Archive for June, 2013

NCAA rules on two Ole Miss players’ academic eligibility

After Ole Miss had a quite incredible recruiting year in 2012-3, they looked primed for another step up in fortunes in coach Hugh Freeze’s second year in Oxford.

However, tight end A.J. Jackson, from Hampton, GA, won’t be part of this year’s festivities, after being ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA. There were thoughts that Jackson could have started for the Rebels immediately.

But it’s not all bad news. Antonio Conner, a safety who was the top recruit in the state of Mississippi, was ruled eligible to enroll in Oxford. According to Rebels site ‘Red Cup Rebellion’, Conner played “safety, receiver, quarterback and really any other position that could have benefited from his ideal frame, speed, and grit.” The blog added that he was recruited by LSU, Alabama and “really any reputable program in the nation“.

So – Conner’s probably going to start for the Rebels, while Jackson’s going to be going to a college to try and get his grades in gear.

A mixed day for the Rebs indeed.



Losing badly: Bad SEC memories


It’s not the only time that I’ve written an anti-SEC piece – I’ve been going on and on about the SEC’s lack of red-hot non-conference schedule competition since God was a boy (and will probably continue to do so!!), but this article comes because as college football fans, we remember the bad times just as well as the good times.

And as June 18th in my birthday – I’m 35 today (so remember to say Happy Birthday! to me after reading this) – I thought it was a bit of time to remember the bad times.

I’m going through EVERY SEC team – that includes you too, Texas A&M and Missouri – and going to go back not to the times that you lost a game – because everyone loses one or two of those in their lifetime – but loses a game in any of these fashions:

A) A team that’s a relative nobody/ Shouldn’t lose to

 B) Your team gets blown out completely 

It doesn’t matter how bad your season was – so I’m not going to let Auburn fans get away with: “Soooo…..pick any game from the 2012 season, Auburn!)”.

If I’m wrong and you can think of another game, then please comment!!!!

This is in alphabetical order, so don’t think I’m picking on you, Alabama!


17/11/2007 17-12 vs Louisana-Monroe at home

Alabama game into the game 24-1/2 point favorites. They came out 17-12 losers to a Sun Belt team that would eventually finish 5-6 on the year and not even make a bowl game. Alabama killed themselves with FOUR turnovers, and Nick Saban even said he was “embarrassed for all our fans.” It’s funny, because the Crimson Tide continued to lose that season, losing to Auburn but beating Colorado in their bowl game. They were OK the season after, going to the SEC Championship and finishing the regular season unbeaten. They then lost 31-17- stunningly – to Utah in a bowl game…..but nothing can make up for this Warhawks loss!

Note: Nick Saban’s team have not lost very much recently.

REACTION: (@banditref) – I don’t think it was, in 2007 we had just gotten Saban and even though it would take time to fix, there was a feeling of hope….. I think every single game in 2006 was the worst Bama game ever.


08/09/2012 34-31 vs Louisiana-Monroe at home

Admittedly, this loss to the Warhawks was just one in a lot of humiliating things happening in Arkansas this 2012 season, but it really stunk. Arkansas had quarterbacking firepower in Tyler Wilson, but it was put out quickly after head hits in the first half ensured that he wouldn’t play the second. But that should’t be an excuse. The nature of the Razorbacks’ loss was perhaps the most humiliating. The  Hogs had a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. They gave up the game-tying touchdown with 47 seconds left, and then lost it all on a 16-yard Kolton Browning rush into the end-zone in overtime. Statistically, the Hogs stank, too. They were out-gunned 550-277. They had only 96 yards rushing. Knile Davis went missing. So did just about everyone else.


16/10/2012  24-7 vs Arkansas at home.

