Archive for November, 2016

Ed Orgeron named LSU head coach

Ed Orgeron has been named as the head coach of LSU after a crazy Thanksgiving period.

On Thursday – before LSU’s visit and subsequent demolition of Texas A&M – there were rumors that Tom Herman, the much-sought-after Houston coach would be departing for Baton Rouge and was just about to pen a deal.

Joe Alleva tried to put messages out to the media saying that no discussion whatsoever had happened. LSU then crushed A&M 54-39 in a win that was even more dominant than that (the Aggies got their touchdown in the dying seconds), playing without Leonard Fournette, Arlen Key and a number of other stars. The players started cheering for Alleva and his staff to ‘Keep Coach O’, who is one of the most popular figures on the LSU staff. He took over as interim head coach after Les Miles was fired after the Tigers’ loss at Auburn.

Anyway, then came the rumor mill that Herman would not only meet with LSU but also meet with Texas. Texas was crushed at home by TCU on Friday, which basically – after the Kansas debacle 6 days’ beforehand – said goodbye to Longhorns coach Charlie Strong. Herman, who was a graduate assistant in Austin in 1999-2000, was known by then to be leaving his spot in Houston – a matter not helped by Houston’s hilarious loss to Memphis (This season, the Cougars have managed to defeat Oklahoma and Louisville and lose to SMU, Navy and Memphis. Yeah, we don’t get it either).

Herman was said to have a ‘heavy lean’ towards Texas  – who has the bigger financial firepower than LSU.

Orgeron’s plight was also helped by the fact that LSU stretched out to Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher….. And their hand was pushed back.

So LSU went ahead and named Orgeron their head coach, and the reaction has been incredibly positive so far from LSU fans and the media alike.

 

Who’s going to win the Iron Bowl? And other Rivalry Week predictions

It’s THAT weekend again, which means that either you are going to have drunken yourself into a stupor by the time Rivalry Weekend comes around, or most of your Thursday-or-Friday-or-Saturday will be spent either talking crap at tailgates or talking crap while being stuck in traffic.

A couple of weekends ago it was set to be a tremendous Iron Bowl, and then Auburn went and lost to a crappy Georgia team, while the SEC East looked really interesting. Now, Florida can afford to get thumped by Florida State and have the excuse: “We were resting folks for the SEC Championship Game” (where they’ll get shellacked anyway). Still, almost every game involving a SEC team should be interesting this week -which is more than can be said for Week 12. You know, apart from the Vanderbilt game. HOLY CRAP DID ANY OF YOU SEE VANDY BEAT OLE MISS LIKE THAT?

So here we go…..(in order of day)

THURSDAY

LSU vs Texas A&M

This is a battle for the two of the biggest let-downs of the season. LSU let us down from the moment they lost to Wisconsin, while Texas A&M had a great start to the season, and then lost handily to mighty Mississippi State. This will probably be the last game we say goodbye to Leonard Fournette and Myles Garrett, so the match-up will be worth watching when you get bored of the ad break that is the NFL. LSU’s a road favorite in Kyle Field  – but after watching their awful offensive performance against an undermanned Florida we have one question: Why?

PREDICTION: LSU’s a 6-1/2 point favorite. We’re taking Texas A&M to win outright. 

FRIDAY

Arkansas vs Missouri

The great thing about this game is that (probably) not a lot of people will be watching it, so the CBS guys can pretty much talk about the Iron Bowl. The most interesting thing to come out of Missouri this week is that the NCAA is investigating the school for academic fraud – which should fit it in nicely with a lot of other SEC schools. Joking apart,  Missouri fans will be wanting this game – and their seasons – over with bearing in mind the defense’s failures and the news that livewire running back Damarea Crockett had been arrested for pot and banned for this game, which will give the crowd in Columbia even less reason to be excited. Arkansas, on the other hand, ain’t great either.

PREDICTION: The Crockett loss will be huge for Missouri. Arkansas is favored by 8. We predict they’ll beat that nicely.

