Georgia Archives

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’.

 

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. 

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.

It’s LSU-Alabama weekend, which means we’ve got a SEC doubleheader. The other game’s going to be in Athens for new No.1 Georgia, who host South Carolina. Otherwise, a lot of eyes are going to be on Missouri for Florida’s visit to Columbia – mainly because of the changed storyline that comes with firing your head coach midway through the season, as Florida did. Then there’s the expectancy that no-one’s going to show up to Neyland for Southern Miss’ visit to Tennessee as a protest against Butch Jones, and Ole Miss vs Kentucky ain’t exactly one for the neutrals, either. But one game we love is Auburn vs Texas A&M. It’s such a damned pity that the game’s going to be on so early….

With all that said, here’s your SEC Week 10 preview.

1.No.19 LSU at No.2 Alabama (-21): Some LSU fans claim that they should win this one because of their talent, but if you watched the Tigers this season, you’ll know that Ed Orgeron’s side hasn’t played well in four quarters against good teams (so BYU, UTC Chattanooga and maybe Ole Miss doesn’t count). Alabama has played well in four quarters of EVERY game they’ve played in. The problem that LSU has is that any mistakes they make (like a late hit/ pass interference/ any other stupid penalty) will be exploited ruthlessly by a Nick Saban side that needs to put up a monster win to help its credibility in the College Football Play-Off race. As for tactics, we expect Alabama to stack the box to stop Derrius Guice, while we expect LSU to try and do the same against Alabama’s two-headed monster of Harris and Scarborough in an effort to make a not-particularly good thrower Jalen Hurts throw. Mind you, LSU’s QB Danny Etling has been just the good side of serviceable this season. PREDICTION: Alabama 38, LSU 7. ‘Nuff said.

2. Southern Miss at Tennessee (-6.5): All of Knoxville seems to be angry, with burning couches and campaigns to get rid of Butch Jones. The only reason why we’re finding this game interesting is that we see about how many fans listen to the #EmptyNeyland campaign, in which fans are trying to show their under-appreciation/hatred of Butch Jones by not showing. We haven’t had any answers on Twitter of whether Big Orange fans would do the same against upcoming SEC opponents LSU and Vanderbilt. Oh, and if Tennessee struggles against Southern Miss (and they are only a 6.5 point favorite against a 5-3 team that is medicore in total offense and total defense), then God help UT….PREDICTION: Tennessee wins and beats the spread, winning by 14.

3. Florida at Missouri: (-3) Missouri’s playing with a bit of hope this season, because the offense has sparked into gear lately – albeit against some pretty poor sides. Florida, on the other hand, should have fired Doug Nussmeier well before Jim McElwain suffered the same blow last Sunday….that’s how bad the offense is this season. Now that Randy Shannon, the team’s interim head coach is in charge? Will things change. Firstly, he’s dumped underperforming frosh Feleipe Franks and put in Malik Zaire for this clash for the SEC Titans. If Zaire has a good game, it’ll mainly because Missouri’s defense has proven to be completely incompetent just about anybody its faced. So bet on Florida winning in the same sort of game that they did against Vanderbilt….a shoot-out. PREDICTION: Florida wins by 7 a weird high-scorer.

4. South Carolina at No.1 Georgia (-23.5): Georgia is No.1 in the country. Georgia fans are already celebrating the new dominance of college football, seemingly forgetting that we’ve got a month to go and weird things can happen – especially in an upcoming trip to Auburn….where weird things happen. But we don’t think weird things are going to happen against South Carolina, which is a not-bad but not-particularly-good team this year. PREDICTION: Bulldogs keep barking. Georgia by 35.

5. No.14 Auburn (-15) at Texas A&M: This might be the closest SEC game you’ll see all week, and it’s a pity they are playing this one at 11am instead of a good, honest time like 6. In other words, Texas A&M fans, Auburn fans, SEC fans and college football fans are getting gipped. Texas A&M was terrible at home to Mississippi State, yet they showed up strongly against Alabama. In other words, they are a strange team to behold. Auburn’s offense has begun to click (the ‘D’ has clicked all year) thanks to an excellent running game, but their defense – which has clicked all year – will be tested against Christian Kirk. PREDICTION: We don’t understand why Auburn’s got the 15-point spread. But we don’t think they’ll win. Tigers by 6.

