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Auburn soccer falls to top-seeded Stanford in NCAA Tournament

STANFORD, Calif. – The Auburn soccer team (8-7-5) put up a valiant effort against top-seeded Stanford (20-1-0) but ultimately dropped a 2-0 decision against the Cardinal Friday night at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.

Karlos Dansby puts quarterback on liquid diet, gets fined by NFL

Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Karlos Dansby has been fined $18,231 for a hit on Russell Wilson that “kind of re-set” the jaw of the Seattle Seahawks quarterback.

Karlos Dansby puts quarterback on liquid diet, gets fined by NFL

Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Karlos Dansby has been fined $18,231 for a hit on Russell Wilson that “kind of re-set” the jaw of the Seattle Seahawks quarterback.

Karlos Dansby puts quarterback on liquid diet, gets fined by NFL

Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Karlos Dansby has been fined $18,231 for a hit on Russell Wilson that "kind of re-set" the jaw of the Seattle Seahawks quarterback.

Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Karlos Dansby has been fined $18,231 for a hit on Russell Wilson that “kind of re-set” the jaw of the Seattle Seahawks quarterback.

Dansby caught Wilson on the chin during the third quarter of the Seahawks’ 22-16 victory on Nov. 9. The former Woodlawn High School and Auburn standout was flagged for roughing the passer, and the fine is the standard amount for a first-time roughing-the-passer offender.

“Basically, the game was on Thursday, so Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, I was pretty sore,” Wilson said on Friday. “Tons of ice and treatment and all of that, so I feel good now. …

“The first two-and-a-half, three days, I couldn’t really eat anything. I was just doing smoothies and all that kind of stuff. It was very hard to talk. It hurt pretty good.”

Wilson said Dansby nearly broke his jaw.

“I was lucky,” Wilson said. “It was pretty close. Doctors were like, ‘Man, any harder, we’d probably have to wire your mouth shut.’ So that was a good thing that it didn’t happen.”

Wilson said he’d never taken a hit like that.

“I’ve taken a couple of hits, but like I said, it just kind of re-set my jaw,” Wilson said. “I had to re-set it again, and I’m good to go. Maybe I’ll have to talk out of the side of my mouth for the rest of the year, but I’ll be all right.”

My Jaw is hurt and Dr. is making me wear this to fix and realign my disc in my jaw. #Brutal #Jaws #MyFaceHurts

A post shared by Russell Wilson (@dangerusswilson) on

FOR MORE OF AL.COM’S COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE NFL, GO TO OUR NFL PAGE

The Seahawks might wind up with a bigger fine from the NFL than Dansby.

Referee Walt Anderson sent Wilson off the field after the hit to be checked for a concussion. But the quarterback barely sat down in the medical tent before jumping up and grabbing his helmet to return to the field.

After the game, the NFL announced it would investigate if the Seahawks violated the league’s concussion policy. ESPN reported the Seahawks could be fined up to $150,000 if they’re found to have run afoul of the NFL’s policy.

The Cardinals continue their season on Sunday, when they visit the Houston Texans at noon CST. The Seahawks will square off against the visiting Atlanta Falcons in the Monday night game for Week 11 at 7:30. ESPN will televise the game.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.

College Football TV Broadcast Schedule for 11-18-17

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After Auburn blew out the No.1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs last Saturday the College Football Playoff Committee moved the Tigers to No.6 in the CFP standings. The Top 10 ranking makes Auburn one of several teams trying to move up into the final four or at the least become eligible for a top-tier bowl. 

However, Coach Malzahn has said the Tigers are not looking ahead, focusing instead this week on Louisiana Monroe. Malzahn said the goal is not to lose the momentum in this game before heading into the Iron Bowl. As Acid Reign mentioned in his game preview, Auburn needs to take care of business and get out of the game without injuries and with a win that doesn’t hurt the team’s standing in the playoff race. Kickoff will be at 11:00 a.m. CT and will be broadcast by ESPN2.

Although La Monroe has not had a good year, their passing attack has the Warhawks ranked in the top 20 in total offense and scoring. And they have one of the best wide receivers in All-Sun Belt return man Marcus Green. Kick coverage has been a sore spot for the Tigers and Green should also provide a chance to work on improvement.

Those attending the game will enjoy perfect football weather. The forecast calls for a breezy day with temps hovering around the mid to high 60’s. For those who will watch the game on television, we have prepared our regular broadcast schedule of all games leading up to and after Auburn’s game with La Monroe.

Game times are Central Standard, and all SEC games as well as those involving Top 25 teams are underlined. Games on ESPN/ABC can be viewed by clicking here and games on ESPN3 can be viewed by clicking on this link.

Acid Reign will be back doing his regular play-by-play and will have his Open Thread up Saturday. So why not check back here during the game and join him in the discussion as the game unfolds. War Eagle and …

Beat the Warhawks!

11:00 a.m. CT
No. 6 Auburn host La Monroe – ESPN2    
Cincinnati at East Carolina – CBS Sports Network
Delaware State at Florida State – RSN
Virginia at No. 3 Miami, Fl. – ABC
Mercer at No. 1 Alabama – SEC Network
Rutgers at Indiana – Big 10 Network
SMU at No. 21 Memphis – ESPNews
No.12 TCU at Texas Tech – Fox Sports1
Texas at West Virginia – ESPN
No.15 UCF at Temple – ESPNU
No. 24 Michigan at No. 5 Wisconsin – FOX
Minnesota at No. 23 Northwestern – Big 10 Network
No.16 Mississippi State at Arkansas – CBS

See the rest of the schedule after the jump:

11:20
Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech – ACC Network (split)

The Citadel at No. 2 Clemson – ACC Network (split)

1:00

Fresno State at Wyoming – ATTSNRM

Rice at Old Dominion – ESPN3

1:30
Iowa State at Baylor – Fox Sports Network

2:00
Arizona State at Oregon State – Pac-12 Network
Charlotte at Southern Miss – CUSA.TV
Hawaii at Utah State – Spectrum PPV/MWN
Louisiana Tech at UTEP – CUSA.TV
South Alabama at Georgia Southern – ESPN3
Texas State at Arkansas State – ESPN3
UMass at BYU –  BYUtv/ESPN3
Western Carolina at North Carolina – ACC NetworkExtra

2:30
Georgia Tech at Duke – RSN
Illinois at No.9 Ohio State – ABC
Kansas State at No.13 Oklahoma State – ESPN2
Kentucky at No.7 Georgia – CBS
Navy at No.8 Notre Dame – NBC
No. 4 Oklahoma at Kansas – ESPN
Purdue at Iowa – Big 10 Network
San Jose State at Colorado State – CBS Sports Network
Syracuse at Louisville – ESPNU

3:00
Houston at Tulane – ESPNews
Maryland at No. 17 Michigan State – FOX
Nebraska at No. 10 Penn State – Fox Sports1
UAB at Florida – SEC Network
Wofford at South Carolina – SECN Alt

4:00
Coastal Carolina at Idaho – ESPN3/ISP
New Mexico State at UL Lafayette – ESPN3

5:30
Army at North Texas – beIN SPORTS

6:00
Arizona at Oregon – Pac-12 Network

Boston College vs. UConn at Fenway Park – CBS Sports Network
Florida International at Florida Atlantic – No broadcast
No. 20 LSU at Tennessee – ESPN
Marshall at UT San Antonio – KMYS
Texas A&M at Ole Miss – ESPN2

6:30
Missouri at Vanderbilt – SEC Network
No.19 NC State at Wake Forest – ESPNU

7:00
California at No. 22 Stanford – FOX
UCLA at No.11 USC – ABC

9:15
Air Force at No.25 Boise State – ESPN2

9:30
Nevada at San Diego State – CBS Sports Network
Utah at No.18 Washington – ESPN

The post College Football TV Broadcast Schedule for 11-18-17 appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

SEC Football by the Numbers: Top 10 for Week 12

The 12th Saturday of the SEC's 2017 football season features five conference games (Mississippi State/Arkansas, Kentucky/Georgia, LSU/Tennessee, Missouri/Vanderbilt and Texas A&M/Ole Miss) and four non-conference contests (Mercer/Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe/Auburn, UAB/Florida and Wofford/South Carolina).

0 SEC teams that have lost five or six of their first six games of the season have won more than five games in that season. Missouri would become the first to do so by beating Vanderbilt on Saturday. The Tigers had a 1-5 record six games into the season, but would be 6-5 for the 2017 campaign with a victory. The current Missouri squad is one of four SEC teams that has started the season 0-6 or 1-5 and compiled five victories, joining 1988 Tennessee, 1991 Vanderbilt and 1992 South Carolina. The most recent SEC team to overcome such a start to win four games in a season was Kentucky in 1996. Between that Kentucky team and the current Missouri squad, 17 SEC teams started a season 0-6 or 1-5, and none of them won more than three games. Missouri is the third SEC team that has followed five straight losses with four consecutive wins in the same season. In 1988, Tennessee lost its first six games of the season, then won its final five. In 1992, South Carolina lost its first five games of the season, then won the next four.

1 Program has won at least 11 games for seven consecutive seasons, a feat that Alabama would equal if it beats Mercer on Saturday. Southern Cal won at least 11 games for seven straight seasons – 2002 through 2008. Alabama has an active streak of six seasons with at least 11 victories. The Crimson Tide won 12 games in 2011, 13 in 2012, 11 in 2013, 12 in 2014, 14 in 2015 and 14 in 2016. 

1 Loss in 18 games played on Nov. 18 by Tennessee. The Volunteers’ only defeat on the date came 24-10 to Ole Miss in Memphis in 1961. Tennessee’s 17-1 record on Nov. 18 includes Chuck Webb’s school single-game record 294 rushing yards against Ole Miss in a 33-21 victory in 1989. Tennessee hosts LSU on Saturday, which is Nov. 18.

