Dec 3, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) tackles LSU Tigers running back Josh Williams (27) as defensive lineman Bear Alexander (99) pursues the play during the second quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia takes command for SEC title over LSU

Stetson Bennett passed for 274 yards and four touchdowns and No. 1 Georgia rolled past No. 14 LSU 50-30 in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday in Atlanta.

Bennett finished 23 of 29 and threw four touchdown passes as the defending national champion Bulldogs (13-0) took command.

Kenny McIntosh ran for two second-half touchdowns as they kept the Tigers (9-4) at bay and seemingly certainly wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff pairings that will be announced Sunday.

Jayden Daniels passed for 208 yards with one touchdown and one interception, but he did not play in the second half because of a leg injury.

Garrett Nussmeier replaced Daniels and threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Malik Nabers on LSU’s first possession of the third quarter to trim Georgia’s lead to 35-17. Nussmeier finished 15 of 27 for 294 yards and two touchdowns.

McIntosh ran two yards for a touchdown and Noah Cain answered with a one-yard touchdown run, leaving Georgia with a 42-23 lead at the end of the third quarter.

McIntosh ran eight yards to make the score 50-23 before Nussmeier threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jaray Jenkins.

On LSU’s second possession, Nazir Stackhouse blocked Damian Ramos’ 32-yard field goal and the ball rolled inside the 5-yard line. Georgia’s Christopher Smith approached and when he saw that the Tigers had given up on the play, he gathered possession and ran 96 yards for a touchdown.

On the ensuing possession, Daniels threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Kayshon Boutte, but Bennett responded with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Brock Bowers for a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

On the first play of the second quarter, Daniels’ pass was deflected twice before being intercepted by Smael Mondon Jr. On the next play Bennett connected with Ladd McConkey for a 22-yard touchdown and a 21-7 lead.

Bennett threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Washington and a three-yarder to Dillon Bell before Ramos’ 42-yard field goal left the Bulldogs with a 35-10 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2022; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers fans storm the field after LSU defeated the Mississippi Rebels at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU fined $250K for fans storming field

The Southeastern Conference fined LSU $250,000 on Sunday because the school’s fans stormed the field after Saturday’s 45-20 victory over then-No. 7 Ole Miss.

The violation was LSU’s third of the policy. The school’s most recent violation had been after a win over then-No. 2 Georgia in 2018.

In a news release, the SEC said that the policy stated that “access to competition areas shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals at all times. For the safety of participants and spectators alike, at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition area. It is the responsibility of each member institution to implement procedures to ensure compliance with this policy.”

Fines start at $50,000 for a first offense, up to $100,000 for a second offense and up to $250,000 for a third and any subsequent violations.

The fine comes one week after the SEC fined Tennessee $100,000 for its fans rushing of the field after an upset win over then-No. 3 Alabama. Tennessee fans took the goalposts and deposited them into the nearby Tennessee River.

LSU (6-2, 4-1 SEC) was unranked prior to the win over Ole Miss. It is now ranked 18th.

–Field Level Media

Jul 18, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; SEC commissioner Greg Sankey delivers comments to open SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Commish: SEC not planning reactionary expansion

No plans are being shaped by reconstruction of other conferences, commissioner Greg Sankey said regarding the makeup of the Southeastern Conference.

Sankey, who opened SEC Media Days in Atlanta with a press conference on Monday, said there is no conference as strong as the SEC — which is “as strong as ever,” in his opinion.

With the SEC set to expand to 16 teams in 2025, if not before, by adding Texas and Oklahoma, the Big Ten set its own realignment in motion by bringing aboard UCLA and Southern Cal in a move announced last month.

“We’re comfortable at 16,” Sankey said. “There’s no sense of urgency; there’s no sense of panic. We’re not just shooting for a number of affiliations that make us better. Could they be out there? I’d never say they aren’t, and I’d never say they are.”

Sankey said the time is now for groupthink among conference heads and college sports decision-makers before the land-grab mindset takes hold.

“We’re dealing with complex problems that won’t be solved with complaints, by accusations, by finger-pointing, by offering simple solutions,” Sankey said. “What is needed now is collaboration, deep thinking about real-world solutions with everyone participating in the conversation.”

