UK Football

John Clay's notes: SEC West 'problem' should take care of itself

Random notes:

■ There is hope for those green-with-envy goblins outside the SEC who are busy complaining about the possibility that the world's best college football league could end up with not just two, but maybe three or (yikes) four teams in the College Football Playoff.

Looking at the future schedules, however, that doesn't seem likely.

The SEC West is so good and so balanced its members are likely to inflict losses on the others, making the selection committee's job all the tougher.

For example:

After playing at Kentucky on Saturday, Mississippi State still must play at Alabama and at Ole Miss.

Mississippi still has to play at LSU, plus Auburn and Mississippi State at home.

Alabama has to play at LSU, as well as Mississippi State and Auburn in Tuscaloosa.

Auburn has the toughest slate, given that the Tigers have to play at Ole Miss, at Georgia and at Alabama.

LSU plays Ole Miss and Alabama at home but the Tigers already have two losses.

By the end of the regular season, there could be several SEC West teams with two losses.

■ Speaking of Georgia, the school applied Wednesday to have running back Todd Gurley reinstated by the NCAA. If the Bulldogs get Gurley back to go with a rapidly improving defense, Georgia should win the East and could be a handful in the SEC Championship Game.

■ If I took Archie Manning's place on the College Football Playoff selection committee, I'd vote 1. Mississippi State, 2. Ole Miss, 3. Alabama and 4. Oregon.

■ Missouri gained just 119 yards and still beat Florida 42-13 last Saturday. Since 1996, Kentucky has gained 119 yards or less just three times and lost all three. The Cats gained 67 yards in a 65-0 loss at Florida in 1996. They gained 110 yards in a 42-10 loss at Auburn in 2004 and 96 yards in a 54-3 loss at South Carolina in 2011.

■ Funny how North Carolina's internal academic fraud investigation did not turn up an athletic motive, but the independent investigation, released Wednesday, did find an athletic motive.

If you hear someone in athletics talking too much about how they are all about integrity, the tendency is to believe they are anything but.

■ I'm surprised media at the SEC Tipoff in Charlotte voted Aaron Harrison as the league's preseason player of the year, but I don't think there was an obvious choice.

■ How far has Indiana basketball fallen? Big Ten media pick IU to finish 10th in the 14-team league.

■ Lane Kiffin coming back to Knoxville as Alabama's offensive coordinator this Saturday is not quite Rick Pitino's return to Lexington as Louisville's basketball coach, but it's close.

■ In Alabama's 59-0 destruction of Texas A&M last Saturday, the Crimson Tide did not have a penalty or a turnover or a point allowed. I bet Nick Saban found something to complain about, anyway.

■ This probably qualifies as a Captain Obvious statement, but after going back and watching the video, Kentucky outcoached itself in special teams at LSU. That "too cute" opening kickoff, then the fake-or-whatever on the field goal were things the staff had not done before Baton Rouge. Should have left well enough alone.

■ I still predict Kentucky will come out and give a much better effort against the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs on Saturday. State is legit and will be tough to beat, but I do believe the Cats will make a game of it.

■ The Dallas Morning News reported late Tuesday that, under new rules, the University of Texas would start paying its athletes, all athletes, a $10,000 stipend for cost of attendance and the use of images.

That apparently would not start until after court cases are decided. Still, it would be interesting to see what sort of reaction that $10,000 figure would receive, plus its effect on recruiting.