Archive for July, 2014

In shocking news, another UGA player arrested

In shocking news, this weekend news emerged that yet another UGA player had been arrested – the seventh this off-season.

This time it was reserve lineback Davin Bellamy for DUI and speeding in Athens.

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, Bellamy was “clocked going 52 in a 35 mph zone heading east on College Station Road in Athens at 2:58 a.m when his 2001 Volvo was pulled over in the Kroger parking lot.

And when police smelt booze on his breath, he failed the sobriety test and police noted that he had “red, watery eyes“.

He refused to take a blood-alcohol test to determine his BAC, which would have probably been the highlight of the arrest. Especially if he’d made as close as a .341 like the girl did at the University of Iowa.

Georgia opens up the season against Clemson and South Carolina. Bellamy is unlikely to be playing both games.

SEC Preview 14: Can it get any worse for Kentucky?

With a SEC losing streak that stands at 16, it’s difficult not to feel sorry for Kentucky Football fans. While their basketball players are playing like gods and pulling off last-minute victories, Kentucky football players simply find ways to lose. Sometimes heartbreakingly. Will 2014 be any different for Mark Stoops and his team? 


The Wildcats finished 2-10 (0-8 SEC), including losses to Western Kentucky and hated Louisville. Victories included (wait for it) Miami (Ohio) and (drumroll) Alabama State. The closest losses were by a touchdown to South Carolina and by 6 to Mississippi State, and by 9 to WKU. The rest were blow-outs.


WR DeMarco Robinson was arrested for disorderly conduct, where he apparently “disorderly conduct, violation of a noise ordinance and resisting arrest”. He was suspended indefinitely. Other than that, it’s been pretty quiet on that front.

And all Mark Stoops’ assistants got raises despite the dismal performances. Thank you Big Blue (and yellow)  for big TV deals, eh?


Stoops had gotten himself a reputation as one of the best recruiters in the nation, and by God, did he manage it with this class. 22nd in the nation, 10th in the SEC despite the record? That’s impressive. Even more impressive was bringing in the state’s No.1 player Pro-Style QB Drew Barker alongside DT Matt Elam, S Darius West, DE Denzil Ware, ‘all-purpose’ back Stanley Williams, and WR Thaddeus Snodgrass, who were all 4-star recruits. All in all, he brought it 26 recruits.



We know this may sound silly, but I kinda like the idea of Drew Barker – the 6th-rated QB in the country – to take the job from Patrick Towles and Reese Phillips. He’s got a cannon, and he can move. Then again, so can Towles. This is going to be intriguing. Towles and Barker definitely have talent.


It’s not going to be too bad. Javess Blue (15th best WR in the SEC with 586 yards) and Ryan Timmons (37th in the SEC with 338) will lead the way. And if he can stay out of jail, Robinson could be a weapon for the ‘Cats, too. Jeff Badett will need to fully recover from injury, too. Watch out for Snodgrass to get some reps, too. It’s a pretty deep side – although it probably doesn’t compare talent-wise with a lot of teams.


A lot may have been said about the QBs, but the RBs really put on a show during the Spring Game. Jojo Kemp, Mikel Horton, Josh Clemons and Braylon Heard all impressed onlookers, and OC Neal Brown is also psyched about the arrival of freshman RB ‘Boom’ Williams which apparently will ‘add speed’ to the team.


C Jon Toth had such a good season in 2013 he was named to the SEC All-Freshman team. LT Darrian Miller and RT Jordan Swindle should also start. Freshman LG Nick Richardson and RG redshirt frosh Ramsey Mayers will try and hold down the fort for a line that gave up 37 sacks for an average of 239 yards and 3 sacks per game…all dead-last (by some margin) in the SEC. Towles and Barker should breathe deeply now.


Kentucky was the second-worst D in the SEC (apart from Texas A&M. Question: HOW IN THE HECK IS A&M DC MARK SNYDER STILL IN A JOB?) in terms of yards per game. Still, it returns 8 starters – although will be missing defensive star Avery Williamson. A lot of people will be looking to DEs Alvin Dupree, Za’Darius Smith and Jason Hatcher for even more production, and frosh DE Denzil Ware could also come in. DT Mike Douglas and Christian Coleman are good, but DT Matt Elam will also play immediately – he’s really good, by the way.

At linebacker, it’s all about the new. Junior Khalid Henderson will lead a linebacking corps that features JUCO Ryan Flannigan, freshmen Dorian Hendrix and Nico Firios. Still, it’s going to be one big experiment. And not easy.

Secondary-wise, transfers AJ Stamps and Chris Davis are going to help the secondary, while Ashley Lowery and Eric Dixon will also be flanked by freshman Darius West, who could play himself into a starting role.


Aug 30: UT MARTIN 
Sept. 6: OHIO
Sept. 13: at Florida
Oct. 11: ULM
Oct. 18: at LSU
Nov. 1: at Missouri
Nov. 15: at Tennessee
Nov. 29: at Louisville

Kentucky will fly to 2-0 in its first two weeks, before losing against Florida and Vanderbilt. Why Vandy? They can’t stop the rush, and Vandy’s rush is pretty good. They then lose a remarkably close one to South Carolina, before easing past ULM, losing at LSU on the road, and losing their next 5 games- including the last one to Louisville. That’s a 3-9 record, but still winless in the SEC. If the ‘Cats ARE going to pick up a win, look for the September 27th game against Vanderbilt.

SEC Preview 2014: Will there be good ‘karma’ for Arkansas?

Bret Bielema’s press conference should have just said “I’m just sick of losing, and I’ll turn this ship around”, and stopped there, but it didn’t. Instead, he told the world how he was irritated about fast-paced offenses and how they might endanger players’ safety, and all we here at SEC Football Blog could think was: “Is he that scared of the way the way it’s all changing?”. Anyway, will good things happen in 2014 for the Razorbacks and their suffering support base?


