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National Signing Day (SEC East): Florida rules, but Georgia, do we have a problem?

There might have been a lot of headlines out west about the National Signing Day classes that Alabama and Ole Miss put together, but guess what? Florida’s was pretty darned amazing. Will Muschamp has the reputation as one of the best recruiters in the land, and he proved it with an excellent class. However, there are some deep questions about Georgia to answer, folks…


Among other thoughts from UF brass, Will Muschamp was hired to Florida for two reasons: 1) He’s a great defensive coach 2) He’s a great recruiter. After a fantastic 2012-3 season (marred slightly by an ignominious loss to Louisville), Florida needed to add some more depth on both sides of the ball, and by God, did they do it.

First of all, there’s a lot of love for Vernon Hargreaves, who stayed in-state to play for the Gators. People are using the words “lock-down corner” about him, so there’s room to get excited, Gators fans. Also helping Hargreaves in the secondary will be Keanu Neal (Replacements or Point Break, movie fans?!) and Marcell Harris, who will try and fill the hole left by Matt Elam (if that’s at all possible). He also brought in Caleb Brantley, Daniel McMillan and the amazingly-named Alex Anzalone (who opted for Florida sun rather than Notre Dame cold). You’ve guessed it, folks. Muschamp’s Gators are going to be STACKED in defense, if all goes to plan.

But let’s be honest, the Gators were poor on the other side of the ball last year, but the pick-up of highly-touted running back Kelvin Taylor (as well as RB Adam Lane), wide receivers Demarcus Robinson, Ahmad Fulwood, Alvin Bailey and Marqui Hawkins, and QB Max Staver is going to give Muschamp’s offense some speed.


The Great State of Georgia must have too much talent in its high schools to all attend the University of Georgia to go around, because the Dawgs signed 32 recruits, had a top-10 class, and STILL people are grousing. Can Mark Richt not win in Athens?

After the departure of Baccari Rambo to the NFL, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on corner Shaq Wiggins and safety Tray Matthews to show if they can feasible replacements. Alex Ogletree’s gone too, but Johnny O’Neal and Tim Kimborough will be asked to do the job.

On the other side of the ball, the decision by QB/offensive God Aaron Murray to stay hasn’t darkened the heart of Brice Ramsey, who spurned Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss and Ohio State to stay in-state and become a dawg. Let’s hope he behaves himself.

But there’s still annoyance from the Georgia sidelines – even internally. Offensive lineman Chris Burnette tweeted: “Dang why everybody leaving the state?” Maybe that was a call to recruits, or maybe that was a cry of despair. Georgia fans are still annoyed that Derrick Henry decided to go to Alabama, and were even more annoyed on National Signing Day after Montravius Adams decided on Auburn and Laramey Tunsil went to Ole Miss to be with Robert Nkemdiche – who also comes from Georgia. Have we finished? Reuben Foster (Bama), Matthew Thomas (Florida State – although he was pursued hard by Miami), and Alvin Kamara (Bama) apparently all looked at Athens before going to their SEC foes (apart from Thomas, obviously).

For us the big thing that’s hurting Georgia (and despite a Top 10 class, this is a step down from back-to-back great NSD years for the Dawgs) is the status of defensive co-ordinator Todd Grantham, who’s being considered for NFL jobs as we speak, and there’s no certainly he’ll stay, despite what Mark Richt says. Although we’ve got our reservations about Grantham coaching at the next level (UGA’s ‘D’ this season despite its talent was a disappointment, we believe), NFL coaches don’t. And they know better than this mere blog.


We believe that Jadeveon Clowney should have been used more as a recruiting tool. South Carolina should have said: “Come play for us. If you’re good enough this year, you’ll play on the D-Line with THIS GUY this year, and it’s going to be some fun.” It didn’t, and Carolina had a pretty uneventful year. It’s weird, because despite another excellent year for USC, South Carolina fans believe that not going to the SEC Championship Game was yet another disappointment for them. That’s the Spurrier effect, right?

Anyway, Carolina needed some running backs after the departure of Marcus Lattimore (he goes with everyone in college football’s blessing) and they got them in David Williams and Jamari Smith. Both of them will battle Mike Davis for the starting job now Kenny Miles has gone, too. The Connor Shaw/Dylan Thompson forced experiment at QB was a resounding success for the visor, but getting Conor Mitch won’t hurt Gamecocks fans, either. Don’t be shocked if Shaw doesn’t start on Game 1 because of his foot injury after foot surgery, but Thompson’s so capable that Mitch will just have to wait a while. The departure of punt returning ace Ace Sanders to the draft will mean that more pressure will be heaped on Bruce Ellington to perform, but he’ll have the added help of Jasper Sasser. They could have done with another receiver, though. DJ Park, Alan Knott, J.P. Vonashek and Na’Ty Rogers will provide much-needed cover on the offensive line, which is looking a little thin suddenly, according to this depth chart.

On the other side of the ball, Clowney can’t do everything. DT Kelsey Griffin – offered by both Florida and Georgia – opted to play in Columbia – and could immediately fight Kelcy Quarles for a starting job (albeit unlikely). Linebackers Larenz Bryant, David Johnson and Skai Moor could also start immediately with the lack of depth at the position for the ‘Cocks, but this is a really solid class by The Visor.


There is no doubt that James Franklin’s got one of the most difficult jobs in the SEC. It’s not the fact that Vanderbilt is historically seen as a joke by the SEC schools because of a) it’s horrible record and b) the fact that no-one really goes to games so it’s the perfect away-day for visiting fans, but it’s the fact that Vanderbilt’s academic standards are higher than most in college football.

But we love Franklin. We love his energy, we love his outspokenness (I mean, who else would ‘accidentally’ call Nick Saban ‘Nick Satan’  live on videoed banquet – and then call and apologise?), and we love that he’s bringing Vanderbilt from an also-ran/SEC carpet into something that vies for bowl games (they’ve made two in two years, folks!).

