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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. 

Calm down about Kevin Sumlin, Aggies fans

The Texas A&M fanbase really, really needs to calm down about Kevin Sumlin.

Yes, the loss to UCLA was stunning, nearly equalling the biggest-ever comeback by a school (33 points instead of Michigan State’s 34-pt one against Northwestern).

But let’s get this into context: UCLA was damned lucky, too.

Here’s why:

  1. Josh Rosen had a TD that should have been Deshawn Capers-Smith’s INT, but it wasn’t. I’d say 9 times out of 10 Capers-Smith has the INT and a big return from it, but for some reason, it went through his hands and UCLA added to the TD.
  2. Second, Rosen throws the ball into a crowd of people and the UCLA WR comes up with the ball. That’s luck, folks.
  3. And finally, the refs at the game didn’t see Jordan Lasley bobble the ball for the game-tying TD. It should have been overturned and reviewed, but it wasn’t.
  4. Nick Starkel was doing a pretty fine job as A&M’s QB, going 6-13 for 62 yards. He was clever in his game management and made sure that Traevyon Williams and Keith Ford had the ball without making mistakes. Williams and Ford then absolutely routed UCLA’s defense. Now, there are arguments that Sumlin should have given the ball to his two horses for the second half too, but it seemed as though when Starkel got injured, Kellen Mond took his place and the offense changed to a more spread-like look, with Mond doing a lot more running. That’s good, because Mond was atrocious at throwing (3 for 17), but good at running (54 yards). Had Starkel continued playing, you have a feeling A&M would have run the game down UCLA’s throats, and won.

Of course, there were some hideous moments that had a lot of A&M fans cry: “What the heck?”

  1. Why weren’t the running backs used more during the second half? Williams, after scourging UCLA for 188 yards in the first half, only had 7 touches in the second. We think it was due to the ‘Mond’ thing, but we’re not quite certain.
  2. A&M changes kicker for the fourth and final FG, with Braden Mann taking over from Daniel LaCamera. Mann misses. Why? We’ll never know.
  3. A&M’s pass defense was dreadful. It really was. Especially in the second half.

But why go and scream for Sumlin’s head? Because A&M lost at UCLA, which is a Pac-12 school armed with NFL talent at quarterback and receiver? Because UCLA got lucky? Please. If A&M fails to go a bowl and finishes at the bottom of the SEC West, then let’s talk about Sumlin walking. Not after one game.

Will Alabama beat Florida State? Week 1 Predictions

OK, so it’s the start of the College Football Season proper (despite Stanford and, er, Oregon State starting things off last week) on Thursday, and to say we’re excited would be an understatement. Mostly, it’s to do with the monster battle between Alabama and Florida State, although the Michigan vs Florida game is going to be pretty awesome too.

So here’s how we think SEC teams will get on this weekend. We’ve also including some spread action if you’re into that, even if we’re not.

