SEC Buzz: Carolina opener a sell-out

THE SCOOP

The tale of two programs — South Carolina and Vanderbilt — can honestly be told from ticket sales for the home openers, both on Thursday night: South Carolina has sold out single-game tickets for the 6 p.m. North Carolina game at Williams-Brice Stadium, the Gamecocks’ third sellout of the season along with Florida and Clemson visits in November. Vandy, coming off a 9-4 season and aiming high, still has tickets available for the SEC opener against Ole Miss at 9:15 p.m. Commodores coach James Franklin has been pushing fans to step up for months using Twitter as his platform, a countdown that has been in daily use with the opener designated as “Operation Blackout.” Said Franklin: “It’s very important, national television, that we sell the stadium out, that everybody’s wearing black. I feel like we’re making progress there. … I think we’re going to sell out the game, and I expect us to sell out the game.”

LOCAL CONNECTION

LSU coach Les Miles can’t stop smiling when he’s asked about his backup quarterback, first-year freshman Anthony Jennings of Marietta High. “Well, you know what’s interesting, what’s always been a significant piece for me has been the grades. If you’ve got a young guy that comes in and handles his academics in a strong fashion, he then expects a lot of himself when he goes into the classroom as a learner. … I think he’s got the kind of personality that a team would love to follow. But he’s sincere and works hard at it, and I think that’s his greatest characteristic to be honest. He just is a good person, very quality student, bright mind, and enjoys the effort and energy of work.”

HURTING GATORS

Coach Will Muschamp said that offensive tackle Chaz Green will need season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum he suffered last week. Green, a redshirt junior, was expected to start at right tackle against Toledo. The Gators already are going into the season without starting right guard Jon Halapio, who has not practiced since tearing his left pectoral muscle while weightlifting in July. Halapio has been ruled out for the first two games, and the team hopes to get him back Sept. 21 against Tennessee. Without those two, Florida will start redshirt senior Kyle Koehne at right guard and Nebraska transfer Tyler Moore at right tackle.

QUOTABLE

“(Nick Saban) may go down as the greatest coach in college football history, but he may not go down as the greatest coach in Alabama history (Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant).” — ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum, as usual, not making a great deal of sense.

BY THE NUMBERS

7 and 9

Consecutive BCS titles won by SEC teams and national titles won by SEC teams during the 15-year history of the BCS. “It’s an incredible record and hard to comprehend. I think of it in terms of Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak or John Wooden’s UCLA basketball teams,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said.

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