Anyway, the Commodores will be hoping that the big upside that people were talking about with WR Jordan Cunningham will come to fruition, as well as DeAndre Woods and Carlos Burse. They should partner Jordan Matthews and Jonathan Krause in the wide receiver position. And now that Jordan Rodgers has graduated (we wish him luck), new arrivals Chad Kanoff and Johnathon McCrary will battle it out with Austyn Carta-Samuels and Paton Robinette to see who’s going to throw the ball to them. Brandon Vandenberg at tight end will also provide some much-needed pass protection, although Vanderbilt’s offensive line has got a lot of experience already.

Running the ball, Raphael Webb will help to fill the hole left by much-loved running back Zak Stacy – even though the ‘Dores are pretty set in that position (expect Webb to redshirt, folks!).

Defensively, Jay Woods and Landon Stokes could start immediately if they impress as much as they did recruiters. Woods spurned offers from Georgia, South Carolina and Ole Miss to play for Vandy, while Stokes ignored Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Clemson to play in the SEC East.


It’s not been a great 12-14 months for Tennessee. After being touted as a possible winner of the SEC East, Tennessee then proceeded to fail to make a bowl, and promptly fired Derek Dooley. They then lost Cordarelle Patterson, Justin Hunter, DA’ Rick Rogers and QB Tyler Bray to the draft, hired Butch Jones from Cincinnati, and then announced that they were $240m in debt- which is sad but unsurprising if you consider the lack of success at Neyland Stadium in recent years. Anyway, it was all capped off by National Signing Day, where the Twitter-verse exploded with news that Newfound Savior of the Tennessee Defense Vonn Bell had signed for Tennessee. Immediately, tweets were sent out abusing Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes, proclaiming Tennessee was back, and touting SEC dominance. Well, Bell announced that he was actually going to bring his talents to Ohio State. And more sickeningly than that, Bell’s a self-proclaimed UT fan.

Tennessee will lose a lot of wide receiver product after the departures of Patterson, Hunter and Rogers, and Marquez North, Ryan Jenkins, (and to a lesser extent Cameron Sutton, Paul Harris and Joshua Smith) will immediately be asked to produce. Their quarterback will be Justin Worley, unless he gets overtaken in the Spring by Riley Ferguson and Josh Dobbs (although Dobbs can also play DT). On the running front, Jabo Lee is the only running back brought in by Jones – so expect a bit of ‘Air Former Bearcat’ in Neyland this year. Offensive tackle Austin Sanders has been added for some solidity.

On the other side of the ball, Corey Vereen and Jaylen Miller add some defensive depth to the Vols, who desperately need it. However, the Vols were killed by turnovers last year, and if they managed to cut those out, you never know. Jones has made silver purses out of sow’s ears before.


Missouri’s 2012/3 season wasn’t so much a disappointment as it was a brutal introduction to life in the SEC. Although they won their first SECs game in their history by beating Kentucky and Tennessee in back-t0-back SEC games, much was expected of Dorial Green-Beckham, but he really did nothing until the Tennessee game apart from get arrested. We can’t wait to see the fruits of the nation’s former No.1 recruit in 2013- this should be fun. After the graduation of TJ Moe, we expect Gary Pinkel to give DGB a ton more catching time – if he doesn’t get arrested again.

Anyway, Missouri’s class of 20 in 2013 underwhelmed many (they are 38th in ESPN’s Top 40 – last in the SEC), but it didn’t seem to have a problem keeping talent in-state, with four-star players Chase Abbington, LB Eric Beisel and RB Anthony Sherrils all deciding to play in yellow and black. They also beat Ole Miss, Cal and a host of Big Ten schools to defensive tackle Josh Augusta, who’s a man mountain.

And while Dorial Green-Beckham will expect to receive passes from James Franklin or Corbin Berkstresser this season, adding Trent Hostick and Eddie Printz could liven up the battle for the QB position.


Mark Stoops has arrived, and while we don’t expect miracles immediately for the Wildcats, it was pleasing to see that Kentucky wasn’t the worst team in the SEC from a recruiting point of view.

From Wildcats’ fans point of view, Stoops well-known recruiting excellence was highlighted when he managed to persuade Louisville native DE Jason Hatcher to stay in-state instead of playing for Southern California (although it helped UK’s cause that Monte Kiffin decided to leave LA, too!). Also coming in from on the DE side is juco Za’Darius Smith, who was also recruited by Texas A&M, Florida State, Texas, Auburn and Ole Miss, which is going to help immensely on a team that hasn’t really recovered from the loss of leaders Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy before last season. Four-star Jaleel Hytchye (that last name’s a mouthful, isn’t it?), who was recruited by a number of schools nationwide, will help the Wildcats at cornerback, too.

On the offensive side (and let’s face it, Kentucky needed help EVERYWHERE last year), Juco WR Javess Blue is seen as being a real pick-up by Stoops and the gang. Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Arizona State and West Virginia certainly thought his speed and playmaking ability would be an addition to the team – they all offered him. Running back Jojo Kemp may well see time at running back, particularly if he can impress in the Spring. Kentucky’s not exactly deep – or strong – at that position.

SEC players, coaches and fans’ tweet lives in 5 Words

There’s something amusing going around Twitter which is #MyLifeIn5Words, so we thought we’d think up a few for SEC players. Please add in your thoughts, too!!

Jadeveon Clowney: Must eat the opposing quarterback #MyLifeIn5Words

Nick Saban: Johnny Football. Revenge. September 14. #MyLifeIn5Words

Johnny Manziel: All the fuss about Alabama? Puhleeze. #MyLifeIn5Words

Les Miles: Am I really that mad? #MyLifeIn5Words

Tyrann Mathieu: From hero to zero. Sorry. #MyLifeIn5Words

Aaron Murray: God bless you, beautiful Athens. #MyLifeIn5Words

Mark Richt (to UGA faithful): Love me or hate me today? #MyLifeIn5Words

Hugh Freeze: The Blind Side and Jesus. #MyLifeIn5Words

SEC fans: Fall Saturdays are for drinking.

