Tag Archives: football

Business Impact of LSU Football

By Lauren Lenox

Schools all across the country are relying on other outlets to subsidize athletic departments. Louisiana State University is one of the seven schools that does not receive subsidies from other sources.

According to USA Today Sports, out of the 228 NCAA Division I schools, there are only seven schools who do not receive subsidies from anywhere else to remain afloat.

In addition to, LSU Athletics is one of the 23 athletic departments that is self-sustaining which relies solely on self-generated funds. However, LSU’s Athletic Department does not receive any additional funds or tax dollars from the state nor from the academic side of the school.

Furthermore, the LSU Athletic Department does not receive money from student funds like most schools. Instead, the athletic department provides over $7 million annually to the university academically to assist with educational needs.

In 2013, LSU Football brought in roughly $37.5 million directly through ticket sales, guarantees and parking to the athletic department. The remaining assets came from tradition funds, SEC Network, and smaller areas such as concessions and radio.

Ticket sales make a huge impact on LSU Athletics. For the last 10 years, season tickets have been sold out helping to generate the $32 million the athletic department receives.

According to LSU Athletics Business Coordinator, Matthew LaBorde, the LSU football team is a huge asset to not only the athletic department but to the university. The benefits of football help to create a great branding opportunity to promote athletics which in turn helps to create more attention towards the university.

“LSU is a brand in itself. Everyone who sees those three letters knows who we are. It puts us on a higher platform above others,” said LaBorde.

During the past decade, LSU Football’s success has brought a lot of attention to the school. With the media exposure, it has helped to shape a new brand for the university.

LSU Athletics Marketing Director, Daniel Nunes, shared how LSU Football does not need to be branded because it is a brand in itself.

“It’s (LSU Football) the porch to LSU Athletics just like LSU Athletics is the porch to LSU. It’s (LSU Football) the largest national brand,” said Nunes.

Many reasons one can attribute to the LSU football team is the increases in LSU’s student enrollment each year as well as higher graduation rates.

LSU students appreciate when the Tigers play at home. It is a chance for people to come together and to create an atmosphere like no other.

The students have been known to devote more time to the football team if the team has a successful season.

Even more importantly, LSUSports.net shared how LSU Football helps out with local businesses economically in and around the Baton Rouge area. This football program attracts people from all of the country bringing business to the local businesses surrounding campus.

LSU Football has been attributed providing about 4,000 jobs in the Baton Rouge Metro area.

Dr. Loren Scott, from Loren C. Scott and Associates, Inc., helped to breakdown the economic impact that LSU football has made on the state of Louisiana and the Baton Rouge Metro Area.

“There is a diverted spending issue associated with LSU football between state impacts and the Baton Rouge Metro,” said Scott.

In 2012, there were more than 1.5 million people in attendance at LSU Athletic events. This concludes that on a typical night in Tiger Stadium there were more people than there are living in 49 of the 64 parishes in the state.

In 2013, the average LSU out-of state fan spent about $237 in the state of Louisiana and of that amount, $169 was spent in the Baton Rouge Metro.

During the 2013 season, in-state LSU fans from outside of the Baton Rouge area spent about $62.8 million and of that $47.7 million was spent in the Baton Rouge Metro.

LSU Athletic Director, Joe Alleva, explained how LSU Athletics has made an economic impact on Louisiana and the city of Baton Rouge.

“We are partners with the community. LSU Athletics has a huge financial impact on the Baton Rouge community,” said Alleva.

In 2012, civic groups who helped on game days received about $815,000 as support for their establishments.

Disadvantages also come into play when talking about LSU Football. One of the main disadvantages to the athletic department is the student section.

The LSU student section is a huge factor because they will be future donors someday. They show a poor reflection of becoming a future donor by leaving games early and not wanting to preserve traditions. The athletic department depends on these future alumni to help provide funds for future athletic facilities and other major expenses.