  1. Alabama (-7) vs Florida State: This is the game of the week and maybe the game of the college football season. Alabama will have to show everybody what they are like with a retooled defense and a new offesnive co-ordinator, while Florida State will show us what life’s like without Dalvin Cook. The key man – in my view – is going to be Alabama RB Bo Scarborough. If FSU don’t get him under control, Alabama will control the game and win this one comfortably. And that’s what we think will happen. PREDICTION: Alabama by 10. 
  2. Michigan (-4.5) vs Florida: Again a massive game to start the season, and again this pisses me off about the fact that it’s in Jerryworld instead of being a home-and-home. It would be cool to see UF going into The Big House as well as the Wolverines walk into The Swamp the year later. Well, this year both teams – with the tragic events of Houston going on down the road – are going in fairly beaten up, with Florida finally working out their quarterback just days before the start (Feleipe Franks over Malik Zaire), while Michigan has so many parts to replace (including a massive one in Jabrill Peppers). What’s also hurt Florida is the news that it’s suspended its starting running back Jordan Scarlett alongside already-sidelined Antonio Callaway. Jim McElwain must be going crazy. This should be a fun, close game. PREDICTION: Florida by 3 in a tight, fun one.
  3. Texas A&M at UCLA (-4): The fact that Texas A&M is starting the season without Myles Garrett and they have an unproven QB in Jake Hubenak adds some eyebrows to the Aggies side. Don’t get us wrong, we still think Christian Kirk is an all-world athlete, but can the Ags defense stop Josh Rosen and his exciting bunch of receivers? We think not. PREDICTION: UCLA by 7 in an go-to-the-wire game
  4. Tennessee (-3) at Georgia Tech: It’s undeniable: Tennessee’s going to be missing a lot of talent. this year. Joshua Dobbs is gone, as is RB Alvin Kamara, top WR Josh Malone, and a lot of their defense. John Kelly will be a very exciting returning RB, but other than that, we’ve got no damned idea what to expect. With Georgia Tech, they’ve just recently booted their leading rusher Dedrick Mills for ‘breaking athletic department rules’. UT won’t find walking into Georgia Tech’s stadium particularly worrying: They’ll have plenty of their own fans comin’ to Atlanta to scream Rocky Top at the top of their voice in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. But Georgia Tech may well cause them problems. This is going to be fantastic. PREDICTION: Tennessee wins by 6
  5. Georgia (-14) vs Appalachian State: Vegas seems to think something exciting’s going to happen in Athens, because the Dawgs opened as a 35-1/2 favorite and they’ve bet it down to just 14. They obviously think another Michigan 2007 game might happen. Oh, and they saw the Nicholls State debacle and they decided that UGA’s offensive line might have the same problems. OK, well here’s our argument: Georgia has an excellent young QB in Jacob Eason, two battering rams in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, and if the offensive line does its work against what will be a smaller defense, Georgia will have fun. PREDICTION: Georgia eases through, winning by 28.
  6. LSU (-16 1/2) vs BYU: We all know that this game was meant to be placed in Houston, and our thoughts are with the UH and the fans there. Sensibly, both schools didn’t argue and moved the game to New Orleans, where it’ll be essentially a home game for the Tigers. We don’t expect BYU to be able to stop any of LSU’s running posse – least of all Derrius Guice, and LSU’s defense will be far too good to let BYU have any sort of unstoppable other hand. You know, unless LSU shoot themselves in the foot – like they did against Wisconsin last year. PREDICTION: LSU wins by 21, and the Play-Off chat begins.
  7. South Carolina vs NC State (-5): Vegas has set the over/under at 52.5, which means that they think this’ll be an entertaining one. A lot of people love South Carolina’s QB Jake Bentley, and there’s a lot of hope going on with the program. The problem for NC State will be in the trenches: NC State’s got some fantastic soon-to-be NFL talent in the defensive line, featuring Bradley Chubb, Kentavius Street, B.J. Hill and Justin Jones, who had excellent seasons last year. But Carolina’s secondary better keep their eye out, because TE Jaylen Samuels is plain nasty. NC State will also have home field advantage bearing in mind this game’s being played in Dullsville (sorry Bank of America Stadium), Charlotte. PREDICTION: NC State wins by 10.
  8. Vanderbilt (-3) at Middle Tennessee: Vanderbilt finished the season pretty well with a victory over Tennessee, but we’re expected a brawl of a game in Murfreesboro, just 35 miles away. Vandy don’t bring much travelling support, so we’re expecting a full house of MTSU ready to make things difficult. If Vandy’s defense can continue to improve (head coach Derek Mason is a defensive guru), then things will be difficult for MTSU. This one will go to the wire. PREDICTION: Vandy by 3 in a classic.
  9. Kentucky (-1o) vs Southern Miss: Southern Miss is a dangerous team, and so scheduling them suddenly doesn’t look like a cupcake from the Wildcats’ point-of-view…particularly in Hattiesburg. A lot of things point to Kentucky having its hands full. PREDICTION: Kentucky wins by 4, but Southern Miss upsets Vegas. We also like the over of 57, people, as both teams don’t seem to enjoy playing much defense. 
  10. South Alabama vs Ole Miss (-23 1/2): Hugh Freeze blah blah blah…..We expect Ole Miss to blow the doors off South Alabama. If nothing else to make the point that they don’t care about no NCAA, homes. PREDICTION: Ole Miss by 42.
  11. (And onto boring game No.1:) Auburn’s a 34-1/2 point favorite against Georgia Southern. They’ll win by over 40, because Gus Malzahn will want to prove a point to the haters (blah blah blah).
  12. (Boring Game No.2): Missouri State’s visit to Missouri should see Missouri win comfortably. So much so that Vegas isn’t offering odds on the game. We think Mizzou wins by 50, and pleases our friends at the Mizzodcast, the excellent Tigers podcast.
  13. (Boring Game No.3): Mississippi State‘s 2016 opener was an embarrassment when they lost at home to South Alabama, but we don’t think it’s going to repeat itself against Charleston Southern, who is a useful FCS school (it has won the Big South twice in the last two years), but won’t keep up with the Cowbellers. Mississippi State by 38.
  14. (Boring Game No.4): We’d like to ask one massive question. Why in the Lord of Hogs’ name is Arkansas’ game against Florida A&M being played in Little Rock instead of Arkansas’ true home in Fayetteville? Arkansas will roast the Ratters by 40, and no-one’s going to care after the first quarter…

