The week in relationships, breakups, transitions, legal issues and generalized rumors from around the Southeastern Conference:
IN A RELATIONSHIP. The Tennessee fan base and quarterback Tyler Bray, after Bray's 405-yard, five-TD performance against Cincinnati. Despite a relatively brief courtship, sources close to both parties say the two are "madly in love," though that relationship may be tested by Tennessee's trip to Gainesville, Fla., this weekend to face the 16th-ranked Florida Gators.
iN COUNSELING. South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier and quarterback Stephen Garcia, after a rocky start to the 2011 season. The year has already seen Garcia suspended for violations of team rules, then reinstated, then benched, then restored to the starting QB job, where he led the Gamecocks to a comeback win over East Carolina in the season opener; now the two are said to be on the outs again following Garcia's sloppy 11-of-25, 142-yard, two-INT performance against Georgia on Saturday. According to a mutual friend of both Spurrier and Garcia, the game prompted Spurrier to renew his calls for Garcia to clean up and get sober. "What he doesn't understand is that that was Garcia stone-cold sober," the friend said. "Stephen usually performs better after a Jägerbomb or three."
REUNITED. The Kentucky Wildcats and the SEC basement, following a five-year separation, on Saturday. The longtime couple split up in 2006, with Kentucky proceeding to earn a 30-22 record in the last four years of Rich Brooks' coaching tenure. However, they were spotted laughing and sharing Gatorade in both Nashville, Tenn., and Lexington, Ky., over the past couple weeks, and on Sunday Kentucky's publicist confirmed the relationship was back on. "Some loves were just meant to be," she said in a statement that, oddly, seemed mostly devoted to Kentucky's 2011-12 basketball team. No word yet on what this means for another of the SEC basement's longtime partners, the Vanderbilt Commodores, though the basement has maintained open relationships with multiple teams in the past.
BORN. To the Georgia Bulldogs, a new star, running back Isaiah Crowell, who weighed in at a robust 215 lbs., 71 inches at Sanford Stadium on Saturday. Crowell rushed 16 times for 118 yards and a touchdown against South Carolina, adding another 40 yards and a second TD receiving. Great things are expected from Crowell, though some fear he may grow up in a broken home after the Bulldogs' loss to the Gamecocks dropped them to 0-2 and put head coach Mark Richt on the hottest seat he's ever experienced in Athens.
EXPECTING. Another blowout win with a gaudy set of offensive numbers, by the Arkansas Razorbacks, who host a third straight out-of-conference cupcake on Saturday night at Razorback Stadium. Though the win would be the 11th victory over a ridiculously overmatched non-BCS-conference patsy since Bobby Petrino took the reins of the program in 2008, the Razorbacks issued a statement insisting that "each win is a precious gift, no matter how small." Sources say that Arkansas has already picked out a name, Troy, whether it's a boy or a girl.
iN TREATMENT. The Ole Miss fan base, for depression, in Oxford, Miss. With the Rebels having blown a 13-0 lead against BYU two weeks ago, then given up 420 yards of total offense to D-IAA Southern Illinois on Saturday, the fan base checked itself into a treatment center on Sunday. The Rebels' fans have a long history of attempting to soothe the pain of gridiron defeat with copious amounts of food and alcohol, but with potential defeat at the hands of the unexpectedly competent Vanderbilt Commodores looming, they decided the problem was too far gone and that it was time to seek help. A source close to the fan base says they still plan on consuming lots of food and alcohol, but with a little guidance from trained professionals, they can complete a successful career transition from "football school" to "party school that happens to have a football program."
RECOVERING. The Auburn fan base, of a second heart attack in as many weeks following the Tigers' last-second victory over Mississippi State on Saturday. The Auburn defense gave up 531 yards of offense, including 333 rushing, to the formerly moribund MSU defense, and only clinched the 41-34 win when State QB Chris Relf got stood up at the 1 yard line with no time remaining. Doctors at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Ala., say the Tigers' fans are in "good spirits," but also diagnosed the Auburn defense as "anemic" and kept them for further observation.
CHARGED. The Alabama defense, with two counts of aggravated child endangerment in State College, Penn., on Saturday. In front of a massive crowd, the Tide humiliated junior Matt McGloin, who went 1-for-10 for zero yards, and just for good measure held sophomore Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden to a miserable 11-of-29, 144-yard performance. The second-ranked Tide vowed to fight the charges, but their long history of this sort of thing could make for a protracted legal battle.
MISSING. Former Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who disappeared from Starkville on Jan. 5. Diaz's absence from the MSU sideline is starting to be acutely felt, as the Bulldogs gave up 41 points and 381 total yards to Auburn in a shootout loss on Saturday. Scattered reports have put Diaz in or around the Austin, Texas, area; anyone with information is urged to notify the authorities at www.amberalert.gov.
SUED. Florida linebacker Dee Finley, for plagiarism, by the Georgia Bulldogs following Finley's arrest for driving a scooter with a suspended license on Monday. In a statement released to the press, Georgia's general counsel claimed that scooter-related moving violations are a "sacred tradition" of the Dawgs' football program and that "we will not sit by and watch as a rival program attempts to profit from our players' years of hard work and substantial time in the Athens-Clarke County jail." Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, however, told CNN's Anderson Cooper that Florida took just enough "artistic license" with UGA's established template -- namely, an additional felony charge of resisting arrest with violence -- that Finley could make a legal case for claiming the work as his own.
MADE OVER. The LSU Tigers, sporting a new look with the introduction of Nike Pro Combat uniforms on Tuesday. Fashion experts have proven to be surprisingly positive about the change, with Project Runway's Tim Gunn calling the ensemble "sharp, understated, and altogether classier than what we've come to expect from Nike the past few seasons." Gunn was less positive, though, about the shoes: "Gold shoes? That's risky . . . it takes a certain kind of man to pull off metallic footwear. Oh, well -- make it work." The Tigers will have their chance to do just that when they debut the unis in a pivotal conference game against Auburn on Oct. 22.