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Auburn Snares OG Smith

PLAYER UPDATEAuburn has landed big-time offensive lineman Braden Smith from the state of Kansas.  He was the #1 high school player in his home state and the 4-star guard ranks #3 at his position nationally, according to

Texas A&M and TCU were also hot on Smith’s trail, but Gus Malzahn and the Tigers bagged him.

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SEC Hoops Roundup 12/6/2013

gfx-hoops-round-up1. Missouri 80 – West Virginia 71. Tigers move to 8-0 behind 59 points from the trio of Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross. Video Highlights

2. TCU 71 – Mississippi State 61. Bulldogs cut an 18-point second-half deficit down to three at one point in second half but can’t get any closer.  Fall to 5-2 on the season.

3. Vanderbilt 69 – Marshall 67. Vanderbilt wins the game but loses junior center Josh Henderson to likely ACL/MCL knee injury. Could miss rest of the season and leave Vandy with eight scholarship players. Video Highlights

4. Kansas State 61 – Ole Miss 58 Ole Miss drops its first game of the year in a see-saw battle where neither team led at any point by more than five points.

Weekend Schedule

Friday Night

South Carolina at Oklahoma State

Kentucky vs Baylor (Dallas Cowboys Stadium)


Tennessee Tech at Tennessee

UCLA at Missouri

Clemson at Arkansas

Alabama at USF


Illinois at Auburn

Oregon at Ole Miss

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LSU’s Miles On Georgia’s Sanford Stadium: “We Certainly Recognize The Venue”

les-miles-open-mouthThe closest thing the sports world has to an in-his-prime, ex-Yankee catcher/philosopher Yogi Berra is LSU football coach Les Miles.  When Miles opens his mouth, it’s guaranteed a $50 word or a bizarrely-worded phrase will tumble out.  Yesterday, asked about his Tigers’ upcoming clash at Georgia, Miles didn’t disappoint:


“You choose to come to LSU to look forward to playing in a game ‘between the hedges,’ nationally ranked.  Our guys are looking forward to it, know it’s going to be a great environment.  It’s going to be a lot of fun.  We’ve been there before.  We certainly recognize the venue.  We’ll look forward to competing against the best.”


Finding the stadium, recognizing it, and entering the building would seem to be an important first step toward winning on Saturday.  Luckily, it sounds like there’s little chance that Miles and crew will simply bus by Sanford Stadium without recognizing it.

LSU’s coach added that his team will be ready for a road game thanks to a season-opening win in Arlington, Texas against TCU.  “The regimen will be comfortable,” he said.

You know, it’s quite possible that no one in human history has ever strung those five words together in that manner.  Miles is a true master.

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SEC Weekend Wrap – 9/2/13

weekend-wrapFirst, a great big Happy Labor Day to all of you!  Hope you have a fun one and a safe one.

Second, we’ll be providing a quickie/bullet-pointed wrap of SEC game action each Monday during the season.  The first edition of our Weekend Wrap starts… now.


1.  South Carolina 27, North Carolina 10 (Thursday)

Is there anyone who hasn’t taken a shot at Jadeveon Clowney and his conditioning yet?  The bar was set too high for a player who can change a game with one or two plays.  There was no chance of him winning the Heisman Trophy because there’s not a defensive end in the country to doesn’t lose more battles than he wins.  So keeping a camera on Clowney for every play was bound to show that, yes, he can be blocked.  But even with Clowney out of shape for the UNC game, the Gamecocks still held what was a very good offense last year to 10 stinking points.  That’s USC’s D with Clowney in bad shape?  What happens when he plays himself into shape?  His coaches have spoken of his tendency to take plays off, but this writer puts him in the Nick Fairley category.  Auburn’s old defensive tackle would go series without making an impact.  Then at crunch time he’d make a game-changing play.  Clowney’s the same kind of player.  Criticize him for not being in shape, but don’t suggest he’s not as good as the hype.  Here’s guessing Georgia’s will be double-teaming his out-of-shape rump on Saturday.


2.  Ole Miss 39, Vanderbilt 35 (Thursday)

Let’s get this out of the way: There was nary a defense to be seen in Nashville last Thursday.  But those offenses looked pretty good.  If Bo Wallace can take care of the football this year, Ole Miss can be a fly in someone’s West Division ointment.  And while he might have lost the game, Vanderbilt seems to have found an honest-to-goodness QB in Austyn Carta-Samuels.  It was one game, but the VU passing attack (even without Chris Boyd) seems to have gotten an upgrade.


3.  Florida 24, Toledo 6

Jeff Driskel was efficient.  The defense was stifling.  The running game cranked out more than 250 yards on the ground.  Different season, same script for the Gators.  After years of watching Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer offenses, however, one wonders if Florida fans will be happy with winning “ugly.”  The empty seats at The Swamp were blamed on the heat and the opponent this weekend, but let’s see what attendance looks like in October and November.  Here’s hoping UF fans aren’t so spoiled that they can’t appreciate a punch-you-in-the-mouth style victory.


