Category Archives: Around the SEC

Alabama tops coaches poll, Auburn No. 23

The preseason estimation of the coaches in the USA Today poll is out and there were not many surprises at the top Alabama got 55 of the 59 first-place votes but only 77 more total points than No. 2 Ohio State.

Just a reminder: Nick Saban is a voter in the poll and he previously said he didn’t think Alabama should be voted the preseason No. 1. So, we might have an idea where one of the four Ohio State votes originated.

Overall, there are six SEC schools in the top 25 and five of Alabama’s opponents on the list.

Rank; Team (first-place votes); 2009 record; Points; Final 2009 rank
1. Alabama (55); 14-0; 1,469; 1
2. Ohio State (4); 11-2; 1,392; 5
3. Florida; 13-1; 1,245; 3
4. Texas; 13-1; 1,240; 2
5. Boise State; 14-0; 1,215; 4
6. Virginia Tech; 10-3; 1,052; 10
7. TCU; 12-1; 1,051; 6
8. Oklahoma; 8-5; 1,035; NR
9. Nebraska; 10-4; 1,001; 14
10. Iowa; 11-2; 952; 7
11. Oregon; 10-3; 940; 11
12. Wisconsin; 10-3; 778; 16
13. Miami (Fla.); 9-4; 728; 19
14. Penn State; 11-2; 508; 8
15. Pittsburgh; 10-3; 492; 15
16. LSU; 9-4; 476; 17
17. Georgia Tech; 11-3; 455; 13
18. North Carolina; 8-5; 445; NR
19. Arkansas; 8-5; 438; NR
20. Florida State; 7-6; 374; NR
21. Georgia; 8-5; 312; NR
22. Oregon State; 8-5; 263; NR
23. Auburn; 8-5; 260; NR
24t. Utah; 10-3; 169; 18
24t. West Virginia; 9-4; 169; 22

Others receiving votes

Cincinnati (12-1) 135; Houston (10-4) 76; Brigham Young (11-2) 66; Arizona (8-5) 65; Ole Miss(9-4) 48; Clemson (9-5) 44; Stanford (8-5) 41; Connecticut (8-5) 40; Notre Dame (6-6) 38; South Carolina (7-6) 38; Washington (5-7) 26; Missouri (8-5) 23; Navy (10-4) 12; Oklahoma State (9-4) 11; Boston College (8-5) 10; Michigan State (6-7) 10; Arizona State (4-8) 6; California (8-5) 6; Texas Tech (9-4) 5; South Florida (8-5) 4; Texas A&M (6-7) 3; Northwestern (8-5) 2; Temple (9-4) 2; Central Michigan (12-2) 1; Mississippi State (5-7) 1; Nevada (8-5) 1; Northern Illinois (7-6) 1; Southern Methodist (8-5) 1.

Follow the SEC basketball coaches teleconference

It might be something. It might be nothing, but I’ll be listening and participating so to pass along any important information from the SEC basketball summer teleconference beginning now.

We’ll see if John Calipari gets questions about the Eric Bledsoe issue or what Anthony Grant has to say about the upcoming season.

Just follow the action on the twitter feed below.

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Spring SEC football coaches teleconference

For all the snap judgments from this morning’s SEC teleconference, swing on over to the Daily Bama Blog’s home on Twitter.

That address is

No good day for SEC in NCAA

First Florida blew two chances to beat BYU in the NCAA first round only to lose in double overtime.

After that. Vanderbilt wasted its four-seed in one of those memorable last-second losses to Murray State. That makes the SEC 0-2 in NCAA games today with Tennessee and Kentucky still left to play today.

Seriously, there aren’t many days in the sporting calendar better than today. And with all the great games and fantastic finishes, this preoccupied sports writer is having a hard time concentrating on the task at hand.

In case you missed the Vandy/Murray ending, check out this crude video captured by a complete stranger.

