Archive for November, 2013

Who’s Going To Win The Iron Bowl? SEC ‘Rivalry Week’ Predictions

If you hadn’t noticed, this week in the SEC has its fair share of antagonism.

And we love it. On all three days of the Thanksgiving Holiday. And you know what? We’re thankful for it!

We love Alabama fans screwing with Auburn fans, and vice-versa. With both proving equally touchy.

We love Ole Miss and Mississippi State fans screwing with each other. With both proving equally touchy.

We love South Carolina and Clemson fans screwing with each other. Or more’s the case, Steve Spurrier screwing with Dabo Swinney, and Swinney desperately trying to rise above it. Which he’s failing to do.

We love Florida and Florida State screwing with each other, with Florida students, despite their school’s record, thanking God that they don’t have to go to the ‘SECOND SCHOOL IN THE STATE’

And Georgia fans just call Georgia Tech fans nerds. You know, as the Georgia Tech fans are whizzing past ’em in their Ferraris.

The SEC itself is trying to create a ‘new rivalry’ between LSU and Arkansas (‘The Battle For The Golden Boot’ has been played (deep voice) every year since 1996 but one of the more interesting games may be in Lexington, KY where Kentucky entertain Tennessee. Kentucky still needs a SEC win. 

Oh, and if it’s interesting (and cold) you want, go to Columbia…..Missouri, where it’ll be a balmy 44.6 F for the Texas A&M players (colder at night) where Missouri has to win its game against Texas A&M to go to the SEC Championship Game.

And while you were sleeping, there’s the battle of the rich schools when Vanderbilt go to play Wake Forest. They won’t be extending this to 2014, because it’s not a rivalry game anymore (The SEC wants a ‘Tennessee rivalry game between Vandy and Tennessee’ next year).

After that short introduction….

THURSDAY

OLE MISS AT MISSISSIPPI STATE

After the beating that was put on them last time the two teams played each other as well as the resurgence of Ole Miss, Mississippi State must be feeling a little like little sister at the moment. And despite beating Arkansas last week to gain its second SEC victory of the year, Mississippi State simply HAS to beat its hated inter-state rival to claim bowl eligibility. Ole Miss is already there at 7-4, but they were completely outclassed at home to Missouri last week. Both sides will be looking forward to this one in an atmosphere that’s going to be very, very loud. If you don’t like cowbells, do not watch this game. You’ll get a headache.

BOTTOM LINE: Ole Miss by a touchdown in an unexpectedly great SEC game.

FRIDAY

ARKANSAS AT LSU

Congratulations to LSU fans who finally saw their team play 60 minutes of football this season after a fantastically complete victory over Texas A&M. Sure, the Tigers benefited from the fact that that powers-that-be-in the Aggies co-ordination team didn’t want to run the ball at them, but they harassed Johnny Manziel into his worst night of his season, and maybe wrestled the Heisman Trophy away from him. On the other side of the ball, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham STILL look like the best wide receiving duo in the nation, and Zach Mettenberger looks like a NFL QB. We expect them to prosper against Arkansas – even though early on, Razorbacks running back Alex Collins is going to cause them some problems.

BOTTOM LINE: Vegas’ 24.5 prediction a little high for our liking. We’ll take LSU to win, but only by 21. So in other words, less than the spread.

SATURDAY

ALABAMA AT AUBURN

Here’s one thing for certain: It sure is going to be LOUD in Jordan-Hare Stadium this weekend. LOUD because it’s Alabama/Auburn, and LOUD because if Auburn wins, it goes to the SEC Championship Game. Mind, if Alabama wins, the Crimson Tide go to the SEC Championship Game. No pressure, then. Can Nick Marshall and Auburn’s fast-paced offense catch ‘Bama cold? Can Bama’s relentless rushing attack and the Best Quarterback Ever (AJ McCarron) secure victory? These questions – and more- will be answered on Saturday afternoon.

BOTTOM LINE: Alabama’s a 10.5-point favorite with Vegas. We’re going for Alabama by 14. But it’s going to be close until the final couple of Alabama drives.

TEXAS A&M AT MISSOURI

We talked a lot about Johnny Football coming to Baton Rouge last weekend, but he was outschemed by LSU’s defensive co-ordinator, John Chavis. Let’s not think for one moment (he says, putting on his Khan voice in ‘Star Wars’) that Dave Steckel hasn’t look at the tapes (repeatedly) and is thinking up something similar for Johnny. That means that Kevin Sumlin’s going to have to use the rush game better, and trust in everyone else offensively – not just No.2. On the other side of the ball, the Texas A&M ‘D’, which struggled to stop Jeremy Hill last week, is going to have similar problems with Henry Josey, and Mizzou’s big receiver L’Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham are going to cause A&M’s secondary a handful, too.

BOTTOM LINE: Missouri’s a 4.5-point favorite. We love Missouri to beat the spread and win by at least a touchdown. A&M’s got the firepower, but it ain’t got the stop-power.

