Arkansas Archives

Dan Mullen is going to Florida

After failing to land Chip Kelly, Florida went for their second option: Mississippi State head coach (and former Florida offensive coordinator) Dan Mullen.

Mullen will take over from Jim McElwain, who was fired after the Gators were stomped by Georgia in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party earlier this season. The Gators will not make a bowl this year, finishing 4-7 overall (their Northern Colorado game had to be cancelled due to Hurricane Irma).

Florida fans will be praying that Mullen – who is considered somewhat of a quarterbacks guru after his excellence with Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald in Starkville – will be able to recruit some quarterbacking excellence. At the moment, Felipe Franks is not making the grade, and the Malik Zaire transfer from Notre Dame has been an absolute disaster for the Gators.

Mullen, who was with the Gators when they won two National Championships under Urban Meyer, had been at Mississippi State for nine years and took them out of the world of SEC obscurity that they had occupied when Sylvester Croom was the head coach.

Under Mullen’s guidance, Mississippi State only had only two losing seasons, went 5-2 in bowl games, and went 69-46 overall. However, it must be noted that Mullen’s SEC record with the Bulldogs wasn’t great. In fact, he only managed one winning record in the SEC (2014, when the Bulldogs went 6-2), and his overall conference record was 33-39.

It is ironic that Mullen should leave just a few months after he was given a four-year contract extension. He was one of the highest-paid coaches in the SEC, earning $4.5 million per season. He should probably expect a lot more with the Gators.

What will irritate some Mississippi State fans (as well as this writer), is that it wasn’t exactly surprising that Mullen was going to leave. In fact, you could go as far as saying that Mullen used his relationships with the Mississippi State top brass to get his extensions and expand his pocket. According to reports, Mullen already tried his luck to return to the State of Florida in 2015, interviewing for the Miami job. Mark Richt beat him to the spot there.

 

Texas A&M fires Kevin Sumlin

After they lost to UCLA, Kevin Sumlin was apparently out at Texas A&M. After they played pretty well down the stretch, it looked as though his job was safe.

After the Aggies were worked by Auburn, Mississippi State and LSU at the end of the season, Sumlin was unceremoniously fired by Texas A&M on Sunday after the 42-21 loss in Tiger Stadium after six seasons in the job.

Under Sumlin, Texas A&M never had a losing season, finishing 51-26. He also helped to create a legend in Johnny Manziel, who won the Aggies their first Heisman Trophy since John David Crow celebrated victory in 1957.

The problem for Sumlin was his in-state record, which wasn’t the best. He went 4-4 four times in the SEC after his first season (with Manziel) which had a 6-2 record. His worst year was when the Aggies finished 3-5. But five out of six surely isn’t that bad.

As they did on the SEC Football Blog’s Twitter feed when we remarked that we didn’t like the Aggies’ move of firing Sumlin, Aggies fans argued vehemently that because of the massive investment the Aggies had thrown into the program, they should expect more – especially beating Auburn and LSU. During Sumlin’s time they never beat LSU and went 3-3 against Auburn and 1-5 against Alabama. They were 6-0 against Arkansas, 3-3 against Ole Miss and 3-3 against Mississippi State.

It can’t be said that Sumlin never created stars. Also Manziel wasn’t a star in the NFL, he was a star at the Aggies, as we’ve mentioned before. Myles Garrett and Mike Evans also became SEC golden boys under Sumlin’s watch. Christian Kirk – who is a sure-fire NFL star punt returner and WR, will be the next one.

One of the greatest highlights of Sumlin’s career wasn’t really about Sumlin himself, but more his race. Sumlin was the first African American head coach Texas A&M had ever hired. Soon after Charlie Strong became the first-ever African American head coach at Texas. Now they are both gone.

Anyway, good luck to Sumlin, and good luck to Texas A&M.

Bret Bielema is out at Arkansas

Bret Bielema is out at Arkansas after five years at the helm.

‘Bert’, as he’s ‘affectionately’ known by social media, was fired after the Razorbacks were beaten 48-45 in a thriller at home to Missouri, leaving the school with a 4-8 record. This is the second coach that has been fired this season after a loss to the Tigers – the first was Tennessee’s Butch Jones.

Bielema was fired almost immediately after the game. There were rumors that he had been fired as he walked off the field, but Arkansas pointed out that they hadn’t been that cruel – it was ‘actually in the coach’s office by the visitor’s locker room’, ESPN stated.

Bielema was quick to protect himself, telling the press that six out of his Top 10 players were available to play a ‘significant’ time for the Razorbacks, and he also admitted that that team didn’t have the depth of SEC West competitors. He also noted that in the five years that he’s been at the helm, he had the toughest schedule in the SEC.  Arkansas finished 1-7 in the SEC this year, with their lone win coming over Ole Miss this season in what was ironically one of the most exciting games of the conference’s fairly-moribund season.

Bielema’s SEC record was outright terrible, with a 10-24 SEC record, and a 27-29 overall record that included some embarrassing losses, particularly to Toledo. His only positive win percentage with the Hogs was bowl games (2-1).

There were some good wins during Bielema’s time, including shut-outs of ranked opponents LSU and Ole Miss in 2014, and a bowl trouncing of former hated rival Texas in the Texas Bowl in 2014.

