Posted on: October 27, 2010 3:00 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2010 3:01 pm

Meyer Paraphrased: 'Time to play, Chris'

Posted by Chip Patterson

Florida wide receiver Chris Rainey's time away from the field appears to be coming to an end.  After being suspended indefinitely for his aggravated stalking arrest last month, Rainey has returned to practice this week and could see his first bit of playing time since Florida's 38-14 victory over South Florida on September 11.  As least that is the way it sounds from head coach Urban Meyer's comments on Wednesday.

"As of now, he’s done everything he’s supposed to do,” Meyer said on the SEC teleconference. “What is today? Wednesday? Tomorrow is the deadline that I set with him and myself, and I’ll just do a thorough check again tomorrow of everything we asked him to do."

Rainey has completed the required community service in his deferred prosecution agreement, and the junior from Lakeland, FL will likely be looked to for an immediate impact for a stagnant offense.  Rainey could fill in as the big-play threat that has been missing with speedy running back Jeff Demps being limited by a sprained foot for nearly five weeks.  That will come as welcome news for the Gators, losers lost three straight games.

After being reinstated to the team on October 10, Rainey was back on the sideline to witness the Gators' 10-7 loss to Mississippi State.  Now with a week of practice under his belt, Rainey will no doubt be looking to make up for lost time on the field against Georgia.  The Gators can still make a run at the SEC East Division title with a win over South Carolina on November 13, but cannot afford any more conference losses if they plan on being in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. 

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Posted on: October 25, 2010 1:00 pm

Georgia's come a long way, baby

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It was just three weeks ago, after a humuliating 29-27 defeat at Colorado (the same Colorado, incidentally, that's currently sharing the Big 12 North basement with winless Kansas ) that the question wasn't if Mark Richt would be relieved of his head coaching duties at Georgia , it was when : midseason, after another flogging at the hands of Florida in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party? Or at year's end, after defeats to bitter rivals Auburn and/or Georgia Tech ?

Richt might still find himself in hot water if he can't get past the Gators, Tigers or Yellow Jackets, but after three emphatic wins over fellow SEC East rivals Tennessee , Vanderbilt , and Kentucky , Richt's ship officially appears righted and the Dawgs find themselves just a game out of the divisional lead. How complete has the Dawg overhaul been? Despite Georgia's 3-17 record against Florida since 1990 and losses by a combined 90-27 score the past two seasons, Vegas oddsmakers have installed the Dawgs as 3-point favorites over Urban Meyer 's reeling Gators for this week's annual grudge match.

The odds on that decision were probably off the board following the defeat in Boulder, a loss that newly-installed Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity doesn't seem to have entirely forgotten about just yet. From the Department of Backhanded Compliments, McGarity's thoughts on the Dawgs' season to-date :


“At one time it didn’t look it was going in the right direction for our program. And I have to credit Mark with what he was able to do, to basically rally the troops after a rough run there and a tough game at Colorado,” McGarity said on Monday.

Georgia was 1-4 after that loss at Colorado. Richt called a full-pads practice for the next Monday, saying it was the first time he has done that at Georgia.

“I think that Monday really set the tone for the season. I really do,” McGarity said. “That different tone, and Mark being a man enough to take some responsibility to say we probably made some mistakes the front end, in terms of the practices and the two-a-days ...

“If you’re always looking at ways to get better, then I think you have to do things that are a little out of your comfort zone. And that may be admitting that you make mistakes. But the ability to make it publicly, and chart that, I think that’s a credit to him.”
No doubt McGarity is sincere in his respect for Richt's ability to change course and willingness to (successfully) improvise once that improvisation became necessary.

But his recognition that Richt failed to have the program going in "the right direction" coming out of preseason practice (particularly given Richt's track record for slow starts) suggests that as far as Richt has brought the Bulldogs the last three weeks, if he can't bring them past the worst Florida team of Meyer's tenure with a squad playing as well as any in the SEC (Auburn excepted), we still won't be certain how much longer Richt will be allowed to bring them anywhere. If a coach who can admit his mistakes is nice, a coach who doesn't make them in the first place is better.

Posted on: October 20, 2010 2:24 pm

Chris Rainey is eligible to play once again

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Florida Gators are on a bye this week, but when they do return to action next week against Georgia, the Gators may have an old weapon back.  During his weekly appearance at the SEC teleconference on Wednesday, head coach Urban Meyer said that Chris Rainey is once again eligible to play for the Gators.  Rainey returned to practice last week, but has had to sit out for the last five weeks following his arrest for aggravated stalking.

