Archive for August, 2016

Quick SEC Preview: The Games To Watch

There are going to be fantastic games this SEC season. Here are the top games to watch between SEC teams or involving SEC teams. Sorry, but Alabama vs USC or LSU vs Wisconsin aren’t going to be up there….

TOP NON-CONFERENCE GAMES

  1. Ole Miss vs Florida State — September 5th – Yep. That’s Monday Night Football. It’s going to be hot, humid, and the chance to see if Ole Miss can spring a surprise. There’s also a bingo to see how much ABC/ESPN say the words: “Sanctions”.
  2. Virginia Tech vs Tennessee — September 10th — Because college football in one of the best NASCAR tracks in front of 160,000 drunk people on the border of Tennessee and Virginia Tech (where Bristol, TN is situated) means just one word: FUN.
  3. Florida vs Florida State — November 26th – Because Florida could trainwreck Florida State’s chances of going to the College Football Play-Off. And maybe – just maybe – stamp their own credentials, too (if they beat Tennessee, Georgia and LSU in SEC play).
  4. Arkansas vs TCU — September 10th – Can Arkansas spring a surprise on a team that’ll be missing Treyvon Boykin?
  5. Clemson at Auburn – September 3rd – Two lightning-quick offenses with Clemson recovering from the loss of a lot of talent to the NFL in what will be an amped-up environment? Yes, we’ll take a bit of that.
  6. UCLA at Texas A&M – September 3rd – Josh Rosen (future NFL first rounder) vs Myles Garrett (Definite future NFL first rounder). We can’t wait. College Station will be noisy.
  7. LSU vs Wisconsin – September 3rd – Because both sides make liver damage seem cool.
  8. Alabama vs USC – September 3rd – It’s low on our list because we don’t think it’ll be an exciting game (Alabama will run riot, probably), but as a match-up of two college football bluebloods….YES! We hate the fact it’s in JerryWorld, though.
  9. UNC vs Georgia – September 3rd – A chance to see Jacob Eason and Kirby Smart’s first game. Don’t screw this one up, Kirby.
  10. Arkansas State vs Auburn – September 10th – Jacksonville State should have beaten Auburn last season. So why not Arkansas State this year?

TOP SEC GAMES

  1. Alabama at LSU — November 5th — This basically decides the SEC West and maybe a spot in the College Football Play-Off. Both seasons are probably going to go into this one unbeaten, which could make it a phenomenal game to watch. Gary Danielson will be at this game, so he’s sure to be annoying.
  2. Alabama at Tennessee – October 15th – Everyone feels that this is Tennessee’s best chance of turning over the Crimson Tide. Especially at Neyland Stadium, where the atmosphere will be cooking and most probably College Gameday will be on campus.
  3. Georgia at Ole Miss – September 24th – You don’t get to see these two play that often (the last time was in 2012), and the scene in Oxford will be awesome. Especially if both teams are unbeaten.
  4. LSU at Florida – October 8th – The biggest test for LSU’s play-off credentials will come in the evil known as The Swamp. It should be fun.
  5. Florida at Tennessee – September 24th – The Gators OWN the Vols, who haven’t beaten them since Philip Fulmer was in charge. This is the chance for UT to break the curse.
  6. Texas A&M vs Arkansas – September 24th – EVERY GAME BETWEEN THESE TWO ARE NUTS.
  7. Alabama vs Ole Miss – September 17th – It couldn’t happen again, could it?
  8. Tennessee vs Georgia – October 1st – UGA will be looking for revenge after last year, and this could be THE SEC East showdown.
  9. Florida vs Georgia – October 29th – This could be the case that the winner goes to Atlanta.
  10. LSU at Texas A&M  – November 24th – We can see the scenario: Les Miles is unbeaten, going into 5-6 Texas A&M and a tidy 14 point favourite. The win? LSU goes to Atlanta, and probably the Play-Off. He loses? The season ends. And….

Quick SEC Preview: The Players To Watch

The quick SEC Preview with the SEC Players to Watch (and we’re also going for the Top 10 outside the conference too).

