Arkansas Archives

What conferences need from their teams to get in the play-off

We love college football because of the passion. We love college football because of the tailgates. We love college football because it’s the chance to see old college buddies again, cheer the team on, and have a brew or seven two. We love college football because anyone beats anyone, anytime.

But the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 don’t need parity. They need their good teams going as far as possible to give them the biggest chance to get into the country’s worst-timed play-off…..The College Football Play-Off.

So here’s what each conference will need to maximise their needs….

SEC

The SEC would be really, really happy if Alabama and Georgia met in the SEC Championship Game unbeaten. That would mean that Georgia had beaten a pretty good Auburn team, and Alabama had beaten a pretty good Auburn team. In other words, the SEC needs Auburn to beat LSU in Death Valley this weekend. Oh, and if Florida beats Texas A&M and Georgia beats them in the Cocktail Party, that’ll do too.

WHAT WOULD BE A GREAT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (FOR THE CONFERENCE)? Alabama vs Georgia 

ACC

The ACC needs Clemson to win out. It’s not going to be easy for them – particularly if they can’t keep their quarterback healthy. It would also help the ACC if South Carolina remained unbeaten from here on in (that would mean Carolina beat Georgia, which would mean they were pretty good), so they could beat them at Thanksgiving. Oh, and they also really, really need Miami to win out too, so they can beat them in the ACC Championship Game.

WHAT WOULD BE A GREAT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (FOR THE CONFERENCE)? Clemson vs Miami

BIG XII

First of all, we’d like to note that the Big-12’s probably our second favorite conference, because no-one seems to know how to play defense, and that’s fun to watch. Anyway, back to our thoughts. It’s fairly obvious: The Big-12 would love TCU to win out. If TCU can play a one-loss Oklahoma or Oklahoma State (one of them will have two losses due to Bedlam in early November) in the Big XII Championship Game, that would be handy for TCU. Oh, and Oklahoma’s win at Ohio State will look better and better if Ohio State continues to win out, which would hopefully make the Play-Off people forget that awful performance against Iowa State last week.

WHAT WOULD BE A GREAT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (FOR THE CONFERENCE)? TCU VS Oklahoma

THE PAC 12

We were thinking about this yesterday: The Pac-12 is absolutely loaded with good quarterbacks. Hell, even Arizona’s back-up QB can run! Anyway, the Pac-12 would love one both Washington and Washington State to remain unbeaten until they play each other on November 25th in Seattle, and they would love USC to remain unbeaten for the rest of the season (that would mean USC beating a pretty-darned-good Notre Dame team) so that the Washington vs USC Pac-12 Championship Game would be essentially viewing.

WHAT WOULD BE A GREAT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (FOR THE CONFERENCE)? Washington vs USC

BIG TEN

The Big Ten/Eleven/Fourteen (we give up) has four strong teams: Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin. Annoyingly for them, Ohio State lost early and Michigan lost to Michigan State, leaving Penn State and Wisconsin unbeaten. The Big Ten would love Penn State to remain unbeaten, and it would surely cement itself in a play-off position if it took out Michigan, Ohio State and then Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. Failing that, Ohio State staying unbeaten or Wisconsin’s special brand of unattractive football would be OK too. Wisconsin’s biggest game is a home clash against Michigan at Camp Randall. The Big Ten West otherwise is a joke.

WHAT WOULD BE A GREAT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (FOR THE CONFERENCE)? Penn State vs Wisconsin

 

 

Will South Carolina increase the pressure on Butch Jones? Week 7 SEC Preview

For sheer comedy value, the nation’s eyes will probably be on Neyland Stadium for the battle between South Carolina and Tennessee. It’s no secret that Butch Jones is in the place that Will Muschamp has been many times before…..Deep, deep trouble. Also, Auburn visits LSU, Texas A&M plays Florida in a match-up that could be one of the most exciting of the day, Arkansas rolls to Alabama for a brow-beating, Missouri visits Georgia, Vanderbilt goes to Ole Miss, and for a non-conference match-up you’ve always wanted to see, BYU goes to Mississippi State.

  1. South Carolina at Tennessee (-3): The intensifying chatter about the job status of Butch Jones makes this the most interesting game of the week. The Vols are already desperate, dropping starting QB Quentin Dormady for redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano, because of the fact that he’s thrown 6 INTs (and 6 TDs) and thrown just over 50%. South Carolina’s defense isn’t particularly pleasant to look at, but it can cause problems – just ask Arkansas who gave three defensive touchdowns last week. With the mood that Tennessee is in, this will be circle the wagons time. PREDICTION: Tennessee by 7.
  2. Arkansas at No.1 Alabama (-30): Speaking of pressure under head coaches, Arkansas fans are going to despise Bret Bielema as much as Alabama fans deify Nick Saban the way the team is going. And although Saban said in his press conference that the Hogs were ‘one hell of a football team’, we’re surprised that no-one in the press conference laughed. We would have done. PREDICTION: Alabama by 41. 
  3. No.10 Auburn (-7) at LSU: It should be pretty easy for Auburn to win. Simply stop the jet sweep, and make Danny Etling throw. Since Etling’s not very good, Auburn’s defense (which is very good), should shut him down. LSU’s defense is ranked 52nd in rushing defense, which means that Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway should run riot. PREDICTION: Auburn by 14, putting pressure back on Coach O and taking home victory for the first time since 1999. 
  4. Texas A&M at Florida (-2.5) : This should be fun, bearing in mind that it’s the first time the two teams have played each other since 2012 and the first time they’ve played in The Swamp since 1962 (The historical series is 2-1 Florida, btw). This year, Florida’s slightly beaten-up team has to face a Texas A&M that lost against Alabama but got a hell of a lot of plaudits. Kellen Mond is an exciting prospect (although A&M fans would probably want Kenny Hill back the way he’s playing for TCU right now), and Christian Kirk can cause damage from kick-offs as well as receptions. If Florida’s running game can’t deal with things, then that – and the injuries that seem to be piling up for the Gators – could hurt the Florida faithful. PREDICTION: Texas A&M by 7 
  5. Missouri at No.4 Georgia (-30): Georgia’s on a roll, and Missouri’s on a roll backwards. The Dawgs survived Missouri last season, but it won’t be that close this time around. Missouri simply won’t be able to stop the running back duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, who have put together over 1,000 yards and 12 TDs ALREADY, while Missouri’s offense will struggle as badly as they did against Auburn. PREDICTION: Georgia by 35.
  6. Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (-3.5): The match-up between the worst team in the SEC West and a not-particularly-great Vanderbilt team is not something ANYONE should be particularly excited about watching. We expect the stadium to struggle ot sell out, and most of the fanbase on both sides hate being there. This will be ugly….which is just how Vanderbilt would want it. PREDICTION: Vandy with the upset! Commodores by 3.  
  7. BYU at Mississippi State (-23.5): We’re sorry, but we can’t find anything nice to say about BYU’s football team this year, apart from the fact that that the Mormons I’ve met are apparently really nice people. And the way that Mississippi State’s playing, I’m struggling to say anything nice about the Bulldogs, either. The win over LSU is looking increasingly like a fluke, although against BYU Nick Fitzgerald & Co could get the season back on track. PREDICTION: Mississippi State by 28.

