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This Year’s SEC/Big East Challenge Matchups Are Set

The SEC has announced the matchups for this year’s SEC/Big East Challenge and there will only be 12 games played.  Some had wondered if Missouri and Texas A&M would get to take part this season — the Big East still has about 40 basketball schools — but the answer is no.  Sorry Tigers and Aggies.

This year’s games are as follows:

 

Thursday, November 29, 2012  
South Carolina at St. John’s
Seton Hall at LSU
Kentucky at Notre Dame
Marquette at Florida

Friday, November 30, 2012   
Georgia at South Florida
DePaul at Auburn
Tennessee at Georgetown
Syracuse at Arkansas

Saturday, December 1, 2012 
Mississippi State at Providence
Rutgers at Ole Miss
Alabama at Cincinnati
Villanova at Vanderbilt

 

UPDATE — Hold off on buying those Syracuse/Arkansas tickets.  As part of their ongoing battle to escape the Big East, Syracuse officials have told the league they are “overcommitted” and can’t take part in the game.  Meanwhile, Pittsburgh officials — also trying to escape — say they were expecting to get a home game this year.  Instead, they were left out.

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Safety Greaves Chooses Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt had some obvious advantages to Malik Greaves before he committed to the Commodores.

“First, I wanted to play in the SEC, and second, I wanted to get a good degree,” the safety from Jacksonville, Fla., told The Florida Times-Union.

That’s why Greaves chose Vanderbilt over offers from such schools as North Carolina, South Florida, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Greaves, who’s the second commitment for Vanderbilt’s class of 2013, should be able to help the Commodores’ secondary, according to Sandalwood High School coach Adam Geis.

“He’s a heck of a player,” Geis said. “He’s a phenomenal player for us.”

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MU’s Pinkel Talks Recruiting Hurdles Down South And Respect

Missouri’s Gary Pinkel has taken a moribund football program and make it competitive on the national scene.  Competitive in the rankings (the Tigers reached #1 in the nation in 2007) and on the recruiting trail (Mizzou has inroads into Texas and outdueled Arkansas for star receiver prospect Dorial Green-Beckham).

He’s accomplished much, but now Pinkel is determined to break new barriers:

 

“We’re getting our brand name down in Atlanta.  We’re in South Florida, Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando.  But we’re back to like we were when we first went into Texas.  You have to sell yourself.  They have a great pride in the SEC down there and you’re welcome down there.  But it’s just like when we first went into Texas, and the coaches would tell us, ‘Okay, these (five-star) guys are going to Texas, Oklahoma and A&M.  You can’t talk to them.  But you can look at these guys.’  Well, they don’t do that in Texas anymore.  They say, ‘These are our best guys, go recruit them.’  Well, now when we go into SEC territory to recruit, we hear, ‘Well, these guys are going to Alabama or Auburn.  But you can talk to these guys.’”

 

The coach told The St. Louis Dispatch that his program is ready for the challenge of its new home.  “That’s all we’ve been talking about to our football team,” Pinkel said.  “That’s what it’s all about.  Proving ourselves.  No one knows us in the SEC.  We have to earn their respect, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

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Reports: A&M Hires Snyder As D-Coordinator; Several SEC Slots Still Open

If the word leaking out of College Station is to be believed, there’s one less open coordinator spot in the SEC.  Multiple sources are claiming that South Florida defensive coordinator Mark Snyder is set to take over the same job on Kevin Sumlin’s new staff at Texas A&M.

For those unfamiliar with Snyder, he served as the head coach at Marshall from 2005 through 2009.  Before that he’d had a four-year tour of duty as defensive coordinator at Ohio State.

If the Snyder hire is made official it will leave Florida (offensive), Alabama (offensive), Tennessee (defensive) and Auburn (offensive and defensive) as SEC schools still searching for new coordinators.

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze has said he will handle play-calling duties in 2012 and may or may not hire an offensive coordinator.  He served as his own O-coordinator at Arkansas State last season.

Boise State offensive coordinator Brent Pease has been connected to the openings at Alabama and Florida.  Former head coaches Randy Shannon and Ron Zook have had their names tied to the open D-coordinator slots at both Auburn and Tennessee.

UPDATE — The Auburn defensive coordinator job has now been filled by Brian VanGorder, the former defensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons.

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Leach To Washington State, Off The Market

Anyone dreaming of Mike Leach landing in the SEC this year (Ole Miss fans) or perhaps next (Kentucky, Tennessee fans) can stop dreaming.  The pirate has landed about as far from his South Florida home as imaginable.

