Archive for November, 2015

Rollin’ Tide – Final SEC Power Rankings

It was quite a week in the SEC. And while it was about the football, it kinda was and it kinda wasn’t. We had Cam Newton threatening to slap the s_(& out of a heckler before the Iron Bowl, Les Miles getting chaired off against Texas A&M after he kept his job despite everyone saying that he was out of one, and Mark Richt getting booted from Georgia despite a 9-3 season. Down South, the Florida Gators were wonderfully inept in a 27-2 home loss to Florida State, and Ole Miss won the BATTLE OF THE EGG in CowbellLand. Elsewhere, Kentucky lost to Louisville after being 21-0 up (and their QB Patrick Towles has said he’s transferring) and Missouri didn’t show up against Arkansas.

So here’s our final regular season standings:

  1. Alabama (1): Because no-one’s rolling like the Tide right now in college football. The defense is scary. Listen, Auburn kept it close until the final quarter, but then Derrick Henry and the rest of the team put on the after burners, and there was nothing that Gus Malzahn’s team could do catch up.
  2. Ole Miss (3): Yes, we know they got the crap slapped out of them by Florida, but right now if the two sides had a re-match in The Swamp, I’d take Ole Miss. Florida’s offense is horrific right now. Ole Miss is not. And Ole Miss beat Alabama. Which Florida is not going to.
  3. Florida (2): Because they are going to the SEC Championship Game, and we have to be nice.
  4. Arkansas (6): Yes, we know they lost 51-50 last week and are on a one game winning streak after slamming Missouri, but the Razorbacks are a team not many want to face in a bowl game right now. Hogs fans would love to play Texas Tech. If they, it’ll be first to 900. And we’ll love it!
  5. LSU (8): The way LSU played on Saturday night was inspired, and gave a lot of people hope in the program that didn’t have it a week ago. Funny what will happen when your boosters try and fire one of the most successful coaches LSU has ever had. Joe Alleva’s ashen face at the press conference was a joy to watch. Seriously, he looked like the husband who came home and found someone ****ing his wife. Les Miles now needs to fire Cam Cameron. Quickly.
  6. Texas A&M (4): Aggies fans absolutely loathe offensive co-ordinator Jake Spavital. Funny, not many choice words for John Chavis’ lack of run defense coaching, though.
  7. Tennessee (7): Smashing Vanderbilt gets you up a notch, but this offense could be quite something next year if everyone’s not hurt. The Vols are certainly playing like they are on a high.
  8. Mississippi State (5): Massive disappointment on their goodbye to Dak Prescott- and Prescott himself was the biggest one.
  9. Auburn (10): Played with a lot of moxie, but were ultimately overmatched against Alabama.
  10. Georgia (9): Goodbye, Mark Richt. You will be missed. Georgia fans are praying you take Brian Schottenheimer with you.
  11. Kentucky (11): Blowing a 21-0 lead and then getting the news your starting quarterback’s leaving? That’s Kentuckeeeee.
  12. South Carolina (14): Played their collective asses off against Clemson and came up just short. There is hope.
  13. Vanderbilt (12): Getting blown out by your rival is not a good look, especially for a defense that was meant to be hugely improved.
  14. Missouri (14): Ugh.

 

Nick Saban, Todd Gurley speak on Mark Richt’s dismissal

When Nick Saban speaks, everyone listens. So when Nick Saban openly criticised Georgia’s administration for booting Mark Richt on Sunday, I’m sure everyone agreed, too.

Saban said on the SEC teleconference: “I don’t what the world’s coming to in our profession.” He added: “Mark Richt’s been a really good coach and real positive person in our profession for a long, long time,” Saban said. “I think when you win nine games, that’s a pretty good season, and especially with the body of work that he’s been able to put together there for however years he’s been there….I hate to see people that have the character and quality and ability to affect young people in a positive way like Mark Richt not be a part of our profession.

Ironically, Georgia’s destruction at home by Alabama – and other frustrating losses to boot – paved the way for Richt’s dismissal, in the same way as Les Miles’ failure to beat Alabama for the last four years may have paved the way for his dismissal at LSU had it not been for the intervention of fans, the media, players, and a home win against Texas A&M.

