Tag:Mississippi State
Posted on: November 9, 2010 11:51 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2010 12:32 pm
 

Report: Cam Newton, father pressured MSU for cash

Posted by Adam Jacobi

More Mississippi State sources have come forward with information against Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, telling ESPN today that the Newton family admitted to receiving money from Auburn recruiters in phone conversations last year:

Prior to Newton's commitment to Auburn, one of the recruiters said Cecil Newton told him it would take "more than a scholarship" to bring his son to Mississippi State, a request the source said the school would not meet. Cecil Newton also referred the recruiter to a third person that would provide more specifics, the source said.

After Newton committed to Auburn, another source said an emotional Cam Newton phoned another recruiter to express regret about his change of commitment from Mississippi State, stating that his father Cecil had chosen Auburn for him because "the money was too much."

Obviously, the NCAA is going to want to hear more about this, and the days of Auburn being able to proudly claim that its football program is not a target of any NCAA investigation are probably close to an end.

It's worth pointing out, though, that this report in and of itself doesn't constitute enough to jeopardize Newton's eligibility today; it's simple hearsay more than anything else. Furthermore, since this new allegation is that the Newtons accepted money (and not that Auburn merely offered it), the NCAA is going to have to actually find some of this money (which sounds easy enough, considering the Newtons were asking for $200,000, but you never know what a, um, "creative" accountant can accomplish) before it doles out any punishment.

When reached for comment, Cecil Newton had little to tell Fox Sports.

"I’m not going to confirm nor deny nothing that has been taking place," Newton told Thayer Evans of Fox Sports. "I’ve answered what I need to answer. If they’re out there, go with it and make the decision or determination based on whatever you’ve got to say."

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen may have denied the earlier reports that he was behind the allegations of academic misconduct by Newton, but considering MSU's heavy involvement with these two other reports, it's easy to wonder whether there's any point in Mullen keeping any distance from this scandal anymore. This is clearly the Bulldogs' fight right now, so they might as well be honest about it.

Moreover, if the academic allegations did come from Mullen (which would make sense, considering his position at Florida while Newton was there), then this is three-for-three on Cam Newton allegations that have come from Mississippi State ... and haven't been proven yet. That's not to say they can't or won't be proven true -- time will tell on that front -- but these reports aren't coming from the NCAA, they're just Mississippi State airing dirty laundry. Remember how true the academic allegations sounded when the report first hit? Those don't seem quite as credible now that AuburnSports.com has its own sources saying Newton was never involved in the Florida Student Conduct Committee for any reason. It would be wise to at least keep that track record in mind going forward until more definitive evidence arises.


Posted on: November 8, 2010 12:25 pm
 

Newton investigation 'not a closed matter'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

This has been a pretty magical season for Auburn.   The team is 10-0, ranked second in the BCS, and a win this Saturday against Georgia would clinch the SEC West and have the Tigers bound for Atlanta to play for the SEC title.  The biggest reason the Tigers have been so good this season is Cam Newton, who has pretty much run away with the Heisman Trophy thanks to his play on the field.

Of course, all anyone wants to talk about when bringing up Auburn is Newton, but it's for all the wrong reasons these days.  The news broke last week that the NCAA is looking into Newton's recruitment, as Kenny Rogers claims that he offered to bring Newton to Mississippi State for $200,000 from the school.  Considering the current environment in college football, in which the contact between agents and players have led to many suspensions, and Reggie Bush has had to give up his Heisman Trophy, there have been a few people who have already made up their minds that Newton is guilty.  Lack of evidence be damned.

One sign that Newton will be cleared in this investigation, though, is the fact that he played on Saturday, and has played all season long while Auburn has been aware of the investigation.  According to Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs, if they felt Newton had done anything wrong, he wouldn't be playing, though that doesn't mean the NCAA is done just yet.

"Any of our student-athletes, if we had any questions about them, about their eligibility," Jacobs told the USA Today. "We wouldn't want them to play."

