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SEC Headlines – 3/13/12 Part Two

1.  Florida’s Billy Donovan expected a #5 or #6 seed in the NCAA tourney.  Now he says it’s time to get over being a #7 seed and play ball.

2.  Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo isn’t the only person in Georgia upset over receiver Malcolm Mitchell’s move to cornerback.

3.  Expect to see more starters on the Dawgs’ special teams units.

4.  No surprise: Kentucky’s Anthony Davis has picked up a National Freshman of the Year honor.

5.  Depending on a play-in game, UK could face cross-state rival Western Kentucky or former-Wildcat-turned-coach Sean Woods of Mississippi Valley State in its first game.

6.  Oddsmakers in Vegas are listing Kentucky as the tourney favorite.

7.  There are plenty of questions as South Carolina wades into spring practice.

8.  Tennessee’s players are hoping they’ll have a home crowd cheering them on against Savannah State tonight.

9.  This writer says the NIT will offer several Vols a shot at redemption.

10.  Vanderbilt will head into the NCAA Tournament with confidence.

11.  Jeffery Taylor has had success in Albuquerque, where his Commodores will play Harvard.

12.  Week One of spring practice is in the books at Missouri.

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LSU Not Happy With Oddsmaker Sheridan Or Talk About Player Grades

When quarterback Jarrett Lee lost his starting job to Jordan Jefferson on November 12th against Western Kentucky, rumors of academic issues popped up on The Bayou.  Les Miles said academics had nothing to do with Jefferson passing Lee on the depth chart.

In the weeks since then, more rumors have begun to circulate regarding multiple LSU players and their academic eligibility for the BCS Championship Game, should the Tigers make that game as expected.

Yesterday, both Miles and LSU AD Joe Alleva addressed the rumors.  Here’s Miles’ comment first:

“Academic issues are certainly very private in my mind.  Our guys go through a series of midterms, finals and papers.  The overview is something that each guy has and certainly I have of the team.  That is not something I am going to share.  The reality is that this time of year everybody responds and comes back.  If you have a ‘C’ or a ‘B,’ it is time to pick it up.  There is no difference with our football team.”

Okay, well that’s pretty much double-talk.  Alleva’s statement was a bit more straight-forward… and harsh:

“Despite media and messageboard speculation, no LSU student-athletes have been declared ineligible for postseason competition.  The current semester is not complete and finals are still ahead.  So it is grossly unfair to our student-athletes, and it is both premature and irresponsible to speculate on the final grades and postseason eligibility of our student-athletes.”

So what made Alleva decide to speak out about rumors?  USA Today oddsmaker Danny Sheridan tweeted the following yesterday:

“Rumors out of Baton Rouge: Quarterback Jarrett Lee will be ineligible for BCS national championship game due to grades. 

If true, LSU fans need not worry as Jordan Jefferson is the man and Zach Mettenberger is a capable backup.”

No word on whether or not Sheridan heard these rumors from Auburn’s bag man.

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Les Miles Doesn’t Need Two Quarterbacks

Alex Groberman

Can we put an end to this ridiculous charade already? LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles clearly does not want, nor particularly need to play two quarterbacks. The only reason he has been resigned to doing so is because of the hand he was dealt before the year even started – what with Jordan Jefferson’s untimely preseason incident.

As we all saw in LSU’s 42-9 rout of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Saturday, Jefferson always was and always will be the quarterback of choice for Miles. In that particular outing, Jefferson made his first official start and played 42 of 59 total snaps.

His counterpart Jarrett Lee, on the flip side, only got into the game with about 12 minutes left. He played the last 17 plays – the epitome of garbage time.

Going into the game versus Western Kentucky, Lee had been announced as the supposed pregame starter. When that didn’t end up happening, the natural assumption was that he was replaced by Jefferson as a reprimand for something that had occurred.

According to Miles, however, that was not the case. Rather, he pulled Lee in favor of Jefferson because of “practice performance,” and not any sort of disciplinary action.

So be it.

With the team sitting on a 10-0 record and the BCS title game so clearly within grasp, though, maybe it’s time to stop politicking with the players. Obviously Miles doesn’t want to create any tension in an otherwise harmonious locker room by picking one passer over the other. At the same time, the uncertainty that comes with not knowing who your leader is from week to week grates on an offense’s nerves – and LSU’s offense is no exception.

