Archive for January, 2013

SEC players, coaches and fans’ tweet lives in 5 Words

There’s something amusing going around Twitter which is #MyLifeIn5Words, so we thought we’d think up a few for SEC players. Please add in your thoughts, too!!

Jadeveon Clowney: Must eat the opposing quarterback #MyLifeIn5Words

Nick Saban: Johnny Football. Revenge. September 14. #MyLifeIn5Words

Johnny Manziel: All the fuss about Alabama? Puhleeze. #MyLifeIn5Words

Les Miles: Am I really that mad? #MyLifeIn5Words

Tyrann Mathieu: From hero to zero. Sorry. #MyLifeIn5Words

Aaron Murray: God bless you, beautiful Athens. #MyLifeIn5Words

Mark Richt (to UGA faithful): Love me or hate me today? #MyLifeIn5Words

Hugh Freeze: The Blind Side and Jesus. #MyLifeIn5Words

SEC fans: Fall Saturdays are for drinking.

LSU Juniors: Let’s all go be pros! #MyLifeIn5Words

Steve Spurrier: Must enrage my biggest rivals #MyLifeIn5Words

Texas A&M fans: Johnny Football is our God.  #MyLifeIn5Words

Missouri fans: We still really hate Kansas  #MyLifeIn5Words

Said to any recruit to the SEC: This is the NFL fast-track. #MyLifeIn5Words

Vanderbilt fans: Nashville is an awesome party #MyLifeIn5Words

Ole Miss: Hugh Freeze is Oxford Jesus. #MyLifeIn5Words

Mississippi State: Ole Miss. Damn. Damn. Damn #MyLifeIn5Words

Robert Nkemdiche: Can’t make up my mind #MyLifeIn5Words

James Franklin: Motivate. Motivate. Motivate. Motivate. Motivate. #MyLifeIn5Words

Kevin Sumlin: Thank God for Johnny Football. #MyLifeIn5Words

Auburn (1): Thank God Gene Chizik’s out. #MyLifeIn5Words

Auburn (2): We hate Alabama and Georgia. #MyLifeIn5Words

Georgia: So close yet so far. #MyLifeIn5Words

Florida: Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Jorts. #MyLifeIn5Words

Alabama: Houndstooth. Shakers. Championships. Bryant. Check. #MyLifeIn5Words

South Carolina: Stephen Garcia= Awesome adult entertainment. #MyLifeIn5Words

Tennessee: Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning (repeat). #MyLifeIn5Words

SEC: We really love winning games. #MyLifeIn5Words.

Tiger Stadium: Bourbon. Noise. Night. Loud. Cajuns #MyLifeIn5Words

Arkansas: Bobby Petrino really screwed up. #MyLifeIn5Words

Kentucky: Honestly, we prefer our basketball. #MyLifeIn5Words

SEC Football Blog: SEC! SEC! SEC! SEC! SEC! #MyLifeIn5Words

 

 

 

 

 

Ten big questions for National Signing Day

Like everyone else, we at the SEC Football Blog are really, really excited about National Signing Day on February 6th.

Sorry we haven’t been covering “firm”, “less firm”, “wavy”, or “de” commitments hugely this off-season, but these are mad times for recruits, and quite frankly, we’re happiest to sit and wait to see where the chips fall on February 6th – our first reminder that yes, college football will be back in a few weeks time with the Crimson/White/Red/Black/Blue/Orange/Purple/Green/Rainbow games in April, before getting to the fun times of players arrests and ejections from campus.

Anyway, there IS the important time of Signing Day. With five SEC schools predicted to be in the Rivals.com Top 10, we anticipate that things are going to once again put a smile on the Conference fans faces.

So here are some big questions:

1) Where will Robert Nkemdiche end up? 

If you believe some of the hype on Twitter, Robert Nkemdiche may not be the second coming of Christ, but he’s certainly the second coming of Jadeveon Clowney. After deciding he didn’t want to play at Clemson after all, The Biggest Story Of Signing Day suddenly a favorite with Ole Miss. Apparently he’s visiting LSU before he decides – could Les Miles be able to make the last ditch signing of signings? My money’s still on Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss to snag the player. Nkemdiche’s brother plays at the school already, and there’s nothing like a bit of family pressure to get the heart going.

