Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Around the SEC

(Photo: Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports)

SEC Storylines of Week 12: A Week of Little Chaos

(Photo: Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports)

The college football season gets another week older, and many eyes will be focused on the SEC. Here is a rundown of the key storylines to watch for around the conference as Kentucky travels to Athens for their huge matchup with Georgia.

1. Cup Cake City

There is no easy way to say this, but most of the truly good teams in the SEC this week are playing football teams with very little talent. Alabama plays Mercer, Auburn gets Louisiana-Monroe, and South Carolina plays Wofford.

Other teams like Georgia, Mississippi State, and LSU are heavily favored in matchups against other SEC teams. The most interesting game involving a good team in the conference is Georgia and UK (more on that later).

Now this kind of weak schedule in the SEC is something the average college football fan might complain about, but let’s not forget that last week featured some huge matchups and next week will showcase one of the biggest games in college football this season (The Iron Bowl).

Nevertheless, it is a bit disappointing that there is a shortage of marquee matchups around the league this week.

2. Does Kentucky Stand a Chance Against Georgia?

The Wildcats currently sit as a 21-point underdog to Georgia which doesn’t sound too promising. There is some interest in this matchup, however, as Kentucky is coming off a thrashing of Vanderbilt and everyone will be watching to see how the Bulldogs rebound after their huge loss to Auburn last week.

Personally, that’s not enough to convince me that UK is going to win this game. It shouldn’t be forgotten that just two weeks ago this very same team lost at home to a bad Ole Miss team.

I think this is where I think the biggest storyline of this game pops up: Georgia is at home playing between the hedges. We saw what happened last week when Auburn was playing inspired at home, and I still think Georgia is one of the better teams in the nation this season.

Don’t forget, despite the Bulldogs dropping out of the top four in the BCS rankings this season, they still have a great chance at getting to the playoff. I don’t think they will come into this game not ready to play.

Despite my prediction that Kentucky will not win, I think that the Wildcats will cover the spread and maybe even keep it in single digits. Expect a valiant effort coming from Stephen Johnson and Benny Snell who is on fire right now.

3. UAB’s Bid for an SEC Upset

UAB takes on Florida this weekend in one of the most interesting football games of the season. To put it simply, the best story in college football this season is playing one of the most disappointing teams of the year.

After not playing a single game last year, UAB can set a program record in victories in a season with a win over the Gators. It doesn’t get much better than that. From literal zeros to heroes, the Blazers are the toast of college football right now.

On the other hand, you have Florida. Even with their victory over Kentucky earlier this season, the Gators have just three wins with two games left in the regular season. They play Florida State next week so another win seems like a stretch.

It’s about pride this week for the Gators. And if they can’t slow down UAB running back Spencer Brown, they may be due for a very embarrassing weekend.

4. Battle for a Bowl Game

In another game featuring two teams with very different seasons, Missouri travels to take on Vanderbilt for a matchup with significant postseason implications.

Believe it or not, the Tigers are just one away from being bowl eligible while Vanderbilt is two wins away from going to their second straight bowl game under Head Coach Derek Mason.

A loss for the Commodores would be their seventh straight SEC loss this year and they would miss a bowl game once again. On the other hand, a win for Missouri would be their fifth straight and Barry Odom would take the Tigers to their first bowl game during his tenure there.

Drew Lock has been one of the hottest quarterbacks in the nation in the past three weeks, so expect for that trend to continue in Nashville on Saturday, and also expect the Tigers to be victorious.

5. Which School Gets the Best Head Coach?

By now just about every die-hard SEC football fan has heard the rumors circulating around both Tennessee and Florida’s football programs since both school fired their head football coaches.

Jon Gruden is being rumored to take the job in Knoxville while Chip Kelly is being talked about to take over the head coaching job in Gainesville.

Yes, this isn’t a storyline with much impact on this week’s games, but no other topic is being talked about more in the SEC right now.

The reason why is simple: these moves would help rebalance the power in the SEC. Right now, the SEC East is one of the worst divisions in all the Power 5 conferences while the SEC West is still strong.

