Should Alabama fans be pleased with their new OC?

What a few months it’s been for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

After coasting (most of the way) during the regular season, the Crimson Tide destroy Florida to win the SEC Championship. Then offensive coordinator/genius Lane Kiffin leaves for the bright lights of a head coaching job at Florida Atlantic University. The Crimson Tide win their Play-Off semi-final against Washington convincingly to set up a monster clash with Clemson, who had hammered Ohio State 31-0 in its own semi-final. Lane Kiffin is told not to come to the National Championship Game. Steve Sarkasian is given the OC job for the National Championship Game. Clemson beats Alabama in the last second. Steve Sarkasian gets the OC job. Steve Sarkasian bolts for the Super Bowl-blowing Atlanta Falcons to be OC there, much to the annoyance to Bama Nation.

Nick Saban seemed to ignore all of that and still dominate the 2017 National Signing Day. We heard stories of kids that were offered scholarships by Alabama, but didn’t receive actual letters from the school, so went elsewhere. Such is the power of what’s happening down in Tuscaloosa.

Anyway, back to the offensive coordinator. There were rumors that he would join forces with offensive guru Chip Kelly, who did genius things at Oregon but not in the NFL. Instead, Saban went to his old friend Bill Belichick, and asked: “Who have you got on your coaching staff I can have?” So Belichick said to current tight ends coach Brian Daboll that he might want to go and have an interview down in the Southland. Daboll did, and now he’s the new offensive coordinator for the most demanding college football coach in the history of mankind (and that’s probably an understatement).

Daboll’s had 17 seasons in the NFL, which is fantastic longevity, and should be an excellent recruiting tool for Saban. Now he can bring someone to the party who can say to NFL players: “I know what NFL scouts are looking for! I spent 17 years in the NFL! If you come play for me, I can get you to the next level!”

For us, we can’t wait to see Daboll getting yelling at on the sideline.

 

Steve Sarkasian leaves Alabama for Falcons

Steve Sarkasian has left Alabama to be the new offensive coordinator at the Atlanta Falcons.

Sarkasian, who only took charge of Nick Saban’s offense just before the National Championship loss to Clemson, took over the Falcons role just after former OC Kyle Shanahan left to be the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

According to SB Nation, ‘the relationship between Saban and Sarkisian deteriorated amid disagreements in ‘system philosophy.’

It’s not unusual that Nick Saban should fall out with his offensive coordinators. His fall-outs with Lane Kiffin during his time at Bama are stuff of YouTube legend. What seems strange that Saban – who talks often about giving people ‘second chances’, didn’t seem too upset with Sarkasian’s decision to go to Atlanta.

‘We appreciate all Coach Sarkisian did for our program during his time here,’ Saban said. ‘He is an outstanding coach, and we wish him the best in his new role as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator. As always, when we have an opening on our staff, we will use it as an opportunity to go out and hire the best coach available.’

What’s interesting is that last month Mike Locksley was named co-offensive coordinator. He was an offensive analyst for Alabama and before that worked at Maryland.

Alabama fansite BamaHammer is already saying that Locksley’s going to be the new OC. ‘Book it’, the site says.

It seems to us that whoever the new OC at Alabama is is that they are going to have to obedient to Saban. Saban doesn’t like anyone who disagrees with him.

This could be interesting.

If Locksley doesn’t get the job, names of recently fired Oregon coaches like Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich have had their names thrown around.

Suddenly, this is the most intriguing battle of the offseason – particularly with the weapons that Alabama is bringing in from National Signing Day to help the new OC (and Saban) out.

So Who’s Going to Win The National Championship Game?

So if you follow us on Twitter (@SECBlog), you’ll know that when we asked the simple question “Would non-Alabama fans root for Alabama in the National Championship Game?”, only one or two out of 40 replies said: “Yes”. Other answers ranged from rooting for terrorist factions before Alabama, or going through the punishment Mel Gibson went through in Braveheart before rooting for the Crimson Tide.

Well, here’s the fact, Alabama haters: The Alabama Crimson Tide are unbeaten, and back in their second National Title game in a row. They’ve won over 20 games on the bounce and this year’s batch looks absolutely frightening. This year the Tide are again playing Clemson, and Vegas has made them a 6-1/2 point favorite, going upwards from an open of six after they comfortably smothered Washington 24-7 in the Peach Bowl.

