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SEC Headlines 5/12/2013

headlines-sun3-150x150SEC Football

1. What if the SEC and the rest of the power conferences only played each other?  ”If the big boys played only the big boys…it would send dominoes falling in every direction.”

2. Former Penn State quarterback Steven Bench will visit Mississippi State on May 20 and 21.

3. Georgia suspended offensive lineman Kolton Houston speaks publicly about steroids. NCAA should make ”a special case for me.”

4. Does new Kentucky coach Mark Stoops deserve a first-year pass?

5. What Stoops and the other new coaches in the SEC have accomplished this spring.

6. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn had to chase down Dameyune Craig twice before hiring him. Now Craig’s recruiting efforts are paying big dividends for the Tigers. (Another recruit committed Sunday morning.)

7. Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson on his linebacking corps: ”My linebacker depth chart in total is very fluid right now.”

8. If an NFL team was made up of only Alabama and LSU players – how good would it be?

SEC Basketball

9. With Jarnell Stokes and Jordan McRae back but Trae Golden gone, what’s the future look like at Tennessee?

10. The future at Kentucky could be altered on Tuesday.  That’s when super prospect Andrew Wiggins could reportedly make his decision.

11. Here’s one area where Kentucky and Louisville could work together for the benefit of both.

Media

12. Jon Solomon: “It’s estimated that more than half of viewers’ monthly cable TV costs are due to sports programming.”

Extras

13. Les Miles’ son throws a no-hitter. Second no-hitter of the season for Manny Miles.

14. Les can watch his son play but former Georgia coach Vince Dooley couldn’t watch son Derek play high school football back in the 1980′s- it was against NCAA rules at the time.

15. Happy Mother’s Day!  Bear Bryant: “Have You Called Your Mama Today?” (H/T Tony Barnhart)

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WOW Headlines – 11/21/12

Virginia Tech AD Jim Weaver says “There may potentially be some interest” from the SEC toward adding the Hokies
Sources tell MrSEC.com that Jon Gruden turned down the Arkansas head coaching job yesterday…
And that Gruden is “intrigued” by Tennessee’s head coaching job and might be dropping his price tag
Florida QB Jeff Driskel will start against Florida State on Saturday
South Carolina QB Connor Shaw remains questionable for Saturday’s game with Clemson due to a foot injury
Ex-Georgia coach Vince Dooley on Derek Dooley’s firing at Tennessee: “I felt for sure it was going to happen.”
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has been named Assistant Coach of the Year by his peers
Mississippi State RB LaDarius Perkins is happy that some Ole Miss fans call him a “Rebel-killer”
Georgia QB Aaron Murray says he’ll think about leaving early for the NFL after the season
Follow the SEC every day at MrSEC.com and twitter.com/mrsec

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“Pick Me! Pick Me!” Ex-Coaches Lining Up To Serve On Potential Selection Committee (But That’s Not The Best Plan)

This week’s announcement by Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany that he’s for a playoff involving “the top four teams” if those teams are chosen by a selection committee has set off an inevitable chain of reports on who should be on such a committee.  People in the media are reaching out to their pals and contacts to see which ex-coaches would like to serve.

Ex-Florida State coach Bobby Bowden says he’d be “willing to serve” on such a panel.  He added, “I think ex-coaches have a lot of wisdom.  I watch the games.  And I watch the game films on my iPad.”  According to ESPN.com’s Joe Schad, Bowden isn’t alone:

 

“Former Texas A&M coach RC Slocum, former Ohio State coach John Cooper, former BYU coach LaVell Edwards and former Georgia coach Vince Dooley are all members of the College Football Hall of Fame and part of the Legends Poll.  And they also would like to be part of the BCS committee.”

 

Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer has reportedly told Nashville blogger/radio host Clay Travis that he’d be interested, too.  (Apparently Travis couldn’t think of a way to get current Vanderbilt coach James Franklin on the committee.)

So is this the best route to go?  Grabbing ex-coaches?  Dooley thinks so.  (And that’d be Vince, not son Derek who might also join him as an ex-coach if this year goes poorly at Tennessee.)