Torrance, Mitchell make SEC teams

Here is the list straight from the SEC on all-conference teams:

First Team All-SEC
*Trey Thompkins, Georgia – F, 6-10, 247, So., Lithonia, Ga.
*DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky – F 6-11, 270, Fr., Mobile, Ala.
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky – F 6-9, 235, Jr., Huntington, W.Va.
*John Wall, Kentucky – G 6-4, 195, Fr., Raleigh, N.C.
Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State – F, 6-9, 230, Sr., Brownsville, Tenn.
*Devan Downey, South Carolina – G, 5-9, 170, Sr., Chester, S.C.
Wayne Chism, Tennessee – C, 6-9, 246, Sr., Jackson, Tenn.
*Jermaine Beal, Vanderbilt – G, 6-3, Sr., 205, DeSoto, Texas

Second Team All-SEC

Mikhail Torrance, Alabama – G, 6-5, 210, Sr., Eight Mile, Ala.
Courtney Fortson, Arkansas – G, 5-11, 180, So., Montgomery, Ala.
Erving Walker, Florida – G, 5-10, 171, So., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Tasmin Mitchell, LSU – F, 6-7, 238, Sr., Denham Springs, La.
Chris Warren, Ole Miss – G, 5-10, 168, Jr., Orlando, Fla.
Dee Bost, Mississippi State – G, 6-2, 170, So., Concord, N.C.
A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt – C, 6-11, Jr., 255, Sydney, Australia
Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt – F, 6-7, So., 210, Norrkoping, Sweden

SEC All-Freshman Team
Tony Mitchell, Alabama – F, 6-6, 185, Fr., Swainsboro, Ga.
*Marshawn Powell, Arkansas – F, 6-7, 220, Fr., Newport News, Va.
Kenny Boynton, Florida – G, 6-2, 183, Fr., Pompano Beach, Fla.
*Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky – G, 6-1, 190, Fr., Birmingham, Ala.
*DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky – F 6-11, 270, Fr., Mobile, Ala.
*John Wall, Kentucky – G 6-4, 195, Fr., Raleigh, N.C.
Reginald Buckner, Ole Miss – F, 6-8, 233, Fr., Memphis, Tenn.
*John Jenkins, Vanderbilt – G, 6-4, 215, Hendersonville, Tenn.

SEC All-Defensive Team
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky – F 6-9, 235, Jr., Huntington, W.Va.
*Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State – F, 6-9, 230, Sr., Brownsville, Tenn.
Devan Downey, South Carolina – G, 5-9, 170, Sr., Chester, S.C.
Sam Muldrow, South Carolina – F, 6-9, 220, Jr., Florence, S.C.
Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt – F, 6-7, So., 210, Norrkoping, Sweden

SEC Coach of the Year: Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt

SEC Player of the Year: John Wall, Kentucky

SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Ray Shipman, Florida

SEC Freshman of the Year: DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky

SEC Sixth-Man of the Year: John Jenkins, Vanderbilt

SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State*

Recruiting: It’s getting serious now

Signing Day is just two non-signing days away. So now it gets serious. Because recruiting, of course is a close second to playing in the world of college football.

Now that we’re close to making everything official, let’s take a quick look at what we think we know. While enjoying one of the better dinners of the year last evening, this reporter missed the Tide’s latest commitment from a defensive back, JUCO star Dequan Menzie.

That makes 26 (that we know of).

The SEC now allows 28 signings per year. Do the math, and that leaves two available. But do that equation in pencil because nothing is certain this time of year. These recruits have been known to change their mind five times in four hours. But this is when it gets fun.

So stick with the Bama Blog for all the updates.

Iron Bowl week theme: Efficiency

Nick Saban preached it, then practiced it Monday afternoon. With a short week to prepare for Auburn, the key is being efficient. He went on to give the fastest moving Monday news conference of the season with precise answers and not much dead time.

There simply isn’t a minute to waste.