Here are our Top 5 points.

1. Clemson offensive line vs Alabama defense

The starting question’s normally about the stars, but actually, the biggest question is whether Clemson’s offensive line will be able to stop Alabama’s defense. If they don’t, then we might as well call this game over because DeShaun Watson’s going to be running like DeSean Jackson….to stop himself getting killed. The big deal will be whether Clemson can stop them long enough to help the team get into easier yardage situations to collect first downs – although it’s well-noted that 3rd and 4 against Alabama is like 3rd and 14 against normal defenses. Teams have converted 13% against Bama on 3rd and 4. That’s scary. Or scary good, if you’re Jeremy Pruitt. Alabama’s defense has the stars in Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster.

2. A tale of quarterbacks

Jalen Hurts is definitely an electric runner. We know that because he has 891 rushing yards and 12 TDs. He can also throw – 2620 and 21 TDs. But because he’s a freshman, you can always count on him making mistakes, and he’s done so with regularity, throwing 9 picks this season. And against Washington, he threw one awful ball that should have been picked off by Washington safety Budda Baker.

And although Deshaun Watson’s had a great season (4,173 yards, 38 TDs), he’s actually been a bit of downgrade since 2015, at times not looking the offensive dream that ripped the Tide to shreds in the 2016 Natty. And you know what’s really gotten worse? His interceptions. He’s thrown 19 INTs (as opposed to 13 in 2015), including 4 picks in the last three games (including two against Ohio State), and the four teams NOT to pick him off in 2016 were mighty South Carolina State, Wake Forest, Syracuse and Boston College. And in the ‘monster games’ (Louisville, Florida State and Ohio State), he threw for at least two picks in each game. The good thing for him is that he had a defense to bail him out. If he screws up like this against Alabama, arguably you see one go back for a pick six, and Alabama’s offense probably ending costing the Tigers.

But as runner, Watson is still electric – he’s run for 581 yards and 8 TDs this year – but that’s nearly half of the season before. Was that ACC defenses adjusting or was that simply that he wanted to prep himself for the NFL as more of a pocket passer? We haven’t a clue.

3. Alabama’s running backs should show

Alabama’s running back coupling of Damien Harris and Bo Scarborough (as well as Hurts too) are downright scary. Scarborough’s averaging 6.6 per carry and has scored 9 TDs, while Harris has gone over the 1,000 yard mark himself. Scarborough’s been big in the last three games of the  year, rushing for a nasty 90 yards, 91 yards and 180 yards against Auburn, Florida and Washington – all three of them very reputable rushing defenses who couldn’t deal with a man mountain hammering into them. We think Scarborough gets more of the ball than Harris against Clemson. Clemson gave up 123.1 yards per game in the regular season, and the way they reduced Ohio State to just 88 rushing yards will certaintly give them confidence. But Hurts will be a worry for Clemson – they gave up 273 yards on the ground to Lemar Jackson of Louisville, and we think Hurts – with the offensive line he has – could have over 100 yards on Monday.

On Clemson’s side, it would be foolish to run at Alabama, but Wayne Gallman will try it. Gallman had 85 yards against Ohio State and 82 against Florida State, but Alabama’s a whole other beast. This could be his worst day of the year (OK, he might outdo his 36 against Pittsburgh but still).

4. Alabama’s corners and safeties had better be ready for Clemson’s receivers.

As much as has been made of Alabama’s knack of grabbing INTs, with Minkah Fitzpatrick leading the way with 6, arguably they are going to face a different beast than they’ve faced all season long – especially with a better quarterback than they’ve faced all season long – in Clemson. Mike Williams is 6-4 and has 10 TDs, Deoin Cain is 6-2 and is fast, Hunter Renfrow has great hands, and 6-5 TE Jordan Leggett’s got great hands,  as a tight end, too (although we think Leggett will spend most of his time trying to stop Watson getting killed). You can expect Watson to go long on Fitzpatrick & Co to see if he can get an advantage early on, and push him back, leaving room for Leggett and Renfro to (maybe) give Alabama problems. That said, Alabama’s linebackers have great hands, too.

5. So who’s going to win? 

Alabama will stay perfect and win by 10. But it’ll be close until midway through the fourth quarter, when Alabama will pull away.

 

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.

 

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….