But they weren’t enough to paper over the cracks of what was a disappointing reign for a state employee that was being paid $4.1 million by the school as well as having a contract buyout of $5.1 million.

OUR TAKE

If we’re honest, the fact that Arkansas finished bottom of the SEC West behind an Ole Miss team (who it ironically beat!) that had the shadow of NCAA sanctions floating over them and an interim coach, their second straight losing SEC record, and the fact that in Bielema’s time, they couldn’t beat their SEC West rivals very much (they had a 0-5 record against massive rival Texas A&M, which included THREE overtime games in four years, was 0-5 against Alabama, 1-4 against Auburn, 1-4 against Mississippi State and 2-3 against LSU. The only SEC West team Bielema ended having a winning record against was Ole Miss, with a 4-1 record). We all knew (pretty much) that the writing was on the wall for Bielema when Arkansas fired its head coach Jeff Long earlier this year.

Because it gives me a chance to ignore the extended family and watch football for three days, I love Rivalry Weekend. It starts with the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night, and then moves through like a hurricane until the regular season (sniff! Sniff!) winds up at the end of Saturday.

This rivalry week for the SEC looks pretty damned special. There’s an Iron Bowl at Auburn, with Alabama visiting. We’ll hear the words ‘Kick Six’ mentioned a lot, and Harvey Updyke’s name may crop up ever so often. The story that’ll probably get missed this week is about Rodney Alexander, an Alabama fan who shot an Auburn fan this week over an Iron Bowl disagreement. That almost puts Updyke and Smoking Lady to shame.

There’s also ‘Good Ole Fashioned Hate’ as Georgia goes to Georgia Tech, The Egg Bowl which sees Ole Miss and Mississippi State (regardless of what people think, they really hate each other down there), and Florida versus Florida State, which is actually going to be one of the worst games of the year (Chip Kelly or no Chip Kelly). There’s Louisville vs Kentucky in the Bluegrass Bowl, where we see LeSean Jackson play. LSU hosts Texas A&M as the ‘replacement game’ for the Aggies’ traditional Texas game (that got called off when they went to the SEC, which in my mind is still the biggest load of B.S. since the Longhorn Network) for what could be Kevin Sumlin’s goodbye, and surging Missouri goes to Arkansas is what could be Bret Bielema’s last, too. Arkansas fans are praying so.

Oh, and there’s the terrible, terrible games of Tennessee playing Vanderbilt, which pits two 0-7 SEC teams, and Florida State going to Florida. All four teams suck so much that trying to work out the best one is a law unto itself.

So here are the games in order of interest for this writer:

  1. Alabama (-4) at Auburn: There is going to be some atmosphere in Jordan-Hare – especially with the SEC West division and a potential play-off trip on the line. We should see both sides beat the living crap out of each other on the lines, but I still think Calvin Ridley can cause Auburn’s secondary more damage than Auburn’s receivers can do to Mykah Fitzpatrick and friends. PREDICTION: Alabama by 7.
  2. Georgia (-11) at Georgia Tech: A lot of people keep telling us how Georgia Tech’s slow play will stop them getting beaten into a pulp by UGA, but my argument is is that UGA’s fast play – thanks to its electric running backs and fast, fast defense – may rack up the points before Tech can even stop them. PREDICTION: Georgia by 14.
  3. Missouri (-9.5) at Arkansas: The ‘Bert Bowl’ is really interesting, because it could be Bielema and Jen’s last game. Then Wisconsin fans will scream ‘karma’. Missouri is an offensive juggernaut at the moment, but will it last against an Arkansas team who have been fighting quite a lot recently for its coach? PREDICTION: Arkansas by 3 in an upset. But carrying Bielema off the pitch would be the biggest feat by this Arkansas team.
  4. Texas A&M at LSU (-10): Another game in which we could say goodbye to another coach, the Aggies travel to LSU. Again, a sneaky pick for one of the funner games of the week, Kevin Sumlin – who is rumoured to be leaving College Station very soon indeed – has to jack up his Aggies in a game that they have never won. Ed Orgeron’s team also has a knack of playing down to its opponents. PREDICTION: No major celebrations here. LSU by 10.
  5. Clemson (-13.5) at South Carolina: If Jake Bentley can keep away from throwing INTS (the last time he played vaguely competent defenses he threw five of them), then this could be a classic. Clemson, with all their firepower, still aren’t the same team that won the National Championship last year. A Clemson loss would make an OK season for South Carolina all the sweeter, because it would knock the Tigers out of Play-Off contention for good. PREDICTION: Clemson by 10 in a battle.
  6. Louisville (-10) at Kentucky: This is more about saying goodbye to one of college football’s greatest players (Lemar Jackson). If Kentucky defends him badly, he’ll have a field day. But then again, Louisville’s ‘D’ is nothing to write home about, and Kentucky could well exploit it –especially in front of a partisan Commonwealth Stadium crowed. Oh, and there’s Bobby Petrino’s return to the SEC. Apparently, his time at Arkansas was a bit of a [motorcycle] wreck. PREDICTION: Louisville by 7 in a high-scoring thriller.
  7. Ole Miss at Mississippi State (-14.5): The rumors are circling about Dan Mullen leaving. By the end of Sunday, he could have a choice (Tennessee, Texas A&M, Arkansas). But right now he’ll have to concentrate on the Ole Miss game with Mr UT-CHATTANOOGA Nick Fitzgerald. Ole Miss can score points, too. This Egg Bowl will be very fun indeed. PREDICTION: Mississippi State by 10 – although it’s close going into the 4th
  8. Florida State (-5) vs Florida: I remember when this used to be a HUGE, HUGE GAME. Now, it’s a match-up between two of the worst teams in the State of Florida. Maybe Chip Kelly will spice up the rivalry next year – especially if Jimbo Fisher moves to Texas A&M, where he’s rumoured to be going after this year’s massive failure. PREDICTION: Florida State by 3 in a close, entertaining game.
  9. Tennessee (-1) at Vanderbilt: It’ll be like watching ‘America’s best sports crashes’. Seriously. Here at the SEC Football Blog we’ll wait around for the final score for this one…and we pity any fans actually going. PREDICTION: Tennessee by 10. That’s how bad Vanderbilt is.

