Mississippi State gives Mullen monster extension

Mississippi State deserves a round of applause: They showed loyalty to a man who has shown absolutely no loyalty to them over the last few years….their head coach, Dan Mullen.

In the new deal, Mullen will receive $4.5 million per season for the next four years, starting this season.

Listen, we GET there are good things about Mullen. He started in 2009 and hasn’t left. During his tenure, his record has been nothing short of phenomenal – especially for a poor team, where he’s been bowl eligible for the last seven straight years and gone 5-2 in bowls. He has a 5-3 record in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss, and took the Cowbellers to phenomenal heights in the 2014 season.

He’s proved to be a bit of a ‘quarterback whisperer’ at the highest level, with Dak Prescott and now Nick Fitzgerald doing great things. Prescott himself has gone on to drop jaws at NFL level, which can’t have done Mullen’s credibility any damage. And his response to press questions about Fitzgerald in the aftermath of the last Ole Miss win was hilarious.

But I’ve got a problem. Where there seems to be a big job on the loose,  Dan Mullen seems to have no loyalty to the Land of Cowbell in the least. He’s been continually rumored for other jobs since taking over in Starkville, and he actually interviewed for the Miami (FL) job in 2015 before it was given to Mark Richt. Florida (2013) and Oregon (2017) were also thoughts. And although Mullen’s said that he’s happy where he is, the hiring of Jimmy Sexton – who is also the agent of a certain Nick Saban, who hasn’t shown any loyalty of his own in the least to programs – in October – doesn’t seem to indicate that.

I just can’t help thinking that the cowbell will toll for Mississippi State in this relationship. Then again, I might be wrong.

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

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

Anyway, so here we go…

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

Why did Mississippi State enroll a woman abuser?

I’m sorry if you don’t like harsh headlines, but this is a fact: Mississippi State today enrolled a person who abused a woman on its team.

Today, the school allowed defensive end Jeffrey Simmons onto campus despite Simmons’ arrest in March for striking a woman while she was on the ground during a fight.

Simmons made no effort to break up the woman-on-woman fight, but instead launched himself into it with both fists flying. He was arrested and booked for simple assault. Apparently in the land of Mississippi, that’s OK, because it was only a misdemeanour – despite Simmons’ obvious size advantage AND the woman was lying on the ground. He then ran away, which is neither here nor there. The damage was done. After he had finished, the woman was lying there, wondering what in the hell happened to her, and no-one was helping her up. Yes, we know that the woman was in a brawl with another woman, but Simmons could have split up the fight – easily. Instead, he took sides and went UFC on her.

WHY DID MULLEN ALLOWS SIMMONS TO COME TO CAMPUS?

The reason why Dan Mullen let Jeffrey Simmons come to Starkville was simple: Simmons is a five-star defensive end – the top player in the state – and Mississippi State wasn’t certain that other SEC schools (and he’d been recruited hard by Ole Miss and Alabama, and offered by Tennessee, Auburn, LSU and Vanderbilt) wouldn’t have snapped him up in a heartbeat. That’s because SEC head coaches – and it’s shown to be them particularly – really believe in second chances, especially for those guys who might really, really, help their program.

There’s a ‘serious misconduct’ rule that stops one player within the SEC transferring to another, but when the kid hasn’t stepped foot on campus, that rule becomes open to interpretation. And you KNOW SEC schools – and a bunch of other schools away the conference – would have found a way to try and get round it (although we can safely say not Miami, Penn State or Baylor).

The amusing thing was Mullen telling Simmons that he would be suspended for Mississippi State’s MASSIVE SET YOUR ESPN NOW BECAUSE THIS ONE’S BIGGER THAN ANY GAME YOU’LL SEE ON TV THAT WEEKEND game against mighty, mighty FCS South Alabama, who finished 5-7 last year. What then amused us was the school admitting Simmons “under conditions”, which include counselling, anger management classes, and a “No second chances” rule. With the final one, we expect that’ll happen unless he turns out to be really, really good.