There were a lot of teams fighting to get to be Auburn’s most embarrassing loss of the 2012 year, but we’ve gone with Arkansas. Why not the Tigers’ shambolic blow-out defeats to Georgia and Alabama, where they scored a total of NO points, or the game where they conceded 63 to Texas A&M? Well, we’re going with Arkansas not because those losses weren’t bad, but because Arkansas had just come off its own embarrassing losses to Rutgers and Louisiana-Monroe, and was becoming one of college football’s biggest jokes. Gene Chizik wasn’t there yet. Well, in this game the Tigers were shambolic, giving up FIVE turnovers, EIGHT sacks to a team that had been beaten 110-10 in its first two SEC games. Of course, it went vomitingly horrifically after that, but for us, this was the worst and the sign of things to come.


03/01/2013 33-23 vs Louisville in the Sugar Bowl

We tried our hardest to put the game in 2010 when the Gators were smoked by Florida State to end a 6-0 run of Florida victories over their hated rivals, but we couldn’t get past the 3rd-best team in the nation losing to the 22nd-best team in the nation….and a Big East team at that. For Gators fans, it was the latest in a procession of middle fingers from the football gods that season. There was the Jordan Reed fumble against Georgia in the Cocktail Party. There was the bit where they were left out of the SEC Championship Game despite hammering LSU and South Carolina, and beating Texas A&M on the road (something Alabama couldn’t even do at home) (Georgia lost to South Carolina). And then to make matters worse, they were left out of the National Championship Game conversation, too – when they could have at legitimate shout at getting into the Big One ahead of the Crimson Tide. But there we go. In New Orleans, Florida went down 24-3 and never recovered. Jeff Driskel, who had been great all season, committed two out of three Florida turnovers, and they were comprehensively outplayed by a team they were heavily favored against. Wil Muschamp ought to talk to the college football gods over the course of the off-season, and get things straight.


2/10/2010  29-27 to  Colorado on the road

Right, we’d like to start with the fact that we know the 2010 season was the one that could have seen the end of Georgia coach Mark Richt. UCF – who beat the Bulldogs 10-6 in the Liberty Bowl – fought hard for recognition, but we’re going to give the embarrassing loss to Colorado. Why? Colorado finished 5-7 that season, but UCF actually finished 11-3. Georgia’s loss to Colorado was comedic. Georgia had the stars in QB Aaron Murry and WR AJ Green. They actually led the game 24-14 with 10:14 to go in the third quarter….and then blew it. They couldn’t even score a point – let alone a touchdown – in the fourth quarter. Then, with the game-winner just about to come along, Caleb King turns the ball over to linebacker B.J.Beatty, and the rest is history. Sorry guys, this lot haven’t been good since Kordell Stewart. The Dawgs fell to 1-4. If they’d not made a bowl that season, we think Mark Richt would have been pretty lucky to stay in a job. People HAVE been fired for less in the SEC, after all.


15/9/2012  32-31 (in OT) to Western Kentucky at home

Kentucky have routinely provided us with a selection of crappy football, so it’s been pretty hard to find something. But that’s why we’ve gone with this home loss to the Hilltoppers. The loss not only disrespected the Wildcats, but it disrespected the SEC. A lot of people didn’t really know WKU had a football team (they’d spent most of the time thinking about WKU and their March Madness bets) until this. Well, Kentucky came roaring back from a 17-0 second quarter deficit, and when everything looked lost, tied the game up at 24-24 with just 0:24 on the clock (can you believe the triple ’24s’?) in the fourth quarter, before losing on a two-point conversation in overtime that made a lot of ESPN highlight reels. The only one really reeling was Joker Phillips – he was fired at the end of the season.


2012 National Championship Game: 21-0 to Alabama 

This WAS an embarrassing performance. After squeaking by 9-6 in Tuscaloosa in the Game Of The Century earlier on in the season, people thought LSU would beat the Crimson Tide in a virtual home game in New Orleans to give Les Miles another National Championship. Well, the Tigers just didn’t show up. Sure, the ‘D’ played well enough to limit Alabama to just field goals until the fourth quarter, but the offense put together 92 yards all game long – including 39 on the floor. This was a terrible performance, capped by one of the LSU fans suffering the ignominy of getting teabagged while passed out after the game. It really was an awful day for the Tigers.