The best thing about Crap Saturday is that that weekend ends all the weekends of crap games, and it’s one week before our favorite long weekend of the year: Rivalry Week.

But we’ll get onto Rivalry Week tomorrow, once we’ve basked in the glory of last Saturday’s incredible SEC schedule, which saw zero upsets, one close, fun game and….er…. (in other non-SEC news) Baker Mayfield grabbed his crotch at some Kansans, and then wrote his usual apology.

So here’s your SEC rankings from 1-14.

  1. Alabama: Heroically beat Mercer to preserve unbeaten season. Games like the Mercer vs Alabama is why we love SEC Football.
  2. Auburn: Struggled early against Louisiana-Monroe, but eventually hit the gear they were looking for. They could have done with an easier tune-up before the Iron Bowl.
  3. Georgia: The Dawgs absolutely dominated Kentucky. We already can’t wait to the SEC Championship Game.
  4. Mississippi State: One week they play like they play like Champions, the next week they struggle against Arkansas. That’s why they dropped a beat. We still don’t understand Dan Mullen’s great mystery of a team. But it’s fun.
  5. LSU: Beat Tennessee in horrific conditions in which we saw goalposts nearly fall down, an Ed Orgeron interview for the ages, and Noah building an ark.
  6. Texas A&M: Won a thriller in Oxford where first-half defense was so bad we thought it was going to be a Pac-12 game. Sadly, both sides managed to play some defense in the second half, and the Aggies won 31-24. Still, it was a fun game.
  7. Missouri: The Tigers continued their surge by crushing Vanderbilt on the road. They are now bowl-eligible. After the Purdue game, that seemed unthinkable. Will Drew Lock go after this junior year? Probably….but it’s inadvisable.
  8. Ole Miss: We’re looking forward to the Egg Bowl a hell of a lot more than we did when the Rebels lost at Cal a month or two ago.
  9. South Carolina: Beat Wofford. But we’ll say this – if the Gamecocks played Kentucky right now, they’d probably beat them.
  10. Kentucky: Housed by Georgia. But the Cats are bowl-eligible, and that’s fine for Stoops & Co.
  11. Arkansas: Actually played pretty well against Mississippi State. You have to wonder what might have happened if their QBs hadn’t either been injured or suspended.
  12. Florida: The Gators actually ruined my weekend, because they beat UAB and we love Bill Clark so much that we wanted a fairytale ending to what’s been a glorious season. It’s not that we hate Florida, it’s just that we love UAB. Because UAB’s amazing.
  13. Tennessee: Battled the elements against LSU, but they were closed down by an excellent defense.
  14. Vanderbilt: Eeew. The Commodores are so damned bad at the moment that I’m taking Tennessee in the game this week.

Crap Saturday: Previewing the worst weekend in the SEC season

Some rude SEC hater (@SECexposed) called this weekend of the college football season #chickenshitSaturday, and when I looked at the SEC schedule, I had to agree. If there are any Alabama fans getting excited over the chance of watching the Crimson Tide eviscerate Mercer, then you probably need to get out more. But please don’t poison trees or smoke in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Both will get you in trouble and be the butt of jokes here, there and everywhere.

Anyway, back to this Saturday. We’re christening it ‘Crap Saturday’, because the schedule’s a load of crap.

The biggest game is….is…. LSU’s visit to coach-less Tennesseee? Missouri’s bid for getting into an unlikely bowl against Vanderbilt, who still don’t have a SEC win? Texas A&M’s trip to Ole Miss….where both teams have given up on their season? Kentucky vs Georgia, which is expected to be less spectacle and more slaughter? Frankly, we’re repping UAB’s trip to The Swamp this weekend.

So here are your weekend’s most interesting games. We’re not going to bother with Alabama hosting Mercer, Auburn hosting UL-Monroe and South Carolina-Wofford because there’s going to be nothing close about any of those games. We’d be surprised if Vegas is going to let anyone bet on these either.