Gruden may be more of mystery not having coached in several years, but his hiring would be one of the biggest in all of college football for next year. Kelly’s offensive mind would also do wonders for the Gators who have been terrible on that side of the ball since Tim Tebow graduated.

Both of these hires would make the SEC that much better, but until then they are what they are: just awesome dream hires. Stay tuned everyone.


South Carolina just lost to Illinois State

South Carolina just lost to Illinois State

It has been a pretty good start to the 2017-18 season for SEC basketball, but our friends from Columbia embarrassed the conference in an early Thursday game.

Frank Martin’s Gamecocks, a Final Four team earlier this year, fell to winless Illinois State as 10-point favorites. The Redbirds (I think they’re the Redbirds) beat South Carolina, 69-65, in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off at Myrtle Beach.

It’s looking like a down year is ahead for Carolina, which is to be expected following the graduation of Sindarius Thornwell this past season. The Cocks were picked 11th in the preseason media poll, but maybe don’t lose to Illinois State when you’re eight months removed from beating Duke and reaching your first Final Four.


Darius Garland staying home to play for Vanderbilt

Darius Garland staying home to play for Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt has its point guard for the future in five-star prospect Darius Garland, who announced he will join the Commodores’ 2018 class on Monday. A one-time UK target, Garland picked Vanderbilt over Indiana, Kentucky and UCLA.

Garland’s commitment is Bryce Drew’s first from a top-10 player at Vanderbilt, and he could add a second soon if Simi Shittu follows Garland’s lead. Together, they’ll be an enormous upgrade in talent for Drew’s squad, which is consistent with what’s been happening around the SEC as more and more young stars are joining the conference.

Catch the fever!


Three interesting things around the SEC this weekend

Image result for auburn and Georgia usa today

Photo by John Reed, USA TODAY Sports

The Cats beat up on Vandy 44-21, as we finally saw a full game of good football out of the Wildcats. It was impressive, but there were some other very interesting things that went on in the SEC outside of Kentucky. Missouri beat up on Tennessee and Butch was finally relieved of his duties as head coach of the Vols, the No. 10 Auburn Tigers absolutely spanked the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs, and No. 2 Alabama went down to the wire with No. 16 Mississippi State on the road.

Let’s break this weekend down:

Related image

BYE BYE Butch:

We knew it was coming, we knew it was just a matter of time before Butch Jones would be done as the head football coach at Tennessee. Well, that time happened today after the winless-in-conference-play Vols dropped to Mizzou on Saturday 50-17.

UT Athletic Director John Currie made this Statement about Jones: “Late (Saturday) night, it was evident this was probably the direction we needed to go for the best of all concerned.”

“We wanted our student-athletes to have the best possible chance of success,” he said. “We want Coach Jones and his family to be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.” “We want to be able to focus, from my perspective, on the search going forward.”

Tennessee will owe Jones $8.125 million in a buyout.

So who does Tennessee look to get now?

Before I go into that, let me just say Tennessee football and Indiana basketball are about the same. Both fan bases are stuck in the past. They are both irrelevant programs in those respective sports right now. Recruiting isn’t done the way it was back in the day when your programs were great. You expect way too much out of a program that isn’t what it used to be. Other schools have passed you in many aspects. I know Butch wasn’t getting it done with the talent he had, but you think you are Alabama and you arent.

So who could Tennessee potentially hire? Here are some candidates:

Mike Norvell of Memphis

Dan Mullen of Mississippi State

Justin Fuente of Virginia Tech

Chip Kelly former Oregon and NFL head coach

Jon Gruden former NFL head coach

Matt Campbell of Iowa State

Jeff Brohm of Purdue

Maybe Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State?

Choose wisely Mr. Currie, or Rocky Top fans will continue lighting matches to this dumpster fire of a program.

Image result for auburn and Georgia usa today

Photo by John David Mercer, USA TODAY Sports

Auburn puts it on No. 1 Georgia:

Georgia… yikes. The Bulldogs got absolutely dismantled on Saturday. The No. 10 team in the CFP rankings, Auburn Tigers beat up on No. 1 UGA 40-17. Georgia couldn’t get their run game going and really just couldn’t get much of anything going. Kirk Herbstreit tweeted yesterday he would knock No. 1 Georgia completely out of the top four in his new CFP rankings.

