SEC: Media circus descends on Tuscaloosa, Baton Rouge

(AP photo)

SEC links for Tuesday:

- Game week is definitely here for LSU-Alabama, No. 1 vs. No. 2. Chase Goodbread of the Tuscaloosa News writes:

ESPN’s College Game Day will descend upon Tuscaloosa Thursday for a game the network isn’t even carrying. The broadcasting network, CBS, moved the kickoff to prime time at 7 p.m. (CT). It will be a rare regular-season matchup of the nation’s No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams, with potential national championship implications. But none of that is of real importance to Saban, and for the team, the week will largely be routine.

 “I think everyone out there thinks there’s some special formula or magic that, when you play in games like this, you go do different things to get ready for the game,” Saban said. “But the most important thing is that you prepare for the game, that your players are focused on playing their best football.”

- Michael Casagrande of the Anniston Star reports:

Look no further than the front steps of Coleman Coliseum on Monday morning for clues this isn’t any other week. Not in Tuscaloosa. Not with this game Saturday.

The ticket scalper with the “I need tickets” sign looked to snatch up tickets from students for $400 a pop. Across the parking lot covered in news vans, 85 of the more celebrated Alabama students settled into the football complex for their most scrutinized work week in recent memory.

- Les East of The Advocate reports on the media crush:

LSU players spent part of their Monday being interviewed by CBS Sports. ESPN will be broadcasting live from campus throughout the day Tuesday. Sports Illustrated, USA Today and the New York Times have been interviewing players and coaches since last week.

The same type of stuff is going on in Tuscaloosa, Ala., site of the game between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama on Saturday.

The media demands of this week and even during last week’s open date are unprecedented for an LSU regular-season game and rival those for a Southeastern Conference Championship or a BCS Championship game.

- Edward Aschoff of the ESPN.com on the $10,000 tickets for LSU-Bama:

As of Monday, there were two Alabama-LSU tickets available for $10,423.14 … each.

Let that process for a second. Tickets for a college football game at the beginning of November are worth more than $10,000. This isn’t the Super Bowl. This isn’t the national championship. This isn’t even the SEC championship.

And if that doesn’t break your piggy bank, the $16.95 shipping charges if you want that ticket shipped overnight might.

Oh, and these aren’t even close to being the best seats out there. They are in the lower level of the end zone and in row 25. You can choose between seat 17 or 18. That doesn’t come with catered food or secure you from sitting behind someone who you might consider a giant.

- Harry King of the Arkansas News on the Razorbacks’ 7-1 record:

Never has a 7-1 Arkansas needed as much defending as this team. High expectations are the source of the criticism.

Soccer moms, and dads, too, on Sunday morning described the 31-28 victory over Vanderbilt as a gift and an early Christmas present and proclaimed the Razorbacks to be lucky, or fortunate, or both.

The only counter was to cite previously unbeatens Clemson and Kansas State and wonder out loud how many style points they would give for a W during the weekend. There is no such thing as an ugly win.

- Tennessee loses Brent Brewer, reports Andrew Gribble of News-Sentinel:

The strong safety tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the third quarter of Saturday’s 14-3 loss to South Carolina. Because of the timing of the injury, Brewer likely won’t be available for spring practice.

Brewer started all eight games this year but struggled to build off his strong finish to the 2010 season. He finishes with 24 tackles, three of which went for a loss.

“Unfortunate,” coach Derek Dooley said Monday at his weekly press conference. “But we got to put the next guy in and go play,”

- Jeff Lockridge of the Tennessean writes on Vandy’s offensive line:

Said left tackle Wesley Johnson, a former MBA standout: “I think that’s us being more cohesive as a unit. Zac (Stacy) is running so hard. It’s awesome blocking for him because he’s breaking so many tackles.

“I know earlier in the season we were expecting to score every time, but now it’s becoming more of a reality. I think our confidence has gone up a little bit. We used to be hoping and thinking we could. Now we know we can.”

The AP writes from Starkville:

On Monday, Mullen said MSU’s game in Lexington may have provided a decent blueprint for how he will use his quarterbacks going forward. Then again, he said, it may not.

Mississippi State (4-4) hosts Tennessee-Martin (5-3) on Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium. The Skyhawks play in the Football Championship Subdivision.

“Found a good one that worked last Saturday,” said Mullen, who has been cryptic all season about his quarterback race. “You know, there’s no exact formula in how you do that or how it works. A lot of it will depend on practice. It was hard to pick a starter last week. They both performed very well in practice over the course of the week, especially as the game got closer.”

- Seth Emerson of the Ledger-Enquirer on Jarvis Jones:

Once Jarvis Jones started emerging as a star for the Georgia defense, it became inevitable that talk would arise that the outside linebacker might be a candidate to leave early for the NFL.

No chance, Jones said on Monday.

“Not at all. I’m going to be here as long as I can,” Jones said when asked if leaving early for the NFL would be something he would consider. “Right now I don’t think I can play in the NFL anyway.”

Jones is a redshirt sophomore, having sat out last season after transferring from Southern California.

- SEC games this week:

  • Vanderbilt at Florida 12:15 PM SEC Network
  • New Mexico State at Georgia 12:30 PM CSS
  • Ole Miss at Kentucky 3:30 PM ESPNU
  • Middle Tennessee at Tennessee 7:00 PM FSN
  • South Carolina at Arkansas 7:15 PM ESPN
  • UT Martin at Mississippi St. 7:30 PM CSS
  • LSU at Alabama 8:00 PM CBS
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