Football format talk heats up at SEC meeting

DESTIN, Fla. – There was plenty of discussion Wednesday at the Southeastern Conference Spring Meeting about what sort of football scheduling format the SEC will put in place starting with the 2013 season.

Everything from nine conference games to games against six division opponents and two rotating opponents to some schools having permanent cross-divisional opponents and others not have been discussed.

But there is no question, as SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said, which format is “the leader in the clubhouse.”

And it’s a leader with a score that even detractors like LSU athletic director Joe Alleva know will be mighty tough to beat.

The favored format is known as the 6-1-1. In it, teams would play the six teams in their division, one permanent cross-division opponent and one rotating team from the other division.

That format would preserve traditional rivalries such as Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia, longstanding rivalries that had to be protected in a way when the SEC expanded from 10 to 12 teams and split up into Eastern and Western divisions in 1992.

The format also forces some schools together, such as LSU and Florida, which have played each other annually since 1971.

Florida coach Will Muschamp, LSU’s former defensive coordinator at LSU, has said that he would like the Tigers to remain as the Gators’ permanent SEC West opponent.

Alleva and LSU coach Les Miles have argued the permanent opponent sets up competitive imbalances.

“The non-divisional opponents should just be rotated,” Alleva said. “It’s the fairest and most equitable way to do it. Anybody who doesn’t vote that way is simply voting in the best interests of their institution, not the best interests of the conference. That’s my opinion.”

“If Mississippi State is going to play Kentucky every year, I think that’s disproportionate,” Miles said. “I’m not for Auburn playing Georgia every year. I think there should be an opportunity to see a greater segment of the conference, the opportunity to rotate two games as opposed to one game.

“I would say a majority (of coaches) would be for that.”

Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose SEC East school plays Auburn of the SEC West in one of the annual rivalries at the heart of the debate, disagrees.

“It was a situation where everybody had a good reason for why some format worked for them,” Richt said of the football coaches’ meeting. “There was no consensus.

“My sentiment, to be real clear, is we should play Auburn.”

Projected SEC permanent opponents

If the 6-1-1 football scheduling format is adopted, here are the projected permanent cross-divisional opponents:

LSU (West)-Florida (East)

Alabama (West)-Tennessee (East)

Arkansas (West)-Missouri (East)

Auburn (West)-Georgia (East)

Ole Miss (West)-Vanderbilt (East)

Miss. State (West)-Kentucky (East)

Texas A&M (West)-South Carolina (East)

Vinson to transfer to SLU

After a move from safety to cornerback this spring, Ronnie Vinson apparently still couldn’t see much playing time for himself in LSU’s deep and talented secondary.

That’s why Vinson is making a move again – this time deciding to transfer to Southeastern Louisiana.

LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette confirmed Vinson’s transfer. SLU spokesman Matt Sullivan said the school declined comment.

A graduate of Newman High School in New Orleans, Vinson (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) redshirted in 2010. He played in seven games last season and recorded one tackle, seeing action on defense and special teams.

Vinson’s prospects for more playing time looked good going into spring practice this year, but redshirt freshman Jalen Collins (6-1, 184) surpassed him as the Tigers’ likely No. 3 cornerback behind Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon, both juniors.

Vinson is expected to make the move back to safety once at SLU, where he will be eligible to play this fall.

SEC, Big 12 have football post-season deal

The Southeastern Conference and Big 12 Conference football champions will meet in a post-season bowl if both fail to qualify for the new four-team BCS format that begins after the 2014 under a five-year n agreement announced by the leagues Friday.

If either or both of the champions qualifies for the final four, “another deserving team from the conference(s) would be selected for the game”, according to a news release issued by the SEC on Friday. The SEC champion and the Big 12 champion have eached finished in the top four of the final BCS rankings in 11 of the 14 years of the BCS.

“A new January bowl tradition is born,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said in the release. “This new game will provide a great match-up between the two most successful conferences in the BCS era and will complement the exciting post-season atmosphere created by the new four-team model.”

 “Our goal is to provide the fans across the country with a New Year’s Day prime-time tradition,” acting Big 12 Conference Commissioner Chuck Neinas said. “This is a landmark agreement between two of the most successful football conferences during the BCS era to stage a post-season event.”

More details, including host site(s), will be announced later.

 

 

LSU’s ‘Alexander the Great’ named to College Football Hall of Fame

You can now count LSU’s “Alexander the Great” among college football’s all-time greats.

Charles Alexander, the two-time All-American running back and Heisman Trophy finalist was named Tuesday to the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation announced.

One of the greatest running backs in Southeastern Conference annals, Alexander etched his name in college football history during a four-year career from 1975-78.

Known to Tiger fans as “Alexander the Great,” he earned All-America honors in 1977 and 1978 while finishing ninth in the Heisman Trophy race as a junior and fifth as a senior.

“This is an important recognition for one of the legendary figures in LSU athletics history,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in a university statement. “This honor is one of the most significant and prestigious honors in all of sports and one which is well-deserved.  Charlie played an important role in LSU football history and the University congratulates him on this tremendous honor.”