OK, so here we go…

  1. UAB at Florida (-10.5): Bill Clark has done more of a miracle with that UAB team that any well-pocketed SEC head coach has done with their team. Remember this about UAB: Certain parts of University of Alabama governing board wanted to wipe the school off the face of the earth. Well, they are back, and UAB is a magical 7-3. We know about Florida and the fact that it’s been a nightmare. What else do you want us to say? Florida’s a 10.5 point favourite in this one. PREDICTION: Florida by 14. UAB keeps it interesting until the fourth quarter. 
  2. LSU (-15.5) at Tennessee: There were great parties in Knoxville when news came through that Butch Jones had been fired at Tennessee. And then Jones added to his delightful resume by walking off with $8 million and immediately started calling recruits to tell them to go find somewhere else to play. Anyway, LSU comes into town to play a team led by Brady Hoke – himself a bit of a disaster when it came to head-coaching (Michigan, cough! cough!) – who’s now the interim head coach after spending time being the defensive line coach (yeah, that defensive line that gave up 400 yards to Missouri on Saturday). LSU isn’t on fire (they didn’t play well against Arkansas until mid-way through the second quarter of the game), but they’ll have too much for the Vols. PREDICTION: LSU by 21
  3. Mississippi State (-12) at Arkansas: The pre-end-of-season bloodbath in the SEC may continue in Fayetteville this weekend as Bret Bielema hosts a Mississippi State who must feel more than a little aggrieved to have lost their game against Alabama. Not only did they lose to some terrible coaching calls, but they also lost to some terrible refereeing ones, too. Now, against Arkansas, which keeps losing games because they are flat-out terrible, they should have no problem. The problem for MSU will be how motivated they will be after a soul-destroying loss. PREDICTION: MSU by 10. 
  4. Kentucky at Georgia (-21.5): If Georgia catches the throws they are meant to catch and come out more disciplined than they were against Kentucky, then Kentucky’s going to get run over. Georgia should play angry – because they are still in a shout for a College Football Play-Off place. And with Alabama and Auburn playing joke opponents on Saturday, this is their chance to get noticed…for good reasons. PREDICTION: Georgia by 35. Most of the fourth quarter we will have to listen to Nessler and Danielson prattle on about why the Dawgs didn’t play like this against Auburn.
  5. Texas A&M at Ole Miss (-3): This may well the most fun game of the day, which both teams prepared to put up the points. Maybe that’s why Vegas is giving an O/U of 69.5. Of course, both quarterbacks will now let themselves down and the only highlight will be Christian Kirk running for his usual touchdown, and Texas A&M getting out with 10-3 victory where half of Oxford has left to go back to the tailgate. But if Nick Starkel and Jordan Ta’amu shine – as well as WR gods A.J. Brown (Ole Miss) and Kirk – then we could be in for a fine, fun game. We are expecting a lot of points. PREDICTION: Texas A&M wins by 7, but the O/U is well over the 69.5. We can’t wait! 
  6. Missouri (-8.5) at Vanderbilt: Missouri’s flying high after one of booking in back-to-back impressive games against Florida and Tennessee (albeit one without coach, and one barely with one). Drew Lock can throw bombs, and the running backs are looking very, very good. This all bodes well for Vanderbilt, who hasn’t been able to stop anybody since they were run over by Alabama, and were destroyed by Kentucky, who normally plays down to its opponents. This does not bode well for the Commodores. PREDICTION: Missouri by 17 in a high-scorer.

Oh, and congratulations to Alabama, Auburn and South Carolina on your hard-fought victories.

No surprises: Tennessee fires Butch Jones

There was a smell around the Tennessee program that was putrid, and absolutely undeniable. It was that of garbage, desperation, and giving up.

It was joked that Tennessee’s players had given up on Butch Jones way before his firing on the day after the school dropped 50 points to Missouri.

It was obvious the fans had. There was a social media tidal wave of fans saying: “Fire Butch Jones” (aside from the wags – mostly in the SEC East – with signs begging Big Orange to keep him), and there was even a failed attempt by the fanbase to show displeasure against the current management by emptying Neyland for the Southern Mississippi game – ironically the last game that the now-departed head coach won during his time in Knoxville.

Like a lot of his head coaching colleagues in the success-rabid SEC, Butch Jones was already on the hot seat when the 2017 season started. The team had just lost to Vanderbilt, had continued its run of losing to Alabama, and wasn’t competitive within the SEC anymore. Then there was the press conference were Jones referred to his team as ‘Champions of Life’ that made him sound less head coach, and more preacher. It also made the Tennessee program look like a joke, which can’t have helped the school’s relationship with the boosters. Then there was the trash can to celebrate turnovers by the Tennessee defense. By Butch Jones’ last game at Tennessee, the Volunteers were just that: Trash.

Butch Jones is the latest head coach that hasn’t lasted in Knoxville since Philip Fulmer left in 2008. Jones’ record wasn’t actually terrible, with a 51-30 overall record with a .588 overall record. Unfortunately, Jones’ SEC record wasn’t great, coming in at 14-18 with a .438 record…which should have been better in what has been a consistently down SEC East. However, it’s been noted that he was 5-15 against AP-ranked teams and 3-12 against Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

“We have been fortunate to have Coach Jones lead our program for the last five years. During that time, the program has improved tremendously in the areas of academics, discipline and community involvement,” athletic director John Currie said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we are not where we need to be competitively. For that reason, I have asked Coach Jones to step down as head football coach. I know Coach Jones will be successful moving forward, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

The problem for Butch Jones, is where else might hire him? If he goes, he seems that he will have to take a big step down in earnings. He was on a $4.11 million salary with the Vols, and his buyout is $8 million, because he had a contract signed until 2021. It was also noted that UT would have to pay less than the buyout fee if and when Jones gets hired again.