SEC PLAYERS

  1. Leonard Fournette (LSU) – The best running back in college football? Stopped against Alabama last season, but put a struggling offence on his back and was phenomenal all season long. Can’t wait for how things will be this year.
  2. Nick Chubb (Georgia) – IF Chubb’s not injured, this is one of the most dangerous running backs in the SEC. Apparently he’s ready for the opener against North Carolina. We just heard a big gulp from UNC fans. 
  3. Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) – Unblockable. 11-1/2 sacks last year and 59 tackles.
  4. Josh Dobbs (Tennessee) – He’s a frightening dual-threat quarterback who progressed in leaps and bounds last season. He scared the hell out of Alabama, and if Tennessee succeeds this year, then Dobbs will be the King of Neyland.
  5. Calvin Ridley (Alabama) – The best wide receiver in the SEC. Period.
  6. Josh Reynolds (Texas A&M) – The second best wide receiver in the SEC, despite not getting the noise that Ridley got.
  7. Chad Kelly (Ole Miss) – Flourished under Hugh Freeze’s gameplans. Can’t wait for him to do the same this year.
  8. Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) – Game-changing punt returner, and if he’s given a chance to be open at receiver, he’ll punish teams.
  9. OJ Howard (Alabama) – Because he’s the best tight end in college football and he’s going to be big-time in the NFL, too.
  10. Jalen Tabor (Florida) – A really, really good cornerback. I kinda love the fact he got suspended for getting in a fight with his own teammate.

NON-SEC PLAYERS

  1. Christian McCaffery (Stanford) – Hey, we love the SEC and we still think McCaffery was screwed out of a Heisman last year. He’s incredible.
  2. DeShaun Watson (Clemson) – Took on Alabama on his own in the National Championship Game and nearly won. He’s the best quarterback in college football.
  3. Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) – We don’t like Michigan, but Peppers is incredible. He can do anything on that defensive line, and do it really, really well. A sneaky Heisman contender (if they ever give it to defensive people).
  4. J.T. Barrett (Ohio State) – Barrett’s now got the team to himself, and should thrive. The problem for him? Most of the Buckeyes he inherits were tackling bags for the really, really good dudes recruited by Urban Meyer who went to the NFL.
  5. Josh Rosen (UCLA) – Because anyone who lives in a frat house and puts a pool in his apartment deserves a heck of a lot of credit. This guy should not remain single in college.
  6. Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) – He’s like a dwarf with an unstoppable battery. He just never gives up. Which makes him (secretly) awesome.
  7. Saquon Barkley (Penn State) – You’re probably thinking: “Who in the hell is this and why are you talking about him?” But we think he’s the most under-the-radar talent in college football to date. He’s an ace running back with the speed of a cheetah. His only problem? A piss-poor offensive line.
  8. KD Cannon (Baylor) – The kid can absolutely fly, people. A really exciting talent.
  9. Adoree Jackson (USC) – A really, really good defensive back. Can’t wait to see him go head-to-head with Ridley in JerryWorld in the first game of the season.

The quick SEC preview: How they’ll finish

We have a job outside of the SEC Blog now, so we haven’t been able to write up a preview for each team. And going by how many of you read our previews, it’s probably a good idea we’re going to discontinue the practice.

HOWEVER, we’re going with a quick SEC preview. We’ll order the teams in the conference and tell you why they are in that order. Some might surprise you, while others you might agree with. Maybe.

SEC WEST

1. Alabama – Going to beat LSU in a super-close game, smash Ole Miss this time, and squeak by Tennessee. Go to the College Football Play-Off

2. LSU – Actually could go to the CFB Play-Off too, even without winning the division. The only loss? Alabama. Again. Which means Les Miles is back on the hot seat.

3. Texas A&M – Trevor Knight’s a steady quarterback, the defense – led by Myles Garrett – could be ‘under-the-radar’ good, and the wide receivers…oh, the wide receivers….

4. Ole Miss – Going to feel the losses of Laquon, Laremy and Robert. The off-the-field stuff doesn’t help morale either – despite the amount Hugh Freeze will rabbit on about controlling what you can control.

5. Arkansas – I’m not hugely in love with a team that’s having to replace its starting QB AND its best running back.

6. Auburn – News that Sean White taking the job as starting quarterback doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence. There will be flying tomatoes if he sucks, folks.

