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Hot Reads: Will the real James Franklin please stand up?

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When the coach and the quarterback battle Saturday, more than their names are at stake. (Source: University of Missouri Athletics/Vanderbilt University Athletics) When the coach and the quarterback battle Saturday, more than their names are at stake. (Source: University of Missouri Athletics/Vanderbilt University Athletics)
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    If it ain't fixed, don't break it - or something like that. At any rate, there's nothing wrong with Cardinals baseball and accepting the other team's fans, as one native Midwesterner is happy to inform us.
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  • Hot Reads: Bama's dominance, UGA's peril is poetic justice

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    Thursday, November 1 2012 4:07 PM EDT2012-11-01 20:07:10 GMT
    Baccari Rambo and the Bulldogs were living the good life last week, but their train to Atlanta could derail against Ole Miss.
    Alabama's superiority this season - and the disappointing performance of their closest rivals - have put the Crimson Tide by themselves in discussions about potential SEC champions.
  • Hot Reads: Will the real James Franklin please stand up?

    The greatest show on turf lands in Columbia

    Thursday, January 3 2013 3:11 PM EST2013-01-03 20:11:15 GMT
    We get what you're saying, guys, but it's really Aaron Murray that powers this ship, and he has the numbers to prove it.
    What do these two guys have in common? A lot more than you think.
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    Sunday, April 20 2014 10:03 AM EDT2014-04-20 14:03:55 GMT
    (Source: Facebook) (Source: Facebook)
    WACO, Texas - No. 1 South Carolina's bid for a third overall national championship fell short on Saturday, as the Gamecocks lost the championship meet in a tiebreaker to the University of Georgia at the
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    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:57 AM EDT2014-04-20 13:57:11 GMT
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  • Gamecocks defeat TCU, 9-7, to advance to NCEA semifinals

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    Friday, April 18 2014 11:01 PM EDT2014-04-19 03:01:40 GMT
    (Source: Facebook)(Source: Facebook)
    WACO, Texas - Led by a pair of 3-1 wins by its reining and flat teams, No. 1 seed South Carolina defeated No. 9 TCU, 9-7, on Friday in the NCEA Quarterfinals at the Extraco Events Center. The Gamecocks
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(RNN) – Someone finally got the defibrillators out and put life back into what was becoming an unimpressive SEC season.

Tennessee and Georgia, 95 combined points … really guys? Do we have to threaten to trade someone to the ACC to get you all back to the slobber-knocking standards of NFL Lite football?

If you are a fan of records and people who break them (and who isn't?), this is turning into the type of season you'll bookmark your memories by. You know, like the guys who can't remember their anniversary but can recall down to the minute everything that happened from April to September 1967 because that's when Carl Yastrzemski won the Triple Crown.

Speaking of records, congrats to Miguel Cabrera for ending 45 years of frustration. He's a great player, but if he averages one more biscuit per month during the offseason, he'll have to switch from infield to defensive end. Just saying, Miggy, you have to think about total calories and fat content.

Anyway, enough with the daydreaming. There's some quality football to be played this weekend – Southern style.

An Ode to Cobi Hamilton

How is this for irony? The receiver that's having the best personal year in the SEC is playing for a team that looks like it couldn't win its spring game. It's almost like watching Barry Sanders play for the Lions.

(Violin music begins to play) We know it can be tough to bear the burden on your own, Cobi, so we want you to know people are here for you. This is a tribute to you, our friend:

We know a season so dismal is among an athlete's great fears.

But take heed! Your draft stock is rising, and you'll be a pro next year.

Unlike your leader Wilson, who did not seize his chance to get out.

Where once were laid high hopes, he might watch the draft from his couch.

Your former coach was out of control, you current coach is in a swoon.

And your biggest fan is a singing, pig hat-wearing Looney Tune.

But all is not lost, young lad; the pork has not gone to roast.

As long as you keep your head up and keep running the skinny post.

James Franklin, meet James Franklin

When Vanderbilt and Missouri meet for just the fifth time ever, two men on opposite sidelines will share one major thing in common.

One is the starting quarterback of a team that is barely a member of the SEC. The other is the head coach of a team that is barely a member of the SEC. But does the similarity end there? Let's take a look-see.

