Ole Miss avoids death penalty, but not penalties

Ole Miss has avoided the feared ‘death penalty’ from the NCAA for its payment of recruits, but it hasn’t avoided damage.

The NCAA has said that Matt Luke’s team will be hit by another bowl ban in 2019, and also any senior player that wants to transfer from Oxford will be able to do so without needing to wait out a year to play again.

Also, Ole Miss has been given a scholarship reduction of 13 over a few years – which shouldn’t hit the Rebels’ depth chart as badly as it could have done.

The Rebels will also be hit with financial penalties, and all of Ole Miss’ staff will be given show-cause penalties, except for Luke.

The most pointless of the NCAA penalties was the ‘vacation of all regular-season and postseason wins in which ineligible student-athletes competed’, which hurts nothing except school pride. The fans will still remember being there…and so will the players.

It added: “The panel noted that the case was the result of a culture at the university where rules violations were acceptable in the football program and reminiscent of similar Ole Miss infractions cases in the past.

This is now the third case over three decades that has involved the boosters and football program,” the panel said in its decision. “Even the head coach acknowledged that upon coming to Mississippi, he was surprised by the ‘craziness’ of boosters trying to insert themselves into his program.”

 

 

 

Ole Miss confirms Matt Luke has head coach

Ole Miss has confirmed interim coach Matt Luke as its head coach from now on.

The school, which is still under threat from NCAA sanctions stemming from the Hugh Freeze ear, beat Mississippi State on Thanksgiving night.

Ole Miss went 6-6 overall and 3-5 in the SEC – which is somewhat of a miracle bearing in mind the off-season the school had.

 

 

 

Will Georgia raise a cocktail? Week 9 SEC Preview

It’s Cocktail Party week, when the Georgia and Florida fans descend on Jacksonville and get blind drunk before the 3.30 pm kick-off, and provide an atmosphere that’s OK. During the week before, Florida’s been talking a lot of crap, while the head coach has been telling stories (which might be true) about death threats.

If we’re honest, that’s going to be the most interesting game of the week. The ones are a little bit of a struggle.

  1. No.3 Georgia (-14) vs Florida: Georgia fans are going to run, run, run the ball down Florida’s throat, and hope that Jake Fromm’s not forced into passing. Despite what people say, UF has a good secondary, and every game that they’ve lost have been a lot closer than 14 points. The problem for Florida is that they are facing a great defense, and their offense absolutely sucks. PREDICTION: Georgia by 17.
  2. Tennessee vs Kentucky (-4): The Butch Jones death train spirals downwards to Lexington, KY, where eyes are going to be on whether the Vols survive after last week’s brutal beating by Alabama. The news that the Volunteers’ top running back got himself suspended can’t have helped the humor around the program either. Kentucky last week wasn’t too great itself, getting its hind pots booted by Mississippi State. This could be awful to watch. PREDICTION: Kentucky by 7.
  3. Mississippi State (-1.5) vs Texas A&M: After beating the crap out of Kentucky, people are talking again about whether Mississippi State’s losing streak was an aberration, while Texas A&M isn’t as bad as people think. We love Christian Kirk, a lot. But then again, we love Nick Fitzgerald a lot, too. This is going to the wire. PREDICTION: Texas A&M in the mild ‘upset’, winning by 3. 
  4. Arkansas at Ole Miss (-3.5): This is how bad Arkansas is, people. Ole Miss, which is rumored to be mailing it in, has no defense to speak of and now doesn’t have a quarterback that’s any good after Shea Patterson’s season-ending injury. Arkansas is still an underdog to Ole Miss this week. The pressure on Bret Bielema’s hotting up – and is possibly hotting up on AD Jeff Long, who despite talking a good game at College Football Play-Off time, should really look after the games the Razorbacks are playing. PREDICTION: Ole Miss by 10. 
  5. Vanderbilt at South Carolina (-7): Jake Bentley is a solid quarterback and South Carolina really isn’t a bad team, and they are coming across a Vanderbilt side that’s aching to turn things around after being run on by everybody since they were crushed by Alabama (and that includes a poor Ole Miss side). We fancy the Gamecocks to roll. PREDICTION: South Carolina by 14. 
  6. Missouri (-13) vs UConn: UConn’s secondary is despicable, giving up 373 passing yards per game. Missouri’s found a bit of faith in its offense, and there are prayers that the defense can actually hold the UConn offense, which is mediocre if not terrible. We think Drew Lock throws a bundle, and Missouri wins handily. PREDICTION: Missouri by 30.

It Just Means More: A Guide to Hating Every SEC Fanbase

The most important thing about the SEC is our passion. In other words: “We love our program, and therefore hate yours.” The hatred between teams is probably encapsulated best either in the Alabama – Auburn rivalry or the four days of carnage known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party featuring Florida and Georgia, in which there will no doubt be a lot of trash talk and fighting between fans.