CLEMSON AT SOUTH CAROLINA

One of the games of the week that’s making us incredibly indecisive, for a number of reasons. Connor Shaw (USC) can’t stop winning games for the ‘Cocks. Mike Davis is a hell of a running back – and we all saw what good running backs did to Clemson’s defense. But on the other side of the ball, it’s been difficult to deal with Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and a host of other Tigers firepower, Clemson has a ‘SEC’ offense. Plus, Clemson’s already 1-0 against SEC teams, although the friendly confines of Death Valley are probably a little different to the screaming hordes of Williams-Brice, where families are known to fight over their allegiances at the Thanksgiving table.

BOTTOM LINE: If we’re honest, it’s too close to call. If we’re pushed, we’re taking Clemson, because we feel South Carolina’s five-point favorite standing is a little too high.

A GAME THAT’S GOING TO BE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK….

GEORGIA AT GEORGIA TECH

The SEC Football Blog has a buddy called Mack. Mack really, really, really, really, really, really, really hates Georgia Tech. He really does. In fact, I don’t know a lot of self-loathing Georgia Tech fans who hate their team more than Mack does. Every week on Facebook we’re hit by the wrongs that have been put on him by the Yellowjackets, and he starts everything with the word: “Nerds”. You know, like Nerds  don’t eventually take over the earth or anything. Anyway, there’s an expectation from Mack that Georgia fans will take over Bobby-Dodd Stadium (true) and that his team will win by 60 (false). Now, this blog just wanted to give Mack a big hug, and tell him how truly sorry we are for him and his goddawful injury stack of a season, which last week saw off quarterback Aaron Murray for the rest of the year. Murray’s groom Hutson Mason will take over, and he’s going to be OK, if a little rusty. The Bulldogs are going to rely a lot on running back Todd Gurley and the lengthy stable of Georgia running backs, but there will also be a play or two for the likes of Bennett and Wooten to make their mark. They’ll be going up against a defense that is more solid that it’s given credit for….even if it did get socked at Clemson two weeks ago. Georgia’s defense isn’t great, either.

BOTTOM LINE: Georgia Tech has a great running attack and Georgia is hopeless against the run. Georgia’s a 3.5-point favorite…and we think Georgia wins by five in a finger-biting game for Mack and nerds concerned.

GAMES THAT AREN’T GOING TO BE THAT CLOSE

VANDERBILT AT WAKE FOREST

Last time out Vanderbilt squeaked by awful Tennessee and Wake Forest only just lost to ACC Championship contender Duke (yes, Duke!), and we’re anticipating better from the Commodores this time round.

BOTTOM LINE: Vandy’s a 14-point favorite in this one, but we’re going the whole hog and saying: “Vandy by 21”. Don’t have us wrong on your next-to-final game, James Franklin.

GAMES THAT REALLY, REALLY AREN’T GOING TO BE CLOSE

FLORIDA STATE AT FLORIDA

Florida just lost to Georgia Southern. Florida State can’t seem to lose to anybody. Florida’s offense is horrific and makes mistakes. Florida State’s defense eats mistakes. Florida State’s offense clicks like a Maserati. Florida’s defense is rusty, hurt and praying to the Lord Football Jesus that this season ends quickly (it will, by the way Gators, in 60 minutes).

This is going to be horrible.

BOTTOM LINE: Florida State by 40. No-one in Vegas seems to be willing to take bets on it.

 

 

21 Things We Are Thankful For In The SEC

As it’s Thanksgiving time, we thought we’d go around and tell everyone what we’re thankful here in the SEC. And we’ve remembered every team. Yes, even you, Arkansas.

1) We’re thankful for processes. And the fact that life, for Nick Saban, is a process. Even leaping into AJ McCarron’s arms. His smile? Weirdest thing we’ve ever seen. Anyway, processes has brought Nicholas Lou Saban FOUR National titles. That’s pretty good going.

2) We’re thankful for heartbreak and drama. We in the SEC deliver a lot of that to ourselves (Georgia/Auburn; LSU/Georgia; Ole Miss/Vandy; Georgia/Tennessee; South Carolina/Tennessee; The Winner of the Alabama/Auburn game), and a lot to other people (see our National Championship Game opponents in the last seven years). WARNING: Heartbreak and drama do not have to co-exist with being a Georgia Bulldogs fan…..although it helps.

3) We’re thankful for Jadeveon Clowney: Because he’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch….even when he’s running at 75% and the play’s not going anywhere near him. He’s a man-giant!

4) We’re thankful for CLANG! CLANG! CLANG! CLANG! CLANG! I’m done with a headache in Starkville.

5) We’re thankful for Jesus. Or at least Hugh Freeze is. Speaking of Hugh, we’re grateful for Les, Mark, Dan, Steve, Will, Gary, Gus, Bret and Butch. We love you, our SEC coaches.

6) We’re thankful for Mike, Uga, Bully, Sir Big Spur, Reveille (Texas A&M fans really believe in Reveille’s legend, folks!), War Eagle, Smokey and Tusk. Our live mascots >>>> Your stuffed mascots. Anyone want to fight with Mike The Tiger?

7) We’re thankful for the times when people walk on the railtracks behind Sanford, go and have a beer with the Vol Navy, tailgate in the campus of Louisiana State University or The Grove at Ole Miss. We’re thankful for shots before 9am, and arriving two days before the game. We’re thankful for RVs, new friendships and new fun. It wouldn’t be SEC tailgating without drinking on the premises now, would it?

