SEC links and notes for Tuesday:
– Oh, those Maryland uniforms. OK, this has nothing to do with the SEC, and everything to do with the SEC. On ESPN last night, the Terps took Georgia’s Power Ranger uniforms from Saturday and went to the next level. Yes, the Maryland unis were hideous. But they were also tremendous conversation starters. They lit up the twitterverse. And who talked about Maryland football before? Besides Boomer Esiason and Scott Van Pelt? Lost in the fashion criticism was that Maryland quarterback is Danny O’Brien is pretty good.
And remember that Florida and Georgia wore the Nike Pro Combat uniforms first. Kids apparently love those things, although my 24-year-old son, upon seeing the Maryland uniforms, remarked, “Has this turned into the XFL?”
And we’re the Maryland uniforms any worse than Derek Dooley’s orange britches?
– Should SEC schools be worried about football attendance this season? Florida’s 137-game consecutive sell-out streak ended with the Gators’ opening 41-3 win over Florida Atlantic. Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun writes: “It was the beginning of a new era at Florida and also the end of an old one. Will Muschamp’s debut was a success, but the 137-game streak ended for sellouts at The Swamp. Florida officials were quick to point out Florida Atlantic returned a bunch if tickets, but it’s not like the first time a team has returned tickets.
“Certainly, when it costs a family of four $200 just for tickets to see the Gators play (not to mention everything else that goes along with a UF game), that family is going to think twice. More annoying was that the game started with thousands of empty seats and by the start of the fourth quarter those seats and many more were empty again. Nice way to welcome your new coach. The Back Nine has decided to blame everything on the economy. Those three interceptions the Gators threw? The economy. Georgia’s defense? The economy.”
Mike Binachi of the Orlando Sentinel weighs in on the attendance issue.
– There is no stopping the Super Conferences. So why even try? Mr. SEC has the roundup on all the supposed comings and goings. I still say Missouri or Virginia Tech will be the league’s 14th member, not Florida State or Clemson. I see Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State ending up in the Pac-16. I see Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State scrambling.
– Bad news, Georgia’s Christian Robinson is shutting down his twitter account. It’s not because of anything Robinson tweeted. It is because of what was tweeted to Robinson after Georgia’s 35-21 loss to Boise State on Saturday. “I got some pretty nasty stuff,” Robinson said Monday night. “Right after the game, my phone was lighting up with just some nasty things. I’ve gotten some bad things before, but it was just a different level where I said I’m not going to deal with this right now.”
This goes back to my contention that fans may accuse the media of being negative, but the fans are much more negative than the media would ever be in print or broadcast. Some fans, at least. Just check out my game liveblog sometime when either Kentucky football or basketball is behind. Last Thursday, one reader wanted Joker Phillips fired at halftime.
– Georgia had a tough enough time with Marcus Lattimore last year. Now the Bulldogs are undermanned at linebacker, with Lattimore and South Carolina coming to Athens on Saturday. Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree is out four to six weeks with a broken bone in his right foot.
– Auburn-Mississippi State this Saturday shapes up as an important SEC West matchup. The winner may have a chance of challenging LSU, Alabama and Arkansas in the division. The loser has basically no shot. Mississippi State looked impressive in mashing Memphis 59-14 last Saturday. Auburn had to rally to beat visiting Utah State 42-38 in a game that revealed a lot of Tiger weak spots.
“Little things have got to get fixed,” defensive back T’Sharvan Bell said on Monday. “Little things turn into big things, so we can’t continue to let the little things continue on each week. We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and fix the little things.”
– Tennessee made a good professional hire in Dave Hart, the former Florida State AD who was most recently the chief operating officer at Alabama. Yes, Hart’s tenure at FSU ended in controversy. But C.M. Newton’s former player will bring an experienced hand to an athletic department that was in disarray.
– I voted LSU No. 1 in the AP poll this week, moving the Tigers ahead of Alabama and Oklahoma. But Peter Finney of the Times-Picayune thinks Les Miles’ club needs Jordan Jefferson back at quarterback. He writes, “I mention legs because, if LSU is to contend for a national championship, the Tigers will need Jefferson’s legs as much as his arm to join the legs of Spencer Ware (99 yards) and Michael Ford (96 yards) that helped put the Oregon Ducks to rest in an opening 40-27 victory in Arlington, Texas. You went away with the feeling the Tigers won their first outing the way they hope to keep on winning, and that is with a defense that will keep them in every game, with a run-first offense that will wear down the enemy.”
– Ole Miss running back Brandon Bolden has a slight ankle fracture. And the Rebels will start quarterback Zach Stoudt this Saturday. If you remember, Stoudt is a transfer from Louisville who could not hold down a job with the Cardinals. (I can hear U of L fans now, “Our rejects are SEC starters.”)
– Turns out Joker Phillips is not the only SEC coach unhappy with his receivers after the first weekend. Alabama’s Nick Saban was none too pleased with his wide outs after the Crimson Tide’s romp over Kent State last Saturday. “I think there was a lot of anxiety,” Saban said Monday. “I don’t think we had very good ball security. I don’t think we looked balls in. I think we played in a hurry – cut the routes a little bit short, don’t do it exactly right, which sort of affects the timing of what you’re trying to do and makes it a little bit more difficult for everybody.”
The Tide could get a boost this Saturday at Penn State. Ohio State transfer Duron Carter, son of Cris Carter, is expected to make his Bama debut. And Saban glossed over the performance of Marquis Maze, who caught eight balls for 118 yards.