Vanderbilt Archives

Ole Miss, Oh Damn…..Week 3 ratings

Did Hugh Freeze’s prayers to The Man Upstairs make any difference against Alabama? Well, at the start he must have thought that the Big H was going to deliver him and the Ole Miss faithful their third straight victory against Satan’s Tide when the Rebs took a 24-3 lead…..and then they choked. Choked. Choked all the way to a 48-43 lead.

Elsewhere, Leonard Fournette didn’t look like a Heisman contender, Missouri broke its fans’ hearts by losing 28-27 at home to Georgia, the knives are coming out for Gus Malzahn, and Kentucky were taken to task by New Mexico State until the end. Oh, and Florida, Tennessee and Arkansas did what they had to do against poor opposition, although Tennessee’s victory was certainly the least impressive. And to the Commodores: That was quite a beating by Georgia Tech, wasn’t it?

So here are your rankings from 1-14 of SEC Teams after Week 3:

  1. Alabama (3-0): Everyone scored touchdowns. Fat guys, thin guys, special teams guys……The Crimson Tide weren’t great, but they are the pick of the SEC.
  2. Arkansas (3-0): Bret Bielema’s got the Razorbacks playing. They did what they should have done against a poor team.
  3. Texas A&M (3-0): I’m getting increasingly excited by this Aggies team. The defense is good, and the wide receivers are baddass…as proved in the win over Auburn.
  4. Florida (3-0): Not saying a lot after playing three pretty poor teams, but the Gators are the pick for SEC East (in that we think they are better than Tennessee and far, far better than Georgia).
  5. Tennessee (3-0): At some point either the Vols will get better or they’ll play a team who’s on their talent level…and get crucified. I’m sorry, the whole “This Tennessee team’s really goin’ slow” B.S. getting trotted out at the moment isn’t for me. Tennessee have so far underwhelmed. And I include the win at Bristol.
  6. Ole Miss (1-2): If they played crappy opposition, Ole Miss would be 3-0. FSU and Alabama was always going to be tough, but the Rebs seem to be great at delivering their fans heartbreak week after week. And Chad Kelly’s the Second Coming of Bo Wallace, in the way that he happy dovetails dumb throw and good throw in equal measure. This is a pretty good team though – as Georgia will find out next week.
  7. LSU (2-1): How could such a talented team underperform so badly? When it’s LSU, of course! Leonard Fournette coughed up two fumbles (one recovered), and really didn’t look great in the second half. Danny Etling has good moments but wasn’t great, and LSU let Mississippi State come back to a point they nearly won. Unbelievable. I’m beginning to understand why the fans want Les Miles out….
  8. Georgia (3-0): This is the worst 3-0 in the SEC, and maybe the country. Should have lost to Nicholls last week and mildly avoided the loss against Missouri, who controlled the game. Nick Chubb will not win the Heisman, and that’s less about Louisville Superman Lamar Jackson and more about the Dawgs offensive line.
  9. Auburn (1-2): Great defensive line, no offense. And when the offense stalls, the defense gets tired, and the rest is the ‘L’, which Texas A&M gave them in Jordan-Hare. The LSU/Auburn game will not be for the neutrals (unless they have to go as part of a rehab stint).
  10. Missouri (1-2): Actually, should be 2-1 after today’s game. Crushing loss but some points coming out of it.
  11. Mississippi State (1-2): This isn’t a good side, and should have been shelled by LSU. But they hung on there, and had the chance to tie, if not win.
  12. South Carolina (2-1): Beat those people predicting the upset for East Carolina, something that must have Will Muschamp smiling, but the Gamecocks still aren’t a great team.
  13. Kentucky (1-2): Scored 62 on………………….New Mexico State. Conceded 42 against………….New Mexico State. Well, at least non-SEC UK games are entertaining. Or at least will be until the Louisville game, where they’ll get killed.
  14. Vanderbilt (1-2): Sorry, Vandy’s not going to win a SEC game this year.