Still, just because Rainey is eligible to play, Meyer didn't want anyone to make the mistake that all this means he will play.

“Chris Rainey is eligible to participate in the Georgia game, but I’m not saying he will,” Meyer said. “That hasn’t been determined.”

No, it hasn't been determined, but trust me, Rainey will be playing against Georgia.  You don't let him start practicing again and then restore his eligibility for him to sit on the sideline while your struggling football team battles for its life.  The fact is that while Rainey may not be the answer for what ails Florida, his return certainly wouldn't hurt the team's chances.

So unless Rainey manages to get himself arrested during Florida's off week, he's going to be on the field against Georgia.
Posted on: October 19, 2010 11:11 am

Did a concussion lead to Chris Rainey's arrest?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It seems that 2010 is becoming the year of the concussion in football.  As we all learn more about what concussions are and the long term effects they have on those who suffer them, the world of football has begun to take the injury a lot more serious than it had in the past.  Just look at the NFL this weekend, as two big hits in two seperate games have the league wondering if it should start suspending players who make head-to-head contact while tackling.

While the long term effects of concussions like chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- CTE -- have included depression and suicide, what about the short term effects?  There's no question that a concussion could lead to some dramatic behavior changes in a victim, like perhaps that person suddenly decides he wants to text an ex-girlfriend that it's "time to die."  That's what some are wondering in the case of suspended Florida receiver, Chris Rainey, who suffered a concussion only a few days before his arrest.

Even the victim in the Rainey case thinks his concussion had something to do with the events of that night.
Since the arrest, the victim has maintained that Rainey's threatening behavior that night was out of character. According to state attorney's records, the victim told police Rainey "has been acting strangely since receiving a head injury in a game played on 9/11/10."

The Gators played USF on that day, and coach Urban Meyer told reporters two days later that Rainey had a concussion.

"He got dinged pretty good," Meyer said on Sept. 13.
When reviewing the text messages between Rainey and the victim that led to the infamous "time to die" message, the victim pointed to Rainey's concussion that very night.
Text messages exchanged between Rainey and the victim that night indicate she thought Rainey's concussion was affecting his behavior. "U want to act a fool so im gonna act a fool too and im here," Rainey texted the victim.

She responded, "I'm not opening the door. It will do no good. Go back home and cool off. U have a concussion chris. Ur acting ridiculous."

Now the question is, is the concussion an excuse or a reason?  It's not easy to answer, but Dr. Robert Cantu of the Sports Legacy Institute says that injuring the brain, which a concussion does, changes behavior and can cause people to act bizarrely.  Of course, Cantu also says that bizarre behavior changes don't normally include "irrational or emotional behavoir, or loss of impulse control."

Which there's no question Rainey displayed on that night.  Though whether it was love or a concussion, we'll likely never know.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 7:20 pm

Midseason Report: SEC

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that we've reached the halfway point of the season, we have a lot better idea of which teams to take seriously, and which ones we can forget about.  Of course, there's still a lot of football to be played this season, so in the Midseason Report we'll be taking a look at what each team has remaining in front of them, and what they'll have to do to call themselves conference champions.  In this post, we'll take a look at the SEC.


1. South Carolina (4-2, 2-2) - The Gamecocks may only be 2-2 in conference play this season, but in the 2010 version of the SEC East, that's all it takes to be on top.  The question is whether or not Steve Spurrier and South Carolina can stay there.  A question that is hard to answer when your quarterback is the completely unreliable and unpredictable Stephen Garcia.   As we saw against Kentucky, the Gamecocks need Marcus Lattimore to stay healthy down the stretch if they're going to hold on  and reach the SEC title game.  The good news is that they have two very winnable games up next on the schedule in Vanderbilt and Tennessee.   After that, however, they get Arkansas and Florida in The Swamp.  All four are winnable games, but if the SEC has taught us anything this season, it's that every game is losable as well.

2. Florida (4-3, 2-3) - Oh the SEC East, the one place in the country where losing three straight conference games still leaves you in control of your own destiny.  Sure, the Gators are 2-3 in the SEC, but all three of those losses came against SEC West teams.  Which means that if Florida wins out it'll be going to Atlanta.   The Gators play Georgia, Vanderbilt and South Carolina to finish out their SEC slate over the next three weeks, and both of the tough games (Sorry, Vandy)  either come at home or at a "neutral" site.  What will determine whether Florida can get it done is which offense shows up.  Will it be the unit that managed to put up 29 points against a tough LSU defense, or the one that couldn't break double-digits against Alabama and Mississippi State ?  I wish I could say I knew, but getting Chris Rainey back can't hurt.