Quick SEC Preview: The Players To Watch

The quick SEC Preview with the SEC Players to Watch (and we’re also going for the Top 10 outside the conference too).

SEC PLAYERS

  1. Leonard Fournette (LSU) – The best running back in college football? Stopped against Alabama last season, but put a struggling offence on his back and was phenomenal all season long. Can’t wait for how things will be this year.
  2. Nick Chubb (Georgia) – IF Chubb’s not injured, this is one of the most dangerous running backs in the SEC. Apparently he’s ready for the opener against North Carolina. We just heard a big gulp from UNC fans. 
  3. Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) – Unblockable. 11-1/2 sacks last year and 59 tackles.
  4. Josh Dobbs (Tennessee) – He’s a frightening dual-threat quarterback who progressed in leaps and bounds last season. He scared the hell out of Alabama, and if Tennessee succeeds this year, then Dobbs will be the King of Neyland.
  5. Calvin Ridley (Alabama) – The best wide receiver in the SEC. Period.
  6. Josh Reynolds (Texas A&M) – The second best wide receiver in the SEC, despite not getting the noise that Ridley got.
  7. Chad Kelly (Ole Miss) – Flourished under Hugh Freeze’s gameplans. Can’t wait for him to do the same this year.
  8. Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) – Game-changing punt returner, and if he’s given a chance to be open at receiver, he’ll punish teams.
  9. OJ Howard (Alabama) – Because he’s the best tight end in college football and he’s going to be big-time in the NFL, too.
  10. Jalen Tabor (Florida) – A really, really good cornerback. I kinda love the fact he got suspended for getting in a fight with his own teammate.

NON-SEC PLAYERS

  1. Christian McCaffery (Stanford) – Hey, we love the SEC and we still think McCaffery was screwed out of a Heisman last year. He’s incredible.
  2. DeShaun Watson (Clemson) – Took on Alabama on his own in the National Championship Game and nearly won. He’s the best quarterback in college football.
  3. Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) – We don’t like Michigan, but Peppers is incredible. He can do anything on that defensive line, and do it really, really well. A sneaky Heisman contender (if they ever give it to defensive people).
  4. J.T. Barrett (Ohio State) – Barrett’s now got the team to himself, and should thrive. The problem for him? Most of the Buckeyes he inherits were tackling bags for the really, really good dudes recruited by Urban Meyer who went to the NFL.
  5. Josh Rosen (UCLA) – Because anyone who lives in a frat house and puts a pool in his apartment deserves a heck of a lot of credit. This guy should not remain single in college.
  6. Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) – He’s like a dwarf with an unstoppable battery. He just never gives up. Which makes him (secretly) awesome.
  7. Saquon Barkley (Penn State) – You’re probably thinking: “Who in the hell is this and why are you talking about him?” But we think he’s the most under-the-radar talent in college football to date. He’s an ace running back with the speed of a cheetah. His only problem? A piss-poor offensive line.
  8. KD Cannon (Baylor) – The kid can absolutely fly, people. A really exciting talent.
  9. Adoree Jackson (USC) – A really, really good defensive back. Can’t wait to see him go head-to-head with Ridley in JerryWorld in the first game of the season.

4-star WR commits to Texas A&M

Texas A&M picked up a huge commit when four-star Clyde Chriss decided to take his talents to College Station, TX.

6ft, 170lb Chriss, from Warren Easton HS in Louisiana, was rated the 10th-best overall recruit in the state, and the top wide receiver, according to 24-7Sports.com.

He is also ranked as the 39th-best wide receiver in the USA, and 196th-best player overall.

Chriss, who had 821 yards and 9 TDs in 2014, was also offered by Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, LSU, Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Miami amongst others.

Chriss will visit College Station on January 22nd.

The player – although he hasn’t been interviewed – does not seem to be worried about the lack of a strong quarterback position as well as a new offensive co-ordinator in Noel Mazzone. Chriss had been heavily recruited by Kevin Sumlin and Jack Spavital, although the latter was fired as of January 3rd after yet another poor offensive performance in the bowl loss to Louisville. This year A&M’s offensive output was awful, if you consider how much talent there is on the field.

 

 

National Championship Game Preview: Will Alabama beat Clemson?