2) Will Florida continue to stack talent? 

Florida‘s the top-rated recruiter on Rivals, and after snagging the amusingly-named-but-nevertheless-very-good-linebacker Alex Anzalone from Notre Dame, Wil Muschamp is putting together a damned good class. With the amount of talent in the State of Florida, don’t be too surprised if Florida comes through with a pretty incredible class.

3) The Name You Haven’t Heard Of But Should: Kenny Hill

We were in Texas on the first Friday of the college football season, and we caught up with a high school football game. Allen were playing Southlake Carroll, and the quarterback for Southlake Carroll was one Kenny Hill. He was a brilliant dual-threat quarterback, and despite Southlake Carroll’s 24-0 loss, Hill was one of the stars of the show. He was voted Texas High School Player Of The Year He’s now going to Texas A&M….Or is he? With the success of freshman QB Johnny Manziel, Hill’s suddenly worrying about things like playing time – particularly if he wants to play at the next level. Keep your eye on this one – this could be one of the recruits of Signing Day. If Hill goes somewhere else other than A&M, look for the Aggies to scramble to get some cover – possibly from the junior colleges.

4)  How will Georgia recruit in the State of Georgia?

Every time we read about a four or five-star recruit from Georgia deciding that they don’t want to play in Athens, we wonder: What in the heck is happening at UGA? Look, it’s not like Georgia doesn’t recruit talent – the Dawgs were five yards away from going to a National Championship and will send some serious talent to the NFL this year – but it’s the fact that any TOP recruit from GA should be wanting to play for UGA first off. Unless he gets a clean sweep of Georgia talent, Mark Richt’s going to get some moaning minnies in his ear come the end of National Signing Day, but this could be interesting.

5) The Two Alabama Icons

OK, there are two of them, and they are Auburn and Alabama. The State of Alabama has dominated this century in terms of SEC and National Championships, yet everyone keeps on talking about Nick Saban (doesn’t help when Auburn was the laughing stock of the SEC last year). Alabama is going to be frightening good when it comes to recruiting (it’s predicted it will have a Top 3 class), and they go nationally to recruit talent. Auburn, though, has been putting together a quietly excellent class of its own – ranked No.13 so far. That’s what happens when your hire an offensive genius like Gus Malzahn to be your head coach. How will it all balance out on Signing Day? We predict both Houses of Alabama to be happy.

6) What’s going to happen to the new coaches?

While we’ve talked about Malzahn Bret Bielma (Arkansas) and Mark Stoops (Kentucky) have had to make some pretty quick adjustments. So far, they are 52nd and 54th on the list, with 17 players having committed to each school. Personally, we hope that both coaches can recruit some real talent this year, but it’s going to be hard work. This could mean another long year for both sets of fans.

7) Texas A&M: The Johnny Manziel effect?

While we’d like to talk up the Johnny Manziel effect (ie Kevin Sumlin will now find it easier to recruit good offensive tackles and wide receivers following the success of 2012) to our hearts content, a lot of people forget that defensive end Damontre Moore could be a Top 5 NFL Draft Pick, and if this is case, then guess what? Sumlin’s got that to sell to recruits – particularly just a few days after the Super Bowl has happened. His class (6th ranked) is tidy so far, but will the ‘Johnny Effect’ help Texas A&M to get some unexpected recruiting successes – particularly under the noses of Texas, their hated rivals?

8) LSU

Wow. The juniors sure put the ‘less’ in Les Miles, didn’t they? LSU was completely routed, with ten juniors (most of them starters) deciding to go pro. What kind of message is this going to give to recruits? Deep breath for that No.5 recruiting rank, folks. Don’t be too surprised if the mass exodus, plus Les Miles’ weird decision to talk to Arkansas (which – whether LSU liked it or not – showed recruits a certain lack of loyalty), hurts the Tigers. Having said that, 8 early enrolees have already helped the class. Miles will be hoping that none of them cause him as much of a headache off the field as Tyrann Mathieu did.

9) Ole Miss By Damn!

