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Ex-Hog RB Davis Isn’t Buying Ex-Coaches’ “They Quit” Claims

gfx - they said itOnce ex-Arkansas assistants Bobby Petrino, Paul Haynes, and ex-interim head coach John L. Smith suggested to The Sporting News that some members on the 2012 Razorbacks quit, it was only a matter of time before one of those players responded.  Ex-Razorback running back Knile Davis — a player named as a potential quitter by the story’s author – took to Twitter with these comments:

 

“The same guys who sacrificed their time and freedom.  The same guys who gave their blood sweat and tears for that hog on the side of that helmet.  The same guys who skipped an opportunity of a life time by not entering the draft and came back knowing the risk.  The same guys that battled to get a win in the liberty bowl in the freezing cold.  The same guys that battled to get the schools first BCS birth in the Sugar Bowl.  The same guys that fought and won the Cotton Bowl.  These same guys quit on one of the most anticipated seasons in Arkansas history?!  I don’t think so.  Not these guys.  Not my guys.  #HAWG 4 LIFE”

 

For guys like Davis who are working to improve their draft stock, the ex-coaches’ comments couldn’t have come at a worse time.  Davis won’t just be asked by NFL scouts about his rehabbed foot.  He’ll also be asked about his heart.

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How An SEC-Big XII Scheduling Alliance Could Doom The ACC

yaltaOn Monday, a two-day meeting of the Big XII’s athletic directors got under way.  At the time, there was much discussion of a potential Big XII-ACC scheduling alliance.  Such a deal could conceivably delay further conference realignment for the short-term.  Bob Bowlsby had said leading up to the meetings that his league had already held exploratory conversations with three different conferences.  He mentioned the ACC specifically.

As for the other two leagues with which the Big XII had chatted, the vast majority of national pundits assumed the Pac-12 and the Big Ten were the other potential partners.  We thought otherwise:

 

“We suspect, however, that Bowlsby and (Mike) Slive might have had some chats.  The SEC takes a beating for its nonconference scheduling and when we move from the current BCS system to a playoff selection committee — complete with regional biases — any perceived soft scheduling could hurt the league’s chances of getting multiple teams into a four-team playoff.

Bowlsby and Slive captain the two most successful ships of the BCS era.  They’ve just worked out a groundbreaking deal to partner up and split the cash from a new Sugar Bowl that’s basically owned by the leagues and run by the folks in New Orleans.  What better way to further consolidate power than to reach a scheduling agreement, especially in football?”

 

One day into the Big XII’s meetings, the media began to focus even more closely on the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 as potential partners due to a Monday afternoon tweet put out by Kirk Bohls of The Austin-American Statesman.  It stated that Slive had said that the SEC “is not involved in those (Big XII) alliance discussions at all.”

We remained a bit skeptical as that didn’t sound very much like Slive’s MO.  Perhaps wires were crossed somewhere.   So we wrote on Tuesday morning:

 

“Mike Slive has said the SEC has had no alliance discussions with the Big XII ‘at all,’ which is surprising considering he almost always keeps his options open.”

 

Yesterday afternoon, the story changed.  Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News called across town to the SEC office and was told by SEC associate commissioner Mark Womack that the league “has engaged in limited dialogue” (Solomon’s words) with the Big XII.

Thought so.

Further, Womack said: “That’s a situation we would keep an open mind on, but we haven’t had a lot of significant discussions at this point.  There’s a lot of different ways that could work.  At this point, we’re continuing to move forward with scheduling the conference we’ve planned.”  Womack pointed out that any scheduling arrangement with another league would face its share of hurdles, namely most schools’ desire to play seven home games each season.

(Sidenote — Womach also told The News that there is no timetable to finish the 2014 football schedule, that the possibility of expanding to nine league games “is probably something that will always be out there to look at,” and that it’s likely the league will only schedule the next four-to-six years rather than the usual 10-to-12-year cycle.  “Given the state of everything, we’d probably look at a shorter term.”)

