Archive for March, 2014

LSU QB to transfer to Vanderbilt – Reports

LSU back-up quarterback Stephen Rivers is going to another SEC school to try and ply his trade, according to reports.

Rivers – the brother of San Diego Chargers starter Phillip – told NOLA.com that he’s close to going to Vanderbilt, which would leave the Tigers light at quarterback.

He said: “I took a visit there and really enjoyed it…It’s a good option for me because it’s really close to home. It’s not official and I’m still trying to get everything worked out. I’m still open. I’m going to see how things are going to work out.

Rivers had already said that he was transferring in February.

LSU’s Spring Game in on Saturday, so it would be interesting to see if he decides to take some reps at the position during the game to give himself one last shot at ousting Anthony Jennings.

Rivers will be able to play immediately.

BOTTOM LINE: The good news for Vandy is that they’ll immediately get a starting quarterback in Rivers. The bad news for LSU is suddenly the cupboard’s looking bare at the position.

Johnny Manziel’s Pro Day impresses

Johnny Manziel’s NFL Pro Day impressed, according to reports.

According to an ESPN report, all NFL teams but the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears were represented as they watched the 2012 Heisman Winner go through his reps.

According to another report, Manziel didn’t have a perfect throwing day, but a couple of those misses should be blamed on Mike Evans (bobbling one out of bounds) and Travis Labhart (dropping one). He ended up hitting 61 of 64 passes, with NFL.com Charean Williams saying: “One bad pass” (she also said “Boom!” in the same tweet).

Manziel said: “I felt like it was good…(I) was obviously going for perfection. So had a couple balls hit the ground. One was on me. One was a little bit high. I could’ve got it down for him a little bit.

 

The workout was run by quarterback guru George Whitfield.

Houston Texans GM Rick Smith, who has the No.1 pick in the 2014 Draft (incidentally), said: “He made the throws that you look for and that you wanted to see, so it was good…It’s just a part of it and it was impressive.

 

Old Dominion refuses game with Alabama – reports

According to reports, Old Dominion University has refused to play a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium against Alabama in 2015.

According to a report by the Virginia-Pilot, ODU Athletic Director Wood Selig said that his team’s schedule was full, which cost the university a potential $1.3m payday.

Alabama itself didn’t approach ODU for the game….apparently ESPN was the first people to try and put together the match-up, probably for a promotional tool (pitiful though it would have been) of its all-important SEC Network.

Apparently, games against Eastern Michigan, Appalachian State, Norfolk State, and NC State are more important than getting an ass-kicking on ESPN.

We’ve already got 12 games,” Selig said. “I’d certainly touch base with (head coach) Bobby Wilderon this, but I don’t think playing a game against Alabama would be an advisable move given the infancy of our program.

According to FBSchedules.com, Alabama’s struggling to find home games despite ones against Wisconsin and Louisiana-Monroe both confirmed.

BOTTOM LINE: Let’s hope Alabama puts a bigger team on the schedule instead. 

 

 

 

Ranking the SEC’s Top Opening Weekend Games

In celebration of ESPN’s delivery of the College Football’s week-by-week schedule and team schedules (we’re just trying to get our breath back!), we’re going to rank the SEC’s top games for the opening weekend.

We don’t know who the new Johnny, Jadeveon, or Tre’s going to be. Or the new AJ, Zach or Aaron is going to be. Or Connor, Odell, Jarvis or Jeremy. We don’t know how Derek is going to set out his D at Vanderbilt, or Jeremy at Georgia. You know, if there’s enough Georgia players not in jail. We don’t know.

But this delivery of schedule gives us one thing during the Madness of March: Adrenaline.

So, without further ado:

1) Texas A&M at South Carolina

A new era begins in both camps. Texas A&M will be unveiling the new Johnny Manziel, while South Carolina will begin life without Connor Shaw, or on the other side of the ball, Jadeveon Clowney. One thing for certain: It’s going to be really, really loud in Columbia

2) Georgia at Clemson

Georgia’s new QB might be Hutson Mason, who sounds like a Georgia frat boy, it might not be. Clemson’s starting life without Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. Georgia needs a secondary, which is mostly spending its time getting arrested. Maybe this could be one of the greatest walk-on games in history.

3) LSU vs Wisconsin (at Reliant Stadium, Houston)

We’re not happy that this isn’t a home-and-home in Camp Randall and Tiger Stadium, but it’s still going to be a battle as to which fans can consume more booze (we’re taking LSU with spirits, Wisconsin with beers). Anyway, LSU will be needing a new QB, two great wide receivers, and will be introducing a pretty good running back kid could Fournette. We can’t wait.

