By Bob Holt
Forbes, the financial business magazine, has ranked the University of Arkansas as having the 13th most valuable college football program.
Arkansas football produced revenue of $92 million based on three averages from 2014-16, Forbes reported, using data compiled from athletic department filings with the NCAA and Department of Education.
The SEC had 10 programs in the top 25 – hey, it “Just Means More” money, too – with Texas A&M beating Texas for the top spot in revenue at $148 million for the Aggies to $133 million for the Longhorns.
Other SEC teams in the top 25 were No. 4 Alabama ($127 million), a tie at No. 8 between Auburn and LSU ($112 million), No. 10 Florida ($111 million), No. 11 Tennessee ($108 million), No. 15 South Carolina ($90 million), No. 16 Georgia ($89 million) and No. 21 Ole Miss ($80 million).
The Big Ten, with seven teams, had the second most in the top 25 after the SEC, led by No. 3 Michigan at $127 million.
South Carolina officials decided to cancel the Gamecocks’ game against Marshall scheduled for Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium because of the threat of Hurricane Florence.
“Whether or not the game could have been played, we made the decision we think is best for the state and those who are evacuating the coast,” South Carolina Athletic Director Ray Tanner said in a statement. “There is no question this is the right thing to do.”
There are no plans for South Carolina to reschedule the Marshall game, but officials said they will look to add another opponent during open dates Oct. 20 or Dec. 1 if the Gamecocks aren’t in the SEC Championship Game.
Since Mark Stoops was hired as Kentucky’s coach in 2013, he didn’t just hear the question during the Florida game week.
Stoops heard it all the time, especially at SEC media days: When are the Wildcats going to beat the Gators?
“I always look forward to that annual question here,” Stoops said to the writer from Florida who asked him about the Gators at this year’s SEC media days. "I’m not blaming you.
“I’m going to get it a thousand times between now and that game.”
Stoops doesn’t have to worry about answering the question anymore.
Kentucky won 27-16 at Florida on Saturday to stop a 31-game losing streak against the Gators.
“We really played strong in all three phases,” Stoops said at his Monday news conference. “In particular, I thought we were very physical up front. Both the offensive line and the defensive line.”
The Wildcats hadn’t beaten the Gators since a 10-3 victory on Nov. 15, 1986.
“It was a victory that was a long time coming for our fans and for our players,” Stoops said. “It was a lot of fun, and I appreciate their effort.”
The new question for Stoops and the Wildcats: What do they do now that they’ve beaten Florida?
“There’s so much more that this team can do,” Stoops said. “We can play better than we did. That’s our goal.”
Kentucky faces Murray State at home before resuming SEC play against No. 16 Mississippi State on Sept. 22.
“I really love this group and the way they handle things,” Stoops said of avoiding a letdown. “As always, no matter if we are playing Florida or Murray, it’s about us and they way we prepare and the way we play. That’s what we are looking for this week.”
Alabama has scored 50 or more points in its first two games for the first time in 93 seasons, according to research by AL.com.
The No. 1 Crimson Tide beat Louisville 51-14 in Orlando, Fla., then came home and beat Arkansas State University 57-7.
The last time the Tide scored at least 50 points in their first two games was in 1925 when Alabama beat Union 53-0 and Birmingham Southern 50-7.
Alabama never has scored 50 or more points in its first three games, but it might happen Saturday considering the Tide are playing Ole Miss.
The Tide beat the Rebels 66-3 last season, and Ole Miss’ defense was hardly stellar in a 76-41 victory over Southern Illinois last week.
Alabama last scored 50 or more points in three consecutive games in 1945 when the Tide did it in the final four games to finish the season 10-0 under coach Frank Thomas. The 1945 Tide closed by beating Kentucky 60-19, Vanderbilt 71-0, Pensacola (Fla.) Naval Air Station 55-16 and Mississippi State 55-13.
Missouri quarterback Taylor Powell, a redshirt freshman from Fayetteville, has gotten some snaps behind senior starter Drew Lock in the first two games. Powell has completed 4 of 9 passes for 105 yards.
“Taylor’s got a really, really good football mind,” Missouri Coach Barry Odom said. “He understands the game, the concepts. He’s very deliberate in his preparation, and he’s put himself in position to have success.”
Watch what you say
Florida junior defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson talked a good game before the Gators played Kentucky last week.
“It’s 31, right?” Gardner-Johnson said of Florida’s winning streak against Kentucky. “It’ll be 32 after Saturday.”
Except the Wildcats won 27-16.
“I don’t worry about it,” Gardner-Johnson said Monday when he met with reporters. "They got their win, they got in and out.
“It’s still early, so we aren’t focused on that anymore. Colorado State this week. Got to go in and prepare for this game and get all the freshmen ready to play this week and be ready to roll.”
LSU running back Nick Brossette is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and 131.0 yards per game. Five SEC backs are averaging at least 130 yards per game this season.
LSU is among five Football Bowl Subdivision teams that don’t have a turnover this season, and one of only three of those teams to have played two games.
