Archive for June, 2012

CFB Commissioners come to consensus on play-off

BCS Commissioners have come to a decision on how they want to go ahead with a college football play-off, the Associated Press has reported today.

ESPN said: “The commissioners who have been working on reshaping college football’s postseason to create the first major college playoff met for four hours and emerged together with a commitment to stand behind a plan. Though they were stingy with providing details of that plan.”

The news service added that Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott had remarked that the two national semi-finals would be worked into the bowl system, although nothing is solid.

SI college football reporter Stewart Mandel tweeted: “Commissioners prefer selection committee that picks “best four,” emphasizes but not requires conference champions.”

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany told reporters in Chicago: “We’re very unified. There are issues that have yet to be finalized. There’s always devil in the detail, from the model to the selection process, but clearly we’ve made a lot of progress.”

ESPN also reported that a selection committee would work out College Football’s ‘Final Four’, with strength of schedule and conference victory given special consideration.

BOTTOM LINE: The money-spinner will continue for the conferences and the bowl system, but we’re crossing fingers that strength of non-conference schedule will be become extremely important, forcing big games to be played against big teams, so fans can get their money’s worth out of their season tickets. And as for the Conference Champions thing? We’ll see if that emphasis turns into fact. We don’t think so – particularly if two SEC teams are in the top two.

Recruiting: Alexander commits to Arkansas

Four-star athlete Dominique Alexander has committed to Arkansas, it has been widely reported.

Alexander, who comes from Oklahoma, was the only player recruited by a SEC school, wasted no time in giving the Razorbacks his commitment.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Arkansas. It’s been my dream for a long time,” he told ESPN. “It’s playing in the SEC and playing against the best.”

Alexander was also offered by Houston, Texas Tech, and Utah State, amongst others.

 

Looking back, it was another glorious year for the SEC. Another National Championship was won, with Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide taking home the bacon.

The Crimson Tide beat LSU 21-0 in a re-match in which did both of the things they went out to do: Dominate AND win. In the first game against the Tigers in front over 92,000 in Tuscaloosa, they’d done a lot of dominating, but not a lot of winning.

The sad thing is is that both games didn’t make the Top Five games of the 2011 season. Here are your top 10 involving SEC teams – and yes, we’ve involved some non-conference ones too. And sorry Texas A&M and Missouri fans, your teams aren’t included (otherwise A&M would have made about half a dozen of them due to their heartbreaking knack of not being able to hold onto a lead).

1. South Carolina 45, Georgia 42

This game had everything. Played in front of a sell-out crowd, this SEC East grudge match saw South Carolina score with misdirection, big guy touchdowns (Alshon Jeffrey) and even bigger guy touchdowns (Melvin Ingram). There were coming out parties for Georgia‘s Isaiah Crowell and South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, but this was also yet another one for the SEC. After all, this was how you do games in SEC Country.

2. Auburn 42, Utah St 38

For Auburn, it was a chance to show they’d moved on (a bit) after Cam Newton. For Utah State, it was a chance to prove that they weren’t just at Jordan-Hare to make up numbers. Well, they weren’t. In fact, the Aggies took a 21-7 lead and then a 38-28 one with just over three minutes to go, and everyone was taking a breath. But when Auburn closed the gap to 38-35 and then grabbed an onside kick, we were ready for one of the greatest finishes in football. And in Cam style, Auburn one.

3. Georgia 33, Vanderbilt 28

The Commodores gave Georgia all they could handle on a Saturday night in Nashville. With the score 33-28 early-on in the fourth quarter and both sides merrily swapped field position. Georgia then managed to choke a special teams play to give Vanderbilt a shot at the end-zone with seven seconds left. Vanderbilt couldn’t score the touchdown that would have won them the game, but they fought the ‘Dawgs tooth and nail in a game you simply couldn’t take your eyes off – or afterwards, when Todd Grantham and James Franklin went at it!

4. Arkansas 31, Vanderbilt 28

Another Saturday, another heart-breaking loss for James Franklin & Co. This time, it was their own doing, as they missed a 27-yard field goal to tie the game. They’d blown a 21-7 lead earlier. Arkansas’ inane knack of getting through games (there are more of their games on this list) earned them the moniker the ‘Cardiac Hogs’. If only Bobby Petrino had controlled his own ticker during the season, too…

5. Auburn 41, Mississippi State 34

Crazy games seem to have generally involved team with the letter ‘A’ this year in the SEC, and Auburn’s 41-34 upset of the No.16 Cowbell-ringers was just one of them. But before all that, the game started crazily enough when Auburn’s mascot ‘Spirit’ flew into a luxury box window. But the eagle survived, and so did Auburn, despite doing their best to blow a 41-27 fourth-quarter lead. The hero? Backup safety Ryan Smith, who stopped Chris Relf going in for the score on the goal-line.

