his backfield… Corbin Berkstresser would not.

Keys for Missouri:  Protect James Franklin.  Jarvis Jones and Georgia’s defense had a field day in the final quarter of their blowout win at Mizzou two weeks ago.  Now a makeshift MU offensive line will have to fend off Jadeveon Clowney and company.  T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Keys for South Carolina:  Beware of turnovers.  The Tigers are plus-six on the season and only five teams in the SEC have turned the ball over more than Carolina.  Freshman TJ Gurley will take the place of suspended veteran safety DJ Swearinger.  Expect Mizzou to try to take advantage.  The best way for USC to protect its defense from Gary Pinkel’s hurry-up system?  Hand the ball to Lattimore.  A lot.

Pick:  South Carolina 27, Missouri 14


Florida Atlantic at Alabama

4:00pm ET on Pay-per-view

Opening Line:  UA -51

Current Line:  UA -49.5

Storylines:  Another cupcake game in the SEC.  The Tide opened as a 51-point favorite — which Nick Saban can’t like — but an FAU defensive end got lippy and claimed that Bama can be beaten.  Not a wise statement, young man.

Keys for Alabama:  To quote Russell Crowe in “Gladiator,” “At my signal… unleash Hell.”  Bama just needs to make sure everyone stays healthy.

Pick:  Alabama 42, Florida Atlantic 6


Rutgers at Arkansas

7:00pm ET on ESPNU

Opening Line:  Pick

Current Line:  UA -8.5

Storylines:  Razorback fans abandoned ship last week as Alabama slaughtered their team 52-0.  Couple that with an upset loss to Louisiana-Monroe a week earlier and the attendance might be the real storyline in Fayetteville.  Luckily for John L. Smith — the L. stand’s for “Let’s smile!” — Tyler Wilson will be back at quarterback for the Hogs after missing a week-and-a-half with a concussion.

Keys for Arkansas:  Build a wall around Wilson and let no Scarlet Knight come near his noggin.  Just having Wilson back on the field should refuel the Hogs’ once-potent aerial attack.  Running the football would limit the QB’s exposure to hits, too.  Most importantly, however, is fixing all that’s broken on the defensive side of the ball.  Paul Haynes’ new unit hasn’t gotten much help from the offense the last couple of weeks, but no one expected UA to rank 95th in the nation in total defense after three games.

Pick:  Arkansas 35, Rutgers 20


LSU at Auburn

7:00pm ET on ESPN

Opening Line:  LSU -18.5

Current Line:  LSU -20.5

Storylines:  The temperature of Gene Chizik’s seat is one storyline.  An overtime win at home over ULM last week didn’t do much to cool things for the fourth-year coach who’s offense and defense both lack playmakers.  For LSU, going on the road in the SEC will be a good test for the Tiger D and new quarterback Zach Mettenberger.  It’s one thing to crush Washington, Idaho and the like at home.  It’s another to go into Jordan-Hare, regardless of how good or bad Auburn might be.

Keys for Auburn:  Simple.  Chizik’s set of Tigers have to run the football effectively.  They have to run the football to take pressure off of quarterback Kiehl Frazier who Chizik admits isn’t read to carry the team just yet.  And they have to run the football to take time off the clock, limit LSU’s touches, and protect a defense that has a hard time, you know, actually tackling ballcarriers.  And that’s kind of a biggie in football.

Keys for LSU:  For Miles’ set of Tigers, their run game should have little trouble with an Auburn defense that ranks #109 out of 124 schools nationally in rush defense.  Expect John Chavis to dial up some new looks for Frazier as well.  If he thought the Louisiana school from Monroe was tough, wait’ll he sees the bunch from Baton Rouge.  About the only way LSU can lose this one is to turn the ball over.  That means no interceptions at the opponent’s goal line, Mr. Mettenberger.

Pick:  LSU 40, Auburn 10


South Alabama at Mississippi State

7:00pm ET on Pay-per-view

Opening Line:  MSU -32.5

Current Line:  MSU -34.5

Storylines:  More creampuffery.  I think if MSU could have scheduled the University of North Carolina at Winston-Marlboro Scott Stricklin would have done it.  Last week, the Bulldogs apparently missed their wake-up call and sleepwalked through a 30-24 tighter-than-expected win at Troy.  Troy is 4-11 in its last 15 games, by the way.

