Archive for September, 2012

SEC! SEC! SEC! Week 5 Predictions

Now that Arkansas has dived so downwards, there is no argument about what is the biggest game in the SEC this week: Tennessee’s trip to Georgia.

The last time people were this psyched up for a Tennessee game was a couple of weeks ago. The fans were wearing orange. They weren’t too happy about the Florida result (but then again, they haven’t been happy about that for years!!). But Mark Richt’s appealing to Sanford to ‘be loud’ and wear red. Without being rude, Mark, but isn’t that what Georgia fans tend to wear for games anyway? Our sympathies of the week go to the Georgia student who bought more black bodypaint that red bodypaint for this game.

Anyway, we’ve just got a hold of Dave Matthews Band’s new album, so we’re going through his library…

“Steady As We Go” (Tennessee at Georgia)

Georgia has to be very steady on Saturday night with its running game that features superb running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. They’ll need to control the ball, get some good yards from Aaron Murray and his band of wide receivers, which may or may not feature Malcolm Mitchell. If they are not steady – and their secondary continues to play as poorly as it has done thus far this year (43rd in the country), then Tyler Bray and his wideouts may rip Georgia apart. Frankly, we still can’t understand why the Dawgs are a 14-point favorite with Vegas in this one.

BOTTOM LINE: Georgia wins, but by a touchdown in a game less ‘steady’ than ‘fun’.

“Mercy” (Ole Miss at Alabama)

Ole Miss isn’t playing bad offense at the moment, but their defense was absolutely shredded by the Texas Longhorns a couple of weeks ago, and we dread to think what’s going to happen to Hugh Freeze’s charges in Tuscaloosa this weekend. Alabama is playing perfectly at the moment (apart from the end of the FAU game, when they – gosh – CONCEDED A TOUCHDOWN) on both sides of the ball, and will exploit an Ole Miss team destroyed by Texas on both sides of the ball. Having said that, we fancy the Rebs for a touchdown or two. The Rebs might start requesting for the Mercy Rule in the fourth quarter.

BOTTOM LINE: Ole Miss scores 14! But Bama hammers them, winning by 31.

“Recently” (Arkansas at Texas A&M)

To quote Mr Matthews, “Recently I’ve been thinking….” That Arkansas’ season is an absolutely disaster. The Razorbacks (with or without Tyler Wilson it seems) have been absolutely terrible, with once-vaunted running back Knile Davis only managing 208 yards on 64 carries this year. Oh, and the defense has given up a laughable 36.3 points a game – that’s good for 110th in the country, folks! And “Recently I’ve Been Thinking” that 14-point favorites Texas A&M do really good ‘We’re In the SEC’ videos. Not only that, but they’ve got a solid offense this year, and the defense hasn’t given up every lead they’ve gotten in the second half…just the big one against Florida. We love the 12th Man already.

BOTTOM LINE: Aggies get their first SEC win, winning by 14.

“Rhyme And Reason” (Missouri at UCF)

There’s a lot of fear that this one may go ‘oh dear’ for the Tigers. First of all, Gary Pinkel hasn’t got a great quarterback situation. Will it be James Franklin or will it be Corbin Berkstresser? Either way, the QBs had better be on their game for a visit to UCF side that gave Ohio State a game for three quarters of their visit to The Horseshoe – thanks to a fierce and fast defensive front that gave Braxton Miller problems all game long. Can Mizzou’s O-Line, not exactly on form after the beatings it took from both UGA and USC, give their QB some time this time? The excellently-named Blake Bortles has thrown for over 660 yards and 7 TDs this season for UCF, and Missouri had better watch out. Maybe that’s why UCF is a three point favorite in this one…

BOTTOM LINE: Thanks to Berkstresser, Missouri ekes out the win, winning by 7 in a game that goes to the wire.

 “Stay” (Wasting Time) (South Carolina at Kentucky)

‘Stay’ is just the sort of song from the University of Kentucky, since a couple of the lines go: “Let the hours roll by/ Doing nothing for the fun”. And let’s be honest, watching Kentucky football this season hasn’t been fun at all for Wildcats fans. After a procession of horrible defeats, Joker Phillips is looking like Dead Man Walking, and now – with a defense missing heroes from last season that can’t stop anybody and an offense that can’t get anything going – they have to face a nasty South Carolina team that’s firing on all cylinders, and is a 21-point favorite. We feel sorry for them, frankly.

BOTTOM LINE: South Carolina stops Kentucky by 30 in a game over by half-time. How long can this last, Kentucky fans?

“Crush” (Towson at LSU)

What LSU will be doing to Towson for this game. We were going to call it “41”, but we think LSU will score more than that on a team that got slapped by Kent State. Hence the word “Crush”. Dave Matthews never did a song called: “It’s Not Going To Be Close”. Oh, and regardless of their winning score on Saturday, LSU isn’t going to get moved up in the rankings unless Oregon loses a laugher at Mad Mike Leach’s Washington State.

BOTTOM LINE: Tigers roar, but the pollsters won’t care. LSU by 45. And if they win by less than that, then Florida State may move above them in the polls. And if they lose, then….Appalachian State anyone?


After Notre Dame: SEC Rivalries The Conference Needs

For the sporting man like us, there’s always someone you love and someone you hate. For the SEC fan, the someone we love is our SEC team and the one we hate is their biggest rival. See Auburn and Alabama for example.

Now, the madness that is the conference realignment has meant that one of college football’s best rivalry games – Notre Dame and Michigan – dies after 2014, going the way of West Virginia and Pittsburgh, and the One We Pray Will Get Resurrected, The Texas A&M- Texas game. Yes, we know that A&M are in the SEC now, but if Georgia can manage to play Georgia Tech, Florida can play Florida State and South Carolina can play Clemson, why can’t Texas play Texas A&M?