4) Arkansas at Auburn

Last year’s National Championship finalists and current SEC champions play host to the guy who tried to slow down the Gus Malzahn offense. That’s right, folks. Bret Bielema’s not going to be popular in Jordan-Hare on August 30th. Mind you, his running back Alex Collins will be fun to watch. So will watching Bielema sweating it if Arkansas looks like it’s going to have another SEC 0-fer this season.

5) Ole Miss vs Boise State (in Atlanta)

Can’t wait to see Ole Miss back, and this offense should be flying after a season that promised much but really didn’t deliver a whole lot. On the other hand, Boise State’s starting a new era with new head coach Bryan Harsin after the departure of Chris Petersen to Washington. This could be pretty fun.

6) Alabama vs West Virginia (at JerryWorld in Arlington)

 

The “Who’s Alabama’s QB going to be?” intrigue would be far higher if Alabama didn’t have such a strong 1-2 punch at running back in Derrick Henry and TJ Yeldon (or the other way round). It might be intriguing to see how West Virginia’s DC, Tom Bradley, can stop Alabama’s offense. Bradley was a DC at Penn State, and very good one at that.

7) Temple at Vanderbilt

Derek Mason’s first game as coach at Vanderbilt, and this could be pretty interesting: Particularly as he doesn’t have talented receiver Jordan Matthews anymore. We can’t wait to see how Vandy’s defense is…which could be tested against Temple.

8) Idaho at Florida

This will only be interesting if either Florida can find a way to struggle against the Vandals in the first half, or if the Gators come out with something interesting offensively after a couple of years of some of the dullest football known to man, beast, or Gator.

9) Utah State vs Tennessee

Because there aren’t a lot of greater sights than Tennessee’s sea of orange in Neyland Stadium at night-time. And Tennessee fans will be looking forward to 2014….and praying it’s not a long one.

10) Southern Miss vs Mississippi State

More. Cowbell…..And Daz Prescott, the early SEC QB of the year candidate.

11) Tennessee Martin vs Kentucky

Kentucky made some steps in recruiting this year…can Mark Stoops turn it into victories?

12) South Dakota State vs Missouri

The Maty Mauk reign as Missouri quarterback starts here…..with what will be a monster victory over NOT NORTH Dakota State.

Richt’s reaction to Georgia arrests

Georgia coach Mark Richt has said that there will be “consequences” for the four players who were arrested for double-dipping on their stipend checks on Monday night.

“Obviously we had some guys that did foolish things, and there will be consequences”, he said in a press conference after Georgia’s Spring Practice on Tuesday, even though safety Tray Matthews, defensive linemen Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoach and wide receiver Uriah LeMay all practiced on Tuesday.

The four were charged with ‘theft by deception’ for cashing in stipend checks from the Georgia Athletic Department, totalling about $786 (or $71 each).

“You don’t want to act like it didn’t happen. We are going to address everything head on”, he said in a press conference.

He added: “Everybody better do it the Georgia way or go do it somewhere else”.

BOTTOM LINE: If the Nick Marshall case is anything to go by, the smart money’s on all four players being booted out of Georgia. 

Four UGA players arrested

Four Georgia players were arrested on Monday night for theft, the Athens Banner-Herald has reported.

The four arrested are safety Tray Matthews, defensive linemen Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoach and wide receiver Uriah LeMay.

The four were arrested and charged with ‘theft by deception’.

Here’s the definition of what the crime means on Reference.com: “There are a number of crimes in the state of Georgia that fall under the definition of theft by deception. Generally speaking, theft by deception occurs when a person uses deceit to acquire property, money or services from another individual, group of individuals or a business. A person may commit theft by deception intentionally or on accident, and the law and subsequent penalties are applied to cases where an individual deceived to obtain a service, or deceives to sell a service they have no intention of fulfilling to another party…..In the state of Georgia any crime related to theft, whether through the use of deceit or any other methods, are misdemeanors if the value of the service or property involved has a value of less than $500. These types of crimes are punishable by up to 18 months in a county jail. More severe offenses, involving monetary values over $500 are considered felony crimes with a maximum sentence of ten years in a state prison. In instances where a theft of deception occurred with a victim older than age 65, five years is the minimum enacted penalty.In Georgia any type of theft has minimum and maximum penalties attached with sentencing discretion left to the adjudicating judge, as long as his sentence falls within the established legal guidelines.

Macon.com reported that a victim was the UGA athletics department.