The disadvantage that LSU football has on the community is that game days are huge events which cause changes to day-to-day routines.

For example, after big games the Event Management Department has to shut down roads and create a plan of contraflow to control the amount of people trying to leave the stadium.

Another disadvantage of football is the huge impact it makes on schools. For example, when LSU played at Mississippi State on a Thursday night in 2012, the school was shut down due to fans tailgating around the campus.

Also, the amount of work that goes into planning and preparing for a game is an excessive amount. LSU Athletics prepares months in advanced for the football season. There are about 2,765 people who work on a LSU Football game day.

Recently, the University of Alabama-Birmingham had to get rid of their football team due to the fact that the athletic department was struggling to keep its program operational. If LSU were to shut down its football program, the athletic department budget would decrease from $110 million to $20 million.

Hypothetically, of the remaining $20 million, only $5 million comes from ticket sales from the remaining sports. LSU’s Athletic Department could almost be viewed as an independent franchise.

With that being said, the athletic department relies heavily on the $80 million it generates from LSU football and would not be self-sustaining without the sport.

Top 10 Rankings: Football Movies

By Kyle Huber

10. North Dallas Forty

The first movie on the list is loosely based off the Dallas Cowboys of the early 1970’s and shows the life of an aging receiver, played by Nick Nolte, who is battered, addicted to pain killers, and battling issues on and off the field. The film has some comedic aspects and provides the realism of professional football in the 70’s.

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9. Any Given Sunday

This movie, which boasts a stellar cast and a long list of former and current NFL personalities, brings viewers into the modern day realms of professional football. From the aging head coach who has to deal with a demanding owner, an over the hill quarterback, and a highly touted rookie, one can see the similarities seen in the media today about the NFL. This hard- hitting movie gives the behind-the-scenes look into an empire that is a professional football team.

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8. The Blind Side

This film is the most recent on this list, and tells the story of NFL offensive lineman Michael Oher. Oher is taken in from the streets by a wealthy white family during his high school days and becomes part of the family. The Blind Side is a family friendly movie that’s message goes beyond the game of football and is a heartwarming tale of perseverance through love and care.

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7. The Longest Yard

Coming in at number 7 are both versions of The Longest Yard. In both the 1974 original and 2005 remake, former quarterback Paul Crew finds himself in jail and is tasked to form an all- inmate football team to play against the prison guards that oversee them. The 1974 film stars Burt Reynolds as Crew, and in the 2005 flim Adam Sandler handles the same role. Both films have almost identical plots, characters, and outcomes. Both casts are full of star actors and star athletes from each time period. The films have great lines, characters, and are a comedic enjoyment for any football fan.

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6. Brian’s Song

Brian’s Song is the oldest film on this list, having been released in 1971. The movie is based on the true story of Brian Piccolo, a running back for the Chicago Bears in the 1960’s. The movie tells the story of the friendship between Piccolo and Gale Sayers, and their time together while playing football for the Chicago Bears, up until Piccolo’s death. An outstanding film that will make even the toughest football fan or player shed a tear.

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5. Friday Night Lights

This movie takes place in Odessa, Texas, a small town in that is racially divided and economically dying; however, there is one night that gives the town something to live for, Friday Night. The film follows the home town high school football team, The Permian Panthers, as they battle through the 1988 season. Whether you ever played under Friday night lights yourself or not, anyone should be able to appreciate this film.

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4. The Program

The Program introduces viewers to the behind closed doors views of a college football team. The film follows the fictional ESU Timberwolves as they deal with the pressures of college football, such as alcohol and drugs, steroid use, boosters paying players, and academic cheating. Many of the issues we see today in college football are showcased in this film.  This is not a heart warming football movie, this is a hard-nosed movie that shows the ugly side of college football,  but it’s a very telling movie which more people should pay attention to.