8)  We’re thankful for Johnny Football. God, we are so thankful for Johnny Football.

9) Georgia fans are thankful for Gurshall, Murray. LSU fans are thankfully for Jarvis and Odell. Bama fans are thankful for TJ and AJ the Brothers. Missouri’s thankful for DG-B and 5th year seniors.

10) We’re thankful for the 12th Man. That place is LOUD.

11) We’re thankful for cold. Well, we’re not, but SEC fans are soon going to realize what it’s like to be cold now Missouri’s in the SEC. OK– rephrase that. We’re thankful for the different temperatures.

12) In the same way, we’re thankful for the sweaty oven known as The Swamp on a hot early September’s day. If you haven’t experienced swimming in your clothes, go to The Swamp on a hot early September’s day.

13) We’re thankful for the Chomp! Chomp! Chomp! of the Florida Gators fans. We always know when you’re coming. And we always know when you’re leaving because the opposition fans are doing it right backatcha (see Florida, Georgia, LSU for details). Saying that, we’re also grateful for jorts.

14) We’re thankful for College Gameday, because they always seem to want to visit us and give our SEC schools some new publicity. Is it our pretty campuses? Our Top football teams? Our great action? All of the above? Welcome back Chris, David, Desmond, Kirk and Lee. Welcome. As long as you’re wearing our team’s headgear.

15) We’re thankful for pom-poms – or as we in the SEC call it – ‘shakers’. Nooooooo…..shakers aren’t terrible. They are awesome. Especially when in the SEC. Or at Penn State. Don’t worry Texas A&M, you’ll have ’em some day.

16)  We’re grateful for Kentucky. Because otherwise, there would be no ‘Bluegrass Miracle’. And when Kentucky wins a SEC game, we all kinda rejoice, because it means the conference is a little more even. Oh, and we’re grateful that generally, their basketball team’s damn good.

17) We’re thankful for Bobby Petrino. Because since he decided to go motorcycling with that young gal of his, Arkansas Football has been the gift that’s kept on giving. A lot of Wisconsin fans want to be thankful to Bret Bielema for leaving, too.

18) We’re thankful for legends like Tebow, Herschel, Peyton, Archie and Eli. And a whole lot more.

19) We’re thankful to Atlanta for hosting our bowl games, our opening games of the year, and our SEC Championship Game, and for supplying us with endless Coca-Cola (NOT Pepsi) and generally being great supporters of the SEC (as it should be).

20) We’re thankful for great, crazy SEC podcasts, like the one from AL.com from WarBlogle/CollegeAndMagnolia (Auburn) and Hunter (Alabama), the latter who finished every sentence of his Bama/Burn podcast with ‘Roll Tide’ (hosted by Matt Scailici); the Around Aggieland Podcast by Derek Aggie and Hunter (what is is about Hunters at the SEC?), which is freakin’ amazing, the Shutdown Fullcast, which is really a SEC podcast masking as a SEC podcast. I’m surprised that it hasn’t gone silent bearing in mind that they are all Gators fans who hosts it (Spencer Hall (Every Day Should Be Saturday), Jason Kirk and Celebrity Hot Tub, all of whom spend the show giggling their butts off like schoolchildren (AND IT’S AWESOME), and The Dawg Gone Podcast, featuring host Ludakit, who’s batcrap-crazy about his Dawgs. Or maybe just batcrap crazy. And finally, we mention the Solid Verbal guys, which is pretty well-rounded about college football but good if you might be heading to Vegas. Despite the fact that the host are Notre Dame and Oregon fans, we’d like to assure you now that you do an OK job.

21) We’re thankful we’re from the South, home of Oxford and oxfords, belles and smells, liquor and beer, and a great weekend of warm welcome and happiness…..as long as you’re rooting for the same team as us.

 

 

Johnny Football’d: Texas A&M falls in Week 13 SEC Power Rankings

We had looked forward SO MUCH to seeing LSU play Texas A&M. Well, we didn’t figure the LSU would actually play some defense and Texas A&M would deign not to run the ball with anyone apart from Johnny Manziel. It didn’t work out. Mind you, A&M’s defense stayed the same…. and LSU won pretty convincingly in a wet, horrible, swamp-like Baton Rouge.

Meanwhile, in The Swamp, Florida lost to Georgia Southern – a loss which not only embarrasses the conference but also could see Will Muschamp & Co out of a job.

So, here are your SEC Power Rankings for Week 13. And yes, we’re aware that this is a big week for the SEC…..

1. ALABAMA Hatred: Auburn, Auburn fans, and anything that has a War Eagle Tiger. Also dislikes Tennessee greatly. What the 2013 team is like: Damned Good. Best in the country.

2. AUBURN Hatred: Alabama, Alabama fans, and anything that has a weird elephant on it. Dislikes Georgia greatly, too. But not as much as Alabama. What the 2013 team is like: Fast-paced, fun to watch, not that great defensively. But coached by a whizz. d

3. MISSOURI Hatred: Kansas. They might not play ’em anymore, but it’s still Kansas. What the 2013 team is like: Great D, fast running backs, able QB, and two very, very good wide receivers.