6. Ole Miss at Kentucky (-4): Ole Miss is in a tailspin and Kentucky can relax because its bowl-eligible, despite playing mediocrely all season long (actually the one game it DIDN’T play medicorely it lost to Florida because of two terrible plays). This game won’t be fun to watch, people. PREDICTION: Ole Miss wins an awful game by 7.

7. Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt (-9.5): Vanderbilt’s in a slide, but then again, Western Kentucky’s hardly a great SEC opponent, are they? We expect the Commodores to win – if a little closely that expect – and feel happier again. PREDICTION: Vanderbilt by 14.

8. UMass at No.16 Mississippi State (-32): One of the most uninteresting games of the schedule. UMass gave Tennessee a game, but MSU should absolutely destroy them. PREDICTION: Mississippi State by 41.

9. Coastal Carolina at Arkansas (-23.5): Yeah…..snore…..PREDICTION: Arkansas by 38.

After Georgia whipped Florida like a buzzsaw in Jacksonville, costing Gators’ head coach Jim McElwain, the amount of people who asked the question increased hundredfold: “Are the Bulldogs the best team in the country?”

It’s important to ask the bigger question: “Are the Bulldogs the best team in the SEC, let alone the country?”

So here we go with our Post-Week 9 SEC Rankings:

  1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide has done nothing wrong this season, and a wins over LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn should further the ‘best team in the SEC’ rankings. Nick Saban’s on his usual rant about not listening to rankings – like the College Football Play-Off one that comes out today – but you can bet he’s checking them out.
  2. Georgia: Kirby Smart went off on a Saban-like  rant about not listening to the College Football Play-Off Committee, and you can bet he’s listening to. The Bulldogs have got the best win between themselves and Alabama (who would have known how terrible Florida State is from then to now?). But outside of that, the Dawgs defense and superb running combo of Chubb and Michel make Georgia one of the top two teams in our rankings.
  3. LSU: LSU has performed well since the Troy upset, going 3-0 and beating Auburn in the process. We’re not sure that Ed Orgeron has taught his Tigers to play all four quarters, though. They’ll need all four if they are to have a hope against Alabama.
  4. Auburn: The Tigers’ excellent defense will get tested at Texas A&M, and we’ll get an eye to whether they can survive the upcoming clashes with Georgia and Alabama.
  5. Mississippi State: Nick Fitzgerald really is a good quarterback, and Dan Mullen really is a good coach. Mississippi State fans would be ecstatic if Mullen stays – especially with some bigger jobs coming to call.
  6. Texas A&M: Getting beaten at home by Mississippi State isn’t the problem. It’s looking as bad as the Aggies did in the process that’s the problem.
  7. South Carolina: If surviving Vanderbilt is a ‘thing’ for South Carolina, then things are OK in Columbia. We’re still not entirely sure about the Gamecocks, but they seem to be rebounding nicely from the loss of Deebo Samuel.
  8. Kentucky: Kentucky is bowl eligble! Go Mark Stoops!
  9. Missouri: Drew Lock and THAT offense have all the momentum right now. Remember, they threw all over Georgia in the first half in Athens. The problem is the defense. But if they can get an unlikely stop, then Missouri may cause some trouble to Florida and Tennessee in the East.
  10. Florida: Directionless, and now head coach-less, the Florida Gators are spinning downwards at a rate of knots. The Florida State game in Gainseville should be a $5 Stubhub ticket. Booze, weed, smelling salts and maybe some acid will be supplied just to make everyone forget about the game.
  11. Arkansas: A fantastic comeback at Ole Miss showed that the Hogs have guts that we didn’t think they had. Could this result have saved Bret Bielema’s job?
  12. Ole Miss: They’ve thrown in the towel now, and it’s not pretty. Unlike a tailgate in Oxford.
  13. Vanderbilt: Great guts against South Carolina, but this team keeps on losing. It hasn’t recovered from the battering against Bama.
  14. Tennessee: Couches were burned when news emerged that Butch Jones HADN’T been fired in Knoxville. Now there’s an ‘Empty Neyland’ campaign, in an effort to show Vols’ fans rage against Jones by not showing up for the home game against Southern Miss. Ironically, the stadium would probably have been 50% full anyway.