So in this, we thought we’d give you a guide about what to hate about EVERY team’s fanbase in the SEC. Oh, and we hate CBS’ music, Brad Nessler (he’s from Minnesota) and Gary Danielson (I don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to throw a chair through the TV when he’s commentating), and every other conference in college football (and Notre Dame, the pious Catholic mother****ers). And don’t start us on Paul Finebaum…

JUST REMEMBER: IT JUST MEANS MORE. 

So here we go, in alphabetical order:

  1. Alabama: The fact that the houndstooth wearing, three-brained Bama brethren take everything as a ‘slight’ or ‘bulletin board material for the team’, when it’s probable that the team don’t read the media as much as they do. They don’t like sarcasm and they hate losing. So much so that they’ll poison your shrubbery, or scream that Saban should leave. They can’t work out what the best mascot is for a ‘Crimson Tide’, so they bring in a weird elephant with a terrible trunk,. They insist that their fans are really nice, but really they are super arrogant. Oh, and Finebaum’s an ostrich, with the only difference being that the ostrich buries his head in the sand, while Finebaum buries his head up Nick Saban’s ass. Oh, and the ‘Rammer Jammer’ thing is bad when they give your teams a beatdown. Which happens, often. How many Alabama fans actually went to Alabama, anyway?
  2. Arkansas: Southeastern Conference my ass. It’s a pain in the butt to get too (I really hate I-20 and I-22), and the fanbase can’t stop moaning about how much they hate Texas and or/Oklahoma. THAT SHIP HAS SAILED, people. The ‘Pig Sooiee’ chant is weird.
  3. Auburn: Is it ‘War Eagle’ or ‘War Tiger’? We never know. Like Alabama, they love their live mascot (the eagle) but they’ve got a furry mascot too (a person in a Tiger’s suit). Auburn fans think that their job is the best in the SEC (it’s really not). Oh, and then there’s the $Cam Newton thing, that we all felt in the SEC (it wasn’t just Alabama). If they beat you, they’ll throw toilet paper on the trees, which are coming back after the Harvey Updyke disgrace (sometimes the trees are more revered than the football team).
  4. Florida: Florida might be in the South, but they ain’t Southern. The whole ‘Gator Chomp’ thing is one of the most annoying things in college football, and they all wear jorts (jean shorts to the uneducated) to football games instead of dressing properly. Oh, and Steve Spurrier and Tim Tebow can screw off, too.
  5. Georgia: We hate guys woofing. It’s weird, and that’s what Georgia fans do all the time (calling it “Calling the Dawgs, while some might call it “Acting like an idiot”). They also piss and moan if they lose, and they are arrogant as hell if they win. UGA fans haven’t learned about the art of sportsmanship yet. Georgia’s arrogance is actually hilarious if you think that Missouri’s won more division titles than they have in recent years.
  6. Kentucky: Hey, just give them a horse race and be done with it. We know the real fact: Kentucky is a basketball school and in Lexington, all the fanbase talks about is ‘basketball season’. Which makes it all the funnier when they don’t make it to the Final Four. Look, we GET that Kentucky’s got a good history of the round ball, but they’ve also got a history of sucking in the SEC, which makes them embarrassing for us to watch.
  7. LSU: WE GET THE SUN’S GONE DOWN ON TIGER STADIUM. EVEN WHEN IT HASN’T. IT DOESN’T MAKE THE FANBASE SMELL LESS OF CORNDOGS. We’ve heard enough about night games at Death Valley (CBS usually steals the big ones for the 3.30 slot, so really they’re screwed there) to last a lifetime. Oh, and shut up about how great you are at tailgating. We’re all amazing at tailgating here in the SEC. That’s what we live for. And you ain’t French, either.
  8. Ole Miss: Blah blah blah, Oxford tailgate blah blah blah. It’s a cliche now, isn’t it? Oh, and Eli Manning went there? No s***. You’ve never mentioned it, Ole Miss fans. Or that his Dad went there. Or that Peyton should have gone there. And how the NCAA have it out for you. Listen, you knew Hugh Freeze was/is a pious dirtbag when you hired him (he had a reputation coming from high school, we hear), and he finally got what was coming to him. Oh, and the continued linking to a – shall we say – checkered – past is also weird and quite scary, too.
  9. Mississippi State: The Cowbells. Oh my God. The Cowbells. The loudest, most irritating sound in the SEC. You get headaches for weeks and months afterwards. The fans can’t stop talking about who’s the bigger cheater – them or Ole Miss. We don’t know, and we’re past caring. All we do know is: Shut the **** Up with those Cowbells.
  10. Missouri: In the same way as Florida really ain’t Southern, Missouri isn’t either. It’s Mid-West and should have stayed there. And those Missouri fans aren’t sarcastic, they are plain rude. Also, how dare they come into the East and win division titles.
  11. South Carolina: Please stop saying “Go Cocks”. It’s weird and embarrassing. And ‘Sandstorm’ is also one of the most terrible tracks ever known to man. It wasn’t written by an American either, but by a Finnish dude. Whereever the hell that Finland place is.
  12. Tennessee: Gaudy? Tasteless? We’re not describing the butt-chugging (they all deny it but we KNOW it’s true) that they are into in Knoxville. No, it’s the Orange. How does anyone want to wear that? Oh, and shut up about Peyton ****ing Manning, you three-toothed Hillbillies. Oh, and Philip Fulmer’s fat and he’s a snitch. And when UT ran him out of town, his replacements have been a horror show (The only time Lane Kiffin has ever shut up is when Nick Saban told him to). Which is funny, because Vols fans are now as mad as hell. As those weird hippie Pac-12 people say out West, when they aren’t taking LSD and talking about the damned Sixties? Karma.
  13. Texas A&M: HAVE  YOU MENTIONED THE 12TH MAN LATELY? PLEASE TELL US AGAIN. We are reminded that David Koresh went to Waco and not College Station. Had he wanted to get away with it all, all he would have had to do is don a Texas A&M shirt and chat to a dog and he would have been a welcomed part of the fanbase. Oh, and you’ve gotta start playing Texas again – mainly because you can’t stop singing about them, talking about them, and giving the ‘horns down’ at every opportunity. And yes, we get that Johnny Football was pretty good, too. Whatever happened to that guy, anyway?
  14. Vanderbilt: As this is the only private school on the list, Vandy people will talk to you but only with their nose in the air. Commodore fans simply don’t show up for football games, despite being in the heart of Nashville, one of the South’s greatest towns.