4. LSU Hatred: Everybody. Maybe Alabama, Auburn and Florida more than others. What the 2013 team is like: Young defensively, a lot of talent offensively. Also have two very, very good wide receivers.

5. SOUTH CAROLINA Hatred: Nothing comes close to the hatred the Gamecocks feel for Clemson. What the 2013 team is like: Used to depend on a superstar. He’s been injured a lot. Now depend on a running back called Mike. You know, because everyone wants to be like Mike.

6. TEXAS A&M Hatred: Texas. It will ALWAYS be Texas. What the 2013 team is like: Love Johnny Football. Love Mike Evans. HATE the defense.

7. OLE MISS Hatred: LSU, Mississippi State. What the 2013 team is like: It’s young, but talented. The Missouri game on Saturday proved how long a way they’ve got to go.

8.GEORGIA Hatred: Florida. And Tennessee. And themselves when they are losing. What the 2013 team is like: Injured. Very. injured. But good if not, you know, injured.

9. VANDERBILT Hatred: Tennessee. What the 2013 team is like: It’s coached by a great guy. It’s got a future NFL wide receiver. But they aren’t going to compete for the SEC this year or any year in the near future.

10. MISSISSIPPI STATE Hatred: Ole Miss. What the 2013 team is like: It’s really not that good. But it can beat Kentucky. So it’s better than Kentucky.

11. FLORIDA Hatred: Georgia, Tennessee and LSU What the 2013 team is like: It got injured, and then it lost to Georgia Southern.

12. TENNESSEE Hatred: Florida, Alabama, Georgia What the 2013 team is like: It’s young. It depended on a great offensive line this year, and it didn’t turn out to be that good. Marquez North IS good.

13. KENTUCKY Hatred: Tennessee What the 2013 team is like: It 0-fer in the conference. That’s what it’s like. They’ve been better defensively this season, though.

14. ARKANSAS Hatred: Texas and Texas A&M and they are trying to create a new(ish) one with LSU What the 2013 team is like: Terrible. Which for Wisconsin fans, is karma.

Florida close to firing OC and other staff – reports

Florida is close to firing offensive co-ordinator Brent Pease and a number of other Florida assistants, CBSSports.com has reported.

Bruce Feldman wrote: “Earlier this week a source told me that Florida would be getting rid of offensive coordinator Brent Pease after this season and offensive line coach Tim Davis also would be gone. But after the Gators dismal showing in the loss to Georgia Southern on Saturday, UF’s first loss to an FCS program, there’s even more doubt about whether Will Muschamp also gets canned this winter despite AD Jeremy Foley’s “1,000 percent” support comment last week. This wasn’t even an FCS program with a winning record in its own conference the Gators lost to.” He added: “I thought Muschamp was a good hire at UF, but he’s learning on a huge stage. Getting to be a first-time head coach at a powerhouse program in the SEC with a big spotlight is really, really hard. Mark Richt succeeded but most don’t when they’re thrust into such a spot without figuring some things out at a smaller program (See: Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Kevin Sumlin, Butch Jones and a bunch of others). Guys like Richt and Bob Stoops are in the minority.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s not like this blog didn’t see it coming. Gator nation has also wanted it to happen.

Johnny Football Comes to Baton Rouge: SEC Week 13 Previews

The end of the college football season is upon us, but we’re still nowhere near deciding who’s going to go to the National Championship Game: Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, or upstart Baylor.

 

But while College Gameday and the country’s talking about Baylor’s trip to Oklahoma State (by the way, we’re taking Baylor, but under the 10 point spread), the best of us should be emotionally exhausted with the scorefest in Baton Rouge when Johnny Football comes to visit LSU.

Here’s our predictions 

Texas A&M at LSU

THIS is going to be one heck of a game. We’ve got one of the best quarterbacks ever to play college football (Johnny Manziel), a future NFL first round quarterback (Zach Mettenberger), three NFL-ready wide receivers (LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry, and A&M’s Mike Evans), one of the best running backs in college football (LSU’s Jeremy Hill), and two of the most unpredictable offensive coaches you’ll ever see in LSU’s Les Miles and his counterpart Kevin Sumlin. It’s going to be awesome.

And if you love defensive football, you might want to avoid this one. Because at the moment, both sides can’t play it. But then CAN score points. And with this game in the late afternoon at Tiger Stadium, it’s going to be noisy.

BOTTOM LINE: LSU is a 4-1/2 point favorite. We’re going to take LSU, because we think they’ve got a LITTLE more defensively. And we think they’ll win by a touchdown in a high-scoring classic.

Missouri at Mississippi

The maths is pretty simple: If Missouri wins its next two games, it’s going to Atlanta to play in the SEC Championship Game against the winner of the Alabama-Auburn game, which happens over next week’s Thanksgiving Break. Unfortunately, the games are tricky: a road trip to upset-minded Ole Miss and a home game against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M at home.

Anyway, Missouri has the weapons: It’s got quarterback James Franklin returning from injury, and two exceptional wide receivers in L’Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham, as well as one of this year’s best pass rushers in Michael Sam.