LSU Juniors: Let’s all go be pros! #MyLifeIn5Words

Steve Spurrier: Must enrage my biggest rivals #MyLifeIn5Words

Texas A&M fans: Johnny Football is our God.  #MyLifeIn5Words

Missouri fans: We still really hate Kansas  #MyLifeIn5Words

Said to any recruit to the SEC: This is the NFL fast-track. #MyLifeIn5Words

Vanderbilt fans: Nashville is an awesome party #MyLifeIn5Words

Ole Miss: Hugh Freeze is Oxford Jesus. #MyLifeIn5Words

Mississippi State: Ole Miss. Damn. Damn. Damn #MyLifeIn5Words

Robert Nkemdiche: Can’t make up my mind #MyLifeIn5Words

James Franklin: Motivate. Motivate. Motivate. Motivate. Motivate. #MyLifeIn5Words

Kevin Sumlin: Thank God for Johnny Football. #MyLifeIn5Words

Auburn (1): Thank God Gene Chizik’s out. #MyLifeIn5Words

Auburn (2): We hate Alabama and Georgia. #MyLifeIn5Words

Georgia: So close yet so far. #MyLifeIn5Words

Florida: Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Jorts. #MyLifeIn5Words

Alabama: Houndstooth. Shakers. Championships. Bryant. Check. #MyLifeIn5Words

South Carolina: Stephen Garcia= Awesome adult entertainment. #MyLifeIn5Words

Tennessee: Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning (repeat). #MyLifeIn5Words

SEC: We really love winning games. #MyLifeIn5Words.

Tiger Stadium: Bourbon. Noise. Night. Loud. Cajuns #MyLifeIn5Words

Arkansas: Bobby Petrino really screwed up. #MyLifeIn5Words

Kentucky: Honestly, we prefer our basketball. #MyLifeIn5Words

SEC Football Blog: SEC! SEC! SEC! SEC! SEC! #MyLifeIn5Words






Ten big questions for National Signing Day

Like everyone else, we at the SEC Football Blog are really, really excited about National Signing Day on February 6th.

Sorry we haven’t been covering “firm”, “less firm”, “wavy”, or “de” commitments hugely this off-season, but these are mad times for recruits, and quite frankly, we’re happiest to sit and wait to see where the chips fall on February 6th – our first reminder that yes, college football will be back in a few weeks time with the Crimson/White/Red/Black/Blue/Orange/Purple/Green/Rainbow games in April, before getting to the fun times of players arrests and ejections from campus.

Anyway, there IS the important time of Signing Day. With five SEC schools predicted to be in the Rivals.com Top 10, we anticipate that things are going to once again put a smile on the Conference fans faces.

So here are some big questions:

1) Where will Robert Nkemdiche end up? 

If you believe some of the hype on Twitter, Robert Nkemdiche may not be the second coming of Christ, but he’s certainly the second coming of Jadeveon Clowney. After deciding he didn’t want to play at Clemson after all, The Biggest Story Of Signing Day suddenly a favorite with Ole Miss. Apparently he’s visiting LSU before he decides – could Les Miles be able to make the last ditch signing of signings? My money’s still on Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss to snag the player. Nkemdiche’s brother plays at the school already, and there’s nothing like a bit of family pressure to get the heart going.

2) Will Florida continue to stack talent? 

Florida‘s the top-rated recruiter on Rivals, and after snagging the amusingly-named-but-nevertheless-very-good-linebacker Alex Anzalone from Notre Dame, Wil Muschamp is putting together a damned good class. With the amount of talent in the State of Florida, don’t be too surprised if Florida comes through with a pretty incredible class.

3) The Name You Haven’t Heard Of But Should: Kenny Hill

We were in Texas on the first Friday of the college football season, and we caught up with a high school football game. Allen were playing Southlake Carroll, and the quarterback for Southlake Carroll was one Kenny Hill. He was a brilliant dual-threat quarterback, and despite Southlake Carroll’s 24-0 loss, Hill was one of the stars of the show. He was voted Texas High School Player Of The Year He’s now going to Texas A&M….Or is he? With the success of freshman QB Johnny Manziel, Hill’s suddenly worrying about things like playing time – particularly if he wants to play at the next level. Keep your eye on this one – this could be one of the recruits of Signing Day. If Hill goes somewhere else other than A&M, look for the Aggies to scramble to get some cover – possibly from the junior colleges.

4)  How will Georgia recruit in the State of Georgia?

Every time we read about a four or five-star recruit from Georgia deciding that they don’t want to play in Athens, we wonder: What in the heck is happening at UGA? Look, it’s not like Georgia doesn’t recruit talent – the Dawgs were five yards away from going to a National Championship and will send some serious talent to the NFL this year – but it’s the fact that any TOP recruit from GA should be wanting to play for UGA first off. Unless he gets a clean sweep of Georgia talent, Mark Richt’s going to get some moaning minnies in his ear come the end of National Signing Day, but this could be interesting.

5) The Two Alabama Icons

OK, there are two of them, and they are Auburn and Alabama. The State of Alabama has dominated this century in terms of SEC and National Championships, yet everyone keeps on talking about Nick Saban (doesn’t help when Auburn was the laughing stock of the SEC last year). Alabama is going to be frightening good when it comes to recruiting (it’s predicted it will have a Top 3 class), and they go nationally to recruit talent. Auburn, though, has been putting together a quietly excellent class of its own – ranked No.13 so far. That’s what happens when your hire an offensive genius like Gus Malzahn to be your head coach. How will it all balance out on Signing Day? We predict both Houses of Alabama to be happy.

6) What’s going to happen to the new coaches?

While we’ve talked about Malzahn Bret Bielma (Arkansas) and Mark Stoops (Kentucky) have had to make some pretty quick adjustments. So far, they are 52nd and 54th on the list, with 17 players having committed to each school. Personally, we hope that both coaches can recruit some real talent this year, but it’s going to be hard work. This could mean another long year for both sets of fans.

