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SEC Headlines 5/2/2013

headlines-thuSEC Football

1. Will Muschamp assesses Florida football: “We’re an ascending program.” Muschamp a more popular man this offseason vs. last.

2. A review of the lines for season openers in  the Nick Saban era at Alabama.  Crimson Tide open as a 22-point favorite against Virginia Tech – haven’t been underdog since 2009 SEC Championship Game.

3. Saban asks North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams for advice on how to defend up-tempo offenses.

4. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn talks depth chart – quarterbacks Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace even. “Dead heat” battle gets a new entrant this month with arrival of  JUCO transfer Nick Marshall.

5. Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal is back in good standing with the team.  Malzahn: ”We took care of all the off-the-field issues that we had, so he is going to be in the mix.”

6. Texas A&M announces expansion plans for Kyle Field - but what happens when the newness wears off? “You have to go back only a couple of years when — other than the Texas game — sellouts were few and far between.”

7. LSU running back Jeremy Hill, not formally charged yet for his role in a bar fight, won’t face a judge this week regarding probation for a prior case.

8. Tennessee offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James on learning to be a leader: ”Leadership is hard, because it’s making decisions first of all upon yourself and living the right way…”

9. Who would you take – Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron or Aaron Murray?  When it comes to the NFL draft, here’s one vote for Murray.

SEC Basketball

10. Guard Brian Greene, Jr. is leaving Auburn.  Rutgers point guard Jerome Seagears will transfer to Auburn.

11. Klem Ogbueze  on the decision by his brother, Braxton Ogbueze, to transfer out of Florida. “He should have been playing. There were some teammates, some people on the coaching staff that felt he should have been playing more.”

12. Kentucky unveils its non-conference schedule – five opponents that ended the year with a top 50 RPI.

13. Andy Katz asks – can we do away with two NBA draft deadlines?

SEC/College News

14. A record $71 million surplus for the NCAA in 2012.

15. “The entire concept of college sports amateurism belongs in history’s dustbin.”

16. NCAA officials meeting today to discuss revising a handful of recruiting deregulations.

17. The financial gap between Alabama and Auburn – “Alabama generated $18.9 million more in revenue than Auburn last year, marking the fifth straight year Alabama’s advantage exceeded at least $13 million.”

18. Update on status of two lawsuits filed against the University of Tennessee by current/former athletic department employees.

SEC/NFL Draft

19. Father of former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray on the NFL draft. “I know I’m his parent, but I don’t see how 11 quarterbacks get picked, and the best quarterback physically is not picked.”

20. Former LSU cornerback Tharold Simon, drafted by Seattle, addresses his arrest last week. “I had 30 witnesses right there that know I didn’t do anything wrong.”

21. More undrafted Ole Miss players sign free-agent contracts.

22. Missouri fans, did you know you had a fullback last season?  Jared McGriff-Culver gets a shot with the Oakland Raiders.

Extra

23. Is Knoxville, Tennessee the most perfectly average place in America?

 

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Big XII Commish Says His League Is Prepared If Other Leagues Start Adding Teams

bob-bowlsby-2The first day of meetings for the Big XII’s athletic directors came and went with little said about league expansion.  In fact, the only official comments on the topic came from commissioner Bob Bowlsby himself:

 

“I think we did gravitate around some principle that will guide us going forward and I think we created some filters that we all agreed on.  I think there was a fair amount of unanimity in the room.”

 

The Big XII commish also said that everything discussed regarding expansion could be classified as “what-ifs.”

Meanwhile, CBSSports.com reports that behind closed doors, the Big XII’s ADs discussed who might go where if the Big Ten and SEC decide to expand again… and who would be left for the Big XII in such a scenario.  Their views should not surprise.  According to Jeremy Fowler, the ADs believe the Big Ten would likely chase schools already in the Association of American Universities (Virginia, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech and Duke).  They believe the SEC would go after a school or two from what would be new states to the SEC: Virginia and North Carolina (Virginia, Virginia Tech, UNC, Duke, NC State and Wake Forest).  The biggest programs left behind (according to what Fowler heard coming out of the meeting): Florida State, Clemson and Louisville.

Bowlsby has made it clear — as has powerful Texas AD DeLoss Dodds — that the 10 Big XII schools make a whole lotta cash as a 10-member league.  Adding more teams had better equal more cash.  From the comment above, we’ll assume that the league’s ADs agreed on a pair of things.

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With Expansion Talk Heating Up, Here Are Four “Best-Case” Scenarios For The SEC

best-caseGet ready.  They’re coming.  From one side of the continent to the other.

With the Big XII conference holding a get-together of its athletic directors today and tomorrow, conference expansion/realignment rumors will be back on the menu and they’ll be served up fast and furious all week long.