Ole Miss is giving Mississippi State fans another reason to dislike them, because Hugh Freeze is taking that great on-the-field form to the recruiting levels, which included the possible signing of Robert Nkemdiche and the commitment of  Quincy Adeboyejo from Texas, a five-star wide receiver. Ole Miss also hosted four other five-star athletes last week…..Imagine what might happen if all of them came along too. Talk about Ole Miss rising again, eh?

10) Watch Out For Spurrier

It seems that most years Steve Spurrier pulls out a Signing Day Surprise, and don’t be surprised if The Visor pulls out one this year, either. Any defensive player would love to be playing on that line with Jadeveon Clowney, wouldn’t they? Heck, I would want to play in another conference just to avoid getting killed by Clowney, if I was a high school quarterback. Anyway, get ready for Steve Spurrier. He’s coming.

Question: Will anyone be able to keep up with the SEC?

A week after Alabama won the title, I was able to give myself a bit of a rest and reflect on what has been another successful National Championship Year for our conference. Or more’s the case, for Alabama.

The conference put the critics to bed for another straight year as Alabama destroyed Notre Dame to lift the Crystal Football, cementing Alabama’s dynasty with their third win in four years. Barratt Jones can’t possibly achieve what he did in college in the NFL, can he (unless he’s drafted by the Patriots!)?

But if we’re honest, it wasn’t a wonderful bowl season for the SEC, by any stretch of the imagination.

  • Florida (on paper) should have pounded Louisville. Instead, they were pounded back. Use the excuse of “We didn’t make any effort” as much as you like, Gators, but you were an embarrassment. The number of fans that showed up to the Sugar Dome didn’t do them any favors, either.
  • LSU should have beaten Clemson. If it wasn’t for some awful playcalling by Les Miles & Co (three straight Zach Mettenberger throws instead of using a criminally underused running back in Jeremy Hill), they would have done.
  • Mississippi State embarrassed the conference by getting blown away by Northwestern.
  • South Carolina was lucky to survive against Michigan. What would have happened if Jadeveon Clowney hadn’t played, folks?
  • Georgia‘s first half performance against Nebraska – a team that gave up 70 points in its last outing – was defensively dreadful.
Only Alabama, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt came out with any great credit from bowl season, folks. And they were favored in all of those games.
And although people would like to say that the SEC’s easily going to run the table in the 2013-4 season, here’s my argument: That’s not exactly going to happen. With all the money that’s getting poured into each conference, the gap is tightening between teams as they can suddenly afford better facilities and better recruitment.
Oh, and there’s also going to be a problem with the NCAA. The SEC’s been getting some bad press for oversigning lately, and yes, we know it goes on at almost all of our schools. If they decide to limit ‘grayshirting’ and really harshly limit scholarships and who can go where and for what reason, the SEC is going to have to cut down on the players they recruit. That can only mean more talent for other schools.

Georgia fans, celebrate: Aaron Murray’s coming back

Aaron Murray’s coming back to Georgia, it seems.

The UGA quarterback tweeted: “Blessed to be the QB for the Dawgs, not ready to leave just yet. Time to get back to work & help lead this team to a championship #GoDawgs

Murray threw for 3,893 yards and 36 TDs last season for a Georgia team that was five yards from making the National Championship and eventually beat Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, thanks to Murray’s 500-odd yards of throwing.

A lot of people had repeatedly said that Murray needed to stay another year – he was simply to interception-prone in his last year, and with his offense coming back in the shape that it’s going to be in, Georgia is suddenly a SEC East contender again.

Roll Tide Roll! Alabama vs Notre Dame Preview

Tonight is the Super Bowl of the College Football Season – the BCS National Championship Game. The highest-profile team in college football Notre Dame is playing last year’s champions, Alabama at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, in front of a  sell-out.

The game should be one of the best-watched sports matches of the  year – bearing in mind that both sides are extremely well-supported and historically strong – and we’d advise you to watch, too.

Alex Ferguson gives his prediction on the last game of the season, which starts at 8pm.

This year we’ll see Notre Dame, who finished the season as the only unbeaten team in the league play last season’s National Champions Alabama, who overcame a slight soft schedule and a home loss to two-loss Texas A&M to win the voters’ hearts and book their spot after winning the SEC Championship Game at the start of December.