He puts No. 10 Auburn at No. 6 after that huge win, and he thinks No. 5 Oklahoma is the new No. 1 now after the 38-20 beating they put on the No. 6  ranked TCU Horned Frogs. He also has No. 7 Miami in the top 4 now at No. 3 with a massive 41-8 win over No. 3 Notre Dame. Lastly, he keeps No. 2 Bama in at No. 2 and keeps Clemson in at No. 4.

After Notre Dame’s pathetic performance against Miami, is UGA’s big win at Notre Dame from earlier on this season that big anymore? If Georgia can win out and win the SEC Championship either against Auburn or Alabama, they will certainly still get a shot at the College Football Playoff. But do they have it in them?

Now if Auburn wins out, including beating Georgia again in Atlanta, they have to be in the College Football Playoff. That’s a given, even with two losses on the season.

The new CFP rankings will come out on Tuesday at 9 pm EST on ESPNU.GTY 873014924 S FBC USA MS

Photo by Butch Dill, Getty Images

Alabama hangs on at Mississippi State:

This was by far the most competitive game amongst the ranked college football teams in the CFP poll this weekend. No. 2 Alabama went down to Starkville yesterday and went down to the wire with No. 16 Mississippi State. Going into halftime, the game was tied at 14, and the Bulldogs were actually beating the Tide 21-17 after the third.

In the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 24 with 25 seconds to go when true freshmen DeVonta Smith caught a pass from quarterback Jalen Hurts for a go-ahead touchdown to put the Crimson Tide ahead 31-24. Nick Fitzgerald and State had a couple of hail mary opportunities to the end-zone with seconds left but were unable to come up on any of them. 31-24 was your final.

The go-ahead touchdown pass:

Alabama is still Alabama and Nick Saban is still Nick Saban.

Nick Dancing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

@Alex_Holder_KSR


Butch Jones fired at Tennessee

Tyler Lecka/Getty Images

This’ll put some pep in your step after the Jarren Williams fiasco. Butch Jones has been fired as head coach at Tennessee.

It seems Missouri put the final nail in Butch’s coffin when they destroyed the Vols 50-17 last night.

Jones informed his staff this morning of his firing. Defensive line coach Brady Hoke will serve as interim head coach.

After leading Tennessee to two straight 9-4 seasons, this year, the Vols are 0-6 in conference play, including the Cats’ epic victory in Kroger Field just two weeks ago.

Where does Tennessee’s season go from here?

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

@JayWinkKSR


(John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

SEC Storylines of Week 11: Georgia and Bama’s Huge Road Tests

(John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

The college football season gets another week older, and many eyes will be focused on the SEC. Here is a rundown of the key storylines to watch for around the conference as Kentucky travels to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt.

1. Georgia on Upset Alert?

Simply put, no other team in college football is having a better season than Georgia. The Bulldogs are currently undefeated in the SEC and their win over Notre Dame is the best win in the FBS.

But this week the Bulldogs get their toughest test in one of the most critical SEC games of this season when they face off with Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Georgia has already secured their place in the SEC Championship Game, and Auburn still has a chance to get there as well if they can defeat Georgia and Alabama. If the Tigers lose this week, the Iron Bowl would lose a lot of its meaning as the entire country will be looking ahead towards a Georgia-Alabama showdown.

However, nothing is quite that simple. Auburn has scored a combined 92 points the past two weeks and Georgia is coming off a 14-point victory against an average South Carolina team.

While Georgia does have the better overall defense, I think that Auburn has the more experienced quarterback who will be playing comfortably at home. This will be the most hostile environment Georgia’s freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has ever played in.

If Fromm gets rattled early and if Auburn’s defense can get enough stops in the red zone, I think that that the Tigers can pull off the upset. After all, Georgia is currently just a slight 2.5-point favorite.

Strap in folks. This game should be a classic.