Bret Bielema’s first season for Arkansas was probably one he’d like to forget. The Hogs went winless in the SEC, and finished 3-9. And worse than that, Arkansas’ slide seemed to happen after Jen, Bret’s wife, tweeted the word “karma” out there after Wisconsin lost controversially to Arizona State on Week 2. A lot of the players in that loss…played for Bret and were recruited by him before he decided he wanted to take on a SEC role. The next week Arkansas lost laughably to Rutgers, and didn’t win a game after that (even though their schedule was really, really tough), with the two close games being a heartbreaking overtime loss to Mississippi State and a last-second soul-destroyer against LSU after Tigers QB Zach Mettenberger had gotten injured. Karma, eh?


It’s been a quiet time for the police in Fayetteville, with no Arkansas Razorback getting busted by the cops for doing something stupid or even doing something really, really nasty.

Bielema did the only replacing, putting Robb Smith – who has NFL experience with Tampa Bay – in as DC, replacing Ohio State-bound Chris Ash. He also hired Clay Jennings as defensive backs coach from TCU, replacing Taver Johnson. Apparently he’s an ‘ace recruiter’. He also hired E.K. Franks as his new director of recruiting.


Finished 30th in the nation and 11th in the SEC. Not too shabby if you think about the record. Prized recruits include top players in Arkansas and Missouri in DT Bijhon Jackson and OT Brian Wallace (both 4 stars). Highly-touted WR JoJo Robinson was also signed – although there was drama about an armed robbery charge (that later saw him cleared (It would have been ‘more SEC’ if he’d actually done it)). OT Frank Ragnow, QB Rafe Peavey and RB Juan Day were all highly-rated in their respective states.



Brandon Allen is the team’s starting QB. While Peavey’s seen as the QB of the future, Allen’s the present. “Sit back and relax because it isn’t going to change”, Bielema said to fans questioning his logic of continuing on with a QB who had 11 starts, threw for 1,152 yards, 13 TDs, and 10 INTs, with a 49.6 completion percentage at SEC Media Days. Allen finished dead last in completion percentage in the SEC, and dead last in QB rating, too. Sorry, Hogs fans. This could be ‘Piiiiig Stinkie’.


Sophomore Alex Collins was 8th in the SEC in total yards (1,026), and he’s a freak. We can’t WAIT to see more of him this year. Jonathan Williams is a pretty tidy back-up (10th in the SEC (900 yards)), too. This could be one of the best 1-2 punches in the SEC at the position. And yes, we’re serious. Redshirt soph Korliss Marshall can also expect to see the field. If Bielema’s strategy of ramming the ball down his opponents’ throats works, Arkansas could be pretty competitive.


While we know TE Hunter Henry’s going to be a big-time target for Allen, you can expect Fr. WR JoJo Robinson to get thrown a lot of balls as a much-hyped receiver. Why? You don’t know if Demetrius Wilson and junior D’Arthur Cowan can stay healthy. JUCO Cody Hollister and new recruit Jared Cornelius will add some depth for a side that was last in the SEC in passing offense last year. Personally, we can’t wait to see Robinson play. He had well over 20 offers from schools while he was in high school, and he’s got 4.53 speed for the 40. If Allen can actually connect with his QB, this will be fun.


Remember what we said about big, brutal offensive lineman at Wisconsin that helped the Badgers move the ball easily out of the RB position? Well, Bielema’s trying to replicate that at Arkansas. Transfer Cameron Jefferson (LG), Dan Skipper (LT), David Kirkland (RG) and Luke Charpentier (C) will provide the offensive line. Expect freshmen Ragnow and Wallace to provide ample competition in fall camp for a unit that’s getting deeper. Oh, and here’s a FUN FACT: Arkansas was the best team in the SEC in sacks allowed last year. You heard that right.


The defense, which gave up over 30 points a game and ranked 98th in the nation, may be much, much better in 2014. DE Trey Flowers can be excellent, but won’t he just be double-teamed by offensive linesmen? JaMichael Winston, Deatrich Wise and Brandon Lewis will all play at DE somewhere along the line, DTs Darius Philon and DeMarcus Hodge are OK, but may see their places usurped by top recruit Bijhon Jackson. Yep, he’s pretty talented. The linebacking corps will be led by JUCO Joshua Williams, and Martrell Spaight, who USA Today said: “..Should make a name as one of the hardest-hitting linebackers in the conference”.

Secondary-wise, Arkansas was the second-most-lousy in the SEC last year in terms of TDs given up (bar Texas A&M), 10th-words in yards given up, 11th in ypg, 12th in INTs….the list goes on.

Safety Alan Turner led Arky in tackles, and will be joined by Tevin Mitchell, Will Hines and DJ Dean at CB. We don’t have a lot of confidence in them.


Aug. 30 – at Auburn
Sept. 13 – at Texas Tech
Sept. 27 – vs. Texas A&M (Dallas)
Oct. 11 – ALABAMA
Oct. 18 – GEORGIA
Oct. 25 – UAB
Nov. 1 – at Mississippi State
Nov. 15 – LSU
Nov. 22 – OLE MISS
Nov. 29 – at Missouri

We expect Nicholls State, Northern Illinois (they’ve got a new QB), and UAB to all be victories. We don’t expect the Hogs to beat Auburn – even if the Tigers don’t have Nick Marshall. Or win at poisonous Texas Tech. Or beat Texas A&M (although it’s gonna be a shoot-out between two of the SEC’s worst defenses!). They’ll get slammed by Alabama, Georgia and LSU at home, and lose close ones to the two Mississippi teams. And then lose at Missouri and Maty Mauk. Alex Collins might well be one of the best running backs in the nation, but it won’t help Bielema, bearing in mind the poverty of his starting QB and receiving corps. 3-9 with another 0-8 season in the SEC. Bret, your hot-seat starts here.

SEC Preview 2014: New coach, New Vanderbilt?

There’s a new era at Vanderbilt. Derek Mason’s replaced James Franklin as the new head coach, and he arrived at the SEC Media Days looking AWESOME in a bow tie (he won the best-dressed contest by some mile).