“I think the former coaches are the best choice for the committee because we have the time to study it,” Dooley told ESPN.  “I’m not campaigning to be on any committee but I would definitely want to serve and help the system.”

Good thing he’s not campaigning.

“I respect the computers, but they have limits.  As a retired coach, we have broader perspective,” Dooley said.

Actually every option has limits.  Computers, polls and blue ribbon panels of ex-coaches.  Think a selection committee is the best way to go?  Then why all the complaining about the NCAA basketball and baseball tournament fields when they’re announced each year?

We hear of bias against leagues and coaches and schools.  The seeds are wrong.  The teams are wrong.  Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas complain til their voices leave them every Selection Sunday.

As part of our 10-step plan for fixing college football, we at MrSEC.com put forth the idea of a three-pronged selection process.  Each unit would get 1/3rd say in who makes the playoff field.  All voters and votes and computer formulas would be completely transparent.

Fleshing the idea out a bit further, we believe the best bet for a selection process would look like this:

 

1.  Human Poll — 50 voters strong.  Ten voters would come from national television.  No one watches as much film as the Gary Danielsons, Kirk Herbstreits and Todd Blackledges of the world.  Conflicts of interest be darned, give guys like that a vote.  Another 10 voters would come from the Football Writers Association of America.  The most respected, lauded and awarded members would be offered spots in the voting booth first.  That would leave 30 more voters — writers, talking heads, other media members — to be chosen from the different regions of the country (five from Pac-12 states, five from ACC states, five from SEC states, five from Big Ten states, five from Big 12 states, and five from states outside those leagues’ footprints).  The first poll would not be released until October, so preseason polls would have less impact on a team’s ranking.  “Body of work” would be a key point so the poll would theoretically be weighted in favor of teams playing tougher schedules.  And all votes — every single week — would be made public.

2.  Blue Ribbon Panel — Create a seven-person panel made up of ex-players, ex-coaches and ex-athletic directors.  The SEC, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten and ACC would all have at least one person with a tie to their leagues on the panel.  The other two remaining members would have ties to smaller leagues, smaller schools or independents (like Notre Dame).  When an ex-employer of the panel member is up for discussion, said panel member would exit the room.  This panel of seven would be the “face” of the selection process.  They would announce the teams selected and the seeds awarded on national television and all seven would be mic’d up and ready to take questions about their decisions immediately after the bracket’s big reveal.

3.  Computer Formula — One computer formula should be used.  That formula would be known by all before the start of each season.  Strength of schedule would be an important component.  So would margin of victory.  Sorry, but if the world wants a big boy playoff, then it will need to play by big boy rules.  And if that means some team gets an extra touchdown hung on it late in a blowout… too bad.  If we’re judging teams, margin of victory has to be included in the mix.

 

As noted above, each of these three units would need to be given equal weight.  But if some sort of tie remained in place after 99% of the votes had been tabulated, then the tie would go to the computer formula in order to take human biases out of the mix.  (The likelihood of this ever happening would be quite small, obviously.)

Ex-coaches are certainly a natural starting point for any discussion of a selection committee.  But they should not be the stopping point.  To create as fair and as unbiased a system as possible, multiple means of grading teams must be employed.  Those means must be totally transparent and accountable.

“Pick me!”  No, thanks.  Pick the plan above — or something close to it — instead.

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UT’s Dooley Isn’t Fretting Over Hot Seat Talk

Going into the 2012 season, Tennessee Derek Dooley and Kentucky’s Joker Phillips will be sitting in the warmest seats.  With a bad year, Dan Mullen, Mark Richt, Gene Chizik or Will Muschamp could hear some grumbles, too, but Dooley and Phillips appear to be coaching for their jobs right from the start.

That kind of talk doesn’t phase Dooley.  He saw it first-hand with his father, Vince Dooley at Georgia:

 

“You’re always on the hot seat in this profession… I grew up in it.  I grew up with the ‘Dump Dooley’ signs and the ‘For Sale’ signs in our yard and the house getting rolled after a loss.  It’s something you have to accept.”