3 Of the five teams that have not allowed an opponent score 30 points in a game this season are SEC members — Alabama, Auburn and South Carolina. The other two teams are Troy and Washington.

14 Consecutive losses have been suffered by Tennessee in games against SEC West teams. Tennessee hasn’t beaten a team from the Western Division since topping Ole Miss 52-14 on Nov. 13, 2010. The Volunteers have a 36-34-1 record against SEC West opponents since the conference divided into divisions in 1992. LSU, which visits Tennessee on Saturday, has a 39-31-1 record against the SEC East.

17 Consecutive seasons have featured at least eight victories for LSU, the longest such streak in SEC history. The Tigers most recently failed to win at least eight games in a season in 1999, when they went 3-8. A win on Saturday against Tennessee would extend LSU’s streak.

19 Years since Kentucky beat a ranked conference rival on the road. Kentucky visits No. 7 Georgia on Saturday. The Wildcats beat No. 21 LSU 39-36 in Baton Rouge in 1998. Kentucky’s most recent road win against a top-10 SEC opponent came in 1964, when the Wildcats upset No. 1 Ole Miss 27-21. Kentucky’s most recent road win against any top-10 opponent came in 1977, when the Wildcats upended No. 4 Penn State 24-20.

20 Consecutive November non-conference games have been won by Auburn. The Tigers’ most recent loss in a non-conference game in the 11th month came on Nov. 10, 1990, when the Tigers fell to Southern Miss 13-12.

39 Consecutive seasons have passed since Kentucky most recently posted a winning record against SEC competition. It’s the longest such streak in conference history. The Wildcats haven’t finished above .500 in SEC play since 1977, when Kentucky had a 6-0 SEC record. If the Wildcats beat Georgia on Saturday, then the streak will be over. If Kentucky loses to the Bulldogs, the streak goes to 40. The Wildcats have a 4-3 league mark entering their final conference game of 2017.

72 Consecutive victories have been recorded over unranked teams by Alabama — tied for the longest such streak in NCAA FBS history. The Crimson Tide hasn’t lost to an unranked team since falling to Auburn 17-10 on Nov. 24, 2007. Miami (Fla.) defeated 72 unranked opponents in a row between a 47-45 loss to Boston College on Nov. 23, 1984, and a 31-8 loss to UCLA on Sept. 2, 1995. Florida defeated 72 unranked opponents in a row between a 34-7 loss to Washington in the Freedom Bowl on Dec. 30, 1989, and a 47-35 loss to Mississippi State on Sept. 30, 2000. Alabama plays unranked Mercer on Saturday.

FOR MORE OF AL.COM’S COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE SEC, GO TO OUR SEC PAGE

This week’s SEC schedule includes (all times are CST):

Saturday

  • Louisiana-Monroe (4-5) at No. 6 Auburn (8-2), 11 a.m., Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama (ESPN2)
  • Mercer (5-5) at No. 1 Alabama (10-0), 11 a.m., Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (SEC Network)
  • No. 16 Mississippi State (7-3, 3-3) at Arkansas (4-6, 1-5), 11 a.m., Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas (CBS)
  • Kentucky (7-3, 4-3) at No. 7 Georgia (9-1, 6-1), 2:30 p.m., Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia (CBS)
  • UAB (7-3) at Florida (3-6), 3 p.m., Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida (SEC Network)
  • Wofford (9-1) at South Carolina (7-3), 3 p.m., Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina (SEC Network alternate channel)
  • No. 20 LSU (7-3, 4-2) at Tennessee (4-6, 0-6), 6 p.m., Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee (ESPN)
  • Texas A&M (6-4, 3-3) at Ole Miss (5-5, 2-4), 6 p.m., Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi (ESPN2)
  • Missouri (5-5, 2-4) at Vanderbilt (4-6, 0-6), 6:30 p.m., Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee (SEC Network)

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.

SEC Football by the Numbers: Top 10 for Week 12

The 12th Saturday of the SEC’s 2017 football season features five conference games (Mississippi State/Arkansas, Kentucky/Georgia, LSU/Tennessee, Missouri/Vanderbilt and Texas A&M/Ole Miss) and four non-conference contests (Mercer/Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe/Auburn, UAB/Florida and Wofford/South Carolina).

SEC Football by the Numbers: Top 10 for Week 12

The 12th Saturday of the SEC’s 2017 football season features five conference games (Mississippi State/Arkansas, Kentucky/Georgia, LSU/Tennessee, Missouri/Vanderbilt and Texas A&M/Ole Miss) and four non-conference contests (Mercer/Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe/Auburn, UAB/Florida and Wofford/South Carolina).

UL-Monroe Preview: A Necessary Game

Following a win like the one Auburn experienced a week ago, an opponent like UL-Monroe could be scary. The Warhawks are 5th in the nation in the offense and are playing a big dog on national TV. They are only 5-5, but this is the kind of game they would get up for.

They may get up for it, but it ain’t happening. In just one week, Auburn was thrust right back into the playoff picture. They are right on the bubble and know they have everything in front of them, but they also know with a slight slip up, it can be taken away.

After going down 7-0 quickly to the #1 in the nation a week ago, the Auburn Tigers could’ve said “Welp, they’re better than us. Here comes another stupid loss to Georgia.” They didn’t.

Auburn took that moment, turned it around, and dominated. This isn’t a team that’s bored with success. A few weeks ago, it seemed like a decent season was Auburn’s best bet by the time the Iron Bowl ended. Now it’s a whole new ball game. It is known. If Auburn wins out, they are in the playoffs.

A team that’s known they were in for a month could see UL-Monroe and the 11 am kick and sleepwalk through it all. This is Auburn’s chance to get their 9th win, something they haven’t done since 2013. And they have a simple chance to get it. They just have to treat the Warhawks like it’s Georgia for a half. That’s all.

Many have pondered how long the starters would play. Gus Malzahn has answered it perfectly. Going into the game asking when the starters will be done is exactly what’s wrong with these types of games. When the score is 34-0 in the 2nd quarter, you can ask that. Before the game has started, you worry about Kerryon Johnson scoring touchdowns, not when he’s going to come out.

Should the starters play the whole game? No. The game should be over by halftime. But we don’t know. The starters should play as long as it takes to win the game with your backups. That should be early, but we don’t know.

But since this is my site, I will tell you what will happen, not what I think should happen.

Kerryon Johnson will score two wildcat touchdowns in the 1st half. Jarrett Stidham will have two deep passes for scores as well. Malik Willis and Malik Miller will run the zone-read the entire 2nd half and because you can’t tell him to play slow, Malik Willis will score three touchdowns. It will be over at halftime and the game will go exactly as you’d want it to leading into the new Mother of All Iron Bowls.

Auburn 52, UL-Monroe 10

Might we see more of QB Malik Willis against ULM? – 247Sports


247Sports

Might we see more of QB Malik Willis against ULM?
247Sports
Auburn's dynamic runner and passer is only a freshman, but a blowout against ULM could provide him the most playing time yet this season. Brandon Marcello – 4 hours ago; 5; Tools. Edit; Slot to 247Sports Home; Slot to Auburn Tigers Newsletter; Slot to …

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Auburn football podcast: Nosa Eguae breaks down rest of Tigers’ season – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Auburn football podcast: Nosa Eguae breaks down rest of Tigers' season
SECcountry.com
Welcome to The Podcast on the Plains, SEC Country's daily Auburn football podcast with host Zac Blackerby. On the show Friday, Blackerby plays two interviews. The first is with former Auburn defensive lineman Nosa Eguae. The two talk about playing in …
Running back Kamryn Pettway will 'probably' miss Iron Bowl247Sports


Arkansas boosters want to pluck Gus Malzahn from No. 6 Auburn, report saysSporting News
Gus Malzahn named semifinalist for George Munger Coach of the Year awardAuburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
WTOP –247Sports –Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman
all 106 news articles »

AU BLOG MAILBAG: What are the chances Auburn wins the SEC and makes the Playoff?

It’s the calm before the storm. The thing before the really big thing. The Friday before the last Saturday before the Iron Bowl.

Auburn Football did not begin with Shug Jordan and it did not end with Pat Dye – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn Football did not begin with Shug Jordan and it did not end with Pat Dye
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Each Friday during the 2017 football season, AuburnTigers.com will feature a column from Auburn historian and Athletic Director Emeritus David Housel to commemorate the 125 year history of Auburn football. We hope you enjoy! By David Housel. Auburn …

Notable recruits visiting Auburn for ULM game

Three Auburn commits and several key targeted prospects will be visiting the Plains to watch No. 6 Auburn host ULM on Saturday.

Notable recruits visiting Auburn for ULM game

Three Auburn commits and several key targeted prospects will be visiting the Plains to watch No. 6 Auburn host ULM on Saturday.

Three Auburn commits and several key targeted prospects will be visiting the Plains to watch No. 6 Auburn host ULM on Saturday.

2018 commits Kolbi Fuqua, Josh March and Asa Martin are all back in town after visiting for Auburn’s win over Georgia last week.

Four players from Troup County High School in LaGrange, Ga. are visiting, led by 2019 4-star King Mwikuta, who came to Auburn in July and said he was planning to announce his commitment after the season.

Here’s a look at the notable recruits visiting Auburn this weekend, starting with the class of 2018. Check back for more recruiting coverage on AL.com.