 

Who should go: Bret Bielema or Butch Jones?

If you had one choice of who to get rid of who would it be? Would it be Tennessee head coach Butch Jones, who seems to pour out vomit whenever he speaks or Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, who is looking increasingly inept as his team falls down the tubes?

Tennessee is currently 3-2 overall (0-2 in the SEC), while Arkansas is 2-3 overall (0-2) in the SEC. It’s the 0-4 combined record in our beloved conference that the fanbases won’t stand for.

We put out the cases for both:

THE CASE FOR BUTCH JONES

The saddest thing for Butch Jones is that he doesn’t measure up to the stars of the past for Tennessee. Before he was run out of town, Philip Fulmer delivered a National Championship in 1998, and there’s not been anyone since. Lane Kiffin waltzed out of Neyland to take the USC job after improving the team, but since then, Derek Dooley brought nothing but hatred to the table, and Jones brought a lot of confidence, but he’s only overseen one winning record in the SEC (2015), never won the SEC East, and overall he’s 14-20. And that’s in a pretty weak SEC.

Recruiting-wise, Jones had a great 2015 but 2016 and 2016 have been mediocre, to say the least. There have been a few successes coming through, but really you can’t help but think it’s been a rather large disappointment.

On the field really seems to be pissing off Tennessee fans is the inability to beat Alabama and the fact that the school has only won one in 12 against Florida (although arguably the Vols should have won this year in The Swamp). This year, the team doesn’t seem to have gone forward, getting shredded 41-0 at home to Georgia. Yes, we know that they are missing talent (QB Josh Dobbs has graduated and RB Alvin Kamara’s gone to the NFL), but this team’s gone so far back that it’s insane.

And if you think it’s a trainwreck on the field, wait until Butch opens his mouth. It becomes a bigger trainwreck off it. You see, he doesn’t seem to understand that saying “[The senior class] has won the biggest championship – that’s the championship of life”, is going to irk the fanbase. Especially when a few days after they lose to Vanderbilt. And this season, when the team’s more famous for  in-practice scraps between players than good news, Jones pours gas on the already-lit fire underneath his own ass by claiming that last week’s bye week was “the best [the team] has had in a long time” and in the same conference saying: “You don’t have to get a physical rep to get a rep. You can get a leadership rep,” then it makes things worse.

Oh, and he tried to get the fanbase as well as college football fans on his side by getting ESPN journalist Chris Low to sit with his family during the flattening by Georgia. Needless to say, it didn’t make anyone look great – particularly when his kid’s pointing out that the team makes the same gaffes over and over again.

So that’s why Tennessee should get rid of Butch Jones: He’s an oaf in front of the media, his players are fighting each other, and the team isn’t winning. And his buyout is only $6.8 million.

And if you’re going to fire Butch Jones, then go get David Cutcliffe from Duke and putting him into Knoxville. He’s already served there under Philip Fulmer, he’s loved by the fanbase, he’s an offensive god, and he’s an excellent recruiter. And if you don’t understand how good he is a coach, then check out Duke’s record before and after his arrival.

THE CASE FOR BRET BIELEMA

Bret Bielema has the greatest agent in the world in Neil Conrich: His buyout is $15.4 million – which is a hell of a lot of money. We don’t know where that ranks in terms of SEC buyouts, but we think it’s probably pretty high.

Which is strange, because it wasn’t so much ‘Bert’ who managed to piss off the college football world when he came to town after a successful time at Wisconsin, it was his wife, who apparently likes to invoke Buddhist tradition into her social media efforts. Unfortunately, karma has come to bite Mrs Bielema in the ass in a hard way – especially when his team was embarrassed by Toledo at home in 2015. And while Wisconsin has continued to from strength to strength, Bielema’s time at Arkansas has been, ahem, difficult – and his record in the SEC has been abysmal.

Bielema started out SEC life 0-13, and he got the monkey off his back, he’s gone below .500 in victories (10-11). Against Alabama and Texas A&M, he’s 0-8 to both teams combined. Otherwise, he’s 1-3 against Auburn and 1-3 against Mississippi State. The LSU rivalry is currently tied at 2-2, while he has a winning record against Ole Miss (3-1). He’s never finished above 3rd in the West.