7) Texas A&M: The Johnny Manziel effect?

While we’d like to talk up the Johnny Manziel effect (ie Kevin Sumlin will now find it easier to recruit good offensive tackles and wide receivers following the success of 2012) to our hearts content, a lot of people forget that defensive end Damontre Moore could be a Top 5 NFL Draft Pick, and if this is case, then guess what? Sumlin’s got that to sell to recruits – particularly just a few days after the Super Bowl has happened. His class (6th ranked) is tidy so far, but will the ‘Johnny Effect’ help Texas A&M to get some unexpected recruiting successes – particularly under the noses of Texas, their hated rivals?

8) LSU

Wow. The juniors sure put the ‘less’ in Les Miles, didn’t they? LSU was completely routed, with ten juniors (most of them starters) deciding to go pro. What kind of message is this going to give to recruits? Deep breath for that No.5 recruiting rank, folks. Don’t be too surprised if the mass exodus, plus Les Miles’ weird decision to talk to Arkansas (which – whether LSU liked it or not – showed recruits a certain lack of loyalty), hurts the Tigers. Having said that, 8 early enrolees have already helped the class. Miles will be hoping that none of them cause him as much of a headache off the field as Tyrann Mathieu did.

9) Ole Miss By Damn!

Ole Miss is giving Mississippi State fans another reason to dislike them, because Hugh Freeze is taking that great on-the-field form to the recruiting levels, which included the possible signing of Robert Nkemdiche and the commitment of  Quincy Adeboyejo from Texas, a five-star wide receiver. Ole Miss also hosted four other five-star athletes last week…..Imagine what might happen if all of them came along too. Talk about Ole Miss rising again, eh?

10) Watch Out For Spurrier

It seems that most years Steve Spurrier pulls out a Signing Day Surprise, and don’t be surprised if The Visor pulls out one this year, either. Any defensive player would love to be playing on that line with Jadeveon Clowney, wouldn’t they? Heck, I would want to play in another conference just to avoid getting killed by Clowney, if I was a high school quarterback. Anyway, get ready for Steve Spurrier. He’s coming.

Question: Will anyone be able to keep up with the SEC?

A week after Alabama won the title, I was able to give myself a bit of a rest and reflect on what has been another successful National Championship Year for our conference. Or more’s the case, for Alabama.

The conference put the critics to bed for another straight year as Alabama destroyed Notre Dame to lift the Crystal Football, cementing Alabama’s dynasty with their third win in four years. Barratt Jones can’t possibly achieve what he did in college in the NFL, can he (unless he’s drafted by the Patriots!)?

But if we’re honest, it wasn’t a wonderful bowl season for the SEC, by any stretch of the imagination.

  • Florida (on paper) should have pounded Louisville. Instead, they were pounded back. Use the excuse of “We didn’t make any effort” as much as you like, Gators, but you were an embarrassment. The number of fans that showed up to the Sugar Dome didn’t do them any favors, either.
  • LSU should have beaten Clemson. If it wasn’t for some awful playcalling by Les Miles & Co (three straight Zach Mettenberger throws instead of using a criminally underused running back in Jeremy Hill), they would have done.
  • Mississippi State embarrassed the conference by getting blown away by Northwestern.
  • South Carolina was lucky to survive against Michigan. What would have happened if Jadeveon Clowney hadn’t played, folks?
  • Georgia‘s first half performance against Nebraska – a team that gave up 70 points in its last outing – was defensively dreadful.
Only Alabama, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt came out with any great credit from bowl season, folks. And they were favored in all of those games.
And although people would like to say that the SEC’s easily going to run the table in the 2013-4 season, here’s my argument: That’s not exactly going to happen. With all the money that’s getting poured into each conference, the gap is tightening between teams as they can suddenly afford better facilities and better recruitment.
Oh, and there’s also going to be a problem with the NCAA. The SEC’s been getting some bad press for oversigning lately, and yes, we know it goes on at almost all of our schools. If they decide to limit ‘grayshirting’ and really harshly limit scholarships and who can go where and for what reason, the SEC is going to have to cut down on the players they recruit. That can only mean more talent for other schools.

SEC teams dominate Forbes’ “Most Valuable Team” List

SEC domination continues up to Christmas – including Forbes’ ‘Most Valuable Team’ List.

In the magazine’s ‘Business of College Football’ issue, LSU was the top team in the SEC – although the Tigers were still behind Texas, Michigan and Notre Dame.

Forbes estimated that the Tigers had a value of $102m, with football revenues a cool $69 and total profit $45m. That’s a pretty good return on the investment.

Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Auburn and Arkansas were also on the list. Texas A&M slipped out of the Top 10, but is expected to return next year after a bowl game, and someone called Johnny.

The Top 10 list in full (with valuations):

1) Texas – Total Valuation $133m

2) Michigan – $120m

3) Notre Dame – $103m

4) LSU – $102m

5) Georgia – $99m

6) Alabama – $95m

7) Florida – $93m

8) Auburn – $85m

9) Tennessee – $84m

10) Arkansas – $83m

Also on the lists were Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier and Les Miles on the ‘College Football’s Most Powerful Coaches’ list. We think Les Miles will be a little up the food chain after his recent raise!



Sometimes, it was that good: SEC Top 10 moments

But sometimes, the SEC really was that good.

Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel enlivened our souls, Alabama and Georgia played the best SEC Championship Game in recent memory, the SEC got another National Championship entrant (and favorite!), there were crazy atmospheres in Death Valley, Williams-Brice and The Swamp, and Will Muschamp did wonders at Florida. And Les Miles offered to kiss you on the lips. Which is pretty awesome.