But can Mason’s awesomeness translate into a good Vanderbilt team in 2014? 


Vanderbilt finished with a 9-4 (4-4 SEC) record, which includes wins over Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. They also managed to lose one of the games of the season on Opening Day against Ole Miss (by damn that was a good game!).


After all the showmanship of head coach James Franklin, you wouldn’t have thought that he was just auctioning for a bigger job. Well, Bill O’Brien left Penn State for Houston….and James Franklin left Vanderbilt for Penn State. And Derek Mason left Stanford (where he was defensive co-ordinator) to be Vanderbilt’s head coach.

The rape case of 2013 (which involved four former Vandy football players) rumbled on, but in 2014, there wasn’t a lot more…you know, if you discount D-Line coach Vavae Tata getting arrested for drunk driving then leaving the scene of an accident. He’s pleaded guilty, and will serve jail time. Players-wise? None. But the Commodores had enough crap in 2013 to last them a lifetime.


Vanderbilt finished dead-last in the SEC, which doesn’t surprise us bearing in mind the inopportune time of Franklin’s leaving, plus the academic requirements that make the school the most difficult to qualify for in the SEC, but still finished 46th in the country. The signing of four-star DE Nifae Lealao, four-star S Emmanuel Smith, RB Dallas Rivers, S Trent Sherfield, and OT Cole Hardin were the highlights on a class that hardly shone out.



Patton Robinette is apparently favored to get the starting job in Nashville, although LSU transfer Stephen Rivers and redshirt freshman Johnny McCrary. What Robinette offers is a dual threat. In his freshman year at Vandy, Robinette rushed for 214 yards (and 7 TDs)..and threw for 642 yards and 4 TDs. Robinette’s biggest issue is going to be accuracy. Let’s not forget he threw for 5 INTs, too, and only had a completion percentage of 52.3%, which isn’t exactly setting the world alight. No wonder Mason’s a bit guarded before naming his starter. We wouldn’t be surprised if Mason has a tandem QB set-up of Robinette and Rivers before he names his true starter later on in the year.


Jerron Seymour – who had more than 700 yards and 14 TDs last year – is going to be one of the star attractions of Vandy’s offense, with Brian Kimbrow backing him up now Jonathan Krause has left. It might not be exciting, but it should be functional for Coach Mason, who’s got 83 total career stats coming back for him at offensive line.  Replacing LT Wes Johnson will be sophomore Andrew Jelks (who started 9 times) or senior Andrew Bridges. Center Joe Townsend, Jake Bernstein (LG), and Spencer Pulley (RG) will anchor an experienced interior. Despite its experience, it’s still going to have to improve against the rush – it was the second worst in the SEC is sacks allowed (33).


Things are changing strategy-wise for Vanderbilt’s defense, with Derek Mason – a defensive GURU at Stanford (we say that in CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE HE WAS SO FREAKING GOOD AT HIS JOB THERE), changing from 4-3 to a 3-4. One the defensive line, we’re going to see a lot of DEs Adam Butler and Barron Dixon, and NT Vince Taylor, but it’s all about the linebackers. And they are set at that position, folks. Caleb Azubike and Kyle Woestmann are both converted DEs and cause some trouble for O-Lines, as are talented juniors Darreon Herring and Jake Sealand will guard the interior. Ja’karri Thomas will provide excellent back-up. In other words, Vanderbilt’s loaded at linebacker.

Secondary-wise,  Oren Burks is going to be playing safety instead of linebacker (we think he probably realised how deep the team was at LB) and Andrew Williamson will form your safety pairing – and new arrival Emmanuel Smith could also start if he impresses Mason. Sophomore CBs Paris Head, Torren McGaster and Darius Sims will all battle it over the CB positions.


Sept. 6 – OLE MISS
Sept. 13 – UMASS
Sept. 27 – at Kentucky
Oct. 4 – at Georgia
Oct. 25 – at Missouri
Nov. 8 – FLORIDA
Nov. 22 – at Mississippi State

We’re convinced about Derek Mason and his coaching smarts, and we’re convinced that the better Vandy’s defense looks, the more players will want to come play for him in Nashville (you know, those that are smart enough, anyway). We still think that they’ll split the first four games of their season, beating Temple and UMASS but losing to Carolina and Ole Miss. We then predict they’ll win on the road at Kentucky, lose at Georgia, beat Charleston Southern, lose to Missouri (sorry, but not a great secondary facing Maty Mauk spells trouble), beat Old Dominion, lose to Florida, Mississippi State and finally lose at home to Tennesee. Why? This team’s going to be great against the rush, but it’s going to struggle against the pass. And the offense really isn’t going to set the world alight. Sorry ‘Dores, but it’s going to be a 5-7 season (1-7 SEC).

2014 SEC Preview: Ole Miss, by damn?

Ole Miss has always been a pretty interesting school. It’s got one of the best tailgates in College Football (although opposing fans insist The Grove’s like a cocktail party you’re not invited to). It’s got ‘The Blind Side’. It’s got previous history we don’t want to go into. And right now, it’s got energy with head coach Hugh Freeze recruiting like a God. But don’t get us wrong – if Freeze loses two straight to Dan Mullen and Mississippi State, he won’t be popular in Oxford…


The end-of-season, 2-overtime loss to Mississippi State stands out as probably the worst loss of Ole Miss’ season, considering they stood out early on with a heart-attack victory at Vanderbilt, a stunning victory over Texas (in terms of its ease), before things came crashing down to earth with losses against Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M. They then rebounded with another great win, this time over LSU, before easing past Idaho, Arkansas and Troy. They then lost two straight against Missouri and hated rivals Mississippi Stat before rebounding to victory in the Music City Bowl against Georgia Tech.