 

Interestingly, Dooley also makes a point that we ourselves made last September in defending Mark Richt’s stellar record in Athens — Vince Dooley wouldn’t have lasted 25 years at UGA in the current environment.  ”I think my father would be the first to tell you there are two or three times during his 25 years (at Georgia) that he would have gotten fired under today’s standards… But we get a lot more money.  That’s the drawback.  You can’t have it both ways.”

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SEC Headlines – 10/5/11 Part Three

I was going to expound on some of the following topics, but I’m having to run out the door.  So instead, here’s another wave of headlines for you:


1.  Auburn’s defense showed improvement on Saturday, but Arkansas will be a tougher test.

2.  Nick Saban says emotional teams “have severe ups and downs.”

3.  Houston Nutt says Randall Mackey is Ole Miss’ quarterback for “right now.”

4.  Mississippi State is 0-8 under Dan Mullen when the Dogs fail to rush for at least 150 yards.

5.  Georgia legend Vince Dooley will watch the Georgia-Tennessee game at Derek’s house — away from prying eyes — this weekend.

6.  The elder Dooley, Gene Stallings and Pat Dye all believe Alabama is the best team in the country.

7.  Mark Richt will be going for win #100 on Saturday.   (Link Fixed)

8.  Mark Bradley of The AJC suggests the SEC needs Missouri more for its image than for football.  (Good stuff, check it out.)

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Dooley Firmly Backs Richt At UGA; As He Should

Members of the coaching fraternity most often stick up for another when a job’s on the line.  And in most cases, ex-coaches don’t call for the heads of the guys currently coaching at their old schools.

So it should come as no surprise that legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley took up for Mark Richt in a short Q&A with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today.  But that doesn’t make his argument wrong:


“If you stay in this business long enough, you’re going to go through some down times.  Joe Paterno had about four losing seasons in five years before he went on his run.  Bear Bryant, in 1969 and ’70, had some struggling times.  He got beat by Vanderbilt up in Nashville.  I remember his athletic director saying he was going to look for a new coach.  At the end of the season he said, ‘I looked all over the country and can’t find one better than the one I got right now.’  I’ve been through it myself.  In fact, we’re celebrating the ’71 team reunion this week.  That was an 11-1 team that finished sixth or seventh in the country.  But the two years before that were down years.  We won the SEC championship in ’66 and ’68 prior to that.  So yo have to be able to weather those down years and go forward.  Every coach has to go through it.  And usually you come out a better coach by having gone through it.  So I’m confident Coach Richt is going to address it…

Coach Richt is a proven coach.  He’s the type of guy you want at Georgia, the way he conducts himself, his character and the way he represents the university.  I think he has the support of the greatest majority of people because they believe in him.  I believe in him, too.  So I think he’ll come out of it as other coaches have gone through it and have come out of it.  He’ll be fine.  He’ll be here a long time.”

Like Bear Bryant whom he mentioned, Dooley coached in a very different age.  He coached before million dollar salaries, wall-to-wall media, and Mt. Everest-type expectations.

Starting in 1964, here are Dooley’s records at Georgia in five-year intervals:

1964-1968… 7-3-1, 6-4, 10-1, 7-4, 8-1-2… with two SEC titles
1969-1973… 5-5-1, 5-5, 11-1, 7-4, 7-4-1… with zero SEC titles
1974-1978… 6-6, 9-3, 10-2, 5-6, 9-2-1… with one SEC title
1979-1983… 6-5, 12-0, 10-2, 11-1, 10-1-1… with three SEC titles
1984-1988… 7-4-1, 7-3-2, 8-4, 9-3, 9-3… with zero SEC titles

In the current environment, would Dooley have made it to his 17th season to win a national title with Herschel Walker?  Easy answer.  No.  No way.   He likely would have been fired in 1969 or 1970.  Possibly in 1973 or 1974.  Maybe in 1977 or 1979.