The song: Nelly’s “The Champ”…

10. College Gameday, College Gameday, College Gameday

Talk about a recruitment tool. ESPN College Gameday could have just lived on our campuses after the amount of exposure it gave to the conference with the best preview show in sports. Not only was there Alabama-Michigan, but also Chris Fowler and friends went to South Carolina, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Florida, LSU, and the SEC Championship Game. That’s pretty amazing, if you think about it. And all the crowds not only behaved brilliantly, but were raucous throughout. Moment of the year? Brian Kelly getting booed by the SEC Championship Crowd!! Free Boosie!!!

9. The Best SEC Championship Game. Ever.

At the end of the season when the naysayers are saying you’re overrated, sometimes you need to show ’em how damned good the conference is. Alabama and Georgia was the best college football game of the year, let alone in the SEC. After 60 minutes, Georgia was just five yards away from making it to Miami and redemption. This was incredible. And we also got to see Mark Richt get mad at the reporters – at last! If you haven’t seen the game, watch it. It’s worth DVRing for post-January, when there’s nothing to do and you hate basketball.

8. Jadeveon Clowney or Jarvis Jones: Take your pick.

Jadeveon Clowney and Jarvis Jones were HANDS-DOWN the best defenders in the SEC this year. If there was a pair of players more dominant in college football, then please let us know. Jones dominated the biggest game of Georgia’s game against Florida, while Clowney dominated….all season again. The crowning moment has to be Clowney’s game-saving sack of Tyler Bray and force fumble in the emotional end of the game against Tennessee. Although Jarvis Jones’ strip of Jordan Reed comes close.

7. Ole Miss, er, Rises Again.

Using words like ‘Rise Again’ around Oxford, MS is probably not the way to go, but we’re not talking about a bunch of racists, we’re talking about Ole Miss’ football team, which went from a no-win SEC season to a bowl season, which included beating the living Reb out of Mississippi State in the process. And you know what? Ole Miss could have been even better this year. They were beaten on THREE game-ending drives (LSU, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt), although they managed to get one back (game-ending field goal against Arkansas). With Bo Wallace as the QB, this could be fun!

6. The Boys From Ole Florida

Before the season, we thought Florida would be the third – or even maybe the fourth- best team in the SEC East. Yes, they’d make a bowl game, but that was about. And despite having an offense that was offensive to watch (and not in a good way), Florida’s defense was absolutely dominant (see South Carolina for details), and only a Jordan Reed fumble away from the SEC Championship Game. Jeff Driskel will assure us that UF’s offense is going to be a lot better in 2013, while Mike Gillislee is going to be fun to watch in the pros. Especially if he can be as heroic as he was in 2012 for the Gators. Enjoy the Sugar Bowl.

5. Texas A&M and Missouri, Welcome To The Show

2012 was the year that we welcomed the Tigers and the Aggies to the SEC with love in our hearts and two new places to go tailgating to in our minds. Although Missouri struggled, thanks to an undersized offensive line that couldn’t deal with SEC pass rushing, Texas A&M prospered, pulling off one of the coups of the year beating Alabama….on the road. And some guy called Johnny Manziel got the Heisman.

4. Alabama & The Crystal Ball

LSU should have beaten them. Georgia got five yards away from beating them. But it didn’t happen. Nick Saban’s team is fired up, and on the way to Miami to play Notre Dame for it all. Although it might be argued that Florida probably had a better resume as a one-loss team, Alabama won the title and so that’s that. Nick Saban’s program just keeps on getting better and better, and this can only be frightening for the rest of college football.

3. Les Miles Loves You!

He implores you to kiss someone on the mouth. And remember, Death Valley’s where dreams come home to die. Unless you’re, er, LSU against Alabama. Miles went through the season frustratingly, amusingly, and awesomely. Les Miles: We love you. Even if a lot of LSU fans don’t.

2. The Usual Incredible Atmosphere

Williams-Brice, South Carolina for the Georgia game. Neyland Stadium, Tennessee for the game against Florida. Death Valley, LSU for the Alabama game. The Swamp, Florida for the LSU game. The Cocktail Party. Every game at Texas A&M and it’s nutty 12th man and traditions. The SEC Championship Game. Incredible atmospheres. THIS is why we love the SEC.

1. Johnny Heisman

We would talk a lot about how wonderful Johnny Manziel is. We could talk about the mazy runs, the great arms, the leadership, the Heisman. We could talk about how he made every lineman he played against look stupid, and maybe even a little insecure. Instead, shut us up and play this link, will you?

Sometimes, it wasn’t that good: Bottom 10 SEC Moments

Don’t worry friends, we’ll get to our ‘Top SEC Moments’ this week, so you can remember fondly the great season that we’ve had a conference (unless you’re Auburn, Tennessee or Kentucky, who combined for 1 conference win between them).

But to go up, sometimes you have to start from the bottom. Here are our Bottom 10 SEC Moments (both off and on the field)….

Our song? Oh: Fun’s ‘Some Nights’….

10) The Fall of Auburn

There was nothing nice to say about Auburn football in 2012. They won no games in their conference. They came close at home to LSU, but that was about it. Otherwise, they completely and utterly stunk. Kiehl Frazier justified his ranking as the SEC’s worst quarterback, and the fans simply stopped coming along. It was tragic. Gene Chizik ran the table in the SEC in 2010-1, and then was run out of the SEC in 2012. Welcome back, Gus Malzahn.

9) Et thou, Kentucky?

We put Kentucky just above Auburn in our celebration of SEC awfulness because they should have beaten Georgia and outplayed South Carolina for a half. Otherwise, they were terrible and Joker Phillips quite rightly lost his jobs. Welcome, Mark Stoops.

8) Arkansas awfulnesss

Once ranked in the Top Ten, the Arkansas Razorbacks were meant to make a run for the SEC West title, and  possible (just possibly) a BCS spot. Knile Davis was back. Tyler Wilson was the quarterback. Cobi Hamilton was the wide receiver. This offense was going to be a lot of fun under Bobby Petrino. Unfortunately for Hog Nation, this wasn’t the only thing under Bobby Petrino. In August, Petrino was involved in a motorcycle crash….and then lied about the student assistant who he was having an affair with. He was fired, and replaced by John L. Smith. Smith provided a lot of fun for the TV cameras, but not a lot of fun on the field. Sorry John, but we can’t smile about the Razorbacks season. Maybe Bret Bielema will be doing better.

