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

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

So here are your SEC rankings after Week 7:

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

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

What conferences need from their teams to get in the play-off

We love college football because of the passion. We love college football because of the tailgates. We love college football because it’s the chance to see old college buddies again, cheer the team on, and have a brew or seven two. We love college football because anyone beats anyone, anytime.

But the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 don’t need parity. They need their good teams going as far as possible to give them the biggest chance to get into the country’s worst-timed play-off…..The College Football Play-Off.

So here’s what each conference will need to maximise their needs….

SEC

The SEC would be really, really happy if Alabama and Georgia met in the SEC Championship Game unbeaten. That would mean that Georgia had beaten a pretty good Auburn team, and Alabama had beaten a pretty good Auburn team. In other words, the SEC needs Auburn to beat LSU in Death Valley this weekend. Oh, and if Florida beats Texas A&M and Georgia beats them in the Cocktail Party, that’ll do too.

WHAT WOULD BE A GREAT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (FOR THE CONFERENCE)? Alabama vs Georgia 

ACC

The ACC needs Clemson to win out. It’s not going to be easy for them – particularly if they can’t keep their quarterback healthy. It would also help the ACC if South Carolina remained unbeaten from here on in (that would mean Carolina beat Georgia, which would mean they were pretty good), so they could beat them at Thanksgiving. Oh, and they also really, really need Miami to win out too, so they can beat them in the ACC Championship Game.

WHAT WOULD BE A GREAT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (FOR THE CONFERENCE)? Clemson vs Miami

BIG XII

First of all, we’d like to note that the Big-12’s probably our second favorite conference, because no-one seems to know how to play defense, and that’s fun to watch. Anyway, back to our thoughts. It’s fairly obvious: The Big-12 would love TCU to win out. If TCU can play a one-loss Oklahoma or Oklahoma State (one of them will have two losses due to Bedlam in early November) in the Big XII Championship Game, that would be handy for TCU. Oh, and Oklahoma’s win at Ohio State will look better and better if Ohio State continues to win out, which would hopefully make the Play-Off people forget that awful performance against Iowa State last week.

WHAT WOULD BE A GREAT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (FOR THE CONFERENCE)? TCU VS Oklahoma

THE PAC 12

We were thinking about this yesterday: The Pac-12 is absolutely loaded with good quarterbacks. Hell, even Arizona’s back-up QB can run! Anyway, the Pac-12 would love one both Washington and Washington State to remain unbeaten until they play each other on November 25th in Seattle, and they would love USC to remain unbeaten for the rest of the season (that would mean USC beating a pretty-darned-good Notre Dame team) so that the Washington vs USC Pac-12 Championship Game would be essentially viewing.

WHAT WOULD BE A GREAT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (FOR THE CONFERENCE)? Washington vs USC

BIG TEN

The Big Ten/Eleven/Fourteen (we give up) has four strong teams: Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin. Annoyingly for them, Ohio State lost early and Michigan lost to Michigan State, leaving Penn State and Wisconsin unbeaten. The Big Ten would love Penn State to remain unbeaten, and it would surely cement itself in a play-off position if it took out Michigan, Ohio State and then Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. Failing that, Ohio State staying unbeaten or Wisconsin’s special brand of unattractive football would be OK too. Wisconsin’s biggest game is a home clash against Michigan at Camp Randall. The Big Ten West otherwise is a joke.

WHAT WOULD BE A GREAT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (FOR THE CONFERENCE)? Penn State vs Wisconsin

 

 

Will South Carolina increase the pressure on Butch Jones? Week 7 SEC Preview

For sheer comedy value, the nation’s eyes will probably be on Neyland Stadium for the battle between South Carolina and Tennessee. It’s no secret that Butch Jones is in the place that Will Muschamp has been many times before…..Deep, deep trouble. Also, Auburn visits LSU, Texas A&M plays Florida in a match-up that could be one of the most exciting of the day, Arkansas rolls to Alabama for a brow-beating, Missouri visits Georgia, Vanderbilt goes to Ole Miss, and for a non-conference match-up you’ve always wanted to see, BYU goes to Mississippi State.