Mississippi State

16/09/2012 32-29 to Tulane at home

Regardless of what he did on the field, we will always like Buddy Croom, but we don’t think Mississippi State fans are going to like being reminded of the day that they lost at home to that football superpower from Louisiana….Tulane. THIS was probably the worst loss in Croom’s career in Cowbell Central. Tulane was a side still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. It had just been eaten alive by Houston the week before. They had were on an eight-game losing streak. But this is how atrocious MSU were. By the fourth quarter they were 34-7 down. They gave up 427 yards. This was awful. Oh, and don’t think we don’t remember Dan Mullen’s inconspicuous 34-20 loss to Northwestern in the bowl on Jan 1, but all things considered….this is bigger.


2007 Big XII Championship Game 38-17 vs Oklahoma in San Antonio

Missouri came into the Big XII Championship Game full of hope and full of joy. They’d just beaten No.2 Kansas in a crazy Border War rivalry game 36-28 in front of 80,000 people in Arrowhead, and they went to San Antonio ranked No.1 and ready for action. They were thumped by OU 38-17 in a game where they gave up 166 yards on the floor and saw Chase Daniel limited to just 23 out of 39 and 200 yards passing.  They were 14 points down by the start of the fourth quarter,  and 10 more late at the game capped off an awful trip to the South for the Tigers – who had lost to the Sooners earlier that season, too. Oh, and in 2008, they gave up 65 to the Sooners the next time they went to San Antonio too….but they weren’t ranked No.1

POST SCRIPT: A lot of Missouri’s losses in the 2012 season were by blow-out, but a lot of people knew that the Tigers wouldn’t be that competitive in the SEC this year.

Ole Miss

15/09/2012  63-31 to Texas at home

A lot of people thought Texas would win, but by just 10 points in a loud environment at night in Oxford, with a town filled with hope after hiring Hugh Freeze. So it wasn’t any surprise that they didn’t. But it WAS a surprise when Texas didn’t just win, they absolutely schellacked the Rebels, putting up 63 points – the most Ole Miss has given up in a game since 1917, according to ESPN. The Rebels gave up some gaudy numbers that night. 676 total yards, beautifully balancing 326 through the air and 350 on the ground. They gave up NINE touchdowns – including one interception one that went all the way. They turned the ball over three times. It was just…well….embarrassing. And probably one of the worst performances most Ole Miss fans can remember. And believe us, there were a few to remember under Houston Nutt, folks.

REACTION: @nester_chris Old Miss’ was the double OT loss to Jacksonville State….by far

South Carolina

15/11/2008 56-6 to Florida on the road

Safe to say about this one – so we’ll make it short – this was Steve Spurrier’s worst loss in his playing or coaching career. Now THAT’s embarrassing. If you want a bit of how badly Carolina played, they were ranked 25th at the time, gave up 519 yards, while the offense gave up four turnovers. Oh, and 21 points between mid-way through the third quarter and the end of the game. Not that they gave up, mind. The ‘Cocks lost 44-10 in 2012 in the Swamp while ranked No.7, but this was even worse.


1/8/2008 13-7 to Wyoming at home

There were a bunch of reasons why this hits the ‘most embarrassing’ list. One, this loss to Wyoming was the second time in school history that the school had lost seven games. Second, Phillip Fulmer had been given his marching orders early on in the week. And thirdly, Wyoming was a FOUR TOUCHDOWN underdog going into the game. Incidentally, only seven points were scored in the second half of the game.


17/10/2009 62-14 to Kansas State on the road

Right, we just want to get this straight. Kansas State had come into this game having given up 66 points and 700 yards to Texas Tech. They weren’t exactly on top of their game. But Texas A&M managed to make sure that that game the Wildcats looked like the New England Patriots, giving up 59 straight points en route to a 62-14 loss. 59 straight points? That’s some doing. Of course, Texas A&M helped their own demise with five straight turnovers, and the -13 total rushing yards can’t have helped their cause, either. Wow. ESPN’s headline even called the loss ‘humiliating’. There were times with the Aggies were straight-up bad, folks.

REACTION: @thacktor: Dude. The A&M loss you picked pales in comparison to the Ark St. game in 2008. That drive back to Dallas sucked hard.