Anyway, here’s a list of Ten rivalries – unlikely as it may seem – that we hope will never get ‘ended’. We’re going to take Auburn-Alabama out of the equation, simply because both teams play in the same division. Same goes for Tennessee vs Florida, South Carolina vs Georgia, South Carolina vs Tennessee etc etc.

1) Auburn vs Georgia

Why it should stay: It’s the SEC’s oldest rivalry, and with the shake-up in outside conference opponents, it could be that we see the end of Auburn-Georgia in the not-so distant future. Why? Auburn and Georgia have been playing each other almost every year since 1892. The record is 54-53-8 in Auburn’s favor, and it’s one of the most loved rivalries in college football.

Why it might go: Thanks to complaining from certain SEC coaches about the draw that they’ve got, the SEC might want Georgia or Auburn to play every team from an opposing conference more constantly, therefore killing the Auburn-Georgia rivalry.

2) Florida – Florida State

Why It Should Stay: Both sides absolutely despise each other, and it’s turned into a real ‘spitting bullets’ of a rivalry between these two, with both sides not owning bigger than nine straight victories (see Florida in 1968-76). Also, it’s a great showcase of in-state talent, and also a great recruiting tool for both schools.

Why It Might Go: Florida OR Florida State worry about their out-of-conference schedule and decides not to have this big-time rivalry game anymore, preferring the likes of South Florida, Central Florida or someone smaller to help them through to a potential play-off place. Believe me, ADs have done worse (see Texas A&M and Texas). The rivalry hasn’t exactly been done any favours by Notre Dame’s entry into the ACC, either.

3) South Carolina – Clemson

Why It Should Stay: South Carolina might be a SEC school, but the Gamecocks have always hated Clemson more than any of their SEC opponents (even if Georgia and Florida are still mighty games), and Clemson fans feel likewise (even if Florida State is a becoming more and more of a rival). It’s so big in that part of the world that a South Carolina lawmaker has proposed a bill trying to ensure that the 103-year rivalry keeps on going. And the way Steve Spurrier’s recruiting, Clemson’s 65-40-4 record will be slimming by the year!

Why It Might Go: Schedulers again don’t like the idea of their school losing a potential play-off spot, and take each other off the board. South Alabama and UAB suddenly get double invites to massacre. The rivalry hasn’t exactly been done any favours by Notre Dame’s entry into the ACC, either.

4) Kentucky – Louisville

Why It Should Stay: Now a great bourbon-inbibing tradition, it’s the start of the season for both teams, and it’s a great way for the locals to get together. Sure, it would be easy to get rid of a football rivalry that’s only spanned 25 meetings (Kentucky leads 14-11), but they’ve played each other for the Governor’s Cup every year since 1994.

Why It Might Go: Schedulers decide they had more fun in the 70 years of peace that penning in each other’s sides for a game.

5) LSU – Florida

Why It Should Stay: First of all, we love it. The atmosphere in both stadiums – Death Valley for the visit of the Gators, The Swamp for the visit of the Tigers – is off the hook. The smell of bourbon is in the air, and they are usually pretty good games. Plus, they haven’t missed each other since 1971, in a series that Florida leads 30-25-3. Every game brings more intrigue.

Why It Might Go: Despite first shutting down LSU’s wish to get Florida OFF the schedule, SEC schedulers decide that LSU and Florida should play everyone in the opposing division an equal amount of times. Depending on how good each team is at the time, both sets of schedulers breathe easy. The fans do not.

6) Tennessee – Alabama

Why It Should Stay: The Third Saturday In October is something special to both Bama and Tennessee fans. The two teams have played each other almost every year since 1928 (although the rivalry started as early as 1901), and Bama leads 48-38-7 in the rivalry, including Alabama’s current five game winning streak. For Tennessee, this game’s almost as important to Vols fans as Florida and for Alabama fans, this is (at times!) on par with LSU (but way behind Auburn!).

Why It Might Go: See LSU-Florida.

7) Vanderbilt – Ole Miss

Why It Should Stay: It’s been going every year since 1945 (and almost every year since 1929), and it originated in 1894. Ole Miss leads 46-37-2, if you’re interested. Oh, and it’s a cracking party at The Grove or in Nashville every year, even if the games haven’t been rivetingly interesting in the last few years. Plus, Hugh Freeze and James Franklin both want to keep the rivalry around.

Why It Might Go: SEC schedulers – although we don’t think it’s in as much danger, because it’s not a high-profile SEC match-up. Sorry if that sounds nasty.

8) Georgia – Georgia Tech

Why It Should Stay: First of all, ‘Clean Old Fashioned Hate’ is one of the best names for a rivalry since…nothing. We love it. Georgia and Georgia Tech have been at each other since 1893. Although Georgia 62-39-5 record over the Yellow Jackets, it’s always great to see two teams in the same state dislike each other so much. Although Georgia sees Florida as the bigger rival, this is another Cocktail Party that any SEC fan should experience once in their life.

Why It Might Go: If both sides become a real force in college football, they could try and take each other off the schedule for reasons of easiness. The rivalry hasn’t exactly been done any favours by Notre Dame’s entry into the ACC, either. Savannah State, get chatting!

The Rivalries We Want Back… Badly

Missouri – Kansas: Despite their presence in the SEC now, Mizzou and Kansas still absolutely despise each other, and Mizzou’s realignment has brought peace to ‘The Border War’ after 120 games in a series actually older than Auburn-Georgia (originated in 1891 and played each other every year since then). They can’t even work out who’s won more games. And regardless of where both programs are, it’s always a really nasty atmosphere either in Lawrence or Columbia between both sets of fans. Just how we like it.