6. LSU 9, Alabama 6

For atmosphere alone, the ‘Game Of The Century’ deserves to be in the Top 10. Tuscaloosa was as noisy as they come that Saturday night for the battle between the No.1 and No.2 teams in the Nation. Both sides – try as they might – couldn’t find a way past each other (LSU because it didn’t have a great quarterback and managed to tie down Trent Richardson, Alabama because it didn’t have a great kicker), until LSU managed to find the cajones to finally kick one through the uprights in overtime to seal a 9-6 victory. It was a forgettable game, but an unforgettable atmosphere. And to show that passion, here’s a nice video of a fan crying. That’s how much losing to your most hated rival means to you! And we can bet he was happier in January in New Orleans, too!

7. Arkansas 42, Texas A&M 38

If Texas A&M‘s defence is the same as it was in 2011, then the SEC West schools are going to make hay against the Aggies, they really are. We’ve forgotten how many times A&M went in with a half-time lead and came out and lost it. And this game in JerryWorld against Arkansas was no exception. At half-time, Razorbacks were headed for the exits after the Aggies took a 35-17 lead, but for reasons only known to them, the defense completely imploded to let Arkansas tie it at 35-35. The Aggies then picked themselves up and made it 38-35, before Broderick Green ran the ball in for three yards and Tyler Wilson threw a 2-point conversion. After that game, we all needed some sleep.

8. Tennessee 27, Vanderbilt 21

These two Tennesseerivals haven’t had a lot of cheer about in recent years, but when they get together, it always seems to serve up a classic. Anyway, locked into overtime, Vandy QB Jordan Rodgers threw a pass that fell into the arms of a grateful Eric Gordon, who returned the ball 90 yards to the House. If you don’t think it meant a lot to the Tennessee crowd, check out the reactions. They’ve needed something to smile about.

9. LSU 40, Oregon 27

There are some games which we talk about as being ‘Coming Out Parties’. This one was one – for LSU safety Tyrann Mathieu. Oregon was playing LSU very close indeed in a match-up that was as good as advertised, until Tyrann Mathieu stripped the ball away from a punter and returned it for a touchdown. After this game, everybody started talking about how special this kid was. After the West Virginia and Kentucky games, the Heisman noise simply got louder and louder.

10. South Carolina 24, Navy 21

Some games are going to be predestined as great. Some games become great. Some games are under-the-radar and are simply fantastic from start to finish. This game was one of them. With both sides giving up leads, you couldn’t help but wonder what was going to win – the triple-option, no fear approach or the one with the great running back. In the end, Marcus Lattimore’s 246 yards (and three touchdowns) were the difference, but the Midshipmen won a lot of plaudits. Steve Spurrier won’t be wanting to play these guys in a hurry.

TOP FIVE BEST ATMOSPHERES OF 2011

1.  LSU at Alabama: If the game had matched the atmosphere, the ‘Game Of The Century’ would have been just that.

2 Alabama at Florida: The explosion of noise when Florida went 7-0 on the second offensive play of the game was simply incredible. The TV coverage doesn’t do the noise justice.

3. LSU at West Virginia: College Gameday and Partying for about a week before the Tigers came to town. Sounds like, er, Baton Rouge-en-Morgantown. What a game (until LSU outwrestled control from the Mountaineers). And more importantly, what a party.

4. Florida vs Georgia: Because The Cocktail Party always should be on your Top 5. Whatever The Year.

5. South Carolina at Georgia: We were at this game, and the atmosphere throughout was incredible. So was our hangover the day afterwards.

TOP FIVE PLAYERS OF 2011

1. Trent Richardson (Alabama): He rolled through who he wanted. Unless of course, he was quadruple-teamed (see LSU (Game 1) for details).

2. Tyrann Mathieu (LSU): So brilliant defensively and on special teams all you can wonder is if the ‘Honey Badger’ will actually get thrown anywhere near to in 2012. We think not. But, someone said to us: “Was Deion Sanders at Florida State?” Ah – so that’s why Mathieu got himself a ‘King’ tattoo in the off-season.

3. Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina): Brought the Gamecocks on his shoulders. It was when he got injured the Gamecocks hurt, and now he’s fit and healthy in 2012, the Gamecocks are a legit National Championship Contender.

4. Alabama’s defense: Yes, we know it’s a cheat because we really should pick one standout, but this unit was simply frightening all season long. Name us one school that enjoyed playing them this year.

5. Tyler Wilson (Arkansas): This was a close-run thing with Aaron Murray of Georgia, Wilson’s Razorbacks teammate Knile Davis, and South Carolina Jadeveon Clowney, but Wilson’s 3,638 yards and 24 touchdowns just make us think that this guy is a legitimate 2012 Heisman Contender – whatever Matt Barkley may say.

Arkansas O-Linesman gets jail

Arkansas offensive linesman Jason Peacock has been sent to jail after pleading guilty to taking another student’s debit card and using it to buy $35 of gasoline.

The player – a starter for the Razorbacks – was sentenced to 10 days’ in jail for the theft – a misdemeanor theft charge. The good news for Peacock (if there is any) is that this could stay off his record if he completes his sentence as well as a year’s probation, the Associated Press said.

“He understood he had to be punished. He stepped up and took it like a man,” his lawyer said. “I can tell you he is one of the most remorseful people I’ve ever represented and I’ve been doing this 30 years.”