Kolbi Fuqua, ATH, Cordova: 3-star Auburn commit

Josh Marsh, OLB, Decatur: 3-star Auburn commit

Asa Martin, RB, Austin: 4-star Auburn commit

Khmari Thompson, WR, Central Gwinnett: 3-star

King Mwikuta, DE/LB, Troup County: 2019 4-star

Ja’len Sims, LB, Fultondale: 2019 4- star

Darius Thomas, OT, Jonesboro: 2019 4-star

Joko Willis, LB, Troup County: 2019 3-star

Andy Boykin, SDE, Troup County: 2020

Kobe Hudson, WR, Troup County: 2020

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea.

Chandler Cox taking care of ‘dirty work’ for Auburn’s rushing attack

Chandler Cox has proven himself to be a reliable lead blocker for Kerryon Johnson this season.

Chandler Cox taking care of ‘dirty work’ for Auburn’s rushing attack

Chandler Cox has proven himself to be a reliable lead blocker for Kerryon Johnson this season.

Watch video

Chandler Cox never sticks out in the box score, but the Auburn H-back has quietly developed into a reliable lead blocker in the Tigers’ rushing attack this season.

The junior has just five receptions for 34 yards and one carry for no gain this season, but the 6-foot-1, 239-pounder has made several key blocks to help pave the way for Kerryon Johnson’s SEC-leading rushing campaign.

“Chandler does all our dirty work for us,” Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey said. “(A) really tough physical guy and one of our leaders and I think he’s improved tremendously, just technique fundamentals…. He was already a good player and I think he’s improved.”

Thanks to Cox’s development as a lead blocker out of the backfield, Johnson has rushed for an SEC-best 1,035 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Johnson was named a Doak Walker Award semifinalist, and he leads the SEC with 129.38 yards per game, positioning himself well to be in the running for SEC Offensive Player of the Year.

Johnson, supremely talented in his own right and a patient runner to boot, understands the role Cox has had in his personal success this season. In particular, Johnson has been impressed with how well Cox switches up his blocks on any given down to throw defenders off.

“It keeps the defensive guy guessing, because you never know who he’s really going to block because we have so many different run schemes,” Johnson said. “When he plays like that, it’s a lot easier. I can just get behind him and wherever he blocks the guy, I just go the opposite way. … When he plays like that, our running game — our O-line can only do so much, so when he plays like that, it just takes our game to a whole other level.”

Auburn ranks 20th nationally in rushing offense this season, averaging 236.7 yards per game on the ground.

Lindsey credited Cox’s improvement to the work new H-backs/tight ends coach Larry Porter has done with him this season, while Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said there have been “two or three games” this season where Cox was the Tigers’ offensive MVP because of his blocking.

“He’s one of those guys that, the stats don’t say it, but you look at some key plays from last week’s game and every week, he’s usually making a key block at the point of attack,” Malzahn said.

Cox’s physicality and overall improvement as a lead blocker has reminded Malzahn of another successful H-back he has coached at Auburn: former Tigers Jay Prosch, who paved the way for Auburn’s top-ranked rushing attach in 2013. Prosch currently plays for the NFL’s Houston Texans after being selected in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

“Those two are from the same mold, the same mindset,” Malzahn said. “Just from a physicality (standpoint), and they’re both like coaches on the field. They can adapt, they can make adjustments. We get a lot of information from them about what this guy’s doing, what that guys’ doing. Both of those guys know our offense very well and we rely on them.”

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

DENNIS: Auburn needs to use ULM game as true Iron Bowl tune-up

Now is not the time for No. 6 Auburn to take it easy.

Auburn suffers first loss of season, falls to Temple in Charleston Classic semis

Auburn knew it could score with anybody this season. That much was true Friday morning against Temple in the Charleston Classic semifinals.

Auburn thinking hard about offering talented Memphis defensive back commit – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Auburn thinking hard about offering talented Memphis defensive back commit
SECcountry.com
Welcome to SEC Country's daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It's Friday and SEC Country looks at the recruitment of CD Daniels and Caleb Johnson, as well as a top 2019 target.

and more »

Auburn thinking hard about offering talented Memphis defensive back commit – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Auburn thinking hard about offering talented Memphis defensive back commit
SECcountry.com
Welcome to SEC Country's daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It's Friday and SEC Country looks at the recruitment of CD Daniels and Caleb Johnson, as well as a top 2019 target.

and more »

Why Mercer is playing Alabama and Auburn this season

“It wasn’t that Alabama called and then the next day we were like, ‘Yes, let’s do it.'”

Why Mercer is playing Alabama and Auburn this season

"It wasn't that Alabama called and then the next day we were like, 'Yes, let's do it.'"

Mercer had its FBS game for 2017, against Auburn, signed for roughly a year when associate athletic director Daniel Tate was looking for games in 2018.

He called Alabama, which did not have an opening in 2018 but was looking for an opponent before the 2017 Iron Bowl.

“It’s not in our strategic plan to play two FBS teams,” Tate said. “Especially, to play probably two of the best FBS teams there is, that is definitely not in our plan. Georgia wouldn’t play us and from a branding scenario, Georgia would be really good just from growing our brand within the state. … We’re still in the infant years of our football program.”

As easy it would be to chalk up Mercer’s motivation to play both Auburn and Alabama in the same season to the obvious financial incentives – nobody at Mercer is denying the impact the over $1 million from the games has had – the fifth-year FCS program was not instantly sold on the idea. With some leverage in the negotiation, Mercer secured a two-game deal with Alabama, which will host the Bears again in 2021, and at least one basketball game.

“It wasn’t that Alabama called and then the next day we were like, ‘Yes, let’s do it,'” Mercer athletic director Jim Cole said. “It probably took a month or two for both sides, mainly our side, to get our hands around it. One of the big things was that we were able to play them again. … I don’t plan on doing this every year. We do have a good business plan in place. It’s a unique opportunity.

“If we were playing Auburn and Alabama (the) third and sixth game of the year, I don’t know that we would’ve treated it the same. With it being the last game of the year, they’re getting ready for Auburn, we’re either going to be in the playoffs or not. We’re viewing it as a 10-game season with our normal BCS team mixed in and then the last game of the year is Alabama.”

Cole discussed the possibility with coach Bobby Lamb, who did not want to add Alabama to the 2017 schedule initially. Some coaxing from his wife and mulling over the long-term benefits got Lamb to change his mind.

“You’re playing the best of the best,” Lamb said. “That opportunity to help yourself in recruiting I think was the thing that got us over the hurdle because when people hear Alabama in ’17 and Alabama again in ’21, a lot of recruits perk up and say ‘Hey, I’d like to play in that game.’ That’s kind of what ultimately did it.”

Behind the scenes with Mercer, the FCS team with the ‘Iron Bowl schedule,’ as it prepared for Auburn

After Mercer was competitive in a 2016 loss to Georgia Tech, the Bears were excited about the “Iron Bowl schedule” this season.

“That’s what every college football player wants to do, is play in those big environments and tons of fans and massive stadiums,” Mercer senior offensive lineman Thomas Marchman said. “That’s what you dream about as a little kid. We’re at Mercer and it’s a great environment, it’s probably one of the best in the FCS, but it’s definitely not 90,000 people or it’s not the SEC.”

After hanging with Auburn until midway through the fourth quarter earlier this season, Mercer is both confident in its ability to compete while also recognizing the daunting task of facing the No. 1 team in the country.

“They are bigger, stronger and faster,” senior linebacker Lee Bennett said. “But like against Auburn, we’re just going to go out and give it our all. There’s nothing we can do about it now. We’re just going to go have fun. That’s the name of the game.”

The financial aspect of the two SEC games, which Cole called “icing on the cake” in the case of the $600,000 Mercer will receive from Alabama this season, will help with facilities improvements for the private school in Macon, Ga.

Cole said, “a large portion” of the money for the Alabama game was used to complete a nearly $9 million baseball facility Mercer completed earlier this year and the rest was being allocated towards a new videoboard and towards a rainy-day fund.

But more than the pure dollars and cents economic impact, Mercer is trying to build brand recognition for its football program and has future games scheduled with Memphis, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Auburn and Ole Miss. A Gatorade commercial prominently features a player with a Mercer basketball jersey – the Bears upset Duke in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

“Success to me is we’re going to be on the national stage,” Cole said. “They’re nationally ranked and that’s what I want because at least I’m going to be on Sportscenter. It’s one slice of the pie of us as we gradually build. It’s the first big step for us. People need to start seeing the Mercer name playing big schools so that they associate it with being FCS. What is our name ID? I don’t know, we just started our program. Playing Auburn and Alabama is a good way, at least for a short period of time. …

“You’ve got two nationally-ranked programs. We could’ve decided to play two BCS games against a Sun Belt program and they could’ve paid us $350-400,000 and they could’ve beaten us bad. If we’re going to play somebody, heck, let’s play the best.”

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea.

Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson a semifinalist for Doak Walker Award – 247Sports


247Sports

Auburn's Kerryon Johnson a semifinalist for Doak Walker Award
247Sports
AUBURN, Alabama — Kerryon Johnson may or may not be in the race for the Heisman Trophy, but he is up for the top award for a running back. The SEC's leading rusher and Auburn star is one of 11 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, it was announced …
Kerryon Johnson chosen as semifinalist for Doak Walker AwardAuburn Tigers Official Athletic Site



all 10 news articles »

Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson a semifinalist for Doak Walker Award – 247Sports


247Sports

Auburn's Kerryon Johnson a semifinalist for Doak Walker Award
247Sports
AUBURN, Alabama — Kerryon Johnson may or may not be in the race for the Heisman Trophy, but he is up for the top award for a running back. The SEC's leading rusher and Auburn star is one of 11 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, it was announced …
AUBURNTIGERS.COM Kerryon Johnson chosen as semifinalist for …Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site



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Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson named semifinalist for Doak Walker Award

Gus Malzahn hasn’t yet seen results of his push to get Kerryon Johnson into the Heisman Trophy conversation, but one award has taken notice of the running back’s performance.

Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson named semifinalist for Doak Walker Award

Gus Malzahn hasn’t yet seen results of his push to get Kerryon Johnson into the Heisman Trophy conversation, but one award has taken notice of the running back’s performance.

Talking Crystal Ball trends for 4 big targets – 247Sports


247Sports

Talking Crystal Ball trends for 4 big targets
247Sports
Talking Crystal Ball trends for 4 big targets. Today we take a look at four big Auburn targets — Andres Fox, Trey Hill, Channing Tindall and Dylan Wonnum. Keith Niebuhr – 18 minutes ago; 0; Tools. Edit; Slot to 247Sports Home; Slot to Auburn Tigers

and more »

Talking Crystal Ball trends for 4 big targets – 247Sports


247Sports

Talking Crystal Ball trends for 4 big targets
247Sports
Talking Crystal Ball trends for 4 big targets. Today we take a look at four big Auburn targets — Andres Fox, Trey Hill, Channing Tindall and Dylan Wonnum. Keith Niebuhr – 18 minutes ago; 0; Tools. Edit; Slot to 247Sports Home; Slot to Auburn Tigers

and more »

Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson named semifinalist for Doak Walker Award

Kerryon Johnson is garnering more national attention.

Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson named semifinalist for Doak Walker Award

Kerryon Johnson is garnering more national attention.

Kerryon Johnson is garnering more national attention.

The Auburn running back is among 11 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award.

Johnson leads the SEC with 1,035 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in eight games this season and ranks eighth nationally with 129.38 rushing yards per game. He also has 15 receptions for 152 yards and two touchdowns.

Twice named SEC offensive player of the week this season, Johnson’s 167 rushing yards against Georgia are the most against a top 10 rush defense this season.

He topped the 1,000-yard mark last week to become the 11th Auburn player to reach the milestone since 2009.

The other semifinalists are Notre Dame’s Josh Adams, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, Oregon’s Royce Freeman, Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill, Southern Cal’s Ronald Jones Jr., Colorado’s Phillip Lindsey, Standford’s Bryce Love, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, FAU’s Devin Singletary and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor.

No Auburn player has ever won the Doak Walker Award, which since 1990 has been presented to the nation’s top running back. Texas’ D’onta Foreman won it last year.

The three finalists will be named Nov. 21 and the 2017 Doak Walker Award winner will be announced during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN on Dec. 7. The Doak Walker Award will be presented on Feb. 16, 2018.

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea.

AL.com All-Access: What this weekend could look like if the SEC joined the 21st century

League should add 9-game schedule

Alabama and Auburn played two of their more memorable games in recent history last weekend, the Tigers crushing top-ranked Georgia and the Crimson Tide battling back for a well-earned road win at Mississippi State.

Next week, we’ll have what figures to be an epic Iron Bowl.

In between, we get … Auburn-ULM and Alabama-Mercer?

Talk about your letdowns.

It’s high time the SEC joined the 21st century and adopted the 9-game conference schedule format. The Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 have already done so, and the SEC (and ACC) should follow suit.

Just think, instead of garbage games against overmatched opponents, we could have the following this weekend:

Florida at Alabama — Sure, the Gators are in a tailspin, but Florida visiting Bryant-Denny Stadium in November would be something most years.

Auburn at South Carolina — Could I interest you in a Gus Malzahn vs. Will Muschamp storyline?

(And yes, I realize we’d have to add another conference game for the other eight teams earlier in the season. Just for argument’s sake, I’ll say this year they’d be Georgia-Texas A&M, Tennessee-Ole Miss, Mississippi State-Missouri and LSU-Kentucky; and obviously, the opponents would rotate every year/two years).

But wait, you say, isn’t the SEC schedule hard enough without adding another game? I’m sure you were perfectly OK with the Big 12 playing nine games but not playing a championship game before this year, right?

Yes, there would be budgetary considerations for playing nine games, given that half the teams would have five SEC road games every year. But it’s a very simple fix — in those years you play an extra non-conference home game or a neutral site game. (You also wouldn’t have to worry about 20,000 empty seats by halftime if you’re playing another conference game).

But what we have now needs to stop. Cupcakes games in September are semi-acceptable, but being forced to watch Alabama-Mercer, Auburn-ULM (not to mention Clemson-The Citadel and Florida State-Delaware State) while teams in other leagues are playing conference games is an embarrassment.

It’s also a rip-off for season-ticket holders and an injustice to players, who should have the opportunity to play as many SEC opponents in and many stadiums as possible during their four years. It’s a win-win situation as far as I’m concerned.

So what do you think? Isn’t my idea great?

I’ll take your questions and comments on that or anything else on your mind beginning at 10 a.m. 

AL.com All-Access: What this weekend could look like if the SEC joined the 21st century

League should add 9-game schedule

From the Other Sideline – UL-Monroe

Keifer Price (@WarHawkReport) is the publisher for WarhawkReport.com, part of the Rivals network. He is a fan-turned-journalist that calls things the way they are for ULM athletics, while trying to keep fans from thinking the sky is falling (harder than you think). This all sounds very familiar…

1. What’s a Monroe fan’s thoughts on Auburn football right now?

They think Auburn is pretty good, but that loss to LSU made a lot of people hesitate. Beat Bama and that changes. But really, how did they manage to lose to THAT LSU team?

2. I hear the Warhawks have an offense. What makes it go?

The big nasties up front. That O-Line opens up some big holes for the RBs to run through and gives QB Caleb Evans some time to throw. Evans also makes some crazy escapes and finds guys downfield to keep drives going.

3. Who are you two favorite Auburn Tigers of all time and why?

As much fun as Cam Newton was to watch in 2011, Nick Fairley’s domination as a D-lineman was a blast to watch, so he’s #1 for me. I’m going to go with Tre Mason as my second. He always looked ready to bust a big play.

4. Which two players should Auburn fans look out for and why?

RB Derrick Gore and starting RT Eastwood Thomas are both Alabama transfers, so probably those two.

On a serious note, WR Marcus Green may be the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year. He also has three kickoff returns for a touchdown on the season and can make a big play anytime. Gore has also been a stud at starting RB this year.

5. In which positional matchup do you see the Warhawks excelling against Auburn?

ULM’s O-Line is their best group on the field. It’ll be fun to watch that battle in the trenches. “Excel” may be a strong word, but I doubt they get dominated.

6. Where will UL-Monroe struggle against the Tigers?

Defensive…everything. As many as five true freshmen will play on that side of the ball, and it’s been a steep learning curve for those guys. No telling how big their eyes will get on the Plains.

7. What are your thoughts on Auburn’s performances this season?

They’ve over-performed, to me. I thought they would crumble after the LSU collapse but they’ve bounced back nicely and have a shot at the playoff. That defense is the real deal and the offense has developed more than I expected.

8. What’s your prediction/analysis of the game?

It’s going to be closer than expected if ULM handles the pressure of the big game well. National TV in the biggest environment most of these guys have played in. ULM will keep it close for the first half but Auburn’s depth should come out on top in the end.

Warhawks cover the spread, but these two teams absolutely destroy the Over.

54-31 Auburn. 

9. Where will Auburn and UL-Monroe end the season?

Auburn wins their last two before losing a rematch to Georgia in SEC title game and end up in a NY6 bowl.

ULM beats Arkansas State at home then upsets Florida State to reach 6 wins and make their second bowl game in school history.

10. ULM will always be my go-to when making fun of Alabama. For that, I thank you.

Still the last non-SEC school to beat Bama in the regular season. Don’t forget, though, that the Warhawks took Auburn to OT in 2012.

2007…Alabama
2012…Arkansas
2017…Auburn??? Why not.

Peeling back the layers of Braden Smith, Auburn’s quiet giant at right guard

Let’s just get this out of the way first: Braden Smith is really good at football.

Auburn doesn’t plan to hold out starters against Louisiana-Monroe

It would be easy to say that Auburn should hold out its starters Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe, a 4-5 Sun Belt team that should be overmatched at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

LSU recruiting: Latest updates on the Tigers’ 2018 class – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

LSU recruiting: Latest updates on the Tigers' 2018 class
SECcountry.com
LSU has laid the foundation for what could be a top-10 recruiting class in 2018. During the next few months, the coaching staff will attempt to add a couple of pieces that would put this collection of talent into “elite” territory. The Tigers' 2018

and more »

UAB can write its biggest underdog storyline Saturday in The Swamp

UAB (7-3) can put on some serious underdog bling this weekend if it can upset Florida (3-6) in the Swamp, where the Gators aren’t as scary an they’ve been in the past.

UAB can write its biggest underdog storyline Saturday in The Swamp

UAB (7-3) can put on some serious underdog bling this weekend if it can upset Florida (3-6) in the Swamp, where the Gators aren't as scary an they've been in the past.

Tom Stallings, a rabid UAB fan, has Saturday’s game against 11-point favorite Florida figured out.

“When we are the underdog, we win. Just look at the games we’ve been underdog in and won.”

The sports books in Vegas offer proof he’s been right more than he’s been wrong.

The Blazers (7-3) have been a underdog  at least six times going into Saturday’s game at Florida (3-6), winning  four of them. The underdog roll has produced wins over Louisiana Tech (-9 1/2), Middle Tennessee (-4), Southern Mississippi (-13), and Texas San Antonio (-6 1/2).

