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Spurrier Says Carolina Vs Carolina “A Special Game”

gfx - they said itThe 2013 college football season kicks off on Thursday and the main event on night one is an ACC/SEC battle between Carolina del Norte and and Carolina del Sur.  Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier is looking forward to the matchup as he has some history with the Tar Heels dating back to his 1980s tenure at Duke:


“I’m a Dukie.  I’m a Gator, a Dukie, and now I’m a Gamecock.  For us Dukies, back then that was our big game.  I doubt if it was for North Carolina because we did not beat them that much, but when I was there we were fortunate enough to actually beat them more than they beat us.

It was always a fund game when that occurred.  But, yeah, it is a little special when you are coaching against a team like that, just like coaching against Georgia.  The Gators and Georgia were teams that didn’t like each other very much.  That’s a special game, too, so anytime you coach against a team that was a little special wherever you coached at, it remains a special game.”


Spurrier actually went 3-0 against North Carolina in 1987, 1988 and 1989.  The Ol’ Ball Coach also knocked off UNC as South Carolina’s coach in 2007.

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USC To Face UNC In Charlotte As Neutral Site Games Continue To Boom (Something Our Futurists Predicted Years Ago)

bank-of-america-stadiumThis fall, South Carolina will open the 2013 football season against North Carolina in Columbia.  The two teams will also meet to open up the 2015 season, but that game will take on a more special feel.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the Gamecocks and Tar Heels will butt heads in Charlotte at the NFL Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium.  An official announcement is expected to come tomorrow.

The explosion in the number of neutral site games across the college football landscape is something we discussed way back in July of 2009.  In a piece focusing on the future of the SEC, we sat down with a sports marketing expert and tried to imagine what might come next in the world of college sports.  “Keeping The SEC On Top: What’s The Next Big Thing” provides a snapshot into a world when the SEC’s twin TV deals were still wowing folks and the overall US economy was still frightening them.

Now four years on, it’s a pretty interesting read.

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Marquez North Commits To Tennessee

Tennessee received a commitment Wednesday night from wide receiver Marquez North from Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte, N.C.

“I was just comfortable with everything at Tennessee,” North told “I was really comfortable with the new staff. It’s just big-time football and it’s not that far away from home.

“I just felt like it was the best fit for me. I’m coming in with the new staff and it’s like starting from scratch and I feel like I can make a name for myself through hard work.”

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley was fired in November and replaced by head coach Butch Jones. But the assistant coach recruiting North, running backs coach Jay Graham, was retained. That made a difference in North’s recruitment.

“Jay graham has really taken me under his wing,” North said.

He committed to Tennessee over North Carolina. Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora was scheduled to visit North in his home this week, but North canceled that visit.

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SEC Headlines 6/10/2012

1. Apartment shooting in Auburn leaves multiple victims. Press conference later today. Rumored names. Follow here and here.

2. Why an alleged Boone County cocaine ring has officials at the University of Missouri on high alert. AD Mike “Alden said he notified Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson, who was in charge of the program when Coolley’s name began appearing on flight manifests.”

3. Does adding Mizzou and Texas A&M mean an image boost for the SEC?

4. The Tigers and Aggies will have to adjust to a conference known for its defense.

5. Alabama exits probation.  Enters “repeat-offender” window.

6. Four national championships – $583K in bonuses for coaches at Alabama.

7. How Alabama and Auburn generate buzz to lure big-time recruits.

8. Auburn coach Gene Chizik on his young team:  ”Seventy percent of our roster next year is still going to be freshmen and sophomore scholarship guys. That’s seven out of 10 guys that will be first- or second-year players.”

9. Expect Mississippi State to throw the football this fall.

10. Ole Miss likes having Vanderbilt as its permanent opponent.

11. The increasing focus on concussions and safety in the SEC.


12. Dave Matter: “How’s this for supremacy: In the last five years, the SEC has won national titles in 15 of its 20 sports and 28 NCAA titles overall. ”

13. An investigation into possible academic fraud that involved football players at North Carolina, Tar Heels basketball players as well.