2. Can Nick Fitzgerald Make Some Magic?

The easy answer is no because he is going up against the immovable Alabama defense this week. However, the only predictable thing about college football is that it is unpredictable.

The Crimson Tide have had some problems in the past with athletic quarterbacks who can run the ball. Plus, playing on the road in the state of Mississippi hasn’t been the easiest task for Alabama.

I don’t think an upset is as likely to happen in this ranked matchup, but this game is a bit more curious to me. Mississippi St. will either come in and give the Crimson Tide one awesome game, or they will just flat out get embarrassed.

That’s the kind of team the Bulldogs have been this year. One week they blowout Texas A&M by three touchdowns, but then other weeks they lose by more than 30 points against Auburn and Georgia.

If Mississippi St. shows up ready to play as a team, then I think one of the best running quarterbacks in SEC history can give the Bulldogs a chance in the fourth quarter.

3. Will Florida Make a Bowl Game?

People are not talking enough about how this is a real possibility. Currently the Gators are just 3-5 with three games left in the season. They will only play 11 regular season games due to their matchup with Northern Colorado being cancelled earlier in the season.

That means to be bowl eligible the Gators will have to win their remaining three games. That will be no easy task as they travel to South Carolina this week, play a bowl eligible UAB squad next week, and then they finish the regular season with Florida State.

While they still could make a bowl game with five wins, that means they still must win two out of those three games and that just isn’t a guarantee. That makes their game against South Carolina a must-win.

The bad news is that the Gators just aren’t playing good football right now. After firing their head coach and losing to Missouri 45-16, there doesn’t seem to be much light at the end of the tunnel. Prepare for a bowless Florida team.

4. Drew Lock is the Best Quarterback in the SEC

Yup. That’s a statement that is both completely true and surprising.

Right now, Lock leads the SEC in touchdown passes and passing yards all while just throwing nine interceptions in nine games. Only Jake Fromm has a higher quarterback rating than Lock, and Fromm has thrown around half as many passes as Lock has.

If you start looking at the stats, there is a sizable gap between him and everyone else. He has over 500 more passing yards and 11 more passing touchdowns than the next closest quarterback has.

Lock has been so good for what has been a bad Missouri team, that the Tigers could make a bowl game this year. Yes, I’m completely serious about that. Their last three opponents (Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas) have only won one game combined in the SEC this season.

It will be quite the story if this happens, but Lock better get the recognition he deserves if he keeps throwing passes like this:

5. The Heisman Trophy Will Not Return to the SEC

We are now in week 11 of the college football season and not a single SEC player is being seriously considered as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

It isn’t without reason that an SEC player could possibly catch fire and find their way to New York in December. Players like Nick Chubb, Kerryon Johnson, and Jalen Hurts could do just that. I suspect that an SEC player will at least get invited to the ceremony and it will likely be one of those players.

But even if that happens the current favorites in the Heisman Trophy race have put together consistently awesome seasons on very good football teams. That’s something that no player in the SEC can say.

Unless something amazing happens, the SEC will go two straight seasons without having the best player in football.


Alabama’s Collin Sexton will only have to sit out one game

Big news for Alabama: star freshman point guard Collin Sexton will only have to sit out one game for his role in the college basketball bribery scandal. Sexton will have to miss the Crimson Tide’s season-opener vs. Memphis tomorrow, but will be eligible Tuesday night vs. Lipscomb.

Sexton’s eligibility was in question because he was recruited by Alabama basketball administrator Kobie Baker, who accepted bribes from Rashan Michel and a cooperating witness to steer players to using their services in the NBA. According to the indictment that came out earlier this week, Sexton’s father met with Baker and Michel. Sexton also had a relationship with former AAU coach Christian Dawkins, who was also arrested and named in a separate complaint in the FBI probe.

Simply put, it looked like things could be really bad for Sexton, but the NCAA had decided otherwise, which is huge news for not only Alabama, but also SEC basketball because he’s really, really good.


Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images North America

Bruce Pearl refusing to cooperate with Auburn investigation

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images North America

Auburn is already in hot water due to former assistant Chuck Person’s involvement in the bribery scheme rocking college basketball, but if this new report is true, head coach Bruce Pearl’s days are numbered.

According to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, Pearl is refusing to cooperate in Auburn’s internal investigation into the program, to the point university officials have told him that his job is in jeopardy if he doesn’t. While Pearl is not named in the FBI’s report, refusing to cooperate seems like a very, very dumb decision. Auburn officials will reportedly decide on Pearl’s future in the next week or two.

Yesterday, a federal grand jury in New York indicted Person on six federal charges of bribery, fraud, and conspiracy. Person allegedly received $91,500 in bribery payments in a scheme to steer two Auburn players to certain agents and financial advisors. While unnamed in the report, those unnamed players are sophomore Austin Wiley and sophomore forward Danjel Purifoy, who have been sidelined indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Pearl is beginning his fourth season at Auburn with a 44-54 record. The Tigers have never finished better than 11th in the SEC or played in the postseason during his tenure, which began after a three-year show cause penalty for violations during his time at Tennessee.

Sounds like the writing’s on the wall to me.

[ESPN]


@VandyFootball

LOOK: Vanderbilt’s Veterans Day uniforms are awesome

@VandyFootball

Saturday is Veterans Day, and while Kentucky honored vets last week with free tickets to the Ole Miss game, Vanderbilt has something different in mind. The Commodores partnered with Medals of Honor on special edition “Deep Water” uniforms, which feature the names of fallen soldiers on the back with their military branch patch on the front:

Those are very, very cool. Well done, Vandy.


Alabama’s Sexton identified as player in FBI complaint

Collin Sexton was all set to lead Alabama to a nice season in 2017-18. With Sexton as its prized freshman point guard, the Crimson Tide was picked fourth in the SEC, while Sexton earned preseason second team All-SEC honors.

But now Sexton will be lucky to suit up at all for Alabama this season. Soon after Avery Johnson held him out of Monday night’s exhibition, ESPN released a report identifying Sexton as the unnamed player in the FBI’s complaint against Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person and former NBA referee Rashan Michel.

Read part of the story from ESPN.com:

According to the federal complaint, former Alabama associate athletics director Kobie Baker accepted bribes from Michel and a cooperating witness to influence Crimson Tide players to sign with a financial adviser once they turned pro. The indictment alleges that the unidentified player’s father also met with Michel and Baker in Atlanta.

Sources told ESPN that Sexton’s relationship with former AAU coach Christian Dawkins, who was arrested and named in a separate federal complaint related to the corruption probe, might also be an issue. Sources said Dawkins, from Saginaw, Michigan, was involved in Sexton’s recruitment.

It was assumed all along that Sexton was the unnamed player, but now it has been confirmed and Sexton will not see the court until cleared by the NCAA, if he’s ever cleared at all.


(Photo: John David Mercer, USA TODAY Sports)

SEC Storylines of Week 10: The Alabama-LSU Game

(Photo: John David Mercer, USA TODAY Sports)

The college football season gets another week older, and many eyes will be focused on the SEC. Here is a rundown of the key storylines to watch for around the conference as Kentucky takes on Ole Miss within the confines of Kroger Field.

1. What will Derrius Guice do Against Alabama?

In the game of the week in the SEC, 19th ranked LSU will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the now second-ranked Alabama. The Crimson Tide have won the last six games in this series, and they are heavy favorites at home.

However, LSU’s star running back Derrius Guice is finally back to playing like he did last season. After he ran for 276 rushing yards in the Tigers last game against Ole Miss, Guice is now only 54 rushing yards behind Nick Chubb for the most in the SEC.

The bad news for him and LSU is that they must play the top-ranked run defense in the nation this year on Saturday night. The Crimson Tide is only allowing 66 rushing yards a game while opposing teams have only scored two rushing TD’s against Alabama.

More than likely, the Crimson Tide will stop Guice on Saturday. This is a team known for stopping the run and this version of Alabama is no different from those of year’s past.