Ole Miss, on the other hand, is on fire after beating LSU a few weeks ago, and quarterback Bo Wallace and his own wide receiving trio of Donte Moncrief, Laquan Treadwell and Ja-Mes Logan, as well as rushing star Jeff Scott, can put up points with anybody.

BOTTOM LINE: Missouri’s a 2-1/2 point favorite. We’re going with Missouri to beat the spread in another tight game. By a field goal.

Mississippi State at Arkansas

There’s nothing to split between these two sides…..because both sides are really, really poor. Arkansas hasn’t recovered from losing a ton of talent last year (although watch out for running back Alex Collins), and Mississippi State may have caused four turnovers against mighty Alabama, but they dropped a number of passes against the Crimson Tide that could really have made their 20-7 a heck of a lot closer. In fact, all they did was make a lot of people in Vegas very unhappy indeed.

What might be interesting is how Mississippi State’s offense plays – they put up 41 at A&M and have been showing a little sign of life.

Anyway, so why have we picked this? Because it might we one of the day’s closest games.

BOTTOM LINE: Mississippi State’s a 1-1/2 point favorite. We’re taking Mississippi State in one of the most unentertaining games of the year.

VANDERBILT AT TENNESSEE

Tennessee’s hasn’t had the worst season thus far, and we expect a fired-up UT side ready battle Vanderbilt for victory in the ‘Tennessee Challenge’ (they should have a trophy for this one, we believe).

We still worry about the Tennessee quarterbacking situation with Joshua Dobbs at the helm, but we still don’t think that Vanderbilt – who struggled to score on Kentucky’s defense last week  – is that good themselves, aside from Jordan Matthews. Vandy’s ‘D’ is going to have to deal with Marquez North….if Dobbs can get to him.

This one’s going to be pretty close.

BOTTOM LINE: Tennessee – a 2-1/2 point favorite – wins by 7 in an unexpectedly close, great game.

KENTUCKY AT GEORGIA 

Georgia lost (yet) another heartbreaker this season when they were defeated by their own failure to bat down a last minute heave from Auburn’s Nick Marshall, but you really can’t blame this one on head coach Mark Richt, offensive co-ordinator Mike Bobo, or quarterback Aaron Murray. You can blame it (mostly) on Todd Grantham, Georgia’s defensive co-ordinator.

On Senior Day,  the faithful at Sanford Stadium are going to say goodbye to Murray (amongst others) , and hope to hang 40 or 50 on Kentucky while they are it.

On the other hand, Kentucky’s still got no SEC wins, and they didn’t look all that great against Vanderbilt.

BOTTOM LINE: Georgia – a 24 point favorite – wins by 35.

GAMES WE DON’T CARE ABOUT IT THE TEAMS WILL WIN BY A TON…..

GEORGIA SOUTHERN AT FLORIDA, CHATTANOOGA AT ALABAMA AND COASTAL CAROLINA AT SOUTH CAROLINA

 

 

 

15 SEC Players We’re Going To Miss When This Season Is Over

Right, so we love our SEC players almost as much as we like our SEC co-eds, our SEC stadiums, our SEC tailgates and as much as we hate the postgame SEC traffic.

Anyway, so here are 15 players we are really, really, really, really, really, really going to miss when this season is over. And if you think I’ve overdone it on the word: “Really”, then you should “really” find a new life.

1. Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M): Johnny Mesmerising. Johnny Manziel has been so incredible for A&M this season that you know that when the 2013-4 season is over and Johnny Football becomes Johnny NFL (where he’ll probably get eaten alive), you’ll shed a tear. I know we will. He’s been the greatest thing about SEC this year. Or maybe most years.

2. Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina): Could a player be more dominating despite having a foot/rib injury is this day and age? Is there a more watchable defensive player in college football? If you’re Florida QB Skyler Mornhingweg, you’ll get what we were talking about.

3. Aaron Murray (Georgia): Seems to have the whole of Georgia on his shoulders. Brings them back from the edge either to victory (South Carolina/ LSU) or his defense takes him to heartbreaking defeat (Clemson/Auburn). Georgia Football won’t be the same without you, Aaron.

4. Odell Beckham Jr (LSU): Sure, we might well put Zach Mettenberger up there, but Odell Beckham’s been The Real Deal in Baton Rouge this year. He’s been incredible making great plays everywhere, including punt returns. And he seems to do it with the minimum of nodding, pushing and jawing. Which is refreshing, if you know your LSU players.

5. Mike Evans (Texas A&M): As Lou Holtz would say: “Well, he’s just a tremendous receiver”. Yep. He is. And he’s going to go professional in this football endeavor, too.

6. AJ McCarron (Alabama): Fanbases miss winners. True, he hasn’t had to be AJ Heisman because he’s effectively been given the keys to a Masarati, but he’s been some driver. Roll AJ. Oh, and we’ll miss Ms Webb, too.

7. Zach Mettenberger (LSU): Mettenberger this season has been an adventure. At times he’s looked like a NFL quarterback. At times he’s looked just awful. But he’s definitely going to be missed by LSU fans, who must be enjoying the ‘Air Raid’ attack for the first time in years. We’d like to note that he’s been helped out by Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry.