Texas A&M-  Texas: A) Because Aggies fans sing most of their songs about hating The Longhorns. It sounds weird that they don’t actually play them at football. B) Because Aggies fans don’t have any other natural rivals (unlike Texas and Oklahoma/Oklahoma State/The rest of the Big XII), regardless of how much they’ll try and pump up the Arkansas game. C) Because Thanksgiving sucks without A&M and UT facing off each other. D) This rivalry ended because either the Aggies were so furious about money. Does no-one out there have money to make sure this rivalry comes out again? (Hint: Jerry Jones?)

Tide Rolls while Tigers, Hogs Roast: SEC Football Blog’s SEC 1-14

We admit it: We at the SEC Football Blog should have done more with our SEC Power Rankings (ie start in the first week), but there’s been very little on offer until now, and now we know a bit, we think we can provide some analysis to go with our picks.

The soundtrack for today’s picks is Brad Paisley’s ‘Old Alabama’, because right now, Nick Saban’s the new Bear Bryant.

1. Alabama (4-0): The Crimson Tide have rolled everyone they have played against. No team has looked this complete this early. Sure, there are big tests to come (read: LSU on the road on Nov. 3rd), but Nick Saban is the best coach in college football. His team looks up for every game, not just the biggies.

2. South Carolina (4-0): With Connor Shaw, Dylan Thompson performed. Now with Shaw back, USC really performed, wiping the floor with Mizzou. And the defense looked good, too. Look out Georgia and Florida.

3. Georgia (4-0): The Bulldogs most complete performance of the season came as they wiped the floor with Vanderbilt. The running game of Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley is downright frightening, and the Dawgs have got Ogletree and Rambo back soon – although Coach Richt hasn’t said that they’ll be back for Tennessee (although their bans are over).

4. Florida (4-0): Two big-time comebacks against Texas A&M and Tennessee – and the shut-out against Kentucky have convinced us that Florida’s running game is for real – and Jeff Driskel’s getting better week by week. Wil Muschamp has got this Gators team fired up! Anyone calling his teeth now, Gators fans?

5. LSU (4-0): Did LSU just fall asleep through their game with Auburn when they were 3 touchdown underdogs or did Auburn play out of its mind. Whatever happens, it’s not good. In fact, it’s ugly as hell. Things had better get cleared up for the Tigers before they visit UF on October 6th, or they have problems. And so does Les Miles, we can assure you.

6. Tennessee (3-1): Tennessee should have beaten Florida at Neyland. Their offense will pose plenty of problems to Georgia’s on Saturday. Tyler Bray’s a freaking good quarterback, and is looking like a first round QB every week behind a great offensive lines. His wide receivers still need to learn to receiver better. And we’ll see how much they miss Da’Rick Rogers down the stretch.

7. Mississippi State (4-0): Having seen a lot of Auburn this season, MSU’s win over Auburn said more about Auburn than it did about MSU. But Chad Bumphis is a great wide receiver, and he’s causin’ problems for every opponent. Alabama and LSU, be warned.

8. Texas A&M (3-1): The Aggies lost their first game in the SEC despite playing pretty well, and the student section at Kyle Field and all the fun and games that go into it instantly make them a great SEC destination, tailgate. Now all they need is a good team. This team will be good, we fill, just not this year.

9. Missouri (2-2): Mizzou has played two of its SEC East rivals…..and gone 0-2. And been blown out. Gary Pinkel’s got a problem at quarterback he needs to deal with (James Franklin with shoulder pain or Berkstresser?), and his new wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has been unimpressive (though it IS his rookie year).

10. Ole Miss (3-1): Ole Miss? 3-1! Miracles are happening at The Grove, people! Only 3 games to go for Ole Reb to go to a bowl game! Joking apart, Hugh Freeze is installing some belief in this side and it’s great to see. They might well be favorites against Arkansas and Auburn this year.

11. Vanderbilt (2-2): Granted, they’ve played two of their toughest opponents, but Vandy is 0-2 in the SEC, 0-2 in the East, and 0-2 in any love being given to James Franklin, despite his team’s fight against South Carolina when the blocking systems used against Mssrs Clowney and Taylor gave a ton of time for Jordan Rodgers to throw. Speaking of Rodgers, he’s had a pretty poor season thus far. This could get a lot worse before season’s end.

12. Auburn (1-3): This team is really, really poor. Sure, the ‘D’ played out of its collective mind against LSU, but that makes up for some poor performances up to then? And also, what on earth’s happening with the ‘O’? We can tell you: Kiehl Frazier’s really missing some guy called Michael Dyer….

13. Kentucky (1-3): Kentucky is a horror show. We get it. But they’ve had some bad luck (Maxwell Smith’s injury before the Florida game). But it’s still a horror show (the loss to Western Kentucky, anyone?). Still, they could be better than some teams in the SEC. We’re just not sure which ones. Oh, and will Joker Phillips be around for? We reckon he’s getting his pink slip at season’s end. Can John Calipari coach football too?

14. Arkansas (1-3): First of all the Razorbacks lose to Louisana Monroe. Then they get wiped out at home to Alabama 52-0. And to complete the embarrassment (of the SEC and most of all themselves!), they lose to Rutgers at home, despite Cobi Hamilton’s fine performance. The defense – ranking a hefty 110th in the nation – absolutely sucked. Some people saw it. We didn’t. We thought they’d be better than that. Goodbye, John L…….


A Few Things about Saturday’s SEC games: Week 4

‘Twas another interesting week for the SEC. Georgia and South Carolina made statements. Florida rolled Kentucky. LSU struggled with three touchdown ‘dogs Auburn amid the atmosphere of Jordan-Hare, but got away with a victory. Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Texas A&M both hammered their non-conference opponents to go 3-1, and Tennessee went 3-1 by doing the same to Akron. Oh, and some team called Alabama remained perfect by bulldozing Florida Atlantic.

