Missouri v Florida

Mizzou to start James Franklin at Ole Miss

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Thanks to Auburn’s miraculous win over Georgia and South Carolina holding on against Florida, Mizzou has to win its final two games to reach the SEC Championship.

They’ll embark on that quest with James Franklin back as their starter, coach Gary Pinkel confirmed Monday. The Mizzou quarterback, who injured his shoulder in the Tigers’ Oct. 12 win over Georgia, has been completely cleared to play. Redshirt freshman Maty Mauk, who threw for 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in four starts in Franklin’s stead, will play a to-be-determined role against Ole Miss and Texas A&M, Pinkel said.

Before Franklin’s injury, he accounted for 17 touchdowns (14 passing, three rushing) and 1,867 yards of total offense (1,577 passing, 290 rushing). Getting him back is a huge boost for Mizzou’s chances at Ole Miss, which has a win over LSU to its name as well as close losses to Texas A&M and Auburn.

A win in Oxford would set up one of the biggest games ever at Faurot Field, with Texas A&M coming to Columbia with a spot in the SEC Championship on the line. While Mauk was more than serviceable in place of Franklin, he wasn’t able to push Mizzou past South Carolina (a win in that game, as things stand now, would’ve locked up the SEC East for Mizzou).

A healthy Franklin gives Mizzou its best chance of making it to Atlanta. If he’s as healthy as the Mizzou camp says he is, those chances just got a lot better.

Former Texas A&M WR Thomas Johnson arrested on murder charge

Thomas Johnson
Associated Press

A very disturbing story has emerged out of Dallas, where former Texas A&M wide receiver Thomas Johnson sits in a Dallas County jail cell after allegedly admitting to hacking an unsuspecting jogger to death with a machete.

Just before 8 a.m. Monday, authorities say Johnson went to White Rock Creek Trail, a popular jogging trail in northeast Dallas, and randomly slashed a jogger to death. “It appears Mr. Johnson picked this victim at random. Absolutely random,” Deputy Chief Rob Sherwin told the Dallas Morning News. “He just attacked him. … It’s just very unusual. It’s quite shocking.”

Johnson then walked away from the scene in search of a cell phone. An onlooker had already dialed 911, and when police arrived Johnson allegedly told them there was a man “laying down with a sword in his head and not moving.”

“I just committed capital murder,” Johnson said and then repeated, according to his arrest affidavit. The only motive police reported was that Johnson was angry at his situation in life at the time of the slaying.

The victim, an unidentified male between the age of 25 and 35, passed away at a nearby hospital.

Johnson, meanwhile, remains in a Dallas County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Johnson was a highly-regarded member of Kevin Sumlin‘s first recruiting class at Texas A&M. As a true freshman in 2012, the Dallas native caught 30 passes for 339 yards and one touchdown through the Aggies’ upset of then-No. 1 Alabama and then simply… disappeared. He went missing for three days in November 2012 before turning up back home in Dallas. His mother told the San Antonio Express-News last April Johnson would like to return to college football, but a return to the game never materialized.

No punishment from SEC for Bielema’s sideline interaction with Alabama player

Bret Bielema

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.

“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”

That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.