 

We know Alabama is one of the best four teams in the country. The Crimson Tide haven’t just played every team it’s come against well, it has (apart from Texas A&M) massacred them.

The Crimson Tide has burnt through much of its opposition, and it’s probably the best team in college football.

The College Football Play-Off Committee’s eye test would definitely see Alabama’s blitzkrieg of its opposition and put it as the best team in the country. But then, it has to worry about strength of schedule. And it also looks at how teams improve week to week rather than fall apart. That’s why Ohio State fans are probably very excited about the prospect of seeing their team in the Top 4 despite an early-season loss to Oklahoma. Because despite OSU’s home spanking by Oklahoma, it has been one of the best teams in college football by a mile, doubling up No.2 Penn State in offensive yardage and shutting down Saquan Barkley in the process.

So back to Alabama. Alabama’s strength of schedule probably looked great when they ripped apart No.3 Florida State in Atlanta on the first game of the season. Florida State has gone 2-4 since that game, and was recently ripped to shreds by Boston College, 35-3. Alabama’s next-strongest game was a road game at Texas A&M. Texas A&M lost to a now-mediocre UCLA team and last week were driven into the ground by Mississippi State. The rest of the games played by Alabama have been non-conference laughers against Fresno State, Colorado State, and practical walkovers against Tennessee (we all know what’s happening there), Ole Miss (it’s almost as bad in Oxford as it is in Neyland), and Vanderbilt (they haven’t won a game since the Bama blow-out).

Listen, we’re not saying that Alabama’s not good. The Tide is probably the best team in the nation. It’s deep. It’s talented. It’s three running backs of Damien Harris, Bo Scarborough and Najee Harris could probably start anywhere else in the country. And while Jalen Hurts’ throwing as a quarterback might be a little on the poor side (he’s only 25th in the country in pass efficiency and 86th in total passing yards), his running is exceptional. Oh, and the defensive unit – as per usual – is a freak show (No.1 in the nation in total yards given up).

SO WHY AREN’T THE CRIMSON TIDE NO.1?

As much as the pollsters love the Crimson Tide, there’s one major fact: The schedule has been easy on them. Georgia has the best win out of the two teams, beating Notre Dame on road, which is an excellent 7-1. Georgia also beat Mississippi State into a pulp earlier on in the season, and MSU has wins over LSU and on the road at Texas A&M on its resume, as well as shellacking of Kentucky, a team that is better than most people expect.

Apart from one half against Missouri when its secondary was lit up, Georgia also has an elite defense, and an exceptional pairing of (still fit) running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, and QB Jake Fromm has done wonders after taking over the job for an injured Jacob Eason.

But the problem for the Tide is the strength of schedule. If Alabama curb-stomps LSU, Auburn, and Mississippi State, they should be No.1 and UGA – who play Auburn as the last of its ‘major games’ in the coming weeks – will be No.2.

But above all else, we really hope to see the Crimson Tide play Georgia in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, because it would be one of the most-hyped games in college football history. Good luck getting a ticket for that one, folks.

(BTW, our other two teams in the play-off would be Notre Dame (they only lost to UGA by one point and are currently en fuego) and Clemson (better SoS than Ohio State, honestly).

 

 

Florida fires McElwain

Florida has fired head coach Jim McElwain. Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon is now the team’s interim head coach.

On Saturday the Gators suffered a 42-0 drubbing by Georgia at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, which was Florida’s third straight defeat following home losses to LSU and Texas A&M. The Gators have a 3-4 record.

We want to thank Coach McElwain for his efforts in leading the Gator football program,” athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a statement. “We are confident Coach Shannon will provide the proper guidance to the players and rest of staff during this time, and we will begin a national search for the next head coach.

McElwain’s buyout is $12.76 million, and the Gators have asked McElwain to take less – but its hardly likely that he will do, since his success with the Gators has hardly been awful. Under McElwain, Florida has won two SEC East Championships in a row (2015 and 2016) and had a 22-12 record as coach. McElwain earned $4.268m as Florida’s head coach  – the 13th largest head coach’s salary in the country.

I want to thank the University of Florida, the fans and the alumni for the opportunity to have been your head coach,” McElwain said in a statement out on Twitter. “My family and I will move on with appreciation and good memories.” There was no mention of the buyout.