Who’s running discipline: Marshall Henderson CB Senquez Golson was arrested for failure to provide a name or ID to police, Denzel Nkemdiche (disturbing peace), Serderius Bryant (public drunkenness) and DE Channing Ward (DUI) were also arrested, and Freeze had to boot DB Bobby Hill after he was arrested for – gasp – sexual battery. We hope he ends up in jail if he’s found guilty.


Stop if you’ve heard this before – Hugh Freeze is a damned good recruiter. After an electric 2013, he put together the country’s 15th-ranked recruiting class (8th in the SEC). It starred S CJ Hampton, LB Christian Russell, DE Marquis Haynes, OT Fahn Cooper, All-round offensive athlete Jeremy Liggins, QB Kendrick Doss, who all signed early. Top player in the State OG Rod Taylor, MS’ No.3 player WR Markell Pack and No.4 Breeland Speaks, who plays DT all came on board, as did DE Garrald McDowell. JUCO RB Akeem Judd was ranked the top JUCO RB in the class (don’t get that mixed up with ‘top RB in the class’, because Rebels fans might think they’d signed Leonard Fournette).



The legend of “Doctor Bo” stems from this amusing account of two college football bloggers playing video games with each other and acting like children. It’s continued, and isn’t about to give up now. Anyway, he finished 2nd in the SEC in total passing yards (3,346), 3rd in yards per game (257.4), 7th in TDs, 5th in completion percentage (64.8%), and he’s going to be the top QB (stats-wise) returning in the SEC this year. We expect him to keep his job.


Donte Moncrief may have left, but sophomore Laquon Treadwell is straight-up filthy. Expect him to be Wallace’s No.1 receiver. And if he gets the touches Moncrief had, then Ole Miss is going to be just fine. Cody Core, Quincy Adeboyejo, Josh Johnson and Collins Moore will provide ample depth, and as Hugh Freeze isn’t afraid to play freshmen, don’t be surprised if 4-star recruit Markell Pack plays, too.


For a unit that was 7th in the SEC in total yards, there’s going to be a lot missing now Jeff Scott’s graduated. Some Ole Miss insiders are excited about  I’Tavius Mathers, because he’s elusive and quick. Jaylen Walton, Eugene Brazley, Jordan Wilkins, Mark Dodson and JUCO Akeem Judd will provide ‘Back-Up By Committee’. But I’m not that high on Ole Miss’ RBs this year. With the receiving corps pretty solid, Hugh Freeze may not need them!


OT Laremy Tunsil‘s going to lead the way in only his second year in Oxford. Other OT Austin Golson’s not – because he’s transferred to be ‘closer to his family’. LG Aaron Morris should be fine to start against Boise, and redshirt sophomore Robert Conyers can play anywhere. JUCO Fahn Cooper could well start, as could Justin Bell. We expect freshman Rod Taylor to immediately get work up front. Whatever ways, this line is really thin, which means that ‘Doctor Bo’ might need surgery come end-of-season!


Before we start, Denzel and Robert Nkemdiche have have quite the off-season, haven’t they? Denzel got arrested, and both brothers have been sued for punching and kicking a guy. They have since counter-sued. Anyway, they are still going to be a force to be reckoned with on the field, for an Ole Miss defense that returns NINE starters. And while Texas A&M couldn’t stop the pass for crap, Ole Miss couldn’t stop the run. DE C.J. Johnson and transfer Fadol Brown will hope to solidify things, as will freshman DE Marquis Haynes. Robert Nkemdiche‘s a very good DT, but will he be double-teamed all season long? And at linebacker, Denzel Nkemdiche had a fantastic 2013, and could be a game-changer if he stays out of jail.

The secondary should be excellent, helped by fantastic, future-NFL and All-American S Cody Prewitt and Tony Connor. We’re pretty excited. Freshman S CJ Hampton‘s going to give Connor a run for his money, too. CB Senquez Golson should play for most of the season (though unlikely against Boise!), and Mike Hilton and Derrick Jones will provide ample depth. This unit could be really, really strong.


Aug. 28 – vs Boise State (Atlanta)
Sept. 6 – at Vanderbilt
Sept. 13 – LOUISIANA
Sept. 27 – MEMPHIS
Oct. 4 – ALABAMA
Oct. 11 – at Texas A&M
Oct. 25 – at LSU
Nov. 1 – AUBURN
Nov. 22 – at Arkansas

Although a lot of this hinges on whether the O-Line can keep Wallace in one piece, Ole Miss is actually more saved by a pretty easy non-conference schedule, where they should reel off 4 wins with ease and at least guarantee some bowl money. SEC-wise, we figure they’ll  beat Vanderbilt on the road, Arkansas on the road, and Tennessee at home pretty easily. We figure they’ll lose to Alabama and at Texas A&M, LSU and Auburn, and win the home game against Mississippi State to get the Egg Bowl back. That’s an 8-4 year (4-4 SEC), without raising a lot of eyebrows. 

2014 SEC Preview: Can Tennessee overcome weakness on the lines?

Let’s be honest: It hasn’t been the greatest few years at Tennessee. The fans on ‘Rocky Top’ haven’t had a winning record since 2009, and one double-digit win season in seven years. In other words, UT fans have spent a lot of time finding game tailgates as a chance to catch up and hate life together. Neyland’s a pretty easy ticket now. Butch Jones coming in last year, though, has threatened to turn things around. Tennessee was perhaps the best 5-7 team in college football, and this year, recruiting’s going well and smiles might just be returning again.


Tennessee had a winning record early on in the season because they beat very substandard competition. And beat ’em well. But when it came to Oregon and Florida, they were drowned. But we saw glimpses of good when they took the game to Georgia, losing only because they turned the ball over in OT (‘Pig’ Howard should still shudder at the thought of THAT OT end-zone turnover). And then – beyond all expectation – they beat South Carolina, coming back from a 21-17 deficit (after blowing a 17-7 lead) to score 6 in the fourth quarter – including a time-expiring kick to win 23-21. They then four straight, before smashing Kentucky 27-14 in the game-ender.


