SEC: Bernie Machen
- Alabama's offensive line is hard at work trying to rectify issues it had communicating on Saturday against Mississippi State. Starting center Ryan Kelly said plainly, "We dropped the ball on communication."
- Team of destiny? That undermines what this year's Auburn team has accomplished, as the Tigers have made their own breaks.
- He's back...say hello to James Franklin, Missouri fans. The senior quarterback, who has missed four games because of a shoulder injury, is 100 percent cleared to play and will play on Saturday vs. Ole Miss.
- South Carolina kicker Elliot Fry, a walk-on, is close to shedding that label and becoming a scholarship player and also had a special visitor in attendance on Saturday to watch the Gamecocks beat Florida.
- There's a lot on the line left for Texas A&M, which has two tough games remaining, starting with Saturday at LSU.
- The challenge LSU has at hand? Slowing down Johnny Manziel. The Tigers did it a year ago, they hope they can repeat that feat.
- Ole Miss has defeated a team ranked in the top 10 once this season (LSU was No. 6 when the Rebels squeaked out a 27-24 victory) and now the Rebels hope to do it again when they host No. 8 Missouri.
- A glance at Aaron Murray's legacy at Georgia, how it's viewed and where he ranks among all-time Georgia quarterbacks.
- Tight end is an area where Tennessee hasn't had a ton of production this season.
- Mississippi State's quarterback situation is murky as both Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott are "day-to-day" according to coach Dan Mullen.
- Florida coach Will Muschamp said he's appreciative of the support athletic director Jeremy Foley and school president Bernie Machen voiced for him last week.
- Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops has his eye on the future with the Wildcats struggling at 2-8, but he isn't forsaking the present.
- Even after beating Tennessee last year, Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said he won't call the Commodores game against the Volunteers "a rivalry" until the Commodores are more successful in the series.
The Gainesville Sun originally reported Muschamp's extension, which is the second one-year extension Muschamp has received this year. He originally signed a five-year deal through 2015 back in 2011.
It says a lot about the faith that athletic director Jeremy Foley and president Bernie Machen had in Muschamp following his 7-6 debut as the Gators' coach in 2011.
"Dr. Machen and I believed in the leadership and direction of the football program this summer and we made a decision to extend Coach Muschamp's contract an additional year this past August, prior to the start of the season," Foley said.
"The financial terms are unchanged but he is now under contract for the University of Florida through the 2017 season."
That confidence certainly paid off, as Muschamp helped guide the Gators to an 11-1 season in his second year and has Florida poised to play in a BCS bowl game in January.
- The SEC officially adopts the 6-1-1 scheduling format.
- The SEC presidents are set to make the league's playoff stance official, writes Seth Emerson of The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph.
- Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News wonders if SEC presidents will forget their roots in voting for future schedules.
- Vanderbilt coach James Franklin draws fire and apologizes for his comments about assistant coaches needing to have attractive wives.
- Tennessee's Derek Dooley is keeping his crystal ball in perspective.
- Tennessee cornerback Izauea Lanier, a projected starter in the fall, has been declared ineligible for the 2012 season.
- The SEC is once again looking long and hard at creating its own television network, writes Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News.
- Conference expansion isn't a priority at the SEC meetings, but it's not totally dismissed, either.
- Glenn Guilbeau of Gannett Louisiana News writes that most college football coaches don't oversee scheduling because they'd screw it up.
- Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long says he knows of no plans for Arkansas to be replaced as LSU's season-ending opponent.
But things are on hold ... again.
On Tuesday, the SEC presidents voted and unanimously accepted Texas A&M's application to become the conference's 13th team, according to a release by the SEC.
All finally seemed right in the SEC world until one Big 12 school decided to take last-minute action.
"After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on September 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC," University of Florida president and SEC chairman Dr. Bernie Machen said in a statement released Wednesday. "We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action. The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure. The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011."
The SEC wants to make sure it isn't sued by any Big 12 school for accepting Texas A&M, but sources told ESPN's Joe Schad that Baylor hasn't given the league that assurance.
That's interesting because in that letter to SEC commissioner Mike Slive from Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe on Sept. 2, Beebe made it clear that no legal action about be taken against the SEC.
Here is the intro to that letter:
"This is to confirm our discussion yesterday during which I informed you that the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors unanimously authorized me to convey to you and their colleagues in the Southeastern Conference that the Big 12 and its members will not take any legal action for any possible claims against the SEC or its members relating to the departure of Texas A&M University from the Big 12 and the admission of Texas A&M into the SEC; provided, however, that such act by the SEC to admit Texas A&M is publicly confirmed by 5:00 p.m. (CDT) on September 8, 2011."
Regardless, Baylor seems to be the hold up for the SEC at this moment, but if my memory serves me, the Big East sued Miami, Boston College and the ACC after those schools decided to jump the ACC.
Guess where those schools, including Virginia Tech, are? Yep, the ACC.
Most around the league I've talked with view it more as a timeout than anything.
The statement by Florida president Bernie Machen certainly leaves the door open that the SEC could extend an invitation down the road to Texas A&M, but in no way does the SEC want to get caught up in any litigation involving Texas A&M's exit from the Big 12. So perhaps this is the SEC's way of allowing Texas A&M to get its business in order before anything happens. SEC commissioner Mike Slive doesn't want to be part of raiding a conference or cherry-picking teams from a conference, which is why the SEC wants it known that Texas A&M approached the SEC and not the other way around.
The other factor that weighs into the SEC taking this timeout is that a 14th team would have to be found if Texas A&M does indeed come aboard. Where would that team come from? Several in the SEC have suggested that the league is not interested in going into the neigboring ACC and adding teams.
So for now, we all wait.
But stay tuned.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
All those playoff proponents in college football can take solace in the fact that there's at least one high-profile president out there who doesn't like the BCS.
Florida's Bernie Machen, whose Gators have won two of the last three BCS national championships, called the current BCS format unfair in a wide-ranging Q&A that Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel conducted with Machen recently.
In particular, Machen said the BCS system is not fair for a school like Utah, which he says could "beat a lot of SEC schools." Machen was the president at Utah before coming to Florida, and the Utes blasted Alabama last year in the Allstate Sugar Bowl to complete an undefeated season.
For a playoff to have any chance in college football, it's going to take more presidents like Machen getting on board and pushing for one. Right now, Machen is in the minority among his peers when it comes to a playoff.