That’s a resume and story that should play well when bowl invitations go out over the next three weeks. Conference USA is tied to six bowls and will likely need to borrow another one or two with all the bowl eligible teams it could have. The bowls are R+L Carrier in New Orleans,  New Mexico Bowl, Boca Raton Bowl, St. Petersburg Bowl, Bahamas Bowl, Zaxby’s in Dallas and, if the SEC and ACC do not have enough bowl eligible teams, the Independence in Shreveport would be in play. 

UAB  can put on some serious underdog bling this weekend if it can upset Florida (3-6) in the Swamp,  where the Gators aren’t as scary an they’ve been in the past.

With winless UTEP (0-10) coming in next week,  there is no reason to believe this shouldn’t be an eight-win season on the Southside. What happens Saturday in Gainesville is the biggest challenge UAB has had this year. It’s an opportunity to win a game, at least nationally, that would be the talk of the TV scoreboard shows this  weekend. It’s not every day you get a chance to beat an SEC team, especially one as storied as Florida’s.

 Don’t think Gator fans aren’t worried. Favored or not, it was only four years ago this week that Florida suffered one of its most embarrassing losses in history when they were upset by Georgia Southern at home. Florida entered the game with a 4-6 record.

This week’s picks:

UAB vs. Florida

The Gators have lost their last five games and UAB has won five of their last six, including its last three. But beating La. Tech, MTSU, Southern Miss and Texas San Antonio is not the talent pool as Gator losses to Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Missouri. UAB’s last five opponents have a record of 18-31. Florida’s last five are a combined 34-16. But UAB is catching the Gators in the midst of a mess following Jim McElwain’s departure last month. Interim coach Randy Shannon has not figured out how to stop the bleeding.

Florida’s defense is still NFL talent good up front and on the back end, but if we’re talking just offense  the Blazers might win the day. They have one of the top freshman running backs in the nation in Spencer Brown (1,177 yards, second among freshman backs nationally), a dangerous dual-threat quarterback in A.J. Erdely (1,741 yards and 13 touchdown passes, 290 yards rushing and 12 TDs) and a defense that is 23rd in the nation in tackles for losses and 37th in passing defense. Let’s put Florida on upset alert.
Florida 20, UAB 17 

Louisiana-Monroe vs. Auburn

There is no way CFP No. 6 Auburn (8-2) can bring the same energy this weekend it brought to the Deep South’s oldest rivalry. As Gus Malzahn was overheard after the Tigers dominated then-No. 1 Georgia, 40-17, “we whipped the dog crap out of them, didn’t we?”

The game had been circled on the calendar since Georgia won last year 13-7 without scoring an offensive touchdown. Outside of the Kick Six win over Alabama on the last play of the 2013 game, this win was right up there in the Malzahn signature  cloud. Could even be a Daniel Moore moment. And if so, running back Kerryon Johnson ought to be in it. Forget Stanford’s Bryce Love and Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, the two runners mentioned the most for the Heisman, the Huntsville product doesn’t have to take a backseat to anyone. There is nothing to say about the visiting Warhawks (4-5), other than good luck.
Auburn 48, La. Monroe 3

Mercer vs. Alabama

The Crimson Tide (10-0), now the top-ranked team in the College Football Playoff, has to figure out how to stop the run again, maybe even how to generate points against an elite defense (see Auburn next week). Maybe OC Brian Daboll is saving his best for Auburn and beyond.

One thing is certain, the Tide needs to get healthy and 5-5 Mercer is the best over-the-counter medicine available. But the Bears of Macon, Ga., don’t come cheap. Alabama will pay Mercer $600K for what should be the next best thing to an open date.
Alabama 50, Mercer 6

South Alabama vs. Geo. Southern

Upsetting an elite Sun Belt team like Arkansas State last weekend has the Jaguars (4-5) flirting with bowl eligibility when their chances looked bleak a week ago. Then Cole Garvin went out and had the game of his young career, throwing for 343 yards and two scores and the defense played stout, denying the Red Wolves on their last two drives to stop ASU’s comeback.

Saturday should be a win against winless and 4-point underdog Georgia Southern (0-10), but USA has seen this rodeo before.
South Alabama 28, Georgia Southern 20 

 
SEC

Mississippi State 35, Arkansas 20
Georgia 30, Kentucky 10
South Carolina 24, Wofford 17
LSU 38, Tennessee 13
Texas A&M 30, Ole Miss 23
Missouri 38, Vanderbilt 24

Upset alert

7 1/2-point underdog Michigan 23, No. 5 Wisconsin 20

Other games

Miami 28, Virginia 17
TCU 45, Texas Tech 40
Memphis 37, SMU 30
Notre Dame 35, Navy 27
Michigan State 24, Maryland 17
USC 40, UCLA 17
Virginia Tech 28, Pittsburgh 20
Penn State 38, Nebraska 14
Florida Atlantic 37, Florida International 30

Last week: 11-9

Season: 161-79

Track’Em Tigers Podcast Episode #12 – Gus Malzahn’s Renaissance

Check Track’Em Tigers Podcast Episode #12 where Zach Taylor and I discuss Auburn’s record-breaking victory over Georgia last weekend. We also tease what’s ahead in the week leading up Auburn’s biggest game annually – The Iron Bowl. 

Thanks so much for listening and being the best readers/fans of Auburn sports on the web! 

The post Track’Em Tigers Podcast Episode #12 – Gus Malzahn’s Renaissance appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Meet your Nonconfriends: Temple

Of the Auburn men’s basketball team’s 31 scheduled regular-season opponents this season, 13 are of the nonconference variety and some of those are against teams you likely know very little about.

Auburn Strolls Past Indiana State

Before tip-off of the Auburn – Indiana State game and for the early minutes of the match, State’s 20 point win over the Indiana Hoosiers was all the talk of the broadcasters. At the 12 minute mark of the first half, Auburn was already cursing 15-7 before taking a 48-27 lead into the half time break.

At that point, the conversation shifted to just how good the Auburn team was playing under coach Bruce Pearl, despite the FBI/NCAA investigation swirling around the program and despite missing Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley, the two best players from last season.

In the end, Auburn walked away with an 83-64 quarterfinal win which really wasn’t even that close. The Tigers advance in the Charleston Classic and will take on the winner of the Old Dominion and Temple match later today. 

Just how did the Tigers cruise to an early victory that saw 12 different Tiger players log minutes? It was a team effort.

Last season when the Tigers were struggling, it was frequently Jared Harper and Mustapha Heron who had to pick up the slack. While Anfernee McLemore was good in spelling Austin Wiley, losing Horace Spencer early in the year really hurt Auburn in the size department. Consequently, Indiana State had a size advantage over Auburn, but McLemore continued to step up. Transfer Desean Murray also made his presence known as the two combined for seven offensive rebounds, something that Tiger fans haven’t seen. Auburn logged 12 offensive rebounds on the day, which really propelled them to victory.

Auburn had nine different players log points with Bryce Brown and Murray leading the way with 15 and 14, respectively. Murray logged a double-double with 12 rebounds. 

The team win wasn’t without issues. Auburn played very sloppy for long stretches, but the Sycamores played a really horrendous let down game. In all, Auburn had 15 turnovers and 28 personal fouls. In addition, Auburn was tagged with two technical fouls, though the Sycamores kicked in one of their own in a game that was called awfully tight by the referees.

Auburn did not shoot the ball particularly well, shooting just 30 per cent from three point land as they went 6-20. Leading the way was Murray, who was a perfect 2-2. Blue chip freshman Chuma Okeke was 2-3. Young Okeke made brilliant plays, but frequently followed them up with bad fouls, something that can and should be corrected. Normally sharpshooting Bryce Brown was 0-7, but his slashing inside game continues to develop. 

The Tigers were just 42 percent on the day with free throw percentage sitting at 74 percent. 

It isn’t frequent to have many negative things to say about an easy win, but the Tigers were far from flawless and have to get better. Still, the issues that presented themselves can be corrected. More importantly, the Tigers have looked like a legitimate team in the first two games, often making the extra pass and rebounding extremely well. Most importantly, the Tigers are playing real defense for the first time in a long time. 

It remains to be seen if and when Purifoy and Wiley will return, but the Tigers are playing the brand of ball that will earn a lot of wins, despite not having two NBA-type players available. That is especially true if Anfernee McLemore continues to play so well in all phases of the game. Even with Harper and Heron probably the best players on the floor for Auburn, the stats show the effect of having them play selflessly.

Brown and Murray lead in points. The Tigers have five players averaging over 10 points per game, though the two game sample size is small. This style of play is showing the evolution of Auburn’s team away from being one dimensional, to being able to win without the three. However, when Auburn gets hot beyond the arc, they could be a very, very good team.

The Tigers tip off tomorrow at 10AM. Make sure to follow me @Best5Zach as I live tweet in game action.

The post Auburn Strolls Past Indiana State appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Auburn women’s basketball earns win in home opener

Another strong performance by Janiah McKay helped lift Auburn to a win in Thursday’s home opener, 63-53, over North Carolina A&T.

Auburn Tigers running back Kamryn Pettway will ‘probably’ miss Iron … – 247Sports


247Sports

Auburn Tigers running back Kamryn Pettway will 'probably' miss Iron …
247Sports
AUBURN, Alabama — The chances of Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway returning from injury in time for the Iron Bowl are dwindling. Pettway suffered a …
Auburn RB Kamryn Pettway will 'probably' miss Iron Bowl with shoulder injurySECcountry.com



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Auburn Tigers running back Kamryn Pettway will ‘probably’ miss Iron … – 247Sports


247Sports

Auburn Tigers running back Kamryn Pettway will 'probably' miss Iron …
247Sports
AUBURN, Alabama — The chances of Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway returning from injury in time for the Iron Bowl are dwindling. Pettway suffered a …
Auburn RB Kamryn Pettway will 'probably' miss Iron Bowl with shoulder injurySECcountry.com



all 8 news articles »

Auburn RB Kamryn Pettway ‘probably’ out for Iron Bowl

There had been some external hope that Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway would be healed in time for the Nov. 25 Iron Bowl against Alabama, but it doesn’t appear that will be the case.