WHAT WE THINK HAPPENED?

What we think happened is that there was some serious lobbying from Simmons’ family, church and high school all saying the same thing: “That was sooooo out of character. I can’t believe he did that.” We know nothing about Simmons, or his past history, so we’re inclined to believe that unless facts come out about his high school days that are different. Mississippi State then realized that Simmons really was a special kid and offered him the chance to play for the team.

WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED?

Apart from Mississippi Police charging him with serious assault and slinging him in jail (which really should have happened), Mullen should have taken the higher ground and decided not to take Simmons. And then the SEC should have stepped in and stopped Simmons coming to any other SEC school’s campus. And maybe he would have had to play in a community college for a year or two, or maybe he would have had to play for a much-lower rung team, but at least he would have learned that beating the crap out of women IS NOT THE WAY TO GO.

Because as it stands now, Mississippi State’s just sending the message: “We don’t give two craps whether you beat the crap out of  a woman. If you’re a five-star recruit, we got a cowbell waitin’ for ya!”

 

 

Atmosphere “horrible” in South Carolina coach chase

A South Carolina source close to the SEC Football Blog said that the atmosphere in Columbia has “been horrible” around the school’s coaching search. S

South Carolina’s top target was Houston head coach Tom Herman, but a big pay rise has meant he will stay in place. They also wanted Georgia defensive co-ordinator Jeremy Pruitt, although some boosters are unsure about him thanks to his adventures with the Bulldogs coaching staff, where he apparently caused a lot of disharmony.

The chase for the South Carolina head coach job hotted up on Friday as rumors began to swirl that Auburn defensive co-ordinator Will Muschamp was close to being appointed to the role.

Muschamp is reported to be supported by former head coach Steve Spurrier, who – according to the report from SB Nation – has “recommended Muschamp to South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner and has assisted Muschamp’s efforts to contact coaches affiliated with the Gamecock program, as well as key boosters.

The source did not understand the school’s move.

SI.com has also reported USF head coach Willie Taggart has interviewed for the job. Taggart will be a great offensive selection – his Bulls side winning six out of the last seven games after starting the season 1-3, and have put up 44 and 65 points in the last two games – the former on Temple’s defense, which was meant to be pretty vaunted.

Also interviewed was Cal head coach Sonny Dykes, who led Cal to a bowl game this year. He’s also credited with the excellent quarterbacking of Jared Goff, who is thought by many to be the No.1 QB taken in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen has interviewed for the job – as has interim head coach Shawn Elliott, who took over from Spurrier after the Head Ball Coach resigned mid-season. Fox Sports has said Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez is expected to interview, as is Greg Schiano and Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley.

 

 

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?

Dan Mullen’s getting close to leaving Mississippi State

If you believe the news, Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen is talking to Miami about the head coaching job in Coral Gables.

The connection for Mullen and Miami isn’t a particularly difficult one. Mullen was the offensive co-ordinator and quarterbacks coach at Florida between 2005 and 2008, and is know as one of the better quarterback coaches in the game.

Under Mullen’s leadership at Mississippi State, Dak Prescott became one of the best quarterbacks in college football in 2014 and 2015, and Mullen’s team also managed to get to No.1 in the polls in the regular season for the first time in the school’s history last year.

Mississippi State had a 54-35 record with Mullen, who is currently God in The Land Of The Cowbell.

But it’s getting obvious that Mullen’s looking for a better opportunity, and with openings available from Athens to Charlottesville to Miami opening up, the opportunities are there for the former Florida man to be well paid once this off-season is over.

So why would he be leaving? It’s pretty easy. Miami and the State of Florida are two of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the nation, and is one of the biggest names in college football – far bigger than Mississippi State. You can also expect Miami – one of the wealthier private schools in the nation – to be able to stump up around $5m – more than the current $4.2m he’s being paid by MSU.