"It's not a closed matter.  It's still ongoing. ... But we look for Cam to continue to play for us."

Does this mean that Newton is innocent?  No, of course not, but it's a sign that nothing will come from the investigation.  Wins are nice, but if Auburn felt there was going to be any trouble over this, it wouldn't compound the problem by continuing to send Newton out there every Saturday.
Posted on: November 7, 2010 12:31 am
 

What I learned from the SEC (Nov. 6)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. Les Miles loves the taste of grass and victory.   Seriously, he loves the taste of grass.  We have video to prove it and Russell Sheppard says he does it all the time because it's filled with protein.  But as any mad genius herbivore can tell you, the grass always tastes sweeter when you win, and that's what LSU did on Saturday to keep its SEC title hopes alive and end those of Alabama at the same time. Miles did it in his usual crazy manner, too.  Making sure his team looked horrible for the first 30 minutes before coming out firing in the second half.  I'm really starting to wonder if Miles is just so insane he's actually sane. Like, he's done the complete 360 degrees of insanity, and the rest of us just can't comprehend it.

2. The SEC West > The SEC East.  Okay, so the Mississippi State Bulldogs are 7-2 overall, and 3-2 in conference play.  This is good enough to earn them fifth place in the six team SEC West.  You know where this would put them in the East?  They'd be tied with Florida and South Carolina for the lead with one less loss -- but one less win as well -- and they'd have the best overall record in the division.  For further proof of the West's dominance, look what fourth place Arkansas did to South Carolina on Saturday night.

3. Cam Newton is not easily distracted.
  Here's what I know about Cam Newton after watching Saturday's game.  He either knows he's 100% innocent of any of the allegations about selling himself to the highest bidder, or he just doesn't give a poop.  Newton threw for 317 yards and 4 touchdowns on Saturday, and granted, it was against Tennessee-Chattanooga, but those are still very impressive numbers.  Now he has the Tigers only one win shy of the SEC West title, and a few more wins away from the title game.

4. Cupcakes are delicious.
  Listen, I don't like the annual sacrifices of FCS schools to BCS schools that we see every year, but the fact of the matter is that as long as the BCS reigns, we are stuck with them.  And, to be honest, I can't really blame SEC schools for wanting to schedule them in the middle of conference play and taking a break.  Georgia, Auburn, Kentucky and Florida -- I'M KIDDING, VANDERBILT* -- all feasted on them, while Ole Miss and Tennessee enjoyed some slightly heavier Sun Belt and Conference USA fare.

*No I'm not
Posted on: November 5, 2010 11:31 am
Edited on: November 5, 2010 11:32 am
 

Newton investigation is 'sad and disgusting'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There's been a whole lot of crazy going on since the news broke on Thursday that the NCAA was conducting an investigation at Auburn about the recruitment of quarterback/assault vehicle Cam Newton.  The story broke when it was reported that agent and former Mississippi State football player, Kenny Rogers, allegedly tried to solicit $200,000 from Mississippi State to get Cam Newton to transfer to Biloxi after he left Florida.

It's a story that Newton's family has denied ever happened, along with denying that Rogers has ever worked for them.  So far, given the amount of evidence that has shown anything to the contrary, and the words of Newton's head coach Gene Chizik, all signs point that the Newton's have done nothing wrong.  According to a report on AUTigers.com -- which, we admit, may be a touch biased in this situation -- that's exactly the case.

A source "very close to the Auburn athletics department" told them there's absolutely nothing to any of this.

“There is no evidence whatsoever of any contact between Mr. Rogers and anyone on the staff at Auburn University or anyone associated with Auburn University,” the source told the site. 

“There have also been no NCAA allegations made against Auburn University or anybody on the Auburn staff regarding the recruitment of Cam Newton. This is a really sad and disgusting situation.  Cameron Newton and his family have become the victim of a rogue agent with a questionable past and of other people who are out to hurt Cam Newton and his family."