The ‘Fulmer Cup’ is still given out (in spirit) in memory of Philip Fulmer’s UT teams who couldn’t stay out of jail….but the title’s going to Texas (A&M), not Tennessee. In fact, UT’s only had 2 arrests, and those were for getting busted at a party. All-SEC, potential All-American linebacker A.J. Johnson was one of them, and reserve NT Danny O’Brien was the other. That’s been it since Feb 9. Johnson and O’Brien had the charges dropped by the state after making deals. We suspect both players will be suspended for the opening game or two by Coach Jones.

Butch Jones got himself some headlines at SEC Media Days for – rightly – referring to Tennessee as ‘Wide Receiver U’. There wasn’t a team in college football with the amount of WRs going to the NFL than Tennessee back in the day. Read this report if you don’t believe us.


Only in the SEC could you be 7th in the nation but 5th in the SEC in terms of recruiting. Jeez. Hard life. Anyway, the Vols were still hugely happy with their haul, taking the top 4 players in the state (WR Josh Malone, RB Jalen Hurd, S Todd Kelly, DE Dwyane Hendrix), and the nation’s 4th-best JUCO WR Von Pearson. That’s pretty tidy.



The battle: Senior Justin Worley, soph. Josh Dobbs, redshirt soph. Nathan Peterman, redshirt frosh Riley Ferguson. Who’s going to win? Jeez. Experts say that Riley Ferguson’s been fun to watch, but a heart attack in terms of his miscues. Dobbs shone in the Spring. Worley manages the game but doesn’t really shine out. So who’s going to win? We’re going to give it to Worley because of seniority, but Dobbs will take the role by end-season because of talent.


As you can see by the link we supplied earlier, Tennessee’s got a rich, rich history of WRs, and Butch Jones is eager. Well, they’ve got one of the best receivers in the SEC – and maybe college football – in Marquez North, who led the team with nearly 500 yards and 1 TD on just 38 receptions. The kid can catch ANYTHING, yo. Well, now they bring in Malone and Pearson which is going to excite a lot of people on Rocky Top. Butch Jones might be right about this…but he needs a good QB. Or maybe a not-awful QB. They are four-deep at TE, too with Daniel Helm, Ethan Wolf, A.J. Bransiel and AJ Downs your guys at that position.


UT fans are really excited about the return of senior Marlin Lane, who ran for 534 yards and 4 TDs last year. If he can keep his nose clean, he’ll be  a hoss for Vols fans. Justus Pickett, the transfer from Maryland, is going to compete, too. Hurd should start immediately and is talented enough to immediately create some havoc. Without the offensive line they had last year, the Vols will ask the RBs to do more blocking for the passing game than eat up the yards. You know, unless the O-Line gets great quickly.


The Vols are going to have a lot of problems at O-Line. It’s the least experienced in the SEC, and just SIX starts combined. SIX. In other words, we really don’t know who’s going to start, but we’ll have a go, helped by some research. Mack Crowder at center. Kyler Kerbyson and Marcus Jackson the two guards. The giant 6-6, 311lb  FRESHMAN Coleman Thomas at RT. Walk-on Jacob Gilliam and Dontavius Blair will battle it out for the LT spot (we’re rooting for the Gilliam because of the ‘walk-on’ story). The Vols better pray that no-one gets injured on the line (in the same way as key opposition players got injured against UT last year), because they aren’t very deep.


The return of all-world LB A.J. Johnson is awesome for Vols fans. He’s a tackling machine. Beyond that, fans are pretty excited about DE Corey Vereen and hybrid Curt Maggitt, O’Brien and DE Jordan Williams too. JUCO Owen Williams could start at DT immediately. Beyond that, who knows? We know one thing: A.J. Johnson’s going to be one of the most underrated stories in college football. Again.

The secondary, though, brings back four starters from a unit that finished 3rd in the SEC in total yards given up (27th in the nation YPG), with junior Brian Rudolph and S LaDarrell McNeil leading the way. If soph CB Cam Sutton can continue an excellent 2013, then. Frosh CB Emmanuel Mosley could delight a lot of people at CB, such is his speed and talent. D’Andre Payne is predicted to see the field at nickelback, especially if Justin Coleman struggles at that position. Devaun Swafford will be in the battle for a safety spot, too.


Aug. 31 Utah State
Sept. 6 Arkansas State
Sept. 13 at Oklahoma
Sept. 27 at Georgia 
Oct. 4 Florida 
Oct. 11 Chattanooga 
Oct. 18 at Ole Miss
Oct. 25 Alabama 
Nov. 1 at South Carolina
Nov. 15 Kentucky
Nov. 22 Missouri 
Nov. 29 at Vanderbilt 

We think UT will go to 2-0 with close wins over Utah State and Arkansas State (don’t overlook both teams, folks – Utah State’s a trendy opening weekend upset pick), then quickly go to 2-3 with losses against OU, Georgia and a revamped Florida, before going 3-3 with a win over Chatanooga. They then go to 3-6 with losses at Ole Miss, home to ‘Bama, and at South Carolina, before wins over Kentucky and Vanderbilt (sandwiched by a home loss to Missouri – although this one could be really, really close) make Vols fans excited about the future. 5-7 overall. 

2014 SEC Preview: Is now the time to take Mississippi State seriously?

Everyone seems to be pretty confident in Starkville right now. It must happen when your team expands its stadium, wins their bowl game by 37 (losing me money in the process) and beats Ole Miss in The Egg Bowl. Anyway, Dan Mullen’s chest was very puffed when he walked into SEC Media Days. We’re glad he didn’t come in wearing a visor. Only Steve Spurrier looks cool in one of those.


Is the fact that people are referring to Mississippi State as some sort of SEC dark horse because the Bulldogs beat their biggest rival? Or because they finish the season on a three-game winning streak? Or only lost to Alabama by 13, and Auburn by 4? Or because their QB, Dak Prescott, has been touted as ‘dark horse’ Heisman Trophy by media critics?