Todd Gurley used Instagram to send his message. “Greatest coach of all time and an even better person. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Words can’t explain how this feels but I know God has a plan.” He also added: “That hurts,” when told about it after St Louis played their NFL game yesterday.

Under Richt, 72 Georgia players were chosen in the NFL Draft. That’s a pretty impressive resume.

 

 

 

Will Alabama lose both Smart and Kiffin in 2015?

It’s that time in college football where everyone’s getting hired and everyone’s getting fired, but the big news might well be at the University of Alabama, where the Crimson Tide may well be looking an offensive and defensive co-ordinator when all is said and done.

It’s obvious to me and any writer out there that offensive co-ordinator Lane Kiffin won’t want to stay long-time in Tuscaloosa. He’s got a 35-21 head coaching record from his days at Tennessee and Southern California (we can’t call ’em USC on a SEC website), has a great offensive mind and is a fantastic recruiter. He’s also as loyal as an arms dealer.

His agent, Jimmy Sexton, is very good at finding spots for his clients, and with recruiting hotspots like Miami and Georgia up for grabs (as well as South Carolina, Missouri and Virginia (amongst others) for the record), it won’t be a surprise if Kiffin walks after the National Championship Game.

Then there’s Kirby Smart. If you’ve spent any time in Athens, Georgia, you’ll know that Kirby Smart is LOVED by Georgia fans. He started his coaching career at Georgia as an administrative assistant, returned there in 2005 as a running backs coach, and then went to work for Nick Saban. He also played as a defensive back for Georgia for four years, where he ended up as an all-SEC player in 1998. For us, there’s one major issue with Georgia signing Smart: He’s got absolutely ZERO head coaching experience. So why give a person their first career start at one of the biggest schools in the land?

But for Smart – who has been with Saban as his defensive co-ordinator for the last nine years – there are other interesting job opportunities. Matt Campbell has left Toledo (who Arkansas fans may remember) to be the head coach of Iowa State. Justin Fuente won’t be coaching at Memphis anymore, because he’s going to replace Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. And Bowling Green is expected to lose its head coach Dino Babers to UCF in a move that we can only see as a ‘move-across’ rather than a ‘move up’ (but that’s just us).  All three schools would be happy to get hold of a coach with Smart’s caliber. Otherwise, if Missouri’s looking for a defensive coach and decide not to keep current DC Barry Odom, why wouldn’t they move for Smart? I just think that Smart going to Georgia would be a bad move, but Smart going somewhere else right now would be a smart one. Excuse the pun.

Nick Saban seems to be supporting schools hiring Smart. He said on the SEC Championship teleconference: “I’ve said many times before in years past that Kirby has done a fantastic job for us and I think he’ll be an outstanding head coach,” he said. “I don’t think everything you do as an assistant necessarily prepares you as a head coach, but I also think by the same token that Kirby is very capable of doing all the things necessary to be a head coach. He’s a good teacher, players respond to him well. He’s outgoing. He’s got a good personality. I think he’ll do a good job in all the other areas that you’re talking about. I don’t have any question about that at all.

He added that he hasn’t had any contacts from schools about Smart. Or Kiffin, for that matter. “I would expect those things to happen when we get finished playing.

So what would happen to Alabama if Kiffin and Smart both left? Probably nothing. This is the biggest team in the land. They could go out and get two great ones. And if Kirby Smart did in fact go to Athens, there’s a pretty useful defensive co-ordinator in (current Georgia DC Jeremy Pruitt (who the players absolutely love) who we’re pretty sure Saban would like on his staff in Tuscaloosa.

And in answer to the question: Will Lane Kiffin and Kirby Smart leave Alabama in 2015? Yes. Where? We haven’t a clue.

Mark Richt out at Georgia

Mark Richt has resigned as the head coach of Georgia, the university said today.

UGA’s AD Greg McGarity said: “Coach Richt and I met Sunday morning to discuss the status of our football program…and we mutually agreed that he would step down as head coach and would have the opportunity to accept other duties and responsibilities at UGA following the bowl game.”

Richt added: “I appreciate the opportunity of serving the University as well as considering any other options that may present themselves in the future.”