27/11/2010 34-13 to Wake Forest at home

Firstly, I want to get this straight: Vanderbilt has lost games since the 34-13 loss to Wake Forest, but none of them have been as close to as laughable to this loss to the Demon Deacons. Firstly, Wake Forest had lost nine straight games – the worst run amongst FBS teams that season, according to the Associated Press. Secondly, this was Wake Forest – who had a terrible record in a ‘poorer’ conference. Oh, and thirdly, Vandy Coach Robbie Caldwell had been fired just 12 hours before the game. So that was pretty embarrassing in itself. Oh, and the game? The Commodores gave up 499 yards, 24 straight points, and had just 73 passing yards all game long. Of course, in 2011 James Franklin came along and revolutionized a program. Remember folks: This was a pretty dark day for Commodores – and SEC – football.

If you have any other suggestions as to bad days for your SEC school, then please comment and we’d be glad to put up your comments. And don’t be rude. It’s not polite.




SEC APR scores see Alabama, Missouri top the standings

The Academic Progress Rate scores for the Southeastern Conference have just come through for football teams, and it seems that although they haven’t done a lot right on the football field, the Missouri Tiger are doing good things in the schoolroom.

The NCAA says the APR “holds Division I institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes through the Academic Progress Rate, a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete, each term.”

It adds: “Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one retention point for staying in school and one eligibility point for being academically eligible. A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by one thousand to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate score.”

It adds- and here’s the relatively interesting bit – Beginning with 2012-13 championships, teams must earn a minimum 900 four-year APR or a 930 average over the most recent two years to be eligible to participate.

Look at the numbers – Tennesee’s isn’t that great. Nor is Ole Miss’ – although it was very improved in the first year under Hugh Freeze/last one under Houston Nutt.

  1. Missouri – 982 in 2011/2, 972 in 2010/1, 967 in 2009/10 and 958 in 2008/9
  2. Alabama – 978, 970, 963, 957
  3. Vanderbilt – 973, 978, 977, 975
  4. Georgia – 968, 970, 976, 973
  5. Florida – 968, 972, 976, 961
  6. Mississippi State – 967, 959, 952, 959
  7. South Carolina – 966, 966, 954, 938
  8. Texas A&M – 954, 946, 940, 934
  9. Auburn – 950, 943, 940, 935
  10.  LSU – 944, 964, 966, 965
  11. Ole Miss – 944, 933, 939, 921
  12. Kentucky – 943, 951, 948, 951
  13. Arkansas – 938, 936, 937, 930
  14. Tennessee – 924, 931, 937, 944

Instead of going for just the last 2011-12 scores, we thought we’d go back over the last four years. Here’s what we found:

Missouri and Alabama are the cream of the crop. Both schools have APRs that have risen over the last four years without fail. Good job, Gary and Nick.

–  More focus on football at Vanderbilt? Maybe not (and maybe the kids are taking harder classes in Nashville), but Vanderbilt actually went down five points between 2011-2 and 2010-1. We wonder if this trajectory will continue.

– Most worrying trend downwards? Tennessee went from 944 to 924 over the four year period. But LSU really takes the biscuit. LSU’s APR score fell TWENTY POINTS between 2011-2 and 2010-1. That’s considerable. We wonder how many APR points LSU lost for booting Tyrann Mathieu out of school.

– Schools that saw their APR go up between 2010-1 and 2011-2: Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Auburn, Arkansas, Ole Miss.

– Schools that saw their APR go down over the same period: Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Kentucky, Tennessee

South Carolina stayed the same.

Here’s the full release. 

Gee, Gordon…Thanks for the social commentary

           SEC Football Blog,

SEC  Land,

Somewhere  In The Southland.

Dear Gordon Gee,

You’ve proved to be pretty special, haven’t you?

At a time when a university wouldn’t have minded keeping its collective head down, you make some comments to an athletic counsel that some might describe as being offensive, but everybody can agree is downright stupid.

You said about us SEC boys: “You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we’re doing.” We’ll remind Vanderbilt to do that, when they aren’t slapping  your athletic graduation rate by over 10% (85% to 74%, folks).