‘The Battle At Bristol’ leads SEC Week 2 preview

Right, there isn’t a lot in Week 2 for SEC team, unless you’re a rabid fan and you get overly-excited about Georgia dropping a ton on Nicholls State or Myles Garrett eating Prairie View A&M’s offensive line alive in College Station. We will see SEC schools run up the scores on their diminutive opponents. Sorry for not writing up a bigger preview of Alabama vs Western Kentucky, but Alabama should win by 40.

It’s not going to be pretty for a lot of visiting schools.

But there are a few games that might be interesting….

  1. Arkansas vs No. 15 TCU

Arkansas survived Louisiana Tech by a single point and TCU survived South Dakota State in 59-41 shoot-out. This game could depend on Arkansas RB Rawleigh Williams – who had nearly 100 yards against Louisana Tech – to get some good numbers, and Austin Allen will simply have to be better than he was. On TCU side, they probably don’t know what in the hell Kenny Hill’s going to be thinking – because no-one does. Any victory for a SEC school vs a  Big XII ‘powerhouse’ will be seen as a victory….particularly when the Razorbacks are 8 point underdogs.

TIP: TCU by 3. 

2. Tennessee vs Virginia Tech

I’ve actually been to Bristol Motor Speedway, and it’s one of the coolest places to watch a NASCAR race. So it shouldn’t be a lot different when Tech and Tennessee play there. The reason why it’s there is fairly simple: Virginia and Tennessee are bordered in Bristol. There’s even a shitty bar called ‘State Line’, which is going to be rammed tonight and tomorrow. Anyway, as for the game, Tennessee was awful and should have lost against Appalachian State, while Virginia Tech was poor against Liberty but  – as is the case with the Bud Foster defense – they took over and won pretty easily. This could be a bad game for the neutrals, but a wonderful spectacle.

TIP: Tennessee by 7.

3. Kentucky vs Florida

We don’t know what to quite say about Florida, because the offense showed us so little against U-Mass in the 24-7 win that it feels as though the Kentucky game is the first game of the year. Kentucky would love a Week 1 re-do too after a terrible home loss to Southern Miss when they had all the momentum and then fell to pieces. If Florida slices Kentucky like it happened in the second half, then the Gators are going to win comfortably.

TIP: Florida by 21

4. South Carolina vs Mississippi State

I wish I’d been on drugs on Thursday – it might have made the South Carolina vs Vanderbilt game all the more palatable. As for Mississippi State, I didn’t get to watch the torturous, awful loss against South Alabama. Safe to say they miss Dak Prescott, huh? Anyway, we don’t like Dan Mullen, MSU’s head coach (simply because of the fact that Mullen doesn’t like being in Starkville). This game will be uglier than sin.

TIP: South Carolina by 3. Probably 3-0. After overtime.

For the other games? Here are our ‘bold’ predictions:

  • Georgia vs Nicholls State won’t be close, and Jacob Eason will assume the right hand of The Father (or is his name Vince Dooley?)
  • As mentioned, Alabama will beat Western Kentucky by 40. Maybe more.
  • Texas A&M will beat Prairie View A&M by 50. And may pitch a shut-out.
  • Ole Miss will smash Wofford by 60, and Chad Kelly will go back to being ‘good Chad Kelly’.
  • Auburn will shell Arkansas State.
  • Vanderbilt will beat Middle Tennessee State, but only by 21 in a game close until the 4th quarter.

Last week, my predictions were terrible. So let’s forget about Week 1, shall we?

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….

The quick SEC preview: How they’ll finish

We have a job outside of the SEC Blog now, so we haven’t been able to write up a preview for each team. And going by how many of you read our previews, it’s probably a good idea we’re going to discontinue the practice.

HOWEVER, we’re going with a quick SEC preview. We’ll order the teams in the conference and tell you why they are in that order. Some might surprise you, while others you might agree with. Maybe.