SATURDAY 

  1. No.13 Auburn at No.1 Alabama (3.30pm) 

Nick Saban wasn’t too pleased about how Alabama played against Tennessee-Chatanooga, and for very good reason….the Crimson Tide was awful. But does this mean that the No.1 team in the nation – who has been imperious all season long – will underestimate their hated rival? No. Auburn’s definitely improved on both sides of the ball as the season has gone on, but they really need Shaun White to come back from injury to get the team going again. Jeremy Johnson was able against Alabama A&M, but then again Gus Malzahn himself could have thrown for a couple of TDs bearing in mind the opposition. As for Alabama, this is a pretty beaten up team, but they’ll be fine come Iron Bowl. They always are!

PREDICTION: Alabama’s a 17 point home favorite. We think they win by 3 touchdowns. 

2. South Carolina at No.2 Clemson (7.30 pm) 

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was asked whether he planned to rest players for South Carolina game prior to the ACC Championship Game in Orlando. He looked the reporter in the eye and said: ‘You’re obviously not from South Carolina‘. Funnily enough, Dabo’s not either…..he’s from Birmingham, Alabama (but that’s another point entirely). ANYWAY, with all that said and done, he’s gonna have a damned fired up Clemson team to face South Carolina in the other Death Valley. If Clemson play as well as they are capable of (and don’t take their foot off the gas) they’ll win this easily.

PREDICTION: Clemson’s a 23-1/2 point favorite. We think Clemson wins by 24. But it’ll be one of the most interesting games of the day from a betting point-of-view, we can tell you.

3. Kentucky at No.11 Louisville

The Governor’s Cup game is high on the list because of Lamar Jackson – and no other real reason. If Jackson puts up a ton of points and touchdowns, then it’ll be difficult not to put him in the Top Three for New York, if not the No.1. Not because Kentucky’s incredible, but it’s because it will cap an incredible season. After Louisville’s O-Line was mauled all night long by future NFLer Ed Oliver and the Louisville defensive line, it’ll be interesting to see if Kentucky can get the same sort of pressure.

PREDICTION: The bookies don’t seem to think so, with Louisville at 25-point favorite. I’ll take Louisville to win, but by 14 in a game that’s close until the final quarter.

4. No.13 Florida at No.14 Florida State (8pm)

After their stunning victory at LSU despite the Tigers living in their red-zone, Florida will be really excited to go into Tallahassee to play their ultra-hated rival. The Gators have the annoying ‘Gator Chomp, while the Seminoles have the annoying ‘Tomahawk Chop’ (or whatever they call it). Florida hasn’t beaten FSU since 2012 and has only won once in the last six years, and this doesn’t look an opportune time to change.

PREDICTION: Florida State’s a 7 game favorite. We’ll take FSU by 10 or more.

5. Georgia Tech at Georgia (12pm) 

The Georgia – Georgia Tech game’s got one of the best names for a rivalry around: “Clean, Ole Fashioned Hate”. Georgia will be looking for revenge after the last time Tech went to Georgia and won at Sanford in overtime 30-24. The great things for the neutral is that the last three games have been very close (2015 was decided by 6, 2014 and 2013 went to overtime and double overtime respectively). This year, it’ll be intriguing to see how both sides rev themselves us for a rivalry where pride is TRULY on the line, bearing in mind both sides are 7-4 and out of contention in their conferences. Seriously, this one’s all about record. Won’t stop the fans liking each other any less, though.

PREDICTION: Georgia’s a 4-point favorite. We’ll take Georgia in the ‘over’. 

6. Mississippi State at Ole Miss (3.30 pm) 

The Egg Bowl has been christened by some cruel people ‘The Rotten Egg Bowl’ bearing in mind how bad the football has been in The Magnolia State this year. Of course, for every close (loss) Ole Miss has had (and there have been another) there has been getting beaten by three touchdowns by Vanderbilt. For every win over Texas A&M that Mississippi State has stunned the world with, there’s been a South Alabama, and a Kentucky. Listen, we still think Nick Fitzgerald’s a great quarterback and Shea Patterson’s a lot of fun to watch, but the rest of this game could be one for the bourbon. Just to get you through it.