Richt had been at Georgia for 15 years, where he won 145 games and two SEC Championships. However, Georgia had struggled to ‘get over the hump’ recently against Top-25 ranks, and pressure on Richt mounted with the team’s heavy losses to Alabama and Florida respectively.

Georgia’s top target is said to be Alabama’s defensive co-ordinator Kirby Smart, who was a Georgia graduate. Every time word came out over the years that Richt might be under pressure, Smart’s name had been mentioned.

There have also been some mentions of Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen looking at the role, thanks to the exceptionally fertile coaching area that is Atlanta and the State of Georgia.

 

 

Alabama is on its own in the SEC – SEC Week 12 Rankings

This week was an embarrassing week for so many teams in the SEC, for varying reasons.

  1. Embarrassing losses – The Citadel beating South Carolina; LSU getting schmacked at Ole Miss
  2. Embarrassing overtimes – Georgia and Florida sneaking by Georgia Southern and Florida Atlantic respectively
  3. Embarrassing rankings – ESPN “ranking” Charleston Southern in their game against Alabama. Charleston Southern was ranked….in the FCS. What a joke.
  4. Embarrassing defense – Arkansas and Mississippi State give up more than 100 points between them in a fun game which had no defenses.
  5. Embarrassing wins – Auburn celebrated getting to bowl eligibility by beating mighty Idaho…and giving up over 30 to them.
  6. Embarrassing goodbyes – Gary Pinkel is waved off by Missouri’s fanbase, who have to watch his team get blanked at home by Tennessee. Wait, the last wasn’t embarrassing so much as sad.

Anyway, here’s your power list in the SEC.

  1. Alabama (1): This team is the second-best team in the country, but if you’re a betting man/woman, bet your house on them to win the National Championship. There is no team playing better out there right now. Oh, and this Derrick Henry guy’s pretty good.
  2. Florida (2): UF’s late-season form really worries me. Florida hasn’t shown up since it won the SEC East. They were awful against Vanderbilt, and awful, awful, awful against Florida Atlantic. And by all reports, helped by an awful pass interference refereeing call in overtime that went their way. Things could get ugly against Florida State and Alabama. And not in a nice way.
  3. Ole Miss (3): Smashed LSU at home and are playing well. Weird that the team they beat on the road is No.1 and the team that smashed them when they went on the road is No.2 in our poll. But anyway…. Can’t wait for them to face Dak Prescott and Mississippi State. It WILL be fun.
  4. Texas A&M (4): A&M fans were overjoyed about the Aggies’ win over a prospectively opponent like Vanderbilt. Guys, it was Vanderbilt. Chill.
  5. Mississippi State (6): Gets up to fifth thanks to its fun, fun, fun win over Arkansas. I still can’t understand why Dak Prescott isn’t being talked about for a Heisman. He’s the best quarterback in college football right now.
  6. Arkansas (5): We certainly can’t talk about Arkansas’ season as being boring, can we? Unfortunately, most of the more exciting games for the Razorbacks have ended in tough, tough losses.
  7. Tennessee (8): Going on the road in freezing conditions on an emotional night for Missouri fans was quite the party spoiler. Do I think Tennessee’s that great? No. Let’s not start putting up statues to Butch Jones for an 8-4 season until he beats an Alabama or Florida, shall we? Or maybe even a ranked team?
  8. LSU (7): LSU’s in free fall at the moment, with the rumors rife that Les Miles is out at Baton Rouge. The last straw could well happen (if) they lose to Texas A&M at home this weekend.
  9. Georgia (8): Georgia’s also a trainwreck. Sony Michel rescued the Dawgs against Georgia Southern in overtime, and there’s nothing nice to say about what’s happening in Athens at the moment. If Les Miles goes, we won’t be surprised if Mark Richt’s out soon after.
  10. Auburn (10): Best win of the season by dropping 56 on Idaho, but giving up 34 is hardly great news. This game against Alabama is going to be UGLY, people….
  11. Kentucky (14): Kentucky might be having a horrible end to the season, but they didn’t lose to The Citadel at home.
  12. Vanderbilt (12): Vanderbilt was shut out 25-0 at home against Texas A&M, but they didn’t lose to The Citadel at home.
  13. Missouri (13): Missouri was shut out at home against Tennessee, but they didn’t lose to The Citadel at home.
  14. South Carolina (11): They lost to The Citadel at home.

