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After the mayhem of Week 7, Auburn and Tennessee fans are unhappy

After the unbridled craziness of Week 7 (see Clemson, Washington and Washington State all getting upset) Alabama and Georgia still rule the SEC. While Alabama rolled, it wasn’t the most convincing of performances from Georgia, who only woke up in the second half of their game against Missouri. Elsewhere, Auburn blew a 20-pt lead on a horribly hot day at LSU and really, really pissed off their fanbase in the process (To LSU fans, ‘Coach O’ is now God), the Tennessee soap opera continued with a 15-9 home loss to South Carolina in one of the ugliest games you’ll ever see, while Texas A&M now like Kevin Sumlin again after the Aggies won by 2 points in an electrifying atmosphere in The Swamp against Florida. Ole Miss rolled against Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State beat BYU easily.

So here are your SEC rankings after Week 7:

  1. Alabama: At this stage the Crimson Tide looks absolutely unbeatable. There’s nothing else to say.
  2. Georgia: Georgia’s secondary was terrible in the first half against Missouri, but in the second half everyone worked out their issues and the Dawgs ran out  53-28 winners. That would have pissed off Vegas bettors, because UGA was a 28-pt favorite. What might concern Georgia fans is that there were four times in the win that they couldn’t convert in the red zone against a very poor Missouri defense. Kirby Smart will make all ‘teachable’ before the Cocktail Party against Florida in a couple of weeks time, we’re sure.
  3. Texas A&M: This Texas A&M team’s got serious momentum at the moment, and we honestly think they could beat LSU and Auburn this season. Kellen Mond is a lot of fun to watch, and so’s Christian Kirk – when he manages to catch the ball. Oh, and we don’t like to tell you, dear 12th Man, that we told you so when told you to calm down about Kevin Sumlin after the UCLA loss. But we told you so.
  4. LSU: After the Troy loss we honestly thought the SEC race and even a bowl game might be a struggle for LSU, but back-to-back wins against Florida and Auburn – where the defense has really shown its short and curlies – have LSU fans happier. Oh, and let’s talk about those DBs. Holy crap they’re good!
  5. Auburn: We can’t work out why Gus Malzahn refused to let Jarrett Stidham throw a 5-8 yard pass instead of always opt for the ‘Big Reception’, or why Kerryon Johnson seemed to be mostly absent during the second half. But that may just have been us. But remember: Just because you blew a big lead in Baton Rouge, it doesn’t mean you’re the worst team in the world, Auburn fans.
  6. Florida: Despite the Gators’ offense being the most disgusting thing since Divine ate dog poop at the end of John Waters epic Pink Flamingos, the Gators have had an exciting season. They are 2-2 in games they should have played badly and won or played badly and lost (Kentucky and Tennessee were the ones they won/LSU + LSU were the ones they played badly at lost). Doug Nussmeir should be fired as the offensive co-ordinator when season’s done, by the way.
  7. Mississippi State: Beat the Mormons of BYU – as expected – pretty easily. This team is an average SEC team, but below-average SEC West team. I’m beginning to think the LSU win was more of a fluke than suggested, though.
  8. Kentucky: The Wildcats are 5-1. And no-one gets it since they’ve been not been great against just about every team they’ve played.
  9. South Carolina: The narrow win over Tennessee was ugly, ugly, ugly. We got a lot of crap on our Twitter (@SECBlog) from Gamecocks fans for suggesting that Florida would win the game at Williams-Brice ‘no problem’ (OK, maybe we should have put in the words ‘no problem), but after the Tennessee performance? The UF-USC game is going to be as ugly as sin. And despite Gamecocks fans suggesting that the Deebo Samuel problem was solved…..it’s not. Otherwise you’d have scored more against Tennessee.
  10. Ole Miss: An unexpected shoot-out in the first half against Vanderbilt suddenly became a massacre in Oxford. The Rebels aren’t great, but now AJ Brown’s back to full fitness (he’s had back-to-back 100-yard receiving games, and last week added 2 TDs), they finally have some offense.
  11. Arkansas: Going in the wrong, wrong, wrong direction. To say Arkansas fans are concerned is an understatement.
  12. Tennessee: THEY HAD A WEEK TO PREPARE FOR CAROLINA FOR GOD’S dSAKE. AND STILL COULDN’T SCORE A TOUCHDOWN (Butch Jones HAS to go. A lot of the media still can’t believe he wasn’t fired after the Carolina game).
  13. Missouri: Missouri managed to scrap its ass off the basement by putting 28 on Georgia – the most the Bulldogs have conceded all season long. The defense remains a joke, but you have to applaud them a little for keeping UGA out of the red-zone a little less than we expected. Should the fans jump on the field if/when the Tigers beat Idaho? I think so!
  14. Vanderbilt: There are two teams on bad trajectories in the State of Tennessee this season, and Derek Mason’s squad is the other one. Alabama broke this program, and everyone seems to have jumped on the bandwagon. Things have to be changed and quickly.

Oh, and another thing: You remember my article about unbeaten teams? I’ll shut up now.

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.

 

 

Starting Georgia LB arrested

Stop if you’ve heard this before: A starting Georgia player was arrested on Thursday night.

This time it was Natrez Patrick, who is tied for third on the team in tackles, who was arrested on misdemeanour marijuana-related charges (meaning he had less than an ounce on him when Athens PD arrested him).

It wasn’t the first time Patrick had been arrested. He’d also been arrested with former Dawg Chauncey Rivers in 2015, ESPN pointed out.

In the Mark Richt days, this would have spelt the end of Patrick’s career with the Bulldogs, although we think that Kirby Smart’s going to go for the Nick Saban approach of second/third charges.

We expect Patrick to be out for four games, which includes the monster clash against Florida. Why? Georgia’s code dictates that if players are arrested for the second time, they are banned for 30% of the season.

 

 

 

 

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.”

 

Deebo Samuel out for rest of the season for USC

South Carolina’s wide receiver Deebo Samuel is out for the rest of the season after sustaining a horrible injury during the Gamecocks’ 23-13 loss against Kentucky.

Samuel has been the go-to guy for the Gamecocks, snagging six touchdowns in three games — including one 68-yarder at the start of the game against Kentucky.

It’s a huge injury for Will Muschamp and his starting QB Jake Bentley, to go with a loss of momentum stemming from the UK loss.

 

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. 

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