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Missouri And Texas A&M Worth $41 Million To The SEC In Year One

offering-cashAccording to the SEC’s federal tax return for 2012, the conference saw its revenue grow by $41 million dollars in its first year as a 14-school league.  USA Today requested the return which shows the SEC took in $314.5 million in 2012.  Missouri and Texas A&M were welcomed into the Southeastern Conference in the summer of 2012.

Interestingly, the SEC showed an overall deficit for its fiscal year which ended on August 31st, 2013.  While the league brought in $314.5 million, it spent $317.9 million.  Most of that money went back to the member institutions in the form of annual payments.  The league will hand out new checks next month during the SEC Meetings in Destin, Florida.

The SEC’s tax return also shows:


*  Missouri and Texas A&M each made about $19.5 million in their first year in the SEC.  The two schools made a little more than $12 million in their final year in the Big 12.

*  Mike Slive’s base pay increased to nearly $1.2.  His overall income was down from 2011 when he received more than half a million dollars in bonuses.

*  Slive’s base salary in 2012 was less than what fellow commissioners John Swofford (ACC), Jim Delany (Big Ten) and Larry Scott (Pac-12) made in 2011.


The Southeastern Conference fell $1 million shy of the Big Ten’s revenue total ($315.5 million) from the previous year.  When compared to all other conferences, the SEC and Big Ten are still dominant financially.  For example, the ACC ranked third in revenue in 2011, making $223.3 million.

The SEC’s revenue will continue to rise over the next few seasons as the new playoff system will debut, new bowl partnerships will kick off and the SEC Network will launch.

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Champs, You Just Can’t Repeat In The SEC

up-and-down-arrowsBack in August we picked LSU and Georgia to meet in this year’s SEC Championship Game.  We were wrong about the teams, but our reason for dismissing last year’s champion was sound.

While most of the rest of the free world tabbed Alabama to win the West and win the SEC once more, we decided to roll with history rather than with the defending champs.  And history says you just can’t repeat as champions in the Southeastern Conference.

Not since Tennessee went back to back in 1997 and 1998 has a program won two SEC titles in a row.  That’s now a 15-year streak of new champions:


1999  Alabama

2000  Florida

2001  LSU

2002  Georgia

2003  LSU

2004  Auburn

2005  Georgia

2006  Florida

2007  LSU

2008  Florida

2009  Alabama

2010  Auburn

2011  LSU

2012  Alabama

2013  Auburn or Missouri


We even wrote a warning to Mizzou and Texas A&M fans when they entered the league — Don’t expect your team to stay on top in the SEC.  No team does. Despite perceived easy schedules for the champs.  Despite the view that just one or two teams dominate the league.  Every year… new champ.

In fact, look at that list above again.  Not only do teams not repeat in the SEC, but only twice in 15 years has a school even won two titles in a three-year span (LSU 2001 and 2003, Florida 2006 and 2008).

Alabama, winners of three national titles in a four-year stretch, has won just two SEC titles in that time.  Remember, the Tide won the 2011 BCS crown after losing to LSU in the regular season and missing out on the SEC Championship Game.  As we said at the time, it’s been easier to win the BCS Championship than it’s been to win the SEC title.

Next summer, everyone will point out that the media never correctly predicts the SEC champion.  There’s a simple reason for that.  Those gathered at SEC Media Days just outside of Birmingham usually tab the previous year’s champ as the favorite once again.

Well, we might not have guessed correctly on the Auburn and Missouri part — who did? — but we’ve learned our lesson on the defending champion part.  Don’t pick ‘em.

You just can’t go repeat as Southeastern Conference champs.


(Sidenote — We will have tons of quickie takes on the SEC Championship Game and the BCS race throughout the day.  This is just installment #1.)

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Kentucky To Strip 6,000 Seats From Commonwealth Stadium In A First-Class Renovation Project

File this one under perfect timing.

Last week, we wrote the following: “How long before and SEC school decides to replace 10,000 to 20,000 seats with larger, more opulent skyboxes?”

Well, it ain’t 10- to 20-thousand, but the University of Kentucky will be dropping the seating capacity at Commonwealth Stadium from 67,000 to 61,000 in time for the 2015 season.  According to The Lexington Herald-Leader, officials discussing the refurbishing of the stadium yesterday said that “the goal is to create better seats, not more seats.”

Architect Gerardo Prado says Wildcat AD Mitch Barnhart wants the 40-year-old stadium to be a one-of-a-kind venue:


“Classy and cool were the exact words used by Mitch and that’s what we’re trying to strive for here.  We don’t want this to look like any other stadium in the Southeastern Conference.”


So far so good:




























The $110 million renovation project should “change the personality of the stadium,” Barnhart said.  “It’s hopefully more intimate, hopefully, it is more fan friendly.”