As we stated Monday and quoted above, it would only make sense for the SEC to consider some form of partnership with the Big XII.  Those two conferences have been the lead dogs in college football for the past decade and together they control the fertile recruiting zone from the Carolinas to Texas and on up into Oklahoma.

The ACC is looking for survival.  The Pac-12 wants some way to promote its product east of the Rocky Mountains.  The Big Ten is looking to reach into the growing Southern states for athletes, future students, and future donors.  In other words, all of those leagues want something that a partnership with the Big XII or SEC could provide.  The Big XII, being the smallest of the power conferences, is the most likely to strike a deal because Bowlsby’s group doesn’t want to end up being the runt of the power conference litter.

But if you were running the Big XII or SEC, why would you aid one of those other leagues?  The Big Ten and Pac-12 have their own Rose Bowl relationship.  They tried to work out a scheduling agreement but failed.  Let them deal with the slow growth of the Midwest and the three-hour difference between Pacific time and Eastern time.

Meanwhile, the ACC is working feverishly to protect itself from further raids.  You can be certain John Swofford is putting in more calls to Bowlsby than vice versa.  But if you’re the SEC or Big XII, why throw his conference a life vest?  Especially if the Big XII has its eyes on Florida State and Notre Dame (it does) and if the SEC has been wooing North Carolina and Duke for years (an ACC source told The Sporting News that it has).

Our SEC sources have told us since the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M that the league does not want to expand further.  But if the league feels it must expand further, well, that change things.  If the Big XII feels it must grow, too, then that’s two leagues with one goal.  Might they work in concert — and we’re talking about more than a scheduling alliance here — to topple a rival conference and then pick its bones clean?

First, it’s hard to imagine Slive and the SEC’s presidents taking part in such a nefarious plot.  Second, even if the SEC did engage in such a plan, the Big XII would have to sign on as well.

So let’s be clear, we’re stating that an SEC-Big XII alliance makes sense for both leagues in terms of improving their current schedules and consolidating their power.

We’re suggesting that it’s theoretically possible an SEC-Big XII alliance could bring down the Atlantic Coast Conference altogether.

See the difference there?  If so, put on your tin foil hat and allow us to toss a conspiracy theory at you (one we don’t subscribe to, but one we have thought about).

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SEC’s Slive Makes $1.5 Million in 2011-12, But There’s Still Work To Do

cigar-bourbonSoutheastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive shouldn’t have any trouble keeping his humidor filled with fine smokes and his liquor cabinet stocked with Blanton’s bourbon.  According to the SEC’s federal tax return for 2011-12, Slive raked in more than $1.5 million during the league’s last fiscal year.

Slive made $940,000 in base salary and received on top of that a $550,000 bonus.  He also made $22,128 in “other reported compensation” and $36,750 in retirement funds.  Toss in $14,934 in nontaxable benefits and you reach the full figure of $1,563,812.

Not a bad gig if you can get it.

Under Slive, the SEC has become the preeminent football conference in college athletics as well as one of the richest.  His work in 2008 on the league’s dual television contracts with CBS and ESPN ushered in a new era of mega-money for the Southeastern Conference (and for all the other big football conferences who’ve cut deals since).  Slive has orchestrated the league’s first expansion in two decades.  He and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby have changed the bowl-conference relationship forever by taking control of their own postseason affair and simply hiring the Sugar Bowl folks to run it (meaning more cash for the leagues).  On top of that, Slive’s dream of a four-team college football playoff is soon to be realized.  The NCAA rule book is being reworked in such a way that the biggest schools will benefit most, just as he’s pushed for.  And we at MrSEC.com have no doubt that his desire for student-athletes to receive full-cost-of-tuition scholarships will soon be sated as well, once again giving big conferences like the SEC an advantage over smaller leagues and smaller schools.

According to a USA Today study of each major conference’s most recent tax returns, Slive’s pay is still middle of the pack money for BCS-level commissioners.  Considering the success the league has had under its current commissioner’s watch, that represents a pretty good bargain for the SEC.

But there’s still work we believe Slive needs to do.

