SEC pre-season notebook

SEC vs. SEC games have traditionally been among the most competitive in the nation. In 2002, 49 SEC vs. SEC games had an average scoring margin of 15.54 points per contest. 40.8 percent of the SEC's 49 games (20-of-49) were decided by ten- points-or-less.

SEC Schedule, week #1

Sat., Aug. 30
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt (JP) [11:30 a.m. CT]
Georgia at Clemson (ABC) [12 p.m. ET)
South Florida at Alabama (ESPN) [2 p.m. CT]
Fresno State at Tennessee (ESPN2) [3 p.m. ET)
Southern California at Auburn (CBS) [5 p.m. CT]
San Jose State at Florida [6 p.m. ET]
Louisiana-Lafayette at South Carolina [7 p.m. ET]
Louisiana-Monroe at LSU [7 p.m. CT]
Oregon at Mississippi State (ESPN2) [8 p.m. CT]

Sun., Aug. 31
Louisville at Kentucky (ESPN2) [6:30 p.m. ET]

Pre-season Associated Press Poll

including last year's record

1. Oklahoma (32) 12-2
2. Ohio State (27) 14-0
3. Miami, Fla. (2) 12-1
4. Michigan (2) 10-3
5. Texas 11-2
6. AUBURN (1) 9-4
7. Kansas State (1) 11-2
8. Southern California 11-2
9. Virginia Tech 10-4
10. Pittsburgh 9-4
11. GEORGIA 13-1
12. TENNESSEE 8-5
13. Florida State 9-5
14. LSU 8-5
15. Maryland 11-3
16. N.C. State 11-3
17. Washington 7-6
18. Virginia 9-5
19. Purdue 7-6
20. Notre Dame 10-3
21. Wisconsin 8-6
22. Arizona State 8-6
23. Colorado State 10-4
24. Oklahoma State 8-5
25. Texas Christian 10-2

Others receiving votes (SEC Only): Florida (79), Alabama (33), Arkansas (26), Ole Miss (20).

SEC Bowl bids

The BCS consists of the Rose Bowl, Nokia Sugar Bowl, FedEx Orange Bowl and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The conferences with automatic berths include the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southeastern Conferences.

Since the Sugar Bowl is hosting the national championship and if the SEC representative is not ranked first or second, that team would be available to play in any other BCS bowl.

As a conference, the SEC is also guaranteed seven other bowl bids.

2nd Selection
Capital One Bowl (Orlando, Fla.)
Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET, ABC-TV [Opponent - Big Ten]

3rd through 5th Selections (Listed Alphabetically)
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (Atlanta, Ga.) Jan. 2, 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN [Opponent - ACC]

Outback Bowl (Tampa, Fla.)
Jan.. 1, 11 a.m. ET, ESPN [Opponent - Big Ten]

SBC Cotton Bowl (Dallas, Texas)
Jan. 1, 11 a.m. ET, FOX [Opponent - Big 12]

6th and 7th Selections (Listed Alphabetically)
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl (Nashville, Tenn.)
Dec. 31, Noon ET, ESPN [Opponent - Big Ten]

MainStay Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La..)
Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN [Opponent - Big 12]

8th Selection
Houston Bowl (Houston, Texas)
Dec. 30, 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN [Opponent - Big 12]

SEC Championship Game sold out

The 2003 SEC Football Championship Game is sold out of general public tickets for the 10th straight year at the Georgia Dome. This year's contest will be played on Dec. 6 at 8 p.m., televised live on CBS Sports.

According to SEC Director of Championships Ticket Operations Craig Mattox, general public ticket orders come from 35 states and Canada. Most ticket orders come from Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida.

The only remaining tickets are the 15,900 tickets that go to each participating institution upon clinching a spot in the contest.

Two coaches make SEC debuts

The SEC will have two new coaches on the sidelines for the 2003 football season. On May 10, Alabama announced the hiring of Mike Shula, who played for the Crimson Tide (1983- 86) and coached the last three seasons with the Miami Dolphins. On Dec. 30, Rich Brooks was named the head coach at Kentucky. Brooks was the 1994 National Coach of the Year at the University of Oregon and a former head coach in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams (1995-96).

Mike Shula
Shula comes to Alabama after serving as the quarterbacks coach with the Miami Dolphins for the last three seasons. A 12-year NFL coaching veteran, Shula began his coaching career with the Dolphins, serving as a coaching assistant from 1991- 92.

Since then, he was a tight ends coach with the Chicago Bears (1993-95), an offensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-99) and returned to the Dolphins in 2000. Shula was a four-year letterman for the Tide (1983-86) at quarterback and finished his career with a 32-15-1 record. A three-year starter, he finished his collegiate playing career, completing 313 of 578 passes for 4,069 yards with 35 TDs.

The son of NFL Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, is the second youngest coach in Division I-A at 38 years of age.

Rich Brooks
Brooks has 27 years of coaching experience on the collegiate level, including a groundbreaking 18-year term as head coach at Oregon, and is a 10-year NFL coaching veteran. His most recent coaching assignment was the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator position for the Atlanta Falcons from 1997-2000.

Brooks was head coach of the St. Louis Rams in 1995-96. The Rams had a 13-19 record in those two seasons, the team's best two-year stretch since 1989-90. The Rams won only nine games in the two years prior to his arrival and won just nine games in the two years following his departure.

As head coach at the University of Oregon from 1977-94, Brooks won more games than any coach in school history. His final 18-year record was 91-109-4, including 39-32 and four bowls in the last six seasons.

Toughest schedules

According to 2002 season records, Alabama would face the toughest schedule in the 2003 season. The Crimson Tide face 12 teams that either went to a bowl or were bowl eligible in 2002. Every SEC team plays at least five bowl eligible teams from 2002.

Alabama (9/3) - Oklahoma, Arkansas, Georgia, Southern Miss, Ole Miss, Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, Hawaii, South Florida, Kentucky, Northern Illinois.
Arkansas (6/3) - Texas, North Texas, Auburn, Florida, Ole Miss, LSU. Alabama, Kentucky, New Mexico State.
Auburn (7/1) - Southern California, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Georgia. Alabama.
Florida (7/1) - Miami, Tennessee, Ole Miss, LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida State. Kentucky.
Georgia (6/2) - Clemson, LSU, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, Georgia Tech. Alabama, Kentucky.
Kentucky (4/1) - Louisville, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee. Alabama.
LSU (6/1) - Marshall, Georgia, Florida, Auburn, Ole Miss, Arkansas. Alabama.
Ole Miss (5/1) - Texas Tech, Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU. Alabama.
Mississippi State (7/2) - Oregon, Tulane, LSU, Auburn, Tennessee, Arkansas, Ole Miss. Kentucky, Alabama.
South Carolina (8/1) - Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Florida, Clemson. Kentucky.
Tennessee (6/2) - Fresno State, Marshall, Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Miami. Alabama, Kentucky.
Vanderbilt (7/1) - Ole Miss, Auburn, TCU, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee. Kentucky.


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