Leach has been hired by Washington State, which might just be the best place for him.  If there’s a school as isolated and off-the-beaten path as Texas Tech, it’s Wazzu.  In addition, the Cougars have a long history of producing star college quarterbacks… from Jack Thompson to Drew Bledsoe to Ryan Leaf.  (We said star college quarterbacks.)

In the wide open Pac-12, Leach could prosper as he did in Lubbock.  And if he does — and does so more than Ole Miss — it’s likely the folks in Oxford won’t let their administration forget that they could have had him. 

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Vols Commit Jacobs Interested In Texas A&M

Damien Jacobs is still considering Texas A&M despite his commitment to Tennessee.

The defensive tackle from East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Miss., took an official visit to Texas A&M on Sept. 24. Jacobs told MrSEC he’s considering the Aggies “a good bit” after watching Texas A&M’s home game against Oklahoma State.

“I enjoyed it,” Jacobs said of his visit to College Station. “The game day atmosphere was the best part of it.”

Jacobs, who plans to enroll at his next school in January, said he doesn’t have a timetable for a final decision.

“I’m not sure of that,” he said. “Right now it’s Tennessee. I really decided already so I’m with Tennessee right now. You could kind of say I’m in the middle.”

Jacobs insisted he hasn’t lost interest in Tennessee. He said he talks to members of the UT coaching staff “all the time.”

Jacobs said Mississippi State and South Florida have both offered him a scholarship and invited him to visit. He said he’s unsure if he’ll do so.

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Lineman Fromang Chooses Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt has received a commitment from offensive lineman Blake Fromang from Lake Highland Prep in Orlando, Fla.

Fromang, whose offer list included Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Florida, Syracuse, Virginia and Virginia Tech, decided to commit to Vanderbilt after taking an official visit to Nashville last weekend.

It was a great trip,” Fromang told ESPN.com. “They showed me the student life outside of football and introduced me to a lot of people. We went to the game and they defeated Elon. I got to meet the players and hang out with them. Coach Franklin is really driven, he wants to win bad and turn the program around.”

Vanderbilt is the only school to receive an official visit from Fromang. He can visit up to four more schools officially. But that doesn’t appear to be his plan.

“I’m done with the recruiting,” Fromang said. “My word is my word and I will stick to it. I’m going to be a Commodore and that’s the end of the story.”

Fromang is Vanderbilt’s 15th commitment for the class of 2012.

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Mississippi State Lands Defensive Back

Defensive back Kivon Coman from Florence (Ala.) High School has committed to Mississippi State.

Coman considered scholarship offers from South Florida, Arkansas State and South Alabama before committing to Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs have 17 commitments for the class of 2012.

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Tuesday Afternoon Headlines

Here are some headlines for your Tuesday afternoon.

-Offensive line prospect Alex Kozan is visiting Arkansas today. Oklahoma State and LSU will follow.

-Cornerback Chris Bivins has committed to South Florida. That is unless the Florida Gators comes calling.

-Defensive tackle prospect Martin Aiken explains his commitment to Clemson over South Carolina.

-CBSSports.com has obtained a letter outlining recruiting changes being proposed by the SEC.

-Georgia’s top-ranked quarterback prospect is ready to visit several schools in the Southeast.

-Defensive tackle Jordan Watkins has trimmed his list to eight schools. Half of them are in the SEC.

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NCAA Heading To South Florida To Check Up On AU, LSU, And UT

Now is not the time to find your school’s name in the same mix with Ohio State.  But that’s exactly what’s happening when it comes to Auburn, LSU and Tennessee.

According to Dave Hyde of The Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, NCAA investigators are heading to South Florida “to look into the recruiting of several high-school football stars and the methods of several colleges in doing so, according to a source.” 

Those schools are Auburn, LSU, Tennessee and Ohio State.


“The schools involved have been successful for years in getting players out of South Florida, and enough red flags have been raised about money changing hands in the recruiting process to merit investigation, the source said.

High school officials, street agents, seven-on-seven tournaments — they’re all going to be asked questions by the NCAA.”


The schools mentioned above are all under some level of NCAA scrutiny already.  NCAA snoops have been interviewing people regarding numerous Auburn allegations (Cam Newton, the HBO Four, etc) for months. 

LSU is waiting to hear back from the NCAA regarding some self-imposed sanctions and the school’s recruitment of Patrick Peterson has recently come into question thanks to a connection to alleged street agent Willie Lyles. 

And Tennessee just wrapped up a hearing with the NCAA last weekend regarding alleged violations under Lane Kiffin’s watch.

Just when SEC fans thought things might be calming down a bit…

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