 

Alabama tops USA Today Coaches Poll

Alabama is the No.1 pick of the USA Today Coaches Poll, it has been revealed.

Ohio State, Florida State, Southern California and National Champions Clemson round out the top five.

Surprisingly, there are no more SEC teams until No.12, when LSU is selected, followed swiftly by Auburn (13th) and Georgia (15th). Florida is 16th and Tennessee is 24th.

Here is a rundown of the Top 25:

  1. Alabama
  2. OSU
  3. FSU
  4. USC
  5. Clemson
  6. Penn State
  7. Washington
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Michigan
  10. Wisconsin
  11. Oklahoma State
  12. LSU
  13. Auburn
  14. Stanford
  15. UGA
  16. Florida
  17. Louisville
  18. Miami
  19. Kansas State
  20. West Virginia
  21. South Florida
  22. Virginia Tech
  23. Texas
  24. Tennessee
  25. Utah

It has been noted that this sets up Alabama vs Florida State pretty nicely, as well as Michigan vs Florida, which would be a monster game in itself if it wasn’t for Nick Saban!

 

Who’s the worst team in the SEC? (Hint: They play in the East)

The race for the bottom of the SEC was a really difficult race, made a lot harder to work out after the frankly illogical Mississippi State victory over Texas A&M, a win that should have been celebrated by the fanbase violently clanging bells on the field. We were shocked the field at Davis-Wade Stadium wasn’t invaded after the felling of the mighty Aggies, but there we go.

But it also made us think: Who in the heck is the worst team in the SEC? So here’s our countdown from 1-14. You can probably guess No. 14. Roll Tide.