Keys for Mississippi State:  USA likely won’t provide much of a test, but Dan Mullen’s defense nees to show real improvement over last week’s effort.  The Dogs allowed 572 yards of offense to Troy and the only thing that saved their tails was the gathering in of four more turnovers.  State is plus-11 in turnover margin on the season.  Tyler Russell has yet to throw a pick and if that stats holds true tomorrow, MSU will hit 4-0 and remain ranked in the national polls.

Pick:  Mississippi State 42, South Alabama 10


South Carolina State at Texas A&M

7:00pm ET on FSN

Opening Line:  No Line (FCS Opponent)

Current Line:  No Line (FCS Opponent)

Storylines:  Yawn.  The storyline is that fans of all FBS schools should boycott games against FCS opponents.  Who cares?

Keys for Texas A&M:  Work on the run game.  Johnny Manziel has been a pleasant surprise at quarterback, but it’s time to get Christine Michaels and the rest of the Aggies’ deep running back corps rolling.  When A&M faces more SEC competition, they’ll have to run the football better than they have in the middle-of-the-pack start to the season.  (TAMU ranks eighth in the SEC in rushing offense after two games.)

Pick:  Texas A&M 52, South Carolina State 9


Akron at Tennessee

7:30pm ET on CSS

Opening Line:  UT -35

Current Line:  UT -33

Storylines:  Over/under 70,000 fans in Knoxville?  Vol fans invested a lot of energy and hope in last week’s showdown with Florida only to find themselves emotionally bankrupted by game’s end.  How much support with UT get in a home game against what’s supposed to be a pastry of a foe?  As for the team, at some point Sal Sunseri’s defense will need to start cutting down on the big plays.

Keys for Tennessee:  About that whole “big play” thing… switching to a 3-4 defense usually starts with busts in Year One, improves throughout the season, and then looks good by Year Two.  But the Volunteers have given up 17 plays of 20 or more yards through three games, more than any other team in the SEC.  Akron has a high-flying offense that might break one or two big ones, but UT has to start making gains in the miscommunication/bust area.  Also, Tyler Bray needs to be patient and smart in the pocket and not keep throwing balls from his back foot as he did time and again last weekend.

Pick:  Tennessee 41, Akron 20


Vanderbilt at Georgia

7:45pm ET on ESPN2

Opening Line:  UGA -16

Current Line:  UGA -16

Storylines:  Oh, come on.  This is James Franklin and his mouth going up against Todd Grantham and his antics.  Those two coaches haven’t engendered a lot of good will when it comes to their fellow SEC coaches, but that’s not in their job descriptions, either.  Expect ESPN2 to give you a glimpse or two or 12 at the end of last year’s game.

Keys for Georgia:  We mentioned Tennessee’s need to prevent big plays on defense and the same holds true for UGA.  The Dawgs are the only team in the SEC other than the Vols to have allowed eight plays of 30 or more yards from scrimmage.  Vandy isn’t exactly a quick strike offense, but no one expected Buffalo or FAU to break off some long gains.  They did.  When it comes to winning tomorrow, the Dawgs should if they just take care of the football.  Mark Richt’s team is minus-one in turnover margin on the season and coughing up the football is a sure way to keep Vanderbilt hanging around.

Keys for Vanderbilt:  Last year Franklin said after the Georgia game: “We are not gonna sit back and take stuff from anybody.  Anybody.  No one.  Those days are long gone and they are never coming back.”  But after a pair of close-but-no-cigar losses to South Carolina and Northwestern, Vandy’s coach made a change behind center and promptly crushed Presbyterian.  To insure that “those days” never come back and that folks stop saying “same old Vandy,” Franklin needs for his team to show some real fight at Sanford Stadium.  That will require a ball-control type of offense, no turnovers, and yet another solid outing from his defense (which ranks third in the SEC in total yardage allowed versus FBS opponents).  Unfortunately, Georgia’s offense is tops in the league in total offense against FBS foes.  Vandy needs to prove that a good defense can beat a good offense.

Pick:  Georgia 31, Vanderbilt 13

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