PREDICTION: Ole Miss is an 8-point favorite. We’ll take Ole Miss by a field goal in an under-the-radar awful-come-classic. 

 

Er, this is a terrible SEC line-up of games: Week 12 Predictions

I love the SEC as much as anybody, but I hate it when the schools decide that the weekend before Thanksgiving is going to be THE WEEKEND to play garbage.

I know, I know. The protector of such massive games such as Alabama A&M’s visit to Auburn will beg you to look at what nearly happened to Auburn against Jacksonville State last year, or what DID happen to Mississippi State against South Alabama. Or what happened to Arkansas against Toledo last year. ‘Hey, Alabama once got beaten by UAB’, another fan will tell us.

The fact is this: Alabama ain’t gonna get beaten by Chattanooga, Austin Peay ain’t gonna conquer Kentucky, Western Carolina probably won’t stop South Carolina, and we don’t see UTSA beating Texas A&M. The only that’s possibly interesting is Louisiana Lafayette’s game against Georgia – and that’s because UGA was so goddawful against Nicholls State. Sorry about the spreads this week, folks. They ain’t worth the effort. Rather like watching the games themselves (if Georgia loses to ULL in a ‘blackout’ game it will be funny, though)….

So here are the SEC games that are on offer. And it’s hardly run-to-the-TV to watch these, either (outside of LSU vs Florida). Once again, we order them in terms of interestingness….

  1. No.23 Florida vs No.16 LSU

By now, you understand the background to this game: It was meant to be played much earlier in the year in Gainseville (where it probably would have meant a hell of a lot more), but Hurricane Matthew stopped that happening. Anyway, LSU has been greatly improved since Les Miles’ departure, losing one game only, that was to Alabama. Florida’s defense has a lot of NFL-good players on it, but it’s beaten up at the moment, while Leonard Fournette and Darius Guise are looking to continue as one of the best 1-2 punches in college football.

PREDICTION: LSU’s a 14-1/2 point favorite. We’ll take LSU by 14 as the SEC East continues its slide against the SEC West. 

2. Missouri at No. 19 Tennessee 

A lot of people – even the excellent Missouri podcast ‘The Mizzodcast’ doesn’t see a lot of hope in the Tigers winning in the Neyland Stadium, but they sure think it would be funny. They are also a lot happier than they were a week ago after Mizzou finally got its first SEC win in quite a while by defeating Vanderbilt. They’ll be hoping they play the same inconsistent Tennessee team that’s been driving its fans crazy all season long. At times, we’ve seen flashes from the Volunteers that’s made us think ‘play-offs’, and at times we’ve seen flashes from the Vols that’s made us think ‘mediocre’. Well, they are pretty mediocre, but mediocre could still get them a spot in the SEC Championship Game, where they’ll probably lose by 900 to Alabama.

PREDICTION: Tennessee’s a 16-1/2 point favorite and we think the Vols walk this one, winning by 3 touchdowns. Although if there’s money on Missouri being within 3 at half-time….take it. 

3. Arkansas at Mississippi State

Arkansas has been one of the most fun-yet-infuriating teams to watch this season. They’ve looked golden against tough defenses like Florida, yet fell to pieces against LSU’s run. Mississippi State, on the other hand, have looked like crap most of the season….until they blew out Texas A&M in one of the season’s most ununderstandable results. I actually like MSU’s Nick Fitzgerald a lot as a quarterback, but I’m unsure about the rest of the team.

PREDICTION: Mississippi State’s a 1-1/2 point favorite. This could be one of the most secretly entertaining games of the week. We’re taking Arkansas by a field goal. 

4. Ole Miss at Vanderbilt

Everyone’s fallen in love with Shea Patterson. Including us. Maybe not Texas A&M fans.

PREDICTION: Ole Miss is a 10-point favorite against a tough defense. We’re taking Ole Miss to win by 21 with Shea Patterson doing even more Johnny Manziel stuff.

Who’s going to win on Week 11?