The final day of the college football season is always the most miserable one: Because it’s all ending until September. Sure, we at the SEC Football Blog will be writing copy on recruiting, spring games, ranking coach hires, watching as Will Muschamp goes from hero to zero to hero again after one Spring Game, Nick Saban grumbling his way through the summer, and trying to work out new ways of drinking bourbon all day during Saturdays and still writing comprehensive tweets, but it’s not the same. College Football 2015 is over.

The good news for SEC fans is that Alabama’s in the National Championship Game, and they are playing Clemson. Alabama’s favoured by seven points by Vegas.

It’s OK to be excited at the thought of the kids with Bama bangs yelling “Rammer Jammer!” in exultant victory – or even “SEC! SEC!” as they declare who the best conference is – even if the 9-2 bowl record doesn’t show that. We’ve been kicking ass and taking names this bowl season, and we want Clemson’s.

QUARTERBACK

A lot of people are talking up Deshaun Watson, who was one of the most electrifying quarterbacks in 2015 and was definitely good value in the Heisman Trophy race. He’s better than Alabama’s Jacob Coker. I know that Coker had a great game against Michigan State, but Watson can kill you with both arm and legs. Coker’s a better runner than he’s given credit for, but anyone saying that he’s up there with Watson on the front needs his head seeing to. EDGE: Clemson

RUNNING BACK

Alabama has Derrick Henry. Clemson doesn’t. EDGE (A big one): Alabama.

WIDE RECEIVER

We love Calvin Ridley, who posted up two touchdowns in the semi-final shellacking of Michigan State. But Artavis Scott (Clemson) can cause headaches for secondaries, Charone Peake and Jordan Leggett. Deon Cain would have caused even more headaches, but the idiot failed a drug test.

EDGE: SPLIT 

DEFENSE

No-one runs on Alabama. Many have tried this season, and they have all failed. AShawn Robinson, Reggie Ragland & Co are collective badasses. But give Clemson a little bit of credit – they pretty much shut down a nasty Oklahoma offense and early on in the year quietened Dalvin Cook, who’s very special. Clemson’s star DE Shaq Lawson is praying to be healthy on Saturday, and although Clemson’s pretty deep, it’s going to hurt if Lawson’s hurt.

EDGE: ALABAMA

 

OVERALL PREDICTION: Rammer Jammer. Alabama 28, Clemson 17

 

Who’s gonna be South Carolina’s head coach?

We all know who USC’s head coach is going to be. But how about the OTHER USC, which sits in Columbia, South Carolina, far away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles?

There, things have been a bit of a struggle lately. And by ‘bit’, I mean ‘a lot’. To go with an horrific remnant of a hurricane that flooded the city for days, Steve Spurrier decided that head coaching wasn’t his thing anymore and promptly left mid-season. Oh, and at the end of the season, South Carolina had the ignominy of losing to The Citadel and Clemson in back-to-back weeks.

So who are the head coaching favourites for the South Carolina job?

  1. Lincoln Reily — Apparently the Gamecocks are very interested in Oklahoma OC Lincoln Riley – who’s done such as an excellent offensive job with the Sooners this year, taking them to a College Football Play-Off. He will bring with him a hell of an offensive mind – something that the South Carolina could dearly do with.
  2. Larry Fedora – Fedora’s offensive genius is doing wonders at North Carolina, and with the prospect of academic sanctions on the horizon for the North Carolina athletic system, you can see Fedora make the ACC Championship and a 11-2 season his crowning moment before leaving for a bigger challenge down South.
  3. Dan Mullen – Would be a blockbuster hire for South Carolina, particularly as it’s pretty well known that Mullen’s going to leave CowbellLand now that his four-year love affair with Dak Prescott is over and he’ll have to rebuild. Mullen’s an excellent offensive mind and was responsible for MSU’s rise from joke status to status over the last couple of years.
  4. Jeremy Pruitt – The Georgia defensive co-ordinator is apparently ‘highly interested’  in the South Carolina job. He’s been pretty good for Georgia since Todd Grantham left….if you forget the Alabama and Florida games. He’s also an excellent recruiter.
  5. Kirby Smart – Despite the news that Georgia was on the verge of signing with Smart, Carolina is still actively pursuing the Alabama DC. Expect fireworks in Carolina and Georgia if he ponies up more money.
  6. Shawn Elliott – Let’s not forget that the Gamecocks actually played a hell of a lot better with Elliott as head coach. But he still went 1-5. He’s a long shot.
  7. Will Muschamp – Probably wants another chance at head coaching after the debacle at Florida, but would anyone want to take a chance on him?