  1. South Carolina at Tennessee (-3): The intensifying chatter about the job status of Butch Jones makes this the most interesting game of the week. The Vols are already desperate, dropping starting QB Quentin Dormady for redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano, because of the fact that he’s thrown 6 INTs (and 6 TDs) and thrown just over 50%. South Carolina’s defense isn’t particularly pleasant to look at, but it can cause problems – just ask Arkansas who gave three defensive touchdowns last week. With the mood that Tennessee is in, this will be circle the wagons time. PREDICTION: Tennessee by 7.
  2. Arkansas at No.1 Alabama (-30): Speaking of pressure under head coaches, Arkansas fans are going to despise Bret Bielema as much as Alabama fans deify Nick Saban the way the team is going. And although Saban said in his press conference that the Hogs were ‘one hell of a football team’, we’re surprised that no-one in the press conference laughed. We would have done. PREDICTION: Alabama by 41. 
  3. No.10 Auburn (-7) at LSU: It should be pretty easy for Auburn to win. Simply stop the jet sweep, and make Danny Etling throw. Since Etling’s not very good, Auburn’s defense (which is very good), should shut him down. LSU’s defense is ranked 52nd in rushing defense, which means that Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway should run riot. PREDICTION: Auburn by 14, putting pressure back on Coach O and taking home victory for the first time since 1999. 
  4. Texas A&M at Florida (-2.5) : This should be fun, bearing in mind that it’s the first time the two teams have played each other since 2012 and the first time they’ve played in The Swamp since 1962 (The historical series is 2-1 Florida, btw). This year, Florida’s slightly beaten-up team has to face a Texas A&M that lost against Alabama but got a hell of a lot of plaudits. Kellen Mond is an exciting prospect (although A&M fans would probably want Kenny Hill back the way he’s playing for TCU right now), and Christian Kirk can cause damage from kick-offs as well as receptions. If Florida’s running game can’t deal with things, then that – and the injuries that seem to be piling up for the Gators – could hurt the Florida faithful. PREDICTION: Texas A&M by 7 
  5. Missouri at No.4 Georgia (-30): Georgia’s on a roll, and Missouri’s on a roll backwards. The Dawgs survived Missouri last season, but it won’t be that close this time around. Missouri simply won’t be able to stop the running back duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, who have put together over 1,000 yards and 12 TDs ALREADY, while Missouri’s offense will struggle as badly as they did against Auburn. PREDICTION: Georgia by 35.
  6. Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (-3.5): The match-up between the worst team in the SEC West and a not-particularly-great Vanderbilt team is not something ANYONE should be particularly excited about watching. We expect the stadium to struggle ot sell out, and most of the fanbase on both sides hate being there. This will be ugly….which is just how Vanderbilt would want it. PREDICTION: Vandy with the upset! Commodores by 3.  
  7. BYU at Mississippi State (-23.5): We’re sorry, but we can’t find anything nice to say about BYU’s football team this year, apart from the fact that that the Mormons I’ve met are apparently really nice people. And the way that Mississippi State’s playing, I’m struggling to say anything nice about the Bulldogs, either. The win over LSU is looking increasingly like a fluke, although against BYU Nick Fitzgerald & Co could get the season back on track. PREDICTION: Mississippi State by 28.

 

Who should go: Bret Bielema or Butch Jones?

If you had one choice of who to get rid of who would it be? Would it be Tennessee head coach Butch Jones, who seems to pour out vomit whenever he speaks or Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, who is looking increasingly inept as his team falls down the tubes?

Tennessee is currently 3-2 overall (0-2 in the SEC), while Arkansas is 2-3 overall (0-2) in the SEC. It’s the 0-4 combined record in our beloved conference that the fanbases won’t stand for.

We put out the cases for both:

THE CASE FOR BUTCH JONES

The saddest thing for Butch Jones is that he doesn’t measure up to the stars of the past for Tennessee. Before he was run out of town, Philip Fulmer delivered a National Championship in 1998, and there’s not been anyone since. Lane Kiffin waltzed out of Neyland to take the USC job after improving the team, but since then, Derek Dooley brought nothing but hatred to the table, and Jones brought a lot of confidence, but he’s only overseen one winning record in the SEC (2015), never won the SEC East, and overall he’s 14-20. And that’s in a pretty weak SEC.