 

Firing Les Miles would be stupid, LSU

Listen, I’m not a LSU fan but I AM an unabashed Les Miles fan.

I love Les Miles because he’s not boring. His clock management is something of legend. His way of leading his team out by holding them back might be one of the most underrated things in sports. I love the way he claps his hands. No other coach has offered to kiss his players on the mouth. He’s fun in press conferences, and seems to be a real opposite to most college football coaches, who are more vanilla than a McDonald’s shake.

I have problems with Les Miles off-the-field. Les Miles kept Jeremy Hill when Jeremy Hill should have been thrown out of LSU. He can’t seem to control his players from fighting or smoking weed. It’s as though he really does have a laissez-faire attitude to bad kids doing bad things.

I have problems with Les Miles on the field, too. He’s a fabulous recruiter….but his teams seem to rarely hit their potential. Is it because so much of that talent goes to the NFL every year, or is it because he and his co-ordinators are dreadful? I have problems that despite their talent, LSU is almost always an afterthought when it comes to winning at SEC title (You can say that they weren’t this year, but they hadn’t played the back-end of their schedule and the committee royally screwed up by having them so high so early). And while I have less problems with the play-calling, I also have problems with the execution. The LSU offensive line is awful, and LSU’s defensive line can’t seem to tackle. And LSU hasn’t had a good quarterback since JaMarcus Russell. His Cam Cameron hire at offensive co-ordinator and his defensive co-ordinator hire of Kevin Steele have been poor to say the least.

But let’s get this straight. Despite his foibles, here’s some facts that you can’t take away from The Mad Hatter in Baton Rouge.

  1. He knows how to win. Since he arrived in 2005, Les Miles has had SEVEN double-digit win seasons. He’s won a National Championship and played in another. And won two out of three of the SEC Championship Games he’s been in.
  2. His players love him. That’s a good thing.
  3. He gets his players into the NFL. 40 of them are on active rosters, so far.
  4. He knows how to recruit. I’ve mentioned that before and want to do that again.
  5. He’s going to be very expensive. You fire Les Miles, he walks off with a $15m buyout. LSU claims it has the money, but this could cost the school $15-30m to get another coach? And how many coaches would really want to come into a school with that high pressure? Anyone really think Jimbo Fisher would walk from Florida State, where he’s got a pretty good thing going?

If LSU fires Les Miles, it could trainwreck the future for the Tigers. How many high school players do you think are out there, recruited by Les Miles, falling in love with his joie de vivre, who are now going “Actually, I’ll go play for Alabama or Auburn or Ole Miss if they fire Les Miles”. I would say 70% of the players. And of the good ones? Possibly even 90%.

Because LSU fans and its Board of Regents are so short-sighted, they won’t see it that way. They don’t like losing three games in a row (it could well be four after Thanksgiving!). Do any of them realise that before Les Miles era, LSU only had FIVE 10+ win years?

So what’s my alternative? Fire Cameron and Steele. One can’t teach his team to play offense and the other can’t teach his team to tackle. Get some good co-ordinators, and keep Miles. Give him another chance.

What’s the crappiest game on a crappy SEC schedule? Week 12 previews

GeIt’s strange to say this, but Ole Miss vs LSU could have been the play-in game for the SEC Championship. Had Ole Miss actually played  in The Swamp (they were destroyed instead) or played Arkansas with any respect in the least (they didn’t), and had LSU had an offensive co-ordinator that wasn’t Cam Cameron, this would have a match-up for the SEC West and a possible spot in the play-off. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and LSU’s trip to The Grove is suddenly higher on the “Who Gives A Crap?” scale than we thought would be possible before LSU’s trip to Tuscaloosa, where they were promptly disassembled.

So here are the non-conference games in order of crappiness. Many thanks to thesaurus.com for the synonyms….