Clemson, Tennessee and LSU haven’t had a turnover in two games, while Ohio and Toledo have played one game without a turnover.
LSU is plus-5 on turnovers this season.
“We start every practice with drills that we got from the [New England] Patriots on creating turnovers and trying not to create turnovers on offense,” LSU Coach Ed Orgeron said. “It’s a mindset, and I’ve got to give the credit to our coaches. They’ve implemented it, and our players are believing in it.”
LSU had eight turnovers in 13 games last season. In 23 games since Orgeron became the Tigers’ coach, they have 12 games without a turnover.
Hudspeth knows cajuns
Mississippi State assistant Mark Hudspeth, who coaches receivers, will face his former team when the Bulldogs play Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.
Hudspeth was the Ragin’ Cajuns’ head coach from 2011-17. He was fired after Louisiana-Lafayette went 5-7 last season to finish with a losing record for the third consecutive year.
“I think it’s a great advantage, particularly because we only have one game of film on them,” Mississippi State Coach Joe Moorhead of Hudspeth’s knowledge of the Ragin’ Cajuns. “It’ll help us from a personnel standpoint because he recruited a majority of these guys.”
Missouri senior linebacker Brandon Lee is from Indianapolis and expects to have about 100 family members attend the Tigers’ game at Purdue on Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind.
“My grandma’s renting a bus to get the whole family up,” Lee told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Unfortunately for Lee, he’ll miss the first half of the game after being penalized for targeting last week against Wyoming when his helmet connected with running back Jevon Bigelow.
“It’s pretty tough, man,” Lee said. “But I’m getting what I deserve.”
Florida senior defensive end Cece Jefferson will play his first game of the season against Colorado State after serving a two-game suspension.
Jefferson led the Gators last season with 14 tackles for losses totaling 38 yards, including 4½ sacks.
Junior defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson said he’s counting on Jefferson being there Saturday, in uniform and ready to go.
“Cece knows what’s expected from him,” Gardner-Johnson told reporters this week. “He didn’t want to miss the first two games, that’s not his choice. But he’s ready to get back out there and compete and have fun.”
Rank prev. record comment
1 (1) Alabama 2-0 SEC opener at Ole Miss
2 (2) Auburn 2-0 Hastings back from ACL injury
3 (4) Georgia 2-0 Dominant victory at South Carolina
4 (3) LSU 2-0 Looking for road W at Auburn
5 (5) Mississippi State 2-0 Routs Snyder and K-State
6 (13) Kentucky 2-0 Gets Florida gorilla off back
7 (8) Texas A&M 1-1 So close against Clemson
8 (9) Missouri 2-0 Looking for revenge at Purdue
9 (6) South Carolina 1-1 Marshall game canceled
10 (10) Ole Miss 2-0 Scores 76 against SIU
11 (11) Vanderbilt 2-0 Road trip to Notre Dame
12 (7) Florida 1-1 First loss to Kentucky since 1986
13(14) Tennessee 1-1 Pruitt gets first W over ETSU
14 (12) Arkansas 1-1 Another blown lead at CSU
PLAYER TO WATCH
Ole Miss senior quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has put up big numbers this season by completing 45 of 65 passes (69.2 percent) for an SEC-leading 784 yards and 7 touchdowns without an interception.
But those numbers came against Texas Tech and Southern Illinois.
Now Ta’amu will see how effective he can be against No. 1 Alabama’s defense. If he can get some time to complete passes against the Crimson Tide, Ta’amu has three of the SEC’s top five receivers in A.J. Brown, Braylon Sanders and D.K. Metcalf.
GAME OF THE WEEK
LSU at Auburn
WHEN 2:30 p.m. Saturday (CBS)
WHERE Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.
RECORDS Auburn 2-0, LSU 2-0
RANKINGS Auburn is No. 7 in the AP poll, LSU is No. 12
LINE Auburn by 9½ points
Auburn is looking for its second victory of the season over a top 15 team after beating Washington 21-16 in the opener.
It will be the first true road game and first SEC game for LSU starting quarterback Joe Burrow, a graduate transfer from Ohio State.
BY THE NUMBERS
236 – Yards gained by Georgia in the third quarter at South Carolina when the Bulldogs outscored the Gamecocks 21-0 on their way to a 41-17 victory.
1979 – Last time Kentucky won at Florida, 31-3, prior to last week’s 27-16 victory.
4-5 – Texas A&M Coach Jimbo Fisher’s record against Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney after the Tigers held on for a 28-26 victory over the Aggies.
“I don’t know if I’m going to do the whole Tom Brady baseball slide, but I’m definitely going to try to take some hits off myself. Maybe not lower my head into four or five people every possession.” – LSU quarterback Joe Burrow after Tigers Coach Ed Orgeron said he needs to avoid taking direct hits.
“I’m sure that win gives them a lot of confidence coming in here.” – Florida Coach Dan Mullen on Colorado State playing at The Swamp after beating Arkansas.
“The O-line was physical.” – Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops on the Wildcats rushing for 303 yards at Florida.