Look, Lee has been solid in his unexpected role this year – there is no denying that. Up until the Tigers’ win versus the Alabama Crimson Tide, you could easily make the case that he had earned the starting spot. But when he only got 11 snaps to Jefferson’s 47 in that absolutely vital season-making game, the writing was on the wall.

Jefferson isn’t perfect. He’s not a great passer and his more lengthy attempts — while continuously improving — still aren’t up to par. He also seems intent on holding on to the ball way too long, as most mobile, evasive quarterbacks tend to do.

At the same time, he does exactly what the LSU offense needs him to do. He can be moderately efficient as he was against Western Kentucky with his eight-of-14, 168 yard showing. He can evade the pass rush. And, most importantly, the players trust him more in crunchtime situations than they do Lee, as has been made clear time after time this season.

On Monday, Miles played the usual games with reporters, building up both quarterbacks’ self-esteems.

“We need both,” Miles said. “We’ll use both.”

LSU certainly doesn’t need both. LSU hopefully won’t use both. And, the quicker everyone realizes that this is true, the less unfortunate tension there will be in the locker room of this year’s probable national champions.

 Get more great analysis over at Opposing Views

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SEC Headlines 11/13/2011 Part Two

Arkansas 49 – Tennessee 7

1. A record-setting night for both teams.

2. Razorbacks most lopsided win ever against the Vols.

3. Joe Adams amazing punt return goes viral. Derek Dooley: “We should have had him for minus-10 (yards).”

4. Vols rack up yards but not points.

5. John Adams: “The Vols’ lack of effort was as obvious as their lack of talent in the second half in which the Razorbacks scored 28 unanswered points, often with ridiculous ease.”

LSU 42 – Western Kentucky 9

6. Tigers move to 10-0, Les Miles gets his 100th career victory.

7. Sluggish start for LSU.  Four fumbles and a one-touchdown lead at half.

8. Western Kentucky assistant coach arrested for DWI early Saturday morning.

Louisiana Tech 27 – Ole Miss 7

9. Ole Miss offensive coordinator David Lee: “That was a living nightmare.”

10. QB Randall Mackey fumbles three times.

11. Twelve tackles for loss for the Tech defense.

Alabama 24 – Mississippi State 7

12. Alabama keeps it BCS championship game hopes alive.

13. Kevin Scarbinsky: “Nothing cures a hangover like – wait for it – a little hair of the Bulldog.”

14. The “combination of ineptitude and indifference made for one of the most boring games I’ve sat through in years.”

15. Bama offense lacks consistency.

16. Second quarter turning point -Bulldogs fail to convert interception into points.


17. Oregon wants a rematch with LSU.

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SEC Headlines – 8/31/11 Part Two

1.  Charlie Weis is happy with his co-starters at tailback…

2.  But he knows his new Florida offense will have to prove itself Saturday against Florida Atlantic.

3.  Here is a list of keys to the Gators’ season.

4.  Despite the UF-FSU rivalry, Will Muschamp and Jimbo Fisher are keeping their shared beach house.

5.  Georgia’s Aaron Murray says hotshot freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell is “every bit as advertised.”

6.  UGA will be focused on shutting down Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore on Saturday.

7.  Murray would like to fashion his own game after the Broncos’ Heisman-candidate signal-caller.

8.  Linebacker Danny Trevathan is a team leader for Kentucky.

9.  Here’s a look at how the Wildcats match up with Western Kentucky.

10.  As Joker Phillips enters his second season as UK’s coach, this writer points out that second seasons have been a mixed bag for previous Cat coaches.

11.  This scribe says freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is even better than expected.

12.  Steve Spurrier will play two quarterbacks on Saturday and he says the competition has made Stephen Garcia and Connor Shaw better.

13.  Third-string quarterback Andrew Clifford was knocked unconscious and will miss up to three weeks after a mo-ped accident.  (When did this scooter craze begin on college campuses?  Man, I feel old.)

