Sports, Thrill of Victory

Around the SEC: Football season is almost here

Media Days are in the books, and fall camps are right around the corner. With that, here’s the latest news and notes in and around the Southeastern Conference. 

Missouri getting a new AD

Following a horrible rape scandal that involved several former football players, one that resulted in the dismissal of coach Art Briles, the vacant position as Baylor’s athletic director probably wasn’t one that was highly coveted. 

So, how tough must the Missouri AD job be if, after just 14 months in Columbia, Mack Rhoades just left for that same position at Baylor?

Nick Saban's Alabama squad was picked to win the SEC, once again. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

Nick Saban’s Alabama squad was picked to win the SEC, once again. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

That’s a question a lot of Missouri fans are asking after Rhoades made that announcement last week.

Gabe DeArmond at PowerMizzou.com writes an excellent piece about this, and outlines some potential candidates for the vacancy

All-SEC teams

At last week’s SEC Media Days, the media picked its three-deep all-conference teams. Not surprisingly, Alabama led the way with seven first-team picks and 13 overall selections. 

Here’s a link to the selections.

Media picks standings

Likewise, the media picked the two divisions this way:

East

  1. Tennessee
  2. Florida
  3. Georgia
  4. Kentucky
  5. Vanderbilt
  6. Missouri
  7. South Carolina

West

  1. Alabama
  2. LSU
  3. Ole Miss
  4. Texas A&M
  5. Arkansas
  6. Auburn
  7. Mississippi St.

Alabama was the media’s pick to win the overall league title.

Changes to instant replay 

The league is adding new wrinkles to its instant replay system for officials. In addition to officials in the replay booth at each game, there will also be officials watching in the league office in Birmingham. There will also be new angles—those from the coaching cameras and end zones, as well as sideline angles. Officials will also be able to call targeting fouls on players based on replay. 

Decisions on calls will still remain with on-site officials.

Nashville, TN - 2015.09.05 Tennessee vs - Tennessee vs. Bowling Green

Tennessee cornerback Cam Sutton is a key player for the Vols, picked to win the East. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE

Off-field issues

On July 17, Alabama defensive lineman Alphonse Taylor was arrested in Tuscaloosa for a DUI. Taylor started all 15 games at right guard for Alabama in the 2015-16 season; as of this writing, there’s no word on whether he’ll be suspended. 

South Carolina sophomore offensive lineman Christian Pellage was charged with a DUI on the 15th and suspended indefinitely from all football activities. Pillage played in all 12 games last year, mostly on special teams, and will miss at least one game, according to The State

Florida also had weekend troubles as freshman receivers Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells were arrested on multiple charges for firing BB guns into, and destroying, a pair of glass windows and a glass door on a campus building. Both are four-star recruits at a position of need. 

While UF has not announced a suspension, UF coach Jim McElwain has said there will be “consequences” for what happened.

Senior baseball returnees

A couple of SEC teams received good news once Major League Baseball’s signing deadline passed for players selected in its 2016 First-Year Player Draft.

Vanderbilt catcher Jason Delay, the team’s starter in 2016, could not come to terms with the San Francisco Giants. Delay hit .246/.296/.336 with one home run for Vanderbilt, and is an excellent defender.

LSU left-handed pitcher Jared Poché will also return for a senior season after failing to sign with San Diego, which drafted him in the 14th round. Poché has started games for the Tigers since his freshman year, and his 27-9 overall, pitching 303 innings with 211 strikeouts. He was 9-4 with a 3.35 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 102 innings in 2016.

Smith murdered

Former Mississippi State receiver Chris Smith, who played in Starkville from 2009-12, was shot and killed on July 15 in his hometown of Meridian, Miss. Smith ranks 10th on MSU’s all-time list with 109 catches, which totaled 1,180 yards.