LAST WEEK HELL

The last week has been a terrible one for McElwain, where the now-former head coach said that his family and team were getting death threats from Florida fans. When Florida’s security quite rightly took the matter seriously, McElwain did not disclose what had happened. Suddenly rumors came out of Gainesville that Florida was looking to fire McElwain ‘with cause’ . After going on a tirade about the matter, McElwain said the matters “happened in the past”.

THIS SEASON HASN’T HELPED

Florida’s off-season was terrible, with top wide receiver Antonio Callaway, running back Jordan Scarlett and four other players suspended indefinitely for what amounts to credit card fraud.

Then, there was an internet meme when fans made fun of McElwain for allegedly being photoed naked lying on top of a shark. McElwain didn’t take it too kindly.

Then came the season, which was also terrible. The Gators started the season with a loss to Michigan, and were lucky to beat Tennessee and Kentucky in SEC East play.

What was also stunning was that McElwain stayed local to offensive coordinator Doug Nussemeir, who is looking like one of the worst OCs the school has ever had. Under Nussemeir this season, Florida is 112th in the nation in total offense, 58th in rushing offense and 110th in passing. It is 125th in sacks allowed, giving up 25 sacks so far this season. Although the Gators are 10th in the nation in red zone offense, they have only made 17 trips to the red zone itself. In 7 games.

Another stat for you? Since 2007, 24 head coaches have gone from their posts in the SEC. By the end of silly season, we’re expecting that number to be near 30.

 

Will Georgia raise a cocktail? Week 9 SEC Preview

It’s Cocktail Party week, when the Georgia and Florida fans descend on Jacksonville and get blind drunk before the 3.30 pm kick-off, and provide an atmosphere that’s OK. During the week before, Florida’s been talking a lot of crap, while the head coach has been telling stories (which might be true) about death threats.

If we’re honest, that’s going to be the most interesting game of the week. The ones are a little bit of a struggle.

  1. No.3 Georgia (-14) vs Florida: Georgia fans are going to run, run, run the ball down Florida’s throat, and hope that Jake Fromm’s not forced into passing. Despite what people say, UF has a good secondary, and every game that they’ve lost have been a lot closer than 14 points. The problem for Florida is that they are facing a great defense, and their offense absolutely sucks. PREDICTION: Georgia by 17.
  2. Tennessee vs Kentucky (-4): The Butch Jones death train spirals downwards to Lexington, KY, where eyes are going to be on whether the Vols survive after last week’s brutal beating by Alabama. The news that the Volunteers’ top running back got himself suspended can’t have helped the humor around the program either. Kentucky last week wasn’t too great itself, getting its hind pots booted by Mississippi State. This could be awful to watch. PREDICTION: Kentucky by 7.
  3. Mississippi State (-1.5) vs Texas A&M: After beating the crap out of Kentucky, people are talking again about whether Mississippi State’s losing streak was an aberration, while Texas A&M isn’t as bad as people think. We love Christian Kirk, a lot. But then again, we love Nick Fitzgerald a lot, too. This is going to the wire. PREDICTION: Texas A&M in the mild ‘upset’, winning by 3. 
  4. Arkansas at Ole Miss (-3.5): This is how bad Arkansas is, people. Ole Miss, which is rumored to be mailing it in, has no defense to speak of and now doesn’t have a quarterback that’s any good after Shea Patterson’s season-ending injury. Arkansas is still an underdog to Ole Miss this week. The pressure on Bret Bielema’s hotting up – and is possibly hotting up on AD Jeff Long, who despite talking a good game at College Football Play-Off time, should really look after the games the Razorbacks are playing. PREDICTION: Ole Miss by 10. 
  5. Vanderbilt at South Carolina (-7): Jake Bentley is a solid quarterback and South Carolina really isn’t a bad team, and they are coming across a Vanderbilt side that’s aching to turn things around after being run on by everybody since they were crushed by Alabama (and that includes a poor Ole Miss side). We fancy the Gamecocks to roll. PREDICTION: South Carolina by 14. 
  6. Missouri (-13) vs UConn: UConn’s secondary is despicable, giving up 373 passing yards per game. Missouri’s found a bit of faith in its offense, and there are prayers that the defense can actually hold the UConn offense, which is mediocre if not terrible. We think Drew Lock throws a bundle, and Missouri wins handily. PREDICTION: Missouri by 30.
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