After defensive lineman Jordan Washington was booked for suspected residential burglary, things looked pretty quiet…right until the home of current CBs coach Deshea Townsend in Pittsburgh was busted into and cops found 1,500 bricks of heroin. Townsend was IN NO WAY involved, but it’s still a great story and we can only pray that an inventive student section (we’re looking at you, LSU!) makes up something funny when the match-up happens. It’s fair to say Townsend must be pretty pissed right now.


Although the Bulldogs ranked 12th in the SEC in 2014 in recruiting, they still managed some strong in-state recruiting. ATHs Jamoral Graham and Gerri Green, RB Aeris Williams, WR Jesse Jackson and DE Will Coleman are all in the Top-10 in their position in their respective states (all but Coleman are from MS (He’s from TX).



After a season where he finished with 1,940 yards, 10 TDs and 7 INTs (passing) and 829 yds and 13 TDs (rushing), Prescott got himself on the Davey O’Brien watch-list. He led MSU to an Egg Bowl win after coming on in the 4th quarter and -despite injury- beat the hated Rebels almost single-handedly. People love him as a leader. Some people will talk about him as a potential future Tim Tebow. Us? We just hope he gets his passing in order. Otherwise, he’ll just be the QB of another medicore team. Brian Johnson’s been hired as the new QBs coach. We’ll see how good he is with Dak. Whatever happens, Dak’s gonna give the offense some cowbell.


Prescott is going to frighten defenses with his legs. We know that. We think he’ll do the same thing in 2013 as he did in 2014, even with Dan Mullen taking over the new offensive co-ordinator’s role as his own with old OC Les Koenning going south to Texas. A lot may be on Josh Robinson‘s shoulders to provide running support, because RB LaDarius Perkins has graduated. Ashton Shumpert and Nick Griffin will provide solid back-ups, but some experts believe that by season’s-end, Shumpert could well be the starter.


Actually, they are. Jameon Lewis, Robert Johnson and De’Runnya Wilson all come back, and freshman Jesse Jackson could be the team’s fourth WR. It’s not exactly spectacular – they ranked 54th/ 8th (SEC) last year – but it’s OK. We’ll expect a lot from Lewis who was 6th in the SEC in yards per game (923 ypg, avg. 71). A lot of people like Fred Ross, too…and some say he could fill Chad Bumphis’ shoes.


Mississippi State’s returning eight starters, led by LB Benardrick McKinney and 300lb D-Lineman Chris Jones and P.J. Jones. Preston Smith will return at DE, while McKinney’s experience and ability at LB lessen the pressure on Matthews Wells and Beniquez Brown to perform. Expect frosh LB Gerri Green to make waves if he impresses at Fall Camp.

We love MSU’s secondary, too. Taveze Calhoun, Will Redmond and Jamerson Love are quality CBs (they had 14 INTs in the SEC season (5th in the league (25 Nationally, ranking 35th) .  Justin Cox will revert to safety to help Kendrick Market.

The ‘D’ is also going to be helped by the fact that MSU is playing 6 home games (and a game at South Alabama), where the fanbase can ring their cowbells very, very loudly and put off opposition offenses.


Aug. 30 Southern Miss
Sep. 6 UAB
Sep. 13 at South Alabama
Sep. 20 at LSU
Oct. 4 Texas A&M
Oct. 11 Auburn
Oct. 25 at Kentucky
Nov. 1 Arkansas
Nov. 8 UT-Martin
Nov. 15 at Alabama
Nov. 22 Vanderbilt
Nov. 29 at Ole Miss

OK, so Mississippi State goes 3-0 with an easy schedule early on. They then lose on the road to LSU in a war, before beating Texas A&M at home and losing to Auburn at home. They then win three more straight by winning at Kentucky and at home to Arkansas and at home to mighty UT-Martin (Gosh MSU’s non-conference schedule is disgustingly awful), before losing at Alabama, and beating Vanderbilt at home. We think they’ll lose at Ole Miss too, in a war, finishing the season a bowl-eligible and improved-from-last-year 8-4 (4-4 SEC).


Right Richt: Jonathan Taylor booted by Georgia

You know what? We’re not actually being sarcastic when we say “Right Richt”, because any guy who strangles or strikes his girlfriend or any female (as it seems sophomore D-Lineman Jonathan Taylor did in the late hours of Monday night) should be booted from a football team and if we’re honest, should not be allowed to transfer, unless it’s to jail.

Well, after this second run-in with the law in one off-season, the 6-4, 340lb  Taylor was dismissed by the Georgia Bulldogs today. He was released from jail at 11.45am and was packing up his stuff by 1.30pm today. Mark Richt obviously wasn’t screwing around. The news release detailing his booting came at around 3pm, according to reports.

There isn’t a lot more to say about this, apart from one word: Good.

BOTTOM LINE: We’d be amazed if Taylor finds  a place in the SEC again after striking a woman (hey, Dorell Green-Beckham didn’t

2014 SEC Preview: Can Florida rebound from a goddawful 2013?

Florida head coach Will Muschamp knows he’s on the hot seat. Everyone knows he’s on the hot seat. He’s one terrible season from getting his ass booted out of The Swamp, and we all know it. You can blame a lot of things for an awful 2013. You can blame the mound of injuries. His bad offensive co-ordinator. A difficult schedule. Or just simple blame Muschamp, as a lot of people have done. 

Anyway, we look ahead to 2014, for what a lot of Gators fans hope will not be a repeat of 2013. If it is, then The Swamp will be less full of Gators than full of wide, open spaces….