  1. Missouri (0-5 SEC, 2-7 total) – Hasn’t won a game and while they looked competitive against South Carolina, this is a bad, bad team – especially on the defense. The fanbase seems to hate new DC DeMontie Cross and the decision to recalibrate the defense, and the offense is riddled with mistakes.
  2. Vanderbilt (1-4, 4-5) – The defense is definitely doing some good things, but the offense is still terrible.
  3. South Carolina (3-4, 5-4) – Back-to-back SEC victories is suddenly exciting a fanbase about the Will Muschamp hire. We’re still not excited about the Gamecocks for 2016, although Muschamp’s 2017 class – considering how good he is a recruiter – could be something to watch.
  4. Mississippi State (2-3, 4-5) – The win over Texas A&M boosted them up the table, but you still think that things would have been different had Trevor Knight and Myles Garrett not been injured during the game.
  5. Kentucky (4-3, 5-4) – Gave Georgia the fright of its life and it’s a lot of fun to watch the Wildcats on offense. Defensively, they are a shambles.
  6. Georgia (3-4, 5-4) – Georgia’s medicore. That’s all there is to really say (They beat UNC, South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky and should have beaten Tennessee, but were slaughtered about Florida, and lost to Vanderbilt and things will probably be really ugly against Auburn)
  7. Ole Miss (1-4, 4-5) – Chad Kelly’s injury ain’t going to make things a lot easier. Defensively again this has been a trouble.
  8. Florida (4-2, 6-2) – Boatraced on the road at Arkansas. The offense hasn’t clicked for most of the season. We will see how the Gators do down the stretch against LSU and FSU. This could get nasty.
  9. Tennessee (2-3, 6-3) – The only saving grace for Tennessee this season has been the win over Florida and the taking Texas A&M to double overtime despite the injury horror show. How much they’ve rebounded from the other horror show – the debacle at South Carolina – remains to be seen. They also haven’t managed to play a 100% good game this year. Butch Jones for Coach Of The Year? Nope.
  10. Arkansas (2-3, 6-3) – The excellent performance against Florida seems to indicate things going in the right direction, although whether this is a minor blip for Bielema remains to be seen what with LSU.
  11. LSU (3-2, 5-3) – The loss at home to Alabama showed us the importance of Les Miles actually recruiting a good QB, which he failed to do every since Zach Mettenberger.
  12. Texas A&M (4-2, 7-2) – This MSU loss was a bad day at the office. With the loss of Trevor Knight for the year and Myles Garrett’s injury really not 100%, we’ll see how bad this day at the office gets.
  13. Auburn (5-1, 7-2) – Hot Seat what? Gus Malzahn for Governor!
  14. Alabama (6-0, 9-0) – Nick Saban 2020. Just saying.

Roll Tide Rolling: Week 5 SEC Rankings

What sickens us to the stomach is that we’re nearly at the HALF-WAY POINT of the College Football season, which is basically the worst thing that’s happened in 2016 since the last crappy thing that happened in 2016.

Anyway, this week, the greatest thing that happened was Georgia beating Tennessee by a Hail Mary then getting a Dobbs-Nailed Boot to the nuts via another Hail Mary, aided by dumb playcalling and stupid penalties. What a game. Elsewhere, LSU looked damned good in utterly destroying Missouri, Alabama looked good for 2.5 quarters against Kentucky, and neither Florida or Vanderbilt looked good in their game. Texas A&M is also unbeaten but it looked pretty lacklustre against South Carolina, and the Ole Miss-Memphis game was a lot of fun.

So here are your SEC rankings:

  1. Alabama (5-0): Because they seem unstoppable defensively, and when the offense clicks, it’s unstoppable as well. Mind you, they haven’t played a decent defense yet this year, have they? (Seriously, we don’t rate Ole Miss as a ‘decent defense’ anymore).
  2. Texas A&M (5-0): Great wide receivers, and an exceptional defense. Can’t wait to see The Battle Of The SEC’s Best Wide Receivers when the Aggies play Tennnesee on Saturday. College Gameday’s going to be at College Station too.
  3. Tennessee (5-0): That was a hell of a finish in Athens. This Vols team never gives up. But get this: Tennessee is still a team that seems to be only capable of playing when it’s double-digit scores down. Everyone will tell you it’s the ‘Miracle Vols’ – and maybe it is – but against Texas A&M and Alabama, their exercise of going down double digits before waking up might prove to be a problem.
  4. Ole Miss (3-2): Because the Rebels are a lot of fun to watch, and although they nearly blew a comfortable lead against Memphis, they didn’t, and The Elvis Cup was theirs. We need to have this game every year, by the way. Gosh it’s a lot of fun.
  5. Arkansas (4-1): After the loss against Texas A&M it’s hard for me to say that this team is really that good, and a win over Alcorn State is not going to change my mind about how great this Razorbacks team is. It’s really not that good. A win over Alabama would, though!
  6. LSU (3-2): 634 yards of offense. Derius Guise is a FREAK. Darrel Williams is a FREAK. More than made up for Danny Etling trying to get itself killed. LSU had energy – even if the roar from Death Valley was the one at Clemson rather than the one at Baton Rouge this Saturday night (the place wasn’t full). But still, LSU suddenly looks a scarier prospect for Florida than it did 2 weeks’ ago.
  7. Florida (4-1): I’M SORRY, LSU VS AUBURN….THE FLORIDA VS VANDERBILT IS NOW THE WORST GAME OF THE YEAR.
  8. Georgia (2-3): Georgia’s Hail Mary was a thing of beauty by Jacob Eason. The dumb penalties, the awful playcalling on the Dawgs’ own goalline and the missed tackles were a thing of first-year coaches by Kirby Smart. You hope. Mark Richt’s still unbeaten at Miami, by the way.
  9. Auburn (3-2): Smashed Louisiana-Monroe like they were meant to do. Defense again looked good, and the offense looked good against a crappy opponent. Still one of the weakest teams in the SEC West, though.
  10. Mississippi State (2-2): Had an off week. They were able to tell people how good Dak Prescott is and how they discovered him. This was a good week for the Bell Boys.
  11. Missouri (2-3): The last time I saw Mizzou get this owned was at the SEC Championship Game against Alabama a couple of seasons ago. Mizzou fans at the game didn’t seem to care…..they were too drunk. I hope that that was the case for the fans in Death Valley this weekend. I really do.
  12. Kentucky (2-3): Put up a good defensive performance for 1-1/2 quarters against Alabama before getting run all over. If Kentucky had an offensive line, they might have worried the Crimson Tide. But it didn’t, so it didn’t. UK still beat South Carolina though (that’s why it’s 12th).
  13. South Carolina (2-3): Brave, battling performance against A&M, but consistently snuffed by the Aggie defense (you’ll hear that a lot this year). Will Muschamp’s ‘D’ played pretty well, too. But they still lost to Kentucky.
  14. Vanderbilt (2-3): THE FLORIDA VS VANDERBILT WAS THE WORST GAME OF THE YEAR….AND THEY LOST IT.

 

After Les Miles: Week 4 SEC Rankings

So, Les Miles is gone after one of the worst games on earth, Tennessee’s final over its Florida hoodoo, and Ole Miss beat the living crap out of Georgia.

So here’s our rankings from 1-14 of your SEC teams. If you don’t like it, let us know at @SECblog.

  1. Alabama (4-0): The SEC thanks God for Alabama, because otherwise the conference probably wouldn’t have a team in the play-off. The Crimson Tide is the most complete team in the conference, and maybe the country.
  2. Texas A&M (4-0): A win over Arkansas in JerryWorld wasn’t so much as impressive as the huge goal-line stands. This defense is for real, folks. They could be the SEC’s surprise package this year.
  3. Tennessee (4-0): This team could be scary good…if they could actually play four straight quarters of great football. So far, we’ve seen great halves of football against Virginia Tech and Florida. That’s about it.
  4. Ole Miss (2-2): Beat the living crap out of Georgia, and is so dangerous offensively. All they need is for Chad Kelly not to shoot himself in the foot.
  5. Arkansas (3-1): Got beaten because A&M’s defense was borderline erotic. They need to do better up front, though.
  6. LSU (2-2): Les Miles is gone, and hopefully that will mean that the offense does something actually interesting. The best news of the Les Miles firing, Cam Cameron is gone too.
  7. Florida (3-1): I haven’t seen a Florida team give up like they did in the second half against Tennessee in years. That’s why they are below LSU in the pecking order.
  8. Auburn (2-2): The offense is a disaster. The defense is great.
  9. Georgia (3-1): After the Ole Miss crushing, this Georgia team really will struggle this year. The Bulldogs are lucky that the SEC East is Dawg-doo-doo. Reason why they are below Auburn? Because God help us all when these two play each other this year…
  10. Missouri (3-1): Josh Heupel’s offense may have destroyed two very bad teams, but we think Missouri might also scare the living hell out of LSU on Saturday.
  11. Mississippi State (3-1): Yeah…..This team only beat UMass by 12. Yeah…so…..Mississippi State is weak.
  12. Kentucky (2-2): This is a bad Kentucky team, but it beat South Carolina.
  13. South Carolina (2-2): This is a bad South Carolina team, but it beat Vanderbilt. And lost to Kentucky.
  14. Vanderbilt (2-2): This is a bad Vanderbilt team. A very bad Vanderbilt team.