8. Michael Sam (Missouri): The freakshow defensive end has been incredible for the Tigers this year, and he’s a big reason why they are in the drivers’ seat for SEC East glory (if they beat Ole Miss and Texas A&M). This year he’s had 16 tackles-for-loss and 10 sacks. And a forced fumble.

9. Jarvis Landry (LSU): The OTHER LSU wide receiver making hay and headlines alongside Beckham Jr. He’s been exceptional for Zach Mettenberger, too. Can’t wait to see him in the NFL.

10. Connor Shaw (South Carolina): Slide Connor! Slide! For a quarterback that’s so gifted at raising South Carolina from the dead, Connor Shaw’s inability to slide has meant that more often than not he’s been exposed to the big hit, which means that every season, he comes out in plaster. Still, Shaw doesn’t give up, and we love that about him. We’ll miss your guts, Mr Shaw.

11. L’Damian Washington (Missouri): We hadn’t really heard of L’Damian until he, you know, started to play crazy well for Mizzou this season. Now, Washington’s one  of the most dangerous wide receiving combinations in college football, partnering with Dorial Green-Beckham. Expect someone take him in the sixth round and the NFL guys to say (the same ones who say: “That Washington’s a pretty small wide receiver”) and Washington to be a gem.

12. Dominique Easley (Florida): Defensive tackle Easley’s going to the pros after this season’s over. When we see him on Sundays it’s going to be sad because it’ll remind us what we missed this 2013-4 season, because he was set to absolutely dominate the league.

13. Rajon Neal (Tennessee): There’s been a lot to complain about if you’re a University of Tennessee fan over the last four years, but there’s one thing you can’t complain about: The production and effort of Rajon Neal, who’s caught and run his butt off for the Vols. He could well run for 1,000 yards this year.

14. James Franklin (Missouri): The kid’s got guts, yo. We like gutsy kids here in the SEC. Oh, and Franklin’s a leader, too. We like leaders here in the SEC.

15. Arthur Lynch (Georgia): Called “Artie” by the Georgia faithful, he’s got the size and hands to be an excellent TE in the NFL. Put the team on his shoulders after all the injuries.

Heart Attack Auburn: SEC Power Rankings After Week 12

There have been great finishes in the SEC season, but maybe none better than the Georgia-Auburn game, when both sides thought they’d won the game. In the end, it was Georgia fans who were once again delivered the heartbreak, once again by a defense who couldn’t do their job properly and a Lady Luck who would not stop by their dressing room.

Elsewhere, the Florida misery continued with a loss to South Carolina, Alabama was pretty awful in their win over Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt out-yawned Kentucky in a yawner. Ole Miss levelled Troy.

Anyway, here are our SEC Power Rankings this week.

1. ALABAMA – Struggled in their game with Mississippi State, giving up four turnovers and generally looking complacent. Nick Saban – the architect of the joy when he jumped into AJ McCarron’s arms after the all-too-sweet LSU victory – will be giving the team a lot to think about with Auburn in two weeks time. This week? It’s Chattanooga. You know, because everyone wants to see Chattanooga visit Alabama.

2. AUBURN – The Immaculate Reception On The Plains wasn’t Auburn skill, and it wasn’t Nick Marshall brilliance or Gus Malzahn outthinking Mark Richt. It was dumb luck. Look, if Auburn play as well as they did in the first half against Georgia, they’ll give Alabama problems. If they play as badly as they did in the fourth quarter, then the game will be over before half-time, with Auburn fans running for the exits.

3. MISSOURI – Now come the two biggest games of the Tigers’ season: A visit to Ole Miss and Texas A&M’s visit to Columbia. We can’t wait. If the Tigers win the next two games, they play Alabama at the Georgia Dome. If they don’t, then South Carolina go to the Championship Game, despite the fact that the Gamecocks’ SEC match-ups are now over. At Ole Miss, they’ll have to use their wide receiving talents, and their solid pass rush. But be warned: Ole Miss is on fire at the moment.

4. SOUTH CAROLINA: “We aren’t a very good football team and we coulda/shoulda lost/hell, why should I be coaching when I could quite easily be playin’ golf?” says Steve Spurrier weekly about his football team. Maybe his quotes provide daily bulletin board material. But whatever it is, it’s working. Sacarelina is rolling.

5. TEXAS A&M: The Aggies didn’t do themselves any favors this week after giving up 35 to Bye Week on Saturday. The good news is that the Aggies put up 55 to get the ‘W’. Next Saturday the Johnny Football Show visits Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

6. OLE MISS: Right now, there is no team in the nation hotter than Ole Miss. Hugh Freeze has got this team energized, getting a little healthier. Missouri had better watch out.

7. GEORGIA: We say this once and we’ll say it again: Fire Todd Grantham. Now.

8. LSU: Jeremy Hill’s great. Odell Beckham’s great. Jarvis Landry’s great. Zach Mettenberger’s great. The LSU defense isn’t.

9. VANDERBILT: The Commodores are bowl-eligible. They made it after a horrible battle against Kentucky, when no side deserved to win. Some love must go to Vandy’s ‘D’ – they had four interceptions.