And will Dan Mullen leave? Well, now with the graduation of Dak Prescott, Mullen’s going to have to rebuild again. MSU’s currently 18th on the 24-7 recruiting ranks – good for 8th in the SEC. Nick Fitzgerald and Elijah Staley would be battling it out for the starting QBs job on the team, which loses six starting seniors and could lose as many as 10 starting juniors (although that’s unlikely).

In Miami, Mullen might have to rebuild again, but he’ll be able to rebuild quicker – especially with the talent at his hands in South Beach.

 

Alabama Rising, Florida flying – Week 5 SEC Rankings

Week 5 of the season came and went with these feelings about the SEC: The Swamp was titinus-causingly loud. And Florida is good. Or Ole Miss was overrated. Alabama playing at their best will be unbeatable. Or Georgia was overrated. Auburn fans toilet-papered Toomer’s Corner out of relief. Les Miles has got to get his team’s head together against lower opponents. Maty Mauk may have started his last game for Missouri. South Carolina is awful. Kentucky is overrated. Texas A&M is good. Mississippi State’s run game is bad. Kyle Field is loud.Vanderbilt scored a nice upset win. Over MTSU. The weather was horrible in most parts of the SEC this week. Prayers to Columbia, SEC, where it’s flooding at the time of writing. 

Anyway, here’s your rankings after Week 5.

  1. Alabama (2): They came, they saw, they conquered. Brutal weather conditions meant nothing to Saban, who’s defense took advantage of Georgia having no vertical passing threat whatsoever. The Tide played near-enough a perfect game. If they play like this, they will win the College Football Play-Off. With some ease. And Saban was actually happy. Beware, SEC folks, when Nick Saban is happy. 
  2. Texas A&M (3): Defense stood up nicely against Mississippi State, and the offense did what it needed to do against a better-than-advertised Cowbeller team. We still love Christian Kirk, and we’re already eyeballing the Alabama game.
  3. Florida (6): The Swamp and the Gators fans that lived in it were a loud, drunken, rageful-turned-delirious frenzy on Saturday night. The refs couldn’t hear themselves think. Even watching on TV, nor could we. From the first whistle, it was obvious that blood was sensed. By the end, Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze were crucified at the altar of The Gator. Florida was great in almost all passages of play, and unlike the orange unis, were great to watch. This Gators team is good, folks.
  4. Ole Miss (1): The Rebels’ destruction at Ole Miss proved that if you’re not playing Fresno State, then maybe your offense isn’t that good after all. And it shouldn’t have been too much surprise that the defense was at times shredded in the second half….that’ll happen with a bunch of 3 or 6-and-outs.
  5. LSU (5): “LSU’s great because it has Leonard Fournette” seems to be the line that ESPN and all the other guys trot out. Yes, Fournette may have had a 200-yard game, but the defense and a lot of the quarterback play is pretty ugly. The worst part? Les Miles cannot seem to get his team psyched up for crappy teams. This has now happened for two weeks’ straight. Against the likes of Alabama, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Florida, can LSU get psyched up for the good ones? I just don’t know.
  6. Georgia (4): After their shellacking in the rain, Georgia fans can lie there with their hangovers, comforted that at least the Alabama loss wasn’t a divisional loss. They can also worry that in-division Florida’s suddenly looking a lot better than they are. Another thing that Georgia fans are annoyed about: Abandoning the running game too early. In Brian Schottenheimer/Mark Richt’s defense, every 3-and-out seemed to be leading to points for Alabama. They had to do something.
  7. Mississippi State (7): Losing at Kyle Field isn’t something to hate your team about, but going 14-0 down quickly and having an offense that’s not good trying to dig yourself out of that hole probably is. If Manny Diaz’ defense can play two halves and Mississippi State can get something going on offense, this will be one of the SEC’s toughest outs this year.
  8. Arkansas (10): Alex Collins is a beast, and again proved that against Tennessee. The 24-20 win – especially the final drive – was an exhibition of run-down-your-throat offense, with no stupid penalties given away. Brandon Allen looked serviceable.
  9. Kentucky (10): Kentucky’s risin’ and Tennessee’s fallin’. Kentucky was lucky to win on Saturday. Against Eastern Kentucky.
  10. Missouri (11): Mizzou’s got a quarterback in Drew Lock, who went 21/28 for 136 yards and 2 TDs against South Carolina. The defense had 3 picks. They were a lot better against this crappy opponent than they were, say, against UConn. Mind you, that’s hardly a high standard.
  11. Tennessee (8): On the surface of it losing 24-20 at home to Arkansas is simply another heartbreaking loss. But when the offensive co-ordinators seem to have no clue as to what they are doing, and the wide receivers don’t seem to be allowed to catch – or even try – for a deep ball (and the Razorbacks’ secondary was hardly special going in), all you can think is: “This team’s got problems.”
  12. Auburn (13): Peyton Barber might have gotten five touchdowns, and the defense might have gotten four turnovers, but ‘D’ still gave up 406 yards. I’m sorry, but I don’t think future SEC opponents give the ball up four times to Auburn this season. And I don’t think Peyton Barber scores 5 TDs against future SEC opponents either.
  13. Vanderbilt (14): THE COMMODORES ARE OFF THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST!! An ‘upset’ win over MTSU will do that for  you. And the defense is looking much improved, even if the offfense is, er, poor.
  14. South Carolina (12): South. Carolina. Is. Awful. And the cry for Steve Spurrier to retire are getting even louder.

