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SEC Headlines 11/30/2012

Coaching News & Rumors

1. Butch Jones: Bobby Petrino without the baggage?

2. Mike Herndon: “Bobby Petrino is exactly what Auburn needs. And exactly what it doesn’t need.”

3. First time since 2004 that the SEC has had as many as four coaching changes.

4. Dan Mullen and James Franklin are just two of the reasons why you shouldn’t delete candidates with no prior head-coaching experience.

5. Even when you win 81% of your games, there are going to be some unhappy fans.

6. Is Will Muschamp worried about losing staff at Florida? ”This is a great place to work and we’ve got a good, young football team and we’re going to be good for a long time, OK?,”

SEC Championship Game

7. Kevin Scarbinsky: “The odds of the SEC Championship Game turning into a classic are only slightly better than Charlie Brown’s chances to kick the ball out of Lucy’s hold.”

8. Nick Saban on watching Michael Jordan footage, scripting the first 10-12 plays of the game, and Alabama’s pass rush: “We don’t have a dominant rusher this year.”

9. Saban on Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones: “The guy is probably one of the best defensive players in the country in terms of his playmaking ability.”

10. Alabama will need to run the ball successfully to keep Jones off balance.

11. Why does Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o get more Heisman buzz than Jones? “Because he plays for Notre Dame.”

12. There are several players who could use this game as a springboard to make a run at the 2013 Heisman.

13. These two teams have only met 14 times in the past 47 years.  But there have been several memorable moments.

14. The Alabama-Georgia rosters feature seven players from the Memphis area.

15. Fall Saturdays are busy when one son plays for Alabama – the other for Georgia.

16. Where does the loser of this game go bowling? It gets complicated.

SEC/College News

17. Mike Slive on Atlanta as a host city, being “comfortable” at 14 SEC schools, and what tops his to-do list for the coming year.

18. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel making five media appearances today. One year ago tomorrow, Mike Sherman was fired as Aggies coach.

19. Don’t ask the barber for a “Manziel” and expect to stay in school.

20. Three SEC teams in play for the Cotton Bowl.

21. Competency hearing scheduled for Harvey Updyke.

22. If Georgia Tech loses Saturday and drops to 6-7, they’ll still be bowl-eligible thanks to NCAA waiver and the MAC is not happy about it.

23. Louisville is now 10-2 after beating Rutgers last night and likely earned a BCS bowl bid – either the Orange or Sugar Bowl.

24. Monte Kiffin is leaving USC – wants to go back to the NFL.

25.  Happy 50th Birthday, Bo Jackson.

***Update***Sheldon Richardson makes it official.  Mizzou defensive tackle will enter 2013 NFL draft.

SEC Basketball

26. Notre Dame 64 – Kentucky 50. John Calipari: “What disappointed me was we didn’t compete.”

27. LSU 72 – Seton Hall 67. 5-0 Tigers storm back from 16-point second-half deficit.

28. St. John’s 89 – South Carolina 65. Gamecocks guard Brenton Williams injures his neck – placed in brace. Frank Martin: “I know what my trainers said after the game that he never lost feeling in his extremities and he had movement.” Back in Columbia.

29. Florida 82 – Marquette 40.  6-0 Gators get 17 points off the bench from Michael Frazier II.

30. In what’s expected to be a jam-packed Bud Walton Arena tonight, the Arkansas Razorbacks host the undefeated and top-1o ranked Syracuse Orange. Students camping out?

31. Tennessee vs. Georgetown tonight is SEC vs. Big East.  Expect a Big Ten style game.

32. Auburn hosts DePaul tonight.  Tigers have never won in the SEC-Big East challenge.

33. Vanderbilt hosts Villanova Saturday. Commodores need Kedron Johnson to be a consistent scorer.

34. Florida’s basketball arena may get a $50 million makeover.  UF Trustees voting on $10 million of the price next week.

35. Some minor violations for Mizzou basketball and football

36. It takes more skill to be a basketball player than it does to be an investor.

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PR Bungle: Dooley Won’t Give Vol WR Arnett A Free Pass To Transfer

Derek Dooley is developing quite the reputation for being a stickler.  Maybe that’s just the lawyer in him.  But Tennessee’s head coach is now — for the third time — putting his foot down when it comes to a player looking to transfer.

Yesterday, freshman receiver DeAnthony Arnett let it be known that he wants to return to his home state of Michigan to be closer to his father, whose poor health has worsened in recent months.

Soon after, UT announced that Dooley would not allow Arnett to have a free pass out of town.  According to an email the player sent to the media, Michigan and Michigan State are off limits to him:

“If I wanted to attend The University of Michigan and Michigan State University then I would have to pay for school instead of be on the Scholorship.  I dont know whats next my family cant afford to pay for school and my father health reason isnt good enough excuse for me to attend a BCS school close to home.”

Sidenote — It’s ridiculous what Twitter and texting are doing to the English language.  Do kids even know what an apostrophe is anymore?

Back to the topic, Dooley appears A-OK with Arnett heading to the Mid-American Conference, but he doesn’t want him going to a football power.  Here’s a UT spokesperson’s take on the situation:

“We’re not denying him a release to be near his family, get a good education and play Division I football at the same time, but we do have a policy of not releasing players to schools we either play or recruit against.”