14. Hmmm….Florida State gets an unexpected $1.6 million from the ACC.

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SEC Headlines 11/26/2011 Part Three

1. Ole Miss 64 – Miami 61.  Rebels blow a 17-point first-half lead but hang on to win in overtime.

2. Florida 107 – Jacksonville 62.  Highest output for the Gators since 2007.

3. Xavier 70 – Georgia 56. Bulldogs miss first 11 shots - trailed by as many as 36.

4. Auburn 78 – Nicholls State 57.  3-0 Tigers set new school record for blocked shots.

5. Mississippi State 76 – UT-Martin 50.  Five in a row for the Bulldogs.

6. North Carolina 87 – South Carolina 62.  Top-ranked Tar Heels jump out to 19-4 lead and never look back.

7. Vanderbilt 95 – Monmouth 73.  Kevin Stallings not happy: “I feel like we got outworked, outtoughed, outplayed.”

8. Expect John Calipari to loosen the reins on his young Wildcats team tonight against Portland.

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Vandy’s Stallings Would Pull For His Son Over Vandy At CWS

Vanderbilt grads should be among the sharpest folks in the SEC.  So here’s hoping they’ll understand why Commodore basketball coach Kevin Stallings will be pulling for North Carolina should the Tar Heels and ‘Dores meet at the College World Series.

Jacob Stallings is a catcher for the Tar Heels and his father was in Chapel Hill Saturday as UNC clinched its CWS berth.  Vanderbilt has also booked a trip to Omaha.

“There is no dilemma,” Kevin Stallings said of a possible UNC-Vandy matchup.  “It’s a little awkward.  But my two favorite baseball teams have made it to Omaha.  It’s the best kind of dilemma… if you want to call it a dilemma.  It’s a case of two things that I was really hoping would happen, happening.”

While the father danced around the “who would you pull for” question, his son did not.  “I’m sure he’ll be rooting for the Heels in this one,” Jacob Stallings said.  “It will be a fun week for him.  I’m sure he’ll have some interviews, and I hope Vanderbilt fans understand why he’ll be cheering for Carolina.”

We hope so, too. 

Last year, legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley turned off a few Georgia backers when he said he admitted that he would be staying home and pulling for Tennessee — and his son Derek — when the Vols battled Georgia in Athens.  As if any man would pull against his own son.

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SEC Headlines 3/27/2011

SEC Basketball

1. Butler 74 – Florida 71 (OT).  ”(On) Saturday, a few inches were worth about 850 miles for the Gators.

2. Tough way to end for Florida’s three seniors.

3. Gene Frenette: “Donovan committed a colossal blunder Saturday.”

4. Linda Robertson: “It was like the Gators were marching toward a party on Bourbon Street and suddenly got hit by a New Orleans voodoo hex.”

5. Mike Bianchi: “Questionable late-game shot selection.”

6. Kentucky vs. North Carolina – expect to enjoy some great guard play.

7. How the Cats and the Tar Heels match up.

8. A lot has changed since these two teams met in December.

9. Freshman Doron Lamb talks about wanting to come back to Kentucky next year.

10. The never ending debate over the royalty of college basketball.

11. Chronicling the demise of Bruce Pearl.

12. What does Mike Hamilton need to do to find Bruce Pearl’s replacement?  According to Ron Higgins, “all he needs is a full tank of gas to drive to Nashville on Wednesday.”

13. Belmont’s Rick Byrd has interviewed for the job – here’s an update on the status of the candidates.

14. Mike Anderson comes home to Arkansas.

15. Missouri reporter gets boos from Arkansas fans.

16.  ”Do you understand why people think you lied?”

17. JaMychel Green will return for his senior year at Alabama.

18. Until Anthony Grant gets a better offer - enjoy the ride.

19. Expectations are high for Jelan Kendrick at Ole Miss.

SEC Football

20. Georgia Bulldogs come clean – admit chemistry was a big issue on the 2010 team.

21. A nice chemistry is developing along the Tennessee offensive line.

22. Steve Spurrier, eternally unhappy with his QB play,  threatens to run the ball 50 times a game this fall.

23. An interview with South Carolina defensive head coach Ellis Johnson.

24. Houston Nutt and David Lee work well together.

25. Alabama coach Nick Saban suspends sophomore Brandon Moore.

26. A homecoming for new Auburn defensive line coach Mike Pelton.

27. 110-play scrimmage for LSU on Saturday.

28. Vandy had its first scrimmage on Saturday under new coach James Franklin.

29. Dan Mullen likes the energy on his staff. His quarterbacks got popped a few times during the first scrimmage of the year.