But stranger things have happened in college football this year. LSU has won their past three SEC games plus the Tigers are coming off a bye week so they will be well rested. But if Guice can’t get things going on the ground, it will be a long night in Tuscaloosa for LSU.

2. Alabama Deserves to be Ranked Behind Georgia

To be clear, I think that Alabama is the best all-around team in the country right now and more likely than not you think so as well.

However, the College Football Playoff selection committee made the right choice on Tuesday when they selected Georgia as the top ranked team in the nation in their first rankings.

The committee bases their rankings on every team’s body of work. They do not base the rankings off how talented they may think a team is.

To put it simply, the best win the Crimson Tide has right now is their victory over a 5-3 Texas A&M team.

Meanwhile Georgia has one of the best wins in all of college football on the road against third ranked Notre Dame. Plus, they also beat a now ranked Mississippi St. team by 28 points.

In the end, all of this probably isn’t going to matter. The Crimson Tide have three ranked opponents left to play in the regular season alone so there is a good chance they will be ranked as the number one team soon. But for right now, the committee got it right.

3. How Good is Auburn?

(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)

If I had to choose the most confusing team in the SEC this year, I think that Auburn would be heavily in the conversation.

One week the Tigers are dismantling what is now a good Mississippi State team, but then just a few weeks later they blow a big lead to LSU on the road. Auburn was last seen beating the snot out of Arkansas, but this week they get a tough road at Texas A&M.

One would think that the Tigers will walk out of College Station with a victory with the Aggies coming off a big loss against Mississippi State. However, you just don’t know what kind of Auburn team is going to show up.

Despite their inconsistencies as a team, the Tigers have found success in their rushing attack. Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway are a dangerous duo in the backfield as they have rushed for over 1,000 yards on the year.

If Auburn wants to maintain momentum heading into their huge matchups with Georgia and Alabama later in the season than winning this week is a must. A loss would otherwise mean the start of a rough ending to the Tigers regular season.

4. Does South Carolina Stand A Chance at Georgia?

The quick and easy answer is no they do not. However, I don’t like underestimating a coach as fiery as Will Muschamp. Plus, the Gamecocks are on a three-game winning streak so maybe they can put up a fight.

But their 4-2 record in the SEC is very misleading. Their past three wins all game against the worst teams in the conference (Tennessee, Arkansas, and Vanderbilt) and their other win was against Missouri.

The question really is how will South Carolina perform against a truly good team? They have a great win against North Carolina State, but that was the very first game of the season.

Even if they lose against the Bulldogs this weekend, it will be very interesting to see just how much of a close game the Gamecocks can make it. Star quarterback Jake Bentley is good enough to give South Carolina a chance.

5. The Incompetence of Tennessee

I honestly can’t believe this…….but I’m writing about Butch Jones again and I just can’t fathom why.

How is he still the head coach at Tennessee right now? If you would have told me two weeks ago that Florida would fire their head coach before Tennessee did I would have said you was crazy.

But nevertheless, here we are. So what’s new this week with Jones after another embarrassing loss? Oh, just that he allegedly played a player who had a concussion for an entire half against UK. Now Tennessee is conducting an internal investigation to see if the coaches knew about this player’s concussion.

Why are they even conducting an investigation?? The fact that this even happened whether the coaches knew it or not is an absolute travesty and it should be grounds for automatic dismal.

Here is a video of the player in question (No.63) playing in the second half against UK and man is it tough to watch:

I thought for a long time about why athletic director John Currie loves Jones so much, but I just couldn’t come up with an answer.

Then it hit me: Currie just likes to watch his football program get embarrassed week after week. He must also like seeing the coaching staff put student athletes in danger since no punishment has taken place yet. That’s terrible of me to say, but I just can’t find any other logical reasoning for what’s going on in Knoxville right now.

I honestly hope Southern Miss defeats Tennessee on Saturday and brings an end to Jones’ time at Tennessee and to all this madness. But at this point, I just don’t know what would do the trick.