Here are the other highlights from Monday:

  • Javier Arenas was named SEC special teams player of the week after breaking the league mark for punt returns for touchdown Saturday. No big surprise there.
  • Colin Peek (a.k.a. Holla McGhee) met reporters for the first time in a while. He spoke about his knee injury and the fight to get back. Read more about that later. We’ve missed his entertaining interviews.
  • The theme of this Iron Bowl will be Alabama’s ability to shut down Auburn’s running game. Also, you will get to read more later in the week.

Some light Mischief Night reading

Before smashing your neighbors’ pumpkins and causing other such havoc, take a look at some of the Alabama-related reading listed before. (Disclaimer: The Bama Blog does not condone pumpkin destruction or any other vandalism. Play nice.)

  • First of all, it’s worth noting that Saturday is Nick Saban’s 58th birthday. That’s right, he’s a Halloween baby.
  • Check out this Q&A with Saban on the Wall Street Journal Web site. The what? Wall Street Journal? Yeah, I was surprised too. And if you’re looking for stock tips, Saban offers none.
  • On another Saban note, he spoke in Mobile yesterday. Read what he said about the Tennessee block in the Mobile Press-Register here.
  • In yet another twist in the SEC coaches vs. officials, the league changed its rules regarding public criticism of referees. Read more here.
  • On a non-Alabama note, check out this story about my high school alma mater and the rivalry week hi jinks that apparently offended the little brother. Another proud day as a Male High School alumnus.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for Sunday’s story about a certain former Tide running back’s transition to the NFL.

Kiffin complains, then scolded

You may have seen this story about Lane Kiffin’s complaints about officiating in the Alabama game.

Well, as expected, the Southeastern Conference did not like the criticism. So they punished him. Here is the release distributed by the league:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Oct. 26, 2009) – Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive has issued a public reprimand to University of Tennessee head football coach Lane Kiffin for his public comments concerning officiating Sunday.

“Coach Kiffin has violated the Southeastern Conference Code of Ethics,” Slive said. “SEC Bylaw 10.5.4 clearly states that coaches, players and support personnel shall refrain from all public criticism of officials.”

“This is the second reprimand for Coach Kiffin in this calendar year. Coach Kiffin is on notice that for any further violations of SEC policies will subject him to additional penalties including suspension.”

Notes that didn’t make print

Of course there is never enough space in the printed edition of the newspaper to get everything we’d like to you, the reader. Here are a few of the notes that were hacked from Friday’s edition.

Mike Slive didn’t even try to hide the smile on his face.

Times are good for the Southeastern Conference commissioner. Speaking at the league’s basketball media day in Birmingham, Slive was more than happy to brag on the recent accomplishments.

From the television contracts to the high expectations surrounding the apparent return to glory for basketball in the conference, Slive had a reason to grin.

Even the excitement over a few off-field, seemingly non-issue stories speak to the SEC’s ability to capture the public’s imagination. Those issues include Tennessee football’s attempt to wear orange jerseys Saturday at Alabama and South Carolina’s complaint over the Tide kicker’s use of white tape to mark the spot for field goals and extra points.

“It just goes to show you the interest in the league, the competitiveness of the league,” Slive said. “There isn’t anything that happens in this league that doesn’t create interest, speculation, curiosity and further adds to the excitement that we have. In my office I tell my staff, ‘If you don’t like this, just wait five minutes. We’re going to have something else to deal with.’ ”

On the injury front, Alabama coach Nick Saban said the minor injuries that kept a few of his players off the field last Saturday are healing.

Javier Arenas (ribs), Josh Chapman (abdominal), and Dre Kirkpatrick (back) all practiced through the week and appear to be available for Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. CDT visit from Tennessee.

Saban also said linebackers Cory Reamer and Chris Jordan had “bumps and bruises, but working their way through it.”

Basketball: UK picked to win league, Bama third in West

Sorry to interrupt the football momentum, but the Southeastern Conference decided to release its preseason media poll. The John Calipari lovefest continued as the young Wildcats were picked to win the conference.

Alabama was third in the west behind Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Auburn picked up the least number of votes in the West.