7) Zach Mettenberger

If there’s been a bigger let-down quarterback that Zach Mettenberger in the SEC, then please let us know. This tall, strong-armed quarterback was meant to bring LSU to the promised land this year, but in the first half of this year, was absolutely awful. There wasn’t another QB who could overthrow his wide receivers quite like this LSU Tiger did. At Death Valley, we hear that they nearly put warning signs on the sidelines and end-zones when LSU was driving, just in case someone was hurt by the errant throw. Funnily enough, he came good against Alabama and has been pretty good ever since, but he was still a let-down.

6) Mississippi State’s fall from grace

Mississippi State was unbeaten going into Alabama, and everyone thought: “Maybe Dan Mullen’s team won’t be overrated this year”. They were. After a 7-0 start, the Cowbellers lost four out of their last five, including getting blown out by a born-again Ole Miss. But it wasn’t just that. MSU were terrible in the losing run. My only question: How in God’s name did they get their No.11 ranking in the first place? By playing nobody??

5) The let-down that was Dorial Green-Beckham

Dorial Green-Beckham came in at Missouri as the No.1 player in the country. He was athletically brilliant – a no miss, wide receiver. He ended up with 395 yards receiving and 5 TDs, and only 28 receptions. He didn’t have one game of over 7 receptions. Criminally underused? Oh, and he was suspended for the Vanderbilt game for – you guessed it – smoking weed near the school’s stadium. Anyway, we should get a big future out of him next year (early prediction), but this year, Gary Pinkel could have used him more and helped Missouri get a bowl game. Maybe.

4) No unbeatens

On one hand, this shows the strength of the SEC, but on the other hand, it shows that no-one was good enough to run the table this year. No team was particularly amazing in the conference, but we’re pleased to see that the conference’s track record has meant Alabama in the SEC Championship. Oh, and thanks to Stanford and Baylor, too!

3) Rocky Top, Tennessee

Everything was rocky about Tennessee this year. After beating NC State at the start of the year, people started thinking: “Maybe Tennessee could be a dark horse for the SEC title this year”. They weren’t. Truth be told, this wasn’t the worst Tennessee side in recent years that Derek Dooley has coached. They came close in a lot of games, losing two by three points, one by seven points, and they led Florida. Having said that, Tyler Bray continually made bad decisions despite having an excellent offensive line, his wide receivers dropped the ball waaaay to much, and the defense quite simply gave up at the end of the year (see Blowout at Vanderbilt for details). Derek Dooley, who was hated in Neyland by many going into the season, was summarily fired. Oh, and there was the small butt-chugging incident, too, which meant one of the most hilarious denials in the history of hilarious denials. Welcome, Butch Jones…don’t bring any boxed wine.

2)  Tyrann Mathieu Honey Badgers himself

12 months ago, we were cursing ourselves because Tyrann Mathieu didn’t get the Heisman Trophy. 12 months ago, we were replaying highlight reels of Tyrann Mathieu, using the words: “Game changer”, “NFL prospect”, “Incredible”, and asking ourselves questions like: “How on earth does he do that?” Now, we’re asking the question: “How could such an incredibly athletic, game-changing NFL prospect get himself in such trouble over and over again? How on earth does he do that?” Tyrann Mathieu destroyed his own legacy at LSU. And worst of all, he destroyed himself. Here’s to hoping we see you play again, Tyrann Mathieu. But here’s to praying you don’t end up in a very bad way.


1) Marcus Lattimore’s saddening exit

Lattimore’s career should not have ended like this. No athlete’s career should have ended like this, but least of all Lattimore, who was looking to rebound after a horrific injury in 2011 took him out. The image that still haunts us is the shocked look of Lattimore’s family, and the prayers of both the South Carolina and Tennessee players. God….


SEC Football Blog’s All-SEC team

Sorry we’ve been out of touch…..we’ve been at the SEC Championship Game (did we mention that?), and running around.

Anyway, since we’ve been gone a bit, we’d like to point out a few things:

1) We’re still on the fence about whether we’re rooting for Alabama, Notre Dame, or nobody at the National Championship Game.

2) Well done to Johnny Manziel for winning the Heisman. Great for Texas A&M, and great for SEC Football to have a Heisman winner (again). However, Collin Klein probably had a better body of work, but Manziel beat Alabama. And if anyone beats Alabama, they deserve plaudits. Speaking of that, how on earth does Manti Te’o get to New York but Jadeveon Clowney and Jarvis Jones NOT get a look-in? Come on, guys!!

3) Great hires by Arkansas to get Brett Bielema, and Tennessee to get Butch Jones. Both very competent coaches. What does it say about the SEC that they can get someone with the stature of Bielema to leave the Big Ten and come join an Arkansas team that has up to now been a poor relation of LSU and Alabama (and this season almost everybody else, too!). The Butch Jones hire might not have been Charlie Strong from Louisville, but Tennessee will rebuild under Jones – and he’s done wonders at Cincinnati

Anyway, here’s our All-SEC team on both sides of the ball. Enjoy!!



Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M): I’d sit there and put up a crap load about Johnny Football’s stats, tell you how he’s almost singlehandedly put A&M in the limelight, or he took the Aggies from SEC wannabe to SEC contender or I’ll just give you two words: Johnny. Heisman. No-one can argue that one QB has done more for his program this year in the SEC – and maybe in college football. Oh, and Florida’s Jeff Driskel, Alabama’s AJ McCarron and Georgia’s Aaron Murray? Y’all had good seasons too. Auburn’s Kiehl Frazier? Not so much.