3. Georgia (3-4, 2-3) - Yes, that's right, Georgia is still alive in the SEC East.  Forget about those four straight losses that left us all wondering if Mark Richt would survive the season, the Bulldogs have exploded the last two weeks and are right in the thick of things.  The problem for Georgia is they have no room for error, and have already lost to South Carolina this season.  So even if they do survive a trip to Lexington this weekend -- something Auburn barely did, and South Carolina couldn't -- they still have to play Florida in Jacksonville and travel to Auburn.  Yes, seeing the Bulldogs outscore Tennessee and Vanderbilt 84-14 over the last two weeks was encouraging, but let's not forget that Tennessee and Vanderbilt are horrible.

4. Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-2) - Listen, I'm not going to pretend that Vanderbilt has any chance of winning the SEC East.  It's just I have to include them because the way the dominoes have fallen thus far in the season, they're not out of contention yet.  So, yes, Vandy has a chance to win the SEC East.  I also have a chance at convincing Megan Fox to drop the dude from 90210 and marry me instead.  Let's see which one happens first.

5. Kentucky (4-3, 1-3) - Kentucky is in the same boat as Vanderbilt in that it's alive, but barely.  Though to Kentucky's credit, they've been a lot more impressive than Vanderbilt.  The Wildcats nearly knocked off Auburn and did take down South Carolina, and the tough part of the schedule is done.  The problem is that not only would Kentucky need to win out, but they'd also need quite a bit of help from everybody else.


1. Auburn (7-0, 4-0) - Cam Newton is the new Tim Tebow, but this kid isn't nearly as interested in quoting the Bible as he is in running over defenses.  I have no doubt that Newton is good enough to lead this Auburn team to the SEC title game, but the Auburn defense leaves me incredibly concerned, as does its remaining schedule.  The Tigers get LSU at home this week, and then have three winnable games before finishing the season in Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl.  If Auburn can overcome its defense and win out then I don't think there's any question that this team will be playing in Arizona come January with a crystal football on the line.

2. LSU (7-0, 4-0) - Can you comfortably say that you can predict what Les Miles is going to do next?  No, of course not.  The man is insane, and his team seems to have taken on the identity of its bi-polar head coach.   The most worrisome aspect of the Tigers is obviously the offense, and you have to figure that at some point Jordan Jefferson or Jarrett Lee are going to throw that back-breaking interception to end this team's hopes.  Considering that the Tigers still have Auburn and Alabama back-to-back over the next few weeks before finishing the season in Fayetteville, there will be plenty of chances for them to do just that.

3. Alabama (6-1, 3-1) -
You didn't make the mistake of thinking this team was dead, did you?  Is this Alabama team as good as last year's national champion?  No, there's no way the 2009 Alabama defense lets Stephen Garcia tear it apart.  Still, even if this defense isn't as strong as last season's unit, it's pretty darn good.  The Tide have an easy game with Tennessee this week before having to travel to Baton Rouge, but then they have their last three games at home with Georgia State sandwiched by Mississippi State and Auburn.  If Alabama wins out, it's going to Atlanta, and barring some catastrophic injury, I can see it happening.

Prediction: Trying to predict what's going to happen in the SEC is a fruitless exercise in that come Sunday morning, the entire conference could be turned upside down.  Still, a prediction is what is asked of me, and a prediction is what ye shall receive.

Two teams will travel to Atlanta to play for the SEC title, and I believe those two teams will be Alabama and Florida.  Yep, again.  As far as Alabama is concerned, I just think they'll win out, with the SEC West being decided on the final Saturday when they end Auburn's bid at an undefeated season and a national title.

Florida?  Well, I don't have that much faith in the Gators at this point, but that's still more faith than I'll ever be willing to put in Stephen Garcia.  So they'll be the lucky recipient of a second beating by the Tide in December.
Posted on: October 17, 2010 12:23 am

What I learned from the SEC (Oct 16)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. Parity has wrought havoc in the SEC.
  Remember the days when there was no question that the SEC was the class conference in college football?  Well, that either no longer applies to the conference, or everybody has become so good that everybody can beat everybody.  No matter which side of the argument you fall on, one thing is clear: when it comes to who is going to win the conference, none of us know anything.

