The first reaction is to criticize,
but LSU officials said they sent out 30 letters and called 14 other 1-A programs
without landing a 1-A opponent. The problem arose when Houston opted out of playing LSU in 2004, causing the
Tigers to move the 2005 Arkansas State game to last season.
LSU's home schedule is still
formidable, with Arizona State, Tennessee, Florida and
Auburn. But it
also includes North Texas.
LSU isn't the only SEC team playing
a 1-AA opponent. Auburn has Western Kentucky, Ole Miss faces The Citadel and Mississippi
State meets Murray State. Some other SEC non-league opponents
aren't so tough, either.
Alabama plays Utah State and MTSU. Arkansas has Southwest Missouri State and Louisiana Monroe. Auburn battles Ball State. Florida takes on Wyoming
and Louisiana Tech. Georgia has Louisiana Monroe.
Kentucky eyes Indiana and Idaho State. LSU faces North Texas. Vanderbilt plays Richmond and MTSU.
Some of top matchups:
Arkansas-Southern Cal, Auburn-Georgia Tech, Tennessee-Notre Dame,
Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Boise State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, LSU-Arizona
State, Kentucky-Louisville and South Carolina-Clemson.
Before South Carolina Carlos Powell
went to the arena to play Kentucky, he opened the Bible and found the
story about David and Goliath.
``I knew it was going to be a good
night,'' Powell said.
It was for the Gamecocks, who
snapped No. 3 Kentucky's 19-game winning streak in SEC play.
South Carolina's first home win
over Kentucky since 1997 led to fans storming the court, a violation of SEC
codes which is accompanied by a
$5,000 fine. USC students ignored warnings from security to
USC's Student Senate authorized a
$5,000 donation to the athletic department to cover the fine. Student Senator
Adam Piper, who sponsored the legislation, said the move isn't meant to condone
the act but to take responsibility.
How many SEC basketball teams have
lost a game by at least 20 points?
Would you believe eight? Even
Alabama and Mississippi State – destined to get NCAA Tournament
invitations – have lost by at least 20 points. The Bulldogs lost by almost 50
points and lost to Auburn. But the impending return of Winsome Frazier should help Rick Stansbury's team.
The only SEC teams that have not
suffered a 20-point loss all reside in the East Division: Kentucky, Florida,
The latest college RPI ratings,
according to Jerry Palm, prove that the SEC is down in men's
Only four teams were ranked among
the top 35 last week: No. 11 Kentucky, No. 12 Alabama, No. 24 Mississippi State
and No. 35 Florida.
No other team ranks in the top 50.
LSU is No. 56, Arkansas 61, Vanderbilt 75 and
76. It's possible that any of those four could play its way into the NCAA
tournament. It's more likely that only one of those four will do so.
It has to be disturbing to SEC
advocates that the league has four teams ranked lower than 125: No. 129 Ole
Miss, 130 Auburn, 136 Tennessee and 199 Georgia.
The SEC has 42 players on NBA
The team with the most? You guessed
The Wildcats have 12 players on an
NBA roster, although some were barely hanging on. The NBA Wildcats: Antoine Walker, Walter McCarty, Tony Delk, Jamal Mashburn, Nazr Mohammed, Ron Mercer,
Derek Anderson, Tayshaun Prince, Keith Bogans, Erik Daniels, Jamaal Magloire and
Florida has the second-most with six: Mike Miller, Donnell Harvey, Andrew DeClercq, Matt Bonner, Udonis Haslem and Jason Williams.
Alabama and Auburn have five each. The Crimson Tide
players: Robert Horry, Antonio McDyess, Gerald Wallace, Mo Williams, Latrell Sprewell. The Tigers: Wesley Person, Moochie Norris, Marquis Daniels, Jamison Brewer, Mamadou N'diaye.
Georgia and LSU have four each. The
Bulldogs: Jarvis Hayes, Damien Wilkins, Shandon Anderson, Jumaine Jones. The
Tigers: Shaquille O'Neal, Stromile Swift, Ronald Dupree, Jabari Smith.
Arkansas has three: Corliss Williamson, Joe Johnson, Jannero Pargo.
Mississippi State (Eric Dampier), Ole Miss (Justin Reed) and
(Allan Houston) have one each.
Vanderbilt and South Carolina have
It's the time of season when may
college freshmen hit the wall.
They're not used to the physical
nature of the college game or the rigors of a long season. It will be
interesting to see how teams that rely on several true freshmen – like
respond down the stretch.