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WOW Headlines – 1/2/12

Northwestern defeated Mississippi State 34-20 in the Gator Bowl on Tuesday
South Carolina defeated Michigan 33-28 in the Outback Bowl on Tuesday
Georgia defeated Nebraska 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl on Tuesday
Louisville defeated Florida 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl Wednesday
Georgia LB Alec Ogletree will turn pro early after a 13-tackle performance in the Bulldogs’ bowl game
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin says he’s in no rush to hire a new offensive coordinator
New Arkansas linebackers coach Randy Shannon says the staff Bret Bielema has assembled “is going to be unbelievable.”
Florida receivers coach Bush Hamdan is leaving for a spot on Arkansas State’s staff
Tennessee DL Daniel McCullers will stay in Knoxville for his senior season
Alabama C Barrett Jones was back from an injury at practice on Tuesday
Memphis basketball coach Josh Pastner says he will no longer schedule Tennessee
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Gator Fans Haven’t Exactly Snapped Up Sugar Bowl Tickets; Blame The Weather

florida postcardThere are lots of different ways to buy tickets to games these days.  From brokers on the internet.  Via eBay.  Outside the stadium doors by way of scalpers.

But the tried and true method of gauging a fanbase’s interest in a bowl game is still a simple check of the number of tickets sold through their favorite school’s box office.  And by that measure, Florida fans have not been gobbling up tickets for tonight’s Sugar Bowl game with Louisville.

Not surprisingly, Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel takes Gator fans to task for that:

 

“Florida coach Will Muschamp says the nation’s economic downturn has played a significant factor in the number of UF tickets sold, but personally I think it’s more of an enthusiasm downturn among Florida fans. How else do you explain Florida selling less tickets than any other bowl team in the SEC? How else do you explain upstart Louisville selling twice as many tickets from its allotment as Florida?

Louisville head coach Charlie Strong, a longtime defensive coordinator at UF, witnessed first-hand the evolution of the UF program. He remembers when the Gators getting invited to the Sugar Bowl constituted a special season. Now, though, a trip to New Orleans is treated like a trip to the bathroom.

‘Florida is a program that has had so much tradition over the last few years,’ Strong says. ‘At Louisville, this is just our second BCS bowl game, so our fans are excited.’

Translation: Florida fans have become spoiled and blasé.”

 

Bianchi goes on to say that the reputation of “Gator Nation” is bigger than it should be and that Florida fans are “a bit overrated when compared to those at traditional powerhouses like Alabama, Ohio State, Nebraska and Texas.”

There are multiple factors involved in this situation that need to be mentioned.  One is the economic downturn that Muschamp has mentioned.  But the economy hasn’t slowed the ticket-buyers from Louisville.  Also, while fans across the nation are staying home and watching games on television more often, Florida had more trouble selling tickets for so-so games this year than most 11-win, top 10-ranked teams would have.  (If you looked at the stands in the Swamp during some of UF’s 2012 nonconference games you know what we’re talking about.)

The spoiled factor certainly plays a role as Bianchi suggests.  But that happens at a lot of other places, too.

There is one issue, however, that is unique to a handful of big-time football programs of which Florida is one.  That’s weather, climate.  And, yes, we believe Florida’s place on the US map may exacerbate the school’s problem with ticket sales.

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WOW Headlines – 12/26/12

South Carolina RB Shon Carson is back from a wrist injury and will play in the Outback Bowl versus Michigan
Georgia is arriving in Orlando today for next week’s Capital One Bowl versus Nebraska
LSU is arriving in Atlanta today for next week’s Chick-fil-A Bowl versus Clemson
Florida expects to lose money on its Sugar Bowl trip this year
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin on playing in Nashville’s Music City Bowl: “The only bad bowl is the one you’re not playing in.”
Auburn has hired cornerbacks coach Melvin Smith from Mississippi State
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SEC Bowl Game Odds Update 12/16/12 Update