“We’ve got to create an environment that’s fun for people to want to come to,” the AD added.  “And I think this is the right size for us.”

In addition to going smaller, the number of tickets offered to students will decline.  The student section will surround a new glass-front recruiting room — long a UK need — with a capacity of 200 people.  That recruiting room will also have its own patio, which is unique to Commonwealth Stadium.

The south side of the stadium will feature a new pressbox sitting on top of 28 suites.  Below the suites will be club seats and loge/VIP seating.  Alcohol will be available to those buying premium seats.

Additional notes:


*  UK will reticket the entire stadium and it will have a new seating plan.

*  About 25,000 seats will be available with a donation of $100 or less to the UK athletic program.

*  There will be wider concourses, new concession stands and new restrooms for everyone, not just the folks in the suites, club seats and loge/VIP areas.

*  In a fantastic touch, areas of the stadium will feature reclaimed Kentucky barn wood and Kentucky limestone to add a “little bit of Kentucky flavor.”  Love that idea.


You can expect schools to continue to move in this direction as an increasing number of fans choose to stay home with their HD sets rather than drive to the ol’ ballyard.  Kentucky is moving in the right direction and the school’s plans look like a major, major upgrade for a stadium that currently has very little personality.

But rest assured some school down the line will take a more drastic dive into the newer-but-smaller stadium pool.  Six-thousand seats today?  It’ll be 10- to 20-thousand at some point.

Mark it down.  (Or — since this is a Kentucky story — Maker’s Mark it down.)



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Vandy Rallies At Tennessee; Mizzou Grinds Out Win At Ole Miss

postgame-links-150x1501Vanderbilt 14- Tennessee 10. Video Highlights

1. Vanderbilt rallies with 12-play, 92-yard drive. Quarterback Patton Robinette scores touchdown with 16 seconds left.

2. Crucial call gives Vanderbilt a first down in the last minute.  ”This is Tennessee football, where defeat sometimes is yanked from the jaws of victory.”

3. UT defensive tackle Daniel Hood: “We went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.”

4. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, Vanderbilt had lost its entire starting secondary to injuries or ejections.

5. Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews sets the record for the most catches in SEC history.  Caught 13 passes Saturday night for 133 yards.

6. Tennessee’s bowl hopes eliminated with loss.  ”Clad in gray, the Volunteers again came up one play here or there short of finishing the victory.”

Missouri 24 – Ole Miss 10. Video Highlights

7. 10-1 Tigers one win away from heading to SEC Championship Game. Wide receiver L’Damian Washington: “We want to be a part of history.”

8. Joe Strauss: “The Tigers imposed themselves in ways inconceivable during their 2012 debut in the Southeastern Conference.”

9. Joe Walljasper: “On a chilly November night in the South, Pinkel’s Tigers delivered a definitive statement: They are not who we thought they were.”

10. Gary Pinkel becomes only second Missouri coach to reach 100 wins at the school.

11. Missed opportunities for Ole Miss.  Just three points in three trips to the Red Zone.

12. Representatives from five bowls on hand Saturday night in Oxford.

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Georgia’s Richt Talks About Officiating In Loss To Auburn

gfx - they said itMark Richt is a cool-headed guy.  Many a Georgia fan has wanted to see their coach blow his top and get demonstrative on the sidelines.  During Saturday’s 43-38 heartbreaker of a loss to Auburn, Richt did show some anger.

And then he was flagged 15 yards for it.

As we noted yesterday, we feel that if any coach in the SEC should get a little leeway from the refs, it’s Richt.  The guy’s not the easily enraged Will Muschamp, after all.  But SEC official Penn Wagers flagged Georgia’s coach for arguing a fumble ruling a bit too vociferously.  So what did Richt say that earned him a flag?


“So I got as close to his face as I could and said: ‘You guys are the best officials in the Southeastern Conference.’  Then Penn threw the flag.  So I think if he had heard what I said he might not have thrown it.  But I think he thought I was continuing on with my opinion of what had happened.”


According to Seth Emerson of The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Richt was laughing as he told the story.  Georgia’s student newspaper, The Red & Black, reports that the unsportsmanlike conduct call was the first penalty ever called against the longtime Bulldogs coach.

Georgia’s coach went on to explain that his anger was not solely directed at the fumble which was ruled in Auburn’s favor:


“I’m not allowed to say much about officiating.  I guess the flag was an indication of how I’d been feeling about things for a while.  And I’ll say this too: If we’re really, really honest, and we’re totally unbiased, when you watch film there’s some things that we do that probably should’ve been holding called against us.  Or should’ve been, this, that or the other.  I guarantee you, as many slices of film we’re showing the officials about what we think should have been in our favor, there’s just as many that should’ve been against us.  It just feels like it’s been a little bit more against us this year than normal.”


Judging from our inbox, a lot of Georgia fans would agree with that statement.