Who exactly those people are trying to hurt Newton and his family, I don't know, though Paul Finebaum seems to think he does.  

It's not all that crazy to think that Kenny Rogers, if he did ask Mississippi State for the money to get Cam Newton, was acting on his own.  Maybe he thought that if he got $200,000 he could keep some of it and then use the rest to try and sway Newton to reunite with his former offensive coordinator, Dan Mullen. I'm not saying that this is what happened, but given everything we've learned about agents and college football players this year, does anything surprise you at this point?
Posted on: November 4, 2010 3:42 pm
 

SEC Title Hunt preview, Week 10

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As the regular season winds to a close, we'll break down the conference races and let you know what scenarios are needed for your favorite team to grasp that automatic BCS berth.  In the SEC, we'll shake down each division race first then make a mostly premature prediction.  Agree? Disagree? Got any good haikus? Leave 'em all in the comments section below.

West Division

Auburn (9-0) (6-0)
Alabama (7-1) (4-1)
LSU (7-1) (4-1)
Mississippi State (7-2) (3-2)
Arkansas (6-2) (3-2)
Ole Miss (3-5) (1-4)

Week 9 Preview
With their convincing victory over Ole Miss last weekend, Auburn has eliminated both Arkansas and Mississippi State from the West race. Thanks to a head-to-head loss to Auburn and a second loss for both the Razorbacks and Bulldogs within the division (where Auburn finishes 4-1 at worst), it appears that's it's impossible for either team to win a tiebreaker against the Tigers, whether it be two-way, three-way, or even four-way. Since the Tigers are already two games up in the loss column with only two to play, the Hogs and Dogs cannot do better than a tie and are done where Atlanta is concerned. A share of the West will be as good as it gets.

But that's not the case for either LSU or Alabama , who will play what will very likely amount to an elimination game Saturday in Baton Rouge. The Tide could still make Atlanta after a loss by winning out, having Auburn lose to Georgia , and watching LSU drop one of their final two SEC games; they'd win the three or four-way tie at 6-2. But that's a lot of breaks to catch. LSU, on the other hand, has no way back in the event of a loss, as they'd fall into the no-way-past-Auburn boat shared by Arkansas and MSU.

For the winner of LSU-Alabama, though hope remains very much alive. LSU would need a pair of Auburn losses, but if they got them they would control their own destiny for Atlanta. Things would be even rosier for the Tide, who control their own destiny already and would be only two home games away from the divisional title.

Which is why Auburn will be rooting hard for LSU (not, of course, that they wouldn't be anyway). A Bayou Bengal win would mean that after dispensing with FCS Chattanooga this week, Auburn would have the golden opportunity to clinch the division at home next week against Georgia. The opinion here is that they won't get it, however; unless Patrick Peterson can produce some game-changing plays in the return game, it's hard to see how LSU's feeble passing attack makes enough hay against the Tide's defense to put a game-winning number of points on the board.

Week 10 West winners: Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss
West Favorite: Auburn

East Division

South Carolina (6-2) (4-2)
Florida (5-3) (3-3)
Georgia (4-5) (3-4)
Vanderbilt (2-6) (1-5)
Kentucky (4-5) (1-5)
Tennessee (2-6) (0-5)

Week 9 Preview
Thanks to form holding in the South Carolina vs. Tennessee , Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas, and Kentucky vs. Mississippi State games, what once appeared to be an incomprehensible mess will almost certainly come down to one game: South Carolina at Florida, Nov. 13, for all the division's marbles.

It's "almost" because there's one remaining possible fly in the ointment: Vanderbilt, who hosts the Gators at noon Eastern this Saturday. If the Commodores can pull off the shocker, Carolina will go into their evening game against Arkansas knowing that a win will send them to Atlanta for the first time in the program's history.