By what he’s said during press conferences and the way Tennessee fell apart, it’s likely to be more of a ‘if’ than a ‘when’.

 

Can Auburn upset Georgia? Week 11 SEC Predictions

Georgia might be the top team in the country, but it’s biggest test of the season may well not have come at Notre Dame in Week 2….it may come in the form of hated rival Auburn at 3.30pm on Saturday. The Georgia-Auburn game, one of the South’s oldest rivalries, will be compelling viewing…..far above other games. No.2 Alabama is going to No.16 Mississippi State, who will be looking for their second major scalp in Cowbell Country after they blew out LSU earlier in the season. Speaking of the Tigers, they host an awful Arkansas team. In the East, Butch Jones’ assumed leaving party will continue with a trip to surging Missouri, which is playing better than most people expected this time in the season, while rival Florida goes to South Carolina. Ole Miss hosts Louisiana in the Jefferson Sports Pilot game, while there’s not a lot nice to be said about the Kentucky vs Vandy game either. Oh, and New Mexico travels to Texas A&M.

So here we are for the Week 11 games in order of interest.

  1. No.1 Georgia (-3) at Auburn: The game of the day – if not the week. If Auburn hadn’t blown a 20-point lead against LSU, this game could be massive for both sides’ play-off ambitions. While Auburn’s still in the race as the country’s best two-loss teams, Georgia is in the pole position. But although Georgia fans are really excited about this match-up, one Georgia season ticket holder we spoke to isn’t. “I think Auburn’s gonna stack the box and make Jake Fromm throw. I’m not excited about that match-up. This game’s going to be all about turnovers. Whoever has less of them will win.” What should be noted is that Auburn will be the first good running defense Georgia has faced since its one-point win over Notre Dame, and the first good QB since it faced Missouri’s Drew Lock, who ripped the secondary to shreds in the first half of that match-up. Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham’s thrown for 1,996 yards and 11 TDs this season, by the way. PREDICTION: Georgia by 7 in an absolute battle to the end. This one could go to overtime. 
  2. No.2 Alabama (-14) at No.16 Mississippi State: Listen, we haven’t made any secret of the fact that we love Nick Fitzgerald. If it wasn’t for Fitzgerald, God knows how the Bulldogs program would have been after the departure of Dak Prescott. Fitzgerald has again had a good season, throwing for 1,459 yards and 13 TDs. The problem for Fitzgerald is that he’s thrown for 10 INTs. He can’t afford any turnovers against a ravenous Alabama defense. PREDICTION: Alabama by 18. It’ll be close for a quarter or two, but eventually Fitzgerald will be forced to go for it, and that’s where the cracks will start to show.  
  3. Tennessee at Missouri (-12): Missouri is surging at the moment. Yes, we know that the last three games have been against lackluster opponents, but Mizzou actually showed life a little before that, when they were unlucky to lose at Kentucky and they took Georgia’s secondary to the cleaners in the first half of that game (as we’ve mentioned before!). As for Tennessee, the Vols managed to find something to smile about when they beat Southern Miss in Neyland on Saturday. Despite all the crap that we’ve given them, Tennessee’s pass defense really isn’t bad, giving up just 7 pass TDs all season and only 6.65 yards per attempt. We don’t know if Tennessee’s got the offense against Missouri’s not-great secondary, but this one’s going to be closer than many believe. Missouri’s defense is still awful, isn’t it? PREDICTION: Missouri by 4 in a close one. 
  4. Kentucky at Vanderbilt (-2): In SEC play this weekend, this is predicted to be the closest game of the weekend. As we’ve mentioned before Kentucky’s been pretty painful to watch all season, and Vanderbilt’s been painful since it beat Kansas State and was run over by Alabama the next week. I actually like Vanderbilt because of QB Kyle Shurmur, who’s had an 1,884 yard, 20 TD season so far – and doesn’t get picked off a lot (3 INTs). Kentucky’s one of the worst in the country at passing yards allowed (120th), giving up 2,515 yards all season at 7.67 yards per attempt. PREDICTION: Vanderbilt by 7 in a weird, accidental thriller.
  5. Arkansas at No.24 LSU (-17): There are usually nice things we can say about both programs, but there aren’t a lot of good things to say about the Razorbacks, who struggled against the mighty Coastal Carolina last week. LSU will depend a lot on its running game, as Derrius Guice continues to get stronger and the passing play continues to struggle. That’ll be fine for the Tigers, who face an Arkansas rushing D that gives up over 5 yards per rush. PREDICTION: LSU by 21. 
  6. Florida at South Carolina (-6): Florida was awful at Missouri, but this will be interesting because of a couple of things. The first is that Florida doesn’t have a head coach and any offensive ideas, and the second is that both were coached by Steve Spurrier. Then again, South Carolina isn’t incredible, either. Can Florida pull this one out of its behind? PREDICTION: Nope. South Carolina by 10. 
  7. New Mexico at Texas A&M (-17): TEXAS A&M’S ONLY A 17-POINT FAVORITE OVER NEW MEIXCO? FIRE SUMLIN ALREADY! Prediction: The Aggies are going to kill ’em. Aggies by 35. 
  8. Louisiana at Ole Miss (-20): We’ve got no clue who’s going to watch the game. Even ardent Ole Miss fans may struggle with this, which pits together a UL team which isn’t great against an Ole Miss side which isn’t great – but has an offense. PREDICTION: Ole Miss by 30.