This season, Arkansas lost to Texas A&M in a game they probably should have won, and gave up three defensive touchdowns in a 48-22 shellacking in Columbia. Although the loss to TCU is looking better and better (the Horned Frogs are still unbeaten and have accounted for Oklahoma State and West Virginia in their victories), there isn’t a lot of hope that the Razorbacks will win even one of Alabama, LSU and Auburn. You can’t help but think that if Arkansas was back in the Southwest Conference (or Big XII, as it’s known now) and the Razorbacks were consistently failing against Texas and Oklahoma then Bielema wouldn’t be in a job.

In other words: Fire Bielema, and life’s going to be a lot easier for the program. Maybe they might find a coach who doesn’t look so lost on the sidelines. And a wife who doesn’t tweet.

And if you’re going to fire Bielema, then go get Les Miles. The guy is a great recruiter, he’s good in Texas, and he’s won in the SEC before. And he’ll probably come pretty cheap bearing in mind he’s looking for a job at the moment.

SO WHO SHOULD BE FIRED FIRST? We’ll take Jones, because of his imbecilic tones with the media. He’s a Champion of Idiocy.

 

 

Who wins the Battle Of The Bulldogs?: Week 4 SEC Preview

It’s been a weird start to the season. The biggest in-conference game of the year will feature No.17 Mississippi State as they travel into Athens to face No.11 Georgia, but it won’t be the CBS 3.30 game. For Gary Danielson haters like me, that means I’ll be able to enjoy a good game with a great atmosphere and not have to hear him. Where’s Gary going to be? He’ll be in Nashville (a place we love, by the way), to watch No.1 Alabama travel to unbeaten Vanderbilt. There’s a lot of potential fun between Texas A&M at Arkansas at JerryWorld starting off the day, and a potential upset with No.20 Florida rolling into Kentucky. And if No.15 Auburn can’t win at Missouri, then Gus Malzahn’s seat will go from warm to boiling.

So, here are your Week 4 Previews, in order of what’s going to be the most interesting game to watch…..

  1. No. 17 Mississippi State at No.11 Georgia (-4.5): This SHOULD be really exciting. Georgia’s got a fantastic defense which will try and close down Nick Fitzgerald and RB Aenis Williams, who both ripped apart LSU last week on the floor, while MSU’s defense will probably stack the line to try and stop Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, forcing Jake Fromm (or Jacob Eason, who was back in training this week) to throw against their secondary. Last week it worked pretty well, because LSU’s Danny Etling was terrible, and there’s an argument that Fromm’s not much better than Etling (mainly because of his game experience). Going back to Fitzgerald and Williams, they are averaging 300 yards per game. Can Georgia stop them? They’ll be confident after only giving up 71 yards per game in their last three games, but Williams and Fitzgerald will be a whole other step-up in competition. PREDICTION: Georgia wins. By 7 in a classic.
  2. No.20 Florida (-2.5) at Kentucky: Although they beat Tennessee on a Hail Mary/long throw from Feleipe Franks last week, Florida probably should have lost in The Swamp on Saturday. Had it not been for Tennessee’s committal of footballing suicide, the Gators would ahve done. While over in Bourbon country, Kentucky is 3-0 after beating South Carolina. Having seen them twice this season, we’re not convinced in the least by Florida’s offense, but we’re not convinced that Kentucky’s offense will be able to get off the ground against UF’s defense, either. Kentucky fans didn’t give themselves good PR this week, and it may well piss off Florida enough to win and cover. PREDICTION: Florida by 10. 
  3. Texas A&M (-2.5) vs Arkansas at JerryWorld: What makes this one really interesting is what this could mean for the programs. Whoever loses, either Kevin Sumlin and Bret Bielema will be a bit more worried about their jobs. Vegas seems to think this is going to be one of this weekend’s more exciting games by giving it an over/under of 55.5, which is putting an awful lot of faith in Texas A&M’s offense (they have absolutely no consistency), as well as telling us flat-out that Arkansas will rebound from really not showing up at home to TCU, with Austin Allen rebounding from a poor performance against TCU (9-23, 138 yards, 1 TD (that’s a 39.1% passing percentage). We expect Arkansas to block up the lanes to try and stop running back duo Travyon Williams and Keith Ford – and watch the Aggies try and do the same against Devwah Whaley and Chase Hayden. This will be close, though. PREDICTION: A&M by 3. 
  4. No.1 Alabama (-18.5) at Vanderbilt: After Vandy upset Kansas State in Nashville last week, there were plenty of chants of ‘We Want Bama’. Well, Derek Mason, now you’ve got ’em. Nick Saban’s telling everyone that the Crimson Tide shouldn’t be taking the Commodores lightly, and nor should they. Both teams have very good defenses. Having said that, we can’t see past the fact that Derek Mason & Co aren’t going to find it easy trying to stop Alabama’s ground attack – which includes a very capable QB in Jaylen Hurts, as well as a reborn-again Calvin Ridley, who’s averaging 14.3 yards per reception. PREDICTION: Alabama by 21.
  5. No.15 Auburn (-18) at Missouri: Auburn and Missouri fans would be up there as the most annoyed fanbases in the SEC for the 2017 season, and for good reason. On the Auburn side, the much-promised offensive whirlwind of Jarrett Stidham hasn’t figured things out yet, and the offense has killed itself with turnovers and penalties. They only managed to score 24 against mighty Mercer, and everyone’s asking questions. On the Missouri side, things are so bad that the DC has already been booted, the team got ran out of the building by Purdue, and there was a player’s only meeting where the team no doubt yelled a lot about pride. The effects of the meeting will be interesting to see at Faurot on Saturday night. PREDICTION: Auburn by 18. 
  6. Syracuse at No.25 LSU (-21.5): The biggest news of the week happened on Wednesday when LSU RB and Heisman hopeful Derrius Guice was ruled out of the Tiger Stadium match-up after getting gang-tackled and injured in the Tigers 37-7 surprise loss to Mississippi State. To add to the news of Guice’s injury the horror performance in Starkville on Saturday has suddenly started the ‘Coach O can’t coach’ train a-running, and suddenly LSU NEEDS to win against Syracuse…and needs to win well. Their opponent from upper New York State is 2-1 and hasn’t faced an ACC opponent, with the loss against Middle Tennessee and convincing wins over FCS teams. So far this season, it’s been stingy against the rush (allowing just 84.3 yards/game), and you can expect them to stack the box against Darrel Williams, Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, forcing Danny Etling to throw. This will be a slow burner for LSU fans. Be prepared to grumble in the first half, Tigers fans. PREDICTION: LSU by 24
  7. Louisiana Tech at South Carolina (-8): Now that Deebo Samuel’s done for the year, the South Carolina offense is suddenly looking for answers about who’s going to be their go-to guy. While some players are using the words “Next man up” to try and instil some team confidence, the fact is this: The loss of Samuel has made Carolina a lot worse, and takes them from SEC East contender into also-ran. Again (Read: The loss of Marcus Lattimore a few seasons ago). Luckily for Carolina, they play Louisiana Tech’s defense, which averages a total of 405 yards/game given up, so they can have players like Shi Smith and Bryan Edwards get some important catching experience before the Cocks face Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Louisiana Tech’s hardly great offensely (99th in passing, 120th in rushing and 105th in total yards per game), and at the moment it’s still more famous for 3rd and 93 than it is for anything else they’ve done this season. PREDICTION: We can’t believe Vegas thinks this one will be close. South Carolina by 21.
  8. U Mass vs Tennessee (-27.5): If there’s a cure for sadness and outright hatred for Butch Jones in Knoxville, it should be the visit of the UMass Minutemen, who have started the season 0-4 and suddenly found no offense in the last couple of weeks after coming close at Hawaii and Coastal Carolina. Tennessee’s offense might not have done anything against Florida (although you know that the tailgate around Neyland will be full of the words: “We should have won that damned game”), but it’s sure to do a lot against UMass. This one will be over before half-time. PREDICTION: Tennessee by 35.