Much more likely, of course, is that the Gators take care of business and render the tilt between the Gamecocks and Razorbacks completely meaningless where the East title is concerned. Even in the event of a Gator win and Carolina loss -- a likelihood, given the downtrodden state of the Carolina secondary and the skills of Ryan Mallett -- the Gamecocks will still have the tiebreaking upper hand if they can win in the Swamp, and Florida will have no way past that tiebreak after that fourth loss. It will be 100 percent winner-take-all.

(Note that Georgia has been eliminated; even the Vandy-over-Florida / Arkansas-and-Florida-over-Carolina / Georgia-over-Auburn series of events that leads to a three-way tie at 4-4 doesn't help them, since Florida would take it on the strength of head-to-head wins over both the Dawgs and Gamecocks.)

Week 10 East winners: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee
East Favorite: Florida


Mostly Premature SEC Championship Game Prediction - Auburn 34, Florida 28

Posted on: November 3, 2010 4:16 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2010 4:21 pm
 

SEC in danger of failing to fulfill bowl tie-ins

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Though it's been described in some quarters as a "down year" for the SEC , the polls would beg to differ; the league still hogs a third of the BCS top six and more than a quarter of the BCS top 20. A year after Alabama and Florida staged a de facto play-in game for the right to play for the BCS national championship, most bowl projections --- including CBSSports.com's -- currently see this year's meeting between a potentially undefeated Auburn and a potentially one-loss Alabama to be just as critical. Charges that the league's lack of depth was being masked by the Tide's and Gators' dominance have been answered this season as up-and-comers like Auburn, South Carolina , Arkansas , and Mississippi State have more than filled the vacuum left by the decline of Florida and Georgia .

In short, at the top of the standings, it's as good to be the SEC as ever. Too bad the story is a different one in the league's other half, where several teams will have to scratch and claw their way to bowl eligiblity. While fewer bowl teams would be something of a black mark for the league's record, it would be even worse news for the bowls on the back end of the SEC's 9-game bowl tie-in pecking order.

With the league all but guaranteed a second spot in the BCS (likely to go to either the Auburn-Alabama loser or LSU in the event the Bayou Bengals knock off Alabama at home this weekend), the SEC will need 10 bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of those tie-ins. If they fall short, the struggling Birmingham Bowl -- having already lost its papajohns.com title sponsor and sitting on the ninth and final choice from the SEC pool -- could be forced to invite a Sun Belt also-ran that would almost certainly lead to diminished attendance and TV ratings. The bowls with the SEC's No. 7 and No. 8 choices, the Liberty Bowl and Music City Bowl , are more stable but would no doubt take some form of hit from being forced to choose a lower-rung Big East team or non-AQ at-large squad.

So there's more at stake in the race for bowl eligiblity for the SEC's bottom half than just gift bags and extra practices. CBS projects nine of the conference's teams to make it across the line to the postseason, but this assumes a few results break the SEC's way. Taking a look at the league's eligibility picture ...

Team-by-Team

Auburn, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Arkansas : Each of these teams has already earned postseason eligibility.

Florida : The Gators need only more one win, and if the exceedingly unlikely event they don't get it this week against Vanderbilt , they will Nov. 20 against FCS Appalachian State .

Kentucky : This is where things start getting at least a little dicey. The Wildcats have used the four-mediocre-nonconference-wins plus-two-SEC-victories blueprint to eligibility before and, with only four wins to date, could need it again. Charleston Southern will get them to five, but if the 'Cats botch their Nov. 13 home date with Vandy, they'll have to end their 25-game losing streak to Tennessee (the NCAA's longest between two teams) in Knoxville to make the postseason.

Georgia : With Idaho State on tap this week but a trip to Auburn the following Saturday, the 4-5 Bulldogs are likely to be at 5-6 and in need a win at home over Georgia Tech in the season's final week to go bowling. The 5-3 Yellow Jackets have taken a step back this season but won their last trip to Athens.