As we understand by Donald Trump’s ascension to the White House, nothing is a foregone conclusion, but we don’t expect Alabama to shoot themselves in the foot at home to Mississippi State.

Anyway, here’s what we think is going to happen in the Week 11 games:

  1. No. 9 Auburn at Georgia – This season’s becoming so weird that you half expect Georgia to pull off the upset. But then again, that means that they’ll actually have to play well on both lines – something they’ve proved to be unable at doing. Auburn, on the hand, is on fire. We’ll take Auburn by 7 in a doozy.
  2. No.24 LSU at No.24 Arkansas – Both sides have been completely non-sensical all season long, which should mean that this game will be a lot of fun. I’m taking LSU by 10, with Leonard Fournette taking things over in the fourth quarter.
  3. Ole Miss at No.8 Texas A&M – The Aggies shouldn’t be ranked as high as they are, but they are at No.8 despite getting blown out at Mississippi State because the Play-Off Committee was videoed having an orgy a few weeks ago, and Texas A&M has the tapes. Allegedly. Quarterbacks, Chad Kelly and Trevor Knight won’t be playing, which makes this game a little more unsexy. Unless Shea Patterson starts and lives up to the hype. This will be fun. I’m taking Texas A&M by 4 in a back-and-forth classic.
  4. Kentucky at Tennessee – This could be under-the-radar fun. I expect both sides to put up a ton of points and give up a lot of points too. Tennessee wins by 14 with scores late in the game, but it’s close most of the way.
  5. Mississippi State at No.1 Alabama – Both sides overcame emotional victories last week, although we don’t expect Mississippi State to be a match for this Alabama team. Bama cruises by 24.
  6. South Carolina at Florida – Apparently Steve Spurrier’s got his eye on this game. I’m taking Florida by 14 in an awful one. 
  7. Vanderbilt at Missouri – Yuck. Missouri pulls off the ‘upset’ and wins! Maybe? 

Who’s the worst team in the SEC? (Hint: They play in the East)

The race for the bottom of the SEC was a really difficult race, made a lot harder to work out after the frankly illogical Mississippi State victory over Texas A&M, a win that should have been celebrated by the fanbase violently clanging bells on the field. We were shocked the field at Davis-Wade Stadium wasn’t invaded after the felling of the mighty Aggies, but there we go.

But it also made us think: Who in the heck is the worst team in the SEC? So here’s our countdown from 1-14. You can probably guess No. 14. Roll Tide.

  1. Missouri (0-5 SEC, 2-7 total) – Hasn’t won a game and while they looked competitive against South Carolina, this is a bad, bad team – especially on the defense. The fanbase seems to hate new DC DeMontie Cross and the decision to recalibrate the defense, and the offense is riddled with mistakes.
  2. Vanderbilt (1-4, 4-5) – The defense is definitely doing some good things, but the offense is still terrible.
  3. South Carolina (3-4, 5-4) – Back-to-back SEC victories is suddenly exciting a fanbase about the Will Muschamp hire. We’re still not excited about the Gamecocks for 2016, although Muschamp’s 2017 class – considering how good he is a recruiter – could be something to watch.
  4. Mississippi State (2-3, 4-5) – The win over Texas A&M boosted them up the table, but you still think that things would have been different had Trevor Knight and Myles Garrett not been injured during the game.
  5. Kentucky (4-3, 5-4) – Gave Georgia the fright of its life and it’s a lot of fun to watch the Wildcats on offense. Defensively, they are a shambles.
  6. Georgia (3-4, 5-4) – Georgia’s medicore. That’s all there is to really say (They beat UNC, South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky and should have beaten Tennessee, but were slaughtered about Florida, and lost to Vanderbilt and things will probably be really ugly against Auburn)
  7. Ole Miss (1-4, 4-5) – Chad Kelly’s injury ain’t going to make things a lot easier. Defensively again this has been a trouble.
  8. Florida (4-2, 6-2) – Boatraced on the road at Arkansas. The offense hasn’t clicked for most of the season. We will see how the Gators do down the stretch against LSU and FSU. This could get nasty.
  9. Tennessee (2-3, 6-3) – The only saving grace for Tennessee this season has been the win over Florida and the taking Texas A&M to double overtime despite the injury horror show. How much they’ve rebounded from the other horror show – the debacle at South Carolina – remains to be seen. They also haven’t managed to play a 100% good game this year. Butch Jones for Coach Of The Year? Nope.
  10. Arkansas (2-3, 6-3) – The excellent performance against Florida seems to indicate things going in the right direction, although whether this is a minor blip for Bielema remains to be seen what with LSU.
  11. LSU (3-2, 5-3) – The loss at home to Alabama showed us the importance of Les Miles actually recruiting a good QB, which he failed to do every since Zach Mettenberger.
  12. Texas A&M (4-2, 7-2) – This MSU loss was a bad day at the office. With the loss of Trevor Knight for the year and Myles Garrett’s injury really not 100%, we’ll see how bad this day at the office gets.
  13. Auburn (5-1, 7-2) – Hot Seat what? Gus Malzahn for Governor!
  14. Alabama (6-0, 9-0) – Nick Saban 2020. Just saying.