Big XII commissioner Bob Bowlsby said last week that he was “not convinced based on my conversations with (two other conference commissioners) that the move to 16 is in any way imminent.”  Yet he has admitted that the pluses and minuses of expansion will be a main topic at this week’s meeting:

 

“It is very much an academic and philosophical discussion.  We have no plans in the immediate future for any change in composition, but we think it’s wise and prudent to consider all the positive aspects of our current formation as well as whatever negative effects there may be.  It also is a good time to talk about the positives of adding a new member or two members of six members.

We don’t have any plans to expand, but on the other hand, we don’t want to be caught off guard either.  I think there’s a proactive approach we can undertake and also a reactive and responsive approach.  We’re going to flesh out both of those.”

 

Days earlier, even Texas AD DeLoss Dodds — an anti-expansion hardliner — admitted “there may be some talk of 12″ inside the 10-school Big XII.

Twelve, schmelve seems to be the message of Ohio State president Gordon Gee.  He piped up late last week to say that the Big Ten is still talking expansion and that he “believes there is movement towards three or four super-conferences that are made up of 16 to 20 teams.”

We’ve written for a while that we believe the push for a new super-division of the biggest, richest football schools in the country will come to a head soon.  Very soon.  As in the next three or four years soon.  We suspect four or five conferences will survive in the Big Boy Zone and we’ve not been shy about stating that there’s no reason for anyone to believe that we’ll be left with four nice, neat 16-team power conferences.  Expansion/realignment is 95% about television revenue and that means content to sell.  Some league(s) will realize that having more schools means having more games to sell which in turn will mean more cash.  Gee’s “16 to 20″ comment didn’t catch us off guard (and if you read this, this, this, and this it didn’t catch you off guard either).

So what’s all this hubbub mean for the SEC?  Here are some best-case scenarios:

 

1.  Everyone takes a deep breath, taps the brakes on the Expansion Express, and waits to see how things play out in the new playoff world.

Uh, yeah, that ain’t happening.  It should happen because no one knows how all these rushed decisions will play out long-term, but there’s money on the floor and several league commissioners will be diving on the ground to grab every last nickle of it.

Unfortunate.

Unwise.

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WOW Headlines – 1/15/13

Tuesday Night SEC Basketball
Kentucky 75, Tennessee 65
Ole Miss 89, Vanderbilt 79 (OT)
Tennessee’s 31-person staff of football new coaches and support personnel will make $7.51 million next year
Former Tennessee safeties coach Josh Conklin will be the new defensive coordinator at Florida International
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen says new defensive coordinator Geoff Collins will be more aggressive with blitzes
Former Auburn offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler will reportedly take over the same job at Virginia Tech
Tennessee RB Quenshaun Watson is not expected to return, leaving the Vols with 66 scholarship players
Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith is eager for the NCAA to finish their investigation into his old Miami program
Follow the SEC all year long on MrSEC.com

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Virginia Tech AD Weaver Talks SEC; Twitter Melts

Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver has until yesterday consistently been a bucket of cold water for those who like to speculate about the Hokies partnering with the SEC.  He’s said that his school has always fought for ACC membership and would have no reason to leave.  He’s called reports of rumored VPI interest in the SEC “total poppycock” and “total hogwash.”  He’s stated that Tech likes it’s position “right smack in the middle of the footprint” of the ACC.  Last August he said staying in the ACC is “the right thing and the best thing for our university” and that he believed Tech would “politely decline” and SEC invite if one were to be extended.

Having previously said all that, it’s no wonder these comments from Weaver on WWBU-FM in Virginia last night went viral on Twitter:

 

“I really haven’t thought about (whether the SEC would contact Tech) because the discussion (thanks to Maryland’s move) has just come about three or four days ago.  I’d like to defer my comment for right now, but there may potentially be some interest.”

 

Insert the sound of a record scratching… here.

When Twitter done blowed up real good, Weaver clarified his initial statement (which suggested the SEC might “potentially” have some interest in Tech, not the other way around, by the way):

 

“We’re not in discussions with anyone.  We’ve always wanted to be in the Atlantic Coast Conference.  We’re there and we’re pleased to be there. 

There’s nothing happening in regard to Virginia Tech going anywhere.  I don’t know how to say it any clearer than that…

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More Expansion? The SEC Should Just Leap To 20 Teams And Be Done With It

A few weeks back, Missouri AD Mike Alden said the he believed there would be more conference shuffling before the new college football playoff launched in 2014.  It sure looks now like he knew what was coming.

Over the weekend, news broke that the Big Ten was thisclose to expanding its boundaries with the addition of Rutgers and Maryland.  Big football names?  No.  But big television markets for Jim Delany’s Big Ten network?  You bet.  Not to mention this fact: the Big Ten will now have two more teams vying for spots in the six mega-bowls coming in 2014 to a sunny spot near you.

Cash, cash, cash.