Ole Miss: This is where the shots at eligibilty get legitimately long. The 3-5 Rebels will need three wins out of a slate that includes a home dates against Louisiana-Lafayette and Mississippi State and trips to Tennessee and LSU. The Ragin' Cajuns are a gimme, but the Rebels will likely be underdogs in the other three and will need a pair of upsets to make up for their season-opening stunner against FCS Jacksonville State .

Tennessee: At 2-6, the Vols must win out to grab a bowl berth. But they have the schedule to make it happen, at least: vs. Memphis , Ole Miss, and Kentucky at home with only Vandy on the road. But at 0-5 in the SEC and dealing with a quarterback controversy, it's hard to see the Vols running the table even against that soft slate.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores also sit at 2-6, but with Florida up this week, they will very likely be the first SEC team officially eliminated from postseason consideration.

Best-Case Scenario

Kentucky beats Vandy, Georgia beats either Auburn or Tech, Tennessee wins out, and Ole Miss shocks both LSU and Mississippi State to send every SEC team but Vandy into the postseason (four of them at 6-6).

Worst-Case Scenario

Kentucky loses to Vandy and Tennessee. Tennessee loses to Ole Miss. Ole Miss loses to LSU and Mississippi State. Georgia loses to Auburn and Georgia Tech. And only seven SEC teams go bowling.

A Prediction

We'll stick with the CBS line for now: the Dawgs and 'Cats do enough to keep the Music City and Liberty happy, but neither the Rebels nor Vols make it and the Birmingham Bowl scrambles. But should Kentucky lose to Vanderbilt or Georgia to their in-state rivals from Atlanta, there's going to be some very unhappy bowl executives in either Memphis or Nashville.

Posted on: November 2, 2010 11:56 am
Edited on: November 2, 2010 5:42 pm
 

Miss. St. DE Nick Bell has passed away

Posted Jerry Hinnen

Terrible news out of Starkville yesterday , as Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen revealed in a statement that Bulldog defensive end Nick Bell had suffered a serious setback in his battle against cancer.

Bell, a sophomore from Bessemer, Ala., played in six games this season for State but had a mass removed from his brain Oct. 1 that was believed to be related to an earlier skin growth removed two years ago. This past weekend, Mullen said, doctors found that the cancer had metastasized and Bell underwent emergency surgery Monday morning in Birmingham. Some 50 Bulldogs players and coaches drove to UAB hospital last night to visit him.

As of this morning there's been no official word on Bell's condition, although the Twitter feed of teammate Johnthan Banks has many fearing the worst. The CBS College Football Blog extends our thoughts and deepest sympathies to Bell's family and everyone connected with the Mississippi State football program during this difficult time.

UPDATE: Though this morning's whispers about Bell's passing may have been premature and factually incorrect, they were sadly prescient: this afternoon Mississippi State announced that Bell has passed away from his illness. He was 20. Mullen:
“This is a tragedy for Nick’s family, our football program, our community and everyone who had the privilege to meet and be around Nick Bell ... Nick was a son and a brother to our football family and I know he will continue to look over us from heaven. Nick lived his life like a champion and will always be remembered in our hearts that way. During this impossible time, we pray for Nick’s family and all those he has touched.”
The loss must be a devastating one for the Bulldog program, not only for Bell's character and quality as a person, but for the swiftness with which the disease attacked; as recently as Sept. 25 Bell took the field against Georgia and only 10 days ago he was watching his team take on UAB from the State sideline.

We again express our sincerest condolences and sympathis to Bell's family and anyone impacted by this terrible loss.

Posted on: October 28, 2010 4:10 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 4:27 pm
 

SEC Title Hunt Preview -- Week 9

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As the regular season winds to a close, we'll break down the conference races and let you know what scenarios are needed for your favorite team to grasp that automatic BCS berth.  In the SEC, we'll shake down each division race first then make an insanely premature prediction.  Agree? Disagree? Got any good haikus? Leave 'em all in the comments section below. For the ACC edition, click here .