Recruiting-wise, Jones had a great 2015 but 2016 and 2016 have been mediocre, to say the least. There have been a few successes coming through, but really you can’t help but think it’s been a rather large disappointment.

On the field really seems to be pissing off Tennessee fans is the inability to beat Alabama and the fact that the school has only won one in 12 against Florida (although arguably the Vols should have won this year in The Swamp). This year, the team doesn’t seem to have gone forward, getting shredded 41-0 at home to Georgia. Yes, we know that they are missing talent (QB Josh Dobbs has graduated and RB Alvin Kamara’s gone to the NFL), but this team’s gone so far back that it’s insane.

And if you think it’s a trainwreck on the field, wait until Butch opens his mouth. It becomes a bigger trainwreck off it. You see, he doesn’t seem to understand that saying “[The senior class] has won the biggest championship – that’s the championship of life”, is going to irk the fanbase. Especially when a few days after they lose to Vanderbilt. And this season, when the team’s more famous for  in-practice scraps between players than good news, Jones pours gas on the already-lit fire underneath his own ass by claiming that last week’s bye week was “the best [the team] has had in a long time” and in the same conference saying: “You don’t have to get a physical rep to get a rep. You can get a leadership rep,” then it makes things worse.

Oh, and he tried to get the fanbase as well as college football fans on his side by getting ESPN journalist Chris Low to sit with his family during the flattening by Georgia. Needless to say, it didn’t make anyone look great – particularly when his kid’s pointing out that the team makes the same gaffes over and over again.

So that’s why Tennessee should get rid of Butch Jones: He’s an oaf in front of the media, his players are fighting each other, and the team isn’t winning. And his buyout is only $6.8 million.

And if you’re going to fire Butch Jones, then go get David Cutcliffe from Duke and putting him into Knoxville. He’s already served there under Philip Fulmer, he’s loved by the fanbase, he’s an offensive god, and he’s an excellent recruiter. And if you don’t understand how good he is a coach, then check out Duke’s record before and after his arrival.

THE CASE FOR BRET BIELEMA

Bret Bielema has the greatest agent in the world in Neil Conrich: His buyout is $15.4 million – which is a hell of a lot of money. We don’t know where that ranks in terms of SEC buyouts, but we think it’s probably pretty high.

Which is strange, because it wasn’t so much ‘Bert’ who managed to piss off the college football world when he came to town after a successful time at Wisconsin, it was his wife, who apparently likes to invoke Buddhist tradition into her social media efforts. Unfortunately, karma has come to bite Mrs Bielema in the ass in a hard way – especially when his team was embarrassed by Toledo at home in 2015. And while Wisconsin has continued to from strength to strength, Bielema’s time at Arkansas has been, ahem, difficult – and his record in the SEC has been abysmal.

Bielema started out SEC life 0-13, and he got the monkey off his back, he’s gone below .500 in victories (10-11). Against Alabama and Texas A&M, he’s 0-8 to both teams combined. Otherwise, he’s 1-3 against Auburn and 1-3 against Mississippi State. The LSU rivalry is currently tied at 2-2, while he has a winning record against Ole Miss (3-1). He’s never finished above 3rd in the West.

This season, Arkansas lost to Texas A&M in a game they probably should have won, and gave up three defensive touchdowns in a 48-22 shellacking in Columbia. Although the loss to TCU is looking better and better (the Horned Frogs are still unbeaten and have accounted for Oklahoma State and West Virginia in their victories), there isn’t a lot of hope that the Razorbacks will win even one of Alabama, LSU and Auburn. You can’t help but think that if Arkansas was back in the Southwest Conference (or Big XII, as it’s known now) and the Razorbacks were consistently failing against Texas and Oklahoma then Bielema wouldn’t be in a job.

In other words: Fire Bielema, and life’s going to be a lot easier for the program. Maybe they might find a coach who doesn’t look so lost on the sidelines. And a wife who doesn’t tweet.

And if you’re going to fire Bielema, then go get Les Miles. The guy is a great recruiter, he’s good in Texas, and he’s won in the SEC before. And he’ll probably come pretty cheap bearing in mind he’s looking for a job at the moment.

