Posts Tagged ‘SEC’

Two years after a BCS title, could Auburn’s Chizik get fired?

Brian VanGorder (right) watches his career path take a sudden downturn. (AP photo)

Brian VanGorder (right) watches his career path take a discernible downturn. (AP photo)

Even as Auburn was en route to the BCS title, there was something unreal about the journey. Not that the 2010 Tigers weren’t the nation’s best team. But you wondered how they got that way.

This is a reference to Cam Newton, but not in the way you’d think. Nearly two years after it was reported that Newton’s dad had sought $180,000 to send his son to Mississippi State, we await the first bit of evidence that Auburn paid, or even offered, anything beyond a scholarship. The NCAA investigated at length and found nothing untoward. So far as can be discerned, Auburn won with Newton fair and square. That said …

Newton blew across the Plains in the time it takes to change, er, planes at Hartsfield-Jackson. (OK, slight exaggeration. But only slight.) He arrived from Blinn Junior College in January 2010, took his team to 14-0 the next January and, Heisman Trophy in tow, was gone. He was an Auburn …

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Dare we dream? A college football playoff might be at hand

The BCS title game: When SEC domination became overkill. (AP photo)

The BCS title game: When SEC domination became full-blown overkill. (AP photo)

I’d long since given up on the prospects of a college football playoff. The bowls were too powerful, I told myself. (Note that the word “bowl” comes before “championship” in “BCS.”) For all the hue and cry from the chattering class and the huddled masses, I figured nothing would ever get done.

Now I’m thinking something might.

Might, I said. Might.

I’m thinking the sight of two SEC teams playing for the BCS title was enough to push the leagues that didn’t want any part of a playoff into the we-need-to-reassess camp. I’m thinking that the Pac-12 and the Big Ten, the two leagues who persisted in seeing the Rose Bowl as the only postseason game that mattered, are getting antsy over being marginalized.

(The joke among college football writers has long been that this is the only sport held hostage by a parade. Meaning the Tournament of Roses thingy.)

Back in 2008, SEC commissioner Mike Slive, of all …

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Why Bama would be better off NOT playing for the SEC title

"Best of luck against Arkansas. Seriously!" (AP photo)

"Best of luck against Arkansas. Seriously!" (AP photo)

As we discussed in this space last week, Alabama might not play for the conference title even if Arkansas beats LSU on Friday. For Alabama to win the tiebreaker and qualify for the SEC championship game, No. 3 Arkansas would have to pass No. 1 LSU in the BCS standings, and there’s no guarantee the Hogs will do that.

And if I’m Alabama, I’m thinking I’d just as soon not play for the SEC title. If I’m the Tide, I’ve already got what I need.

Assuming Alabama beats Auburn on Saturday, the Tide would surely be sitting No. 2 in the BCS rankings with one week to go. But the team that represents the West in the SEC championship game would have to face Georgia, which hasn’t lost since Sept. 10, and would have to do it in the Georgia Dome. If you’re all but assured of a berth in the BCS title game, why risk losing?

Yes, we’ve come 180 degrees since 2007, when Georgia led LSU in the next-to-last BCS standings but was passed by the …

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Auburn to the SEC East? It’s a cushy move – for the moment

Howdy there, Tiger folks. Welcome back to the neighborhood. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Howdy there, folks. Welcome back to the neighborhood. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Provided Kenneth Starr and Baylor don’t get litigious again, Missouri is expected to become the SEC’s 14th member at any moment. And with Missouri and Texas A&M arriving as Nos. 14 and 13, somebody from the current SEC West will have to move to the East for the sake of balance. Most folks expect the mover to be Auburn — although Alabama, being its selfish self, is making noises about preferring that its arch-enemy stay put — and how would Auburn feel about upping sticks?

Pretty darn good.

Auburn is based in the Central Time Zone by the grace of 25 miles. It’s almost as close to Atlanta’s southern suburbs as to the capital of Alabama. The Tigers’ greatest rival has always been the school in Tuscaloosa, duh, but for most of Auburn’s existence its next-biggest rivals were Georgia and Florida and Tennessee. (And don’t forget Georgia Tech, which is now out of reach in the ACC, which will require …

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Steve Spurrier on a rampage: Rips a columnist, dumps Garcia

Here's Steve Spurrier, hard at work. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Here's Steve Spurrier, working hard on his public image. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Having once received a handwritten letter from Steve Spurrier in which I, humble scribe, was described using a term most often reserved for the barnyard, I know full well that the man with the massive ego isn’t above taking umbrage over the slightest of slights. So it was with some amusement that I learned of the fit he threw in the direction of the State’s Ron Morris today.

Short version: The Evil Genius walked into his weekly press conference and ripped into Morris, who was sitting in the room. (Information is provided by WISTV.com, which also offers a helpful video of Spurrier’s bizarre spiel.) The E.G. informed the assembled media that he needed to “get something off my chest.” He then took Morris to task for a column he’d written this spring on Spurrier’s “borrowing” of Bruce Ellington from the South Carolina basketball program. Morris’ description of the E.G.’s “courting” of Ellington, …

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The SEC needs Missouri more for image than for football

Former Mizzou man Sean Weatherspoon, who's now a Falcon. (AP photo)

Former Mizzou man Sean Weatherspoon, now a Falcon. (AP photo)

Missouri’s curators voted Tuesday to ponder the school’s Big 12 exit. Put simply, Missouri’s curators voted — unanimously, FYI — to bail on the Big 12. At issue now is what the school would bring to its new home, which is apt to be the SEC.