SEC Preview 2015: Can Connor Mitch solve Cocks Problems?

With Jadeveon Clowney moving off to the NFL, the South Carolina Gamecocks had a poor 2014, finishing 7-5 and 3-5 in the SEC, which including a blow-out losses to Texas A&M and Clemson, and getting outclassed by Kentucky. They beat Georgia in a rainstorm and squeaked by Florida, but overall, this wasn’t a great year for the Gamecocks.

WE NOW KNOW THE QB

Connor Mitch was named the quarterback of the South Carolina Gamecocks on Tuesday, much to the relief of many fans who we guess were beginning to question whether Steve Spurrier had decided to go for golf instead of a big decision.

Anyway, HBC named redshirt sophomore Mitch, who is seen as a pro-style quarterback, was a four-star recruit that Spurrier raided from North Carolina, ahead of Perry Orth, Michael Scarnecchia (thank God he wasn’t named QB – it would have been an editing nightmare!), and Lorenzo Nunez.

Losing AJ Cann and Corey Robinson to the NFL isn’t going to make his life easier, but the return of Brandon Shell and Mike Matulis and Cody Waldrop will help.

HANGING OUT WITH MR COOPER

South Carolina has the best WR in the SEC – and maybe college football – and his name’s Pharoh Cooper. Cooper had 1,136 yards receiving and 9 TDs, and ran for 200 yards and 2 TDs. That’s pretty good. Considering the SEC’s not stacked with great secondaries (apart from Florida’s, thanks to Vernon Hargreaves Jr), we could see an even bigger year from him.

NOW, ABOUT THE RUNNING GAME…

The SEC’s going to be based on strong runners this year, and it’s a good job South Carolina’s got a pretty pair running for them, too in Brandon Wilds and David Williams. Both are good RBs and should be good battering rams, following on from the careers of Marcus Lattimore and – more recently – Mike Davis. Wilds ran for a tidy 570 in ’14.

DEFENSIVELY….CAN IT GET ANY WORSE?

At times last year, the Gamecocks’ defense was shipping more water than the Titanic post-iceberg. It was embarrassing to watch – even for a neutral like us. Lorenzo Ward was so bad at running his own defense that Spurrier hired Jon Hoke as joint DC. Why Ward wasn’t fired outright after a year when South Carolina’s defense gave up 432.7 per game average – bad for 92nd in the country – we will never know.

Well, according to our friends at Saturday Edge, Kevin Sumlin and Steve Spurrier but a bet on who’s defensive unit will show bigger improvement (they were both sub-90th in yards given up). SE noted that they can see see Hoke’s unit showing “significant improvements” – helped by the unit returning eight starters. It had better. For both of their sakes.

SCHEDULE….

SOUTH CAROLINA 2015 SCHEDULE

This schedule is ****ing evil. Going to Georgia, Missouri, Texas A&M and a rising Tennessee and facing heavyweights LSU Clemson sends shivers down the spine of the Good Ship Spurrier, me hearties.

Sep. 3 – North Carolina (in Charlotte)
Sep. 12 – Kentucky
Sep. 19 – at Georgia
Sep. 26 – UCF
Oct. 3 – at Missouri
Oct. 10 – Louisiana State
Oct. 17 – Vanderbilt
Oct. 31 – at Texas A&M
Nov. 7 – at Tennessee
Nov. 14 – Florida
Nov. 21 – The Citadel
Nov. 28 – Clemson 

A quick prediction: The Gamecocks will start the season 2-0 with wins over North Carolina and Kentucky, before losing at Georgia. They’ll bounce back to beat UCF, then lose at Missouri in a close one, before hosting LSU. The LSU game will be quite the party, but they’ll lose because Les Miles is, er, Les Miles. The Cocks will cruise to victory against Vandy, before losing at Texas A&M in a great one. Spurrier will then be humbled by seeing his team lose at Tennessee in a rocking Neyland Stadium, full of hatred for, before rebounding to beat Florida. They’ll smash The Citadel before losing to Clemson at home in a classic.

SIX-WIN STEVE!!! Spurrier leads his team to 6-6, which is hardly surprising with an inexperienced QB and an evil schedule.

 

 

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