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The SEC Loses A Legend In Ex-Everything Dean

joe_dean_1Sunday morning the Southeastern Conference lost a legend.  A tremendous basketball player, a promoter via television, and an influential athletic director, Joe Dean was an SEC fixture for more than half a century.

Fans of a certain age will remember Dean as an All-SEC hoopster at LSU from 1949 through 1952.  Younger fans across the SEC footprint will remember him as the color analyst for televised SEC basketball games from 1969 through 1987.  The words “String music” and “stufferino” — Dean’s signature calls — still resonate with those of us in the late-30s, over-40 crowd.

In ’87, Dean became the athletic director at his alma mater and served in that position through 2001.  Dean was AD in Baton Rouge when the Tigers hired some fella from Michigan State named Nick Saban to rebuild their football program.

Dean was instrumental in the SEC expansion that welcomed Arkansas and South Carolina into the conference in 1992.  A visionary, he also worked in the 1980s to bring Texas A&M into the league.

Dean’s impact on the SEC would require a book, not a blurb, so instead we’ll just direct you to the headlines of the different obituaries honoring the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee today:


Ex LSU AD, basketball player Joe Dean dies at 83

Former LSU Athletic Director Joe Dean dies, 83

Hall-of-fame announcer Joe Dean Sr. dies at 83


When you’re accomplished in so many fields it becomes difficult to pick just one for a headline.  Dean was all of those things — player, AD, broadcaster — and he was more.  He was an ambassador for LSU and the Southeastern Conference for decades.  And he will be missed.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dean’s family and friends.

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Is Arkansas’ Bielema A Fish Out Of Water?

fish-out-of-waterWhen the out-of-nowhere news of Bret Bielema’s move from Wisconsin to Arkansas first leaked out a year ago, there were gasps from the Dells to the Ozarks.  How in the world did Razorback AD Jeff Long pull off such a coup?

Of the four SEC jobs open, Arkansas scored the man with the best track record as a head coach.  Easily.

Bielema was no up-and-comer.  He was a seven-year vet.  He hadn’t won at a small school, he’d won at one of the top programs in the country.  The 43-year-old had earned three Rose Bowl berths in a row at Wisconsin.  he’d put together a 12-win season, two 11-win seasons, and one 10-win campaign.

Put simply, Bielema was a home run hire.

But to date, he’s looked like a home run hitter in Triple A ball, not the majors.  And that’s not just a knock on his record to date.

You know the situation in Fayetteville this year.  The Hogs entered the season with a roster built to play Bobby Petrino’s spread passing game.  Their defense had never been a strong point under their ex-coach (or under interim coach John L. Smith last season).  A new quarterback would have to be broken in to boot.

So it’s way too early to doubt Bielema’s ability to coach.  Even if his first Arkansas team is 3-7 on the year, 0-6 in the SEC (for the first time ever), and riding a seven-game losing streak.  Such a skid matches the worst runs in school history.

In its last seven games UA has lost by four to Rutgers, by 12 to Texas A&M, by 20 to Florida, by 45 to South Carolina, by 52 to Alabama, by 18 to Auburn, and by 10 to Ole Miss over the weekend.  The Razorbacks are last in the SEC in scoring offense and 13th in scoring defense.

Yes, they’re bad.  Injuries haven’t helped.  But Bielema knows how to coach.  We just wonder if he’s ready to coach in the SEC.

Dragging behind Bielema like a Dickensian chain is his famous February of 2012 comment:


“I can tell you this, we at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC — in any way, shape or form.”


Bielema was hot and bothered by newly-arrived Ohio State coach Urban Meyer daring to break a gentleman’s agreement that Big Ten coaches would not recruit kids already committed to other Big Ten teams.  But the “in any way, shape or form” part of the quote suggests Bielema wasn’t a fan of Mike Slive’s conference in many, many areas… not just its recruiting tactics.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Auburn’s Barbee: “The SEC Is The Best Basketball League In The Country, Period.”

tony-barbee-coachesSomebody do a little research and find out just what Auburn hoops coach Tony Barbee has been smoking.  The hot-seat-strapped coach made the following mind-boggling statement yesterday at SEC Media Days:


“The SEC is the best basketball league in the country, period.  Look at the national titles we’ve won since, I think you’re talking the modern game, ’97.  We’ve won the most national titles as a league over any league.  I think that speaks for itself.  Look at the pros that this league puts out.  I think all of those things speak for itself.”


Good heavens.

Well, I’m sure I speak for many when I say Barbee is attempting to sell that which cannot be sold.  First, his math is wrong as the ACC has collected five national crowns to the SEC’s four since 1997.  Second, he’s basically talking about two schools — Kentucky and Florida — when trying to push SEC strength in “the modern game.”  (Does anyone believe the modern era of college basketball began in 1997?)