SO WHO SHOULD BE FIRED FIRST? We’ll take Jones, because of his imbecilic tones with the media. He’s a Champion of Idiocy.

 

 

Bielema’s seat heats up while Sumlin’s cools: SEC Power Rankings

It’s not every day that after a team loses in the SEC that you say that you believe that a head coach has made his job safer, but the performance of Texas A&M in their loss to Alabama certainly earned a ton of plaudits for head coach Kevin Sumlin in a wild day for college football. The Aggies never stopped battling the No.1 Crimson Tide – which is more than you can say for Arkansas, who dropped nearly 50 points on the road at South Carolina (21 of those in defensive touchdowns), as the words “buyout” and “Bret Bielema” became more and more entwined. Elsewhere, LSU and Florida battled it out in an ugly slugfest, won 17-16 by the Tigers on a missed extra point by Florida’s meant-to-be infallible kicker Eddie Pineiro, Georgia whooped sliding Vanderbilt, Auburn trashed Ole Miss, and Kentucky beat Missouri in a tight one.

So here are your power rankings after Week 6:

  1. Alabama: Got everything they could handle at Texas A&M. What makes Alabama great is that they win in a frenetic atmosphere like that, where others may have crumbled. Jalen Hurts proved that he’s once again not the finished article, but the running game is frighteningly good. We can’t wait for Nick Saban’s weekly sermon.
  2. Georgia: Crushed Vanderbilt. Kirby Smart has insisted that there isn’t a quarterbacking controversy in Athens and has blamed the media for creating one, but if two people are already battling it out for the starting spot and then a recruit who just happens to be the No.1 QB in the nation pops up, 3-in-1 won’t work. You don’t have to be Einstein to work that out. Oh, and on yesterday’s game? The running game and defense are still excellent. We still don’t know a lot about the offensive line, though.
  3. Auburn: Everything’s setting up for Nov.11 when they host Georgia. When at the start of the season the Tigers couldn’t get their asses into gear, now suddenly the rear of the TigerEagle is moving at full speed. Jarrett Stidham and Gus Malzahn seem to have worked out their offense, and everyone should now get out of the way. This is the (second) most dangerous team in the SEC.
  4. Texas A&M: Kevin Sumlin deserves a hell of a lot of credit for keeping his team in the game for all four quarters. Of course, there are some fans who will want Sumlin out at the end of the season, but his teams are incredibly fun to watch. The crowd – which some describe as being Texas’ biggest cult since The Branch Davidians – is entertaining EVERY year.
  5. LSU: The Tigers’ win at Florida was gutsy, ugly and brutal. The Tigers are still making stupid mistakes in terms of penalties, but on Saturday they buckled and refused to lose. Matt Canada’s patented jet sweep using Russell Gage which they played 11 million times at The Swamp is getting a little dull. If the defense can play like this every week, then the Tigers will be fine. If Danny Etling continues to play like this, LSU fans will be celebrating the day he leaves.
  6. Florida: The good thing for Gators fans is that the SEC East will probably come down to the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, but if they can beat Georgia and the Bulldogs lose to Auburn, they’ll once again go to Atlanta. Which would be a hell of an achievement for a team who has been more ugly than one of Cinderella’s sisters so far this season.
  7. South Carolina: Comfortable in the win over Arkansas this week. Scored THREE defensive touchdowns, which was immense for the Gamecocks. Jake Bentley also contributed with throwing for 3 of his own. The Gamecocks could be a dangerous factor as the SEC East title races come to a head.
  8. Mississippi State: Yes, we know that the Cowbellers handed the ass to LSU, but if you put these two together next week, would you really expect the same result? Probably not. I’m coming to two realisations: Mississippi State team ain’t that good, and the Egg Bowl will be THAT ugly.
  9. Tennessee: The ‘Butch Jones Out’ campaign made it to Nebraska this week.
  10. Kentucky: Were perhaps a little bit lucky with the officials in Lexington against Missouri, who denied the Tigers at least a play because of their slow ball placement towards the end of the game. The Wildcats continue to win ugly, and Mark Stoops couldn’t care less.
  11. Arkansas: The voices manning the ‘Bret Bielema Out’ campaign are getting louder by the minute. Why hasn’t anyone gone to JerryWorld to plead for $12m from Jerry Jones?
  12. Ole Miss: The defense is a disaster. Oh, and the new ‘Land Shark’ mascot might be even worse than the Bear.
  13. Missouri: The battle they showed at Kentucky made me believe that things may not be as bad for Missouri as earlier expected. But they are still bad.
  14. Vanderbilt: Losing to Alabama, Florida and Georgia is not a disgrace, but when you look clueless in two out of three of the games (and you’re  meant to be emphasising DEFENSE), then you’ve definitely got issues. The showdown between the Commodores and Missouri (a battle for 14th place on this list, we feel), is a car crash we’re all (not) willing to watch.

