SEC Notebook

The Papajohns.com Bowl will host an SEC school at the conclusion of this football season—that raises automatic SEC bowl bids to nine. The game pits the Big East against the SEC on Dec. 29, at 2 p.m. The game is owned by ESPN.

Lady Vols draw increased ratings
The Lady Vols-Stanford National Championship game drew a 3.0 rating. That was up 30-percent over last year’s Lady Vols game against the Nappy-headed hoes of Rutgers. Overall tournament attendance was also up according to the NCAA, “Total attendance for the tournament was 236,464, an 18 percent increase from the 199,932 fans who attended the event in 2007.”

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Judge overturns verdict against the NCAA
What happens when a jury renders a verdict against the NCAA? An oligarchy of lawyers (that’s what really runs our country, judges, lawyers and accountants) overturns a jury’s verdict. Ray Keller sued the NCAA for defamation, and won. The jury awarded him $5 million. The Birmingham News reported Keller’s legal team was pondering its appeal options.

Arkansas quarterbacks excited about Petrino’s offense
Rivals.com reported Arkansas’ new offense is airing the ball out, and it has people excited:

Dick’s performance reflected how much things have changed at Arkansas under new coach Bobby Petrino. Dick attempted more than 23 passes just three times last season and never has thrown for more than 228 yards in a game. Dick went 25-of-33 for 244 yards in the first half alone Saturday and finished with 404 passing yards.

“It’s great,” Dick said. “You’re out there throwing the ball, what every quarterback likes to do. (You’re) running the ball. The whole offense is on your shoulders. It’s a lot of pressure, but that’s what comes with the nature of the position.”

Rivals also pointed out Petrino runs a very balanced offensive attack with a 60-percent run to 40-percent pass offense. Under Houston Nutt, Arkansas ran an offense with about a 65-percent run and 35-percent pass.

One thing to remember about Nutt’s offense, Arkansas finished in the national Top 12 rushing offense four times since 2001 (2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007.) Nutt’s offense gave the Razorbacks the best chance to win. Arkansas simply did not have the athletes of other elite SEC teams; running the ball (and doing it as successfully as his teams did) eats clock and improves the chance for beating a team. All you have to do is look at Nutt’s wins against Alabama and Auburn.

Tuberville ‘friendly’ to reporters
Why does Tommy Tuberville get favorable press? He works the media. Jimmy Smothers explained a little about Tuberville in a recent column in the Gadsden Times:

Take Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, for example. He may be a throwback to the old school of coaches who had friendly relationships with writers. Tuberville is fun to be around; he’s relaxed and easy to talk with. If he can’t answer a question “on the record” he will probably answer it “off the record.” That means he will tell you what you want to know if you won’t write it.

Treating reporters like this allows you to shape the type of coverage out there. By telling reporters sensitive information off the record, you get a key role in creating the story, and the surrounding debate on talk radio. You can’t doubt Tuberville tells Phillip Marshall what to think. For instance, take this line from Marshall’s blog post Wednesday:

I find it somewhat amusing that a lot of folks seem to fret because Auburn has some commitments from private schools. The latest is athlete Brandon Heavens from Bessemer Academy. I’ve never seen any of these guys play a snap, of course, but doesn’t it seem obvious that, since they were offered scholarships almost a year before signing day, Auburn coaches like them a lot? Athletic ability is not confined to big schools.

If anyone spins more for Tuberville than this guy, it would have to be Tommy’s wife. To borrow a vivid description from a local talk radio host about another slobbering media moron: “I mean, these two guys really slobbered over each other, I mean, I really thought they were going to start performing oral sex on one another, it was so sickening.” That’s what reading Phillip Marshall is like. The Birmingham News should be ashamed of itself. They should hire real beat writers, not this pathetic crap.



Gators in the NBA
Orange and Blue Hue takes a look at how Florida Gators are making contributions in the NBA:

But (Al) Horford is one of the key reasons why the Atlanta Hawks are tied right now in their series with the Boston Celtics. He’s stepped up his play to another level:
Regular Season: 10.1 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.5 APG

Playoffs: 12.5 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 3.3 APG

Incredibly, in large part thanks to Al, the Hawks have outrebounded the C’s in three of their four games.

Stafford hot in 2009 mock draft
I’ve said Matt Stafford is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and Georgia should have played for the national title instead of LSU. Now the national pundits are listing Stafford as a top pro prospect in the 2009 NFL draft, according to one of the best Bulldog Blogs around, Senator Blutarsky.

UK busy with basketball
While the rest of the SEC looks at college football, Kentucky seems to be focused on basketball recruiting. The Courier-Journal has reported Billy Gillispie is busy with landing recruits for everything between now and the 2010 season. The most recent was Dominique Ferguson, a 6’9” power forward from Indiana.