There weren’t any Crimson Tide players on the first or second teams of all-conference teams. And now, the raw data:

SEC Champion: Kentucky (20); Mississippi State (3); Tennessee (2)

Eastern Division Points

Kentucky (23) 148

Tennessee (2) 117

Vanderbilt 90

South Carolina 77

Florida 68

Georgia 25

Western Division Points

Mississippi State (22) 144

Ole Miss (2) 120

Alabama 84

LSU (1) 70

Arkansas 63

Auburn 44

FIRST TEAM ALL-SEC Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown

Devan Downey, South Carolina G 5-9 175 Sr. Chester, S.C.

*Patrick Patterson, Kentucky F 6-9 235 Jr. Huntington, W.Va.

Tyler Smith, Tennessee G/F 6-7 215 Sr. Pulaski, Tenn.

Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State F 6-9 230 Sr. Brownsville, Tenn.

Terrico White, Ole Miss G 6-5 211 So. Memphis, Tenn.

SECOND TEAM ALL-SEC Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown

Tasmin Mitchell, LSU F 6-7 235 Sr. Denham Springs, La.

A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt C 6-11 250 Jr. Sydney, Australia

DeWayne Reed, Auburn G 6-1 175 Sr. Houston, Texas

John Wall, Kentucky G 6-4 195 Fr. Raleigh, N.C.

Chris Warren, Ole Miss G 5-10 165 Jr. Orlando, Fla.

SEC Player of the Year: Patrick Patterson, Kentucky

Alabama/Ole Miss replay

If you’d like to relive Saturday’s 22-3 Alabama win over Ole Miss, check out the replay on the SEC Digital Network.

The entire game is online, commercial free. Just click here to get to the video.

After that, check back here a little later today for some extra analysis from the day after the sixth win of the Crimson Tide season.

South Carolina kick time a mystery

Once again, the networks gave Alabama fans a cliffhanger. This time it’s the homecoming game with South Carolina on Oct. 17 that will remain a mystery until Saturday at the earliest.

The SEC announced CBS exercised its “6-day window” for the second straight week. The same thing when down last week for this Saturday’s Ole Miss game.

We do know the two options.

1. CBS picks it fort the 2:30 p.m. CDT slot
2. ESPN gets it for a 6:45 p.m. kick.

McClain named SEC defender of week

Not much surprise here. The SEC named Rolando McClain its defensive player of the week for his 12-tackle game at Kentucky. The Decatur product also played a part in three of the four Wildcat turnovers including one interception.

Through five games, McClain holds a comfortable lead in the total tackles list at Alabama. His 38 includes 4 1/2 for loss.

Check back later for an interesting sidebar from McClain’s appearance in front of reporters today in Tuscaloosa.

SEC teleconference notes

The highlights from Nick Saban’s SEC teleconference call:

  • Dont’a Hightower had successful knee surgery although Saban didn’t say when it was performance and which ligaments were involved.
  • A reporter from Gainesville asked about Saban’s strategy for pulling players late in blowout wins. Saban recognized the obvious connection between the question and Tim Tebow’s injury and said it wasn’t a bad move having the starting quarterback on the field in a 31-7 game in the third quarter. A touchdown and on-sides kick recovery has Kentucky right back in it.
  • “I don’t think of football as a dangerous game,” Saban said. Injuries happen in football just like they do in any other sport, he added, but the NCAA carefully looks at the rules that keep players safe.
  • The ugly “comparison” question was asked about the SEC West and last season’s Big 12 South. Saban hates that C-word. He didn’t make one, but reiterated his view on the SEC West’s depth.
  • Alabama plays neutral-site games like the Virginia Tech opener in Atlanta to prepare the team for road games. This Saturday’s game with Kentucky is Alabama’s first “true road game.”
  • When talking about the linebacker situation, Saban said Hightower’s versatility makes him especially difficult to replace. Because of that, more than one player will be needed to fill those jobs ranging from inside nickle linebacker to defensive end pass rusher.