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LSU Lands 5-Star WR Dupre

PLAYER UPDATEFinally. One of the River Ridge, Louisiana four has actually decided to stay at home and play in the SEC.

Receiver Malachi Dupre — ranked as the #1 receiver in the country by ESPN; the #2 receiver by Rivals — elected to stay at home and play for LSU.  After three of his teammates elected to play West Coast football, Dupre drew the loudest cheers of the day from his classmates when he slipped on his purple and gold cap.

Great get for a Tiger offense that will have to be rebuilt this fall.


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Let The Conspiracy Theories Begin: ESPN, SEC Partnership Raising Eyebrows

spiesApparently Tuesday was “Go After the SEC Day” around the nation.  First, Bob Stoops called the league’s reputation a product of “propaganda.”  Then The Sporting News’ Matt Hayes conveyed word that folks are now concerned that the SEC and ESPN will work to put more league teams in the new College Football Playoff:


“Sports Business Daily reports that ESPN will own the SEC channel and share profits evenly with the conference.  The SEC owns the content.  ESPN owns television rights to all of the new College Football Playoff.

See where this is headed?

‘If I were anyone other than the SEC,’ says one industry source, ‘I’d be more than a little uneasy about the whole thing.’

If there weren’t already claims from the West Coast, Midwest and Southwest that the SEC has received preferential treatment from the BCS all these years, imagine what happens the first time the most successful conference in the game gets two (or more) teams in the new College Football Playoff.”


First, Hayes is correct that there will be conspiracy theories.  Thanks to the power of the internet, we no longer have any legitimate champions.  The kind of “the refs were in the bag” or “the TV networks wanted ‘em” talk that used to be heard in barbershops can now be shared with the world via social media and blogs and straight-up media websites.  We no longer crown champs.  Instead, we claim that Spygate or Bountygate or stolen signs in baseball (the World Series-winning Phillies) or spending (“The Yankees and Red Sox just buy their titles”) is the real reason teams win titles.  Hell, SEC fans do this to one another.  If it’s your school that wins, it’s legitimate.  If someone else win, there’s been some hanky-panky.

Second, Hayes is also correct that ESPN’s ownership of everything under the sun does make for some potential conflicts of interest.  Now, it’s doubtful that the new playoff selection committee — whatever that group turns out to be — will be on the phone with ESPN discussing who the network wants in the field.  That playoff will be watched by millions upon millions regardless of who’s playing in it.  But throw logic out the window, the potential for skullduggery will leave many claiming skullduggery.  Such is life in a world where ESPN has its hands in every pie.

Third, Hayes’ comment — “Imagine what happens the first time the most successful conference in the game gets two (or more) teams in the new College Football Playoff” — sums up the feeling we’ve been writing about since the playoff was announced.  Outside the SEC, no one wants the league to get more than one team into the playoff.  While there’s the slight potential that ESPN will try to influence the selection committee, there’s also the potential for selection committee members to succumb to their own biases in order to limit the number of SEC squads in the playoff.  Funny, no one seems to be worried much about that.

Finally, there’s a crack in the argument that the SEC and ESPN are two big bodies in cahoots — ESPN is in cahoots with everyone.  Who owns the rights to all the ACC games and is working on a new network for that conference?  ESPN.  Who partnered with Texas on its network?  ESPN.  Who has TV deals in place with the Big Ten and Pac-12 and Big East as well?  ESPN?

Yes, the SEC Network figures to be the most profitable of all those deals, but to suggest that ESPN will somehow push SEC teams into the new playoff more often is to ignore the fact that the network would have to snub all its other partners to do so.

Oh, you can count on conspiracy theories.  But that doesn’t mean the theories are reality.

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West Coast Prospect Talks About Southern Football Passion

Four-star California D-line prospect Eddie Vanderdoes is looking South when it comes to his collegiate football home.  With scholarship offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss and Tennessee… no wonder.

According to The Sporting News, Vanderdoes — and this is why we’ve got a recruiting story on the home page and not simply on our Recruiting Pageopened up about the differences he’s already seen between West Coast players and southern players:


“It’s almost like a culture change being around the southern guys.  If you compare them to the California and West Coast guys, they just take it a lot more personally.  They’re more physical.  When they’re going against you in drills, it just seems like they have a bigger purpose—that they’re representing everything that backs them up back home.”


Such a comment should come as no surprise to anyone who’s experienced the madness surrounding high school football in the Deep South.  There’s as much interest in some high school rivalries as their is in some college games.