Wondering what the lines are for the SEC’s bowl games this holiday season?  Here’s an updated look and, yes, the Vegas bookmakers know full well that betters will be plunking down big cash on SEC teams based on their reputation.  That’s why every single team from Mike Slive’s league opened as a favorite:

 

Music City Bowl in Nashville – Monday, Dec. 31st

Vanderbilt vs NC State

Opened:  VU -5

Current:  VU -7 (moved up a half-point this week)

 

Chik-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta – Monday, Dec. 31st

LSU vs Clemson

Opened:  LSU -3

Current:  LSU -4 (no change this week)

 

Gator Bowl in Jacksonville – New Year’s Day

Mississippi State vs Northwestern

Opened:  MSU -2

Current:  MSU -2 (no change this week)

 

Outback Bowl in Tampa – New Year’s Day

South Carolina vs Michigan

Opened:  USC -4.5

Current:  USC -5 (no change this week)

 

Capital One Bowl in Orlando – New Year’s Day

Georgia vs Nebraska

Opened:  UGA -8.5

Current:  UGA -10 (no change this week)

 

Sugar Bowl in New Orleans – Wednesday, Jan. 2nd

Florida vs Louisville

Opened:  UF -15

Current:  UF -13.5 (moved down a half-point)

 

Cotton Bowl in Arlington – Friday, Jan. 4th

Texas A&M vs Oklahoma

Opened:  A&M -3

Current:  A&M -4.5 (no change this week)

 

BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham – Saturday, Jan. 5th

Ole Miss vs Pittsburgh

Opened:  UM -2

Current:  UM -3.5 (no change this week)

 

BCS Championship Game – Monday, Jan. 7th

Alabama vs Notre Dame

Opened:  UA -9.5

Current:  UA -10 (moved up a half-point)

 

Nine bowl games – still nine SEC favorites, three of them double-digits. The first SEC bowl games kickoff two weeks from Monday.

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Saturday Wow Headlines 12/15/2012

New Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash reportedly has interest in staying at Wisconsin as head coach
Vanderbilt has sold more than 17,000 tickets for the Music City Bowl
Florida has sold just 6,500 tickets for the Sugar Bowl
Former Tennessee assistant coaches Darin Hinshaw and Blake Rolan joining Tommy Tuberville’s staff at Cincinnati
The SEC will not suspend Alabama DE Quinton Dial for his hit on Georgia QB Aaron Murray in SEC title game
The SEC will not suspend Georgia CB Sheldon Dawson for his eye-gouge of Alabama CB Dee Milliner in the SEC title game
11 of the 26 players on the FWAA All-America team come from the SEC
Friday night SEC basketball
Boise State 89 – LSU 70
Ole Miss 77 – East Tennessee State 55
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SEC Bowl Game Lines

Bowl season kicks off in six days.  Here are the SEC bowl matchups and where the lines currently stand.

Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. North Carolina State.  Commodores opened as a 5.5 point favorite.  Most offshore lines now have Vanderbilt as a 6.5 or 7-point favorite.

Chik-Fil-A Bowl: LSU vs. Clemson.  Louisiana’s Tigers opened as a 3.5 point favorite.  LSU remains a 3.5 or 4-point favorite.

Gator Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Northwestern. Bulldogs opened as 2-point favorite.  That line has held steady – MSU favored by 2 or 2.5.

Capital One Bowl: Georgia vs. Nebraska. Bulldogs opened as a 8.5 point favorite – it’s now up to 10 points.

Outback Bowl: South Carolina vs. Michigan.  Gamecocks opened a 6-point favorite.  That line has moved down a point to 5.

Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Louisville.  Gators opened as 15-point favorite.  It’s now down to 13 or 13.5.

Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma. Aggies opened a 3-point favorite.  That line has moved up to 4.5

Compass Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh. Rebels opened a 2-point favorite. It’s now up to 3.5 points.

BCS National Championship: Alabama vs. Notre Dame.  Crimson Tide opened as a 10.5 favorite.  That line is now 10 points at most offshore books.

That’s nine games – the SEC favored in every single one.

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SEC Bowl Game Lineup

 

 



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