But there was one other team to talk about…..

1) Arkansas (unfortunately for the SEC), is the team to talk about. Playing against Rutgers with Tyler Wilson back, the Razorbacks put up 492 total yards, with 419 of those coming from the wonder-arm of their once Heisman Trophy candidate.  Unfortunately, Rutgers put up 525 yards (of which 397 were passing), and Wilson had 2 interceptions and Rutgers’ QB Gary Nova had none. And while Arkansas’ running game continued to be a mess, Rutgers’ flourished with Jawan Jamieson putting up 118 of them. In the end, Rutgers outscored the Hogs 35-26, giving John L. Smith his third loss in Fayetteville – all of which have been embarrassing to one level or another. Oh, and what in the heck’s happened to Knile Davis – just 17 yards on 10 carries….

Special note goes to Arkansas WR Cobi Hamilton, who broke a SEC all-time one game receiving record with 303 yards in the game. That’s incredible.

And anyway….

2) We haven’t said this all season: Georgia was excellent throughout its 48-3 drubbing of SEC rival Vanderbilt on Saturday.  Aaron Murray threw for 250 yards and 2 TDs, and the running back  duo Todd Gurley (130 yards) and Keith Marshall (82) put up over 200 yards and four TDs as the Bulldogs went through the Commodores like butter on Saturday night. Who’s Isaiah Crowell again? As for Vanderbilt? Everything’s gone a little downhill for James Franklin, hasn’t it?

3) Speaking of James Franklin, he was destroyed by South Carolina‘s demon defensive line, who suffocated him to just 92 yards passing and sacking him three times. Missouri just couldn’t cope in any facet of the game with the Gamecocks, losing 31-10. Oh, and there was good news for Gamecocks fans on the Connor Shaw front, too, who (for about the first time this season), didn’t end up getting a MRI. Shaw was excellent, throwing for 249 yards and 2 TDs in a superb effort. Who’s that Dylan Thompson again?

4) After spending all week thinking that Auburn would get slaughtered by LSU at Jordan-Hare, it was somewhat of a shock to us when the Tigers misfired so much that they were nearly the subject of the Shock Of The Season. They were terrible – so much so that we would HATE to be the LSU players in practice on Monday. To quote Les Miles: “This is a tremendous lesson for us, which is something that we’ll certainly be able to teach from in a very aggressive manner.” Oh dear. On Auburn’s side, their defense played out of their minds, holding LSU to 351 yards and forcing two turnovers. OK, so it was helped by an early injury to LSU center P.J. Lonergan, but there we go…. Oh, and as for LSU, they are now down to third in the rankings after the victory

5) Florida, Florida, Florida. We’re not going to get too excited about the Gators nuking Kentucky 38-0, but again we have to say this: The offense isn’t half as bad as it was against Bowling Green – probably a worse opponent than the Wildcats. This time, Jeff Driskel threw for 203 yards and a TD, while the running game again continued its standout year, putting up 200 yards of dough against a soft Wildcats ‘D’. On Kentucky’s side, they were suffocated by Florida’s D, limiting backup Morgan Newton to just 60 yards in the air.

6) Excitement in Mississippi? Maybe not nationally, but suddenly the prospect of not one but two bowl games for Ole Miss and MSU is getting bigger by the minute – particularly with the weakness of Arkansas and Auburn at the moment. Anyway, Mississippi State rolled to a 30-10 victory over South Alabama, although they certainly weren’t impressive, despite the scoreline (though the ‘D’ did cause 3 turnovers). Ole Miss had a wonderful party (we’ll bet) against Tulane, and they shut out the Green Wave 39-0. Ole Miss put up 304 rushing yards that game- with 10 rushers. Hugh Freeze must have had fun putting that offensive look together.

7) How about Alabama‘s defense losing its scoreless streak after 192 yards? Should we all be shocked? Not really. Bama was already 4o points ahead at this stage and although Alabama’s players were anxious to keep the shut-out streak going (which led to the penalty which led to the TD which led to Nick Saban fuming at the officials after the score), it didn’t matter. Alabama was pretty much perfect today, putting up 503 yards – 247 in the air and 253 on the ground. If they lose this season, it’s not going to be a small upset. It’s going to be a monstrous one.

8) Despite Tyler Bray’s pick six early on in the game, and being tied up 10-10 midway through the game, Tennessee found a second and third gear in unzipping Akron, eventually blowing them out 47-26. Tyler Bray’s 401 yards and 4 TDs  showed that the Vols’ receivers don’t always drop the ball (although Vols fans will be wondering why Justin Hunter couldn’t have held one against Florida last week), while Rajon Neal’s 151 yards shows that Tennessee, when playing poor rush defenses, can actually perform. So, we don’t actually hold out any hope for Mr Neal against Alabama’s defensive front then….


SEC Predictions: Week 4

Last Saturday saw College Gameday once again decide to visit SEC Country, where the gang hit up Knoxville, TN for the Tennessee-Florida Game. Tons more exicitement than there had been in years for fans of Big Orange….same old result against those Gators.

Anyway, this week, Gameday’s off to travel to the University of Florida’s little brother in Tallahassee, where the mighty ‘Noles will stick their flaming spear in the University of South Carolina’s little brother and make them enjoy it. Anyway, this one should be exciting.

While in the SEC, we’ve got the ‘Tiger War’ between LSU and Auburn at Jordan-Hare which should have an atmosphere which is off the hook, an East game between Georgia and Vanderbilt that ended up like this last season (and secretly, we’re hoping for the 2012 edition to end similarly), and the battle of the Columbias when Missouri and South Carolina get together (Columbian Marching Powder not invited).