Before we start on last season’s 4-8 schedule, we’d like to point out that the Gators had 23 players missing games in 2013. TWENTY-THREE (Thanks, Andy Hutchins!). According to Hutchins, “of the 28 Florida players who missed snaps this fall thanks to injury, 20 were offensive and defensive starters“. 17 Gators on scholarship had season-ending injuries, including QB Jeff Driskel, WR Andre Debose, DT Dominique Easley, back-up QB Tyler Murphy and LB Antonio Morrison. The injuries were far-reaching and continuous. Oh, and during that time, came the losses. The 21-16 loss at Miami. The back-to-back atrocities against LSU (offensively) and Missouri (both sides of the ball). The Cocktail Party. Er, Vanderbilt. South Carolina. Florida State. And before the blow-out loss to the hated ‘Noles, there was the home 26-20 loss to freaking Georgia Southern. Yes, Georgia Southern. The world suddenly had a way to tease Florida fans. Anyway, the 3-5 SEC record wasn’t terrible (they beat Tennessee, Arkansas, and Kentucky), but losing the last seven games were (you know, including that Ga. Southern game).

Stats-wise, Florida managed to finish 113th in the country offense-wise. That’s all you need to know, really.


Two things of good news for Florida. First of all, no-one has been arrested in the off-season. Secondly, the Gators are a bit healthier, and 16 starters returned to play the 2014 season. This includes 7 offensive players, 7 defensive players, and 2 from special teams, including Driskel, RBs Kelvin Taylor and Matt Jones, DE Dante Fowler, and other talent. Having said that, 9 players were still out for Spring Practice, but are expected to return for the fall.

Will Muschamp changed some things staffing-wise, bringing in OC Kurt Roper from Duke, where he’d helped to take Duke to a bowl game  (and nearly upset Texas A&M). 


This Will Muschamp dude can certainly recruit. The Gators ranked 9th after National Signing Day 2014, bringing in 25 recruits including 5-star CB Jalen Tabor, and a host of four-stars including DT Gerald Willis, Pro-Style QB Will Grier, DT Thomas Holley and OT David Sharpe. A lot of people are going to make comments about the Gators’ poor start to NSD 2015, but we’re not there yet.



Unlike a lot of other programs in the SEC, there is no problem for Muschamp to name his starting QB. That’s going to be Jeff Driskel, who’s back from a broken leg and seems to be fighting fit. That’s good news for Roper, and there should be a lot of fun ‘n’ gun in his offense. Duke last year averaged nearly 33 pts/game. And apparently, Roper’s new offense is going to be more down the ‘spread’ route, which Chompers are pretty happy about.


The Gators are chomping at the bit at running back. Soph Kelvin Taylor, Sr. Mack Brown and Sr Matt Jones will form one hell of a committee for a team that may well run the ball by committee next year. The former three really are good. Taylor and Brown combined for over 1,000 yards and 8 TDs for the Gators in ’13. And Matt Jones is really, really good, too…..if he stays healthy.


We say the words “if healthy” for a lot of the Gators team, but after 2013, it’s hard not to. Anyway, LT D.J. Humphries and RT Chaz Green returns, as does Tyler Moore and LT/LG Max Garcia. Gators experts are expecting Trip Thurman or Trenton Brown to play LG, Garcia to move back to center, Moore to play RG, and Green to play RT. That’s an experienced line, folks. We can’t wait to see how they’ll cope with the up-tempo offensive schemes of Roper.


A lot of pressure will be put on senior WR Quinton Dunbar and Andre DeBose to perform heroics, yet at SEC Media Days, a lot of discussion was about sophomore DeMarcus Robinson. Robinson has big-play ability, but will need to keep his nose clean after being suspended TWICE in 2013. Imagine what would happen to the player at Georgia. Junior transfer from Virginia Jake McGee will boost the team’s TE corps, too.


OK, so we actually love Florida’s secondary. Vernon Hargreaves III is a stud CB, pulling out 35 tackles and 3 INTs for a team that was 7th in the nation in passing yards given up per game.  Tabor comes to Gainseville as one of the most recruited CBs in the country and could start immediately. J.C. Jackson is going to start fall camp but have to be non-contact after – you guessed it – a (shoulder) injury, and might form a nasty partnership with DeBose as a kick returner, too. Marcus Maye/Jabari Gorman/Brian Poole (nickelback)/Keanu Neil/Marcell Harris and Nick Washington will battle it out for the safety position.

And the defensive line? DE Dante Fowler‘s a stud, and DE Jonathan Bullard‘s pretty good, too. Antonio Morrison and Jarrad Davis will take up linebacker duty, but there’s also room for Michael Taylor. Alex Anzalone and Matt Rolin will also provide depth. At DT, expect a ‘Tackle by Committee’, with only Leon Orr actually a starter coming in. Freshmen Holley and Willis both pushing for playing time despite only arriving in the summer,battling it out with soph Joey Ivie, senior Bear Cummings, and redshirt freshman Caleb Brantley.


Aug 30th–vs Idaho
Sept 6th–vs Eastern Michigan
Sept 13th–vs Kentucky
Sept 20th–at Alabama
Oct 4th–at Tennessee
Oct 11th–vs LSU
Oct 18th–vs Missouri
Nov 1st–vs Georgia  (in Jacksonville)
Nov 8th–at Vanderbilt
Nov 15th–vs South Carolina
Nov 22nd–vs Eastern Kentucky
Nov 29th–at Florida State

PREDICTION: Florida sails out to a 3-0 start before losing to Alabama. The team then outscores Tennessee on the road (will they ever lose to the Gators again??), before stumbling against LSU. They then beat Missouri, lose to Georgia, before overcoming Vanderbilt. A win against Eastern Kentucky is sandwiched by a loss to South Carolina and on the road at Florida State. The Gators finish 7-5. It might not be enough to keep Muschamp, but let’s be honest, this is a new OC and an evil schedule.

SEC Preview 2014: Can Leonard Fournette and LSU’s young talent bring them unexpected glory?

Stop if you’ve heard this before: LSU was ravaged by NFL Draft in 2013, and was ravaged by the NFL Draft in 2014. Les Miles lost NINE players for the 2013 season to the NFL Draft, and lost a further NINE to the 2014 Draft. And there were others who left for the NFL Draft and didn’t find a suitor because they had such an overrated and crappy 2013 (we see you, Anthony ‘The Freak’ Johnson!). Anyway, Les Miles has had to reload yet again. So what’s going to happen in 2014? Probably something crazy.