It is not known if the 6ft 4, 305 lb Peacock will be allowed back onto the Arkansas team after now-departed coach Bobby Petrino suspended him indefinitely in March when he was first arrested.

BOTTOM LINE: If Peacock is suspended for the season, that’s going to hurt QB Tyler Wilson as well as Knile Davis. Expect Peacock to be suspended for four games, as this was just a misdemeanor.

 

Defensive back returns for Kentucky

Safety Dakotah Tyler has returned to the Kentucky football team, the school said in a press release.

Tyler, who can also play on special teams, didn’t play on the 2011-2 side because of ‘personal reasons’, the release said, and no further reason was given.

In his 2010 season, the school noted, Tyler had 13 tackles, one pass break-up, one tackle for loss and one forced fumble, and he had one start.

BOTTOM LINE: The news is great for Kentucky, who need all the help they can get if they are to emerge from the SEC East basement. Tyler’s return is great for the school, who have additional talent in seniors Martavius Neloms and Mikie Benton, and sophomores Ashely Lowery and Glenn Faulkner all coming back.

Recruiting: Florida adds QB commitment

The University of Florida have added a commitment at quarterback for its 2013 class, Gatorsports.com reported on Monday.

Three-star Quarterback Max Staver committed to Will Muschamp’s side, decided to go for Gainseville instead of Dan Mullen’s Mississippi State, who had also given him an offer.

Staver, from Brentwood, Tennessee, is ranked the 14th player in the State and the 27th in the country amongst pro-style quarterbacks nationally. “I called them and they asked me if I was ready to be a Florida Gator, and I committed on the spot,” he told the website.

Staver had also been shown interest from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, but none of the other schools had offered him yet.

Recruiting: Georgia adds Recruit No.19

Georgia has added its 19th recruit of the 2013 season: Rico Johnson.

Johnson, out of Swainsboro, Georgia, accepted after being offered a place at Saturday’s Mark Richt camp, the AJC reported.

He told the paper: “That was my dream school; I always wanted to go there,” he said. “I told myself if I ever got an offer from Georgia, that would be the school I would go to.”

He isn’t listed in any of Rivals’ rankings after swapping high schools, the AJC said, but added Appalachian State and Marshall had both offered him scholarships.

Thankfully, the ‘Big Dawgs’ came calling.

The paper said that Johnson ‘dazzled’ during the camp, posting 4.25 and 4.28 40 yard dashes.

The news provides some relief for the Dawgs after five-star running back Derrick Henry decided to de-commit (it is thought he’ll go to Alabama eventually) and wide receive Kyrin Priester.

BOTTOM LINE: If he can keep out of trouble (this is a problem for all college players – not just UGA players), then this might be a great pick up for the Dawgs. Johnson’s pace is going to make him a threat, and his height (5 ft 11) could frighten secondary players, too.

Florida LB cleared to play

There was good news for the Florida Gators on Friday when linebacker Neiron Ball was cleared to play after a long injury.

According to the Gainseville Sun, Ball missed the whole of the 2011 season after a blood burst in his brain and doctors found “arteriovenous malformation, a congenital vascular condition not related to football”.

But finally, ball passed his final medical check-up, meaning that he’s free to put on the blue and orange soon.

BOTTOM LINE: Great news for Florida, who now adds even more depth at linebacker and on the defensive side of the ball. Jelani Jenkins and John Bostic are going to be tough enough for offensive players to try and get through – and now Ball could make things even harder.

Trial of Harvey Updyke starts today

Harvey Updyke didn’t play football for the University of Alabama.

Harvey Updyke didn’t attend the University of Alabama.

But the former Texas State Police Officer did something in Alabama’s name that will love on long in infamy: He poisoned the oaks at Toomer’s Corner, which are always dressed in toilet paper after the Auburn Tigers have victory. In 2010, he called the Paul Finebaum Show and told millions of listeners he had done the dirty deed, so annoyed he was after the Tide lost to their hated Auburn rivals.

According to Al.com, Updyke was charged with “two felony counts of first-degree criminal mischief, two felony counts of unlawful damage to property from a crop facility and two misdemeanor counts of desecrating a venerated object.”

The oaks themselves have been mixed in their reaction to the herbicide, with some of them showing signs of a reaction to herbicide and other foilage not. It is not thought that Toomer’s Oaks will make a full recovery – and it will be a miracle if they make any one at all.

Recruiting: Vanderbilt adds two commitments

Vanderbilt continued an excellent recruiting season so far by adding the commitment of cornerback Darius Sims from Memphis – the 11th ranked player in the State. This was widely reported on Twitter.

Sims, who is ranked as a three-star defensive back by Rivals committed to the Commodores on Sunday.

Vanderbilt beat Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss amongst other schools to Sims.

Sims is 5 ft 9,  can run a 4.65 40 and has a 32 inch vertical – and Vanderbilt will hope he can frighten quarterbacks for years to come.

The commitment is the second to be announced this Sunday after defensive end Sean Spencer – the 52nd player in Georgia – committed to Vandy.

Spencer was recruited by LSU and the two Mississippi schools.

 

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