14.  Tennessee didn’t react well to simulated crowd noise at practice today.

15.  Derek Dooley believes UT’s ground game will be better this season.

16.  The Vols’ defensive linemen are focused on pressure first, then sacks.

17.  Over the last 10 years, no school has been more disappointing rankings-wise than Tennessee.

18.  Vanderbilt has a pair of big-play cornerbacks.

19.  James Franklin is trying to make sure his team doesn’t take Elon — yes, Elon — lightly.

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Ticket Sales “Very Slow” In Nashville For UK-WKU Game

A few facts to start this post:

1.  Kentucky and Western Kentucky will open the season against one another… in Nashville.  Nashville, Tennessee.

2.  The game will be played on a Thursday night with a 9:15 ET kickoff.

3.  The Wildcat fanbase is well known for caring a lot more about basketball than football…

4.  Even when UK is coming off a better season than a disappointing 6-7 campaign…

5.  And facing a better opponent than Western Kentucky which is coming off a dreadful 2-10 campaign.

Now, here’s what the head of the Nashville Sports Council said yesterday about ticket sales for the game that he described as “very slow”:

“We’re a little befuddled, a little big disappointed.  We thought we’d be doing a little better at this point than we are.  But there’s still time.”

Scott Ramsey also admitted that the goal for the game was to fill 40,000 seats in the 67,000-seat stadium.  Ticket sales are not even on pace for that number right now.

Here’s our only question: Looking at the five facts we listed above, how could anyone be “befuddled” that UK fans coming off a disappointing season last year aren’t snapping up tickets to drive to another state and watch the Cats play a terrible WKU team on a weeknight?

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SEC Headlines – 7/11/11 Part Two

1.  This writer doesn’t think playing in the Georgia Dome has benefited Alabama as much as expected on the recruiting trail.

2.  In case you missed it over the weekend, Arkansas offensive tackle Anthony Oden was arrested for DWI and possession of a controlled substance.  (He was arrested for a DWI last July as well.)

3.  Here’s a look-ahead to LSU’s game with Western Kentucky.

4.  Here’s a preview of Mississippi State’s game with Tennessee-Martin.

5.  And here’s a breakdown of Georgia’s linebacking corps.

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SEC Headlines – 6/10/11 Part Three

1.  Kids are taking to new black bear mascot at Ole Miss — and that should be all that matters.  (Again, if you’re an adult upset over the stuffed animal suit some guy or gal is wearing, you’ve got way too much time on your hands.)

2.  Kentucky opens its football season in Nashville on a Thursday night at 9:15pm ET against Western Kentucky.  Yet the powers-that-be still expect a good crowd.

3.  Outgoing AD Mike Hamilton started the ball rolling on his resignation, not Tennessee officials.

4.  Cuonzo Martin has rehired an ex-Bruce Pearl aide as UT’s video coordinator.

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USC’s Horn Nukes Murray State Rumors

Okay, let’s breakdown the latest nonsensical Twitter rumor to involve an SEC program.

1.  Murray State has an opening after its basketball coach — Billy Kennedy — took off for Texas A&M. 

2.  Darrin Horn is a Kentucky native who played and coached at Western Kentucky. 

3.  Horn’s popularity at South Carolina isn’t exactly peaking coming off a sixth-place finish in the SEC East and his team’s second losing season in a row.

So… Horn will head to Murray State to become the Racers’ new head coach.  At least that’s what hit the messageboards yesterday.

But, uh, no.  That ain’t happening.

Horn shot down the silliness saying: “Contrary to internet reports, I’m here.  I have no interest in being anywhere (else).”

And now here’s the reason Horn isn’t leaving — He has four years left on a contract that pays him $1.1 million per year.  Murray State can’t match that.  Also, if Horn leaves early, he would owe Carolina $2 million.

Not happening.

“Our resolve and our commitment is to continue to build our basketball program into one that we’re all proud of that has great success following the model we’ve seen on the baseball field and on the football field,” Horn said.  “We’re going to continue to stick with it and grinding it out and doing it the right way.  We’re more committed than we’ve ever been to that.  We’re going to keep fighting and clawing and scratching.”

Fighting, clawing, scratching, grinding.  I think Cock fans would settle for some occasional winning.

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UK-WKU Football Game Moved To Thursday

Kentucky’s season-opening game against Western Kentucky has been moved from Saturday, September 3rd to Thursday, September 1st.

The game at Nashville’s LP Field will be moved to make room for a Tennessee State game.  TSU has first dibs on LP Field.  Which begs the question: Why are two Kentucky teams playing in Nashville in the first place?  (We know, we know… recruiting.)

A kickoff time and broadcast partner have not been named yet.

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