 

SEC Week 3 Rankings: Bama rules, Mizzou doesn’t

The SEC Football Blog went to wonderful California for the witness two things: 1) Hippies and 2) Tons of Ole Miss fans going to a Pac-12 team. There were indeed tons of hippies, and there were a ton of Ole Miss fans who went to see the Ole Miss vs Cal game. Regardless of how some people felt it was a snoozefest, no-one can argue about how close it was…..until Shea Patterson’s Pick-6.

Oh, and we’ll take SEC sundresses and bowties over bro-tastic T-Shirts, vests and girls looking like, ahem, ladies of the San Francisco night.

Anyway, here are the rankings after a quarter of the season (yes, we’re there already!). It’s pretty easy to do No.1 and No.14, but it’s really difficult to work out 2-13. That’s because – and I hate to say it – there’s an awful lot of mediocrity at the moment. 

  1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide are the best team in the country, and despite starting slowly, it’s showing it. You can’t outthink Nick Saban and his team of thousands for 60 minutes.
  2. Mississippi State: Smashing LSU at home proved that the Bulldogs ARE for real. We like Nick Fitzgerald and Aenis Williams, and last week, we couldn’t believe what a wrecking the D put on LSU. Oh, and the Bulldogs are winning the SEC West at the moment, bearing in mind its got a 1-0 conference record to Alabama’s 0-0. Nick Saban will use that to fire up his team.
  3. Georgia: The way Jake Fromm is playing, Jacob Eason might not have a job. The match-up between MSU and the Dawgs in Athens on Saturday night could well change the No.2 and No.3 ranking, but Georgia’s got momentum, and it’s looking scary.
  4. Auburn: A lot of people criticized me when I said that Auburn would give Alabama a run in the SEC West this season because of the Tigers’ poor offensive line. I didn’t believe them. I was wrong. Jarrett Stidham will come alive this year, but the question is is: Can he be kept alive long enough to do so? We love Auburn’s ‘D’ though. It’s for real.
  5. LSU: A beat-down by Mississippi State was an embarrassment. Plain and simple. The Tigers shot themselves in the foot by committing needless penalties (including two which would have cost them TDs). Danny Etling is an ordinary QB when he plays ordinary teams, which leaves defenses time to dial in on Derrius Guice. If the offense doesn’t pick up, LSU could be one very ordinary team, and people will start asking the “Is Ed Orgeron a better replacement coach than an actual head coach?” question.
  6. Florida: Again, we’ll see when Florida plays LSU, but an incredible Hail Mary/long pass from Feleipe Franks doesn’t particularly cover up just how bad Florida’s offense has looked over the last two games. The D’s excellent, though.
  7. Tennessee: Beaten by a Hail Mary/long pass by Franks, but really they should have won in The Swamp. This team’s not going to be bad, but with injuries suddenly mounting up (LB Cortez McDowell, WR Juan Jennings (rest of season) and S Todd Kelly (indefinitely)), UT’s depth could be hurt long-term.
  8. Vanderbilt: The good news? Vanderbilt’s 3-0 and scoring points. The bad news? The celebration from beating No.18 Kansas State will be slightly dulled down after they play Alabama on Saturday as the 3.30 game on CBS.
  9. Kentucky: A huge win at South Carolina was helped by the Gamecocks’ inadequacies in the red zone, as well as an injury to their incredible WR Deebo Samuel. We will see if Kentucky’s any good when they play Florida, who they’ve lost to for 30 games straight. Kentucky’s Commonwealth Stadium is going to be sold out and LOUD for the visit of the Gators.
  10. Ole Miss: Ole Miss was disappointing against Cal, but we still love Shea Patterson. Even on that Saturday night, we could see a lot that makes him one of the most fun prospects in college football – let alone the SEC.
  11. Texas A&M: The Aggies have been bad all season long, on both sides of the ball. They will really struggle in interdivisional play – to a point that the Arkansas game becomes important for bowl implications.
  12. South Carolina: The loss of Deebo Samuel could kill the bright start that was the Gamecocks’ season.
  13. Arkansas: We don’t have a lot of positive things to say about Arkansas, bearing in mind they were crushed in the only big game they played. We will see what happens against A&M – who they’ve lost the last five straight to.
  14. Missouri: Can’t play offense, can’t play defense, can’t play special teams. This Missouri team might end up with one win all season, and fire Barry Odom come-season end. And be right to.