4.  Texas A&M 52, Rice 31

Backup quarterback Matt Joeckel put up some good numbers against Rice (14-of-19 for 190 with a touchdown and no picks), but it’s clear that A&M is one team with Johnny Football and another without him.  First half score without Johnny Manziel: Aggies 28, Owls 21.  Second half score with Manziel: Aggies 24, Owls 10.  Texas A&M fans need to pray their hotshot signal-caller stays healthy (and eligible).


5.  Oklahoma State 21, Mississippi State 3

If you’re keeping track, MSU has now lost six of its last seven contests and Dan Mullen’s record against ranked opponents is 2-17.  Bulldog fans barked a year ago when we suggested State had plateaued under Mullen.  Judging by the messageboards, a few marooners are starting to see things the same way.  Sure the season’s young and State lost to a good OSU team.  But it’s Mike Gundy’s offense that’s good, not (usually) his defense.  The Cowboys allowed 420+ yards per game last season and ranked 82nd in the nation in total defense (64th in scoring defense at 28 points allowed per game).  Mullen’s squad managed a field goal.  It’s Year Five and State has a senior/veteran QB.  If Mullen hasn’t built MSU’s offense yet…


6.  Arkansas 34, UL-Lafayette 14

This one probably isn’t getting the attention it deserves.  Bret Bielema’s debut win came against a bowl team from a year ago.  Both Bielema and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney had reason to smile.  Bielema saw two running backs (Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins) break the 100-yard barrier.  And the pass happy Chaney saw new quarterback Brandon Allen complete 15 of 22 passes for 230 yards, three scores and no interceptions.  It wasn’t a win over LSU, but this was a very solid — and a tad surprising — curtain-raiser for the Hogs.


7.  Alabama 35, Virginia Tech 10

Christion Jones 18, Virginia Tech 0.  While Alabama’s offense struggled — just 110 passing yards and just 96 rushing yards — the junior receiver/returner saved the day.  He returned a punt for a score (72 yards), a kickoff for another (94 yards), and he caught AJ McCarron’s lone TD pass of the evening (from 38 yards out).  Kudos to Jones, but Bama’s offense — especially that rebuilt offensive line — needs some work if the Tide are to win their third BCS title in a row and back-to-back SEC crowns.

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LSU’s Hill Is “Moving Forward,” But Miles Is Catching Heat

fast_forwardBack on LSU’s football squad, once-suspended running back Jeremy Hill is ready to move forward.  We’re talking really ready to move forward.  As in he said he’s “moving forward” six different times during a media session in Baton Rouge yesterday.

Hill’s story is known by all at this point.  While on probation for “unlawful carnal knowledge” with a 14-year-old girl during his high school days, Hill sucker-punched a man outside a Baton Rouge bar this spring.  The punch — and Hill’s post-punch celebration — were caught on cell phone video.

But Hill went before the right judge.  He was given several tsk-tsks, but avoided jail time.  That was just the opening Les Miles had been waiting for and Hill was reinstated to the Tiger team.  It has since been learned that the LSU squad was asked to vote on Hill’s return — they were unanimous in their decision to bring him back, of course — and that’s earned Miles some tsk-tsks of his own from the media as well as from TCU coach Gary Patterson, who’ll open the season with LSU.

Yesterday, Hill was peppered with questions by reporters:


*  Did he have a bad feeling after he threw the sucker-punch (and celebrated)?  “Once I left the scene, I did.  But it is what it is, and I’m moving forward.”

*  Was it tough to apologize to his teammates?  “I wouldn’t say it was tough.  It was heartfelt.  I really put those guys through a lot… But like I said, I apologized for it, and I’m just moving forward.”

*  Does he appreciate getting another chance at LSU?  “Not too many guys get offered to play for this program.  To put this uniform on is definitely a privilege.  So I’m moving forward.  I’m not taking anything for granted.”


Whether Hill is allowed to play against TCU or not could depend on public opinion, though Miles — as only he could phrase it — suggests that won’t be the case:


“The idea that you have a discipline that is reflective of in-house.  It’s team in nature, and it doesn’t reflect outside opinion.  Outside opinion can be self-serving, depending on the location that you live in.  It’s really egregious or it’s not that bad at all.  Punishment will be dealt in an appropriate fashion.”


Some might say Miles’ inside opinion that led him to immediately reinstate a twice-arrested player is self-serving.

But the fact of the matter remains, it was the LSU administration that forced quarterback Jordan Jefferson onto the suspended list while he was being investigated by police in 2011.  It was the LSU administration that put foot to rump in the case of Tyrann Mathieu after a number of failed drug tests.

So if public opinion goes against LSU on this issue — and that’s how it appears to be shaping up — the LSU administration might just instruct Miles to park Hill on the bench rather than allow the school’s name to be dragged through the mud during the week-long media build up to the contest with TCU.


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TCU’s Patterson Calls Out LSU’s Miles For Allowing Hill To Play

gfx - they said itIn less than a month, TCU and LSU will open their 2013 football campaigns against one another at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  The Horned Frogs will be without All-Big defensive end Devonte Fields who’s been suspended by head coach Gary Patterson for a violation of team rules.  The Tigers, on the other hand, might have running back Jeremy Hill on the field despite the fact that he was recently in court for his second arrest.