HOW THEY GOT THERE

Notre Dame wasn’t expected to get anywhere close to the National Championship Game, bearing in mind their schedule included away trips to then-No.1 USC, National Championship dark horse Oklahoma, as well as Stanford, Michigan and Michigan State. However, after Notre Dame beat all of those (and seven others) there was no argument: Notre Dame was the rightful No.1. The most storied program in college football was in the National Championship Game.

On Alabama’s side, things were slightly less predictable. After brutalizing all and sundry until the start of November, Alabama went to LSU and only just squeezed by their rivals in an emotional night in Death Valley. The game after was Johnny Manziel and two-loss Texas A&M. Alabama didn’t show for the first quarter and quickly found themselves 21-0. They never recovered. However, God seemed to want a Southeastern Conference school in the National Championship Game, because Oregon and Kansas State lost the week after, vaulting Alabama back into the National Championship spot. They beat Georgia in one of the best games college football has ever seen in Atlanta at the SEC Championship Game.

WHY ALABAMA WILL WIN

Alabama is coached by the best coach in college football in Nick Saban. If you don’t think that the Crimson Tide will be prepared for Golson, Te’o or anything that’s going to be thrown at them, you’ve got another thing coming. If Brian Kelly’s got a tendency, then Nick Saban and his coaches will have found it and will have plans to exploit it.

On one side of the ball, they’ve got two of the best running backs in college football in Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon. One of the biggest reasons why they are so good is that they’ve got the best offensive line in college football. If they do what they did in the LSU game and completely dominate the line of scrimmage, then Notre Dame will be unable to stop the running backs- especially in the latter stages of the game.

AJ McCarron is their quarterback leader, and it was his arm at the end of the SEC Championship Game that came good – he hit Amari Cooper with just 1 ½ minutes left to give the Crimson Tide the lead that eventually led to the title chance. He’s composed, can play under pressure, and give him a minute or so to drive a team down the field, and he’s going to punish you. He threw for 2,669 and 26 TDs last season, and until his poor game against A&M, he was a Heisman Candidate.

On the other side of the ball is the Crimson Tide’s monstrous defence. They gave up just 10.7 points per game. That’s just over TEN. That’s not even TWO TOUCHDOWNS. Notre Dame’s offense might have been clutch, but it was pretty terrible all season long. Think the Irish’s D is going to be able to keep Alabama’s from scoring a more than two touchdowns? Think again.

WHY NOTRE DAME WILL WIN

There is no better leader on the field than Manti Te’o. In the week before the Michigan State game, Te’o lost his girlfriend and his grandmother to cancer. For those of you who’s been there, one’s hard enough. Well, imagine two. Anyway, Te’o said that he wanted to play for his Notre Dame family, and the Irish beat Michigan State and Te’o was the star. In fact, Te’o has been the star all season long, grabbing 103 tackles, including 5 ½ tackles for loss, 1 ½ sack, and seven interceptions. Lately, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron’s been making some mistakes with throwing the ball, and Te’o’s going to take advantage of a harassed quarterback. The Irish only gave up an average of 26.8 points per game, and only 421.5 yards per game. They are going to exceptionally tough for Alabama to get through – even with its excellent offensive line.

On the other side of the ball, Alabama’s defense struggled with a quarterback who was good at running. Well, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a quarterback in Everett Golson who does just that. He threw for over 2,100 yards, 11 TDs and only 5 INTs this season, and he’s been absolutely clutch. Alabama will not be able to handle him. Sure, Golson’s no Johnny Manziel, but Alabama isn’t built to handle a quick option quarterback. Golson ran for 300 yards and 5 TDs for the Irish. And if Golson has problems, then Tommy Rees has come back from some pre-season trouble to perform excellently in the fourth quarter.

OUR PREDICTION

We think Alabama’s going to win the National Championship Game, and they win by 10, beating the 9 1/2 point spread.

Why? Alabama has such a great offensive line (we say this presuming that they are all healthy) that Notre Dame’s going to struggle to put pressure on McCarron, Lacy or Yeldon. And on the other side of the ball, we don’t trust Golson to be as ‘clutch’ as Fighting Irish fans are hoping that he will be, and we trust Rees and the Irish’s receiving squad even less – there’s a reason why they were 75th in the country in points scored. Especially against Nick Saban’s defence, which he keeps on their toes until the final play of the game.