Odds and Ends

Florida knows it will face an inexperienced quarterback no matter who Hawaii puts behind center Saturday. Quarterback Tyler Graunke, the projected starter for the Warriors before the season, has finally been reinstated after sitting out due to academic issues.

Too much time had passed for Graunke to be the starter, and thanks to the NCAA mandated five day acclimation period, he will not even make the trip to Gainesville with Hawaii. Graunke was the Warriors only quarterback with previous meaningful playing time in his career.

Thanks to Graunke's troubles, Hawaii expects to start Brent Rausch. The junior college transfer would be making his NCAA debut, and has only played one year of 11-man football in his career (his high school league played with eight man teams). Rausch's starting is not a certainty, though, as he has been sidelined for a few days with physical issues in his throwing arm. It's believed those may stem from overuse, and Hawaii's coaches hope Rausch will be able to return to practice Monday. Should he not be available, Hawaii's other 2008 junior college QB signee Greg Alexander would be next in line to play.


Projected Miami starting quarterback Robert Marve will also make his college debut against the Gators. Saturday's Miami Herald quotes Marve's father Eugene confirming rumors that the redshirt freshman would be suspended for the Hurricanes opener against Charleston Southern. True freshman Jacory Harris will get the start for Miami in that game instead.


While the SEC's recent 15-year deal with CBS did not preclude the possibility of the conference starting its own television network, all signs continue to point to that being unlikely. The next step in the negotiations will be a contract with ESPN. That deal might not be for the same length of time, which would preserve the option of the SEC developing a network eventually. As part of CBS's new deal they get first pick of games every week during the season beginning in 2009, but only one doubleheader per season. There is speculation ESPN may look to buy the rights to all the other SEC games and spread them out across the company's large variety of outlets, possibly even including online streaming of "lesser" games.

While football is driving the discussion of the SEC television deals, it remains to be seen what the new contracts will mean for basketball. The league's games and conference tournament have been ridiculously underexposed due to the dreadful syndication deal with Raycom. The ESPN part of the new package is best suited to address this lingering problem - anything less than arranging for every game of the SEC tournament to be available nationally should be considered a huge failure by Mike Slive. Indications are the next part of the deal will be done sometime in the next month.


While Billy Donovan has so far declined all invitations to write about his experiences coaching Florida to two national championships, the first coach to take the Gators to the Final Four has a book coming out this fall. There's no word yet on a title, but Lon Kruger will be putting his thoughts on leadership out in printed form this October. Kruger led Florida to the Final Four in 1994 and has taken his current UNLV squad to back to back NCAA tournaments.


As UF debuts its beautiful new "front door of Florida football", other SEC schools are making sure they keep up in the facilities race. Kentucky announced plans this week for a new basketball arena in downtown Lexington as well as major renovations of their football stadium and likely a new baseball stadium. The total price tag isn't clear yet, but will likely reach 400 million dollars.

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