You added: ” I’ll tell you something. It’s shameful. It really is. You talk to Coach Meyer. That’s one of the reasons why he had to leave. He’s an man of integrity. He won two National Championships, but people were undermining him in every way, shape or form. It’s shameful.

In 2005 Urban Meyer left Utah for Florida for seven-year, $14m deal. In 2007 he signed a six-year contract extension worth $3.25 m per year. In 2009, he doesn’t stop there. He gets the mother of all contract extensions, giving him $24 m over six years. Who would have known that stress made him walk from the job in 2011, a much-wealthier man?

We’re sure Coach Urban Meyer went to Ohio State because it was a team of integrity, a team of godliness, and a fanbase that never, ever said a rude thing to its teams. Nothing to do with the four million-per-year annual salary as coach, plus a helluva lot of add-ons. Just check out the list. Sure, we in the SEC miss him as the head coach of one of our 14 teams. The SEC always misses a winner. By the way, how was that National Championship Game? Did Urban Meyer enjoy watching it from the sofa? You know, he could have been on the sidelines coaching it if Ohio State hadn’t decided to take its toll for Tresselgate in 2013 rather than 2012. An unbeaten season? Hell, I’m sure the Buckeyes will always be 2013 National Champions to you, Gordon. How in the hell did Gene Smith not go for that?

While we don’t care about Kentucky’s football team, the fact you decided to focus on Kentucky as a school – and Louisville too – made us laugh. Bearing in mind that both teams have done what your Buckeyes didn’t do in basketball over the last two seasons: Win a National Championship.

But that wasn’t all about the South. “Texas went off and created its own network – which has been an abysmal failure- but it also forced Texas A&M to leave the Big XII and move into the SEC, and that has caused a lot of disfunction politically in the State of Texas“. We’d just like to tell you, Mr Gee, the SEC are very grateful for Texas A&M. So far, they’ve given us great crowds, fantastic games, and a Heisman Trophy.

But you didn’t finish there. You also called Bret Bielema – the former head coach of Wisconsin and now head coach of Arkansas – a thug. SI’s Andy Staples: “Someone was saying to me, well, you know, Bret Bielema leaving … that was a blessing for Wisconsin and they knew it. Because he was under tremendous pressure. They didn’t like him. Barry Alvarez thought he was a thug. And he left just ahead of the sheriff.”

You know what? We’re sure in the coming weeks we’ll listen to your apologies, saying how ‘misunderstood’ you are. Actually, if you listen to the full text of the speech from SI, there’s no misunderstanding to be done. You sound like a rabble-rousing idiot desperate for the attention. Now, we don’t think that you’ve Harvey Updyke-d a school like Ohio State with remarks like that, but we’d be surprised if the Board Of Trustees doesn’t simply fire you because you’ve become a headache.

Actually, we didn’t have to wait two weeks. As soon as he’d been found out, Gordon Gee pretty much apologised to everyone – including that ‘thug’. Arkansas AD Jeff Long, who must have a skin like a Mutant Ninja Turtle will all the crap he’s had to put up with in the past, went as far as saying that he was “deeply troubled by the slanderous remarks….Gordon Gee made about Bret Bielema. While I recognize Dr Gee has issued an apology stating his regret for his comments, it does not erase the unwarranted attack on Bret’s character.”  

Bielema himself said: “Dr. E. Gordon Gee and I have spoken regarding comments he has now labeled as unfounded, inaccurate and unfair….While I am appreciative he did apologize, my sincere hope is Dr. Gee realizes given the stature of his position the full power his words have to affect public perception. Throughout my career, I have strived to make my name synonymous with high character, values and integrity, and I will continue to do so.”

The SEC folks might accept it, they might ignore it. But when we beat your boys in the National Championship Game (again), we’ll re-name the Crystal Ball the E.Gordon Gee Memorial Trophy, just to rub it in (again).

Of course, this’ll be long after you’ve left on July 1st having ‘retired’ (or is it BEING retired?)- having raised another $1bn or so for ‘The’ Ohio State University.