30. Kentucky’s new top receiver looks to be La’Rod King.


31. How much longer for Brad Stevens at Butler?

32. Would you  have won this bet? What was the first Indiana team to go to back-to-back Final Fours?

33. TV ratings for NCAA Tournament up 13 percent this year.

34. Rick Morrissey – “I watch a women’s game, and all I see is men’s basketball wearing ankle weights.”


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Report: LSU’s Miles Interested In Lovett For Special Teams Job

Last week, LSU lost ace special teams coach Joe Robinson to North Carolina.  Les Miles said he was in no rush to fill the position.  But that doesn’t mean he’s not talking to people about the vacancy. reports today that Miles “has interest in former Miami (FL) defensive coordinator John Lovett.”  Lovett was not retained by new Hurricanes coach Al Golden despite the fact that UM finished 16th in the nation in total defense and second in the country in pass defense.

Lovett’s name should be familiar to SEC fans.  He has coached in the league as a Tommy Tuberville aide.  Lovett served as the defensive coordinator at Auburn (1999 through 2001) and as the secondary coach at Ole Miss (1995 through 1998).  He has also coached at Clemson and North Carolina in the ACC.  At Carolina, he was the Tar Heels’ special teams coordinator.

At LSU, Robinson worked with defensive linemen in addition to his special teams duties.  With his defensive background, it seems that Lovett could fill that role, too, if Miles desired.

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UT Got Jobbed By Officials… Sort Of

If you read in the next few days that North Carolina “benefited” from it’s own last-second penalty in last week’s Music City Bowl, you’ll know that the author is a Tennessee fan.  Because Carolina did not benefit from a penalty in last week’s 30-27 double-overtime win.

For the second time this year, UT fans had to watch their team lose a game it thought it had already won.  That’s made life rough on Rocky Top.  Many Big Orange fans want to scream, “Blame the refs” and be done with it.  But it’s not quite that simple:

* Ball on Tennessee’s 25, UNC trailing by 3, 16 seconds remaining — Carolina calls a running play to get deeper into field goal range.  The back reaches the 18 and then madness ensues.

* Ball on Tennessee’s 18, UNC trailing by 3, 9 seconds remaining — the clock keeps right on ticking.  Carolina’s offensive players line up to spike the football and stop the clock with 5 seconds left, but someone on the Tar Heel sideline sends the kicking team onto the field.  In total, 18 men are on field (which tops UT’s 13 against LSU by a good margin). 

* Ball on Tennessee’s 18, UNC trailing by 3, 3 seconds remaining — five kick-team linemen reverse field and try to race back to the sideline so Carolina quarterback TJ Yates can spike the ball.  They can’t make it.  Yates spikes the ball with 1 second remaining, but the clock operator rolls the game clock to zero and officials announce the game is over.  Tennessee celebrates a 20-17 victory.

But it gets whackier from there.

First, officials in the press box realized that the ball was spiked with 1 second remaining.  They buzzed down to the field and told both teams that the game was not actually over.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Texas defeated Nebraska in 2009′s Big 12 Championship Game when officials put a second back on the clock following an incomplete pass.  It might have looked odd, but it’s not unprecedented.

Officials then walked off a five-yard penalty against North Carolina for having too many men on the field — 18 — when Yates spiked the ball.  This has led numerous Vol supporters to claim that the penalty gave UNC another play.  Nope.  The legal spike gave Carolina one more play.  Having too many men on the field cost the Tar Heels five yards.

There was no 10 second run-off for an offensive penalty in the final minute, but seeing as how this was a college game and not an NFL game, the refs were right on that front, too.  The NFL and NCAA have differing rulebooks — run-offs, interference, placement of has marks, etc.  UT backers might want to see that rule changed, but as its written currently, the refs got it right.

All that said, the officials did err in one major area. 

While five linemen tried to race off the field before the spike, the kicker and holder for Carolina stayed put right behind Yates.  The fact that those players did not attempt to leave the field should have made the last-second penalty “illegal participation.”  That carries a 15-yard step-off as opposed to the 5 yards that were actually marked off against the Tar Heels.

Vol coach Derek Dooley — as he also stated after the LSU game — said that the officials should have stood over the football and prevented Carolina from snapping the ball until UT had had ample time to make substitutions.  But there’s a problem with that line of thinking, too.