7. Mississippi State – Dan Mullen wants to be somewhere else, and the team knows it. That won’t play through nicely, and this might be the year it shows. Plus, Dak Prescott’s not with the team anymore, which is going to hurt.

SEC EAST

  1. Tennessee – This was a toss-up between the Vols and Georgia, but I’m going UT because of the talent at wide receiver, and the fact that UGA has a first-time coach. Battles with Tennessee, Florida and Alabama don’t make the schedule pretty.
  2. Georgia – If Nick Chubb and Sony Michel can start and stay healthy, this could be a dangerous team. And if Jacob Eason’s good, a VERY dangerous team. The revenge game against Tennessee will be a blast.
  3. Florida – The SEC (on the top of it) is interchangeable, it seems, so we’ll see how it works out. Spurrier coming is a guru could make things exciting in The Swamp. The team just has to stay out of jail.
  4. Missouri – The defence is gonna be good, folks, and the offence can’t get any worse, can it?
  5. Kentucky – Because Mark Stoops is doing some good things with the Wildcats. This won’t be a great team, though.
  6. Vanderbilt – I really, really like this defence. The offense? Notsomuch.
  7. South Carolina – This team will be a trainwreck for at least a year. Look for the scorching by Clemson to get tongues wagging in the Palmetto State over whether Will Muschamp was the right man for the damned job in the first place.

SEC Championship Game

Alabama drills Tennessee because Nick Saban didn’t like the fact that the game was so close at Neyland Stadiun and Lane Kiffin’s tired of UT fans giving him shit, so he runs up the score a little. Bo Scarborough runs wild, and books himself into the Heisman conversation.

Texas A&M aren’t gonna be that bad, are they?

The preseason predictions for Texas A&M are dire. Already, Kevin Sumlin’s on the hotseat, and people are calling for a 6-6, 7-5 season.

But actually, things might not be that bad – and the Aggies could be the surprise team in the SEC West.

The SEC Blog previews the Aggies….

LAST SEASON 

The Aggies started the season 5-0 – including a crazy OT win over Arkansas in JerryWorld, but then lost 41-23 at home to Alabama….and it wasn’t that close. They followed that crippling loss by getting spanked by 20 at Ole Miss, just beating South Carolina and losing by 16 at home to world-beaters Auburn. Two wins over Western Carolina and Vanderbilt hardly kept the haters at bay, and then a season-ending loss to LSU on Les Miles Farewell Game and then a 27-21 loss to Louisville in the Music City Bowl finished the season with a 8-5 record….with the only wins of any note were the Arizona State game to start the season (ASU was ranked No.18 at the time – although by the end, the Sun Devils were pretty terrible) and the Arkansas win.

OFFSEASON

The offseason wasn’t helped by two of its star quarterbacks – Kyle Allen and Khyler Murray – taking the decision to leave College Station, alongside linesman Germain Ifeldi, who was drafted in the first round by the Seattle Seahawks. Elsewhere CB Brandon Williams was taken third round by the Cardinals, and Drew Kaser’s going to be the next best punter in the NFL (taken sixth round by the Chargers). Oh, and as undrafted free agents go, Tra Carson is a Cincinnati Bengal, OG Joseph Cheek and CB De’Vante Harris are Saints, and C Mike Matthews is a Cleveland Brown.

Recruiting-wise, Texas A&M was ranked 18th nationally but 8th in the SEC, which is already meaning the fires are burning in College Station, since winning the recruiting war – especially against Texas – is more important than life itself. Still, signing EIGHT four-star players ain’t bad, including DE Justin Madubuike, who’s going to be awesome for The Chief either this year or next.

The Aggies also brought in Trevor Knight from Oklahoma to play QB in January, which could be a steadying influence if he finds the excellence of his Sugar Bowl-winning performance against Alabama. He’s certainly going to have a very big cheerleader in the stands. Things aren’t highly expected of him, so he could well deliver. There’s also the arrival of RB Keith Ford from the same school- although everybody will be watching out for his off-the-field antics probably more than what they are like on the grass.