Auburn boots former starting QB White

Auburn has booted former starter Sean White after he was arrested for public intoxication on Saturday night.

It wasn’t the first time White had been in trouble this season – he’d been suspended for the first two games of this season for undisclosed reasons.

He must have taken the fact that Auburn coach Gus Malzahn brought in Jarrett Stidham as a transfer from Baylor pretty badly. Last year White showed great improvement from 2015, throwing for 1,679 yards, 9 TDs and 3 INTS, but he improved his accuracy greatly, going from 58.0 in his freshman year to 63.9 in his sophomore year.

“Sean White is no longer a part of our football program at Auburn,” Malzahn said in a statement. “He has made poor decisions that are not in the best interest of our program, and more importantly, himself. We appreciate his time at Auburn and wish him nothing but the best.”

 

A return of Johnny Football? Texas and Texas A&M could raise millions for Harvey victims

Texas and Texas A&M fans are both really, really pissed off. They pissed off with their teams. They are pissed off with their coaches. They are pissed off with their administrations. They remain pissed off with each other about their separation thanks to the Longhorn Network and ‘Texas Greed’. And also, they are pissed off because the Texas vs Texas A&M rivalry – which was played for 96 years straight – is no more thanks to the behavior of both schools.

What has united the State of Texas has been Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Harvey was so devastating to Houston as well as the surrounding areas, that people are going to take years to recover from them.

United in the grief have been both Texas and Texas A&M, who have both remained ‘Texas Strong’ in the sadness. The state forgets its differences and remains linked in arms.

So we’ve got a suggestion as a monster fundraising idea: A Texas vs Texas A&M charity football game. It doesn’t have to feature the heroes of like, but heroes of yesteryear.

How cool would it be to see Johnny Manziel play against Texas or Colt McCoy play Texas A&M one more time, to see if he can win his own series 3-2. Seeing wide receivers from the old ages come down for this one, as well as a re-united ‘Wrecking Crew’. Of course, the game would be played by retirees because those selfish bastards from the NFL won’t want a charity game to have their valuable product own players playing, but that won’t matter.

Why? To see Texas vs Texas A&M would truly bring the crowds in: And unite them. And if all the exterior revenue (parking + beverages + merchandise) all went to the Victims of Hurricane Harvey Fund (or whatever you call it), then you can guarantee some green.

Where would you have the game? I would love to see the game at NRG in Houston, to make it even cooler, but also at JerryWorld in Dallas would be amazing. You can bet your bottom dollar that Jerry Jones would love to have the game. I could pretty much guarantee that the stadium would be filled.

Of course, there are other ways that the two schools should be collecting for Hurricane Harvey. Here’s some ideas for the highest bidders of an auction…

  1. Alright, alright, alright…. Texas should involve Matthew McCongaughey, where the star auctions off two places in his suite in Austin for a big home game to come and watch a game with him and his buddies.
  2. Texas A&M for the upcoming Arkansas game on September 23rd at JerryWorld. Highest bid gets to stand on the field with the sideline of their choice.
  3. Texas should auction field level tickets to the Texas – OU game in the Cotton Bowl on October 14. Highest bid gets to stand on the sideline.
  4. Texas A&M should give winning fans the chance to stand with the 12th Man for the Alabama game on October 7th, and then afterwards, get the chance to meet both Alabama’s Nick Saban and Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. Curmudgeonly that Nick Saban is, I’m sure he wouldn’t turn down something for charity.
  5. Texas A&M should involve Johnny Manziel in auctioning a signed Johnny Manziel shirt, as well getting to watch a game with the player at Kyle Field. Would be an amazing experience for the highest bid winner. And if you’re in Johnny Manziel’s shoes, would be some a very good thing to do to give back to the area.

Week 3 SEC Preview: Vols-Gators, MSU-LSU

With the destruction of Hurricane Irma still lingering over the State of Florida, there will be a lot of positive sentiment flowing towards the Florida Gators in Week 3. Can they back it up with a good offensive performance against Tennessee?

The SEC Football Blog previews that game and all the others involving SEC teams in our Week 3 preview….