 

Mississippi State 2015 Preview: Dak Attack!

Last season was a stunning one for Mississippi State. They went to No.1 in the polls. They beat LSU on the road for the first time in their history. They had their second 10-win season in their history. Their QB, Dak Prescott, was a Heisman contender. OK, so underestimating the Bulldogs was our mistake, Starkville.

OFF-SEASON

Dak Prescott had an awful Spring Break when he was blindsided by some douchebag in Panama Beach. He didn’t press assault charges, which is a shame. He should have done.

Coaching-wise, Dan Mullen lost defensive co-ordinator Geoff Collins to Florida, and replied by bringing in Manny Diaz as his DC, who did a terrible job at Texas where he was DC there. Seriously, the Texas players were awful tacklers under his regime.

IN DAK WE TRUST

Dak Prescott was exceptional for the Bulldogs in 2014, throwing for 3,449 yards and 27 TDs and only 11 INTs. He also ran the ball for a career-high 986 yards and 14 TDs….and even caught two receptions (one of them for a TD!). He’s going to provide the nucleus for this offense this year, which should hardly be surprising for anybody.

More pressure is going to be piled upon him because of the departure of RB Josh Robinson, especially with the under-experienced Ashton Shumpert. Aeris Williams and Dontavius Lee will provide the back-ups.

Prescott’s biggest target will be De’Runnya Wilson, who – despite his awesome name – is actually a WR. The 6-5, 215lb player caught for 680 yards and 9 TDs in 2015. He’ll be a difficult match-up for most secondaries….if he stays clean. He was arrested on drug charges in March, which wasn’t his brightest move. Fred Brown and Fred Ross will provide depth.

OFFENSIVE LINE? GULP

It has been noted that MSU has to replace  THREE offensive linesman from the successful corps that shone out last year. ESPN put it simply: “The heart of that line — Ben Beckwith, Blaine Clausell and Dillon Day — is gone.” A lot will be expected of Justin Senior and Justin Malone, as well as three other replacements.

With this, I’m not sure that Prescott’s going to repeat his banner year of 2015. Sorry.

DEFENSE!

In their SEC season preview, SaturdayEdge notes that MSU “had the worst pass defense in the SEC a year ago, and three starters are gone from the defensive backfield”. Kivon Coman and Deontay Evans at safety and Taveze Calhoun will come back to play, but I’m not thrilled about them.