There’s a common argument from folks outside the SEC that goes like this: The rest of the Southeastern Conference can’t take credit for the football national championships won by a few SEC schools.  The trouble is, the SEC has been uber-deep in football.  Since the dawn of the BCS era in 1998, five different league members (Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU and Tennessee) have won national crowns.  That’s more than one-third of the current SEC members.  And that’s nine BCS titles in 15 years overall.  That is what it means to be “the best league in the country, period.”

But in basketball, Kentucky has won three titles since 1996 and Florida has won two.  No other SEC team has claimed first prize.  Check the NBA’s rosters and you’ll find they’re dotted with — you guessed it — ex-Wildcats and ex-Gators.  The SEC has had no true depth on a national scale.

Look, here’s hoping the SEC can kick things up a notch on the hardwood this winter.  But to even try to present the Southeastern Conference as the nation’s best in basketball is pure folly.  It’s foolish.  It’s crazy.

And it may just be the talk of a man desperately trying to convince his own fanbase (and boss) that his rebuilding efforts have taken longer than expected because of the level of tough competition he’s faced within his own league.  Unfortunately for Barbee, here’s guessing Auburn AD Jay Jacobs won’t buy that spin anymore than yours truly.

You can see Barbee’s comments from SEC Media Days right here on our Overtime page.

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Florida O-Coordinator Pease Says Muschamp Allowing Him To Do His Job

gfx - they said itFile this one under: “What’s he supposed to say?”

Florida’s offense just isn’t good enough to compete with the big boys.  Year Two under Brent Pease is not a whole lot better than Year One… or Charlie Weis’ one year.  Remember when Weis was the reason for the Gators’ offensive deficiencies?

Naturally, fans are starting to wonder if the common denominator — Will Muschamp — is allowing his offensive coordinators the freedom they need to win football games.  In other words, is he handcuffing them and ordering them to run the football?  Again and again and again?

Yesterday, Pease was asked that question.  His response:


“How much does he exert control on me?  Like any coach, we all have ideas we share.  He’s very open about what we do.  He allows us to do our job and do what we want to do to be successful.

Like he says, ‘Do what you’ve go to do to win a football game.’  That’s what we’ve got to do.  I think he’s got his philosophy on what the makeup of our team is.  Everybody is good with that, including myself.”


In 2011 under Weis, Florida threw the ball 236 times against BCS foes.  That ranked the Gators 10th in the then-12-team SEC.

In 2012 under Pease, Florida attempted 219 passes versus BCS teams and that ranked 13th in the 14-team league.

This year, the Gators have thrown 121 passes versus BCS teams.  That places the Gators in a tie for sixth in the league.  Tossing in non-BCS opponents, however, Florida has thrown the ball fewer times than any other team in the Southeastern Conference.

Whether he does or he doesn’t, it’s obvious why some are starting to think Muschamp is the man to blame for Florida’s offense — through three years and two coordinators his Gators have run the ball a helluva lot more than they’ve thrown it.

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SEC, Nashville Make Future Tourney Plans Official

Nashville-PosterToday in Nashville officials for the Southeastern Conference and Bridgestone Arena announced a long-term partnership that will see Music City, USA host the SEC’s men’s basketball tournament nine times between 2015 and 2026.  The league will also toss in some women’s hoops tourneys to ensure that Nashville will host one tournament or the other in 12 consecutive seasons.

“Nashville has long been a valued partner of the Southeastern Conference and we are pleased to establish this long-term agreement that will benefit our men’s and women’s basketball tournaments,” Mike Slive said.  “Nashville, as a proven host, provides SEC teams and fans with a wonderful experience.”

As we noted several months ago when the league started looking for a semi-permanent home for its hoops event, Nashville is really the perfect location.  It’s arena is smack in the middle of Nashville’s downtown entertainment district with hotels, restaurants, clubs and live music at every turn.  It’s airport makes travel easy as does its centralized location.  Also, it’s just close enough to Kentucky to guarantee that the league’s best-traveling fans will attend in droves and snatch up plenty of ticket packages.  Money is always the main factor, as we pointed out when guessing Nashville back in May.

We give the league’s selection a big thumbs-up.  If you can’t have fun in Nashville, you’re probably incapable of having fun at all.  And holding the tourney in an actual arena — rather than in a half-empty dome — is an added bonus.

Several reports guessed at dates and locations for the league’s men’s tournament yesterday, but most of those guesses turned out to be wrong.  Officially, here’s how the SEC’s men’s tournament rotation will work between this season and 2026:


2014 — Atlanta

2015 — Nashville

2016 — Nashville

2017 — Nashville

2018 — To be determined (St. Louis is the favorite)

2019 — Nashville

2020 — Nashville

2021 — Nashville

2022 — To be determined (Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa or a city in a new state — ya never know — might be the choice)

2023 — Nashville

2024 — Nashville

2025 — Nashville


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