  1. No.23 Tennessee vs No.24 Florida (-5.5): From 2005 to 2016, Tennessee-Florida was hardly a rivalry. Florida won 11 in a row. Sure, 2014 and 2015 had been squeakers, but it just didn’t look as though UT would beat the Gators. Then 2016 happened, and Tennessee romped to a 10-point victory. Suddenly, after Florida fell apart against Michigan on Week 1 (sadly, it’s the last we saw of them because of Hurricane Irma), and Tennessee started the season 2-0, the questions are less about Butch Jones’ coaching ability and more about Jim McElwain’s. Yes, we know that Florida has an incredible defense, and – as Michigan found out – anything disastrous from Tennessee QB Quinten Dormady could result in a Pick-6. Tennessee showed that they can score AND come back from big deficits against Georgia Tech, and the Indiana State game was a predicted slaughter. WR Antonio Callaway and RB Jordan Scarlett will miss the game through suspension (as well as seven other depth players), which has been seen as a bonus. What we think gives Florida an edge is the fact that Florida has The Swamp behind it. With Florida mourning from Irma after the awful hit, the Gators will see it as a moment to fight for the State. And the Vols had better watch out. PREDICTION: Florida by 7.
  2. No. 12 LSU (-7) vs Mississippi State: There haven’t been a lot of teams who have made more impressive starts than LSU, who showed both youth and skill in a lot of places. But as they showed for the last 3 years (including a win with Dak Prescott in Tiger Stadium), this team under Dan Mullen isn’t going to lie down and let LSU give them a geaux-ing over. Last week Nick Fitzgerald and Mississippi State was very impressive in smashing La. Tech on a road 57-21 in a game many thought could cause the Bulldogs a lot more headaches than actually happened. Fitzgerald could cause this Tiger secondary – who calls itself ‘DBU’ – a lot of problems, and so could Aeris Williams, who’s averaging 7.6 yards per carry this season. So could running backs Jefferey Simmons and Montez Sweat on the other side of the ball. For LSU, Arden Key, LSU’s best pass rusher and future NFL first round pick, is back after injury but Coach O has said that he’s not confident he’ll play the whole game. One of the most interesting factors will be how LSU Derrius Guice deals with a firmer defense than he’s played for the last two games. Guice hasn’t exactly exploded out of the gates so far this year, averaging just 5.3 yards per play on 45 carries. This game could be one of the best SEC games of the year. And one thing’s for certain, we’ll hear a few bells ringing. PREDICTION: LSU by 10 in a game a hell of a lot closer than that until the final few minutes. 
  3. Kentucky at South Carolina (-6.5): Of all the SEC teams, we’ll throw it out there and say South Carolina’s had the most testing of schedules. The NC State game wasn’t easy, going into Missouri wasn’t (meant to be) easy, and now Kentucky, who some people talking about as a vastly improving team, come into Columbia for the Gamecocks’ first game of the season. That ain’t easy. But South Carolina’s 2-0, they dismantled a very good offense in Missouri spectacularly easily, and Jake Bentley’s looking like one of the SEC’s top quarterbacks. As for Kentucky, they are 2-0 but haven’t convinced anybody. I like Carolina, and I like Carolina a lot. PREDICTION: South Carolina by 14, smashing the spread.
  4. Ole Miss (-3.5 to 4) vs Cal: If any of these two teams’ defenses have been anything to go by in the last two weeks, then this game should be awesome. Cal gives up 505.5 pts per game, while Ole Miss gives up around 354. Both sides have given up 6 touchdowns this year to pretty terrible opponents. And it’s a 10.30 ET game, and it could be the most spectacularly high-scoring of the night, with the good money on the over/under of 72.5 getting blown out like the marijuana smoke from them Hippies’ lungs up there.  Even Ole Miss’ fan website haven’t a clue about what will happen. That’s what will make it so damned fun. PREDICTION: Ole Miss in a high-scoring crazy one, winning by 10 in a late-night classic (for the record, I think Ole Miss by 10 might be conservative).  
  5. No.18 Kansas State (-4) vs Vanderbilt: Bill Snyder’s team of veterans come into Nashville as a 4-point favorite, and we’re pretty excited about this one, as it could be under-the-radar. Derek Mason’s given this team a lot of hope this year, despite not playing anybody and going 2-0. Kansas State hasn’t played either, so it’ll be interesting. PREDICTION: Vanderbilt wins in the upset. 
  6. Purdue vs Missouri (-7): Things have gotten so bad at Missouri that the Tigers fired their defensive coordinator after just two games into 2017 (If we’re honest, he should have gone after the 2016 debacle, but that’s another story). After their horrific all-around performance against South Carolina (and Purdue’s ‘lucky getaway’ loss against Missouri (it could have been a lot more), there are thoughts that Missouri could be better. Vegas doesn’t seem to think so, making the Tigers only 7 point favorites. If Barry Odom loses this one, prepare for the seat to be set to boiling. PREDICTION: Missouri wins by 14, but no-one’s satisfied.
  7. ULL vs Texas A&M (-24): The world is expecting Texas A&M to rout ULL after they were dropped 66-42 by Tulsa last Saturday, and we’re expecting it too. But to do this, A&M desperately needs an offense. Kevin Sumlin’s still struggling about who will be the QB – Jake Hubenak or Kellen Mond, and the defense is simply struggling. Traeyvon Williams and Keith Ford should keep running the ball down the Ragin Cajuns’ throat all night long, as the Aggies seek a big blow-out victory. PREDICTION: Aggies by 30.
  8. Colorado State vs Alabama (-28.5): Nick Saban seems to believe in the Rams, called Mike Bobo’s team a “really good football team”. Vegas doesn’t seem to, believing the Crimson Tide will win by over four touchdowns. To be fair on Colorado State, a lot of Rams fans believe that they should have had the upset over Colorado in the ‘Weed Bowl’ after blowing out Oregon State in Week 1. The name Crimson Tide fans have got to look for is WR Michael Gallup, who’s a big NFL prospect. We look forward to the Gallup vs Fitzpatrick battle in the secondary…..if QB Nick Stevens is given any time to throw! PREDICTION: Alabama rolls by 31, but it’s a lot easier than that.
  9. Mercer vs No.15 Auburn: After not getting into the end-zone against a beastly Clemson defense, the fanbase will be looking for the Tigers to run up the score against Mercer’s defense who is yet to play a quality opponent. This is their time. PREDICTION: Auburn by 45, leaving Auburn fans a little happier. 
  10. Samford vs Georgia: There’s a lot of excitement about Georgia QB Jake Fromm after the Bulldogs came out of Notre Dame with a 20-19 victory, and Bulldogs fans will look for the $1m game (well, Samford’s getting paid $1m to get the butts in Athens in front of next-to-nobody) to show that the offense can really, really click. Look for less about Fromm and more about Nick Chubb and Sony Michel running riot. PREDICTION: Georgia by 50. At least.