Also, it’s sad to say goodbye to Bernardrick McKinney and Preston Smith, who did an excellent job for the Bulldogs. They’ll need to replace them. A lot will be required of Beniquez Brown, Chris Jones, A.J. Jefferson and Nelson Adams.

Otherwise, the addition of Diaz as defensive co-ordinator – who we didn’t like during his time at Texas and we don’t now – hardly spells out exciting times in Starkville.

THE SCHEDULE

Sep. 5 – at Southern Miss
Sep. 12 – Louisiana State
Sep. 19 – Northwestern State
Sep. 26 – at Auburn
Oct. 3 – at Texas A&M
Oct. 10 – Troy
Oct. 17 – Louisiana Tech
Oct. 24 – Kentucky
Nov. 5 – at Missouri
Nov. 14 – Alabama
Nov. 21 – at Arkansas
Nov. 28 – Ole Miss

It’s going to be an ugly season in Starkville. They’ll go 4-0 in their non-conference games against nobody, but against SEC opponents, we can see them win one game – at home to Kentucky – and losing the rest. Here’s why: Dak Prescott cannot do everything alone. His offensive line has been shredded, his running backs are experienced, and on the other side of the ball, his defense loses a huge amount of talent. This will be a rebuilding year.

OUR PREDICTION: 5-7. 

 

Who is OUR SEC Coach Of The Year For 2014?

After SEC coaches gave the SEC Coach of The Year award to Missouri’s Gary Pinkel, we decided that it was high time to rank the SEC coaches in terms of their job for this year. In advance: Will Muschamp didn’t win.

1) Dan Mullen (Mississippi State)

We thought he was joking when he said Mississippi State would compete for a SEC title this year. Well, it did. And a play-off berth. And they went to Tuscaloosa and played Alabama hard. And beat Auburn. And went to LSU and won for the first time in years. And had a No.1 spot. And had Heisman contender in Dak Prescott. The cowbells are still clanging in our eardrums. Oh, and the 10-2 record wasn’t bad easier. Seriously, Mullen’s job was nothing short of exceptional. We can’t wait to see what Mississippi State’s going to be like in, er, four years time (when he’s got another fantastic senior class).

2) Bret Bielema (Arkansas)

You might joke, but we expected the Razorbacks to have another SEC 0-fer this year. But they didn’t. Sure, they had their moments. They lost heartbreakers to Texas A&M and Alabama (particularly the A&M game, which we really thought they should have won), and played Mississippi State close. The 2-6 SEC record belies how good this Razorbacks team was this year. Can’t wait for 2015.

3) Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss)

Ole Miss had a season where they beat Alabama and beat Mississippi State and didn’t win the SEC West. That’s because Ole Miss had huge injuries that derailed their season – especially to WR Laquon Treadwell and LB Denzel Nkemdiche. And some headache moments from Bo Wallace didn’t help, either. But this was an awesome season for Ole Miss…and a great job to rebound from a horrible Arkansas loss to win the Egg Bowl. Oxford is in good hands.

4) Gary Pinkel (Missouri)

After losing a ton of defensive talent in 2013, we weren’t expecting anything from Missouri this year. But Missouri ended up winning the SEC East and going to the SEC Championship Game. Everyone’s going to talk about the Indiana loss and the horrible home loss to UGA, but they should also remember sterling battles at South Carolina and Texas A&M, where they came away with unexpected victories. And Missouri’s defense? Yeah. No worries there.

5) Mark Stoops (Kentucky) 

The turnaround in Kentucky has been incredible. If I told you last year that the Wildcats would beat South Carolina, take Florida to triple-overtime and have a shoot-out with Louisville, would you have believed me? Well, believe me. It happened. This is a fantastic turnaround in Lexington, and we can’t wait for further improvement in 2015.