With your head coach being bats*** crazy (remember, this was a guy who let his TEAM vote on whether they wanted to keep their douchebag running back Jeremy Hill after he was arrested and filmed giving a terrible blindside to a guy outside a bar) and your team being ravaged like [we’ll let you add your own college anecdotes to make up this simile] by the NFL Draft, it was always apparently to us that LSU needed a heck of a lot of fortune to compete for a 2013 SEC title. Well, they finished with a 10-3 record, helped by a not-too-difficult schedule, with the win over Auburn the best of the lot, bearing in mind what happened to the OTHER Tigers at the end of the season. The 3 losses? The game at Georgia was AMAZING, the loss at Ole Miss was awful (and if you ask my LSU buddy Dave which loss he was most pissed about, it was this one), and at Alabama the Tigers simply didn’t show up. The 7-point bowl victory over Iowa was….m’eh.


OK, it’s not even August, so there’s still time. But up to now, LSU only had one arrest – CB Jalen Mills – for felony battery of a woman. And Mills is super-pissed about it, because he insists it was his buddy who punched the girl, not him. Anyway, this one’s up to the DA.

Otherwise, we haven’t heard a lot from LSU players, apart from former QB Zach Mettenberger getting slugged in a bar by a couple of Alabama fans, and Les Miles being awesome at SEC Media Days. Because, you know, he’s Les Miles.


LSU went out there and got the No.1 player in the nation in RB Leonard Fournette, who the guys at the great Solid Verbal podcast are ALREADY comparing to Bo Jackson. They also got five-stars WR Malachi Dupre, OLB Clifton Garrett, S Jamai Adams. 4-star dual-threat QB Brandon Harris is already talked about as being in with a shout of the starting job this season, t00. Anyway, Les brought in the No.2 recruiting class in the nation.



Now Zach Mettenberger’s gone (he didn’t even finish the season, and his replacement Anthony Jennings really struggled to fill his role), and there doesn’t seem to be a bona fide replacement in purple and gold. Some people are saying it’s Harris’ job after some sparkling practices. Despite a lot of jawing, Jennings is 2-0 as a starter, but he’s really impressed. Brad Kragthorpe is the junior. Cam Cameron’s a great offensive co-ordinator, so he’s got this one in hand….but we think he’ll give it to Harris.


The way people have been talking up Leonard Fournette, we’re kinda expecting the second coming of Barry Sanders, Adrian Peterson, Ricky Williams, Bo Jackson and Herschel Walker…rolled into one. So no pressure, then. Already people are saying that he could break Kevin Faulk’s rushing record. He’s 6-1, 225lb and runs a 4.35 40 (as Dennis Dodds says: “Like a bullet”). He’s already talking about his goals as being Heisman, All-American, and National Championship. And how about walking on water? There are other RBs in LSU’s stable, folks. Seniors Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee will share the ball with him. This is going to be a fun 3 years.


The Tigers return 4 returning starters including LT La’el Collins, RG Vadal Alexander, C Elliott Porter, and SO Jerald Hawkins. JUCO transfer Hoko Fanaika is favored come in. It’s a pretty good task for the O-Line. Open the holes, let Fournette run through, stop the QB getting killed. And they were pretty good at it last year, giving up only 25 sacks in 13 games. And yes, we know they were beaten to death by ‘Bama’s pass rush.


There’s virtually no experience. Now that Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry have gone to the NFL, Death Valley’s receiving corps is really inexperienced. Travin Dural and Quantavius Leslie only had EIGHT receptions between them last year. They will need Dupre or other frosh Trey Quinn to step up. Otherwise, teams will just block the running backs, and LSU will be inept on offense.


LSU was 15th in the nation in yards given up last year, 21st in scores allowed, 13th in TDs, 36th in rushing D, and 13th in passing D. They were pretty good, yet LSU fans felt that they regressed. Maybe that’s because they gave up 5.7 yards per game in SEC games, ‘good’ for 7th in the conference.  After losing Johnson and Ego Ferguson to the NFL, people are predicting the tackle jobs will be taken up by Christian LaCouture and Quentin Thomas. The DEs  returning will be starters Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco. At LB, insiders are pretty excited about Kwon Alexander after his storming bowl performance, where he had four solo tackles – one of his best performances of the season. 5-star recruit Clifton Garrett is expected to start immediately, too.

Oh, and in the secondary? If he stays away from trouble (and the DA doesn’t slap him with the charge), Mills should start at either cornerback or safety. He’s going to be good in either spot. We’ll also see Rashard Robinson and Tre’Davious White get some time, and 6-1, 190lb, 4-star Texan recruit Edward Paris could well start immediately if he impresses in practice.

In total, LSU brings back 7 defensive starters. But will they have the playmakers to make a SEC West run?


Aug. 30 vs. Wisconsin, Houston, Texas
Sept. 6 Sam Houston State
Sept. 13 Louisiana-Monroe
Sept. 20 Mississippi State
Sept. 27 New Mexico State
Oct. 4 at Auburn 
Oct. 11 at Florida
Oct. 18 Kentucky
Oct. 25 Ole Miss
Nov. 1 Open
Nov. 8 Alabama
Nov. 15 at Arkansas
Nov. 22 Open
Nov. 27 at Texas A&M, College Station, Texas

We’ll see how good LSU is at stopping people when they face Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon in Week 1 in Houston in a game we’d all rather see a home-and-home match-up. We think LSU goes 1-0. They then go to 5-0 after battling the heck out of Mississippi State. They then lose at Auburn, squeak by Florida in The Swamp, beat Kentucky, lose at home to Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze’s super-fast offense in a stunner, beat Alabama in a monster upset, beat Arkansas, and struggle with Texas A&M…but win. That gives Les Miles a 10-2 record, but no SEC Championship game spot. That’s because Alabama only loses 1 game in-conference.

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