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Arkansas Playing For Pride, But That Tact Seldom Works

gfx - by the numbersThe Arkansas Razorbacks are 3-7 overall, 0-6 in the SEC and riding a brutal seven-game losing streak.  That means there’s really only one thing left to play for:


“We’ve got two games to show what kind of pride we have.” – coach Bret Bielema

“It’s about pride.  We’ve got to have pride in what we do… We’ve got to keep building each and every week and be motivated for these last two games… We’re being prideful about our program.  We are Arkansas, and we’re trying to get back to the way we used to be.” — receiver Julian Horton


Sounds good, but how often does “playing for pride” actually work?  We went back through the last five SEC seasons to examine how all the teams that lost at least seven with two games to play.  Here’s how they fared in their final few ballgames:


* 2012 Kentucky (2-10) — 1-3 after seventh loss with long win coming against FCS-level Samford

* 2012 Auburn (3-9) — 0-2 after seventh loss, losing by a combined score of 100-7

* 2011 Ole Miss (2-10) — 0-3 after seventh loss, losing by a combined score of 110-13

* 2010 Vanderbilt (2-10) — 0-3 after seventh loss

* 2009 Vanderbilt (2-10) — 0-3 after seventh loss

* 2008 Tennessee (5-7) — 2-0 after seventh loss, beating Vanderbilt and Kentucky to send Phillip Fulmer out with wins

* 2008 Mississippi State (4-8) — 1-1 after seventh loss, beating Arkansas and then losing to Ole Miss to end Sylvester Croom’s tenure


The lesson: You can have plenty of pride (and heart and guts) and still be a bad football team.  Playing for pride doesn’t often result in success.

(Bonus: For the children of the ’80s out there.)

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10 For The BCS Title Game – Thursday Edition

Here’s Day Two of our BCS title game look-around:

1.  Alabama players are confident that they’re ready for Monday’s showdown.

2.  LSU’s Jordan Jefferson wants to end his career on a high note.

3.  Here’s a preview of Bama’s receivers versus the Tigers’ secondary…

4.  And here’s a preview of LSU’s receivers versus the Tide’s secondary.

5.  The Tigers might be getting tired of hearing claims out of Alabama that the Tide beat themselves in the first game.

6.  Can Monday’s sequel match the intensity and drama of Game of the Century I?

7.  For Alabama, they’re on a business trip this week.

8.  Les Miles says what sets John Chavis apart is “how much heart he puts into” coaching.

9.  Kirk Herbstreit knows the moment when the SEC started to pull away from the Big Ten and everyone else.  (Hint: We said the same yesterday.)  Another must-read piece from Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News.

10.  If someone’s going to knock off the SEC next year, keep an eye on ex-SEC coach Lane Kiffin and Southern Cal.

Bonus — Ex-MSU coach and Alabama player Sylvester Croom says Bama “changed the way we look at football in the South” when it came to integration.

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‘Bout Time: Franklin-Phillips First SEC Matchup Of Black Football Coaches

Saturday will mark a first in the 78-year history of the SEC.  When Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Kentucky’s Joker Phillips meet in Nashville it will be the league’s first ever matchup between black head football coaches.

The SEC had never even had a black football coach until Sylvester Croom was hired by Mississippi State in 2004.

Not to walk too far down a controversial road, but when more than 50% of college football players are black, it seems a wee bit odd that only 17 of the 120 head coaching jobs in the country (14%) are held by black coaches.

For now, most college presidents and athletic directors are white and people in power tend to hire people who are like themselves.  But hopefully things will continue to improve on this front.

Either way, Saturday’s Kentucky-Vanderbilt game will feature another barrier being knocked down.

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SEC Headlines – 4/25/11 Part Two

1.  Ole Miss shuffled its 2012 football schedule on Friday and here’s a look at Rebels’ future non-conference opponents.

2.  Here’s a look at UM’s defensive line after spring drills.

3.  As it turns out, Sylvester Croom didn’t leave the cupboard bare for Dan Mullen in Starkville.

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Mullen Happy With His Team’s Conditioning

Dan Mullen is pleased with the offseason conditioning work his players are doing.  He just wants to make sure they don’t become complacent.

“A lot of guys now are looking and saying, ‘I worked really hard (last year).  We were 9-4 and everyone is patting me on the back and look, I’m working just as hard this year,’” Mullen told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.  “But that doesn’t cut it for us.”

When spring practice kicks off in a couple of weeks, MSU’s coach says he’ll be counting on a lot of young guys — guys who haven’t spent as much time in State’s workout program, by the way — to contribute.

“There are a lot of question marks at linebacker.  Defensive end is a scary position for us.”

But at least things are so far so good on the conditioning front.

“When we first got here, there would be guys finishing (a stadium-steps run) here and others finishing 45 minutes later.  Now, the whole team kind of finishes together.”

Sylvester Croom must love hearing that.

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Groh, Taylor Candidates For Bama Job

You can officially scratch Sylvester Croom’s name from the assistant coaching search going on in Tuscaloosa, leaving two other names now in the hopper.

Croom told The Tuscaloosa News on Friday that he is no longer a candidate for the spot opened up when receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Curt Cignetti left to take a small college head coaching job.  That leaves Louisville quarterbacks coach Mike Groh and former Bama player Lance Taylor as the two top candidates on the board.

Taylor is currently serving as offensive quality control assistant with the New York Jets.  He served as a grad assistant at Alabama in 2008, under Nick Saban.  He played for Tide from 2000 through 2003.

Groh, meanwhile, is the son of former Virginia head coach Al Groh.  Saban and the elder Groh coached together on the Cleveland Browns staff in the early ’90s.

Saban has said he has no timetable for making a hire.

Shame things didn’t work out with Croom.  We would have liked to have seen the ex-SEC head coach back in the league and back at his alma mater.

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No Offer From Bama to Croom Yet

According to The St. Louis Dispatch, Sylvester Croom was back at work as running backs coach for the NFL’s Rams yesterday… with no offer from Alabama in hand.

Croom interviewed this past weekend for the vacant assistant coach’s job on Nick Saban’s staff.  Curt Cignetti left his role as receivers coach and recruiting coordinator two weeks ago to take a head coaching job.

Alabama has interviewed Croom, is interested in Louisville quarterback coach Mike Groh, and was interested in Kentucky receivers coach Tee Martin.  Martin is staying at UK after receiving an extension and a new title — passing game coordinator.

The Dispatch believes Croom still might receive an offer from his alma mater. 

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