``You always worry about the
freshmen because every day is a new day,'' said Florida coach Billy Donovan. ``They have never
ever in their entire life extended to the point where they are going to extend.
So every day is a new challenge, a new adventure.''
Florida has two true freshmen starters – Corey Brewer and Al Horford. Each averages over 22 minutes per game. Gator Matt Walsh
remembers his production declining from mid-February on as a true freshman two
``My body was physically dead,''
Florida senior David Lee said he went into a
``funk'' as a true freshman, going four or five games without
Brewer said he isn't feeling signs
of fatigue in part because of frequent trips to the cold tank, a whirlpool under
60 degrees that boosts circulation in the legs and prevents muscle
``You're supposed to be in there
for 7 to 10 minutes, but it's kind of hard,'' said Brewer, whose longest stay in
the cold tank has been five minutes.
Jay Jacobs hasn't taken long to
stir the pot as Auburn's athletic director.
He's been called a lapdog of the
trustees, a hatchet man for the president and an example of racial
discrimination that allegedly permeates the entire university. Moreover, he
scheduled Division 1-AA Western Kentucky in football.
Asked if he's enjoyed his honeymoon
in his new job, Jacobs said: ``I hadn't had it yet.'' He might no get
Jacobs said he's at peace with his
decisions because ``my motives were pure.''
But some university black leaders
have questioned that two of the three positions eliminated during Jacobs'
reorganization were held by blacks.
``It bothered me this blanket (of
discrimination) was cast on Auburn,'' Jacobs said. ``Does it bother me
personally? Everybody wants to be liked, but in athletics, being liked isn't an
option. You've got to do what you think is right.''
One NFL scout thinks the No. 1
prospect among college quarterbacks comes from the SEC.
It's not David Greene of Georgia,
Jason Campbell of Auburn, Matt Jones of
Arkansas or Brodie Croyle of Alabama.
It's a player on one of the SEC's
worst teams: Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt. Cutler is 6-4, 220, has a strong,
accurate arm and can run.
Cutler recently announced he is
returning to Vanderbilt for his senior season.
The NFL scout rates Matt Leinhart
of USC, Alex Smith of Utah, Aaron Rogers of
California and Andrew Walters of Arizona State in his top five.
Alabama will be finished with spring football practice
before Kentucky beings.
The Crimson Tide will work from
Feb. 22-March 19. Kentucky goes from March 30 to April
Auburn will take the least amount of time to
get its 15 days of work: March 1-19.
Alabama is the only team that starts in
February. Three teams – Arkansas, Kentucky and South Carolina – will start after March 22.
Five teams – Arkansas, Kentucky, LSU, USC and Tennessee – will not finish until April 16 or
FREE THROWS: With the indefinite
leave of absence of freshman Albert Weber, Alabama had just one scholarship point guard –
Ron Steele. … South Carolina is interested in
TCU athletic director Eric Hyman, who has been at TCU since 1997 and was a
finalist for the Tennessee job two years ago. … Who leads the
SEC in free throw shooting? How about Georgia's Channing Toney. …
has stopped recruiting 6-11 junior college center Ranard Robinson, who signed
with the Gamecocks in November but was suspended from the team. USC coach Dave Odom did not accept Robinson's letter because of the suspension. … The NFL Pro
Bowl featured 16 players from the SEC, four from Georgia, three each from
Tennessee, LSU and Auburn and one each from Alabama, Florida and
Carolina. … When Auburn
Carolina, it was a sweet win for Tigers coach Jeff Lebo,
who spent five years as a Gamecocks' assistant. … During a close defeat at
Kentucky, Florida was trying to beat a top five team on
its home court for the first time since 1988. … Florida is 25-5 when Anthony Roberson makes at
least four 3-pointers. … Rajon Rondo has over 55 steals, breaking the Kentucky freshmen record
set by Keith Bogans (47). … LSU's Tack Minor, considering a scoring point guard,
leads the SEC in assists. … LSU
prevented Mississippi State from going undefeated at home for
the first time in the 30-year history of Humphrey Coliseum. … Vanderbilt's Dawid Przybyszewski, the nation's best shooting big man last year, hit all six 3-point
attempts in a recent win.
is a featured columnist in Tiger Rag and the program director for WNOX in
Knoxville, Tenn. Hyams, one of the most respected sports
personalities in the SEC, can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
LSU has filled the final spot on its football schedule with a Division 1-AA opponent, Appalachian State on Nov. 5.