Quick SEC Preview: The Games To Watch

There are going to be fantastic games this SEC season. Here are the top games to watch between SEC teams or involving SEC teams. Sorry, but Alabama vs USC or LSU vs Wisconsin aren’t going to be up there….

TOP NON-CONFERENCE GAMES

  1. Ole Miss vs Florida State — September 5th – Yep. That’s Monday Night Football. It’s going to be hot, humid, and the chance to see if Ole Miss can spring a surprise. There’s also a bingo to see how much ABC/ESPN say the words: “Sanctions”.
  2. Virginia Tech vs Tennessee — September 10th — Because college football in one of the best NASCAR tracks in front of 160,000 drunk people on the border of Tennessee and Virginia Tech (where Bristol, TN is situated) means just one word: FUN.
  3. Florida vs Florida State — November 26th – Because Florida could trainwreck Florida State’s chances of going to the College Football Play-Off. And maybe – just maybe – stamp their own credentials, too (if they beat Tennessee, Georgia and LSU in SEC play).
  4. Arkansas vs TCU — September 10th – Can Arkansas spring a surprise on a team that’ll be missing Treyvon Boykin?
  5. Clemson at Auburn – September 3rd – Two lightning-quick offenses with Clemson recovering from the loss of a lot of talent to the NFL in what will be an amped-up environment? Yes, we’ll take a bit of that.
  6. UCLA at Texas A&M – September 3rd – Josh Rosen (future NFL first rounder) vs Myles Garrett (Definite future NFL first rounder). We can’t wait. College Station will be noisy.
  7. LSU vs Wisconsin – September 3rd – Because both sides make liver damage seem cool.
  8. Alabama vs USC – September 3rd – It’s low on our list because we don’t think it’ll be an exciting game (Alabama will run riot, probably), but as a match-up of two college football bluebloods….YES! We hate the fact it’s in JerryWorld, though.
  9. UNC vs Georgia – September 3rd – A chance to see Jacob Eason and Kirby Smart’s first game. Don’t screw this one up, Kirby.
  10. Arkansas State vs Auburn – September 10th – Jacksonville State should have beaten Auburn last season. So why not Arkansas State this year?

TOP SEC GAMES

  1. Alabama at LSU — November 5th — This basically decides the SEC West and maybe a spot in the College Football Play-Off. Both seasons are probably going to go into this one unbeaten, which could make it a phenomenal game to watch. Gary Danielson will be at this game, so he’s sure to be annoying.
  2. Alabama at Tennessee – October 15th – Everyone feels that this is Tennessee’s best chance of turning over the Crimson Tide. Especially at Neyland Stadium, where the atmosphere will be cooking and most probably College Gameday will be on campus.
  3. Georgia at Ole Miss – September 24th – You don’t get to see these two play that often (the last time was in 2012), and the scene in Oxford will be awesome. Especially if both teams are unbeaten.
  4. LSU at Florida – October 8th – The biggest test for LSU’s play-off credentials will come in the evil known as The Swamp. It should be fun.
  5. Florida at Tennessee – September 24th – The Gators OWN the Vols, who haven’t beaten them since Philip Fulmer was in charge. This is the chance for UT to break the curse.
  6. Texas A&M vs Arkansas – September 24th – EVERY GAME BETWEEN THESE TWO ARE NUTS.
  7. Alabama vs Ole Miss – September 17th – It couldn’t happen again, could it?
  8. Tennessee vs Georgia – October 1st – UGA will be looking for revenge after last year, and this could be THE SEC East showdown.
  9. Florida vs Georgia – October 29th – This could be the case that the winner goes to Atlanta.
  10. LSU at Texas A&M  – November 24th – We can see the scenario: Les Miles is unbeaten, going into 5-6 Texas A&M and a tidy 14 point favourite. The win? LSU goes to Atlanta, and probably the Play-Off. He loses? The season ends. And….