WHY IS EVERYONE SAYING TEXAS A&M’S GONNA BE TERRIBLE?

OK, so ‘terrible’ is a strong word, but people have already warmed up Kevin Sumlin’s seat going into 2016. The departure of the quarterbacks was definitely a big hit to Sumlin’s ego as well as his personnel, but the big issue for us isn’t even that – it’s the offensive line. Three starters are gone from a unit which sucked last year, and I’m sorry, but Brit right guard Jermaine Eluemunor doesn’t convince us either. This could be a horror show. A lot will be expected of the incredibly-named Kalvin Cline – who played in 23 games for Virginia Tech but none as a starter since 2016 – at tight end.

BUT CAN’T YOU LISTEN TO THE REASONS WHY THEY ARE GOING TO BE GOOD?

Listen haters, if Trevor Knight can get the ball out to his receiving corps, there’s gonna be hell to pay for defenses. Josh Reynolds, Christian Kirk and Ricky Seals-Jones are all ultra-talented gamebreakers. Speaking of gamebreakers, Kirk’s one of the best return men in the land, so he should set the Aggies up in good field position. Oh, and I’ve got more confidence in Trevor Knight than I did in either Allen or Murray. You should do.

Oh, and defensively, they might struggle at linebacker, but they’ve got a future first-rounder in Myles Garrett at defensive end, and nickel back Donovan Wilson’s pretty useful, too. And the defensive co-ordinator is exceptional in John Chavis.

THE SCHEDULE

This team could be 6-6, if you think they’ll lose to UCLA, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU and beat Auburn, South Carolina, Mississippi State and Prairie View, UTSA and New Mexico State. We think that they’ll beat UCLA and Arkansas and be a tidy 8-4. That’s pretty good.

Brantley out: Huge blow for Missouri?

With a lot of notable Missouri luminaries gone to play NFL ball, we all thought it was going to be DT Harold Brantley‘s year after the car accident in 2015 cost him the season – and nearly his life. In his first two years he had 84 tackles, 12 for a loss, a forced fumble and five sacks.

But Harold Brantley couldn’t meet the academic standards of Missouri, and he was booted.

Now, if you’re a Missouri fan – or any fan in the SEC – you’d be really pissed about news that a player couldn’t pass exams or didn’t do the right work to get him through school. Here’s why: With their tutoring systems and the huge amounts of efforts that schools put in to make players pass, a player – however much of a dumbass he might be – should be able to pass what most 8th-grade high schoolers would put down as ‘remedial education’. New coach Barry Odom gave him the time to focus on the projects he would need to get through….and he still failed.

Still, it’s a huge loss to the Missouri defensive line – although with DE Charles Harris, DE Marcell Frazier and other talents ready to take up the slack, they should be fine.

And now back to the offense….Urgh.

How will Jovon Robinson’s dismissal affect Auburn?

There was a Robinson in the State of Alabama who raised some eyebrows this week – and it wasn’t Cam ‘Guns ‘N’ Weed But I Sweat College Football’ Robinson, it was Jovon Robinson of Auburn.

The running back – who could have been atop the starting roster at the position – was dismissed yesterday. Although ESPN tweeted that it he was thrown out for missing team meetings and classes, Robinson has insisted that it was because Gus Malzahn “stereotyped and disrespected” him (he didn’t expand on details).

But whatever happened, Auburn’s already not-that-rich offense loses a guy who ran for 639 yards and 3 TDs, and that’ll be missed, particularly if the passing game – and Auburn’s still trying to work out who that will be between John Franklin and Jeremy Johnson – isn’t up to scratch. The passing game certainly wasn’t helped when D’haquille Williams, the extremely talented wide receiver, was booted last season (he’s now signed a contract at the Rams, where no doubt he’ll get fans on The Plains swearing because he’ll perform really well).

Auburn will depend on Kerryon Johnson, freshman Malik Miller, and summer arrival Kameron Martin. Johnson has the ‘most’ experience with 52 carries, 208 yards and 3 TDs (the three TDs came against Kentucky, UGA and Memphis in 2015), and the others have none.

And as we said – and we’ll repeat – if the passing offense doesn’t perform, Auburn fans are going to have another frustrating offensive time…