Starting Georgia LB arrested

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Can LSU lift Ed Orgeron Out Of The Mire? Week 6 SEC Preview

It’s going to be an emotional day at The Swamp. Just a few days after the death of Tom Petty, who was from Gainesville, (but didn’t actually attend the university, preferring rock ‘n’ roll to anything more studious), there will be a tribute to the man himself after the third quarter, where the fans will sing “I won’t back down” after singing along to the band’s “We are the boys from Old Florida”.

But there’s someone it could be even more emotional for: LSU coach Ed Orgeron. After getting outplayed by Troy at home and deservedly losing at night in Tiger Stadium on Saturday, the questions are out: “Will Coach O survive this year?” There are also other questions about LSU AD Joe Alleva and whether he made a big mistake getting rid of Les Miles.

Anyway, on Saturday this is the pick of the SEC schedule, although Alabama’s visit to Texas A&M, Ole Miss’ visit to Auburn, Vanderbilt’s hosting of Georgia, Arkansas battling it out against South Carolina and, dear God, Missouri’s trip to Kentucky are also going to be played.

Oh, and besides those towards Petty and his family, a lot of thoughts will be going towards Gene Stallings – who was head coach at A&M and Alabama during his career – who is currently recovering from the heart attack he had this week.

So here are your predictions for Week 6:

  1. LSU at No.21 Florida (-2.5): This game started out with the bookies giving Florida 5 points, but now it’s 2.5 points as the bettors start feeling confident about the Tigers. We’ll be honest, we’d love to know what they’ve got to be confident about. As far we can understand, LSU is bad against both rush and pass (23rd overall while playing no-one except Mississippi State (which is looking a worse and worse loss every week), it’s missing Arden Key (OK, Key hasn’t shown up) and it’s rudderless. As bad as Florida may be looking offensively, it won’t matter against a team like LSU who has absolutely no confidence whatsoever. PREDICTION: Florida by 10. 
  2. Arkansas (-2) at South Carolina: Arkansas will probably go into this game thinking that they should have only one loss on the register (to TCU, where they were blown out), while South Carolina will be thinking: “What would life have been like if Deebo Samuel wasn’t injured?”. Anyway, this game could be a lot of fun. Arkansas QB Austin Allen and South Carolina QB Jake Bentley are both a lot of fun, but we don’t think that there will be a lot of fast-paced football out there. PREDICTION: Arkansas by 7 in a game that goes down to the wire.
  3. No.1 Alabama (-26.5) at Texas A&M: Last year Texas A&M was a 16-1/2 point underdog to Alabama, and this year it’s even bigger, with the bookies giving the Aggies 26-1/2 points. And here’s the funny thing: If you think about Texas A&M’s defense this year and Alabama’s perfection over their last two SEC games, you can’t conceivably think that there’s a way Alabama won’t put up 42 and completely strangle A&M, who haven’t exactly been impressive all season, but are still 4-1. Kyle Field’s going to be loud, fun, and…..Alabama’s going to stroll.  PREDICTION: Alabama 48, Texas A&M 14. Must be the story of Nick Saban’s ex-girlfriend that spurred the Crimson Tide players on (snore). 
  4. No.5 Georgia (-17-1/2) at Vanderbilt: If people didn’t think Georgia’s defense was for real before the Tennessee game, they do now after the 41-0 shellacking they gave the Vols. And Kirby Smart & Co will be thinking about a little bit of revenge after 2016, when they lost to the Commodores 17-16 and were embarassingly awful. In fact, the last four games have been split between the two teams 2-2. Although many believe that Georgia will use Vandy as roadkill after their performance at Neyland as well as Vandy’s home destruction by Alabama, this could be tighter than some expect. Vanderbilt’s got a pretty good defense, and Georgia hasn’t been that great at moving the ball. And if the defense doesn’t get the turnovers, this could go well into the fourth quarter. PREDICTION: Georgia wins by 10. 
  5. Ole Miss at No.5 Auburn (-22): Auburn’s defense is awesome, Auburn’s offense is clicking, and suddenly the Tigers look like the team that people said could run with Alabama this season in the SEC West. This week should be a cakewalk for the Tigers, bearing in mind their exceptional form, and the fact that they are playing a team that has no defense, and hasn’t found any offensive confidence all season long. If Shea Patterson and AJ Brown can connect more than the one time they did against Alabama, then maybe Ole Miss can score some points. Maybe. PREDICTION: Auburn by 30.
  6. Missouri at Kentucky (-9 1/2): Sometimes I don’t get the betting community. The game started out favoring Kentucky by 14-1/2, but such was the confidence in the way that Missouri has been playing this year that the Cats are now only a 9-1/2 point favorite. Have they not seen Missouri lately? Yes, we get that Kentucky was terrible against Eastern Michigan (they only squeaked by by 3), but this Missouri ‘D’ is an antidote to terrible offenses. PREDICTION: Kentucky 35, Missouri 10.