Anyway, let’s get on with it.


Auburn managed to avoid going 0-3 by beating the mighty ULM in overtime on a field goal, while LSU only got out of second gear when they realised that Idaho was giving them a game (they ended up vandalizing the Vandals). When the powers-that-be learn that LSU isn’t good playing in purple?? Anyway, this battle at night at Jordan-Hare should ben an incredible atmosphere…. but will the scoreline match? Well, if the Tigers can get Kiehl Frazier into some kind of form and the offensive line can keep him from getting killed, and the ‘D’ disrupts Zach Mettenberger from getting into rhythm – especially as RB/FB Alfred Blue is done for a few games – then possibly.

BOTTOM LINE: The Tigers from Looisiana roll. By 18.

THE COLUMBIAN CUP (Missouri at South Carolina)

Missouri managed to hold of Arizona State to go 2-1 this year, but they’ll be trying to keep themselves from going 0-2 in the SEC East when they visit an oiled-up Williams-Brice Stadium to play the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks fanbase, enjoying themselves by drinking in a parking lot for the last few hours, can’t wait to see Marcus Lattimore against a soft Missouri running defense, while if Jarvis Jones is anything to go by, Jadeveon Clowney and South Carolina’s defensive front is going to cause awesomely-named Tigers QB Corbin Berkstresser hellish problems.

BOTTOM LINE: South Carolina wins!!! South Carolina wins!!! By 21!! Back to the parking lot to celebrate!!!

THE TODD GRANTHAM CUP (Vanderbilt at Georgia)

We learned one thing in 2011: Don’t screw with Todd Grantham. He’ll just plain spew bullets at you. And when he’s finished with you, he’ll go after your boss, and possibly your first born. And if we’ve learned one thing about the Bulldogs in 2012, is that they really, really miss Jarvis Jones when he’s not playing. The Dawgs were just terrible against Florida Atlantic in an atmosphere that was more St John Passion than Sanford Passion in the first half of the game against the Owls, but Aaron Murray settled any Georgia worries and put the game away. This week, they’ll be dependent on Murray – and RB sensation Todd Gurley – to do the job against Vandy, for whom Jordan Rodgers is playing inconsistently.

BOTTOM LINE: If they can play for 60 minutes, Georgia wins by 21. If they don’t, Dawgs by 10. The game’s in a better atmosphere, though. Thankfully.


If you’d watched the truly awful game between Rutgers and South Florida and Alabama’s destruction of Arkansas, we don’t want to say it but we will: It’s going to be a damned close game in Fayetteville this weekend. Tyler Wilson STILL isn’t cleared to play (this is a good thing, folks), and there’s been nothing good to say about The Biggest Letdown Of The Season so far, apart from that John L. Smith is a good guy and we wish him all the best as an assistant somewhere outside of the SEC in 2012. For this one, we advise bringing the smelling salts. Having said that, if Wilson does play – as John L. Smith said in Thursday’s press conference – then Arkansas will win.

BOTTOM LINE: It gets worse. So much worse for Arkansas. Rutgers wins. By 3. /// If Wilson plays, Arkansas by 14. The boy’s a game changer. The defense still sucks though.


God’s honest truth – the party at Ole Miss for the Texas game was absolutely immense. Having said that, the game wasn’t, as the Longhorns bent Ole Reb over their knee and gave him a 30-point spanking. But if you want good parties for two games in a row, Ole Miss’ visit to Tulane should be a good one. Our cousin was a frat boy at Tulane, and the boys knew how to party. Get prepared for some well-dressed guys, some bourbon, and some genteel behavior. And all before 11am. Oh? And what’s Tulane like? They are 0-2, and bad.

BOTTOM LINE: Ole Miss becomes ROLL MISS, and goes 3-1, winning by 21.

THE ‘HOSSES VS TEETH’ CUP (Kentucky at Florida)

To mis-quote the great Drive By Truckers song “3 Alabama Icons”, if there’s two things that are loved in Kentucky, it’s horses and basketball. And maybe bourbon. Anyway, the Kentucky football hasn’t been one of them in years, and won’t be after their disastrous loss to Western Kentucky last week. As we said in an earlier article, we’ll be shocked if Joker Phillips isn’t booted out of town by season-end. Anyway, Will Muschamp is back to being God again in the view of the lovably loyal Florida faithful, and the Gators are playing with confidence. Big Blue, this is going to be BLU-TAL.

BOTTOM LINE: Florida chomps all over UK, winning by 28. And the offense clicks too, with Jeff Driskel throwing for 1,000 yards…. (well, that might be overestimating things a tad….)


See the name of the Cup. Quite honestly not worth writing these words because this game’s going to be soooooooo done with by half-time.

BOTTOM LINE: Hey Owls! The Tide are going to beat the hell out of you! Rammer Jammer, Yellow Hammer, 50 points for Alabama. And none for Florida Atlantic.


Tennessee was great for the first half of its game against Florida, completely outplaying the Gators en route to a 10-point lead. But in the second half, they completely wilted, hurt by stunning drops by excellent wide receivers, poor line play, and poor defense (TWO big plays? Isn’t that OLD Tennessee). Tennessee won’t need to bring its running game against the Mighty Zips, but it had better show it had one, or the Vols are going to suffer further losses this season and finish fourth (or worse) in the East. Which won’t make any fans in Knoxville happy – or people called Dooley.

BOTTOM LINE: Tennessee rebounds, winning by 35.


But this isn’t. Safe to say that Mississippi State successfully negotiated an away trip to Troy (winning by six), and South Alabama should provide some relief before what will be a nasty SEC West schedule.