2. The SEC East is up for grabs. Sticking with the parity theme, while we know that the SEC West is going to finish with either LSU, Auburn or Alabama on top, the SEC East can be had for the taking by anybody who wants it.  South Carolina may have lost to Kentucky on Saturday night, but no matter, if it wins out it's still theirs.  Right behind the Gamecocks is Florida, who have lost three in a row, and Georgia.   The same Georgia team that we all thought might have a new head coach by the end of the season.

3. Cam Newton is a monster.   Newton had a monster performance against Arkansas on Saturday, leading the Tigers to 65 points -- the first time that Auburn's hung 60 on an SEC opponent since they did it to Florida in 1970.  With all the losses in the top 10 this week, it's safe to say that Newton will be on top of the Heisman list come Monday.  The only question is how long will his defense let him stay there?

4. Florida REALLY wishes it still had Cam Newton.
You really do have to wonder how much time Steve Addazio has left in Gainesville following another anemic performance from the Gators offense against Mississippi State.   Anytime your defense holds an opponent to 10 points in your building, you have to win that game.  Florida just couldn't get it done.  It's time to go back to the drawing board, and the Gators may need to put the dry erase marker in somebody else's hand.

5. Marcus Lattimore is the key to South Carolina's offense.
  Lattimore had 212 yards and three touchdowns in the first half against Kentucky, and South Carolina had a 28-10 lead.  Then Lattimore spent the second half on the bench on the second half, and the Gamecocks couldn't do anything on offense, getting outscored 21-0 in the second half and losing.  Leaving the ball in the hands of Stephen Garcia is just not a winning formula.
Posted on: October 16, 2010 8:38 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2010 8:40 pm

Upset Alert: Miss. State shutting out Gators

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Florida may have been hoping to end its two-game losing streak this week, but so far that's the only thing the Gators have done: hope.  It's halftime in Gainesville and Mississippi State has a 10-0 lead.  Though it's really not as bad as it sounds, and, yes, being down ten to Mississippi State at home does sound really, really bad.

The truth is, though, that Florida has an edge in just about every meaningful stat.  They've outgained the Bulldogs 138-to-126, and have had the ball three minutes longer.  The problem has been putting points on the board and keeping John Brantley off of his back.  Oh, and if Florida could start getting more than one yard a carry in the second half, that would probably help too.

The Gators had a nice chance to get some points in the second quarter, putting together a 15-play 59-yard drive, but Chas Henry missed a 33-yard field goal that would have cut the lead to 10-3.

Still, even though they haven't played well in the first half, the Gators still only trail by ten points and Mississippi State hasn't exactly been playing magnificent football either.  Though if the Gators don't find a way to get a ground game going in the second half, the ten point deficit may be too much to overcome.  And if the Gators lose this one, well, hello, Cotton Bowl.

Posted on: October 16, 2010 12:54 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:16 pm

Game day weather updates, Week 7

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. It's another gorgeous day across the country, but it's starting to get just a little bit chilly. You should still bring the sunscreen. All times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

Boston College at No. 16 Florida State , 12:00, Tallahassee, FL: Low 70s, clear

Illinois at No. 13 Michigan State, 12:00 , East Lansing, MI: Mid 50s, partly cloudy

Missouri at No. 21 Texas A&M, 12:00 , College Station, TX: Low 70s, clear

Afternoon kickoffs

No. 15 Iowa at Michigan , 3:30, Ann Arbor, MI: Low 60s, partly cloudy

No. 12 Arkansas at No. 7 Auburn , 3:30, Auburn, AL: Low 70s, clear

Texas at No. 5 Nebraska , 3:30, Lincoln, NE: Low 70s, clear

Evening kickoffs

No. 10 South Carolina at Kentucky , 6:00, Lexington, KY: Low 60s, clear

No. 1 Ohio State at No. 18 Wisconsin , 7:00, Madison, WI: Mid 50s, partly cloudy

Mississippi State at No. 22 Florida , 7:00, Gainesville, FL: Low 60s, clear

Late night kickoffs

Ole Miss at No. 8 Alabama , 9:00, Tuscaloosa, AL: Low 50s, clear

No. 24 Oregon State at Washington , 10:15, Seattle, WA: Mid 40s, partly cloudy

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