SEC: Alabama Criimson Tide
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Here's an update of where the SEC football teams finished in the latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) report.
Ole Miss was one of two BCS teams along with Minnesota that lost scholarships because of an APR score below 925 and having athletes who left the program that weren't academically ineligible at the time of their departure.
This latest APR report was for the 2004-05 through 2007-08 academic years. Ole Miss fired David Cutcliffe following the 2004 season and brought in Ed Orgeron, who was fired following the 2007 season. Orgeron is now the recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach at Tennessee.
Vanderbilt didn't have the highest score, either. That distinction belonged to Georgia. The Commodores were second.
A look at how all 12 SEC teams fared in the APR report:
- Georgia 976
- Vanderbilt 969
- Florida 963
- LSU 960
- Alabama 955
- Auburn 949
- Tennessee 949
- Kentucky 948
- Mississippi State 933
- South Carolina 929
- Arkansas 927
- Ole Miss 910 (lost three scholarships)
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
With Thanksgiving approaching, I'd like to take this time to extend my sincere thanks to all of you for your interest, input and advice since the SEC blog went live in July. Keep it coming. The passion of the fans is what makes college football so much fun. That said, let's break out the SEC mailbag:
Shane in Alabama writes: Chris, what of the rampant speculation over the past 24 hours that Lane Kiffin to Tennessee is a done deal? Either way, GO VOLS!
Chris Low: I've thought since Tennessee fired Phillip Fulmer that Lane Kiffin was at or near the top of Tennessee's list. I still believe that, although it would be premature to call it a done deal. Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton and his search party are still out talking to people. In fact, they're on the road today. What I know to be fact is that Kiffin has already started talking to people about coming with him to Tennessee. One of those people is former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron, now an assistant with the New Orleans Saints. Orgeron was a recruiting whiz at Ole Miss, and he worked with Kiffin on the Southern California staff earlier this decade. I could see Orgeron coming as either a defensive coordinator, associate head coach and/or recruiting coordinator. I think the Vols will have their coach named by the middle of December. The other names to keep an eye on are Cincinnati's Brian Kelly, Texas Tech's Mike Leach and Air Force's Troy Calhoun. I think the Vols have also talked with Minnesota's Tim Brewster. But I've thought from the beginning that the final decision would come down to Kelly or Kiffin.
Blake in Tuscaloosa, Ala., writes: This weekend after the Iron Bowl is over, Alabama fans will be holding up seven fingers for Tuberville, one for every loss this season.
Chris Low: Good one, Blake. Tuberville has no doubt reveled in beating up on Alabama the last six years, and he should. It's Auburn's longest winning streak in the series. I'm sure you already know this, but the longest overall winning streak in the series belongs to Alabama, which won nine in a row from 1973-81. The Crimson Tide also won or shared seven SEC championships during that stretch to go along with three national championships. I think Auburn will be ready to play and will play inspired, but Alabama is too zoned in to have a slip-up now. It's an interesting dynamic for the Tide. They're the big favorite this week against a team that has beaten them six straight times. But next week, Alabama becomes the underdog in the SEC Championship Game, and I think it's a role Nick Saban and his team will embrace and use as motivation. My early guess is that Florida will be a touchdown favorite in that game even though Alabama will go into the game as the No. 1-ranked team in the country provided it takes care of business against Auburn.
Jon in Atlanta writes: No one seems worried about a Texas-Oklahoma rematch freezing out Florida from the national championship game even if they win out. Is there really no chance of this? There's a decent differential currently between Florida and the two Big 12 teams. Is it really a given that Florida can jump the one that doesn't play in the Big 12 game? Their computer rankings will have to improve considerably.
Chris Low: The only scenario that would have any chance (a remote one at that) of squeezing Florida out of the BCS National Championship Game if the Gators win their next two games would be Alabama being upset by Auburn this weekend. The Gators would get a nice boost in their computer ranking with wins over Florida State (18th in the computers) and Alabama (1st in the computers). Beating a No. 1-ranked Alabama team at a neutral site would also likely move the Gators up to No. 1 in both of the human polls used in the BCS standings. But if Alabama loses to Auburn and isn't No. 1, the Gators might not get that kind of pop for beating the Crimson Tide. It's a long-winded way of saying that the Gators' chances of being in the BCS National Championship Game if they win out are about as good as Larry Bird making his free throws in the final seconds of a seventh and deciding game in the playoffs.
Patrick in Abingdon, Va., writes: I read your piece on the best multi-purpose players in the SEC. With the exception of 1-3, I wonder why Randall Cobb of Kentucky did not make the list. He has done it all this year, return punts, play quarterback, catch touchdown passes, etc.
Chris Low: Patrick, you are 100 percent correct. Bad miss on my part. Cobb should have definitely been among the top 10 multipurpose players in the league when you consider that he's now Kentucky's starting quarterback and has rushed for seven touchdowns, thrown two touchdowns and caught two touchdowns when he was lining up at receiver earlier in the season. He's also returned nine punts, and you get the feeling that he could play defense if the Wildcats needed him to. A gifted true freshman, Cobb is a natural no matter where you put him, and I appreciate your pointing out what was a glaring omission on my part. But, hey, I count on you guys to keep me straight.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
We take our daily stroll to see what others are saying and writing about SEC football:
- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier continues to search for answers at quarterback.
- Tennessee running back Arian Foster sticks by his decision to stay for his senior season.
- First-year Ole Miss offensive coordinator Kent Austin has been a hit in Oxford.
- Arkansas' Michael Smith is likely out along with several other starters for Hogs' final game against LSU.
- The Iron Bowl is never just a game. Just ask Nick Saban.
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
Final Illinois 18 Louisiana Tech 35 Final Rutgers 40 North Carolina 21 Final North Carolina State 34 UCF 27
Final Cincinnati 17 Virginia Tech 33 Final 15 Arizona State 36 Duke 31 Final Miami (FL) 21 South Carolina 24 Final/OT Boston College 30 Penn State 31 Final Nebraska 42 24 USC 45
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State