BOTTOM LINE: Dan Mullen rules. Again. The kings of the Cowbell ring to 4-0.


The atmosphere at Kyle Field is normally off-the-hook, and we were glad to see that that hasn’t changed now the Aggies are the SEC. Having said that, only the most psycho Aggies fan (or is that all of ’em?) will be jumping out of their skin or  for SCSU, who are 1-2 after getting shut up by South Carolina last week.

BOTTOM LINE: Aggies win! Aggies win! Aggies win! Texas A&M by 40.

Quick SEC reaction: Week 3

What a Week 3 it was. While Tennessee fans once again spat bullets about losing to Florida at home, they managed to drown their beers and sip some champagne as Lane Kiffin and No.2  USC lost at Pac-12 rival Stanford, we once again had evidence that there’s only one team out there in College Football at the moment: Alabama. The SEC has a lot to catch up.

Anyway, here’s the top 10 things about our SEC teams this week:

1) Tennessee lost the game against Florida because it had no running game and its wide receivers couldn’t make easy catches. And when we’re talking easy, we’re talking ones like Justin Hunter’s that absolutely killed the team’s drive. And also, the Vols incurred penalties that also helped to knife the team in the back. Also, the Vols’ nature for conceding the big play came back to kill them….twice. But Jeff Driskel proved to be a leader for the Gators, and Florida’s rushing game was fantastic. They really helped to shut up Big Orange. Sad day for Tennessee, but here come the Gators, folks!

2) Alabama may have destroyed Arkansas, but as John L.Smith says, the Razorbacks simply gave up. It was like a friend of mine’s middle school football game when they were down 20 and decided not to play anymore, and ended up losing by 50. Wow. Arkansas Razordbacks fans should ask for their money back after that – because this was the worst performance I’ve seen from a SEC team in a long time…. and there have been some pretty awful SEC performances in the past.

3) Oh, and as for Bama? This was a very impressive side, which was quick, great in a tackle, and almost perfect in every part of their performance. Even Nick Saban should have been happy with this performance.

4) Georgia and LSU surprised us early on by not wiping both Florida Atlantic and Idaho to the floor immediately, but both Bulldogs and Tigers both warmed up their act, and the rest was history. The atmosphere at both stadiums wasn’t great, though. No great surprise for bad, non-conference opponents, but still…(hint to both ADs: Schedule some big-time home and homes?).

5) Missouri managed to hold off Arizona State – just. We love Corbin Berkstresser, who replaced James Franklin, but the Tigers QB (the one who’s out), has got more to offer in the SEC schedule, in our opinion. Franklin gave Georgia’s defense fits at times with some of his play in Mizzou’s opening SEC game.

6) For those of you who thought Ole Miss was worth taking as a 10-point underdog against Texas, we did tell you not to bother (in more words). We told you that Ole Miss wouldn’t be a match for Texas’ running game (350 yards the Longhorns put up), although the fact that the Rebs put up 31 points is a definite plus – even if giving up 66 – isn’t.

7) Vanderbilt and South Carolina may have had a closely-fought encounter in Week 1, but when it came to playing Presbyterian and UAB respectively, both sides went through with little trouble. The biggest thing to trouble Steve Spurrier – although the play of Dylan Thompson may negate that – is the injury (once again) to Connor Shaw. We’re getting to point of yelling: “Steve! Why don’t you just close down Connor Shaw and let this Thompson kid play?”. As for Vandy, it was Presbyterian. A small round of applause for 50-odd points.

8) What was happening in Auburn? Auburn…..well, the field goal-in-overtime victory showed that the Tigers can win while they are down, but the muted reaction inside Jordan-Hare Stadium showed me that Tigers fans are preparing themselves for a long season. And Gene Chizik is preparing himself for a hot seat.

9) MSU survives Troy. Regardless of what people say, Mississippi State beating Troy by just 6 points is a bit of an upset, but here’s some love to Chad Bumphis, who grabbed three touchdowns. Still, the Bulldogs’ defense needs a bit of work…they conceded 572 yards of total offense.

10) What in the hell happened in Lexington? Well, it was a fun game in Lexington, where the mighty Kentucky lost to in-state ‘rival’ Western Kentucky in overtime to a fantastically-executed trick play. But should it have got this far? No. Joker Phillips will be lucky if he’s in the job by end-season, folks.

11) Nice for Texas A&M that the Aggies rebounded with a solid 48-3 victory on Saturday. On the road. Without any scares.

SEC: Week 3 Predictions

Sorry we haven’t been so quick this week about getting copy in, but we’ve been a bit busy.

Anyhoo, since you were away ESPN Gameday made it 3 out of 3 for College Gamedays involving SEC Schools – shall we simply call them SECSPN? It would be easier!

This one’s coming from Neyland where Florida visit a revitalized Tennessee program. Kick-off 6pm. We can’t wait – although we can’t work out who we want to win/lose more…

With that, here’s your preview…


Florida at Tennessee 

Gameday is in Knoxville this weekend for the battle of the unbeatens, featuring a Florida side who narrowly beat Texas A&M visiting a Tennessee side who’s asking the question: Who is Da’Rick Rogers again? Anyway, we love what Tyler Bray is doing for Big Orange this year, but can he repeat the feats of NC State and Georgia State (643 yards, 6 TDs, O INTs in 2 games) against a nasty Gators defense and a great runner in Mike Gillislee (238 yards, 4 TDs)? The key may be Florida’s QB Jeff Driskel, who’s been less than inspiring.

BOTTOM LINE: Tennessee wins for the first time in eight years trying. By 7.


Alabama at Arkansas 

This could have been one of the games of the season had Arkansas not lost at home to Louisiana Monroe in overtime, and its Heisman candidate quarterback Tyler Wilson almost certainly out for the game with a concussion. Alabama has been on fire this season, with their running game – as usual – causing all the problems.