Unwilling to divulge all of his cards, Sankey did confess he hears from other teams in various conferences asking for an assessment of their worthiness to be in the SEC. Reports circulated last month that Clemson, North Carolina and Notre Dame had been in contact with the SEC. Sankey said that is simply the current state of college football.

But while he has his listening ears on, Sankey said the SEC must decide what it has to gain.

“I’m not trying to be a smart-aleck guy, but we are a superleague,” Sankey said.

–Field Level Media

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher blasted Alabama's Nick Saban earlier this week.

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Report: A&M asked SEC to consider suspending Nick Saban

Texas A&M beseeched the SEC to consider fining and suspending Alabama coach Nick Saban for publicly stating that the Aggies “bought every player” through NIL deals, On3 reported Monday.

The website says it obtained communications between Texas A&M and the SEC on May 19 through an open records request. Texas A&M sent an email and had multiple phone conversations with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey the morning after Saban’s infamous comments, On3 reported.

“We expect the league to take strong, public action against Coach Saban and the University of Alabama to demonstrate that such unprofessionalism and disrespect for Texas A&M’s student-athletes, coaches, and the university as a whole, will not be tolerated,” read the email sent by A&M athletics director Ross Bjork and co-signed by university president Katherine Banks.

“A public apology from Coach Saban to Coach Fisher, Aggie Football, and Texas A&M University is a good starting point, but the league should also consider monetary and participation penalties against Coach Saban,” the email stated, per On3.

Sankey was working on a reprimand of Saban but added A&M coach Jimbo Fisher to it after the latter’s press conference, when he said “somebody should have slapped” Saban, among other jabs.

Saban’s incendiary comments came May 18 during an event with more than 100 business leaders in Birmingham, Ala. Saban made the initial comments to point out that the wild-west nature of NIL deals for players is not sustainable. And he took aim at Texas A&M’s recruiting class, ranked No. 1 in the country.

“I know the consequence is going to be difficult for the people who are spending tons of money to get players,” Saban said. “We were second in recruiting last year. A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team. Made a deal for name, image and likeness.

Saban has since apologized multiple times for singling out A&M — as well as Jackson State and Miami — during his speech.

–Field Level Media

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher andAlabama head coach Nick Saban chat at midfield before the Alabama vs. Texas A&M game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday September 22, 2018.

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Nick Saban reiterates he regrets naming names in NIL flap

Alabama coach Nick Saban again tried to defuse a dustup of his own creation with Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, saying Tuesday at the SEC spring meetings that, “I didn’t really say anybody did anything wrong,” and that he has “no problem” with Fisher.

Saban again said that he regrets naming specific institutions two weeks ago at a fundraising event when he used Texas A&M and Jackson State as examples of how NIL money is being used improperly in recruiting. That sparked a response from Fisher in which he denied the accusations and lambasted Saban.

Talking to reporters on the opening day of SEC spring meetings, Saban said, “You know, I didn’t really say anybody did anything wrong.” Saban was interrupted by a reporter who said: “You said they bought their recruiting class.”

“I didn’t say anybody did anything wrong,” Saban repeated. “I said everything I’m going to say about this. … I should have never mentioned individual institutions.”

Saban said he supports players’ access to NIL income but suggested the lack of enforceable national rules creates an untenable situation.

“Some kind of uniform name, image and likeness stand that supports equitable national competition is really, really important for college football,” Saban said. “And we’ve always had that with scholarships, Alston money or whatever that might be. So that’s kind of point one.

“Point two is we need some kind of transparency in name, imagine and likeness deals to verify that players are doing what they need to do to have the opportunity to make in name, image and likeness. Believe me, I’m all for players making as much as they can. But I also think that we’ve got to have some uniform, transparent way to do that.”

Four other SEC head coaches wouldn’t touch the subject of the simmering feud, which has been the talk of college football since Saban’s May 18 comments and the response from Fisher, who was a Saban assistant for five years at LSU.

Fisher, who has refused to accept calls from Saban, was not scheduled to speak Tuesday but a Texas A&M representative said he might speak later in the week.