Oh, and we’re not usually the kind to give some out-of-conference betting tips, but we would urge you to stay the heck away from Clemson (-3)-Louisville, but WOULD encourage you to take USC as a 16.5 point favorite against Texas. We saw Texas in Austin on Saturday, and we can safely say that Texas is horrible. 

Georgia wins in South Bend, and Week 2 in the SEC

It was a hell of a week in the SEC, where Georgia actually didn’t give their fans heartbreak in a close game (finally), Auburn lost a defensive brawl to Clemson, and Texas A&M showed why they still have problems.

But here are our quick takes on every team in the SEC after Week 2.

  1. Georgia: UGA fans turned out in their tens of thousands to South Bend to witness the Bulldogs beat the Fighting Irish 17-16. It wasn’t so much a barnburner of a game as a really ugly one, with UGA’s ‘D’ playing lights out. Jake Fromm was pretty good as a QB, which means that Jacob Eason will be worrying about his place. One worry though: The Bulldogs offensive line will face better teams’ defense than Notre Dame. We’re not sure how they’ll cope. Vegas is also kicking its heels after making Notre Dame the favorite, and so are ESPN, with 4 out of 5 of the experts picking the Leprechaun boys.
  2. Auburn: The Tigers were stifled in Death Valley by Clemson. Jarrett Stidham seemed to spend most of the game running for his life. Gamblers who had Clemson winning by more 6.5 were also happy. Auburn will be fine, but they didn’t look great.
  3. Texas A&M: In a week sadly highlighted by a racist letter to his wife and people questioning his job security, Kevin Sumlin could have done with a massive win over Nicholls State. Winning by 10 didn’t quite cut it for us. We’re writing this from Texas after seeing Texas beat San Jose State, and we can truly say this: If Texas vs Texas A&M had played their year-end game this year, then God would have to help us all. Both teams are awful.
  4. Arkansas: Is Bret Bielema really that good a coach? Are Hogs fans beginning to get impatient. A 28-7 beating at home by TCU certainly won’t make them happy. And they’ll play better Ds than that one. Suddenly the Texas A&M game in Jerryworld becomes all-important for bowl reasons….
  5. South Carolina: The Gamecocks are a sneaky pick for the SEC East. Will Muschamp’s got the offense moving in the right way….
  6. Mississippi State: Many thought that MSU would struggle at Louisiana Tech, but they didn’t, putting up 57 points by the fourth quarter. Talk about some optimism coming into the match-up against LSU…
  7. Missouri: On the other hand, we’d like to apologize to anyone who actually bet on Missouri winning 8 games after my SEC East preview earlier this year. They are awful. They lost with bad defense, bad offense, and comedy special teams moments.
  8. Alabama: Coasted to a win over Fresno State, and they are still No.1. No great revelations there. Again, if you took Fresno State to lose by less than 44 in Tuscaloosa, you would have been ecstatic by what happened. Alabama called off the Dogs at halftime effectively, and ‘only’ won by 31.
  9. LSU: Won 45-10 against Chattanooga and sacked their QB five times. Danny Etling again looked serviceable and Derrius Guice looked like Derrius Guice. They’ve got playmakers on both sides of the ball, but we’ll see how it all pans out in SEC play, particularly with a potential barnburner next week against Mississippi State and QB Nick Fitzgerald.
  10. Kentucky: We said that the Wildcats would “have it pretty easy” against Eastern Kentucky. Down 13-10 at halftime, they recovered to a 27-16 victory. But still, it was hardly a revelation for Mark Stoops.
  11.  Vanderbilt: Not a lot to say about the Commodores after the 42-0 win over Alabama A&M. Apart from the fact that it was Alabama A&M and they face Alabama on September 23rd.
  12. Ole Miss: After seeing Ole Miss look like they have lots of offense but no defense against UT-Martin, and watching Cal have a lot of offense but no defense against Weber State, we can truly say this: The Ole Miss-Cal game scheduled for next week? Could be first to 70!

Thoughts and prayers to the people for Florida in the middle of Hurricane Irma. We hope you are safely. We think particularly to the University of Florida and Gainseville, and all the students who know people in the Tampa area. We hope everyone’s safe. 

Can Auburn beat Clemson? SEC Previews for Week 2

fAmid a lot of crap,  there are three great non-conference games for the SEC, featuring Auburn going to Clemson, Georgia rolling down to Notre Dame, and TCU rolling into Arkansas. In the SEC, we have our first in-conference game of the year with South Carolina rolling into Missouri for the battle of the Columbias. The rest of the games, well, aren’t very interesting.

Oh, and thoughts are out there to all Floridian players and fans as Hurricane Irma rolls in. Hope everyone stays safe. And if you didn’t know already, Florida cancelled their game with Northern Colorado at The Swamp.