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3. The Replacements

If this were a Top-10 of football comedy movies, The Replacements would be at the top. It tells the story of the The Washington Sentinels, a fictional professional football team, whose players have gone on strike, so they must now find replacement players to finish the season’s last four games. The film’s best attribute are the actors and witty characters who make up the replacement players, including quarterback Shane Falco played by Keanu Reeves. This movie will have you laughing through the end, so even the least of football fans can enjoy.

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2. Remember the Titans

Just missing the top spot is Disney’s Remember the Titans. This movie could very well be number 1 in many polls, due to it’s family friendly viewing and positive social impact. It is based off the true story of the 1971 T.C. Williams Titans, a racially integrated high school football team in Virginia. With new African-American head coach Herman Boone, played by Denzel Washington, the team becomes the unifying symbol for the community as the boys and the adults learn to depend on and trust each other. This is a very powerful film that is touching, uplifting, motivational and inspiring. It will make you laugh, cry, and cheer out loud. Certainly a must see!

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1. Rudy

Coming in at No.1, which should be no surprise, is Rudy. Arguably the best sports movie of all-time, Rudy has captured audiences since it’s release in 1993. The film is based on the true story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger and his dream and journey to play football for Notre Dame. Having been told he was too small to play football or not smart enough to make it into Notre Dame, Rudy’s determination to overcome the odds makes this one of the most influential movies ever made. If you have never seen this classic, you are most likely not a sports fan, and if you are a sports fan and have never seen it, then do yourself a favor and do so immediately. The message of the film is to never give up on your dreams, no matter how big or far out of reach they may be.

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Movies that didn’t make the list, but have Louisiana ties.

 

1. Everybody’s All- American

The first movie on this list is the 1988 film, Everybody’s All-American. This movie stars Dennis Quaid and Jessica Lange. In the film Quaid plays Gavin Grey, who is an All-American football player at the University of Louisiana. A large portion of the movie is filmed on LSU’s campus and Tiger Stadium. It also includes LSU’s mascot, fight songs, and other LSU symbols within the movie. The movie has some good football action in the beginning, but tapers off throughout the movie; however, it is interesting for LSU fans to see the old uniforms and traditions of the Tigers in that period. 

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2. The Waterboy

The next Louisiana football movie is Adam Sandler’s, The Waterboy. In this slapstick comedy, Bobby Boucher, played by Sandler, goes from the team’s waterboy to the star linebacker for the South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs. This movie has some decent hard hitting football action, but it is meant more for comedic purposes. I do warn people from Louisiana that you must have a good sense of humor, since the movie does not make Louisianians out to be the smartest individuals, but none the less it is funny movie and worth to watch.

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3. When the Game Stands Tall

The final movie in this list is When the Game Stands Tall. This movie was just released a few months ago, and shows the journey of  the De La Salle High School Spartans in Concord, California on their record shattering 151-game winning streak. While this movie is about a California team, the movie was shot in Louisiana, and even includes former LSU Tigers as actors such as Josh Jasper, Daniel Graff, Marlon Favorite, and Skyler Green. So there are plenty of reasons to go catch this film if you are from Louisiana.

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LHSAA adds Power Rating Rule

By Lauren Lenox

Growing up in Louisiana, most people were born and raised a football fan. Each year, football fans both experienced and new look forward to fall Friday nights under the lights.

The rivalries are thrilling, especially during the Louisiana high school playoffs. Teams are finally able to play the best of the best from around the state.

Within the past few years, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) separated the football playoffs into two divisions: Select and Non-Select. The Select division is comprised of private and semi-private schools around the state.

Now instead of five state championships, there are a total of nine.

The downfall of the new Select system is the lack of teams in each division. In Division I, there are only eight select schools able to compete which is difficult for the playoff brackets.

At the beginning of the 2014 football season, the LHSAA established a new power rating system. The new system allows teams to earn bonus points towards their playoff rankings if a team plays an opponent from a higher classification.

Also, it allows for teams in Division II within the Select group, who are normally classified as 4A or 3A during the regular season, to play in Division I of the playoffs.