  • Todd Gurley/Keith Marshall (Georgia) – ‘Gurshall’ meant one thing: Isaiah Crowell who??
  • Eddie Lacy/TJ Yeldon (Alabama) – One guy said on Twitter: “You’ve got TJ Yeldon for two years. Good luck!” I agree. Lacy’s performance in the SEC Championship Game was something special, too.
  • Also: LSU RB pairing of Jeremy Hill/Spencer Ware, Florida’s Mike Gillislee, South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore, and Johnny Manziel were up for consideration, too. And what happened to Arkansas’ Knile Davis this season?


  • Cobi Hamilton was something special all season long. He was the bright spot in an otherwise goddawful Razorbacks season.
  • Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews was a real difference-maker for Vanderbilt too in their bowl run….
  • Also: Alabama’s Amari Cooper is going to be frightening in the future (he’s already pretty great now!), Ryan Swope at Texas A&M’s good enough to go to the NFL and be a success, and Chad Bumphis (Mississippi State) and Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss) were stand-outs in the State of Mississippi. Catch of the year still goes to LSU’s Jarvis Landry at Arkansas, though…
  • Jordan Reed (Florida) has been outstanding for the Florida Gators in their one-loss, Sugar Bowl-making season. The best TE in the SEC.
Here, we’re going to go with the best units rather than the best players. That’s because we don’t really identify one person and go “hey, he’s really amazing!!!” , when it’s the unit that gives a team success. 
  • A lot of people are going to talk up Alabama and Texas A&M‘s offensive lines, which is quite right. They were immense. But guess which offensive line gave away the least sacks in the SEC? Tennessee’s. Even though the Vols played a tough schedule, the offensive line stood firm. Which means we can blame it all on Erik Ainge and his wide receivers that couldn’t catch a darned ball!
  • DAMONTRE Moore (Texas A&M) – Second in the SEC in sacks (7), and a frightening proposal for any offensive linesman.
  • She Richardson (Missouri) – The SEC’s best defensive tackle. Had the practise, too – since Missouri rarely put a good drive together (unless they were playing Tennessee!)
  • Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina) – This man destroyed offensive lines all season long and should have been in the conversation for a Heisman. There you go.
  • Sam Montgomery (LSU) – Big Sam can take over games, and when he’s not being held (see the Alabama game for details, because it happened a lot), he’s a destructive influence. An intelligent pass-rusher, he’s got a bright NFL future.
  • Jarvis Jones (Georgia) – Playmaker? Tick. Sack Machine? Tick. Team leader? Tick. Tackling maestro? Tick. Should have been a Heisman Candidate but wasn’t? Tick. Going to make a lot of money in the NFL? Tick.
  • A.J. Johnson (Tennessee) – A lot of people would love to rule this kid out, but he led the SEC in tackles this year. By 16. In a horrible season for the Vols, Johnson stood out mightily.
  • Kevin Minter (LSU) – Minter had great game after great game for LSU, and took over the Florida game before he was hurt. And although he played on, he wasn’t the same person – and the Tigers lost in Gainesville. He might well go to the NFL this year, but  if he’s bright, he’ll wait a year and pick up some big time money in the first round of 2014.
  • We also considered Alec Ogletree (Georgia) (Let’s think about his numbers if he hadn’t been banned for four games, shall we?), Alabama’s CJ Moseley Kentucky’s Avery Williamson. Williamson lastly had a tremendously productive year for UK, despite being on a team that was permanently uncared for.
  • Dee Milliner (Alabama) – Will Milliner stay in college or will he go pro? SEC quarterbacks are hoping (and praying) for the latter.
  • Andre Hal (Vanderbilt) – A lot has been made of Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks, and we agree, he’s a great player. But Hal had 11 pass break-ups and 2 INTs this year for the Commodores. And Banks this season may have won the Jim Thorpe award for the country’s best defensive back, but as this site said, he disappeared a bit during MSU’s horrible late-season run. Hal did not. Therefore, we’re giving an All-SEC award to Hal this season, although him and Banks are pretty much interchangeable.
  • Matt Elam (Florida)  – Elam was one of the reasons why Will Muschamp was jumping so much on the sideline. He was sensational all season long. Was there a better safety in college football? Nope. Deservedly named in an AP All-American.
  • Eric Reid (LSU) – Reid is exceptionally talented. There’s no argument about that. His 62 tackles rank at the top of the SEC and he was a floating danger for any quarterback out there. Which made it so irritating when he was penalized for stupid personal foul penalties, or missed his man completely. Which rarely happened.
  • We would have put Bacarri Rambo (Georgia) in Eric Reid’s place, if he hadn’t been suspended for the first four games of the season for pot brownies. Ramob – like Reid – is going to make a lot of money in the pros.


Is the SEC really the country’s greatest conference?

I saw this article by Saturday Down South about the SEC Championship Game and how the gap between the SEC and rest of college football was widening.

I’d like to point out – even as a SEC homer – that there are some corrections to be made:

1) If you watched the ACC game, you saw tarps covering large sections of the upper deck coupled with plenty of Carolina Panther-blue empty seats throughout the stands. Most estimates put the crowd size in the 30,000-40,000 range. The Big Ten Championship attendance was reported to be around the 41,000 mark. The Pac-12 Championship Game was hosted on-campus at Stanford on a Friday night and pulled around 31,000 fans. At least the Pac-12 recognizes it can’t support a neutral site venue at this point and maintains an on-campus venue each year. – If you’d seen the weather at Stanford, you would have respected Stanford fans – not the best at going to games – for at least coming out. It was horrific. UCLA fans aren’t great travellers anyway, especially with Friday night California traffic. Why did they have the game on a Friday, anyway. Charlotte for a ACC game is a great spot – although it’s a long way to go for FSU and GT fans – especially when GT is at best weak this year and FSU’s interest in a National Title’s gone. The SEC Championship Game is in Atlanta, which is 3 hours for Bama fans and is a local game for the UGA faithful – and students. Plus, it’s in a Dome so the weather’s perfect! And the fact that it was a big-time game helped matters, too! The point about the Pac-12 and the fact that it ‘can’t support a neutral site at the moment’ is true…. Apart from USC, Pac-12 fans aren’t great travellers – although the distances are far bigger than our beloved SEC!