–Field Level Media

Quarterback Arch Manning 16 throws a pass as Newman takes on Lafayette Christian Academy in the LHSAA Div III semi finals.  Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.

Arch Manning Lca Vs Newman Football 5186

SEC, Pac-12 commissioners in D.C. for NIL guidance

Federal Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) legislation is the subject of the Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference commissioners’ visit to Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

Multiple conference commissioners have voiced concern the current NIL rules leave open pay-for-play and recruitment weapons the NCAA insists can be avoided.

“Either the NCAA is going to get its act together in enforcing this,” said George Kliavkoff, Pac-12 commissioner, in an ESPN interview. “Or I’m going to be pushing for a smaller group to figure out how to create and enforce the NIL rules that we all agree on related to inducement and pay-for-play. The amount of an NIL payment should be commensurate with the work done as a backstop to make sure we’re not using it related to inducement and pay-for-play.”

Estimates for NIL earnings for top college football recruit Arch Manning, a pro-style quarterback and nephew to Peyton and Eli, are between $1.5 million and $2 million.

Policy and protocol for NIL deals are loosely defined since going into effect last summer in a landmark shift in amateurism and NCAA guidelines for student-athletes and their schools.

One of the primary reasons SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Kliavkoff are on Capitol Hill: Kliavkoff believes the “existential threat of our student-athletes being deemed to be employees” to be real.

Kliavkoff was part of a committee under outgoing NCAA president Mark Emmert that requested oversight from Congress. The thrust of the request, as outlined in detail by Emmert before the 2022 Final Four, is confusion around widely varying state laws and the application of NIL without the benefit of precedent.

“I think it’s more likely that we eventually get federal legislation on name, image and likeness, but we’re also interested in discussing all of the harm that will come to student-athletes if they are deemed to be employees,” Kliavkoff said.

In Sankey’s dominant football conference, coaches fired accusations in February that NIL deals are driving recruiting decisions. Alabama coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher have volleyed barbs related to standards and practices, while also asking for uniform NIL rules and policies in all states.

Fisher said Wednesday at the Houston Touchdown Club that college football needs “uniformity to make it fair for everybody across the board” immediately.

Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin also prodded Fisher and the Aggies for having a different “budget” for recruits.

“I joked the other day I didn’t know if Texas A&M was going to incur a luxury tax and how much they paid for their signing class,” Kiffin said in February.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Auburn, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws against the Auburn Tigers during the first half at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia aims to knock No. 3 Alabama out of contention

To Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker, his team’s plan for the Southeastern Conference championship game against Alabama on Saturday is simple.

“I just think we have to continue doing what we have been doing all season and everything will go as planned,” he said of the contest at Atlanta. “That being said, we just have to keep rushing the passer and it will all fall in place.”

It has all fallen in place this year for the 12-0 Bulldogs, who look to maintain their No. 1 ranking heading into an almost certain trip to the College Football Playoff semifinals. Barring a lopsided loss, Georgia’s spot in the CFP appears to be a cinch.

Unlike most of the last decade-plus, the No. 3 Crimson Tide (11-1) look like they’re in a win-or-else situation. By recent Alabama standards, this is not a great team, although most other programs would gladly take 11-1 and a top-3 ranking.

There have been a few close calls, though, particularly in last week’s epic Iron Bowl against archrival Auburn. The Crimson Tide didn’t score until the middle of the fourth quarter and needed a 97-yard touchdown drive in the last two minutes just to force overtime, then survived four extra periods to beat the Tigers 24-22.

Given that escape, as well as narrow wins in November over LSU and Arkansas, Alabama is a touchdown underdog against the Bulldogs. It marks the first time in 92 games, dating back to Oct. 3, 2015, that the Tide hasn’t been favored to win.

Alabama hopes this game turns out as well as that occasion. It won 38-10 — at Georgia.

“It’s not often that Alabama is on the other side of that, but, hey, we have to control what we can control,” Crimson Tide left tackle Evan Neal said. “We’re approaching this game like any other game. We’re approaching this game with intentions to win.

