LSU’s Miles complains of unbalanced schedules determining SEC titles

Posted Thursday, Jul. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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LSU coach Les Miles complained Thursday about “a repeated scheduling advantage and disadvantage for certain teams in this conference” that determine Southeastern Conference titles.

Miles did not mention names but clearly referred to Alabama, one of the Tigers’ primary rivals in the SEC West Division.

LSU plays crossover games this season against Georgia and Florida, last year’s East Division co-champs that finished a combined 14-2 in league play in 2012. Alabama, the two-time defending national champion, has crossover games against Kentucky and Tennessee, two schools breaking in new coaches after posting a combined mark of 1-15 in league play last season.

Miles said league teams should have “an equal and direct” path to the conference title and pushed for future change. Alabama coach Nick Saban said such equal paths are impossible in a 14-team league in which all teams do not play one another.

“Unless everybody plays everybody, that’s the only equal path to a championship,” Saban said.

Texas A&M, the third team in the mix as a West Division favorite, plays Vanderbilt and Missouri as its crossover opponents.

AJ mum on Manziel

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who roomed with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel at last week’s Manning Passing Academy, sidestepped questions Thursday about whether he tried to awaken Manziel on the morning the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner overslept, leading to Manziel’s early departure from the camp in Thibodaux, La.

“I can’t answer for Johnny Manziel. My name’s AJ,” McCarron said. “I’m not going to speak on another man’s business.”

McCarron, who has led the Crimson Tide to consecutive national titles, acknowledged that he can relate to the scrutiny Manziel faces. But McCarron made it a point to stress that he seeks to avoid the spotlight and limits his appearances on social media.

“I know I’ll always be watched when I step out the door,” McCarron said. “I never want to bring bad attention to my name or my school. I know I can’t be a normal, 22-year-old kid. I can’t go out and act a fool in public.”

Aggies honored

Quarterback Johnny Manziel and offensive tackle Jake Matthews led a collection of three Texas A&M players selected by media members to the preseason All-SEC team, released Thursday in Hoover, Ala. Manziel and Matthews were first-team honorees. Receiver Mike Evans received second-team acclaim. No defensive players were selected.

Alabama, the media’s choice to win the 2013 title, received 182 of 243 ballots cast to decide the SEC champion. Other teams receiving votes to claim the title were Georgia (38), the East Division favorite; South Carolina (18); A&M (4); and LSU (1).

The projected West Division pecking order: Alabama, A&M, LSU, Ole Miss, Auburn, Mississippi State and Arkansas. Alabama had the most first-team honorees (7).

Hill out indefinitely

Les Miles said running back Jeremy Hill, last year’s leading rusher (755 yards, 12 TDs), remains suspended indefinitely pending the outcome of legal issues in Louisiana. A guilty plea last week to a battery charge triggered a probation violation, and LSU officials are waiting for the legal process to run its course.

“We’ve visited with Jeremy Hill on a routine basis,” Miles said. “He’s not been in any team meetings. We’ve not allowed him in our facility. It’s been very hard on him, I know.”

Record pace

SEC officials issued a league-record 1,239 credentials to this year’s media days session, surpassing last year’s total (1,085). The 1,239 top the credentials issued for last year’s BCS National Championship Game.

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

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