10. MISSISSIPPI STATE: After battling for four quarters against Texas A&M (when they could quite easily have given up) and then giving Alabama everything it could handle in Starkville, Dan Mullen’s given the program a little more pride again. And this team is young. Maybe there IS some hope of the Bulldogs beating the Rebels over Thanksgiving Weekend.

11. FLORIDA: “Let the season end NOW. PLEASE” – Florida fans.

12. TENNESSEE: The Vols move downwards because they were slapped by Florida, but the 11th and 12th positions are pretty even. Tennessee’s defense – especially against the rush- ain’t good though.

13. KENTUCKY: Throwing four interceptions won’t endear people to the ‘New Air Raid’ scheme that Mark Stoops has been talking about. Bring on basketball.

14. ARKANSAS: Bye Week 35, Arkansas 14.

 

 

Can Auburn Burn Georgia? Week 12 SEC Predictions

Wow. It’s Week 12 of the college football season, and although some writers have been saying: ‘It’s one of those crappy match-up weekends in college football’, we at the SEC would nominate Georgia and Auburn  – one of The South’s most ancient and nastier rivalries – for ‘Game Of The Week’ (I mean, I can’t waaaaait to watch Stanford/USC #sarcasm #moreUSCSongGirls at prime-time.

Anyway, can Todd Gurley & Co upset the ‘Malzahn machine’? 

GEORGIA AT AUBURN

This year, it was expected that Auburn would still be in the doldrums after a terrible 2012 under Gene Chizik, while Georgia would be contending for a National Championship. Well, the tables are turned. Georgia – beset by injuries – added to their first-day loss to Clemson by losing at home to Missouri and then Vanderbilt, while Auburn’s loss at LSU is the only one on their schedule, and if they come through Georgia and then win against Alabama, they are going to be going to the SEC Championship Game. A tall order indeed.

Great news for Georgia: Their talented running back Todd Gurley is getting back to somewhere near full strength, and wide receiver Michael Bennett’s getting better and better after coming back from a knee injury against Tennessee. The bad news for Georgia: Their defense is horrible, and is going to struggle with Auburn’s hurry-up offence and its mastermind coach, Gus Malzahn.

BOTTOM LINE: Auburn’s a 3-1/2 point favorite, while Georgia’s 6/4. We’ll take Auburn by a touchdown.

FLORIDA AT SOUTH CAROLINA

If things hadn’t already have gone to the proverbial toilet in the sky for the Florida Gators, they then lost at home to Vanderbilt- a team that they haven’t lost at home to since 1947. That’s a long time.

Anyway, under-fire coach Will Muschamp was given the dreaded vote of confidence. Tell you what: He’ll need his team to have a bit of confidence, which they don’t have bearing in mind their horrific injury list, and poor play on both sides of the ball (Florida’s ‘D’ was incredible until conceding over 50 points in the last two games combined).

South Carolina, on the hand, found a way to win at Missouri and are buzzing going into the Florida game. Coach Steve Spurrier was God in Florida, so playing his old team will be interesting for him. Watch out for RB Mike Davis, who’s a ferocious running back. And it’ll be interesting how their defensive first rounder Jadeveon Clowney plays, too.

 BOTTOM LINE: South Carolina’s a 13 point favorite. We’ll take South Carolina to win by two touchdowns, but it’s going to be tight until the fourth quarter. 

ALABAMA AT MISSISSIPPI STATE

Despite King Cowbell’s sterling fourth quarter at Texas A&M (they still didn’t win), we don’t expect Alabama to encounter the same problems with Mississippi State. Alabama’s offense is great, the defense is great….and Mississippi State’s got ‘potential’, as Analyst Of The Year Gary Danielson kept saying, but that’s about it.

BOTTOM LINE: Alabama’s a 25-1/2 point favorite. We’re taking Mississippi State (not to win, but to lose by more than nearly 4 TDs), because Alabama may well have some difficulty in the first quarter trying to deal with Dak Prescott. But when they do, this is going to be carnage.

KENTUCKY AT VANDERBILT

This isn’t going to be one for the neutrals (but definitely one for the 12.21 audience on Jefferson Sports Pilot) by any stretch of the imagination. Kentucky will be feeling low because not only is their football team not that good, but Big Blue Nation’s basketball team lost their No.1 status to Michigan State in Chicago in mid-week. And nothing makes Wildcats fans more annoyed than knowing that they aren’t going unbeaten in a basketball regular season. They’ll be playing Vanderbilt, who came away with a stunning with over hapless Florida IN THE SWAMP, the first time this has been done since Noah could feel that there was a bit of damp in the air. Of course, there are off-season distractions for Vanderbilt, but will that stop them beating Kentucky handiliy?

BOTTOM LINE: We’re taking Vanderbilt and the points. More because Kentucky isn’t ‘there yet’. 

…AND THE GAME WE DON’T CARE ABOUT

TROY AT OLE MISS

Unless the Trojans come with the USC Song Girls, we’re not interested.

BOTTOM LINE: Ole Miss is a 29-point favorite. We’re taking Ole Miss.

Florida AD backs Muschamp

Florida AD Jeremy Foley has backed under-fire Head Coach Will Muschamp.