“Obviously, Georgia is a great team, one of the best defenses we’ve seen all year. We’ve just got to prepare. Take it one day at a time so that on Saturday, we can go out there and execute.”

If the Tide are to do that, protecting quarterback Bryce Young is a top priority. Young absorbed seven sacks at Auburn, the fourth game this year in which he was sacked at least four times. Young has been sacked 33 times in 2021 and probably has avoided at least that many with his adroit movement in the pocket.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have had no close calls aside from a season-opening 10-3 win over Clemson in Charlotte. All of their other wins have been by at least 17 points, thanks to a defense that has yielded only 83 points.

While the magnitude of this game is clearly different from any other Georgia has played to this point, linebacker Quay Walker said coach Kirby Smart’s message to his team is to take care of business.

“Keeping the main thing the main thing,” Walker said. “Focus on what’s ahead of us and everything else is going to play out how it’s supposed to play.”

Alabama leads the all-time series 41-25-4, beating the Bulldogs 41-24 on Oct. 17, 2020, in Tuscaloosa in the latest meeting.

–Field Level Media

Oct 27, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; The view from the Georgia side of the stadium during late first quarter action. Saturday   s annual Florida vs Georgia football game, October 27, 2018 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL. Bob Self-USA TODAY NETWORK

Ncaa Football Georgia Vs Florida

Georgia-Florida game to remain in Jacksonville at least 2 more years

The annual Southeastern Conference clash between Georgia and Florida will continue to be played in Jacksonville through at least 2023.

The Jacksonville City Council voted Tuesday night to approve terms of the agreement, which also gives the schools the option to extend the deal until 2025.

The Athens Banner-Herald said the contract calls for each school to receive a minimum guarantee from the city of $1.25 million in 2022 and 2023 and $1.5 million in 2024 and 2025.

The minimum for this year’s game is $1 million. It will be played Saturday, with Georgia the No. 1 team in the nation.

Jacksonville has hosted all but two games in the annual series since 1933.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, only 19,000 fans were allowed at TIAA Bank Field last season. A capacity crowd of 76,000 is expected Saturday.

–Field Level Media

A pizza box is thrown onto the field from the stands after it was ruled that Jacob Warren was a yard short of the first down marker on a 4th and 24 play during an SEC football game between Tennessee and Ole Miss at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Tennessee fans littered the Neyland Stadium field with debris for several minutes following Ole Miss' game-clinching defensive stop with 54 seconds to play.

Kns Tennessee Ole Miss Football

SEC punishes Tennessee for fan behavior

The SEC on Monday levied penalties against Tennessee for the behavior of its fans during the football team’s loss to Mississippi on Saturday.

Those penalties include a fine, a requirement to find and ban specific fans and a review of the school’s alcohol policy.

The home crowd in Knoxville caused a stoppage of nearly 20 minutes as fans threw water bottles and other objects onto the field in the final minute against Ole Miss.

“The disruption of Saturday night’s game is unacceptable and cannot be repeated on any SEC campus,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “Today’s actions are consistent with the oversight assigned by the membership to the SEC office, including the financial penalty and review of alcohol availability. We will use this opportunity to reemphasize to each SEC member the importance of providing a safe environment even with the intensity of competition that occurs every week.”

The conference is assessing a $250,000 fine, which will be automatically deducted from the school’s share of SEC revenue distribution.

The school is also required to use all available resources — including security, stadium and television video — to identify anybody who threw objects onto the field. Once identified, those individuals will be banned from attending future Tennessee athletic events, and the university will be required to report on its progress to the conference office.

The SEC also is asking Tennessee to review its stadium alcohol policy and provide an update on its findings.

Per the SEC’s release: “The Conference is not suspending alcohol sales privileges for the University of Tennessee at this time but reserves the right to do so if other requirements outlined above are not met.”

Tennessee chancellor Donde Plowman was shocked by the conduct of the school’s fans.

“I am astonished and sickened by the behavior of some Vol fans at the end of tonight’s game,” she posted to social media after the game. “Good sportsmanship must be part of who we are as Volunteers. Behavior that puts student-athletes, visitors and other fans at risk is not something we will tolerate.”

–Field Level Media