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Report: Five SEC Players Received Extra Benefits, Violated NCAA Rules

mrsec-breaking-newsAccording to an investigation by Yahoo Sports, four former and one current SEC player violated NCAA rules by receiving extra benefits.  Yahoo says the recipients of those benefits were:

- Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker

- Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray

- Tennessee defensive lineman Maurice Couch

- Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox

- Mississippi State wide receiver Chad Bumphis

Fluker, Bray and Cox are now in the NFL. Bumphis was recently released by Miami.  Couch is a senior at Tennessee.

Yahoo says identities of the player were revealed from financial and text message records belonging to former Alabama defensive end Luther Davis. A source alleges Davis was acting as an intermediary between college players and multiple NFL agents and financial advisors.

Yahoo found financial records, including Western Union wire transfers and flight receipts, linking Davis to the five SEC players. All told, Yahoo says records show agents and financial advisers moved at least $45,550 to Davis between September 2011 and December 2012.

For D.J. Fluker – Yahoo Sports authenticated multiple transactions tying Fluker to Davis and others, including cash transfers, hotel stays, furniture, airline flights and other expenses.

For Tyler Bray and Maurice Couch – Yahoo authenticated six transactions – all were cash transfers.

For Fletcher Cox and Chad Bumphis – Yahoo authenticated airfare purchases.

If proven by the NCAA, the organization could retroactively nullify a portion of each player’s eligibility.

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Report: Tennessee Wide Receiver Justin Hunter Turning Pro

 NFL draft analyst Tony Pauline is reporting that Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter is interviewing agents and will enter the NFL draft. The 6’4″ junior caught 73 passes for 1083 yards this year.  He’s one of three Volunteer players, along with fellow wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson and quarterback Tyler Bray, considered most likely to leave early for the next level.

Hunter has responded on Twitter.


Tennessee Tech wide receiver and former Vol Da’Rick Rogers announced Wednesday that he’s leaving school early for the NFL draft.




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UT’s Bray: “I’m Paid To Win Football Games”

On the long list of verbal screw-ups, stumbles and slips that fans don’t want to hear their school’s athletes make, saying anything that suggests NCAA rules have been violated ranks pretty highly.  Unfortunately for Tennessee fans, Vol quarterback Tyler Bray put his foot in his mouth in that very way yesterday saying:


“I’m paid to win football games.”


That portion of his comment went viral on the internet and even found its way onto the USA Today website.  According to The Knoxville News Sentinel, the comment was taken out of context as Bray was involved in “friendly banter with a reporter” at the time.

When asked to clarify his statement, the junior quickly said: “I mean my education.  That’s what the SEC likes to call ‘getting paid.’”

Do we at believe Bray’s statement really reveals that he’s getting regular paychecks from the folks in Knoxville?  No.

We just believe it further shows that bad press and trouble seem to follow Tennessee’s QB.  Whether it’s hotdogging on a jet ski, tweeting about “bandwagon” Volunteer fans, tossing beer bottles and golf balls at parked cars, or wording a statement so poorly that it takes off on the internet, Bray’s history shows that some kind of kerfuffle is always just one step (or statement) away from finding him.

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Coach Says UT’s Bray Playing With “A Measured Amount Of Discipline”

It was hardly a ringing endorsement of his recent play, but Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has admitted to improvements quarterback Tyler Bray’s game the past two weeks.  In that span, the junior has thrown nine touchdown passes and just one interception.

Chaney’s take:


“I feel like he has played with a measured amount of discipline.  There’s always two or three plays in the last couple of weeks that we would have liked to have back.  But it’s better than six or seven.  I feel like he’s playing with more discipline or calm in the last few weeks.”


Prior to Tennessee’s game against South Carolina two weekends ago, head coach Derek Dooley threatened to pull Bray if he was “loose” with the football.  Since then his signal-caller has responded.

In his first seven games this season, here’s how Bray performed:

244 attempts, 144 completions, 59.0% completions, 1,914 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions


And here’s how he’s done against Carolina and Troy since being called out publicly:

90 attempts, 56 completions, 62.2% completions, 898 yards, nine touchdowns, and just one interception.


Bray and the Vols face Missouri on Saturday.

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SEC Headlines – 10/22/12 (Hurry-Up Edition)

Have to be quick with the headlines today, folks.  Apologies.