(A Very Fast) Week 10 SEC Preview

After the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, this blogger feels like he’s been writing, drinking and tweeting all week long, so apologies if this SEC Week 10 preview is shorter than usual.

So in order for you to read this (quickly), here’s a line on what we think will happen in each of the SEC games this week, which is – as usual – in order of importance.

  1. No.1 Alabama at No. 13 LSU — Alabama will do the same as they did last year and block off Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guise, and force LSU to throw. LSU’s QB Danny Etling really isn’t very good. Sure, LSU’s ‘D’ athletic enough to keep this close, but we still think Alabama wins this by 10. It’ll definitely be fun in Baton Rouge though!
  2. No.4 Texas A&M at Mississippi State – This is only this high because Texas A&M’s in the College Football Play-Off, and suddenly everyone will be watching for this game to be a potential pigskin. Don’t worry Aggies fans….it won’t. Texas A&M by 28, and Dan Mullen’s seat gets hotter.
  3. No.11 Florida at Arkansas  – This is the first part of the CBS doubleheader, so if you hate Verne and Gary, the 3.30’s the one to watch. But if you don’t want to watch an ugly game, we’d advise staying away. Florida will probably win by 6 in a lackluster game, and edge ever closer to another visit to Atlanta.
  4. Georgia at Kentucky – Kentucky’s still in with a shout of the SEC East. Georgia is not. If Georgia loses to UK for the first time since 2009, the cries of Dawgs yelling: “Did we pick the right coach?” will get ever louder. We think Georgia will win this won by 7 in probably the second-most entertaining game of the week. Pity it’s on the same time as LSU vs Alabama. Not even the Kentucky and Georgia fans wanted that to be the case…
  5. Missouri vs South Carolina – Two weeks’ ago, this would have been a battle for the SEC’s worst teams, but Misssissippi State and Missouri are claiming the spots for their very own- particularly after USC upset Tennessee last week. This game is going to be incredibly poor in standard. South Carolina to win by 10. Maybe 13-3. 
  6. Vanderbilt at No.9 Auburn – We’ve got this lower than a number of other games because we think a born-again Auburn’s going to win this in a hurry. Tigers by 28. 
  7. Georgia Southern vs Ole Miss – Ole Miss destroys their second Georgia-based team of the season by 40.
  8. Tennessee Tech vs Tennessee – Tennessee hosts their 2-5 rivals. I didn’t know they were called the Golden Eagles, or were called Cookeville, TN home. I do know that Neyland Stadium’s probably going to be 2/3 full – if that – for this one, and the Vols should win by 48.

Alabama, Texas A&M in first CFB Play-Off Poll

Alabama and Texas A&M are in the country’s first College Football Play-Off Poll.

Alabama is an unsurprising No.1 and Texas A&M is a surprising No.4.

In between are Clemson and Michigan.

Texas A&M’s strength of schedule gave it a huge amount of respect with the commitee – which included a non-conference win against UCLA. Washington’s non-conference schedule is far weaker.