This is good news for the teams who are members of 4A or 3A classes but what about the 5A schools? The 5A schools do not receive any bonus points due to the fact that there are no opponents for them to play in a higher classification.

Why would the LHSAA create a power rating system if not all teams could take advantage of the development?

Not only did the LHSAA separate the Select schools from the regular playing field but it created an easier playoff bracket for Non-Select schools which did not stand a chance against the private schools.

The LHSAA did not think about the complications that would be caused with the new power rating system. It is unfair to the 5A schools which are part of the Catholic League, for example, because they are cheated of their actual ranking within Division I.

Head coaches and athletic directors are upset with the new addition to the Select schools playoff system and frankly, fans are too.

As a high school football fan, Select teams should be able to play Non-Select teams whether it is during regular season play or during the playoffs. Why should we segregate schools? The playing fields may be a little different but at the end of the day it is just a football game.

Also, the new power rating system should not be a factor when it comes to football because it seems arrogant. The fact that LHSAA is trying to keep the system fair has only made it become unfair to the eight Select schools in Division I.

Life in the fall without football

 

By Chuck Colin

 

NEW ORLEANS – Dillard University is an institution that is best known for its legacy, prestige and tradition.

What it isn’t known for among today’s sports fans is for fielding a football team.

With HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) traditions come the playing of football on the gridiron and the sweet sound of marching bands in the stands under the Saturday night lights.

However, reestablishing a football program may not be as tough of a task as some think. Not only has the number of college football programs increased, but those teams have experienced some success.

According to the National Football Foundation, the 44 programs that added football from 2008-13 have combined for 10 conference championships and 12 playoff appearances.

Grand View University won the 2013 NAIA National Championship in only its sixth season of play.

This should be a potentially encouraging sign as Dillard operates within the NAIA as well.

A football team could also potentially increase student enrollment, which at Dillard was approximately 1,200 students for the 2013-14 school year, according to U.S. News college rankings. It would also increase the male student population, which is only 29 percent of all students.

Although the Bleu Devils are currently missing out on the football aspect of the college experience, that hasn’t always been the case. According to school archives Bleu Devils football dates back to 1935, which was the year Straight College and New Orleans University merged to form Dillard.

Along with college football comes rivalries. When one thinks of a Dillard University rival, Xavier University instantly comes to mind. The cross town foes have played in the Xavier/Dillard Basketball Classic annually since the 1947-48 season, but also squared off in the Turkey Bowl, an annual football game during Thanksgiving weekend.

The peak of Bleu Devils football came during the 1957-58 season under the guidance of coach Armstead A. Perrio in which the 29-player team won eight of its nine games en route to capturing an undefeated conference title. Their highlight was of course the Turkey Bowl, which the Bleu Devils won 13-12.

Despite not having a football team since 1965, the Bleu Devils have maintained their fierce rivalries and athletic competition in other sports. But there’s just something about school spirit and football.

Imagine the black college football season without the Bayou Classic between the Grambling University Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars, which is the second-most attended HBCU Classic. According to the Southwestern Athletic Conference, over 47,000 fans attended the latest meeting, but attendance consistently reached over 70,000 in its peak years right before Hurricane Katrina.

Coincidentally, Dillard University’s last football game came during the 1964 season in a 38-3 defeat against Southern University. With the Bayou Classic not beginning until 1974, and the game being held annually in Dillard’s backyard at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, it makes me wonder, “What could’ve been?”

There’s something to be said about football in the autumn weather, homecoming games, tailgating,and that awesome energy that surrounds campus as game-day approaches.

 

 

 

The Real MVPs

Equipment Manager Cookmeyer

Equipment Manager Cookmeyer

Every Saturday fans from all over the state of Louisiana travel to Death Valley to cheer on their Fighting Tigers.

One of the biggest highlights of LSU games is when Les Miles releases his team from the locker room onto the field. There is an instant wave of excitement flowing throughout Tiger Stadium as the Tigers run out in their purple and gold.