Here were pause to note that some folks see Missouri as a better fit in the Big Ten — the Tigers already have a heated basketball rivalry with Illinois — but the Big Ten hasn’t been overt in its ardor to expand. The Big Ten might be happy as is. The SEC needs a 14th member to offset Texas A&M.

The SEC also needs Missouri for another reason: This whole round of conference-hopping has given big-time college sports the look of me-first-and-everybody-else-last Wall Street, and that’s not the look you want in the year 2011. (It’s reality, but it’s still an unseemly image for institutions of supposed higher learning.) Missouri plays pretty good football and good basketball, but that’s …

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Hatefest: That’ll be the Big 12 if Texas A&M is forced to stay

"Before I'm through, I'll impeach Mike Slive!" (AP photo)

"Before I'm through, I'll impeach Mike Slive!" (AP photo)

OK, next question. What happens if Texas A&M is forced to stay in the Big 12-which-is-really-10-and-is-going-on-nine? Wouldn’t that be the grouchiest family this side of the Kardashians?

You’d have everybody hating Texas and its TV network. (Which perhaps will offer its own reality-based Kardashian spin-off: “Bruce Jenner and Lamar Odom take Bevo shopping on Rodeo Drive.”) You’d have everybody despising the Aggies for wanting to leave. You’d have Nebraska and Colorado … actually you wouldn’t, seeing as how they’re already gone. You’d have Oklahoma assessing options, and no school has the options OU does. You’d have Oklahoma State wondering what Oklahoma is doing.

You’d have a mess so panoramic that, at some point, somebody’s going to say: “Was it really such a great idea to threaten to go to court to keep this conference together?” And then everybody would start hating Baylor, who’s seen as the ringleader in the …

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The wild scramble begins: Texas A&M is leaving the Big 12

And the Aggies come marching into the SEC. Who'll join them? (AP photo)

And the Aggies come marching into the SEC. Who'll be joining them? (AP photo)

The mad shuffle has begun. Texas A&M has told the Big 12 not to leave the light on for any Aggies anymore, and if you’re counting you’ll note that the Big 12 has been reduced to a Puny 9. That’s the way of this zero-sum game: Your loss is somebody else’s gain.

Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said in a statement Wednesday: “We are seeking to generate greater visibility nationwide for Texas A&M and our championship-caliber student-athletes, as well as secure the necessary and stable financial resources to support our athletic and academic programs.” And if that doesn’t sound like, “Hellooooo, SEC!” … well, my name’s not Rockey Felker.

It’s all but certain the SEC will seek to balance the Aggies’ arrival by enfranchising a 14th team, but these endeavors can assume a momentum unforeseen. (Back in 2003, who’d have thought the ACC would wind up with Boston College and not Syracuse?) The SEC might …

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SEC expansion: It’ll happen soon, and there’ll be a 14th team

One of these teams would balance Texas A&M nicely. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

One of these teams would balance Texas A&M, and not the one in gold. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

For a dizzying minute, it seemed Texas A&M might land in the SEC soon enough to qualify for the 2011 conference title. Then the SEC offered no invitation and the Aggies decided to take a moment to assess options, and some folks are taking this to mean the whole deal — not there ever was an actual deal, but you take my meaning — is off.

To such folks, I offer this from Jackson Browne, who may or may not have ever seen a college football game: “Don’t think it won’t happen just because it hasn’t happened yet.”

The key point: Texas A&M wants out of the Big 12 because it hates the thought of sharing a shrunken conference with the overweening Texas Longhorns, who are about to launch their own TV network in collaboration with, wouldn’t you know, ESPN. Before it jumps, A&M wants to find a soft place to land. The SEC has made it clear it’s willing to be that place.

No, the SEC hasn’t …

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Texas A&M to the SEC will happen; what about Oklahoma?

One of these schools could be SEC-bound. The other might be, too. (AP photo)

One of these schools figures to be SEC-bound. The other school might follow. (AP photo)

Let’s go ahead and make the call, Election Night style, and give Texas A&M to the SEC. On Wednesday, Texas governor Rick Perry, a former Aggie yell leader, told the Dallas Morning News, “As far as I know, conversations are being had.” A&M soon released a statement that was in no way a denial, and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe told the Austin American-Statesman he was taking the reports “very seriously.”

That’s an awful lot of hullabaloo for one August day, but it only underscores the rickety nature of the Big 12, which is technically down to 10 members — Colorado’s in the Pac-12, Nebraska in the Big Ten — and has no place to expand. Indeed, the Big 12 as is might as well be renamed Texas And Everybody Else, seeing as how the tent-pole school has struck its own deal with ESPN to launch the immodestly named Longhorn Network.

If you’re Texas A&M, what’s your motivation to remain in a dying …

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