West Division

Auburn (8-0) (5-0)
Alabama (7-1) (4-1)
LSU (7-1) (4-1)
Mississippi State (6-2) (2-2)
Arkansas (5-2) (2-2)
Ole Miss (3-4) (1-3)

Week 9 Preview
With Auburn sitting a game up on their bitter Alabama rivals but a full two or more on the rest of the field -- thanks to head-to-head tiebreakers over LSU , Arkansas , and Mississippi State -- it looks like there's not much stopping an Iron Bowl meeting (Nov. 26, only on CBS!) for all the Western marbles. But we're not there yet. There are plenty of reasons a team calling itself the No. 1 team in the country has lost on the road each of the last three weeks, and an awful lot of those reasons are in play again this week as emotionally-drained Auburn travels to Ole Miss . Houston Nutt has enjoyed a ton of success against favored Auburn teams over the years, and with Jeremiah Masoli now in what appears to be firm command of Nutt's offense, the Rebels have the ability to take advantage of the Tigers' often-porous defense.

But the Rebels are also struggling to stop the run in SEC play, giving up 162 yards per game, and that's after playing Vanderbilt and before playing Auburn (who has rushed for more than 300 yards in their last four SEC outings). If the Tigers come out focused enough to execute in their punishing ground game, they should wear down a Rebel defense that has sagged in several second halves.

If Auburn does come away with the win, Arkansas and Mississippi State will be all but eliminated even with wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky , respectively; they would need to run the table, see Auburn to lose to both Georgia and Alabama , and get enough other help to squeeze into a three-way tie that would avoid the head-to-head dilemma. Much more likely is that when the smoke clears, next week's critical game between LSU and Alabama (both of whom are on byes this week) will either help set up a winner-take-all Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa ... or, if LSU wins, bring Auburn within one win of clinching the West.

Week 9 West Winners -- Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State
West Favorite -- Auburn

East Division

South Carolina (5-2) (3-2)
Georgia (4-3) (3-3)
Florida (4-3) (2-3)
Vanderbilt (2-5) (1-4)
Kentucky (4-4) (1-4)
Tennessee (2-5) (0-4)

Week 9 Preview
The most muddled division in all of college football should gain some clarity this week when Georgia and Florida play a de facto elimination game in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (3:30 ET this Saturday--only on CBS!). Assuming South Carolina holds serve at home against reeling, winless Tennessee , the loser will find themselves at least two games behind the Gamecocks with only two games remaining on Carolina's slate. Though either team could still hope for a three-team (or even four-team) tie at 4-4, there doesn't appear to be a way for this Saturday's loser to win that tiebreak.*

The Gators do have the advantage of controlling their own destiny, while Georgia will need help even with a win. But it's Mark Richt 's team that comes in as the Vegas favorite after destroying the Volunteers, Commodores, and Wildcats over the previous three weeks. The Dawg offense looks rejuvenated with A.J. Green back in uniform, changes along the offensive line leading to better holes for Washaun Ealey and the rest of the Dawg ground game, and Aaron Murray coming into his own as the trigger-man in charge. The Gators remain mired at 89th in the country in total offense, and unless Urban Meyer has worked some miracles during his team's bye week or the Gator return game reprises its magic from the LSU loss, it's difficult to see how Florida scores often enough to keep pace.

If Georgia does win, there's still a long road to the division title, though; they'd have to either defeat Auburn on the road in Week 11 or hope Carolina loses to Florida in Gainesville and Arkansas at home. But neither scenario is that far-fetched, meaning the East would stay muddled for at least a few more weeks.

One thing we can say: with Kentucky and Vanderbilt both major road underdogs this week (at Miss. St. and Arkansas, respectively), their brief run as legitimate players for the divisional title appears to be over.

*Since South Carolina would be the first team eliminated from that tiebreak, thanks to their divisional loss to Kentucky. After that, it's Florida vs. Georgia head-to-head.
Week 9 East Winners -- South Carolina, Georgia
East Favorite -- South Carolina


Insanely Premature ACC Championship Game Prediction - Auburn 35, South Carolina 31


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com