Kamryn Pettway ‘probably’ ruled out for Iron Bowl

Kamryn Pettway is dealing with a fractured scapula.

Kamryn Pettway ‘probably’ ruled out for Iron Bowl

Kamryn Pettway is dealing with a fractured scapula.

Watch video

Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway will likely miss next week’s Iron Bowl.

Coach Gus Malzahn said Thursday during his weekly appearance on the “Tiger Talk” radio show that Pettway will not play this weekend against ULM and will “probably” be ruled out for the Tigers’ annual rivalry against top-ranked Alabama due to his injured scapula.

“We’re pretty healthy right now,” Malzahn said. “I mean obviously, Kamryn Pettway won’t be with us this week and probably not next week too. Besides that, I think we’re ready to go.”

Pettway, who led the SEC in rushing yards per game a year ago, has had his redshirt junior season derailed by suspensions and injuries. He has appeared in just five games, totaling 305 yards and six touchdowns on 76 carries.

Pettway missed the season opener due to a suspension before dealing with heel and ankle injuries early in the year. He played through plantar fasciitis against Clemson and sustained an ankle injury late in a 34-carry effort against Mercer in Week 3. Auburn spent the next four weeks wavering between holding him out and using him in a limited capacity at less than 100 percent.

Pettway returned and had his most productive game of the season against Arkansas last month, rushing for 90 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries, but fractured his shoulder blade in the Tigers’ 52-20 win and has not played in the last two games.

In Pettway’s absence, Kerryon Johnson has emerged as the SEC’s leading rusher this season. The junior has rushed for 1,035 yards and 17 total touchdowns (two receiving) on 198 carries despite missing 2 1/2 games due to a hamstring injury early in the season.

Sixth-ranked Auburn hosts Sun Belt foe ULM this weekend at 11 a.m. on ESPN2 before next weekend’s winner-take-all Iron Bowl against Alabama (2:30 p.m., CBS) to decide the SEC West.

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

What Gus Malzahn said on Tiger Talk before Auburn’s game with ULM

Follow along with live updates of Gus Malzahn on Tiger Talk

What Gus Malzahn said on Tiger Talk before Auburn’s game with ULM

Follow along with live updates of Gus Malzahn on Tiger Talk

Gus Malzahn made his weekly appearance on the Tiger Talk radio show, which was live from Baumhower’s Victory Grille.

It was Malzahn’s final media appearance before No. 6 Auburn hosts ULM at 11 a.m. CT Saturday on ESPN2.

The show was broadcast on these affiliates or streamed online at AuburnTigers.com.

Below are initial live updates of Malzahn’s segments tonight.

GUS MALZAHN

— Starts with Georgia talk: “It was a real special night and gave us a lot of momentum.”

— Credits the offensive and defensive lines for their play.

— “We’re pretty healthy right now.” Some “bumps and bruises” but minor.

— “We’re pretty healthy right now. I mean obviously, Kamryn Pettway won’t be with us this week and probably not next week too. Besides that, I think we’re ready to go.”

— “We definitely have a few more things saved” in terms of plays. “The playbook’s opened up.”

— On moving on from Georgia win: “The challenge now is to put that behind us. … I challenged our group that we need to be different.” Have to move on, focus on ULM.

— Question from Kim on ULM’s Marcus Green returning kicks: “He’s dynamic. He’d be a household name if he played for a Power 5 school.”

— Says the run fits were “phenomenal. … We have a lot of confidence in them. It was a thing of beauty Saturday night on the defensive side of the ball.”

— The secondary is healthier than a few weeks back.

— Jimmy congratulates Malzahn on being a semifinalist for a coach of the year award. Malzahn credits coaches and players.

— Paul asks why Daniel Carlson was having trouble on kickoffs: “The wind was swirling.”

— Bubba asks about deciding on number of snaps for starters vs. ULM: “I think you wait and see how the game unfolds and all that.” Approach is to get better regardless. “We’re not taking anything off.”

— Preston asks about Jarrett Stidham’s leadership and offensive improvement: Malzahn cites experience as a difference over course of the season

— Praises Casey Dunn for trying to play through injury at LSU and playing his “best game” against Georgia. Credit Austin Golson for his versatility again.

— Robert from Dothan asks about tunnel screen: “It takes a lot.” Timing, right look. “We’ve called them at the right times, that’s probably the biggest thing other than execution.”

Auburn to hold Charles Barkley statue unveiling ceremony on Nov. 25

Auburn Athletics will honor Hall of Fame basketball player Charles Barkley on Iron Bowl weekend with a Charles Barkley Appreciation night at the men’s basketball game vs. Winthrop on Friday, Nov. 24, followed by a statue unveiling ceremony on Saturday,…

Auburn buck Jeff Holland is making both his names known

First, it was an inside joke. Auburn brought in hand-to-hand combat trainer Ben Creamer over the summer to work with the team’s offensive and defensive linemen, and Jeff Holland embraced his methods. Teammates began calling him Sensei Mud.

The holder: Tyler Stovall plays significant role for Auburn – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

The holder: Tyler Stovall plays significant role for Auburn
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Daniel Carlson: "As far as I'm concerned, every kick that I've made, [Stovall] is just as much a part of." Photo: Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics. Nov. 16, 2017. By Greg Ostendorf AuburnTigers.com. AUBURN, Ala. – Daniel Carlson knows a thing or two

The holder: Tyler Stovall plays significant role for Auburn – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

The holder: Tyler Stovall plays significant role for Auburn
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Daniel Carlson: "As far as I'm concerned, every kick that I've made, [Stovall] is just as much a part of." Photo: Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics. Nov. 16, 2017. By Greg Ostendorf AuburnTigers.com. AUBURN, Ala. – Daniel Carlson knows a thing or two

The holder: Tyler Stovall plays significant role for Auburn – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

The holder: Tyler Stovall plays significant role for Auburn
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Daniel Carlson: "As far as I'm concerned, every kick that I've made, [Stovall] is just as much a part of." Photo: Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics. Nov. 16, 2017. By Greg Ostendorf AuburnTigers.com. AUBURN, Ala. – Daniel Carlson knows a thing or two

Week 12 Predictions: The Calm Before the Storms

For many reasons, Week 11 was very, very good. It was nearly perfect. I got the SEC 100% correct and got a little hopeful with one national game that bit me. But we’re moving in the right direction.

Last week: 9-1 (90.0%)
This week: 0-0 (0.0%)
Overall: 89-27 (76.7%)

Most of the big boys have easier games this week as they prepare for rivalry games next week. But there are still a few SEC games that could go either way. Let’s pick!

11/18

Mercer at Alabama – Watch out for those Bears. They are tough, man.

Alabama 35, Mercer 7

Mississippi State at Arkansas – For the Razorbacks to become bowl eligible, they must win their final two games. You can’t win both if you don’t win the first. They won’t win the first.

Mississippi State 38, Arkansas 10

Kentucky at Georgia – Will Georgia be reeling from last week’s beatdown? Will Kentucky follow the blue print? No. No.

Georgia 31, Kentucky 13

Wofford at South Carolina – Woof. Oh, wow that’s almost like Wofford and I didn’t even mean it.

South Carolina 42, Wofford 7

UAB at Florida – UAB is a surprise team. Is it because nobody had film on them from last year? Maybe. Here’s the film on Florida: they are not good. UAB is going to beat them.

UAB 17, Florida 14

LSU at Tennessee – Tennessee has a chance to break that nasty streak of having lost to every SEC team in their last meeting. Nah, not happening this week. Coach is gone. Hope is gone.

LSU 34, Tennessee 7

Texas A&M at Ole Miss – Is Kevin Sumlin on the way out? We know Ole Miss’s coach is on the way out. No, I still don’t know his name. Despite the 5-5 record, this will probably be a pretty live event in Oxford. They’ll win a close one.

Ole Miss 35, Texas A&M 31

Missouri at Vanderbilt – Somehow the line on this one is Missouri -8.5. Vanderbilt hasn’t won an SEC game and Missouri has turned into a points machine against bad SEC East teams. FREE MONEY.

Missouri 45, Vanderbilt 20

UL-Monroe at Auburn – Check back tomorrow for my prediction in the game preview, but SPOILER ALERT: 2017 Auburn is not 2007 Alabama.

 

Other Games of Note

Michigan at Wisconsin – It would be cool if Michigan could just go ahead and beat Wisconsin and clear up the playoff picture this weekend, wouldn’t it? I have my reservations. This is probably the Badgers’ toughest game to date, but it’s at home and they feel like they’ve got something special going on. But seemingly unbeatable teams have been dropping like flies all season. Let’s do it.

Michigan 24, Wisconsin 21

UCLA at USC – I am only predicting this game because it has names and there are no other good games on a national scale. Trojans big.

USC 38, UCLA 17

Now that you know who will win, head on over to the 2017 War Blogle Pick ’em and get your picks in. There will be weekly prizes and and overall winner at the end of the season. It’s easy. Do it.