Auburn suspends Austin Wiley, Danjel Purifoy amid FBI investigation

Auburn suspends Austin Wiley, Danjel Purifoy amid FBI investigation

© Raymond Carlin III

Breaking news in SEC Basketball: Auburn has suspended Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy, the two players believed to be implicated in the FBI’s complaint against former assistant Chuck Person. The program announced the suspension in a press release this morning.

“To avoid any potential eligibility issues, Auburn Athletics has decided to hold men’s basketball players Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy out indefinitely,” the statement read. “Because this is related to an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”

Person faces six federal counts in the FBI’s probe into bribery in college basketball for steering players towards financial managers in exchange for $91,500 in bribes from a cooperating FBI witness. Person then distributed $18,500 to the families of “Player-1” and “Player-2.” While Wiley and Purifoy have not publicly been identified as Player-1 and -2, today’s release all but confirms it. Person remains suspended without pay.

Wiley, a former five-star recruit, and Purifoy are among Auburn’s top returners after averaging 8.8 points and 11.5 points respectively last season. Auburn plays their first exhibition game tonight.

[CBS Sports]


Is Jim McElwain Finished at Florida?

Jim McElwain has won consecutive SEC Eastern Division titles, yet he might lose his job before the 2017 football season concludes.

Even if Florida dethrones Georgia this afternoon in Jacksonville, Forbes writer and Florida alumnus Darren Heitner reports McElwain will soon be terminated.

“Boosters have been called to pool $ in anticipation that Gators will soon be hiring new head football coach. Gators AD has statement already drafted no matter the outcome of UGA game.  Agent Jimmy Sexton & UF have been trying to work out Coach Mac buyout, but are ‘miles apart.’ Still working hard on it.”

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin issued a statement in response to the report.

If boosters are in fact pooling their money together, they’ll need $12.5 million to get rid of McElwain.  You can understand why it might be worth it after this week’s antics.

During his weekly press conference, the head coach referenced “death threats to your families” for Florida’s 3-3 start.  Naturally, reporters questioned that statement.  McElwain opted not to elaborate.  That’s understandable.  What doesn’t make sense is that he refused to provide any of the details to his employers.  Florida distanced themselves from McElwain in this statement:

“The University Athletic Association takes the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and families very seriously. Our administration met with Coach McElwain this afternoon and he offered no additional details.”

Did McElwain fabricate death threats to cool down his hot seat?  We’ll never know for certain, but if that was the intention, it had the opposite effect.  Whatever happens next in this strange saga should be entertaining.  Don’t forget to bring popcorn.


(Photo: Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports)

SEC Storylines of Week 9: The Florida-Georgia Game

Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports

The college football season gets another week older, and many eyes will be focused on the SEC. Here is a rundown of the key storylines to watch for around the conference as Kenutcky takes on Tennessee within the confines of Kroger Field.

1. Can Florida’s Defense Slow Down Georgia’s Rushing Attack?

In one of the better rivalries in the SEC, Georgia will take on Florida this week in their annual battle in Jacksonville. This year the Bulldogs are in the conversation for one of the best teams in the nation whereas Florida is coming off two straight weeks of frustrating loses.

Through seven games Georgia has mounted one of the top run games in the nation. The likes of Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and D’Andre Swift have earned most of the Bulldogs’ 1980 rushing yards this season (10th best in the nation) so expect to see a heavy dose of them on Saturday.

Stopping that run game will be paramount for the Gators who will come into the matchup as double-digit underdogs. Florida has given up only four rushing TD’s this season, and if they can replicate that success on Saturday then the Bulldogs may have to depend on their Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm.

However, that will be easier said than done. Chubb will go down as one of the best running backs in SEC history, and this game will be huge for his legacy in Athens. Expect a big game from him on Saturday.

2. Fromm Rising?

Even if Florida can slow down the vaunted Bulldog run game, it may not be enough to beat Georgia. The reason being is that the Bulldogs will have the best quarterback in this matchup.

Guess who has the top quarterback rating in the conference right now. If you thought it was Shea Patterson or Jalen Hurts, you would be wrong because it’s actually Fromm at 170.42.

It’s no secret that despite Fromm’s talents, he is still growing as a quarterback. In Georgia’s seven games, Fromm has thrown for 200 yards just twice. He also has only thrown the ball over 20 times in just two of those seven games.