Every single time, their uniforms look as good as the first time they have ever been worn. The question is, how is it that after a hard game, like the one in Houston against Wisconsin, can these uniforms look amazing the next Saturday against Sam Houston State?

The athletes go to school, practice and play games, so there isn’t any possible way they would have time to fix up or clean a jersey or pants. There had to be someone behind them who makes sure that the team looks good every Saturday.

The team behind the football squad at LSU is known as the equipment management team.

Eric Cookmeyer is a student at LSU and a dedicated equipment manager for the LSU football team for nearly five seasons now.

He said a lot of work, time, and patience goes into being an equipment manager.

“We pretty much do any and everything that the team and coaches need us to do, from washing clothes to setting up the field for practice,” he said.

Cookmeyer said he works alongside 11 other equipment managers, each playing an important role as part of their group.

Cookmeyer has the huge responsibility of being what he termed the “inside guy.”

“I am in charge of our warehouse monitoring of what goes in and out, as well making sure our players have the correct equipment they need for games and practices,” he said.

Cookmeyer said the most intense part of his job is definitely game day, whether it’s home or away.

Those days, he said, are like a “marathon.”

Ever wonder how a player is able to return to a game after getting his jersey ripped or bled on? Well, Cookmeyer is the guy who gets their uniform wearable again.

“I have to scrub the blood out,” he said. “For rips I keep a needle and thread on hand, and I always keep backup jerseys for each player.”

Cookmeyer said he has to be just as instinctive as the players on the field; and be prepared for anything to occur.

His job is nonstop because he is directly in charge of all the uniforms. He has to make sure every pair of pants and every jersey is accounted for every week.

“I start at the beginning of each week working on uniforms, and I do this throughout the entire week,” he said.

While fans sleep in or are setting up to tailgate on game day, Cookmeyer is up at 7 a.m. preparing the locker room.

“I go through and make sure everything is in its place, including gloves and shoes, and that shoulder pads are hung up,” he said.

There’s pressure to take care of the equipment needs of close to 100 players, but Cookmeyer said he enjoys every moment.

“I love the excitement of game day,” he said, “getting to know the players, and the guys that I work with are like family. That makes it all worthwhile.”

Cookmeyer hopes to pursue a professional career as an equipment manager for either a college team or an NFL franchise.

One thing is certain: There would be no college or NFL teams to play games without the team of real MVPs working behind the scenes to get them ready.

 

A look at the Tiger’s offense

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Photo courtesy of The Daily Reveille

Spring practice kicks off Thursday for the LSU Tigers down on the bayou.

LSU begins spring drills having to fill the holes left by 11 players who opted to leave early for the 2013 NFL Draft, plus several other seniors who completed their eligibility.

With the addition of Cam Cameron as the offensive coordinator, Tiger fans wonder how the new changes will impact this season’s outcome, along with the lack of experience leading the helm.

“We can age our team by giving our freshman class a spring, and we will be in more of a groove in summer,” LSU coach Les Miles said Wednesday. “When fall starts, again we will have a much improved group guys.”

Miles is giving senior Zach Mettenberger the starting job at quarterback, with sophomore Stephen Rivers starting the spring as his backup. According to Miles, Mettenberger needs to be more patient with the deep ball and make better choices on the field.

Two juniors, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, along with senior Kadron Boone are returning wide receivers for the Tigers. But newcomers, John Diarse and Avery Peterson could get some great looks during the 15 practices.

“LSU receivers need to make more plays and not have as many drops, and the Tigers also need to do a better job of protecting Mettenberger,” said Chris Low, reporter for ESPN.com. “They gave up 32 sacks in 13 games last season, which was 10th in the league.”

On the offensive line, La’El Collins will get a try at left tackle and senior Josh Williford will experiment at center. Sophmores Trai Turner and Vadal Alexander will continue where they left off at the end of last season at right guard and right tackle, respectively.