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Vandy Sports Boss Talks Expansion

Vanderbilt vice chancellor of athletics David Williams recently sat down for a lengthy chat on SEC expansion with Jeff Lockridge of The Tennessean.  His comments are quite interesting as he discusses the impact of expansion on VU, the (absurd) idea that Vandy might be ousted from the league, and what the league would look for in a 14th school.  (The gist of his answer: there are too many variables to list and he believes the league might spend “a couple of years” with 13 schools.)

He was also asked if the conference shuffle is strictly about getting into new markets for TV purposes.  His response:

“Anytime somebody is going to expand in this day and age, if they can see an upside in TV revenue or TVs being turned on, that will certainly be a consideration of it.  But there are other reasons.  The Big Ten needed a 12th team.  The Pac-10, I think, was a little concerned that they were sort of isolated on that West Coast, and how do we sort of expand and make some noise?  The Big 12 looks like they’re going to try to just throw some times in to stay in business.  Texas A&M comes to us and says, ‘We’d like to come to your conference.  We don’t want to be in the Big 12 anymore.’  And we may see an opportunity to expand or protect our brand.  The ACC obviously gets some television stuff up in the Northeast, but in the same time (they think) this may help us solidify our conference.

Sometimes, if I’m at 10 (schools in a conference) and someone is looking to take me to eight, maybe my best defense is to go on the offense and to go to 12.”

The full interview can be found here.  Good stuff.

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Pac-12 Kicks Off Media Days With Video Hypefest

“This is more than a beginning.  It is more than an end.  It is the quintessential profile of what a modern conference can be.”

That’s part of the script from a video the Pac-12 conference used as a kickoff to its 2011 Media Days event.  You can see the clip right here:

When all sports are taken into account, the “Conference of Champions” moniker the league bestows upon itself is fitting.  But at the end of a football video? 

I think it’s a safe bet that many media members watching that video thought, “SEC,” quietly to themselves.

Still, there’s no denying that commissioner Larry Scott’s marketing push aids his league’s reputation and clout.  If the folks in the SEC offices in Birmingham are keeping their eyes peeled for up-and-coming threats, they’ve likely trained a few sets of binoculars on the West Coast.

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An SEC team has won the last four BCS championships, the single piece of factual information its…

Content provided by Dawg Sports.

An SEC team has won the last four BCS championships, the single piece of factual information its fans have to hold over the rest of the country in their insistence on the on-field dominance of the South. Oregon’s ever-changing array of flashy uniforms and spread option offense are the living antithesis of the salt-of-the-earth image the SEC cultivates for itself. Rest assured, their confidence in a fifth straight win – the first over a bunch of West Coast pretty boys – will be staggeringly high. The Ducks can either shut them up and usher in more respect for an expanded, rebranded Pac-10, or leave the rest of America to another year of gloating from the other side of the Mason-Dixon.

Dr. Saturday identifies the central issue for all of us in Bulldog Nation: does conference pride trump intra-conference contempt?

For me, it doesn’t. (I hate Auburn.) Which way will you be rooting, and why?

Go ‘Dawgs! . . . and go Ducks!

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Cats to fly to Maui Friday night after game

Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

UK plans to fly from Portland to Maui, Hawaii, Friday night after playing the Pilots in the Rose Garden.


UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said Coach John Calipari wanted to go as soon as possible to lessen the adjustment for the players’ body clocks. There is two hours difference in time between the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii.

So Kentucky will be on Maui two full days (Saturday and Sunday) before beginning play Monday in the EA Sports Maui Invitational.


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Denver Writers Connect Miles To Colorado Job

Yesterday we speculated that Colorado might take an interest in Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, but a pair of Denver columnists think we might have gotten our states mixed up.  Louisiana State’s Les Miles is the man they mention as a possible replacement for Dan Hawkins — who has yet to be fired.

Woody Paige of The Denver Post wrote last week that Miles “could probably be lured to CU.  Miles and LSU have just about had enough of each other, and the coach of the 2007 BCS champions has said to friends that his favorite place to live and coach was Boulder.”  Miles was an assistant at CU under Bill McCartney.

Another Post columnist John Henderson tabbed a number of SEC targets for the Buffaloes.  “I’m told four people are atop the target list: Bill McCartney, Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and LSU coach Les Miles.”

According to The Baton Rouge Advocate, Miles wasn’t biting on the speculation.  “Somebody needs to write articles,” he said.  “Somebody needs to mention names.  I’ve got little reaction.”

Ah, but what would be the reaction of Tiger fans?  Would they be sad to see their highly successful coach leave?  Or would they be thrilled for the Mad Hatter to take his mad ways off to the West Coast?

From talking to people in Louisiana, my money’s on the latter.

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