SEC: Mike Slive leaves big shoes to fill

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SEC links for Wednesday:

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Three thoughts on Kentucky’s 2015 football schedule

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Three quick thoughts on Kentucky’s 2015 football schedule, which was released tonight as part of the SEC’s entire slate for next season.

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Video: Neal Brown says LSU is “big, fast, strong”

Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown gave a scouting report today on Saturday’s opponent, LSU.

Related link: Neal Brown transcript from today’s interview

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LSU’s home-field advantage at Tiger Stadium

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Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, where Kentucky will play LSU on Saturday night, is considered one of the nation’s toughest places to play.

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BBL: Kentucky among nation’s biggest surprises

Big Blue Links for Tuesday:

Related link: UK a Top 20 defense in two NCAA categories

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SEC: League admits clock error in Alabama-Arkansas game

SEC links for Tuesday:

Related link: SEC football standings and schedule

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Six tweets from Les Miles’ Kentucky preview

LSU coach Les Miles had his weekly press conference Monday, this one to preview Saturday’s game with Kentucky. Reporters were there, and here are some of their Twitter posts.

On the emergence of LSU’s star rookie running back:

On Saturday’s invited guest to Death Valley:

On all his first-year Tigers:

On encouraging fans to turn out Saturday night under the lights:

On the Mad Hatter’s victory habit:

On the win at Florida:

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Video: Mark Stoops won’t say who he is suspending

At his press conference Monday, UK football coach Mark Stoops said he is suspending a player for the first half of Saturday’s game at LSU because of selfishness.

Stoops declined to reveal the identity of the player.

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Three quick thoughts from Mark Stoops’ LSU preview

Three quick things from Mark Stoops’ preview Monday of Saturday’s game at LSU.

1. The Bayou Bengals’ brawn and brute. LSU is physical. LSU is always physical. Same as it ever was. Les Miles preaches physical football, and Stoops said it will be no different this year when Kentucky travels to Baton Rouge.

The UK head coach had not been happy when with how his linebackers have played the run. Stoops said the unit improved Saturday against UL-Monroe. He gave a special shout-out to Khalid Henderson. He also complimented Josh Forrest’s improvement.

LSU’s run game will be much tougher to defend, however, especially now that freshman Leonard Fournette has become comfortable and productive. We addressed Fournette in an earlier blog post.

2. Death Valley. Playing in Tiger Stadium is no pleasure cruise. Kentucky did travel to Gainesville last month and held its own in The Swamp, a play-clock call away from a possible victory in what was ultimately a three-overtime loss. Florida is a loud place to play. LSU is a loud place to play. Welcome to the SEC.

Still, you’d have to think that a young Kentucky team drew some confidence from its showing in the Sunshine State. This LSU team might not be a vintage LSU team — the Tigers lost 41-7 to Auburn — but the Tigers have plenty of talent. Yet Kentucky has shown it has some talent, too.

The betting line started at 13, according to some circles, and is now closer to 10 in favor of LSU. That seems about right. Vegas usually knows what it’s doing.

3. Hello, Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson. During Stoops’ news conference, the SEC announced that CBS will telecast the Kentucky-Mississippi State game on Oct. 25 at Commonwealth Stadium.

It’s the first time Kentucky has been awarded the 3:30 p.m. time slot since 2008, when the Cats lost 17-14 at Alabama.

Part of CBS’s choice is because Mississippi State is now the No. 1 team in the country. Part of it has to with Kentucky’s resurgence under Stoops. CBS doesn’t like blowouts, after all, and Mississippi State figures to be favored against the Cats,but the network has to think it will be a competitive game.

During Monday’s presser, I asked Stoops about the emergence of No. 1 Mississippi State and No. 3 Ole Miss, along with UK’s improvement, and the idea that the league has become more balanced.

Related link: Cats basking in Javess Blue’s breakout game

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North Carolina State has its own BB-gun problem

It’s not just Kentucky.

Louisville’s next opponent, North Carolina State, suspended seven players for Saturday’s game because of a BB-gun incident. Two of the seven suspended players are starters.

According to The Associated Press, N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren announced the suspensions Monday, saying the players were playing a game with the BB guns at an off-campus residence.

The suspended players are linebacker Jerod Fernandez, safety Josh Jones, wide receiver Johnathan Alston, wide receiver Jumichael Ramos, defensive linemen Justin Jones and Pharoah McKever, and cornerback Mike Stevens. Doeren also announced that five freshmen who are redshirting have been placed on probation.

North Carolina State is 4-3 and on a three-game losing streak heading into Saturday’s game against Louisville, which is 5-2 after Saturday’s 23-17 loss at Clemson.

As you might recall, UK suspended wide receiver Dorian Baker, quarterback Drew Barker, defensive end Tymere Debose and running back Stanley “Boom” Williams, all freshmen, for the South Carolina game because of an Airsoft/BB-gun incident on campus.

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