He told Florida Gators website Gatorzone.com:

“As athletic director, I’m a thousand percent convinced that Will Muschamp is the guy to lead this football program,’’ Foley said inside his office at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. “Nothing has changed in what we feel about Will Muschamp from the day we hired him.

“Everyone around here wants the same thing. We want to do what is right for the University of Florida. We understand that this football season has not gone the way any of us wanted it to go, certainly not the way our fans wanted it to go, and most of all, not the way Will Muschamp wanted it to go.

“We have a history of being successful, we have a history of fixing things when they need to be fixed, and that is what is going to happen here, and Coach Muschamp is the one that will fix it.”

Beset by injuries, Muschamp has had a horrible season, losing to Georgia, LSU and Vanderbilt (the last one at home for the first time since 1947), and there has been nothing offensive to talk about all season. Defensively, Florida has got weaker as the season has gone on as they continued to beaten up.

If Florida loses to South Carolina and hated rivals Florida State in successive weeks, the Gators will miss a bowl game.

 

SEC Head Coaches: Who’s on the Hot Seat?

S

Anyway, our 1-14 of SEC Coaches on the Hot Seat. Hint: If you’re No.14, you’re probably not going to get fired. Other hint: Some of the reasons are just stupid.

1) Will Muschamp (Florida): The offense is useless. The defense is useless. The last two punches in the face will be hit up for 40 by a Florida legend (Steve Spurrier), and hit up for 60 by your hated rival (Florida State). You know, after losing in laughable fashion to Miami and Vanderbilt, and losing to Georgia 3 times in a row.

2) Dan Mullen (Mississippi State): The Bulldogs have gone downhill ever since mid-season 2012. The Bulldogs can’t beat a Top-10 team. Heck, they can hardly beat anybody. The fact that their two quarterbacks have been taking turns injured hasn’t helped Mullen, but the fanbase is beginning to want blood.

3) Les Miles (LSU): The LSU fans have never taken to Les Miles, and losing three straight to the most hated of their hated rivals isn’t making things a lot happier. Add to that a loss to Ole Miss (WITH NICK SABAN AT THE HELM, THAT NEVER HAPPENS!!), and the fact that the locker room seems to be permanently in jail, and you’ve got a pissed off LSU fanbase. You know, until they win another National Championship.

4) Mark Richt (Georgia): Forget the injuries, Georgia fans can’t stop looking past the Day 1 loss to Clemson. The fanbase blames Richt for his lack of hard-assness in not stomping Florida to death, and they probably blame him for Malcolm Mitchell getting hurt celebrating. And Keith Marshall’s injury at Neyland. And the fact that Georgia’s kicker loves drinking and boating.

5) Bret Bielema (Arkansas): The Razorbacks fanbase is really supportive of Bert (I mean Bret sorry), but the fact is this: Arkansas is horrible, horrible, horrible. Consider his seat warmed, folks.

6) Butch Jones (Tennessee): To celebrate the victory over South Carolina would also be to ignore the horror of Tennessee’s other losses, which have shown that the Vols are awful on D, and would probably be battling Kentucky for the 0-fer if it wasn’t for Marquez North. Having said that, Marquez North….HE GOOD.

7) Steve Spurrier (South Carolina): It’s all well and good being able to come out with the verbal barbs about Georgia and Clemson, but when the smart money think that they are going to sweep the Gamecocks, Steve Spurrier might get a glass of ‘shut up’. And the defense has been rotten this year, too. And Spurrier’s gotten involved with The Greatest Defensive Player In The History Of Mankind. And turned up pretty drunk to a TV show. And spent most of the season telling people how the ‘Cocks “aren’t a very good team”.

8) James Franklin (Vanderbilt): Jesus because Vanderbilt beat Georgia and Florida in a season,which is the first time that has happened since God was a boy (ie it’s never happened). But he might move to USC. He might move to Texas. He might move and be The Next Anthony Robbins. Nothing’s certain in SEC-land, after all.

9) Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M): CAN YOU NOT HIRE A GODDAMN DEFENSE CO-ORDINATOR, KEVIN? (P.S. We love you really)

10) Gary Pinkel (Missouri): You WHAT? You lost a 17-point, fourth quarter lead to South Carolina? Fire Gary…immediately #sarcasm.

11) Mark Stoops (Kentucky): Because people aren’t expecting anything from Kentucky apart from a good horse race and a damned good basketball team.

12) Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss): Jesus loves Hugh yes I know, because The Bible tells me so.

13) Gus Malzahn (Auburn): Yes, everyone expected Auburn to be 9-1 going into the home clash with Georgia this year. And probably 10-1 going into The Iron Bowl. Yep, everyone. You know, apart from everyone.

14) Nick Saban (Alabama): THERE IS NO WAY HE GOT A CALL FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS. OR TALKED TO THEM. BECAUSE NICK SABAN IS LOYAL. HE’S SO DAMNED LOYAL. AND HE’S A GRANDDAD. AND HE WINS FOOTBALL GAMES. A LOT OF FOOTBALL GAMES. IT WOULDN’T BE PART OF THE PROJECT FOR WORLD DOMINATION IF HE LEAVES FOR TEXAS, ANYWAY. (DEATH STARE).

 

 

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