Auburn football podcast: What former players are saying about the Tigers – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Auburn football podcast: What former players are saying about the Tigers
SECcountry.com
Welcome to The Podcast on the Plains, SEC Country's daily Auburn football podcast with host Zac Blackerby. On the show Thursday, Blackerby is joined by former Auburn defensive lineman and national champion Jeff Whitaker. On episode 69, the guys …
Gus Malzahn among semifinalists for coach of year award247Sports


Gus Malzahn named semifinalist for George Munger Coach of the Year awardAuburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
USA Today's Danny Sheridan: Gus Malzahn's job is on the line247Sports
Saturday Down South –Saturday Blitz
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Auburn football podcast: What former players are saying about the Tigers – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Auburn football podcast: What former players are saying about the Tigers
SECcountry.com
Welcome to The Podcast on the Plains, SEC Country's daily Auburn football podcast with host Zac Blackerby. On the show Thursday, Blackerby is joined by former Auburn defensive lineman and national champion Jeff Whitaker. On episode 69, the guys …
Gus Malzahn named semifinalist for George Munger Coach of the Year awardAuburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


USA Today's Danny Sheridan: Gus Malzahn's job is on the line247Sports
3 things Auburn needs to work on this weekend to prepare for the Iron BowlSaturday Down South
247Sports –Saturday Blitz
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Herschel Walker picks Auburn to win Iron Bowl; Bo Jackson doesn’t make prediction

Heisman winners appeared together at charity event in Mobile

Herschel Walker picks Auburn to win Iron Bowl; Bo Jackson doesn’t make prediction

Heisman winners appeared together at charity event in Mobile

Herschel Walker picks Auburn to win Iron Bowl; Bo Jackson doesn’t make prediction

Heisman winners appeared together at charity event in Mobile

Two of the greatest running backs in college football history were in Mobile Thursday as part of a charity event, but only one made a prediction on the upcoming Iron Bowl.

Former Georgia star Herschel Walker and Auburn legend Bo Jackson appeared at the Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama’s 2017 Annual Luncheon at the Battle House, participating in a moderated Q&A on a variety of topics including their childhoods and their college and pro careers. The final question for each was to assess their alma maters’ performances this season.

With Auburn’s 40-17 rout of his then-top-ranked Bulldogs last Saturday perhaps fresh in his mind, Walker heaped praise on the Tigers. And the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner said he expects Auburn to knock off another No. 1 team at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Nov. 25.

 “For all the Alabama fans out there, it’s going to be a very tough Iron Bowl,” Walker said. “Alabama has a really good defense, Auburn has a really good defense. They’re playing in Auburn. I think Auburn is going to beat Alabama. Auburn beat Georgia, they whupped ’em. … I saw Auburn play Clemson in the (second) game, and Auburn played well, but they made a lot of mistakes. Auburn’s been playing great since then, they’ve got a great, great team. I think Auburn and Georgia will meet back up in the SEC championship.”

Jackson, the 1985 Heisman winner, apparently wasn’t in the mood to discuss the Tigers much in-depth. He said he would rather spend his Saturdays hunting than watching college football. 

“I wish Auburn all the success in the world, but next week will only be my second game of the year,” Jackson said. “I love the sport, I love Auburn, but I only go to two games a year and that’s because my wife makes me. That’s what I used to do for a living. … Auburn, I expect them to finish out the season on a winning note.”

Both Walker and Jackson left the event without taking additional questions from the media. 

Healthy Jeremiah Dinson has been ‘big key’ to Auburn’s secondary

Jeremiah Dinson is fourth on Auburn's defense with 39 total tackles this season.

Watch video

Jeremiah Dinson has quietly been putting together an impressive season in Auburn’s secondary after missing all of last year due to injuries.

Dinson, a redshirt sophomore defensive back, is fourth on Auburn’s defense in total tackles with 39, but his impact has gone beyond that for a unit that ranks among the nation’s best.

“It’s been very important,” safety Stephen Roberts said of Dinson’s impact. “He’s a big key to our secondary. He’s a guy that can cover well, can tackle very good and is just very smart on the field. That’s one big key that he’s improved the most. Coming back from the injury, it’s kind of hard, but adversity hit him, and he took it well and bounced back from it.”

Dinson missed all of the 2016 campaign and the end of 2015 after sustaining multiple knee and shoulder injuries at Texas A&M as a freshman when then-Aggies receiver Ricky Seals-Jones leveled him with a brutal blindside block.

Dinson excelling in versatile role in Auburn’s secondary

It was a long and arduous journey for Dinson back to the field, but the 6-foot, 186-pounder has capitalized upon his return. He has started nine of 10 games at nickel for Auburn, which is ranked sixth in the College Football Playoff standings and has a shot at both an SEC Championship Game and playoff berth in the coming weeks.

Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele described Dinson as the “quarterback” of Auburn’s defense — high praise for a player on a unit that ranks 16th nationally against the pass, 39th in passes broken up and 11th in scoring defense.

“He pretty much knows his job and helps the safeties out a whole lot, the corners, and everybody communicating on the field and him making calls, so I think it helped out big,” Roberts said.

One of the most impressive things about Dinson lies within his knowledge of opposing offenses. Along with getting the rest of the secondary set pre-snap, Dinson often calls out routes opposing receivers are going to run before they get off the line of scrimmage just based on pre-snap motions and shifts.

“He’s really smart in that regard,” Steele said.

Dinson has dealt with some undisclosed injuries this season that left him gimpy at times, though he has yet to miss a game. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said Dinson barely made it through the LSU game — the lone outing he wasn’t in the starting lineup — yet he still finished with five tackles. Steele said there were different points in games when Dinson wasn’t at full strength that he had to call the defense differently to help Dinson out.

That hasn’t been the case of late, however. Dinson is back to full strength and playing like it as a key part of Auburn’s secondary. He finished the Georgia game with a career-high-tying six tackles, including five solo stops and a pass breakup.

“We could leave him on an island if we need to be, because he’s like a corner,” Steele said, “but he’s tackling really, really well.”

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn named semifinalist for national award

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has been named one of 16 semifinalists for George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award, which is given annually by the Maxwell Football Foundation.

Healthy Jeremiah Dinson has been ‘big key’ to Auburn’s secondary

Jeremiah Dinson is fourth on Auburn’s defense with 39 total tackles this season.

Healthy Jeremiah Dinson has been ‘big key’ to Auburn’s secondary

Jeremiah Dinson is fourth on Auburn’s defense with 39 total tackles this season.

Alabama fan shoots Auburn fan over which team is better, police say – ESPN


ESPN

Alabama fan shoots Auburn fan over which team is better, police say
ESPN
No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 Auburn are set to play in the rivalry game known as the Iron Bowl on Nov. 25. The winner will move on to play in the SEC championship game the following weekend and with a win could find itself with a spot in the College
Report: Man shot in Mobile after argument over Auburn-Alabama rivalrySECcountry.com


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Alabama fan shoots Auburn fan over which team is better, police say – ESPN


ESPN

Alabama fan shoots Auburn fan over which team is better, police say
ESPN
No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 Auburn are set to play in the rivalry game known as the Iron Bowl on Nov. 25. The winner will move on to play in the SEC championship game the following weekend and with a win could find itself with a spot in the College
Alabama fan on the loose after allegedly shooting Auburn fanNew York Post


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How did college coach buyouts get so big? Blame groupthink and overmatched ADs

The reasons college coaches have massive buyouts and why they’ll only keep getting bigger.

How did college coach buyouts get so big? Blame groupthink and overmatched ADs

The reasons college coaches have massive buyouts and why they'll only keep getting bigger.

Butch Jones, Jim McElwain and Jeff Long have all had the misfortune of being fired in the last month.

The positive of losing your job? All three will likely get millions in liquidated damages, more commonly known as a buyout. Butch Jones, who received a pink slip from Tennessee on Sunday, will receive $200,000 a month for the next 40 months — $8.25 million in total — only mitigated if he gets another job. Former Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, forced out on Wednesday, will make $1 million a year through the remainder of his contract set to expire in June 2022.

It’s the standard of doing business in college athletics though the buyout figures have climbed to astronomical heights. Twenty-six college football coaches, including five in the Southeastern Conference, have buyout figures of $10 million or more, according to USA Today Sports’ salary database. Florida State would have to pay Jimbo Fisher, currently in the midst of a 3-6 season, nearly $40 million to leave.

Those large sums should only grow as rising salaries show no signs of a downturn.

“The Achilles heel of the entire operation is the buyout piece,” said one industry source who has been involved in the hiring process for years. “It’s the most vulnerable piece of the armor.”

How did we get to this point? It boils down to some combination of revenue going through the roof especially from television rights, powerful agents wielding tremendous leverage and university leaders giving in to increasingly one-sided contracts amid growing desperation to find a winner.

**

After winning back-to-back SEC East titles, Jim McElwain appeared to be one of the more secure SEC coaches at the start of the 2017 season. Not only did he have on-field success, but his huge buyout ($12.9 million) made it near impossible to dismiss him after only three seasons.

McElwain publicly discussing death threats, that may or may not have existed, eliminated that security and played a role in his dismissal midway through his third season. Florida officials were strongly considering firing him for cause, according to reports — it was announced as a “mutual parting” — and will likely pay far less than his total buyout though McElwain is still expected to receive millions. It could prove to be a fortuitous break for Florida given the school would have likely been on the hook for his full buyout if it didn’t fire him with cause; the only mitigating language in his contract was if he took another SEC job within 90 days.

Florida has been the SEC’s trendsetter when it comes to buyouts and not in a positive way. There was no mitigating language in Will Muschamp’s contract so when former AD Jeremy Foley fired him in 2014, Muschamp was owed the full $6.3 million. Florida still hasn’t paid all of that sum — the now-South Carolina head coach is still due $1.575 million. The school then spent $5 million — $2 million of which was for a home game against Colorado State — to get McElwain out of his CSU contract. Now, Florida will have to pay McElwain an undisclosed buyout, might have to pay another sum to buy out a coach’s contract and still have to pay the actual salary for the new coach and his staff. Two unsuccessful hires with unfavorable contracts have cost Florida millions.