SEC WEST

1. Alabama – Going to beat LSU in a super-close game, smash Ole Miss this time, and squeak by Tennessee. Go to the College Football Play-Off

2. LSU – Actually could go to the CFB Play-Off too, even without winning the division. The only loss? Alabama. Again. Which means Les Miles is back on the hot seat.

3. Texas A&M – Trevor Knight’s a steady quarterback, the defense – led by Myles Garrett – could be ‘under-the-radar’ good, and the wide receivers…oh, the wide receivers….

4. Ole Miss – Going to feel the losses of Laquon, Laremy and Robert. The off-the-field stuff doesn’t help morale either – despite the amount Hugh Freeze will rabbit on about controlling what you can control.

5. Arkansas – I’m not hugely in love with a team that’s having to replace its starting QB AND its best running back.

6. Auburn – News that Sean White taking the job as starting quarterback doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence. There will be flying tomatoes if he sucks, folks.

7. Mississippi State – Dan Mullen wants to be somewhere else, and the team knows it. That won’t play through nicely, and this might be the year it shows. Plus, Dak Prescott’s not with the team anymore, which is going to hurt.

SEC EAST

  1. Tennessee – This was a toss-up between the Vols and Georgia, but I’m going UT because of the talent at wide receiver, and the fact that UGA has a first-time coach. Battles with Tennessee, Florida and Alabama don’t make the schedule pretty.
  2. Georgia – If Nick Chubb and Sony Michel can start and stay healthy, this could be a dangerous team. And if Jacob Eason’s good, a VERY dangerous team. The revenge game against Tennessee will be a blast.
  3. Florida – The SEC (on the top of it) is interchangeable, it seems, so we’ll see how it works out. Spurrier coming is a guru could make things exciting in The Swamp. The team just has to stay out of jail.
  4. Missouri – The defence is gonna be good, folks, and the offence can’t get any worse, can it?
  5. Kentucky – Because Mark Stoops is doing some good things with the Wildcats. This won’t be a great team, though.
  6. Vanderbilt – I really, really like this defence. The offense? Notsomuch.
  7. South Carolina – This team will be a trainwreck for at least a year. Look for the scorching by Clemson to get tongues wagging in the Palmetto State over whether Will Muschamp was the right man for the damned job in the first place.

SEC Championship Game

Alabama drills Tennessee because Nick Saban didn’t like the fact that the game was so close at Neyland Stadiun and Lane Kiffin’s tired of UT fans giving him shit, so he runs up the score a little. Bo Scarborough runs wild, and books himself into the Heisman conversation.

Was Ole Miss 2013 recruiting class worth the money?

If Ole Miss is found out more guilty than imposing losses of double-digit football scholarships between 2015-18 (inclusive), then let’s be honest: This team has certainly been worth the money.

Under Hugh Freeze’s tutelage, which started in 2012 (although 2013 was the first class), Ole Miss brought in one of the greatest recruiting classes ever assembled in Rebs’ history in 2013, including DT Robert Nkemdiche, O-Lineman Laremy Tunsil, WR Laquon Treadwell, and S Tony Conner. 3 out of 4 of those assembled players went in the NFL first round, and Conner’s still in school after suffering injuries.

Saw three players not only go to the NFL, but go in the first. Treadwell grabbed the headlines for the right reasons (coming back from injury etc etc etc), while Tunsil’s gasmask and the thoughts that Nkemdiche might be out of mind were also slightly “unusual”. OK, they weren’t great.

On the field, the recruiting class that Freeze put together:

  • Owns a two-game winning stream over Alabama (the longest current winning streak over Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide).
  • Has beaten Mississippi State in back-to-back Egg Bowls.
  • Has beaten LSU 2 out of the last three games.
  • The only team they never solved in the SEC was Auburn, who has beaten them 2 out of the last 3 years (but not in 2015).
  • Finished with an continually-improving 27-12, The record improved incrementally year-on-year. And in the SEC over the course of that time, they went 14-12. The last Ole Miss coach finished with a winnning SEC record was David Cutcliffe.