Now, in theory, it’s possible that the Big Ten — Maryland moved today with Rutgers coming soon — will simply catch up with the 14-team SEC and the 14-team ACC in terms of overall roster size.  (It’s believed Connecticut, despite Boston College’s protests, will fill Maryland’s void in the ACC.)  But it’s hard to picture this stuff slowing down.  At this point, conference commissioners are simply diving on the floor for every loose coin they spot.  Presidents are in a panicked state and leagues and teams are moving too fast to stop and think about what they’re doing.

Oh, they’ll all wind up lining their wallets for a while, but whether or not that’s good for sports or individual conferences or schools remains to be seen.  The age of the super-conference appears to be at hand.  We, at MrSEC.com, could live with 14-team leagues, but 16 schools is just too unwieldy.  Not that that will matter to the conferences or their presidents.

SEC sources have repeatedly spoken to us of how difficult the “digestion” of two new teams has been.  Money has been gained, but much tradition has been lost.  Move to 16 schools and things get even messier in terms of what’s given away.  But with so much given away already why not just really go all in with expansion?  Just go crazy, Mike Slive.  Go crazy.

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Derrick Green Schedules Two Visits

Running back Derrick Green from Hermitage High School in Richmond, Va., has scheduled two official visits in the month of November.

Green told 247Sports he will visit Auburn on Nov. 9 and Oregon on Nov. 17. Green, who visited Tennessee on Sept. 15, is scheduled to visit Michigan on Oct. 19.

Ole Miss and Virginia Tech are also in the mix for Green, who told 247Sports he doesn’t have a leader. Green is the nation’s No. 4 ranked running back by 247Sports.

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Florida, LSU lead for Gilmore

Florida appears to have caught up with LSU in the race to land defensive end Greg Gilmore from South View High School in Hope Mills, N.C.

The Gators made that move following Gilmore’s official visit to Gainesville last weekend.

“I’m pretty neutral about it right now,” he told InsidetheGators.com. “My plan is to commit after my official visit to LSU on November 3rd.”

Gilmore said he’s also considering taking visits to Oklahoma and Virginia Tech but hasn’t scheduled trips to either school. He’s ranked the nation’s No. 11 strongside defensive end by Rivals.com.

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Notre Dame To The ACC, Exit Fees Rising, “VT/NCSU To The SEC” Rumors As Dead As We Always Said

Boom.

For all those who claimed Clemson and Florida State would definitely fly the ACC coop and join the Big XII along with Notre Dame, well, uh, the college landscape is about to shift in the opposite direction.  In a big, big way.

Notre Dame will depart the Big East and head to the 14- (and soon to be 15-) school Atlantic Coast Conference.  The Irish had played in the Big East in all sports but football.  They had agreed to face three Big East members per year on the gridiron.  In the ACC, Notre Dame will also be a full member in all sports except for football.  But the Irish will play five ACC teams per season.

“We have monitored the changing conference landscape for many months and have concluded that moving to the ACC is the best course of action for us,” said Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick.

What’s it mean?

 

* The Big East just lost a little more lustre.

* The ACC just landed one of the biggest brands in sports.  Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami and the other “football-first” schools in that league will love the opportunity to occasionally clash with the Irish at home and in South Bend.

* The ACC will also increase its exit fee for any school wanting out to a whopping $50 million.  Again, for those who came here and blasted this site during the offseason because we dared to call all those “FSU/Clemson to the Big XII is a done deal” stories poppycock… we expect you to come back to our comment boxes and apologize as so many of you promised at the time to do.  (Actually, no, we don’t think a single one of the folks who attacked this site will man-up and admit that they were totally wrong.)

* To add another pair of annual games to its schedule, Notre Dame will have to say bye-bye to some old foes.  Purdue?  Navy?  Southern Cal?  Michigan or Michigan State?  Something’s gotta give.

* The Big XII will remain a 10-team league for the foreseeable future.  For all the bluster of Texas AD DeLoss Dodds, he’ll never see Notre Dame join his school’s league.  (Sorta like he can’t even see his own Longhorn Network on television.)

* You can also put to bed all those “Virginia Tech and NC State to the SEC” rumors that so many sites have floated out in order to grab pageviews.  Ain’t happening.  And, yes, we also called malarkey on those when they first started to percolate.

 

The college landscape is changing again.  Just not in the way that many people expected.

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Green: ‘I’m Taking All Five’ Official Visits

Running back Derrick Green from Hermitage High School in Richmond, Va., doesn’t appear close to making a final decision.

Green told ESPN RecruitingNation he plans to take all five official visits before he chooses a school. Auburn, Tennessee and Michigan have secured visits, he told ESPN.

“I know I’m definitely taking all my officials,” Green said. “I’m taking all five.”

Other schools in the running to receive visits from Green include Georgia, Ole Miss, Oregon and Virginia Tech.

Green recently made a return trip to Auburn, which already has a commitment from Cordova, Tenn., running back Jordan Wilkins. Green told ESPN the Tigers’ coaching staff continues to impress him.

“I got the same feeling the first time I went,” said Green, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 6 running back by ESPNU. “I felt comfortable around the coaching staff and the players.”

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