P.S. An emotional game in Vegas: San Diego State (-10) at UNLV: The whole country will be rooting for the Runnin’ Rebels to score a massive upset over San Diego State after what happened in Vegas this Saturday. We know we will. PREDICTION: UNLV makes everybody cry, winning by 7.

LSU starts to tumble: Week 5 SEC rankings

  1. Bama: 66-3 over a ‘high-power offense’. Enough said.
  2. Georgia: If your offense makes mistakes against Georgia, then the Bulldogs have enough ballhawks to make you pay. This is a really good team straight-up. We will see how they go against Florida is a few weeks….
  3. Auburn: The Missouri tune-up led to a fantastic performance against MSU, with Jarrett Stidham having a banner day. If Auburn continues in this vein, the UGA game will be unmissable.
  4. Florida: 2-0 in the SEC and although Luke Del Rio’s done for the year, this guy Feleipe Franks can play. And so can the defense, people. Sure, it’s ugly, but Florida hasn’t lost since Michigan.
  5. Texas A&M: The Aggies are starting to find someone rhythm after the pitchforks came out for Kevin Sumlin post-UCLA. They may well against after Auburn, LSU and Bama. But still….
  6. Mississippi State: Second week in a row MSU’s had its butt handed to it but 1 out of 3 against LSU and at UGA and Auburn ain’t bad. They’ll be OK.
  7. Arkansas: This might feel like a stretch, but Austin Allen’s a hell of a QB.
  8. Tennessee: Butch Jones. Hot seat.
  9. LSU:  The Ed Orgeron nightmare gets worse and worse. Bring back Les Miles!
  10. Kentucky: Just beating Eastern Michigan at home isn’t a good look.
  11. Vanderbilt: After the evisceration against Alabama, I quite expected Florida to rout Vandy. It didn’t happen. Derek Mason’s instilled some pride in the black and gold.
  12. South Carolina: Down here because they are missing Deebo Samuel.
  13. Ole Miss: Has no defense. The good news for the Rebs? Top WR AJ Brown is going to face easier defenses to face than Alabama’s.
  14. Mizzou: I’m surprised Barry Odom didn’t give a sermon about winning against Off-Week.

Can Tennessee upset Georgia? Week 5 SEC Preview

It’s Week 5 in the SEC, and suddenly the mouths are wagging about the potential of Georgia and Alabama playing each other in the SEC Championship Game in December. Guys, it’s only December, and it’s Georgia. They could shoot themselves in the foot. A place where foot-shooting could start could be Neyland Stadium, Tennessee. Also on the slate is Alabama hosting Ole Miss (which may believe won’t rival the last three classics), and the only all-ranked clash of the day between Mississippi State and Auburn. South Carolina and Texas A&M also play, as does Vanderbilt and Florida. Apart from that, Arkansas hosts New Mexico State, LSU does the same for Troy, and Kentucky hosts Eastern Michigan.