“Universities are getting in the business of not only paying coaches that they fire but paying the buyouts of coaches that they hire,” said Martin Greenberg, a sports attorney who has represented coaches in negotiations. “This is a double whammy for education. You think about how much money we are wasting — these schools are getting caught both ways.”

UAB athletic director Mark Ingram, who recently went through the negotiating process with head coach Bill Clark, says it’s standard for the school to want mitigation and the coach to not. He senses a lot of the outside criticism on buyouts centers on situations like the one at Florida.

“I’m paying the old guy, I’m paying the school that’s not my school, and I’m paying the new coach,” Ingram said. “Wow, that’s an expensive change.”

Florida AD Scott Stricklin seems to realize the danger that comes with an expensive buyout as he looks for the Gators’ next football coach. During a press conference announcing McElwain’s dismissal, Stricklin said he’d “love to see” a market correction on massive buyouts for coaches.

“I had an agent tell me recently I was ‘Captain No Guaranteed Money,'” Stricklin said. “I think he meant it as a disparaging comment, but I took it as a compliment. …There’s a lot of leverage that successful coaches have, and that ends up setting the market, and then others who may not be quite as successful use where the market is to their benefit.”

Stricklin’s point perfectly encapsulates the biggest issue of the current buyout trend. There’s little outrage over Nick Saban’s $26.9 million buyout given all of his success in Tuscaloosa. It’s hard to even come up with a scenario in which Alabama would ever have to pay that amount. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops’ $14.765 million buyout, however, raises some eyebrows given his 26-33 record in Lexington though the Wildcats are on an upswing. LSU’s contract with Ed Orgeron, which includes an $8.79 million buyout if fired this year, could be the SEC’s most egregious given there was zero competition for his services.

And even that pales in comparison to the most famous example in Charlie Weis who one source described as “Exhibit A of the lunacy of intercollegiate athletics” after he made more than $24 million in buyouts from Notre Dame and Kansas. When you add that number to his salary at both schools, he earned $64.5 million for a career college record of 41-49. The Jayhawks have won a total of four games in the three-and-a-half seasons since Weis left a smoldering heap of a football program behind in Lawrence.

Contracts like the one Kansas gave Weis, and other more recent ones can have far-reaching implications. With some Power 5 schools giving out bad contracts like candy, both for head coaches and in increasing occurrence for assistants, it sets an unrealistic market and puts undue pressure on schools of all sizes including those at lower levels. Nine Group of Five coaches have buyouts of at least $4 million with Wyoming’s Craig Bohl (21-27 record at school) leading the way at $9.4 million, equivalent to 25 percent of the athletic department’s total revenue in 2015-16. 

“The biggest effect of the trickle-down effect is the impact it’s hard on smaller universities, smaller conferences where the revenues aren’t where they can afford this as a business expense,” said Greenberg who also serves as an adjunct professor at Marquette Law School.

**
There are plenty of agents who represent college coaches, but no one is as revered and powerful as Jimmy Sexton.

Before the 2017 season, Sexton represented an astonishing nine SEC head coaches though three (McElwain, Jones and Hugh Freeze) have already been fired. Sexton has landed massive deals for his clients including Alabama’s Saban, but the college athletics world still views him as a fair negotiator. Sexton’s affable personality and style make everyone feel good when they leave the negotiating table even if his client gets the upper-hand most of the time. He personally represents two of the top five coaches with biggest buyouts in college football. 

Sexton’s expansive client list at Creative Artists Agency ensures big-time schools are going to have to deal with him when looking for a new head coach. At Florida, he was involved in both the firing (Muschamp) and hiring (McElwain) in 2014 which included the multiple buyouts. He’s represented the last four Tennessee head coaches (Jones, Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley and Phillip Fulmer) at his alma mater which has generated criticism.

“I don’t hire the coach. I’ve never hired a coach,” Sexton told ESPN in a 2015 profile. “Contrary to what people might believe, I never hired a coach at Tennessee.”

The most significant advantage Sexton has, according to industry sources, is knowledge. He represents so many different coaches that he’s the most plugged-in man in America when it comes to hirings, firings and negotiations. He uses that knowledge to power his negotiating strategy which gives him an advantage more often than not over athletic directors without his Rolodex or negotiating experience.

“The agents are just trying to make it better for their clients,” one industry source said. “Do they hype the system and maximize it? Yes, they do. If an agent is sitting there and a coach is being fired, he knows everything that is going on. He knows how to negotiate and understands where the leverage points are. That’s a salute to his opportunism.”

Sexton and other agents benefit from schools desperate to find a winning coach. In the SEC, 25 coaches have been fired since Alabama hired Saban in 2007. The 13 schools not named Alabama are all looking to replicate the success the Crimson Tide has had over the last decade, willing and eager to pay top dollar to try to knock Saban off his pedestal. That desire has given agents tremendous leverage in negotiations, knowing the school is under significant pressure to succeed and usually willing to make significant concessions to get a top candidate signed up including no mitigation clauses in case of a firing without cause. They know that skyrocketing television revenue — SEC schools made approximately $40 million each in 2016 off TV and radio rights — has given schools the confidence to commit major money on coaching salaries. 

Skilled agents will play up the competition for a coach’s services, real or imagined, to drive up the price. The person making the hire — oftentimes the athletic director — too frequently doesn’t have the contacts and skills to see through the smokescreens.  

Once the school is on the hook, agents can push for the buyout to be salary times years of contract, putting schools in a dangerous financial position given the average salary in the SEC this year, not including Ole Miss’ interim coach, was $4.2 million. In increasing fashion, schools have acquiesced to the substantial demand. 

“On one hand you are negotiating with the devil,” Greenberg said, “because he’s going to come back and get you some other way because he has the coaches that you want.”

Three SEC jobs are already open, and two more could soon join the mix if university leaders are willing to stomach large buyouts. Arkansas, likely to move on from Bret Bielema now that Long is out, will have to plunk down a $5.87 million buyout. Texas A&M faces an even worse financial hit if it moves on from Kevin Sumlin: $10.4 million and it’s unclear if any of that can be mitigated.

With potentially five or more SEC jobs open, there will be stiff competition for a pool of candidates that could struggle meeting the lofty expectations attached to many of those jobs. Schools like Florida and Tennessee expect to be annual national championship contenders and have traditionally paid coaches accordingly, whether warranted or not.

However, the demand is higher than the supply of transcedent coaches, meaning huge paydays for all the coaches hired — and inevitably fired — this offseason. Better start saving for those buyout payments now. 

John Talty is the college sports editor for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JTalty. 

Gus Malzahn among semifinalists for coach of year award – 247Sports


247Sports

Gus Malzahn among semifinalists for coach of year award
247Sports
Malzahn and 15 other candidates were named semifinalists for the George Munger College Coach of the Year Award presented by the Maxwell Football Club. Malzahn is one of three coaches from the state — Alabama's Nick Saban and UAB's Bill Clark …
Gus Malzahn should savor dishing crow to critics when Auburn beats AlabamaSECcountry.com


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USA Today's Danny Sheridan: Gus Malzahn's job is on the line247Sports
FanSided
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Gus Malzahn should savor dishing crow to critics when Auburn beats Alabama – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Gus Malzahn should savor dishing crow to critics when Auburn beats Alabama
SECcountry.com
Now this is very much a reality: Auburn, fresh off placing former College Football Playoff top dawg Georgia in a woodchipper, is looking like a team that will crush UL-Monroe and — yes — Alabama in the next two weeks. When the dust settles, while
USA Today's Danny Sheridan: Gus Malzahn's job is on the line247Sports


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Auburn blows out Indiana State to open play in Charleston Classic

Bruce Pearl’s pregame message to his Auburn men’s basketball team, as shown on ESPNU Thursday morning, was that “they’ve been writing so much stuff about us that has nothing to do with basketball.”

Gus Malzahn named semifinalist for George Munger Coach of the Year award

Gus Malzahn was named one of 16 semifinalists for the George Munger Coach of the Year award on Thursday.

Gus Malzahn was named a semifinalist for the George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year award, the Maxwell Football Club announced Thursday.

Malzahn is one of 16 coaches to make the cut for the honor, which has been given annually since 1989. Voting for the 16 semifinalists begins Friday and runs through Dec. 11, when three finalists will be announced. A final round of voting will take place from Dec. 12-26, with a winner named Dec. 26.

Malzahn, in his fifth year at Auburn, has guided the Tigers to an 8-2 mark overall and 6-1 record in SEC play. Auburn unseated previously unbeaten and top-ranked Georgia last weekend, 40-17, to move up to No. 6 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. After playing ULM this weekend, Auburn will host No. 1 Alabama for a winner-take-all Iron Bowl to decide the SEC West.

If Auburn wins out — beating ULM and Alabama and then topping Georgia again in the SEC Championship Game — it will almost certainly become the first playoff era to make the four-team CFP field with two losses.

Along with Malzahn, the following coaches were named semifinalists for the George Munger award: Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst, UAB’s Bill Clark, Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, UCF’s Scott Frost, FAU’s Lane Kiffin, Army’s Jeff Monken, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Miami’s Mark Richt, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez, Alabama’s Nick Saban (who won the award last season), Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Fresno State’s Jeff Tedford.

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

Gus Malzahn named semifinalist for George Munger Coach of the Year award

Gus Malzahn was named one of 16 semifinalists for the George Munger Coach of the Year award on Thursday.

Auburn’s kickoff coverage remains a concern for Gus Malzahn

Auburn is last in the FBS in kickoff return coverage this season.

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