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Alabama to Mizzou: Go east, young Tigers


If Missouri ends up in the SEC, Alabama wants the Tigers to be competing with Florida, Georgia and Tennessee regularly, not against LSU and Auburn.

Texas A&M’s addition to the SEC has created a 13-team scheduling SNAFU that was, apparently, completely worth it to commissioner Mike Slive. But there are still questions as to whether the SEC will expand again to try and balance out the league; the primary target still looks to be Missouri.

How soon Missouri will leave the Big 12, if they leave, is unclear. Chancellor Brady Deaton hasn’t given the Big 12 a timeline and interim conference commissioner Chuck Neinas hasn’t exactly reciprocated any pressure. But if the Tigers do jump to the SEC, there’s at least one school, Alabama, who wants to see them move to the SEC East, not the more geographically-fitting (if you can even call it that) SEC West.

According to Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News, Alabama would only support Missouri as a 14th member under that condition. The Tide, Solomon writes, have two goals: Keep its annual cross-division rivalry game with Tennessee, and to prevent Auburn from gaining any sort of recruiting advantage in Florida and Georgia. Auburn has volunteered to move to the SEC East if necessary, meaning they would be guaranteed to play in Florida once every two years; Auburn already has a protected inter-divisional game with Georgia.

Solomon also writes that Auburn would stay in the SEC West if Missouri was forced to move to the East. Alabama reportedly still prefers an eastern team, although the ACC aggressively raised its exit fees weeks ago.

Calm down, West Virginia. Not yet.

Solomon writes that Missouri is still the favorite, but there is hesitation about exactly how to bring in the Tigers to the conference. It could be that Deaton is pursuing damage control after an anonymous school official told the AP last week that Mizzou preferred the Big Ten, but would join the SEC because “that’s what’s left.” It could also be that the conference isn’t sure how to restructure the conference if Mizzou is brought in.

In any case, this might not be solved for a while, hence the “no timeline” comment from Deaton.

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.