So what games fascinate us? What games bore us? Here we are with our thoughts….

  1. No.7 Georgia (-7) at Tennessee: This is a rivalry that no-one seems to mention when they talk about ‘hot SEC rivalries’, yet since 2011, no game has been seperated by more than 8 points. Tennessee’s won two games in a row (we all remember last year’s game-ending Josh Dobbs bomb to Juwan Jennings and the year before when Nick Chubb wrecked his knee at Neyland), and Georgia’s potentially in a major let-down spot after pulverising Mississippi State, and Tennessee’s abject home win against UMass. Everyone at the moment loves Georgia’s linebacking corps, but how will they cope against John Kelly, one of college football’s best running backs? Everyone thinks Georgia will walk this, but we’re not so sure. PREDICTION: Georgia wins by 3 in (another) classic.
  2. No.24 Mississippi State at No.13 Auburn (-9 1/2): Fun fact about this match-up: Mississippi State has beaten Auburn two of the last 3 years. Auburn comes into this fixture having played a ‘feel better’ game against Mizzou, where all offensive worries were cured by Missouri’s defense, which is so bad at the moment it would probably give up 40 to a middle school team. Mississippi State comes to The Plains licking their wounds after a shellacking by Georgia.  Nick Fitzgerald, who went 14-29 for 83 yards, 0 Tds and 2 INTs, and ran for 47 yards, while Aenis Williams had just 36 all-purpose yards. Now they face a defense that’s as good as Georgia’s. Ouch. PREDICTION: Auburn by 14. 
  3. Ole Miss at No.1 Alabama (-28): According to Vegas, Ole Miss is going to get absolutely shelled by an Alabama team who has just come off crushing Vanderbilt 59-0 without very much effort in the least. Having seen Ole Miss at Cal, the Rebs are going to (desperately) need Shea Patterson not to make the sort of the stupid mistakes he made in HippieWorld if they are to have any chance against Saban’s polished machine. The hope for Ole Miss fans is that top receiver AJ Brown will be back after a knee injury, and his renewed partnership with DeMarkus Lodge will stretch Alabam’s secondary, which was tested more than it probably liked against Colorado State, who threw for 247 yards and 2 TDs on it. On Alabama’s side, we expect the Tide to rush Ole Miss to death with Damien Harris, Bo Scarborough and Jalen Hurts. PREDICTION: Alabama by 24. 
  4. South Carolina at Texas A&M (-9): The fact that Deebo Samuel’s out is really hurting South Carolina. The loss at Kentucky two weeks ago, coupled by the win-that-felt-like-a-loss against Louisiana Tech (this particularly hurt me because I told anyone who would listen to take South Carolina at -8), shows how badly Jake Bentley is missing his favorite target. And despite all the anguish and hatred, Texas A&M’s 4-1 and very entertaining indeed. We love Christian Kirk, who’s an all-world player. QB Kellen Mond, who threw for over 200 yards and 2 TDs and ran for another 100, as well as a settled running attack, will be too much for Carolina. PREDICTION: Texas A&M by 17.
  5. Vanderbilt at Florida (-10): After being annihilated by Alabama at home (something we all saw coming), Vandy has got to go to The Swamp to play a Florida side who has been the epitome of scrappy over the last couple of weeks. Having said that, the Gators have won both of the scrappy games, and are looking a little better. The Gators may well start QB Luke Del Rio over Feleipe Franks after Del Rio dug that Gators out of a 13-point hole last week. The last two games of this rivalry have ended up with Florida winning 13-6 and 9-7. We should all pray for something a little more high-scoring. PREDICTION: Florida wins by 14.
  6. Troy at No.25 LSU (-20 1/2): After giving them so much love in the first two weeks of the season, LSU has been a massive letdown for us. After squeaking by Syracuse, the Tigers face Troy, where LSU will be praying a victory won’t be a result of another huge comeback a la 2008. And he 3-1 Trojans could give LSU some problems. QB Brandon Silvers has already thrown for over 1,000 yards this season (102-154, 1098 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs), and he’ll face a Tigers secondary that gave up 308 of them through the air last week. We’re not saying Troy’s going to win this one, but it’s probably going to be closer than Vegas would suggest. PREDICTION: LSU by 18, after a close first half.
  7. Eastern Michigan at Kentucky (-14 1/2): If it wasn’t for the defensive blunder of 2017, Kentucky would be unbeaten going into the match-up against Eastern Michigan. We think they are going to be a bit flat for the first couple of quarters against an Eastern Michigan side that’s been fairly miserly all season long, before finding some steam. PREDICTION: Kentucky by 17, although it’s uncomfortable in the first half
  8. New Mexico State at Arkansas (-17): Arkansas lost a very fun game against Texas A&M, and will try and regroup against a New Mexico State side who has a bit of confidence this year after smashing UTEP 41-14 last week (they had gone 1-2 in the weeks before and lost those games by a combined 9 points). Arkansas will be expected to put on the afterburners and roll NMSU. PREDICTION: Arkansas scores a bunch of points in the third quarter, and wins by 21. 