1.  At 1-6, Auburn is getting younger and younger in the starting lineup.

2.  Gene Chizik’s ex-assistants — once thought to be part of the problem — are doing alright elsewhere.

3.  Understatement: In the history of Alabama-Tennessee rivalry, last Saturday’s game won’t do down as one of the best.

4.  Arkansas hopes a strong finish can lead to a “good bowl.”

5.  The LSU Tigers have time off to fix what’s been ailing them.

6.  Dan Mullen says his Mississippi State players are right where they wanted to be: undefeated and facing Alabama.

7.  Ole Miss is focused on Arkansas, recruiting right now.

8.  Texas A&M’s loss to Top 10 LSU was “discouraging.” 



9.  Will Muschamp knows the Florida-Georgia rivalry from both sides… and that a win on Saturday would clinch the East Division title.  (And perhaps SEC Coach of the Year honors.)

10.  Will Georgia’s Jarvis and Abry Jones be ready to go against the Gators?

11.  Joker Phillips says if Kentucky freshman quarterback Patrick Towles can practice, he’ll play Saturday against Missouri.

12.  This writer gives South Carolina’s quarterbacks an “F” grade for their Florida performance.

13.  Derek Dooley on Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray turning the ball over: “If he’s loose with the football, he’s coming out of the game.”

14.  Vanderbilt’s defense preserved last Saturday’s win over Auburn with late-game stands.

15.  The attention is shifting to basketball season in the Show-Me-State.

16.  Mizzou football updated depth chart lists QB James Franklin as doubtful.



17.  The SEC has named its Players of the Week.

18.  Alabama and Florida are still 1-2 in the new BCS rankings.

UPDATE — Mike Slive says networks aren’t insisting on nine-game conference schedule — we hadn’t heard that they were being insistent — but he also says the league will “keep an open mind” about such a set-up.

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Ex-UT QB Ainge Tells Radio Show Vols Should “Step On” Bama QB McCarron’s Knee

In the ridiculous comment department, former Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge of WVLZ-AM in Knoxville got the blue ribbon today for suggesting to his audience that the Vol defense should target quarterback AJ McCarron’s banged up knee when #1 Alabama faces off with the Vols tomorrow:


“I say it all the time.  Nasty, attitude, get after it.  Do something crazy.  The first time AJ McCarron drops back, tell one of your boys you’ve got fifteen on this one. He’s got a sore knee, go step on it…

If we try to play straight up with these guys and just run our stuff and they run their stuff, and we’re just going to try to play with them, I don’t think we’re going to beat these guys. We’re going to have to do something out of the norm. Whether it’s from an attitude standpoint, a gameplan standpoint, or bending the rules a little bit. We’re going to have to do something that makes them say ‘Woah, this isn’t how teams play us. Why aren’t these guys scared? Everyone’s supposed to be afraid of us.’”


Whether Ainge was serious, kidding or somewhere in between, he provided Alabama’s team with a bit more motivation before tomorrow’s game.  Any hopes of the Crimson Tide sleepwalking into Neyland Stadium probably went up in smoke with Ainge’s incendiary comments.

Of course, Ainge also suggested that Bama could do the same with Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray who twisted his knee last week at Mississippi State.  McCarron bruised his knee against Missouri on the same day.

It’s likely that Tennessee officials aren’t too thrilled that an ex-Vol made national news over such an out-of-bounds remark.

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5 For Week 5: Trendy And Surprising Fantasy Picks

Which players are surprisingly trendy  in college football fantasy?  Here are 5 Week 5 picks we found.


1. We found one standout quarterback that more than one fantasy guru is talking about – Fresno State’s Derek Carr who’s up against San Diego State.

Kevin Mount of College Football Geeks: “Look for Carr to find plenty of open throwing lanes and toss two or three touchdown passes against the Aztecs.”

Phil Steele: “Carr and the highly productive FSU offense now face a San Diego St pass defense that has allowed 434 pass yds to FCS foe North Dakota and 290 to San Jose St. Bank on Carr delivering a solid showing here!”

Running Backs

Two backs caught the eyes of multiple gurus – Lyle McCombs of Connecticut vs Buffalo and Mark Weisman of Iowa facing Minnesota.

2. Weisman: Athlon Sports says “fellow running back Damon Bullock will most likely miss this week’s game against the Gophers, so expect the bruising sophomore to carry the ball another 20-25 times,” while College Football Geek adds that “he appears to be the last man standing in the Iowa backfield and will likely see a ton of carries for the foreseeable future.”

