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Headlinin’: 13-team SEC tackles the new math

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

Making the morning rounds.

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We'll fit you in. The SEC is considering three possible scheduling options for integrating Texas A&M as its 13th member in 2012, according to the chair of the transition committee, Larry Templeton, who laid out the options to the Birmingham News:

a) Divide the Aggies' schedule evenly between both divisions, pitting them against four teams from the East and four from the West.
b) Shoehorn A&M into the West Division, which will continue to play a six-game, round-robin schedule against the rest of the division, with teams from the East continuing to play five conference games. (Templeton: "Mathematically, I don't think it can be done.")
c) Pick eight conference games for A&M regardless of division alignment.

Option a) is the least disruptive to existing schedules, Templeton said, but may require a waiver to get around NCAA rules that require a two-division, round-robin schedule to host a conference championship game. (The 13-team MAC currently plays under such a waiver.) At any rate, Texas A&M will be immediately eligible for the SEC title game, even if it doesn't play a division-oriented schedule: "If they have the best record, they're the division champion."

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It sounds as painful as it was to watch. For a fairly hapless team, Cal exacts a surprisingly high toll on its conquerors: A week after Oregon tailback LaMichael James went down with an ugly arm injury against the Bears, USC paid for a 30-9 thumping Thursday night with game-ending injuries to five different players, including shoulder injuries that sidelined offensive starters Marc Tyler and Marqise Lee and an apparent broken ankle for cornerback Anthony Brown. After the game, Lee — who was hurt while diving for the Trojans' first touchdown, his fourth consecutive game with a score — said he expects to be fine next week at Notre Dame, but Tyler was less certain after confirming a dislocation. [USCTrojans.com, Orange County Register, L.A. Daily News]

In other injury news… Penn State's leading receiver, Derek Moye, is expected to miss the Lions' next two games with a foot injury he reportedly suffered when he slipped on some stairs in his apartment. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette] … Virginia Tech linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury, leaving the Hokies with a pair of first-time starters at linebacker and defensive end and a true freshman defensive tackle Saturday at Wake Forest. [Washington Post] … And South Carolina's do-it-all defensive lineman, Melvin Ingram, is "ready to roll" against Mississippi State despite a lingering foot injury. [Greenville News] {YSP:MORE}

Sit there and watch your teammates get slaughtered and think about what you've done. Ole Miss, already a 25.5-point underdog against Alabama, has suspended four players for Saturday's game for (altogether now) an undisclosed violation of team rules, including starting tailback Brandon Bolden, starting center A.J. Hawkins and immortally named receiver Philander Moore. Coach Houston Nutt didn't elaborate on the suspensions, but did say he was "surprised" by the violation. So Bolden's presence in the Circle of Untrustables didn't look like cry for help to you, coach? [Clarion Ledger]

Quickly… Kansas City's mayor is the latest to implore Missouri to stay in the Big 12. … A (very long) day in the life of Denard Robinson. … Temple dismisses a running back after "a verbal altercation" with a coach. … Florida Atlantic finally christens its new on-campus stadium after five weeks on the road. … On the heels of losses to Louisiana-Lafayette and Duke, the Miami Herald declares Florida International the best team in the state. … And Mike Leach is coming to Tucson, but not for the reason Wildcat fans hope.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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