2) A successful conference championship game requires teams worthy of winning a championship. This is true – but 6-6 Georgia Tech and 7-5 Wisconsin WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN IN THE GAME if Miami and Ohio State hadn’t had ‘issues’ with the NCAA. And note that SDS doesn’t mention Florida State or Nebraska, who were worthy winners of their respective divisions. What does SDS expect? Not having the conference championship??

3) My buddy, a die-hard UGA and SEC fan, says this: ‘At the top, the SEC is the best conference in college football, but at the bottom, we’re Sun Belt’. Having seen Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Auburn and Tennessee prodigiously this seen, it’s hard not to agree. All four are awful. Mississippi State proved to be hugely overrated. Ole Miss might be competitive, but they might have also benefitted from a poor conference. Vanderbilt lost to Northwestern (Heeeeeey! They’re a bowl team!!). And Missouri’s so bad, it just beat Tennessee in overtime.

4) But there are parts of the article we agree on: The SEC simply has more of these elite programs than any other conference. And that’s why the SEC is the best. The SEC isn’t the best because the best team in the SEC can beat any other team in the country by 40. The SEC is the best because they have 5 or 6 teams that can handily beat or compete against every team in the country. South Carolina vs Notre Dame? Yeah, it’d probably be a good game. Florida vs Oregon? I’d love to see it. Alabama vs Kansas State? Done. You me both, SDS!!

5) And as for the bowl match-ups, I’m sorry bowl people, but we agree with ‘Saturday Down South’ – I’m not going to be watching Florida/Louisville unless I’m dating Ms Kentucky and she’s a Louisville fan… Why are fans upset about the bowl matchups? Because instead of seeing Florida take on a team like Oregon, we have to watch them take on Louisville. Instead of seeing Florida State take on a team like LSU, we have to watch them play Northern Illinois. We want powerhouse vs powerhouse. Having said that, we’re pretty happy about Alabama/Notre Dame, South Carolina/Michigan and Nebraska/Georgia. These are all going to be a lot of fun.

Stir Up The Echoes, Because We’re Facing Notre Dame: SEC Final Power Rankings

Wow. It’s all come so quickly.

After only three months, the college football season is effectively over. Yes, there’s the SEC Championship Game, bowl games and the small thing called the National Championship Game is over, but there are no more SEC night games. There are no more big stadiums with parking lots filled with people cooking gumbo, drinking bourbon, and generally having a damned good time. The pageantry is over.

We do know one thing: We are not going to see an all-SEC National Championship Game. Notre Dame saw to that, but taking care of Lane Kiffin’s USC in Los Angeles.

But the question is is: Who’s going to play the Irish – Alabama or Georgia?

Stir up the echoes, folks, because Saturday’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Anyways, here are your SEC Rankings to end the season:

1) Alabama – Because the Crimson Tide destroyed Auburn, and they are second in the country. Let’s not talk about the resume too loudly, for fear that someone from the BCS might look at their computer again (whisper).

2) Georgia – No-one’s playing better football in the country than Georgia at the moment, who thumped Georgia Tech in Good Ole Fashioned Hate on Saturday afternoon. If Georgia can work at up-tempo offense, they could have Alabama struggling on Saturday.

3) Florida – We didn’t see the Gators’ victory at Florida State coming. If opposite QBs keep giving a defense like the Gators gifts (and let’s face it, they have been doing all season long!), then expect Mike Gillislee & Co to snap it right up. Florida could also have a case for going to the National Championship ahead of Alabama or Georgia – particularly with their body of work. If Georgia loses.

4) LSU – Struggled to a win over Arkansas in the best SEC game of the week. Jarvis Landry’s catch was the highlights of the day, week, month and year. Florida not losing also assured the Tigers that they aren’t going to a BCS game this year. No Sugar, Baton Rouge.

5) Texas A&M- Is anyone flying higher than the Aggies and Johnny Manziel at the moment? Nope, didn’t think so. The biggest thing for the 12th Man could still happen…. Manziel wins a Heisman. The next thing already happened at Thanksgiving – Texas lost to TCU at home!

6)  South Carolina – The Gamecocks had a hard-fought victory over Clemson, completing a 4-0 SEC rout over the ACC. The Gamecocks weren’t brilliant, but their defense absolutely stifled the Tigers. Jadeveon Clowney made an All-American appearance, sacking Tajh Boyd four times in an incredible performance.

7) Vanderbilt – Went to Wake Forest and happily thumped the Demon Deacons. James Franklin is building a good program, but when will they beat one of the SEC big boys (we don’t count Tennessee in that equation anymore!)?

8) Ole Miss – Some people on Twitter got a little annoyed when Ole Miss fans invaded the field to celebrate the Rebels win over Mississippi State, but for us, this was great. When you beat your hated rival, you need to be able to jump on the field. Oh, and Hugh Freeze can forget about worshipping Jesus: The man IS Jesus this weekend. He’s helped to resurrect a program that this time last year, was a national joke.

9) Mississippi State – Hard to quantify how bad Dan Mullen’s side looked last night… Let’s just say that they were cowbell’d and leave it at that, shall we? But all in all, a disappointing season for State, who looked more ‘Fail’ than ‘Hail’ in this Egg Bowl match-up. Tyler Russell needs a better offensive line.

10) Missouri – They are only here because they beat Tennessee in overtime. The Tigers were slaughtered at Texas A&M on Saturday, looking as though they stopped trying during the game. Gary Pinkel’s seat may have become a little warmer.

11) Tennessee – Because they thumped Kentucky.

12) Arkansas – A hard-fought LSU loss means one thing for us: Why didn’t the Razorback team – and its defense – play like this for John L. Smith all season long?

13) Auburn – Gene Chizik should go. ‘Nuff said.

14) Kentucky – Joker Phillips has already gone. ‘Nuff said.



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