Week 4: How ’bout them Dawgs? Georgia rises in SEC Poll

So it seems that there is no stopping Alabama. Crushing Vanderbilt was hardly unexpected (although the margin of scoring was far bigger than Vegas offered before the game), but the way they looked doing it? Freakish. Out in the East, Georgia moves to No.2 on our list after an immense performance against Mississippi State, while Auburn’s stride up to No.3 was less about the win over hapless Missouri than the fact that we think they could probably beat Florida, Mississippi State and LSU if they played them tomorrow.

  1. Alabama: They are unstoppable at the moment. ‘Nuff said.
  2. Georgia: Against Mississippi State, Georgia played the perfect game. They were excellent in all facets of the ball. The biggest worry that the Dawgs have is at quarterback: Do they bring back Jacob Eason when he comes back or keep going with Jake Fromm? That’s a pretty good worry to have.
  3. Auburn: After the win-that-felt-like-a-loss against Mercer, the Tigers got an even easier game against SEC opponent…..Missouri. The resulting destruction was a confidence booster for Gus Malzahn, Jarett Stidham and the rest of the Auburn family at Faurot. We’ll see how it plays out. Right now they look the second best team in the West.
  4. Florida: Back-to-back tight victories ensure the Gators move to 2-1. The side still has offensive problems, but they keep on rebounding and keep finding a way to win. Now, will Luke Del Rio take the starter’s job? And who’s this Malik Zaire guy, anyway?
  5. Mississippi State: Pounded by Georgia at Sanford Stadium. Nick Fitzgerald looked very ordinary, Mississippi State couldn’t stop either the run or the pass, and MSU looked totally outclassed. We will see how they will rebound after the loss.
  6. LSU: An unconvincing with over Syracuse has a lot of Tigers fans worried about how they’ll cope during the season. And if they can’t stop the run game, then God help Ed Orgeron’s team against Alabama (or Auburn for that matter).
  7. Texas A&M: The win over Arkansas gets the Aggies to 3-1 and cooled the seat under which Kevin Sumlin was burning. You know who’s red hot? Christian Kirk, who’s 100-yard TD was a thing of beauty.
  8. Kentucky: A last-second loss to Florida was a combination of a defensive screw-up and the college football gods hating you. And an ability to hold a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. Mark Stoops has got this program playing well….just not that well.
  9. Ole Miss: Idle this week, and outshone many from the SEC with their performance by doing so.
  10. Tennessee: Solid victory over UMass UT…. #sarcasm
  11. Arkansas: Every screw-up from the Hogs (like this one that saw their overtime demise to A&M (at a lot of blamed of Bret Bielema), and Arkansas boosters will be warming up to helping the school buy their head coach’s contract out for $15m.
  12. South Carolina: Yeah….so beating Louisiana Tech by 1 point at home isn’t a good look.
  13. Vanderbilt: Getting crushed 59-0 will remind Vandy fans that ‘wanting Bama’ is something they might not want to say…unless they are talking ironically about the time that they went to this slaughter.
  14. Missouri: When the best player on the field every week is your punter, and your coach is imploring the world publicly to save his job, you know your program is in deep, deep crap.
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