Alexander’s formal induction into the hall won’t come until Dec. 4 during ceremonies in New York. He will be enshrined during ceremonies in summer 2013.

The Missouri City, Texas, native becomes just the eighth LSU player ever elected into the College Football Hall of Fame. Five coaches whose careers included stints at LSU are also in the hall.

Named SEC MVP in 1977, Alexander set nine SEC records and tied another. By the time he completed his LSU career he held 27 school records.

Alexander still holds the school records for most rushes in a game (43), most yards in a season (1,686) and most yards gained per game in a season (153.3).  He was selected with the 12th pick in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft by Cincinnati and played in Super Bowl XVI.

Alexander was previously named to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame and is a member of LSU’s Modern Day Team of the Century.

After his playing days, Alexander later served as a development officer for LSU’s Tiger Athletic Foundation. He is now in private business in Houston.

Others named Tuesday to the College Football Hall of Fame include former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, an Oakdale native and former player at McNeese State; former Tennessee coach and player R.C. Slocum; former Miami, Oklahoma State and Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson; former California and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski; former Syracuse and Washington Redskins receiver Art Monk; former Notre Dame and Oakland Raiders tight end Dave Casper; and former Rice and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer.

LSU COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

PLAYERS

  • Charles Alexander, 2012
  • Jerry Stovall, 2010*
  • Billy Cannon, 2008
  • Tommy Casanova, 1995
  • G.E. “Doc” Fenton, 1971
  • Abe Mickal, 1967
  • Ken Kavanaugh, 1963
  • Gaynell “Gus” Tinsley, 1956*

COACHES

  • Dana X. Bible, 1951
  • Mike Donahue, 1951
  • Lawrence “Biff” Jones, 1954
  • Bernie Moore, 1954
  • Charles McClendon, 1986

*-Also served as head coach at LSU

 

Tampa Bay waives Jordan Jefferson

Jordan Jefferson’s pro football career may be over almost before it began.

The former LSU quarterback was waived Thursday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, just three days after the NFC South team signed Jefferson to a free agent contract.

The Buccaneers announced Jefferson’s release via their Twitter page.

Jefferson was one of eight LSU players to sign free agent contracts or be invited to a free agent tryout after the NFL draft. Among them was fellow quarterback Jarrett Lee, who signed with the San Diego Chargers and remains with that team.

Thursday, the New Orleans Saints announced that former LSU linebacker Ryan Baker was on their list of free agent tryouts for their mini camp which begins Friday in Metairie.

Baker was originally signed to a free agent contract by Tampa Bay, but was cut by the Bucs on Monday, the same day the Bucs signed Jefferson.

Four other former Tigers have been signed to free agent contracts and remained with their respective teams as of Thursday afternoon: defensive end Kendrick Adams with the Jacksonville Jaguars, offensive guard Will Blackwell with the Carolina Panthers, and offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert and tight end Deangelo Peterson with the St. Louis Rams.

Three other ex-LSU players were invited to free agent tryouts but have not been signed by any teams: deep snapper Alex Russian (invited by the Pittsburgh Steelers), offensive tackle Greg Shaw (Detroit Lions) and fullback James Stampley (Seattle Seahawks).

Five LSU players were drafted: Morris Claiborne (first round, Dallas Cowboys), Michael Brockers (first, St. Louis Rams), Rueben Randle (second, New York Giants), Brandon Taylor (third, San Diego) and Ron Brooks (fourth, Buffalo Bills).

ESPN’s McShay projects LSU’s Mingo, Montgomery and Reid as first round picks in 2013

 LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery (99), LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson (56) and LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo (49)

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG

ESPN’s Todd McShay has posted his first projection of first round picks in the 2013 NFL draft. Utilizing player projected player rankings of draft eligible players f0r 2013 from STATS Inc. and basing the drafting position off of teams’ 2011 record mapped out the first round.

His draft projects three LSU defensive players as first round picks, projecting DE Barkevious Mingo at #9, DE Sam Montgomery at #10 and Safety Eric Reid at #22.

See the ESPN moc draft. (Must be an ESPN Insider)

Date and time officially set for LSU-Arkansas game on CBS

LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery (99) is about to hit Arkansas University quarterback Tyler Wilson

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING

CBS and LSU officials announced Wednesday that this season’s LSU-Arkansas game will be played Friday, Nov. 23 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark.

Kickoff will be at 1:30 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on CBS.

It’s been known for months now that the Tigers and Razorbacks would meet in Fayetteville instead of Little Rock, where the teams have squared off every other year since 1994. Whether the game would be played on Friday or Saturday was the question.

The only other time LSU has played Arkansas in Fayetteville since the Razorbacks joined the SEC in 1992 was 20 years ago. Arkansas mopped the field with the Tigers that day in a 30-6 romp that put a dismal footnote on a 2-9 season, LSU’s worst ever.

As with most schools around the SEC, Arkansas has made big improvements to its home stadium since then. DWRRS (that’s what Arkansas’ website calls it) underwent a $110 million renovation in 2001 – with a generous $20 million donation from Donald W. Reynolds, hence his name on the place – that increased its capacity from 51,000 to 72,000.