SEC FANS: WHY YOU’RE GONNA FIRE YOUR COACH

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There are 13 coaches left in the SEC (Florida already fired Jim McElwain at the speed of a swimming shark, so they aren’t on the list), which means that all 13 could get fired at season’s end. We think it’s pretty unlikely, but knowing how many are on the hot-seat RIGHT NOW, anything could damned well happen.

So here’s our 1-13 list.

1) TENNESSEE — BECAUSE WE WANT CHAMPIONS OF THE SEC, NOT CHAMPIONS OF LIFE, YOU HORSE’S ASS. 

Because Butch Jones is a Champion of Life, but Tennessee is trash- like his sideline garbage can. Blowout losses to Alabama and Georgia probably pissed Orange Nation off, but heartbreak losses to Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina – without looking particularly unlucky in all of them- has made it worse. AD John Currie has also got a massive amount of public pressure wanting Jones’ head, which he’ll probably bow down to. Recruiting commitments are already falling away from the school, and SEC competitors can sniff blood. If Jones is back for 2018, Knoxville will burn.

2) OLE MISS —BECAUSE YOU AIN’T COACH FREEZE AND YOU AIN’T THAT GOOD.

We don’t know if interim head coach Matt Luke’s position will be filled by him at season’s end, but we don’t expect so. While Ole Miss’ offense is buzzing along pretty nicely, the defense has been awful (118th in the country). Also, losing to Cal, Arkansas and just surviving Kentucky probably hasn’t made the locals happy, either. Oh, and Ole Miss has the recruiting violations sitting over the school’s head, as well as the self-imposed bowl ban, isn’t a good thing. At least he’s not calling escorts in Tampa, though.

3) ARKANSAS — BECAUSE EVER SINCE JENN TWEETED ‘KARMA’, Y’ALL HAVE BEEN PRETTY MUCH TERRIBLE.

The Razorbacks have once again been awful in SEC play. The only team they’ve beaten is a poor, poor Ole Miss side, and they’ve been pretty-much swatted by everyone else….apart from Texas A&M, who they managed to find a way to lose to (yet again). His record with the Razorbacks in SEC play is a piss-poor 11-26, which won’t help the local humor – despite the fact that the school’s playing in a miserably-strong SEC West. But the really kicker is that local newspapers found out that Bret Bielema’s buyout is $5m, not $12m…which is a hell of a lot more affordable to the school and its boosters (CALLING JERRY JONES!!).

4) TEXAS A&M — BECAUSE WE CAN’T DEAL WITH BEING CRAPPY IN NOVEMBER AGAIN.

After a stunningly stupid loss on Week 1 to a team that’s probably going to fire its coach (UCLA) to a recent collapse against Mississippi State and Auburn, A&M fans and boosters seem to be fed up with the Kevin Sumlin era. ‘Can’t win in November Kevin’ has apparently been told that his butt is out at the end of the year, although those rumors will have to be seen to believed. But if A&M goes 1-2 against New Mexico, Ole Miss and LSU, Sumlin’s got problems (we’re expecting 2-1). The fact that A&M star recruit Kenny Hill is now kicking ass at TCU probably hasn’t helped the local’s humor, either.

5) MISSOURI — BECAUSE LOSING TO PURDUE AND STRUGGLING AGAINST MISSOURI STATE AND LOOKING CLUELESS DEFENSIVELY DRIVES EVERYONE CRAZY.

Two definites about the season right now. The Tigers are surging, and Barry Odom’s job is not safe. And we think he’ll be out if Mizzou loses to Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas. We think he needs to go 2-1 or 3-0 to really save his job – even if he delivers one of the greatest sermons since Billy Graham. Listen, the trampling of Florida did good things for Odom’s job security, but – like his defense- it can all go to the crapper very quickly. Oh, and the recruiting’s not looking too hot, either, with a spate of decommits.

6) AUBURN — YOU LET US DOWN THE WHOLE TIME, GUS (AND WE HATE BEING THE SECOND TEAM IN ALABAMA). 

If Malzahn leaves, it won’t because he hasn’t been successful in the past. He’s taken Aubie to a National Championship Game, after all. The issue will be that 2017 has been a massive disappointment – mainly because of the excitement surrounding incoming Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham to The Plains. Everyone expected an explosive offense from Week 1, and didn’t get it. They’ve struggled against top defenses, and the conservatism shown against LSU while having a big lead really enraged the locals. And there’s nothing that pisses off Auburn fans more than losing to Alabama, Georgia and LSU (in that order, depending on who you ask) in one season. If that happens – and the lost games aren’t heartbreakers – then Malzahn may well get his leaving papers.

7) LSU — BECAUSE WE LOST TO TROY, WE DON’T HAVE A QB, AND WE CAN’T PLAY WELL FOR FOUR QUARTERS AGAINST ANYONE EXCEPT MORMONS AND FCS SCHOOLS. NOW GIVE ME SOME DRIVE-BY DAQUIRI FOR THE WAY HOME.