Mark Weitzer of the Athens Banner-Herald tweeted: “Tray Matthews, Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoach charged after alleged they double-dipped using a UGA-issued check“, and in a subsequent one, “Matthews, Taylor and DeLoach used mobile app to cash check and then went to store to cash same paper check, police say”, and in a third:UGA WR Uriah LeMay allegedly cashed a discarded check that was issued to a roommate who was a UGA athlete“, adding: “At issue with UGA football player arrests: 11 student tuition checks cashed twice each since January 2014. Reported initially March 3.

Matthews was charged on three counts, LeMay was charged on four counts, Taylor and DeLoach were arrested on two counts. The fact that these were misdemeanors mean that the monetary values of the crimes are punishable by up to 18 months in jail (see above).

The checks were each for $71, with the total cost $786.

UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said that he was asked why UGA would turn their own players. He told the Athens Banner-Herald: “It’s a fraud issue so they have to account for any type of money. From an accounting standpoint, they get audited every year. And No. 2, it’s a compliance issue, there are athletes that received double funding and they want to make sure people know it wasn’t them giving double. They’re almost obligated to report whether they wanted to or not. I’m not saying they didn’t want to.

Mark Richt said: “I’m aware of the situation and it will be handled in an appropriate way.”

BOTTOM LINE: The biggest loss to UGA will be Matthews. Not only is Matthews a promising player, but he started six games for the team. The Dawgs are still stinging from the dismissal of Josh Harvey-Clemons, who was thrown off the team for his inability not to consume marijuana. 

 

 

Slive coming back as SEC Commissioner

Mike Slive is going to be back for the 2014-5 academic year, the SEC Commissioner told reporters.

He said to the Birmingham News: “I’ve got too much going on…..I’ve got the (SEC) Network to work on. I’ve got football scheduling to solve. We’ve got the NCAA restructuring. We’ve got a lot of important issues to take care of. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

The report noted that Slive made $1.2m in 2012-3.

 

Leading Tennessee WR takes leave of absence

Tennessee wide receiver Alton ‘Pig’ Howard has taken a leave of absence and won’t play in the spring practice period with the team, say reports coming out of Knoxville.

The News Sentinel-owned GoVolsExtra  site said “Howard has been away from the team due to “personal reasons” and his long-term future with the Vols had not yet been decided.”

Howard had 44 receptions and 3 TDs in 2013, which led the offense-light Volunteers. He also had 388 receiving yards.

He is thought to be the Vols No.2 receiver behind Marquez North coming into the Spring.

BOTTOM LINE: This isn’t going to make the Vols’ already-tough schedule any easier. Howard may well return for the Spring, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely. Over to you, Marquez…

 

Clemson suspends four for Georgia clash

Clemson has suspended four players before the season-opening clash against Georgia.

Defensive end Corey Crawford, guard David Beasley, cornerback Garry Peters and offensive tackle Shaq Anthony were all told that they weren’t be going to Sanford Stadium to face the Bulldogs….who dismissed starting safety Josh Harvey-Clemons earlier this off-season.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said: “A huge part of our program is teaching accountability, responsibility and that there are consequences for your actions. These are four good young men, but they broke a team rule and as a result, they will each miss a game. I am hopeful that they will learn and grow from this and have a great 2014 season on and off the field.

BOTTOM LINE: Crawford’s going to be a major loss, particularly with Clemson trying to stop Gurshall. 

 

Dish Network to carry SEC Network

Dish Network and ESPN owner Disney have finally come to a deal over DVRing, according to reports. And in a side agreement between the two sides, SEC fans will be able to watch the new SEC Network when it comes in August.

The two sides had also come to an agreement which means that the Dish’s auto-hop function – which allows viewers not to have to view commercials – will be disabled for all ABC/ESPN programming. And while that may be annoying for some people DVRing SEC games or SEC Network shows, the good news is is that at least they’ll be watching them.

John Skipper, President, ESPN & Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks said in a statement: “We worked with DISH to smartly address the future of the multi-screen world on several levels.  Together, we are adding value to the traditional video subscription by making great content accessible across platforms and delivering new products, including our WatchESPN authenticated networks, the highly anticipated launch of the SEC ESPN Network, expanded distribution for Longhorn Network, and a reimagined ESPN Classic video-on-demand channel.  At the same time, we are creating opportunities to add new subscribers and introducing the value of a multichannel subscription to a small subset of broadband-only consumers.

BOTTOM LINE: Dish has 14 million customers – so it wasn’t in the interest of any of the parties NOT to come to a deal. If the Disney channels had been disabled, Dish could have lost a fortune….and seen their stock price hammered in the process. Great news for SEC fans!!

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