While a game suspension is possible, Les Miles has already allowed his team to take a vote on Hill’s return.  Naturally, they unanimously approved giving him a third chance.

Patterson doesn’t seem to impressed by Miles’ brand of leadership:


“My whole team would vote Devonte to be back on the team because they all want to win.  That doesn’t teach life lessons…

I’m sure if it was some kind of opponent they’d beat by 100 points, they wouldn’t have a vote.”


Again, a game suspension is still possible for Hill.  But Miles suggestion that his punishment will be handled internally suggests that he’ll play versus TCU.  It would be rather external if everyone saw him on the bench in Arlington later this month.

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Miles Says “Bring It On” Regarding Schedule: “I Like Us In Every Game”

LSU MEDIA DAYSIt didn’t take Les Miles long to point out that his team has to play the usual SEC West schedule as well as TCU and Georgia and Florida from the SEC East.  Miles and LSU AD Joe Alleva have made it clear that they don’t want to play Florida every year and that they don’t believe it’s fair.  Still, Miles said the following today:


“We’re looking forward to the challenge to be honest.  It’s our culture: Bring it on.  It’s what we do.  And we look forward to lining up against the best in the East and the best in the West.  And again, I like us.  I like us in every game.”


Sounds good, but Miles and LSU can’t have it both ways.  You can’t say, “We don’t care who’s on the schedule” one minute and then follow up with “We shouldn’t have to play Florida” the next.

That the same as telling a dinner party hostess, “This lasagna is wonderful.  I wouldn’t have used so much tomato sauce, but it’s wonderful.”  It doesn’t fly.


UPDATE – Proving our point, Miles pointed out how unfair the schedule is for LSU later in his session.  “There’s a repeated scheduling advantage and disadvantage for teams in this conference based on tradition and traditional rivals.”  Then he did his standard flip-flop: “In the meantime, I can’t hardly wait to play them.  We think at LSU that maybe we’re the only team that can have that schedule year after year and play as well as we do.”

Again, either it’s unfair or you don’t care who you play.  You cannot repeatedly say both things.  Complaining about the games on your schedule clearly shows that you do care.

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Hogs Line-Up Home-And-Home Series With TCU

TCU-horned-frogLast month, new Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said that he and the Razorback program were in negotiations with old Southwest Conference rival Texas Tech for a home-and-home series.  While those games are still a possibility, the Hogs have gone ahead and locked in two contests with another old SWC foe.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported yesterday that TCU and Arkansas have agreed to a home-and-home series that will send the Razorbacks to Fort Worth in 2016.  The Horned Frogs will then visit Fayetteville in 2017.  Barring a bowl matchup in the coming seasons, the 2016 game will mark the first meeting between the squads since Arkansas left the Southwest Conference in 1991.

With Texas A&M is now in the same division with Arkansas.  TCU is already on the books for a pair of non-conference games.  And the Razorbacks are still working to lock in two games with Texas Tech.  It’s apparent that Bielema and staff have quickly come to understand just how important the state of Texas will be in their recruiting efforts moving forward.

As for the rest of us, who doesn’t like a matchup between the Hogs and Frogs?

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Pollack: ESPN’s “GameDay” To UGA, Clemson Game

gfx - they said itFormer Georgia Bulldog and current ESPN analyst David Pollack revealed yesterday that his network’s “College GameDay” crew will be heading to South Carolina for the season-opening tilt between old rivals Georgia and Clemson.  At least that’s what he thinks is going to happen:


“We’ll be there, yeah.  I think with Clemson and their fanbase and how great they are, and GameDay hasn’t been there in a long time… I don’t know if it’s released yet, but I’m pretty sure.  I don’t see anywhere else.  I don’t think TCU and LSU would be the spot.  If you can go to Death Valley with those fans, they’ve got some awesome fans.  It’s an SEC-type atmosphere.”


The August 31st game between the Bulldogs and Tigers has already been slotted into ABC’s primetime broadcast, meaning that Kirk Herbstreit would have a much easier day of travel.

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ESPN Announces Times For Early-Season SEC Games

tv-remotesESPN and ABC will once again be home to college football’s best games during opening week.  No surprise, most of those games involve SEC teams.

The network announced the kickoff times for five season-openers featuring SEC teams this morning:


North Carolina at South Carolina — 6pm ET, Thursday, August 29th on ESPN

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt — 9:15pm ET, Thursday, August 29th on ESPN

Virginia Tech vs Alabama (in Atlanta) — 5:30pm ET, Saturday, August 31st on ESPN

Georgia at Clemson — 8:00pm ET, Saturday, August 31st on ABC

TCU vs LSU (in Arlington) — 9:00pm ET, Saturday, August 31st on ESPN


The network also announced that Kentucky’s game at Mississippi State on Thursday, October 24th will air on ESPN at 7:30pm ET.


CORRECTION – We initially listed the Clemson/Georgia game as being on ESPN… which would be rather tough since TCU/LSU is actually on ESPN.  A rushed error.  Our apologies.

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