The games that LSU have played well in have been against BYU, UT Chattanooga, and Ole Miss. LSU has played in a second half against Auburn. LSU’s defense might have played well against Florida (offense did nothing against a poor, poor team), and had a Lazarus-like win against Auburn, but LSU hasn’t managed to put it together for four quarters against the GOOD teams. Hell, Syracuse isn’t even that good. What’s been more unforgiveable is that the quarterback play has been downright crappy. Blame Les Miles all you want for his lack of recruiting at the position, but this is terrible. But what might get Ed Orgeron pushed over the cliff is the loss against Troy, and if Joe Alleva really feels like it, showing everybody the heavy loss at Mississippi State, the struggles against Syracuse, and the first half against Auburn.

8) MISSISSIPPI STATE — IT’S MORE ABOUT HIM THAN THEM

Dan Mullen is absolutely adored in Starkville. The fans that wave the Cowbells love him, AD John Cohen loves him, the boosters love him, and he’s got so much love that they’ve made him very wealthy indeed. The problem for MSU is that Mississippi isn’t a fertile recruiting ground, and Florida and Tennessee might come calling with a lot of money. Or some other big teams out there. Listen, we think Mullen’s (probably) going to stay, but after he talked to Miami before Mark Richt got the job there, we’re not quite sure of his loyalty to Team Cowbell.

9) VANDERBILT — BECAUSE WE CAN’T WIN IN THE SEC

Vanderbilt’s on course to win ZERO SEC games for the second time under Mason’s watch. James Franklin won 11 games in SEC play in 4 years. Listen, Vanderbilt’s win over Kansas State was good, but since the fans yelled “We Want Bama” (somewhat jokingly), the Commodores have gotten their asses kicked. Listen, we get that Vanderbilt’s never going to be a big-time SEC program (we still believe the school was invited because it’s private and it’s more academic than 13 of its rivals), but Derek Mason doesn’t really have Vandy feeling mediocre at the moment….and after Franklin spoilt the school a bit, things could look better with another coach.

10) KENTUCKY — BECAUSE WE HAVEN’T LOOKED GOOD ALL SEASON

Kentucky fans must be overjoyed to be bowl-eligible, but Kentucky actually hasn’t looked good all season long. Their best win was probably over South Carolina, which was helped by an horrific injury to Gamecocks’ star  WR Deebo Samuel (otherwise we think the Wildcats would have lost). Otherwise….Eastern Kentucky? If the Wildcats get their asses handed to them at the end of the season by Louisville (and go 0-3 in the process), then the hot seat warms for Mark Stoops.

11) SOUTH CAROLINA – BECAUSE GEORGIA AND CLEMSON’S LOOKED SO DAMNED GOOD, AND THE GAMECOCKS AREN’T.

Will Muschamp might talk a good game and have the haircut of any good SEC coach, but these are the facts: South Carolina’s getting owned by its biggest rivals – Georgia and Clemson. And growth in the rival programs can only mean one thing in Columbia: Fits of jealousy. And while Georgia Tech probably gripes about UGA about it but knows its place on the totem poll (weird wins over the Dawgs punctuated by years of pummeling), South Carolina thinks it’s much bigger than it actually is — not helped by Steve Spurrier, who then abandoned the program mid-season to go play golf (he resurfaced at Florida quickly, showing no sign that he gave two craps about his time at South Carolina whatsoever). Muschamp has vastly improved this Carolina team (it’s bowl eligble for the second time in a row and hasn’t played horribly against anyone except Tennessee this year, but haters gonna hate as rivals get bigger.

12) ALABAMA — BECAUSE WE DON’T LOSE BACK-TO-BACK NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

If Alabama was to lose in the College Football Play-Off, SEC Championship Game, or even to Auburn, Paul Finebaum’s hotline would explode, Twitter would explode, Harvey Updyke and Smoking Lady would explode, and Nick Saban’s head would definitely explode. Some tool will call for Saban’s head (Crimson Tide fans don’t take losing well), and that’s why he’s at No.12. Also, we’re sure that after this week’s College Football Rankings where the Tide were ranked No.2 for the second week in a row, the gripers are already griping. Oh, and we’re heard Nick Saban wants the job as Governor Of The World, anyway. It’s bigger than the Texas job, apparently.

13) GEORGIA — BECAUSE THAT KIRBY SMART SUCKS AND WE WANT MARK RICHT BACK

Mark Richt wins the National Championship + Kirby Smart loses in agonising fashion in the SEC Championship Game/College Football Play-Off/to Auburn = Georgia fans begging Miami to swap coaches. Georgia fans – like the rest of college football – could never be accused of being short of a good grumble.

NOTE: THE NEW FLORIDA COACH WILL BE ON THE HOT-SEAT IN 2019 IF HE DOESN’T BEAT FLORIDA AND LSU IN 2018, RECRUIT THE NEW TIM TEBOW OR DANNY WUERFFEL AND HAVE THE GATORS IN THE PLAY-OFF BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT THEY EXPECT DOWN IN GAINESVILLE. FLORIDA’S AD SHOULD ALSO LOOK FOR A NEW JOB IF HE DOESN’T HIRE THE NEXT URBAN MEYER OR STEVE SPURRIER. 

Alabama keeps rolling, while Missouri surges: Week 10 SEC Rankings

Week 10 wasn’t set up to be too much of a weird weekend. Of course there was Bedlam out in Oklahoma, a perhaps-tricky trip for Ohio State to Iowa and a perhaps-tricky trip for Penn State at Michigan State, and then…and then….real bedlam happened. Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State 65-55 (yes, we’re serious), Iowa beat the living crap out of Ohio State, and Penn State lost after a three-hour lightning delay to Michigan State.