In October, we at spoke with SEC coordinator of officials Rogers Redding about Dooley’s complaint following the LSU game.  Redding’s response:

“The rule in question (Rule 3-5-2-e) specifies how this situation should be handled, when the offense is at the line and then makes substitutions: ‘The game officials will not permit the ball to be snapped until Team B (the defense) has placed substitutes in position and replaced players have left the field.  Team B must react promptly with its substitutes.

“The action of the crew (in the LSU-UT game) is a perfect textbook example of how this rule should be used.  The umpire stood at the ball until he received a signal from the referee, who accurately determined that no more subs were coming in for either team and that the defensive players on the field were giving no indication of going to the sideline.”

Last Thursday, the Big Ten crew did not have the umpire standing over the ball waiting to clear it for play.  However, a quick check of the video shows that no Tennessee defenders were coming on or off the field, either.  The Vols were set in their defense just as they had been at LSU.  Therefore, if the umpire had been in position, he still would not have held up the play because no Vols were shifting at all.

(Sidenote — Can you imagine the furor if an offensive team had lined up to spike the ball and the officials refused to let them snap the ball?  You’ll go a long time before you see a college game decided like that.  It might not be following the letter of the law, but here’s guessing that UNC would have been allowed to snap the ball even if Tennessee had been trying to adjust its line-up.)

So for the record, Carolina did not benefit from a penalty call.  The clock stopped because of a legal spike of the ball.  The spike of the ball was legal because Tennessee was not attempting to make any defensive substitutions.  And the 10-second run-off issue is not a factor in the college game.

But Carolina’s kicker and holder did not try to leave the field before Yates’ spike of the ball.  So instead of a 5-yard penalty for having too many men on the field, UNC should have been penalized 15 yards for illegal participation. 

Would UNC’s kicker have hit a 48-yard field goal as opposed to a 38-yarder?  That’s a legit question. 

And that’s where Vol fans have a very legit gripe.  All the other complaints?  Not so much.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23) @ Kentucky Wildcats (17): Big East/SEC Invitational Open Game Thread

Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

What a mouthful.

Anyway, I will be attending the Big East/SEC Invitational tonight in Rupp Arena West Freedom Hall here in Louisville as the Arkansas Razorbacks take on the Seton Hall Pirates in the first game, and the Kentucky Wildcats battle the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the nightcap.

Naturally, this open game thread may be used for either game if you like, as I plan on posting it in time for both, but the real game of interest to us Kentucky fans is the nightcap.  Here are the particulars, via

Notre Dame @ Kentucky
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Notre Dame Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Weds., Dec. 8, 9:30 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: ESPN
Radio: BBSN
Online Audio
Text Updates
Location Freedom Hall
Louisville, Ky.

After an unpleasant visit to the North Carolina Tar Heels last weekend on Tobacco Road, the chastened ‘Cats of Kentucky need to rediscover the winner’s circle versus the Little Green Leprechauns of Notre Dame.

The South Bend Celtics have known nothing but victory so far this season, but the competition hasn’t been up to the quality of the Bluegrass State Felines.  That’s going to result in a culture clash, where a seasoned Notre Dame bumps up against the youngest, quickest, most athletic team they’ve seen this year.

Here’s what I hope to see:

  • A track meet.  Notre Dame is playing at a lower pace than last year, and Kentucky needs to find a way to get this game as up-tempo as they can, consistent with their thin bench.  Speaking of the bench, we need
  • Another bench player.  Last weekend, the Wildcats managed to play only six Wildcats as many as ten minutes.  In as much foul trouble as Kentucky has been in so far, we need to have at least eight playing ten minutes or more.
  • Better defensive pressure.  UK did not put enough pressure on Carolina’s turnover-prone guards, and that’s a big reason why we lost.
  • Less fouling.  UK has to find a way to play better defense without a prodigious number of whistles.
  • Keep lighting it up.  Good shooting cures a lot of ills.

Here’s what I don’t want to see:

  • Notre Dame dominating the offensive glass.  That’s a sure loser for UK.  Kentucky needs to continue to be competitive there.
  • A parade to the free throw line for Notre Dame.  That’s how the Tar Heels won.
  • Lack of defensive intensity.  That’s how the Connecticut Huskies won.
  • Lack of Terrence Jones.  That’s also how the Tar Heels won.

Let’s get this done.  Go ‘Cats!

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