Who’s on the 2016 SEC Hot Seat? Clue: Les Miles is one

So the SEC season is close to arriving around Labor Day weekend, and we can’t wait. No – we can’t, can’t wait. Instead of giving you the team by team analysis  – as we’ve done for the last few years – we’re going to give you a 1-14 on who’s on the SEC hot seat. If you don’t agree, tweet me on @SECblog. Please. All comments helpful and (maybe) retweeted!

Anyway, so here we go…

  1. Les Miles (LSU) – After last year when an emotional Les Miles avoided the bullet after his team stopped a three-game losing streak by beating Texas A&M in a thunderous night in Death Valley, a lot is expected for this team. If they finish 9-3 like they did last year and the offense doesn’t show up, then Miles will be shown the door – and they’ll find a pissed-off rich booster to help them do it (the school system has no cash!).
  2. Gus Malzahn (Auburn) – It doesn’t matter that the team’s only a couple of seasons removed from losing one of the best National Championship Games in history, a repeat of last year’s 7-6 season (which included ‘big’ wins over rudderless Memphis, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi State, mighty San Jose State and a squeaker against Jacksonville State) could see the fans wanting change. Of course, I would argue that those in charge made a stupid error hiring DC Kevin Steele, but then again, that’s me.
  3. Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) – The arrival of Johnny Manziel on the SEC scene, beating Alabama on the road, and Texas’ downfall made Texas A&M fans arrogant and forgetful that they’d actually suffered through years and years of middling football in the Big XII. If they continue to suck offensively – despite the excellent weapons they have – and therefore continue to lose to Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU, Sumlin’s going to find his seat warm. Very warm.
  4. Mark Stoops (Kentucky) – Seriously – what has Mark Stoops really brought to Kentucky since he came in, apart from a noisy Commonwealth stadium? This team lost to Vanderbilt, for crying out loud. Kentucky will be fed up sooner and later about the lack of a bowl game and John Calipari will take over as football coach, too. Mark our words.
  5. Dan Mullen (Mississippi State) – If Dan Mullen was married to Mississippi State, we’d be stunned why Mississippi State had hung around with Mullen for so long. Why? Mullen’s courted other teams like crazy, and it’s obvious that he’s unhappy. Oh, and his non-answers to the Jeremy Simmons debacle and has people actively WANTING him to leave Starkville, too. Maybe that will feed through to the upper echelons.
  6. Butch Jones (Tennessee) – If Tennessee chokes with the talent they are bringing back – including the SEC’s best quarterback in Josh Dobbs – then Jones is going to have a lot of explaining to do. Then again, if the allegations against him and the teams he ran are true, then Jones’ seat could be warmer than we think – especially after Baylor.
  7. Will Muschamp (South Carolina) – Will Muschamp’s a known quantity in the SEC as a head coach, and it’s not good. If they have a terrible year, Muschamp could follow Spurrier out the door almost immediately.
  8. Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss) – Yes, there’s a two-game winning streak over Alabama. Yes, it’s very exciting. But the prospect of replacing a ton of NFL talent this year plus NCAA sanctions doesn’t make 2016 a particularly exciting future for Ole Miss – despite the current love for Chad Kelly. Apparently he can do everything….which is absurd. Anyway, if Ole Miss has a poor season, the Rebels fans – who again seem to forget what a joke their program was before he arrived – will be crying out for blood.
  9. Bret Bielema (Arkansas) – He was great on SEC Media Days no doubt. But how often can Razorbacks tolerate the ‘slow start/great finish’ before they start looking for ‘great start/great finish’, plus a win over Texas A&M in Jerryworld?
  10. Kirby Smart (Georgia) – Georgia fans showed us all how stupid and restless they are by getting rid of Mark Richt. So let’s say that Georgia’s defense doesn’t show up this year, they have no offense (quite a real prospect with the lingering injuries to Nick Chubb and Sony Michel), and they lose to Tennessee, Florida, Ole Miss, and Georgia Tech. Let’s also say that the Jacob Eason, who’s the new Joe Montana is you talk to one of the bald bikers who paint the Dawg on their heads every day, is as great as the second half of the year of Grayson Lambert’s was. Georgia fans will start talking about blood. And quickly. For a town full of stoners, they sure are critical in Athens.
  11. Jim McElwain (Florida) – If the enragingly awful performance of the Citrus Bowl continues on in the 2016 season, then the Gator chomps may turn to a sea of middle fingers in the general direction of McElwain. The locals in The Swamp are like that.
  12. Greg Odom (Missouri) – If Mizzou’s offense manages to take even more of a step back than it did last year, then Odom could get booted after just a season…..and become defensive co-ordinator again. I still don’t think he really wants to be the head coach – especially following a coach like Gary Pinkel.
  13. Derek Mason (Vanderbilt) – The reason why he’s so low is that Vanderbilt fans are just happy with winning the odd SEC game, remaining competitive, and upholding academic standards. Derek Mason’s taking the team in the right direction, and he’s instantly likeable. And there haven’t been any Franklin-like problems.
  14. Nick Saban (Alabama) – Sometime, Nick Saban will retire, and the God That Replaced The Bear will be mourned in Tuscaloosa. Otherwise, he’s going nowhere so there’s no point in me saying that he’s even on a seat, let alone a hot one.