Two freshmen, Jerald Hawkins and Ethan Pocic, are quality additions for LSU on the offensive line, while juniors Elliot Porter and Fehoko Fanaika raise the bar of physicality for the Tigers.

According to Miles, bringing back both seniors, J.C. Copeland and Connor Neighbors, will give LSU depth at the fullback position.

All four returning backs for the Tigers, brings more depth at the tailback spot. Sophomore Jeremy Hill leads the way after taking over that starting role last year, followed by junior Kenny Hilliard, senior Alfred Blue, and junior Terrence Magee. LSU hopes their play will give the Tigers a more productive offense, though it probably won’t be up to the running game alone.

“One tweak, it’ll be with more production from backs in the passing game,” said Gary Laney, reporter for GeauxTigerNation. “A year ago LSU running backs accounted for 35 pass receptions and expect that number to go up.”

At the tight end position, sophomore Dillon Gordon and junior college transfer Logan Stokes will add to the offensive productivity. According to ESPN, scouts like Stokes’ agility and ball skills. Also, watch for junior Travis Dickson, who had some good grabs in limited opportunities last season.

Miles closed Wednesday’s news conference by saying, “Certainly, there is a lot to accomplish. We are by no means in position to predict a grand season. This is the style of team that if they work hard and do the things they are capable of doing, they will like other teams that have gone through here, compete for a title.”

 

[colored_box color=”red”]Related News Link[/colored_box]

–   Spring preview: Positions of need

–   Miles Previews Spring at Press Conference

SEC East Spring Preview

 Hope springs eternal with the arrival of spring practice for college football programs across the country. Players have opportunities to replace departed leaders and coaches get their first chance to look at the type of team they’ll be tasked with coaching for the 2013 season. Once again, the SEC figures to boast several impressive teams in 2013.

Let’s take a look at each of the teams in the Eastern division of arguably the toughest conference in all of college football. Each team will feature one key returning player from both the offensive side and defensive side of the ball, as well as an overall outlook for the 2013 season.

 

Florida

Key Offensive Returner: Jeff Driskel. While statistically unspectacular in 2012, Driskel still managed to record wins against Texas A&M on the road, against LSU and South Carolina in his first full season as the Gators’ starter. You can argue the Gators’ defense and power running game was primarily responsible for those wins, and maybe they were, but that was last year. This year, look for Driskel to play a larger roll in the Gator offense and try to erase the memories of a poor showing in the Sugar Bowl.

 

Key Defensive Returner: With Sharrif Floyd leaving the Gator D-Line for the NFL, look for Dominique Easley to emerge as the next athletic specimen out of Gainesville. Easley has 23 career starts and had five tackles in the Gators’ Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville.

 

Outlook: The Gators are coming off a royally disappointing end to their 2012 season at the hands of Teddy Bridgewater and the Louisville Cardinals. Florida was humbled in the Sugar Bowl against the Big East underdog and saw the key departures of backup quarterback Jacoby Brisset due to transfer, leading rusher Michael Gillislee to graduation and Sharrif Floyd to the allure of the draft. The Gators head to Miami to face the Hurricanes in their second game of the season and travel to LSU, Missouri and South Carolina as well. Not the easiest of schedules and with an offense looking to gain traction in Jeff Driskel’s second year as a starter, the Gators may very well finish with a 9-3 regular season record.

 

Georgia

Key Offensive Returner: It seems like Aaron Murray has been at Georgia forever. The Georgia quarterback enters his final season with the Bulldogs having started the past three seasons for March Richt. Last year Murray threw for 36 touchdowns and came within a few frantic seconds of taking out Alabama in the SEC championship game. Murray’s arguably the best quarterback in the conference this year and as long as he’s running the show in Athens, the Bulldogs are a potent offensive team.