And it’s not over yet. But Tunsil, Treadwell and Nkemdiche leaving are going to be massive, massive losses.

But we can say this for certain: Ole Miss definitely got what it paid for.

Roll Tide Out? Top Alabama Player Arrested

Top Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson was arrested on felony weapons charges alongside teammate Laurence “Hootie” Jones” – a safety in the early hours of Tuesday morning, adding another name to what has been a horrible offseason for Nick Saban and his Alabama program.

6-6, 325lb junior Robinson and Jones were charged with possession of a stolen firearm, as well as misdemeanour drug possession and carrying a weapon in the presence of narcotics.

The incident happened after an officer approached a car containing Robinson and Jones. There was a smell of marijuana in the car and a handgun was spotted, and after a search of the car and other gun was found, ESPN reported.

“We are aware of the situation involving Hootie Jones and Cam Robinson and are in the process of gathering facts to determine what internal action needs to be taken,” said Saban in a statement.

Shockingly for an arrest involving handguns and ‘narcotics’, the bail bond was only set at $750.

SO WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NOW?

First of all: We don’t know what the handgun was. If it was a BB Gun, then it’s better than a Magnum .44. Was that the reason why the bond was so low at $750?

Secondly: How stupid do you want to be? You’re one year for playing for many, many millions in the NFL because you’re probably the best at your position. All you had to do one off-season was sit there and play FIFA or Madden. And do nothing else. No gasmasks, no visits from girls that you no idea what age they are, nothing. Hey, maybe you could get ahead on your studies and learn to, you know, read.

Thirdly: It will be an indictment of Saban – who only recently kicked off O-Lineman Charles Baldwin – if he keeps Robinson on the program. Guns and drugs are the sort of thing that would get ANY player booted off a team, right? Listen, he’s probably NOT going to get booted, but Alabama may well be without a starting tackle for 6 games. We’re sure Saban’s language wasn’t pretty when he heard about the incident. This will affect Alabama at the start of the season. Thank God they don’t start with an evil schedule.

Fourthly (And whisper this): Better weed than a crack pipe.

 

Saban tops CBS Top 25 College Football Coaches Poll

This isn’t the most surprising news in the world, but Nick Saban’s just topped the CBS Sports Top 25 College Football Coaches Poll.

The Alabama coach beat Ohio State’s Urban Meyer to the No.1 spot, with TCU’s Gary Patterson, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio rounding out the Top 5.

Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, LSU’s Les Miles, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Stanford’s David Shaw and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh rounded out the Top 10.

 

Other SEC coaches include Auburn’s Gus Malzahn (13), Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss) (21), and Bret Bielema (Arkansas) (22).

The whole poll is here.

Alabama defensive line coach and top recruiter expected to leave

Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis is expected to leave or resign due to possible recruiting violations, the Tuscaloosa News has reported. 

Apparently Davis was being looked into not only internally but also by the NCAA into the possible transgressions. It is not known which players he was recruiting at the time that the possible transgressions took place.

If Davis left, it wouldn’t be his first departure from Alabama. Davis was hired in 2007 then left after the 2010 season for Texas, stayed 3 years in Austin and then came back in 2014, where he has been ever since.

Both Nick Saban and players have been nothing but complimentary about their coach.

When Davis departs, it could set off a college football-wide domino effect – especially as Alabama is the biggest name in college football and would be a top spot for any top recruiter or defensive line coach.

Ed Orgeron, anybody?

 

Knoxville Police called Jones about rape investigations

A report from The Tennessean seems to show that police informed Tennessee coach Butch Jones that two of his players – AJ Johnson and Michael Williams – were being investigated for the rape of a female student.

Both Johnson and Williams were later charged.

The paper said: “The players first heard the news from their Tennessee football coaches — in Johnson’s case, four hours before police showed up at the scene of the alleged crime to question him“, quoting sources.