Alabama: The next RB star will be….?

Derrick Henry’s gone, Kenyan Drake’s gone, and T.J. Yeldon’s but a distant and beautiful memory for Alabama fans. The future for the next hero in Tuscaloosa is almost certain to be one or more of these things (not necessarily in this order):

  1. A Heisman + 2-3,000 yard season
  2. NFL riches
  3. A National Championship
  4. A SEC West title + Championship
  5. Worship from Alabama fans because you beat Auburn and LSU

In a bar last night I was shown a video of would-be replacement sophomore Bo Scarborough weave through multiple Michigan State defenders in the CFB Play-Off semi-final win, and it put a smile on my face to think of yet another exciting running back coming out of Tuscaloosa (via Florida).

Scarbough has been called the rising star of Alabama football, the big future, and the way people are drooling over him as a physical freak and a future Zeus, he may well be. The 6-2, 230lb dreadlocked flurry of speed is going to exhaust SEC West defenses, and I fully expect him to destroy USC’s defensive line when he plays them in JerryWorld on Opening Day. The stats have been strong in opening scrimmages, if you believe what they release in Saban Country (remember, they aren’t going to release anything remotely crappy, are they?)

And if his academics are good enough, could we possibly be talking about a possible trip to New York in 2016? It’s very possible. What’s also possible – and probable – is that Scarborough doesn’t yet have the experience to leave in 2017 for NFL riches. He played 4 games last season and put up 104 yards at an average of just over 5 yards a carry – but most of them was against mighty Charleston Southern (he went for 68).

The other guy will be Damien Harris, who is also in his second year but had a great Spring Game for the Tide. Harris is 3 inches shorter than Scarborough at 5-11 and less muscly at 215lb, and he had a great Spring Game where he had 114 yards rushing on 20 carries. Harris played second fiddle to Henry last year and still played in 12 games, had 46 carries and 157 yards. Harris’ biggest games were against mighty MTSU and THAT Charleston Southern defense, while he was basically ignored in the other games.

And there’s always B.J. Emmons, who’s a four-star freshman listed as the second best running back in the country.

Whatever happens, Alabama fans shouldn’t fear too much is going to fade away despite the departure of Henry and Drake. Plus, it looks like the country’s best offensive linesman is not going to jail after all in Cam Robinson. And knowing the forgiving nature of Tuscaloosa, Robinson won’t miss the first game of the season….

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