3. McCombs: “You can almost bank on McCombs to reach the 100 yard plateau here,” notes Phil Steele and College Football Geek concurs: “A game of 100 yards rushing and a score seem like the floor for McCombs this week.”

Wide Receivers

Two consensus picks here – a player and a team. Texas A&M’s Mike Evans (playing Arkansas) is the player.  Oregon State is the team (facing Arizona)

4. Evans: Kevin Mount says “Evans could easily top the 100-yard mark this week and also find the end zone for the first time in 2012,” while Athlon’s Joe DiSalvo adds “we’re expecting the 6-5 freshman to have one of his biggest games of the season against an Arkansas defense giving up over 312 passing yards per game.”

5. Oregon State receivers Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks.  Phil Steele likes Wheaton: “Wheaton is a solid option in both short and long passes as well as a dangerous weapon on the always productive fly sweep.”  College Football Geeks Kevin Mount prefers Cooks: “The Oregon State passing game could really exploit an Arizona defense that comes in ranked 87th in the country against the pass.” Take your pick.

Of course, if both Oregon State receivers have big games- it makes sense for quarterback Sean Mannion to have one as well.

Finally, a few comments of note on SEC players:

Phil Steele likes Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel noting that the Arkansas pass defense has averaged giving up 312 yards a game.

Athlon likes Georgia running back Todd Gurley facing Tennessee’s defense.

Conversely, Will Harris at ESPN is not optimistic about Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray going up against the Bulldogs, saying “he needs to sit this week on the road against a very tough Georgia defense…”


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UT’s Bray Says Vols “Disappeared” Against UF

Two weeks ago, Tennessee was poised to re-enter the world of the college football elites.  Florida was visiting Knoxville.  ESPN’s “College GameDay” program was in town.  Tickets were going for hundreds of dollars.

And then they went and played the game.  Final score: Florida 37, Tennessee 20.  Result: An eighth straight loss to the Gators and a ticked off Volunteer fanbase.

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray caught some of the brunt for the defeat.  Specifically, his body language was judged as being poor in the second half as Florida zipped past him and his fellow Volunteers.  When a team pours on 24 straight points — as the Gators did — fans are looking for signs of quit.

Bray says that wasn’t the case:


“I won’t say we got scared, but we just disappeared.  We weren’t ourselves.

The whole team kind of met up and talked about how we let down and kind of crawled in a shell.”


Tailback Marlin Lane says Bray’s body language against UF was nothing out of the ordinary:  “… That’s just him every day.  We’re around him every day so we know his personality.  He’s a laid-back person.”


But Bray’s talk of disappearing, letting down and crawling into a shell against Florida likely won’t do much to raise the confidence level of UT fans as they prepare for another possible statement game this weekend at Georgia.

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Ha Ha! UT O-Coordinator Chaney Says Bray Did Watch Film

Two days ago, Tyler Bray said that the second half of the Florida game wasn’t representative of the Tennessee football team.  “That wasn’t our team,” the quarterback told the media.  He then said he didn’t even watch the second half of the 37-20 loss on tape.

When a few Vol fans had a rather natural poor reaction to that revelation and a few in the media raised their eyebrows at such a statement — including this site — The Knoxville News Sentinel went to Vol offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to see if Bray was telling the truth.

He wasn’t.  At least not according to Chaney yesterday:


“‘He’s not telling the whole truth,’ Chaney said with a smile.  ‘We watched the game together.’”


Interesting.  So should fans believe Chaney or Bray from now on?  Either Bray fibbed to the press (and therefore fans) just… well, just because.  Or Chaney is bending the truth now because he knows how bad Bray’s initial statement looks and sounds.  Which one should be trusted the next time he provides an answer on something as simple as “Did you watch film today?”

As we stated yesterday, Bray has an NFL-caliber arm but his decision-making — on and off the field — will be highly scrutinized by scouts and general managers before next April’s draft if he comes out early.  You can now add his decision to claim that he didn’t study the second half of a loss to the list.  Some personnel folks are going to ask him if he does actually watch tape of his own bad plays to learn from his mistakes.  And if so, why would he want to tell the world that he does not?

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Tweeting The SEC – 9/13/12

Game Time Call

Who Starts At Arkansas?

Vols Going Pro?

No Rebuilding, Just Reloading

Halftime Score And Running Game Are Florida Clues

Bruce Feldman On Auburn

SEC Legends

Football Economics

Weekend Honors : )

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