Outside of bowl games — and Dooley didn’t have to worry about that one this year — the Vols don’t meet up with the Wolverines and Spartans often.  In fact, in more than a century of football, UT has played Michigan once and State never.  And it’s not as if Tennessee squares off with great regularity against those schools on the recruiting trail, either.

Admittedly, no one can be sure if Arnett is seeking a transfer just because he wants to be near his father.  Rumors suggest he was tight with departed receivers coach Charlie Baggett.  So maybe he wants out because he’s disgruntled.  And it’s also possible that UT coaches feel Michigan or MSU might have tampered with the player.  Who knows?

But for Dooley, this is a PR battle he doesn’t need to fight right now.  He’s already played hardball with two players who wanted to transfer when he took over — Lane Kiffin-signee Bryce Brown and Phillip Fulmer-signee Aaron Douglas both met major resistance in their attempts to leave Knoxville.  Now Arnett is getting the same treatment and not everyone on the Tennessee messageboards is thrilled about it.

Nick Saban — who Dooley served under — and Les Miles can get away with being tough guys in these types of matters because they win.  Dooley hasn’t.  So he’s not getting universal support in his decision to block a player whose father is sick from playing at a big school (which could aid Arnett’s professional aspirations).

We view it as another public relations misstep for a coach who lost at Kentucky to close the season and then decided to go into silent mode.  Many ornery Vol fans have voiced their displeasure with their coach’s disappearance since November.

Dooley should be worried about winning with the guys he’s got.  If a kid wants to transfer because he’s homesick or his playing time isn’t what he’d hoped, fine, he should hold onto him.  But this one looks bad.  And UT fans are split over their coach’s move.

That’s not what Dooley needs right now.  Because if he doesn’t start winning in 2012, he might spend the next few years of his career in the MAC right along with Arnett.

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Report: SEC Eying 4×4 Approach To A&M’s 2012 Schedule

Former Mississippi State athletic director Larry Templeton — the chairman of the SEC’s transition committee — says the “least-disruptive” schedule plan for 2012′s football schedule involves Texas A&M playing four SEC West and four SEC East opponents.

Templeton told Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News that the 4×4 model “would cause the fewest headaches, particularly since every SEC team’s nonconference schedules is set” (in Solomon’s words).  Here’s what Templeton said of the plan:

“If A&M plays four in one division and four in another, there are probably eight different schedules that could come together off that.  As a former AD, I would prefer the least-disruptive schedule that’s as competitively balanced as possible for one year, know that everybody has to sacrifice a little bit but that we’re fair to our new conference member.  A&M has had as much say as any other school.  They will be involved in how we determine the final concepts.”

Despite the fact that A&M could have a different type of schedule from the rest of its division mates, if the Aggies have the best record, they’ll be heading to Atlanta as division champ.  The league wants A&M to be eligible for the SEC title immediately.

Templeton didn’t rule out a scenario in which each West Division foe would meet (6 games) and each East Division foe would play (5 games), but he said, “mathematically, I don’t think it can be done.”

It could, but it would require a complete re-working of the cross-divisional games.  On that front, Templeton said the SEC is discussing options that might keep or eliminate every school’s cross-divisional permanent rivals for 2012.

Permanent non-divisional rivalries Auburn-Georgia, Tennessee-Alabama and Ole Miss-Vanderbilt are among the oldest rivalries in college football.

“Those are the issue we’ve got to decide,” Templeton told Solomon.  “Right now, everybody’s permanent (foe) is on the 2012 schedule.  Changing the (cross-division) rotation is a concept, but that’s not a preferable concept because it’s going to be very disruptive.  Keep in mind, everything we’re doing is for one year.”

Many of the issues Templeton discussed with Solomon, were first mentioned on this site back on September 27th.  You can read that piece here.

For that post we spoke with a high-ranking MAC official off the record because the MAC has been playing a 13-team schedule for five years.

We were told that the NCAA gave the MAC a waiver to hold a championship game even though it didn’t feature a round-robin schedule as the NCAA rulebook mandates.  This week it was reported elsewhere that the MAC did not seek or receive a waiver, but MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said his league did indeed receive a waiver and got clearance to skirt the rule… just as we initially reported.

Our off-the-record source told us that the MAC’s 13-team schedule worked “so well that we went out and added another football member beginning next year.”  That was the off-the-record comment.  Steinbrecher — on the record — told Solomon: “I won’t say scheduling is the only reason (the league is adding UMass), but it certainly played a role.”

To avoid all this nonsense, the SEC needs to tell Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton to speed things up on his end.  Otherwise, a 13-team schedule will become very, very troublesome for everyone.

And again, this is just about football.  Scheduling other sports will be a royal pain, too.

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Gators Prepare To Face Kent State On Thursday Night

The University of Florida returns home after a three-game road swing to host Kent State (7-2) on Thursday night at 7 p.m.. A year ago Kent State went 24-10, 13-3 in the MAC and reached the second round of the postseason NIT before falling at Illinois. The game is the final tune-up for the Gators before the team breaks for final exams and returns to play on Dec. 18.
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