Andy Staples: Ego in check, Spurrier and South Carolina evolving with the times. A big article. Money quote: "Georgia almost had to win the division simply because of the schedule." The HBC proposes a modest fix - award the division crown based on division wins, rather than an all-conference record. Read it all, as they say.
Barrett Sallee: BR's lead SEC blogger doesn't like the HBC's proposal - Spurrier's Idea Would Take Away from Rivalries, Benefit Gamecocks. I don't see how it would - under his proposal, everyone would be on the same playing field, so a rule change would benefit - or harm - everyone equally. Plus, it's a dang sight better than what we've got now - where there is a great deal of, shall we say, subjectivity, in cross-division scheduling.
Crystal Ball Run: As usual, the Old Ball Coach has a few suggestions for the folks in charge of the SEC - arguing that Spurrier's proposal doesn't just help the Cocks. Best line ... "[t]he Old Ball Coach once again at least gave us something to think about. And to his credit, he was even wearing a shirt when he said it. We think." They're all having a hard time getting that image out of their heads!
ESPN SEC Blog: SEC Recruiting Scorecard. I've never liked the ESPN 150 - I mean, honestly, DJ Park isn't one of the 150 best recruits? Really? That being said, it's undeniable that Georgia, Alabama and Florida are off to the 2013 recruiting races and everyone else is playing catch-up to one degree or another, including LSU, Auburn and us. While it may seem that we're lagging behind, we have to remember that despite coming off two terrific seasons, we're also in the process of breaking in a bunch of new coaches and waiting to see what the NCAA COI is going to say. I think things will start to pick up in the summer.
Mr. SEC: John Pennington writes that USC Coach Martin Fights The Unwinnable Fight. One argument that he advances: "Martin and Hyman had better be prepared to have this used against them on the recruiting trail… unless they cave like so many other coaches and schools have before them." I totally disagree. There's never a bad time to stand on principle, and I'd love to hear how an opposing school spins the Tre Harris situation in some kid's living room - "Don't go play for Martin, because if you decide you want to bolt and I've violated NCAA rules in trying to lure you away, then he won't let you play for me!" Riiiigggghtttt. In any event, the jackals are already circling.
Charlotte Observer: NFL draft: S.C. corner Gilmore lets play do the talking.
Chicago Tribune: NFL draft preview: Cornerbacks - Stephon Gilmore gets some love from the Windy City, where the Trib projects him as the number 2 CB in the draft behind Claiborne and ahead of Dre Patrick.
Austin Statesman: NFL draft preview: Scouting the defensive back - also likes Stephon as the number 2 CB (though the article is mostly about Claiborne).
Orangeburg Times & Democrat: ESPN analyst says Jeffery among the most difficult to analyze before NFL draft by the Greenville News' Willie Smith.
Gamecock Central: Gamecocks in the MLB - keeping track of the alums.
The Daily Gamecock: Equestrian finishes fifth overall at nationals - way to go, ladies!
So Fried Sports: Report: Arkansas Reaches Out To Fulmer. There was a lot of buzz about this yesterday, so there may be some substance to the rumors. Fulmer makes a lot of sense for Arkansas if they've come to the conclusion that Butch Davis is still too radioactive after his dismissal from UNC (even though the NCAA didn't slam him at all, and he's not under a show-cause order). All things being equal, if I was Jeff Long I would still go with Davis, but it's hard to fault the Hogs for kicking Fulmer's tires, either. It would certainly make the SEC Spring meetings - and Arkansas-South Carolina - a heckuva-lot more interesting, no? And the NCAA would get their favorite snitch back. A win-win for everybody!
CBS Sports: Of course, the Fat One isn't the only fish in the ocean - or is he? Arkansas contacted Pete Carroll about opening, not interested. Steve Mariucci's name is still floating around out there, however, but is the Mooch really a serious candidate after so much time away, with no SEC connections at all?
Go Vols Extra: Phillip Fulmer denies contact from Arkansas. A non-denial denial like that (“I have not been contacted by Arkansas,’’ Fulmer said. “But I think Arkansas is a great place’’) is as good as saying that Fulmer and Long have made plans for a second interview.
Team Speed Kills: Year2 thinks Fulmer, at age 62, would only be a stop-gap hire for the Razorbacks - The Next Coach of Arkansas Might Be... Phillip Fulmer? If that's the case, he's still not a bad stop-gap, especially in light of the incredibly bad timing Arkansas faces to be in the market for a new head coach; plus Fulmer's not toting around a staff with him, so he and Long could count on keeping most of the current assistants, which is a big plus for the Hogs' recruiting continuity.
NBC Sports: Ben Kercheval has more on the Fulmer-to-Fayetteville speculation - Phillip Fulmer to Arkansas? Former assistant says they’re talking. Perhaps some of our Volunteer friends (that means you, Incipient!) will comment on how the audio-visual impact of Phil calling the Hogs will be seen on Rocky Top in light of lingering concerns as to whether Derek Dooley can get it done?
Athlon: On the subject of whether D-Day Dooley is going to have a break-out season, articles like this certainly will not gladden the hearts of the Volunteer nation - Tennessee or Vanderbilt: More SEC Wins in 2012? The previously unthinkable has now become the openly debatable.