BOTTOM LINE: Alabama by 21 in a game over by half-time.


Texas at Ole Miss

Texas visit to the other Southland will be a fun one. On one hand, sorority gals in red, blue and black armed with good food and white wine, and on the other, stunning gals in short, burnt orange dresses and cowboy boots. Plus, a lot of Texas fans have circled this away date in the diary for months – many of them choosing the hotel rather than the game. Anyway, onto the football: Surprisingly, both teams are 2-0 starting the year (well, shockingly in Ole Miss’ case, anyway!), and their path has been smooth (ish). This one is going to be fun.

BOTTOM LINE: Well, it’s going to be a fun game, anyway. On the field, Texas wins by 14 and comfortably, with the Longhorns great ‘D’ and savage running attack proving too much.


Arizona State at Missouri

Last year Arizona State upset many by turning over a ranked Missouri side in Sun Devil Stadium (then imploded for the last few games of the season), and this time the Sun Devils are getting some tongues wagging, especially after dumping all over Illinois last week and Todd Graham’s leadership. Having said that, Missouri will be a different bear for the Devils – especially as they were pretty great at their SEC Welcoming Party against Georgia until Jarvis Jones gatecrashed.

BOTTOM LINE: Missouri goes to 2-1, beating the Devils by 10.


ULM at Auburn

Last week, ULM shocked the world by going to Arkansas and beating the No.8 Razorbacks in overtime. This week, it’s the struggling Auburn Tigers who meet the Warhawks. Auburn is going to HAVE to stop ULM’s option QB Kolton Browning, who did EVERYTHING bar kick field goals and play D for his team, while hope that their own QB, the unvaunted, unloved, and uncared-for QB Kiehl Frazier – who was so terrible against Mississippi State that our sister Twitter feed asked the question: ‘Is there another QB for the Tigers?” (Answer: No) might do something special. The Warhawks are going to have to stop Auburn speedster Onterio McCalebb too.

BOTTOM LINE: Auburn – a 16 1/2 point favorite in this one –  gets through this one, but struggles doing it. Win by 10.


Mississippi State at Troy

MSU’s first half against Auburn was one of the most awful games of SEC Football you’ll ever see. Please don’t go and review it. It’ll drive you back to a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. Having said that, MSU recovered nicely, and now they face a Troy side who can score points – but has an awful defense. Troy might not be an easy place to go for the Cowbell Kings.

BOTTOM LINE: MSU struggles early, finishes late. MSU by 17.

FAU at Georgia

Question: Will Georgia play for 60 minutes one of these days? If they do, this game – against a weak 1-1 FAU side who only beat Wagner 7-3 on opening day and lost comfortably to MTSU – won’t be close.

BOTTOM LINE: If Georgia plays for 60 minutes, Georgia by 40. If Georgia only plays for a half, Georgia by 25.

Idaho at LSU

Three words: LSU. Wicked. Way.

BOTTOM LINE: LSU by 50…unless Les Miles calls the Tigers off.

Western Kentucky at Kentucky

Both sides did as they were expected to last week. Western Kentucky was Rammer Jammered by Alabama, while Kentucky rode all over Kent State. Now, Western Kentucky has an easier proposition against its in-state ‘rival’ (it would be nasty not to put that in quotation marks), but not by much – especially as Big Blue has some confidence.

BOTTOM LINE: Kentucky wins. By 31. But WKU scores though – its first points for well over 60 minutes.


Texas A&M at SMU

SMU QB Garrett Gilbert was known as Hurricane Gilbert in Austin because – and we quote: “Never has one man caused so much damage to one town”, and if A&M’s defense can play, then SMU – despite this game being a Texas derby – will struggle to live the Aggies.

BOTTOM LINE: A&M by at least 30.

UAB at South Carolina

To give the Gamecocks their due, Dylan Thompson looked like one hell of a quarterback in Saturday’s win over Carolina. We think that Spurrier’s going to still be able to use Marcus Lattimore sparingly in this one, which some might see as him running the score up, but with team that gave up 39 points in its only game of the season (it lost), it might be hard not to.

BOTTOM LINE: USC by a USC-esque scoreline, by over 45

Presbyterian at Vanderbilt

After an 0-2 start, Vandy fans must be pretty annoyed right now. Or resigned. Or both. Anyway, Jordan Rodgers should have his wicked way against Presbyterian, who’s last game against big-time opposition (Georgia Tech), saw them lose 59-3.

BOTTOM LINE: Vandy by 40. We hope. For James Franklin’s sake.




LSU starter Jones named ineligible for rest of football season

LSU linebacker Tahj Jones is one of four Tigers players who have been declared academically ineligible for the rest of the 2012 season, according to the Times Picayune, citing sources.

Jones, who started one game last season but had 27 tackles with the team was named alongside tight end Tyler Edwards, linebacker D.J. Welter, and offensive linesman Evan Washington.

BOTTOM LINE: This might not hit LSU in its starters, but won’t help Les Miles’ depth chart during the course of a brutal SEC schedule.

SEC: Ole Miss suspension news

SEC headlines from today:

1) Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin isn’t overly happy with the Florida Gators and the fact that its players cramped up in the second half. Florida fans: Are you skeptical about the team’s conditioning or do you think it was gamesmanship?

2) Arkansas QB and Heisman candidate Tyler Wilson didn’t practice on Tuesday after leaving the ULM game with a concussion. However, Alabama‘s Nico Johnson & Co is still preparing to play Wilson on Saturday.