For comparison, his what Richt’s 10-year run looks like:

2001-2005… 8-4, 13-1, 11-3, 10-2, 10-3… with one SEC title
2006-2010… 9-4, 11-2, 10-3, 8-5, 6-7… with one SEC title

With two losses to Top 10 teams to open the current season, a vocal chunk of the Georgia fanbase wants Richt adios’d.

“But, John, you said it yourself, it’s a different day and age.”

True enough, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be an age of insanity.  Mark Richt never had a losing record until last season.  In fact, until last year he’d always had at least three more wins than losses at the close of each season.

So what is the expectation level in this new age?  Perfection?  A 20-year run with 20 consecutive winning seasons and a trip to Atlanta every December?

If Richt finishes with a losing record this fall, we at MrSEC.com would have a hard time keeping him, too.  After all, there’s the reality of selling tickets involved in all of this, too.  But Richt’s decline to date has been just two years long (if you count 8-5 as a “major” decline).  The jury is very much still out on this year’s squad.

Vince Dooley said exactly what we would expect him to say about Mark Richt.  And everything he said is right.  We’re not saying Greg McGarity should hand his coach a lifetime contract.  But we do think — despite the writing that appears to already be on the wall — that Richt should be given at least until the end of the season to be judged.

But why wait past mid-September, right?  It’s a different day and age.

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SEC Headlines 8/7/2011 Part Two

1. 35 walk-ons at Auburn.  Out of 105 players, more than half are freshmen.  16 starting spots up for grabs.

2. Still no timetable for naming an Auburn starting quarterback.

3. Comparing Mark Richt to Vince Dooley.

4. Alabama linebacker Alex Watkins, coming off knee surgery, is back on the practice field.

5. Georgia’s Bruce Figgins is adjusting to the switch from tight end to fullback.

Extra

6. Four high school football players in the South have died in the record-breaking heat wave over the past week.

 

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Writer Way Off Base In Suggesting Coaches Like Richt Can’t Take Time Off

Mark Richt is on the hot seat at Georgia.  Define that however you like, but if Richt has a bad season this year, his goose could well be cooked in Athens.  That fact stated, Will Newton of ChuckOliver.net thinks Richt’s tenure with Georgia could eventually come to a close because the coach wants out… not because UGA fans and officials may come to want him out:


“First off, I want to say that Richt is definitely a first class individual, one of the better men you will find in college football.  He is a very spiritual man that does his best to give back to communities far and wide.  For instance, he and his wife are currently in Honduras doing charity work for impoverished people in the area.  He’s made it know that he would like to spend more time doing mission work and that is a tremendous act of kindness on his part.  But that makes me wonder.  I haven’t heard any news of Nick Saban or Will Muschamp taking any trips out of the country to do mission work.  With the schedule Saban keeps, he may not even allow himself leisure time to venture over to his lovely home on Lake Burton for a short weekend.  Much less take time to do mission work.  Just a quick beer over at The Houndstooth in T-Town after work may be the only time off that he gives himself.  But that’s what it takes to win these days.  And that’s not such a good thing.

Just this very notion to me would be very displeasing to a guy like Mark Richt, who cherishes the time he spends in his off field endeavors doing good things for others.

Now I’m not meaning to sound harsh or short-sighted, but in what is now the cutthroat world of college football, the head coach’s gig is a twenty-four-seven, three-hundred-and-sixty-five-day-a-year job.  IF you want to win.  There is no time to be a good human being anymore, only a good coach.  It’s sad but true.  Richt has his priorities where any man should have them but unfortunately, other guys that he has to compete with don’t share his beliefs on time management.  They eliminate their time to spend being a good person and use it to watch film on LSU.  Their wives and children forget what they look like but that gives them more time to scheme against Marcus Lattimore.  Coaches have to sacrifice so much in order to win and that may be starting to bother Richt, who is very family-oriented and very faithfully driven.  It may bother him enough to start eyeing the door.”


I don’t know Will Newton and I may agree with him on 99% of all other topics, but on this one, I think he’s so far off base Walter Johnson could pick him off.  And Walter Johnson’s been dead since 1946.