 

Key Defensive Returner: Rising sophomore Jordan Jenkins registered five sacks in his debut season with the Bulldogs last year. He’ll be counted on to produce even more this year with the loss of All-Everything linebacker Jarvis Jones departing for the NFL.

 

Outlook: The Bulldogs will be facing a slew of experienced quarterbacks this year, so replacing the pressure Jones consistently brought will go a long way to determining Georgia’s defensive success. The Bulldogs get Clemson in the “other” Death Valley to start the season, so right away they’ll find out what kind of team they have. Tajh Boyd is a serious offensive force, and the Tigers constantly overflow with offensive skill talent. Games against South Carolina, LSU and Florida all figure to pose considerable challenges for Murray and the Dawgs, but luckily for Georgia fans, Murray is as experienced as any SEC starting quarterback could be. In his final year, Murray takes the Dawgs to an 11-1 regular season (they’ll get caught at least once this year) and back to Atlanta.

 

Kentucky

Key Offensive Returner: Jalen Whitlow threw for 801 yards and ran for another 312 in his debut season for the Wildcats. The rising sophomore is listed as a quarterback/athlete on Kentucky’s roster and his athleticism and versatility is reminiscent of former UK standout Randall Cobb. It is unclear who will start for the Wildcats this year under center, but Whitlow’s skills should find him making a difference somewhere on the field.

 

Key Defensive Returner: Alvin Dupree is an impressive physical specimen at linebacker, standing at 6-foot-4, 249 pounds. Dupree tallied 91 total tackles and 6.5 sacks in 2012 and looks to be a featured part of UK’s 2013 defensive unit. Dupree is physically gifted and produces results and could become one of the more notable defensive players to come through Lexington in quite a while.

 

Outlook: Kentucky looks like it will continue to provide the flooring that the rest of the SEC teams walk on in 2013. To add insult to injury, in-state rival Louisville suddenly boasts a top-flight quarterback and a prolific offense. Want to rub it in? Kentucky has to play Alabama this year. They don’t know who they’ll play at quarterback yet and things could get interesting in Mark Stoops’ first season as head coach. The Wildcats have pulled surprise upsets before and should be counted on to mimic Stoops’ fiery personality, but they shouldn’t do any better than 4-8 in 2013.

 

Missouri

Key Offensive Returner:

It has to be James Franklin. The Tigers’ starter coming into the 2012 season, Franklin looked to lead an offense that could potentially make waves in their first season against SEC defenses. Unfortunately, Franklin battled health problems last year and at times during games looked like he was only playing at half-speed. He’ll have another crack at the job this year, but Corbin Berkstresser will give him a run for the job this spring and on into fall after starting a handful of games for the Tigers in Franklin’s absences last year.

 

Key Offensive Returner: OK, so this isn’t a defensive player, but let’s just say Missouri needs to fill the hole left by Sheldon Richardson on the defensive line, among other positions. Otherwise, the return of sophomore wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham overshadows what’s happening on the Missouri defense. One of the most talented players ever to sign with Missouri, Green-Beckham largely underperformed in his first year for the Tigers, registering only one start and catching 28 passes for 395 yards and five touchdowns. Not bad for your average freshman, but DGB was supposed to be the next A.J. Green. He’ll have to play a larger part for Mizzou this year if the Tigers want to make any noise in the SEC.

 

Outlook: The Tigers got a lesson in “Grown Man Football” this year in the SEC. At times, Missouri looked overmatched physically. It’s always been known that SEC teams succeed by dominating the line of scrimmage and Missouri has to continue to adjust. The Tigers sport a new full-time starter at quarterback this year, and they should check in at about 6-6 this season, but mostly thanks to a soft non-conference schedule.