The Bulldogs have spent time carefully bringing along the freshman quarterback, but they may be ready to fully unleash him on opposing defenses. In his last game, Fromm set career highs in completions, pass attempts, and passing yards. Yes, it did come against a hapless Missouri team but 18-26 for 326 yards and two touchdowns is impressive.

Fromm may be ready for a huge come on Saturday, but don’t tell the Gators that. They are already underestimating him.

3. Butch Jones is…….Still a Head Football Coach

This isn’t even a huge storyline, but I feel like I won’t be able to write that sentence again anytime soon so I’m seizing the opportunity now.

In case you haven’t heard, the Tennessee offense hasn’t scored a single touchdown in over a month….and he is still employed.

Think about that for a second. This is Jones’ fifth season in Knoxville and his team just went a full month without an offensive touchdown……and he is still employed with the 20th highest salary in the nation at $4.11 million. God bless capitalism.

The fact that it’s now up to Kentucky to land the final blow to Jones’ reign is absolutely terrifying. The Wildcats have only beaten Tennessee once in the last 30 years. Which reminds me, that one day was a really good day:

The good news is that the Volunteers will be without their best player John Kelley due to suspension which shows that despite all the ridicule, Jones is truly an outstanding person. Suspending your best player before the game that decides your coaching future shows an awesome level of moral rectitude.

But I truly hope these are the last words I write about Jones. Don’t screw this up UK.

4. Brett Bielema’s Last Game at Arkansas?

Speaking of head coaches who just had an incredibly bad month in their fifth year at an SEC school, let’s talk about the dumpster fire being led by Bielema at Arkansas.

In October, the Razorbacks gave up 142 totals points in three absolute beat downs. They are the only winless team left in the west division and to make matters worse they are a paltry 2-5 on the season.

During his time at Arkansas Bielema’s record now stands at 27-31 compared to his 68-24 record he had at Wisconsin. Whatever formula he had with the Badgers just isn’t working in the SEC, and this week’s game against Mississippi may likely determine his future with Arkansas.

Lose and the Razorbacks will drop to 0-5 in the conference, and the team will have to win their remaining four games (they won’t do so) to be bowl eligible.

Mississippi has a talented offense with Shea Patterson at quarterback, but the good news for Bielema is that the Rebels just aren’t very good this year. A loss may not immediately end his time with the Razorbacks, but it will more than likely assure that he won’t be returning next season.

5. A Week to Earn More Respect

Four. That’s the number of SEC teams that are currently ranked in the AP top 25. For some perspective, the Big 12 currently has more teams (5) ranked in the top 25.

The narrative around the country is that the conference is simply a two-team league with Alabama and Georgia being the only squads in the conference who can be classified as truly “good teams.”

The good news is that this week is the perfect opportunity for the SEC to get more teams back in the Top 25 to really show just how deep the conference is.

The winner of Texas A&M vs. Mississippi St. will be ranked next week, LSU and Auburn will both stay ranked as they are on their bye weeks, and South Carolina can possibly climb into the top 25 as well if they can beat Vanderbilt at home.

All in all, there is a sizable chance that the SEC will have six teams ranked next week which will look great for the conference in the bigger picture.


Mohamed Bamba shined against Texas A&M’s star big men

Photo: TexasSports.com

Texas beat Texas A&M in a super-secret exhibition game Wednesday night and it’s not getting enough attention from the college basketball world.

I say that because Mohamed Bamba, the five-star center who flirted with Kentucky earlier this year, had 15 points and 10 rebounds against a very good A&M frontcourt with Robert Williams and Tyler Davis. Keep in mind, that’s a kid playing in his first college action against two preseason All-SEC selections, one of whom was a projected lottery pick last year.

Of course it was only a preseason exhibition game so we don’t really know exactly how it all went down, but it’s a positive sign for Bamba’s college basketball future. Let’s try not to think about what could’ve been had he picked the Wildcats; we should instead celebrate the fact he went to Texas and not Duke, North Carolina or Kansas.