According to the report, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch and another detective called Jones out of professional courtesy. Rausch has said that such a call in commonplace at Tennessee when there has been a potential crime involving an athlete, but has denied that such a call would tarnish an investigation — even though there are several ways in which it could do.

In this case, it gave the accused players the time to make a series of calls to each other, to potential witnesses, and to obtain lawyers, according to sources,” the paper said, adding that a representative of Knoxville Police Department called Jones at 8.40 am to alert him of the Johnson investigation. Two minutes later  – and five hours before the police arrived – Jones called Johnson.

The Tennessean added: “Rausch called Jones at 8:38 a.m. — the first of four calls between the Knoxville police chief and the head UT football coach that day. Law enforcement experts not associated with the investigation called the calls “unusual” and said they were cause for concern.”

 

Spring Game Round-Up: Florida, Auburn, South Carolina

The round-up from the first two Spring Games in the SEC are this: Florida and South Carolina seem to have their starting quarterbacks in place, and Auburn doesn’t.

GATORS CHOMPING WITH DEL RIO

Florida fans are suddenly excited that in the post-Grier and (thankfully) post-Harris world, they suddenly looked as they have a starter for 2017: Luke Del Rio. And while Del Rio is hardly a new face in college football – he walked on at Alabama, transferred to Oregon State, then transferred to Florida in 2014, where he sat out a year. He’s now a graduate, and suddenly the face of Gators football. Del Rio went 10-11 for 176 yards and 2 TDs. Sure, the defense wasn’t exactly vintage Florida, but it still made the fans in The Swamp smile.

Also making fans smile is that the Gators seem to have a good ‘un in Kyle Trask, too. The three-star freshman threw for 74 yards and looked comfortable.

NOT making fans smile was Feliepe Franks, who was much-heralded after his decision to spurn LSU to come to Gainseville. Now, it’s a bit early to start discussing transfer papers with the kid, but the fanbase was hardly in adoration of his three interception effort. That puts him at the back of the line.

AUBURN NEEDS AN OFFENSE

Listen, we know that Auburn’s got talent….on the defensive side of the ball. Bruce Feldman on the Fox Sports College Football Podcast (which is awesome, by the way), said that Auburn’s defensive front three –  led by Carl Lawson – is among the best in the nation.

But offensively, they are a struggle.

At Auburn’s A-Day it was pointed out that neither Jeremy Johnson, Sean White or new arrival Jonathan Franklin separated themselves in the scrimmage. “I’m not concerned about nobody separating themselves on a day like this,” Malzahn said in a press conference. Which might be good for Gus, but not good for Tigers fans, who – the Montgomery Advertiser noted – saw the offense have NINE three-and-outs.

Some of that was blamed at the fact that quarterbacks couldn’t be tackled, meaning that Franklin couldn’t show his considerable speed outside of the pocket. The non-tackle rule on quarterbacks also annoyed many at Oklahoma, who watched former Texas A&M QB Kyler Murray drop jaws during the Spring Game. We also think that they were disgruntled because Murray’s not going to be eligible to play until 2017, either.

SOUTH CAROLINA’S EXCITED ABOUT THEIR FRESHMEN

South Carolina fans are pretty excited about their freshmen offensive players. Quarterback Brandon McIlwain lit up the Garnet and Black Game in Columbia, throwing for 169 yards and 2 TDs. What’s also got to excite new coach Will Muschamp and Carolina fans about McIlwain – who recruited as the second-best dual-threat quarterback, according to 24-7Sports, is the fact that there were no interceptions. Devin Dingle had over 70 yards receiving on just two receptions. Bryan Edwards had two touchdowns. Suddenly, Carolina’s looking good on that side of the ball, right?

Defensively, we don’t know much about this team. We know that they were awful in 2015 at stopping people – and was the offensive contribution due to that? The writers think not. David at Garnet & Black Attack said the Defensive Line actually gives him hope for the first time in years.

The one thing we missed was Steve Spurrier, who was probably watching golf at Augusta.

 

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