SEC Meetings: Day 2 News and Notes

DESTIN, FL – Georgia isn't the only team in the league dealing with quarterback hype. Just as Matthew Stafford is on the tip of every Bulldog fan's tongue, Tim Tebow and Mitch Mustain are making tongues wag at Florida and Arkansas. All three players were generally considered among the top five prep quarterbacks in the nation last year.

Like Stafford, Tebow is a low-key player who has handled the attention well, Gators coach Urban Meyer said. Tebow's maturation comes from his parents, Meyer said.

"I have dealt with premier athletes whose parents are insane," he said. "That just throws fuel on the fire. They're like, ‘Where's the Heisman at?' Tim and his family are not like that at all."

Mustain has not even practiced with the Razorbacks yet because he did not attend spring practice like Stafford and Tebow, but the buzz surrounding him already is more than Arkansas coach Houston Nutt has seen in Fayetteville.

"He's handled it quite well, but it'll be that much more when we start camp," he said.

The SEC hasn't had three players the profile of Stafford, Tebow and Mustain in a long time, Nutt said, and he's eager to see how their parallel careers play out.

"I can't wait," he said.

MORE MADNESS?: Several SEC coaches are in favor of expanding the NCAA Tournament and pitched the plan to the league's athletic directors, Tennessee's Bruce Pearl said.

Pearl would like to see the tournament expanded from its current 65 teams to 72. With that format, there would be play-in games to determine all eight 15 and 16 seeds, but a lesser expansion has more support, Pearl said.

"There's a lot of talk about increasing it by three teams," he said.

SPEAKING OF HOOPS: SEC men's basketball is poised to return to its heyday of early 1990s thanks to LSU and Florida making the Final Four last year, and the conference has discussed ideas to take advantage of that fact.

The league's coaches are in favor of playing more games on Thursday and Sunday, instead of the usual Wednesday-Saturday rotation, in order to increase exposure. The league will consider it, commissioner Mike Slive said.

The Gators, who won the national title and return every significant player, can be a particular boon for the league, Pearl said.

"Every time Florida is on (television), they're going to be talking about the SEC and how strong we were last year," Pearl said. "Unlike last season, when they didn't even mention us, they'll be talking about SEC basketball in November and December because of Florida."

LSU OUT?: With LSU out of the NCAA baseball tournament for the first time in 18 years, Tigers athletic director Skip Bertman is mad but not at Mississippi State's Larry Templeton.

Templeton is the chairman of the NCAA selection committee and his Bulldogs made it into the tournament despite not qualifying for the SEC tournament, which LSU did.

"It's bigger than that," Bertman said. "Mississippi State deserves to be in the tournament. The problem is they selected teams that didn't do as well as LSU did, and LSU didn't do as well as it usually does. I think it was a chance for a lot of people on the committee who are Eastern or small college to get one of their own in rather than a big guy."

The Tigers finished the season 35-24.

Conspiracy theorists in baseball-crazy Baton Rouge have gone so far as to speculate that Bertman, the Tigers former baseball coach and still a powerful figure in the game, lobbied to keep the Tigers out in order to give him a reason to fire Coach Smoke Laval.

"No, I don't think so," Bertman said.

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