 

South Carolina

Key Offensive Returner: Anyone could list Connor Shaw or Dylan Thompson, the two talented quarterbacks in Columbia, as the keys to the Gamecocks’ upcoming season. But a greater question remains how does Carolina go about replacing Marcus Lattimore? Interestingly enough, it looks like the answer is, “With the sibling of a sworn enemy.” Mike Davis, brother of former Clemson workhorse James Davis, filled in admirably when Lattimore went down last year with a gruesome knee injury. This year, he’s looking to start in his sophomore season and give Steve Spurrier a counter to whoever’s slinging the ball for the Head Ball Coach.

 

Key Defensive Returner: Everybody’s favorite Julius Peppers comparison, Jadeveon Clowney. The man is an absolute freak of nature coming off the edge for the Gamecocks and at times seemed to channel his inner NBA player and take over games last year. The only challenges this year for Clowney? Stay healthy and embrace consistency. There were times last year where the man-child disappeared on the field. Better effort over a longer period of time for Clowney could result in a 2013 season that is rarely ever seen.

 

Outlook: South Carolina is coming off back-to-back 11 win seasons, returns arguably the nation’s best player in Jadeveon Clowney and has two experienced quarterbacks for Steve Spurrier to experiment with. The Gamecocks get Georgia early in the season to find out just how good they are, but what they may find is that they Lattimore more than they realize. Expect a 10-2 finish.

 

Tennessee

Key Offensive Returner: Replacing Tyler Bray won’t be an easy task, but the Volunteers return running back Marlin Lane, who ran for over 600 yards in 2012. It’s always nice for a new quarterback to have a reliable guy in the backfield to hand off to, and Lane provides just that.

 

Key Defensive Returner: Curt Maggitt is returning from an ACL injury suffered in 2012, but the linebacker figures to see a lot of time on the field for the Volunteers this fall. Maggitt defends the pass and run equally well and will be a valuable member of a defensive unit tasked with stopping the likes of Aaron Murray, Marcus Mariotta and AJ McCarron.

 

Outlook: The Vols face an uphill battle this year in their journey to return to prominence under first-year coach Butch Jones. They’ll face Oregon in Autzen Stadium this September and travel to play Florida and Alabama as well. After struggling to win with a solid quarterback in Bray last season, it doesn’t seem that the Vols will experience any greater improvement this year, and look to go 7-5. this season. But don’t be surprised if they ruin someone’s Saturday at least once this year.

 

Vanderbilt

Key Offensive Returner: Chris Boyd quietly put together a remarkable season in 2012. The 6-4 receiver posted over 700 yards receiving and scored five touchdowns. He will be looked to by whoever replaces Jordan Rodgers at quarterback for the Commodores this year. In the world of little known facts, Boyd is also an Eagle Scout.

 

Key Defensive Returner: Chase Garnham lead the Commodores with 12.5 tackles for loss this past year, and paced the team with seven sacks. The linebacker will look to anchor the defense once again for Vanderbilt and lead a surprising team into 2013. Garnham’s Twitter account is also very enjoyable.

 

Outlook: The Commodores always play better than their record indicates and last year, they finally started seeing success on the scoreboard. After a nine-win season that saw the team post wins against Auburn and Tennessee and snag a bowl victory over North Carolina State, the Commodores enter this season with a rare element: Expectations. Coach James Franklin is getting results in Nashville, but the loss of Jordan Rodgers at quarterback may hurt. The Commodores will go 7-5 this year and break a contender’s heart with their feisty play.
Feature Photo By Charles Atkeison

Paris commits to LSU

LSU added an important recruit from Texas on Monday night with the commitment of Mansfield Timberview, Texas defensive back Ed Paris.

Paris, originally from New Orleans, chose LSU over Texas and Florida among dozens of other offers.

The rangy cornerback stands at six-foot-one and 190 pounds and is a noteworthy early addition for LSU’s 2014 recruiting class.

Recruiting services like Rivals, 24/7 Sports and ESPN all hold Paris in high regard, with 24/7 listing Paris as the top overall recruit in the state of Texas and the 9th overall prospect nationally.

Paris will play his senior season for Mansfield Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas this coming fall and plans to enroll in college early.