6) Nick Saban (Alabama)

 

After the Ole Miss loss and poor game at Arkansas, it would be easy to be critical of Alabama – particularly with all the talent that Nick Saban gets year after year to come to Tuscaloosa. But Saban has rebounded, and his teams have looked nigh-on unstoppable, especially offensively. The hire of Lane Kiffin made a mockery of us. Let’s be honest: Saban’s a brilliant coach right now, and that’s why the Crimson Tide should win the title this season.

 

7) Butch Jones (Tennessee)

Got granted a monster extension by the Vols almost as soon as the season finished, helped by the fact that Tennessee showed that it’s going to be an exciting prospect in 2015. This team – which is really young all over the offense – is really talented. Especially at receiver. We can’t wait.

8) Gus Malzahn (Auburn)

Great offense, but horrific defense that didn’t get any better during the season. The Tigers WOULD have beaten Alabama this year had they converted three quarters of their red zone chances in the first half, but they didn’t. Their losses to Texas A&M and Georgia were simply laughable. They’ll be fine in 2015, but it’s fair to say that we were disappointed with their 4-4 SEC record.

9) Mark Richt (Georgia)

Considering the arrest/dismissal-related losses that Richt had in the off-season and the injury to Todd Gurley DURING the season, Georgia actually did pretty well. The reason why Georgia’s so low is that Georgia has got a lot of talent but always seems to disappoint with a couple of horrible losses. South Carolina and Florida were this year’s Georgia-ing.

10) Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M)

A great win against South Carolina was followed by months of horror until the surprise win at Auburn. Otherwise, Texas A&M was nothing special this year. And the defense was simply ‘nothing’. The best two decisions of Sumlin’s season were to fire DC Mark Snyder, and to boot Kenny Hill from the starting job mid-season when things weren’t working well. But if this 3-5 SEC season becomes a habit – despite all the talent that’s coming into College Station – expect the whispers about Sumlin’s job to become roars.

11) Les Miles (LSU)

The Tigers gave us the BIG VICTORY this season when they upset Ole Miss at night in Baton Rouge, but the Tigers also gave us the BIG LOSS when they were upset by Mississippi State. They also gave us THE TYPICAL LES MILES SCREW UP against Alabama when a kick-off went out of bounds, starting the Crimson Tide on the 40. Oh, and when is Les Miles going to recruit a quarterback – because Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris were AWFUL this year. And that’s down to coaching.

12) Steve Spurrier (South Carolina)

After the Gamecocks were blown out by Texas A&M on the first day of the season, it was obvious that the team had no defensive heart. And despite the Georgia victory, that was true all the season through. Big play was given up over and over again. And on the other side of the ball, Dylan Thompson was probably one of the biggest quarterbacking disappointments in college football this year. Steve Spurrier did not help his own team by his own brutal honesty, when he kept telling the media how bad his team was. And if your coach isn’t doing any cheerleading, what can you expect from the team?

13=) Will Muschamp (Florida)

RIP, Will Muschamp. Despite flattening Georgia, having a couple of close losses, and having a pretty darned good defense,  your offense got you fired, and rightly so. Now go be a defensive co-ordinator.

13=) Derek Mason (Vanderbilt)

Mason was a fish out of water in the SEC this year, and still looks like a terrible hire. Listen, Vandy fans are still behind Mason, but if next season’s as bad as this one, the Commodores should fire him and start again. Because even those trust fund babies that go to that school in Nashville deserve a bit of pride.

Mississippi State safety Justin Cox suspended after arrest

Mississippi State starting safety Justin Cox has been suspended after being arrested for burglary and aggravated domestic violence involving an unidentified female.

The school has suspended him indefinitely.

A Clarion-Ledger report said: “Authorities responded to burglary call on Rock Road in the Aspen Heights apartment complex in Starkville at about 3 a.m. on Friday morning according to Lt. Brett Watson.

Watson said upon arrival, they found a female victim with a head injury.

Deputies arrested Cox, a 21-year-old West Point native, on suspicion of burglary and aggravated domestic violence.

Cox was a junior college transfer and played in eight games for the Bulldogs. He had 21 tackles and an interception.

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