3) Despite defense from his school, Ole Misssafety Trae Elston has been suspended by the SEC for Saturday’s showdown with Texas on Saturday night for a dangerous hit in the final minutes of the win over UTEP. That’s not going to make things any better against one of the best running offenses in the land.

4) Mississippi State DB Byron De’ Vinner was given $200 by a booster, apparently.


Quick SEC reaction: Week 2

Wow. What a Week 2 for the SEC. And it was somewhat humbling, let me tell you (although not as humbling as the Big 10, who saw Wisconsin, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue, Iowa and Illinois all lose, stalwarts Michigan and Ohio State tested) – especially in Fayetteville.

Anyway, this blog went an honest-to-God 9-2 yesterday, with our only bad predictions with Arkansas and Vanderbilt.

Anyway, here’s some quick grades before a longer piece tomorrow, when we’re feeling more, ahem, ‘together’.

1) We completely underestimated Louisiana-Monroe. We thought they’d come to town, take their near-$1m, and walk off or walk over. Instead, they battled Arkansas when they were 28-7 down in the third quarter, and came back to win in stunning fashion in overtime. Would they have won if Tyler Wilson hadn’t left the game with a concussion? Probably not. But that’s what football’s about. And Arkansas defense looked downright lousy. Alabama must be really scared going into Fayetteville.

2) Speaking of Alabama, Western Kentucky was dealt with handily. ‘Nuff said.

3) Both Missouri and Texas A&M could have won their games against Georgia and Florida. Missouri was pretty good until their offensive line started getting blown up by Jarvis Jones, and James Franklin didn’t start using his ability to get out of the pocket (or was that more love to Todd Grantham and UGA’s defensive line, we wonder?), and the score more than slightly flattered Georgia. We don’t know if Aaron Murray IS the next Matt Stafford yet, but he’s got a hefty offense out there. And when Georgia get their idiots back from their drug-related suspensions, they will be even better. And as for A&M, the atmosphere at Kyle Field for the game against Florida was SEC-noisy. Florida certainly found it difficult to deal with the noise. But then they discovered that Texas A&M couldn’t deal with the running game – and Kevin Sumlin did their offense a favor by giving Caleb Sturgis another shot at a field goal virtually on half-time that he missed the first time, and they aren’t very good at keeping leads. All points to Mike Gillislee and some good scrambling from Jeff Driskel. He wasn’t too bad as a passer, either, going 13-16 for 162 yards. He could have had a TD too if Frankie Hammond had been able to catch.

4) Vanderbilt goes to a disappointing 0-2. We always had the South Carolina game as a loss, but we really thought – after months of bravado- that James Franklin’s Vanderbilt team would stop, ahem, being Vanderbilt. Well folks, they haven’t. They lost the Math Derby to Northwestern last night 23-13 and although they were in it until late in the game, things obviously aren’t going well down there. Jordan Rodgers 17-33 effort certainly isn’t too great, either – even if he threw for 217 yards.

5) Speaking of 0-2, Auburn was simply terrible in their game against Mississippi State. True, the first half of that one was like watching paint dry and deserving of Twitter jokes about it being the “Jefferson Pilot Rivalry”, but it was basically a puntfest with a few cowbells thrown in. Second half, things were pretty exciting, but then Mississippi State improved vastly – while Auburn had only a 100 yard TD kick-off return from Onterio McCalebb to thank for their inept offense. Yes, we know that the Gus Malzahn era’s going to take a while, but we don’t think that the Kiehl Frazier era should last too long either – especially after this poor (and that’s an understatement because this is a family blog) showing.

6) South Carolina cruised to a game that was over by half-time. Quick note to all doubters of Dylan Thompson, who took over from the injured Connor Shaw for the East Carolina game. The kid threw for 330 yards and 3 TDs in a pretty heroic effort, and some of his reactions to completions and TDs made you think you were watching a guy playing in the Super Bowl. It was awesome! Seriously though, we’re not going to give the Gamecocks too much of a round of applause after this one, but Spurrier managed to do two things: 1) Show that he’s the best quarterback coach in the SEC (see: Steve Spurrier at Florida) 2) Keep Marcus Lattimore from getting injured (He had only 13 touches for 40 yards).

7) Ole Miss (yes, them!) goes 2-0. Ole Miss comfortably beats the team that probably should have beaten a sleeping Oklahoma last Saturday night, with Bo Wallace (three TD passes, 1 TD run) proving to be the new hero of Oxford. We’ll still go out on a limb and say we expect them to lose their next game to Texas (who also went to 2-0 yesterday, by the way), but we’ll stand in the middle of Times Square, wearing only a Mr Freeze costume from Batman, and yell: “There’s a Freeze Coming!” if Ole Miss scores the upset.

8) Tennessee and Kentucky (yes, Kentucky!) complete a good day for the SEC East. Both sides were meant to handle Georgia State and Kent State handily and they did, one by scoring 51 points (UT) and one by scoring 47 (UK). Tyler Bray threw for 310 yards and 4 TDs for the rejuvenated Vols, who’s fans suddenly believe that Derek Dooley is the new Messiah (#fickle), while UK’s Maxwell Smith threw for 354 and 4 TDs. UK fans don’t believe Joker Phillips is the new Blue Messiah, but they wish to be competitive. Good luck with that.

9) And last but not least, a lot of people thought LSU would struggle with Keith Price and the University of Washington. At home. At night. This wasn’t the case, with LSU’s defense proving smothering in a punishing, don’t-y0u-dare-doubt-us 41-3 blowout of the Huskies. This is a darned good football team, folks. Oh, and who cares that Tyrann Mathieu – a LSU student – was at the game? We don’t, ESPN! Just let the kids play! As USC struggled in Syracuse (despite the scoreline), is LSU the second-best team in the nation now?

We’ll let you think about that.



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