So here are your games in order of what’s interesting…

  1. No. 13 Auburn at No.3 Clemson (-6.5): I’ll get this one out of the way early: It’s not like Auburn’s not used to playing in Death Valley! They have to play there every other year. This game won’t be full of drunken, loud Cajuns….it’ll be full of drunk, loud South Carolinians wearing orange and purple. We expect more of a celebration tailgate between the two sets of fans, bearing in mind Clemson’s accomplishments last season against Auburn’s most hated rival. As for the game, Clemson’s favored by 6.5 and if we’re honest, we kinda like it. Although it’s hard to say against substandard opponents, Clemson impressed me more than Auburn did. Clemson seem to have something special in Kelly Bryant, but we’ll see how he fares against stronger opposition. Auburn’s got Jarrett Stidham, who’s a known quantity and will test Clemson’s ‘D’ to it’s full with his spread attack and three awesome running backs with Kam Pettway, Kerryon Johnson and Kyle Davis. Pettway and WR Kyle Davis both come back from suspension. Clemson’s still got plenty of weapons to test Auburn’s secondary. This will be fun. PREDICTION: Clemson by 7 in a barnburner of a game.
  2. No.15 Georgia at No.24 Notre Dame (-4): This was such a joke to gamblers early on that the line moved from -6.5 to -4. Vegas still thinks Notre Dame beats the Dawgs in South Bend – although we think a lot of that is dependent on the fact that Jacob Eason went down with an injury against Appalachian State, and they think that Irish QB Brandon Wimbush is going to be better than UGA starter Jake Fromm, and that Notre Dame’s going to be able to stop UGA RBs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. For us, the biggest factor will be what Notre Dame’s pass rushers can do to Georgia’s young-and-susceptible offensive line. If they can get through them, Fromm will be running for his life. Georgia’s ‘D’ is pretty solid, by the way, so give them some credit out there, but if the O-Line is making a game a perpetual 3-and-out (see Michigan vs Florida last week for example), Georgia’s in trouble. PREDICTION: Georgia to win by 3.
  3. No.23 TCU (-3) at Arkansas: Last year’s game – which went into double overtime – was electric and we’re hoping for the same when the Horned Frogs roll into Fayetteville. In Week 1 both sides teed off against crappy opponents and got the expected blow-out, givers-of-confidence results that you would expect and normally get, so this game provides quite the opponent markup. TCU is going to bring out a fast-paced offense that’s going to give Arkansas a lot of problems, while we expect Arkansas to pound the Horned Frogs with a solid running game that features Chase Hayden. If Arkansas’ offensive line doesn’t hold out and Austin Allen isn’t given the time, the Razorbacks are in trouble. PREDICTION: TCU wins by 7 in a high-scoring classic.
  4. South Carolina at Missouri (-2): I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU VEGAS! South Carolina beat NC State, one of the better ACC opponents in a thrilling victory, while Missouri showed all of us that if there’s a defense, then they have heard of it (although if there’s an offense, they certainly have). We expect a high-scoring fun one with both defenses driving their head coaches crazy, both quarterbacks (USC’s Jake Bentley and Mizzou’s Drew Lock) to post great numbers, and one side to stop another maybe sometime. USC showed thta it could do that in a close game against NC State, but will they continue it against Missouri? We think they will. PREDICTION: South Carolina wins a barnburner by 3, but if we’re honest, we’re more confidence about the ‘over’ at 71.5. We also like the ‘over’ for 71.5.
  5. Mississippi State (-8.5) at Louisiana Tech: Vegas thinks that this one will be pretty close, but we don’t think it will be, despite MSU being on the road. We can’t wait to see if Nick Fitzgerald picks his act up from Week 1 to Week 2 (last week 16-29, 239 yards, 2 TDs), where we expect him to get a fuller game than he did last time. This could be one of those spread blow-out games. PREDICTION: Mississippi State by 18.
  6. Fresno State at No.1 Alabama (-44): You’ll know that Alabama beat Fresno State, but what you might not know is that Fresno State beat college football monster Incarnate Word 63-0 on Saturday. That’s about as deep as we’re going to get this one, because we expect Alabama to roll. If you’re a gambler I’d keep away from this one because Nick Saban would really p*** you off late on with a late Fresno TD against the second team. PREDICTION: Alabama by 41. As we said, watch the late TD stuff. 
  7. UT-Chatanooga vs No.12 LSU: LSU’s defense was incredible against BYU last week, keeping them to -5 rushing yards and choking any offense that the Cougars may have brought with them to New Orleans. And let’s be honest, we expect the same to be done in Death Valley. Vegas thinks the game is going to be so close that it’s not allowing bets on it. PREDICTION: LSU wins by 40, and it’s not even that close.
  8. Nicholls State vs Texas A&M: There are so many internal issues at Texas A&M (Coach Kevin Sumlin not only on the hotseat after the UCLA loss but also getting no support from an A&M regent after said loss as well as racial abuse sent to his home) that even a medium side would feel that they could capitalise on the calamity at Kyle. But Nicholls State isn’t one of those teams. PREDICTION: A&M. Easily.
  9. Eastern Kentucky vs Kentucky: After coming through the struggle at Southern Miss, Kentucky will have it pretty easy about Eastern Kentucky. Commonwealth Stadium will be expecting Stephen Johnson to rack up the passing yards, CJ Conrad to catch a TD or three, and this game to be over by half-time. PREDICTION: UK by over 40.
  10. UT Martin at Ole Miss: Hugh Freeze blah blah…..Hugh Freeze….Ole Miss coming back blah blah……PREDICTION: Ole Miss by 40. 
  11. Indiana State at No.25 Tennessee: Sadly, Larry Bird won’t be playing WR for Indiana State. If you don’t get that joke, you’re too young. Anyway, Tennessee scrapped through against Georgia Tech and guessed right to stop a 2-point conversion in double overtime, and this game should be over by halftime. PREDICTION: Tennessee by 50. 
  12. Alabama A&M vs Vanderbilt: Derek Mason’s psyched about this game, but he’s the only one. PREDICTION: Vandy by 41 after changing team at halftime.
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