First, if fans now expect their coaches to work without vacations, then we’ve become even more unreasonable than I’d already come to believe.  The idea that a man can’t take a couple of weeks away from the office is ridiculous, unfair and quite frankly it’s also insulting to the coach and his family.

Second, coaches across the country do take time off.  Saban does go to Lake Burton.  Coaches travel to visit US soldiers overseas.  They take part in charity golf tournaments and motorcycle rides.  They tape silly videos for ESPN.  And, yes, some of them do take part in mission work.  God bless ‘em.

Third, ideas like this are nothing more than a by-product of wall-to-wall media.  And, yes, this website is part of the problem.  The more you want to know, the more folks like us try to bring you information.  Thirty-five years ago, Georgia fans would have opened up their local sports page, read one story — if that — about Dawg football and then gone on about their day.  No ESPN.  No talk radio.  No websites.  No messageboards.  No one could whine about Vince Dooley leaving his office early because no one was there to photograph him with their cellphone.

The coaching profession may be cutthroat but it’s not a prison sentence.  If Richt decides to hang up his whistle because he grows tired of fans and media saying he shouldn’t take a day off, then good for him.  In fact, if I were him, I’d tell a few of us in the media and in his fanbase just exactly what we could do with that whistle.

But Richt’s a much better man than me.

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SEC Headlines 5/26/2011

1. Steve Spurrier on Stephen Garcia: “It seems like he’s changed his ways.”

2. Bill Bryant: “If (Russell) Wilson comes to Auburn, he immediately becomes the top quarterback in the SEC West heading into the season.”

3. Why Alabama should be preseason Number 1.

4. Harvey Updyke pleads not guilty. Former Auburn player Mike McNeil does the same.

5. The Georgia Athletic Board votes this morning on whether to raise the ticket price for the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party Georgia-Florida football game.

6. Tennessee lineman Kevin Revis is leaving the school.

7. Earnest Ross says he’s leaving Auburn on his own terms.

8. Mark Richt and the motivations for selling a home.

9. The gameday experience for Ole Miss football will be different this year.

10. Maybe an SEC Euro-Division?- LSU basketball team wins again in Italy.

11. A terrific year for Florida athletics.

12. Latest mock projections don’t include Florida’s Chandler Parsons in the first round of the NBA draft.

13. Time to move kickoffs?

14. The Liberty Bowl is moving from ESPN to ABC.

15. Vince Dooley remembers Jim Pyburn.

Extras

16. The NCAA says Hell No to USC. Trojans won’t compete for first Pac-12 championship.

17. “Everyone was doing it.” Ex-Ohio State player admits selling rings for cash.

18. West Virginia’s offensive coordinator gets the boot from a casino. Issues apology.

19. The lying behind sports attendance figures.

20. Did the LAPD arrest the wrong man?

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Muschamp Guarantees A Gator Win Over Georgia

Florida coach Will Muschamp was in Atlanta last night speaking to a Gator booster club.  When asked by a female Florida fan if he could “guarantee Florida will win” over Georgia this year, the Peach State native and former Bulldog player said, “I certainly can.”

According to Jeff Schultz of The AJC who was in attendance, Muschamp then told the crowd that that quote would no doubt appear in press courtesy of Mr. Schultz.

Many Dawg fans will no doubt view Muschamp as a traitor — as Schultz points out — but in reality, Muschamp wasn’t offered the job at his alma mater… he was offered one of the prime gigs in all of sports and that job just happens to put him in the same division with his alma mater.

“I’m loyal to who signs my checks,” the coach has said.  “All of that other stuff, I don’t get into.  In our profession you’re loyal to the people you work for.  I’ll do the best job I can for the Gator nation.”

Nothing wrong with that.  After all, you might remember that legendary Dawg coach Vince Dooley was himself an Auburn man before arriving in Athens.

You’re only a traitor when you leave my team for some other team.  If you turn your back on some other bunch in order to join in with my guys?  Well, that’s A-OK.

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