  1.  Charlotte at Kentucky (HORSE MANURE) — The FAU/Florida clash should be No.1, but Charlotte lost to FAU, which makes the 49ers eerily similar to their NFL counterpart. They are in ESPN’s Bottom 10 after losing to equally-crappy UTSA.
  2. Florida Atlantic at Florida (GATOR FECES) — The mighty FAU are a fantastic 2-8, with wins over Charlotte and FIU. They are also considered for Bottom 10-ness. They’ll really threaten Vernon Hargreaves and that Gators secondary with that incredible vertical passing game (or whatever).
  3. Charleston Southern at Alabama (ELEPHANT DUNG) — This Charleston Southern team’s so great that it’s 9-1. In the Big South. The Big South is a FCS Division. And although there are still over 1,000 tickets left, we doubt that there will even be 60,000 in the Stadium (although no doubt the Crimson Tide will be claiming another sell-out to go with a 57th National Championship on Saturday).
  4. The Citadel at South Carolina (BIRD CRAP) — Can’t find out what The Citadel does, because – yes – it’s a 1-AA school. I still think that The Citadel and Charleston Southern could probably beat Charlotte and FAU, so that’s why these games aren’t higher on the list.
  5. Idaho at Auburn (EAGLE EXCRETA) —  Idaho’s passing offense is ranked 31st in the country. Auburn’s passing offense is ranked 108th. Unfortunately for the 3-7 Vandals, they give up 488.9 yards/game, good for 116th (Auburn’s 79th, giving up 411.8). Idaho scores 29.2 points per game, and Auburn scores 25.7. Some dude called Buck Cowan is a Top 10 tight end in college football, according to Idaho’s Twitter (“The 8th Best!”). The Vandals have beaten Ohio, ULM and Troy. They’ve also lost three in a row. Is that enough of a rundown?
  6. Georgia Southern at Georgia (DAWG TURD) — Georgia Southern’s 7-3 and if  you believe some of my buddies who actually went to the school, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to go to school there. Southern likes to score points (they average over 37 a game), but their schedule’s so crappy we hardly expect a monster performance. The last time GSU played a Power 5 team (West Virginia) they lost 44-0. While we don’t think they are going to get shut out in Sanford, we DO think the game will be over by halftime.

THE BIG PREDICTION: SEC SCHOOLS WILL GO 6-0

AND NOW…..THE BRUISING, BLEEDING, BIIIIIIG IN-CONFERENCE SEC MATCH-UPS (In order of “greatness”)

  1. LSU at Ole Miss — Ole Miss really, really hates LSU. This girl Ashley made national headlines by drunkenly attacking her friends after the Rebs lost in 2014. If you haven’t seen the video, watch it. It’s hilarious. And Ashley didn’t actually go to Ole Miss, either. Oh, and going into the game, both are struggling. Ole Miss is actually playing better than LSU, while the word on the street – and the media – is that if LSU loses its third straight game (Alabama and Arkansas were the last two), Les Miles is once again fighting for his life. Bearing in mind the school’s state of finances, I don’t believe that they want to pay out $15m to buy him out. Ole Miss is a four-point favorite, and we’re taking the REBELS by 10.
  2. Mississippi State at Arkansas — Mississippi State was destroyed by Alabama at home. Arkansas is rolling suddenly after back-to-back shock wins over Ole Miss and LSU respectively. This game could be pretty interesting, folks. The bookies reckon it will be, because Arkansas is only a three-point favorite. We think ARKANSAS wins by 7. 
  3. Tennessee at Missouri — While many people believe that getting continually punched in the face would be more fun than watching this game, it’s an opportunity for many to say goodbye to Gary Pinkel, who’s going to need your prayers in the coming months. Tennessee’s a nine-point favorite. We’ll take VOLS by 10.
  4. Texas A&M at Vanderbilt – Someone on our Twitter feed said that this game might be a doozy if Vanderbilt start well. More like snoozy. Vanderbilt is only a 7-point underdog. WE’LL TAKE THE AGGIES BY MORE THAN 14.

Alabama’s still the SEC’s best – Week 11 SEC Power Poll

We thought Dak Prescott would give Alabama a run for their money in Starkville on Saturday. We even (deep breath) thought they might score the upset. God, were we wrong. Alabama went in absolutely beat the “cow” out of the “cowbell”, and boy, it was frightening to watch. Elsewhere, Georgia beat Auburn won The Battle Of The Trainwrecks, and Arkansas showed some more guts in a late season run by going to Baton Rouge and toppling LSU. Oh, and Florida beat South Carolina by 10, in a brutally uninteresting game, and Kentucky’s season-ending implosion continued with a loss at Vanderbilt. Missouri found a win in their locker against BYU in an emotional game after head coach Gary Pinkel announced his resignation, and Tennessee and Texas A&M rolled.