Ironically, the color schemes of their uniforms also have a strong resemblance, and that's nowhere close to a good thing considering the questionable passes QB Franklin made last week against Central Florida (similar colors, as well). If he forgets his team is wearing the home black and gold unis, it could make for a long day.

Both are also fighting some criticism for their performance. The QB has looked a shade beyond terrible in his first two SEC games, and the coach's team is underachieving. What's that you say? No one expected Vandy to do that well? Moving on then …

Finally, both represent teams that have become conference punchlines. You've heard the jokes. Vandy is only in the SEC to keep the conference GPA up, and Mizzou is only in the conference to … why is Mizzou in the conference again?

Don't get mad, Mizzou fans. We'd be saying the same thing about Texas A&M if more teams could contain Johnny Manziel by sliding a lineman back in spy coverage and playing robber defense on the weak side. Oops, did we say that aloud?

In fairness, there is a very short list of teams that could take Georgia or South Carolina, who have both beaten Mizzou and Vandy.

If there is such a thing as a statement game between two teams at the bottom of the conference, this is it.

Coach Franklin needs to prove he can build off last season's bowl bid and arguably the best recruiting class in school history. QB Franklin needs to prove he can produce against something other than the wet toilet tissue toughness of Big 12 defenses.

SEC vs. SEC

It wasn't all that tough picking which NFL Lite game to feature this weekend. The individual matchups in the Georgia-South Carolina tilt are just phenomenal. For instance…

Jarvis Jones (UGA) vs. Marcus Lattimore (USC) – No one could fault you for blocking out everyone else on the field and watching where No. 29 is in relation to No. 21. Basically, the less they meet, the greater the Gamecocks' chances of winning, and vice versa.

Jadeveon Clowney (USC) vs. "Gurshall" (UGA) – For the record, Hot Reads hates this ridiculous nickname because (A.) it's stupid and (B.) unlike most Hollywood duos, these two will be together for more than 18 months.

Clowney is likely the only defensive end in the country that could challenge either Todd Gurley or Keith Marshall in the 100-yard dash. No, really. He ran the anchor leg for his high school 4x100 relay team.

You can't really slow Carolina's defense down with screens and draws because they don't blitz a lot, and there is enough speed all the way down the line for someone to catch you from the backside. The Bulldogs enter this game with the top offense in the league, so we'll see how far that gets them.

Aaron Murray (UGA) vs. Connor Shaw (USC) – If the quarterbacks have to pass their way out of the stadium, bet on Murray. He's not only the third-highest rated passer in the country, he's doesn't have the legacy of flakiness that Steve Spurrier's guys have carried.

Steve Spurrier vs. Mark Richt – For play calling? No … For leadership? Nuh uh … Experience in tough games? Negative …  No other coaches in the league nervously run their hands through their hair more.

Richt's hairline is a little further back, but Spurrier just invents stuff to get angry about. This one might result in a draw.

Yes, Alabama did dominate

The consensus is Alabama underachieved in its win against the Rebels.

Seriously? That was the game where Alabama held Ole Miss to a season low in yards and was +2 in turnovers, including three interceptions and five sacks, right?

Didn't the Tide go 4-for-4 on field goals, including a pair of 38-yarders, and just destroy the Rebels in the kick return game? (Christion Jones nodding his head)

They won that game by 19 points, right? The last time Hot Reads checked that's a blowout anywhere except the Pac 12.

We get that Nick Saban will huff and puff until he is able to blow his next opponent's house down, but not even dominant teams do all things well all the time. They can, however, decide to punish opponents even when one aspect of their game isn't clicking. Mission: Accomplished.

And give the Rebels some credit. A bug on a windshield doesn't have much of a chance, but it can still ruin an otherwise perfect day.

This Week's Unique Stat

80: Aaron Murray has accounted for 80 touchdowns (71 passing, nine rushing) in his career, the highest among any active SEC player and 11th all time. The next highest player is UT's Tyler Bray, who has thrown for 49 and rushed for one.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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    Friday, April 18 2014 12:47 PM EDT2014-04-18 16:47:53 GMT
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    An independent report says the University of Missouri failed to follow parts of the federal law that governs sexual harassment when handling the case of a former swimmer's suicide.
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