In the SEC, though, nothing really happened. Alabama and Georgia both rolled (although not a hugely as we would have anticipated), Auburn went to Texas A&M and kicked the crap out of them, while Arkansas and Mississippi State rolled out painful victories. Ole Miss beat Kentucky in a thriller, and Butch Jones got the haters off his back (a little) with a win over Southern Miss. Oh, and Vanderbilt beat Western Kentucky in a snoozer (ALTHOUGH WE WERE BANG-ON THE SCORELINE FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR).

And then there was Missouri. Missouri for the first half of the season had been – to use our favourite podcast at the moment (‘The Mizzodcast’) a ‘steaming pile of dogs**t’. And then they threw all over Georgia in the first half of their 53-28 loss. And they got more confident from that, and have won three in a row, including blowing out coach-less Florida.

So here’s our ranking of SEC teams 1-14.

  1. Alabama: If Alabama had struggled with LSU and Georgia had torched South Carolina, then we might have swapped these, but Alabama’s defense looked excellent against LSU, helped by the Tigers’ poor quarterbacking. Is there anything that can stop this team?
  2. Georgia: The Dawgs, who had the No.1 College Play-Off spot going into this game, must have played with a ton of rat poison in them, because they beat South Carolina 24-10 and didn’t play particularly well. They’d better not do the same at Auburn on Saturday, although they’ll be releived that College Gameday won’t be there, because Lee Corso’s pro-Dawgs picks always seem to go awry. Oh, and now they are SEC East winners after Kentucky’s loss to Ole Miss. Which is unbelievable considering how great the East has been this season #sarcasm.
  3. Auburn: The fact that Auburn beat the living crap out of Texas A&M in a game that was expected to be pretty close (at least from my point of view) shows that the second half at LSU was merely a blip in the progress that this team’s showing under Gus Malzahn. Georgia had better watch out, because Jordan-Hare’s going to be a war on Saturday.
  4. LSU: Battled more than I thought they would at Alabama, but the problem stems from what we’ve been saying for years….They don’t have a quarterback. Danny Etling wasn’t even serviceable, going 12-26 for 153 yards and an interception. His replacement, Myles Brennan, wasn’t much better. LSU may have outgained Alabama on the ground, but when you don’t have a QB, who cares?
  5. Mississippi State: With all the rumors about Dan Mullen leaving Starkville for Florida, it’s easy to see why Mississippi State looked so poor against UMass. Also, the UMass game was a classic look-ahead spot to the visit of Alabama. The Cowbells will be loud and the crowd will be excited. Never has a Cowbeller needed Nick Fitzgerald more….
  6. South Carolina: The Gamecocks looked competent today, holding Georgia to a 14-7 lead at half-time. The second half was 10-0 in favor of the Bulldogs, but still, Will Muschamp’s got some good things going. The sad news? Deebo Samuel’s done for the year.
  7. Missouri: This team hasn’t made a bowl game, but they have all the momentum. Sure, momentum’s helped when you play back-to-back terrible teams, and then have a home game against a truly awful team in Florida. But dropped nearly 50 on the Gators? And the defense looking not-awful, and Drew Lock looking like a Heisman contender (which he isn’t, but you get what we’re saying). The Tigers must be salivating over a trip to Tennessee, where things are a little bit of a mess. Right now, the Tigers are a team no team with a head coaching issue wants to play.
  8. Texas A&M: We didn’t expect the Aggies to be destroyed by either Mississippi State or Auburn. They were destroyed by both. Kevin Sumlin’s apparently out at Texas A&M at the end of the season – which we are beginning to understand – but we don’t understand WHY they’ve played so damned badly in the last couple of games after finding some momentum. The Aggies shouldn’t be as bad as they are. But….they are.
  9. Ole Miss: Great comeback against Kentucky shows that the Rebels have some life in them. Let’s hope they have a good coach for the 2018 season that can give them the same ‘fun and gun’ that that Matt Luke seems to work with. With a little more defense, please.
  10. Kentucky: Congrats to Kentucky on getting bowl eligible ‘n’ all, but we can’t think of a Kentucky game where the Wildcats have actually consistently well for 4 quarters this year. This loss to Ole Miss was WILD. Listen, the Wildcats are fun (every game seems to go down to some wire or another (if you’re a Kentucky fan we hope you haven’t had a heart attack yet)) to watch, but they….aren’t very good.
  11. Tennessee: Can’t believe we’ve put Tennessee up this high after beating Southern Miss, but the Volunteers did at least put forward an OK performance. The fans seem to still believe too, with 95,000 showing up to Neyland, despite the #EmptyNeyland campaign against Butch Jones. The Volunteers are still a mess though.
  12. Arkansas: Arkansas nearly lost to Coastal Carolina. This team’s awful.
  13. Vanderbilt: Yes, we get that Vanderbilt lost to Florida, but Florida had a coach and Jake Del Rio at the time. Now they have neither. We doubt Vanderbilt lose as badly as Florida did to Missouri, either.
  14. Florida: Head coach? No. Offensive ideas? No. Beaten heavily at Missouri? Yes.
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