Looking at today’s SEC football matchups


For SEC links, let’s look at today’s conference games:

Troy at Georgia (12:00 – SEC)

Georgia must shake it off after losing at South Carolina 38-35, then facing a week of questions over why offensive coordinator Mike Bobo didn’t use star tailback Todd Gurley more. The Bulldogs think their passing game is ready to break out today. Quarterback Hutson Mason has thrown for less than 200 yards in each of Georgia’s first two games. Troy is 0-3 and lost to Abilene Christian last week.

Florida at Alabama (3:30 – CBS)

Alabama’s defense is looking forward to an old-fashioned smash-mouth football game. Florida’s defense is coming off a Saturday in which it gave up 17 second-half points to Kentucky. Today is a huge barometer game for the Gators under Will Muschamp, who is trying to erase memories of last season’s 4-8 disaster and keep his job.

Indiana at Missouri (4:00 – SEC)

Missouri is 3-0 behind quarterback Maty Mauk, who has thrown for 12 touchdowns with three interceptions thus far. Indiana lost 45-42 at Bowling Green last week. Indiana does have a potent offense, while Missouri’s defense has allowed 52 points in its first three games. IU tailback Tevin Coleman is averaging 218.5 rushing yards per game.

Texas A&M at SMU (3:30 – ABC/ESPN2)

A&M has won its first three games by a combined score of 163-21, and it doesn’t figure to change much today. SMU is in disarray after head coach June Jones abruptly announced his retirement. The Mustangs lost their first two games by a combined 82 points. Aggies quarterback Kenny Hill has thrown for 11 touchdowns without an interception thus far.

Mississippi State at LSU (7:00 – ESPN)

Mississippi State thinks this is the year it can upset the Tigers in Death Valley. Dan Mullen’s team lost 29-7 and 37-17 its last two trips to Tiger Stadium. “You’d better grease your shoulders because it’s about to be a hard fought game,” said MSU sophomore safety Kivon Coman. LSU’s defense will have to contain State quarterback Dak Prescott, who rushed for 129 yards last Saturday in win at South Alabama. It’s the league opener for both teams.

Northern Illinois at Arkansas (7:00 – ESPNU)

In his second season in Fayetteville, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema appears to have the Razrobacks’ running game going. Arkansas rolled over Texas Tech 49-28 in Lubbock last Saturday. Meanwhile, Northern Illinois won 23-15 at Northwestern, so the Huskies know how to win on the road. Arkansas’ defense knows that Northern Illinois can run the football, as well. NIU is seventh nationally in rushing yards per game.

South Carolina at Vanderbilt (7:30 – SEC)

The Gamecocks travel to Nashville as a heavy favorite over the Commodores. South Carolina will try to avoid a letdown after last week’s key 38-35 win over Georgia. Vandy had to rally to beat visiting UMass last week. The ‘Dores were outscored 78-10 in their first two games and have had all kinds of problems at quarterback.

Photo of South Carolina fans by The State/McClatchy.

SEC football standings and schedule

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Another ode to Hal Mumme, father of the Air Raid


ESPN has joined the chorus of those giving former Kentucky coach Hal Mumme credit for the spread offenses we see today. Title of the piece: “Yoda of the Air Raid Offense, he is”


Who is the best college football coach of the past two decades? It’s clearly Alabama’s Nick Saban — defensive guru, deadpan disciplinarian and, oh, by the way, winner of four BCS championships. But the most influential coach of the past 20 years? That’d be Hal Mumme. He wasn’t the only one to drag college football out of its ground-and-pound dark ages. But as Kentucky’s coach in the late 1990s, he is the one who brought video game offenses to the SEC, the game’s motherland. And it was there that football changed forever. If Cam Newton or Johnny Manziel ever did something that made you jump off your couch, you have Mumme to thank. “Hal was really one of the trailblazers for throwing the ball,” says Art Briles, whose Baylor team led the FBS in offense last year. “Without question, Hal was instrumental in the game being what it is today.”

I could argue that it actually goes back to LaVell Edwards, the great Brigham Young coach whom Mumme visited when Hal was a high school coach and Edwards was nice enough to let Mumme watch the BYU game tapes.

In 2012, Chris Brown of Smart Football did an exhaustive and definitive piece on the origination of the Air Raid.

By the way, Belhaven, Mumme’s current school, is 2-1 after losing 31-27 at the University of the Cumberlands last week in Williamsburg. The Blazers play Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee on Saturday.

Photo of Mumme and Tim Couch by Ed Reinke/AP.

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BBL: More back-and-forth over recruiting advantages


Big Blue Links for Friday:

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SEC: Auburn passes (barely) survival test


SEC links for Friday:

Photo from Auburn-Kansas State by Shane Keyser of Kansas City Star.