Oh, and sorry about not firing out the predictions for the game. We were busy looking at news about the Paris attacks, and communicating them via our Twitter feed. That seemed to be more important.

Anyway, without further ado…

  1. Alabama (1): Unless the opposition’s Ole Miss, this team is unstoppable. Seriously. We fear for any team that’s going to get in Derrick Henry and the Crimson Tide’s way during the play-off. That’s you, Auburn and Florida. We can’t wait to see you and your receding hairline in New York, Mr Henry.
  2. Florida (2): The offense is suddenly absolutely horrible, and seemingly getting worse since they smashed Ole Miss in The Swamp. The Gators went up 17-0 and were strolling….before South Carolina came back strong. Now, imagine if they go up 17 against Alabama and relax. They’ll get nuked.
  3. Ole Miss (4): They are up here NOT by the virtue of having lost to Arkansas, but by the virtue that the Rebels beat Alabama and Mississippi State really didn’t. We still can’t wait for The Egg Bowl. But before that, Ole Miss have a nasty game against LSU.
  4. Texas A&M (6): Didn’t really rise up because they savaged Western Carolina 41-17, or because we’re giving a huge amount of credence to the overtime win over Arkansas, but because we reckon they’ll be better than LSU come Thanksgiving.
  5. Arkansas (7): We laughed at the thought of Bret Bielema’s team finding any form this season, but back-to-back huge wins at Ole Miss and LSU proves that he might not be such a bad coach after all….
  6. Mississippi State (3): Wow. That was a home letdown, wasn’t it?
  7. LSU (5):  Talk about the wheels coming off the wagon after a big loss. Leonard Fournette’s 127 yards and 1 TD looked like nothing as Alex Collins ran for 141 and 2, and the Razorbacks housed Les Miles & Co 31-14. And we think if the two played again, Mississippi State would win.
  8. Tennessee (8): No heart attacks for the Vols, who won 24-0 against mighty, mighty North Texas.
  9. Georgia (9): Awful offensive performance, but Georgia fans! Just think of it like this: If Georgia HADN’T have won against awful Auburn, it could have been Mark Richt’s head.
  10. Auburn (10):  Awful offensive performance. Just think of it like this: If Auburn had one, you might not have a lot to complain about, Auburn fans!
  11. South Carolina (12): Great comeback against Florida couldn’t become perfection. The story of the Gamecocks’ season.
  12. Vanderbilt (13): The highest the Commodores have been this year! Derek Mason’s got this defense improving!!
  13. Missouri (14): Great win over BYU after Gary Pinkel’s shock resignation.
  14. Kentucky (12): Wow. The wheels are falling off the Mark Stoops wagon fast, aren’t they?

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel resigning at season end

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel will step down at the end of the season after being diagnosed with lymphoma.

He will resign on December 31, 2015 or when a new coach is in place, the school announced.

Pinkel, who took over the Tigers in 2002, guided Missouri to two straight SEC Championship Games in 2013 and 2014, and has seen 26 Mizzou players drafted, including Sheldon Richardson, Jeremy Maclin, Shane Ray, Blaine Gabbert, Markus Golden and Aldon Smith.

He’s the winningest coach in Missouri history with nearly 120 wins.

This season has been a tough one on the field for his Missouri side, which has been hampered by the suspension of starting quarterback Maty Mauk and some awful offense.

Alabama moves to No.2 in College Football Play-Off Poll

Alabama has moved to No.2 after their masterful win over LSU on Saturday night.

Although Clemson remains No.1 after beating Florida State, LSU moved out of the Top 4 (no surprise there), and there were places for Ohio State and Notre Dame, who’s loss to Clemson is looking better and better. Notre Dame’s showdown with Stanford could be one to watch at the end of the season – particularly if a Stanford win sees the California school go to No.1.

Iowa (yes, IOWA) is No.5, above Baylor, Stanford, Oklahoma State – who beat TCU on Saturday and frankly should be higher – and Utah.

 

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