SEC football games Saturday

  • 12:00 – Troy at Georgia (SEC)
  • 3:30 – Florida at Alabama (CBS)
  • 3:30 – Texas A&M at SMU (ABC/ESPN2)
  • 7:00 – Mississippi State at LSU (ESPN)
  • 7:00 – Northern Illinois at Arkansas (ESPNU)
  • 7:30 – South Carolina at Vanderbilt (SEC)

SEC teams in NCAA total offense rankings

  • 4. Texas A&M
  • 6. Florida
  • 12. Alabama
  • 18. Auburn
  • 20. Mississippi State
  • 22. Ole Miss
  • 33. Kentucky
  • 56. South Carolina
  • 56. LSU
  • 61. Georgia
  • 63. Arkansas
  • 76. Missouri
  • 93. Tennessee
  • 120. Vanderbilt

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Mike Krzyzewski disputes he has unfair advantage


At a news conference Friday  morning, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski pushed back against charges that his status as head coach of the USA National Team gives him an unfair recruiting advantage.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports wrote earlier this week that the NBA should pull its stars from Team USA because it  showcases only Krzyzewski.

“As much as ever, USA Basketball has been co-opted into a Krzyzewski leverage play for the Duke Blue Devils,” Wojnarowski wrote. “If that doesn’t rile Kentucky’s John Calipari, wait until the Duke coach is credited for DeMarcus Cousins’ maturity with the Sacramento Kings this season.

“The end’s coming for USA Basketball’s grip on the game in the States, but once change goes into effect come the 2018 World Cup, it won’t matter much to Krzyzewski anymore. He still has two full summers of USA Basketball access left to him, and that’ll make it a full decade of control. As one Duke alumnus would tell you: There is a USA Basketball storefront selling patriotism and duty with a backroom reality that peddles the Blue Devils and Nike swooshes.’

Krzyzewski called the charge “utterly ridiculous,” according to C.L. Brown of espn.com.

“That that [access] gives you an advantage — it’s utterly ridiculous — and anyone who comments on it without doing the research is really wanting to take that point of view,” Krzyzewski said. “I don’t get it. I don’t get it. We’ve won four national championships.”

Coach K pointed out that no one has made the same charge against Florida coach Billy Donovan, who has twice coached the USA Under-19 team, including this summer.

Calipari is one of the coaches who has complained about Krzyzewski having an advantage, or so Team USA assistant Jim Boeheim told Syracuse.com.

“It’s a concern he has raised before,” Boeheim said of Calipari. “That particular case he has mentioned. He’s said he thinks it’s an advantage. He got the No. 1 recruit in the country. It’s a little bit disingenuous of him. I like John. We get along fine. He feels Mike is getting an advantage. You could make that argument. But Duke isn’t getting any better players than they ever have.”

Calipari coached the Dominican Republic National team, which included Karl-Anthony Towns as a member, then signed Towns at Kentucky.

Related links

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A picture you never thought you’d see on this blog


Thanks to the UK Student Activities Board for including me in a panel discussion on UK athletics last night at Memorial Hall with (left to right) Brenton Smith, Carl Nathe, Dave Baker, yours truly and Matt Jones. Good time had by all.

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BBL: Jim Boeheim says John Calipari “disingenuous”


Big Blue Links for Thursday:

Recent videos

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SEC: Kansas State welcomes Auburn for Thursday night tilt


SEC links for Thursday:

SEC football teams in Sagarin ratings

  • 2 Alabama
  • 4 Texas A&M
  • 5 Auburn
  • 6 Georgia
  • 9 LSU
  • 15 Ole Miss
  • 16 South Carolina
  • 21 Florida
  • 24 Missouri
  • 28 Mississippi State
  • 38 Tennessee
  • 46 Arkansas
  • 61 Kentucky
  • 94 Vanderbilt

Jeff Sagarin’s college football ratings

SEC receivers by yards per catch (minimum 9 catches)

  • 1. Travin Dural, LSU, 12-370, 30.8
  • 2. Marquez North, Tennessee, 14-173, 24.2
  • 3. Garrett Johnson, Kentucky, 9-179, 19.9
  • 4. Cody Core, Miss, 12-236, 19.6
  • 5. Bud Sasser, Missouri, 12-215, 17.9
  • 6. Darius White, Missouri, 10-179, 17.9
  • 7. Nick Jones, South Carolina 14-244, 17.4
  • 8. Edward Pope, Texas A&M, 10-167, 16.7
  • 9. D’haquille Williams, Auburn, 13-214, 16.5
  • 10. Speedy Noil, Texas A&M, 12-197, 16.4


Related link: Like Kentuckysports.com on Facebook

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Video: Stanley Williams on high-risk, high-reward

After Tuesday’s practice, Kentucky running back Stanley “Boom” Williams talked about his reverse-the-field 25-yard touchdown run in the first overtime against Florida last Saturday.

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Video: Garrett Johnson on catching those “moneyballs”

Kentucky true freshman wide receiver Garrett Johnson had a huge game last Saturday, catching six passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns, earning SEC Freshman of the Week honors.

Johnson caught a 60-yard pass for a touchdown and a 33-yard pass for a touchdowns. He also had catches of 30 and 22 yards.

After practice on Tuesday, Johnson talked about being recognized for his performance — when he first got Neal Brown’s text message, he thought he was in trouble — about which catch he liked the best and on Patrick Towles’ “moneyballs.”

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