Is LSU really the third best team in the SEC? Week 8 Rankings

LSU suddenly look as though it has something to make its fans excited about. After the Troy disaster, the Tigers have won three straight (Florida, Auburn and Ole Miss), and even Danny Etling does not look as bad as Gary Danielson makes him out to be (some people think Gary Danielson’s better than WE think he is).

But are the Tigers the third best team in the SEC? It’s between them at Texas A&M. A&M was on a bye week, but with LSU’s road victory – albeit an Ole Miss team that is inept at stopping the run, they move up to third. Auburn’s also pretty good, too.

So here you are.

  1. Alabama: Nick Saban will probably be yelling at backup QB Tua Tagovailoa for the next week for throwing a pick-six in the crushing of Tennessee. Hey, let’s be honest, the biggest surprise in college football this year would be if Alabama gets upset. Or if Saban actually calms down.
  2. Georgia: Putting their feet up before the Cocktail Party next week, Georgia doesn’t have a lot of holes in its game either. The win at Notre Dame is suddenly looking better and better, although the Florida and Auburn games would really indicate how good UGA really is.
  3. LSU: Derrius Guice ran for TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SIX YARDS on Saturday night. That’s right: TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SIX. Danny Etling’s performance of 9-13, 200 yards and 2 TDs (he ran in for one more) wasn’t terrible either.
  4. Texas A&M: The LSU game on November 25th (basically to see who’s going to be the second-best team in the SEC West) suddenly looks really, really interesting. The November 4th game at home to Auburn may tell us a little bit, too.
  5. Auburn: The destruction of a woeful Arkansas team showed what happens when a team plays for 60 minutes, not takes its foot off the gas after 20. As Auburn fans watching the LSU game would know. After the win Twitter wasn’t filled with cries of “Fire that ****er Malzahn”, as Auburn fans seemed more satisfied. We’re sure that’ll change if they lose to A&M and then Alabama in November!
  6. Florida: The 6th-place is evident for the Gators’ mediocrity. They’d probably be lower if this poll was just based on offenses. The offense – for which Gus Nussmeir should be fired for at season-end – is a steaming pile of crap.
  7. Mississippi State: Crushing Kentucky was hilarious, bearing in mind that everybody thought the Cats were sneaky-good. Nick Fitzgerald may not have been great passing (18-26, 155 yards, 1 TD), but his running game was great (12 carries, 112 yards, 2 TDs). Excuse me while I stand up and applaud.
  8. South Carolina: We GET that Kentucky beat South Carolina. But still, we think that South Carolina would have coped better against Mississippi State than Kentucky did. Plus, Kentucky came back from a week off and still played badly.
  9. Kentucky: To come from a bye week and play this badly deserves a demotion in our rankings. We still think the Cats will be bowl eligible by the end of the season, but this the kind of display that makes you excited. Luckily for them, 3 out of their last 5 games are winnable (the only one that isn’t is a trip to UGA on Nov 18. They play Tennessee next week).
  10. Missouri: Missouri’s destruction of Idaho has given the Tigers a bit of momentum – something that the other 4 teams below them simply don’t have. Another awful performance by their secondary should see them safely ensconced at the bottom again!
  11. Ole Miss: The loss of Shea Patterson against LSU gives Ole Miss offensive problems. The Rebels already have huge defensive problems. It’s a pity Ole Miss and Missouri don’t play each other this season – it could be the most entertaining game of the year, with the over about 750!!
  12. Arkansas: The gray shirts matched the Razorbacks’ performance against Auburn: Miserable. They were given a hiding by the Tigers, and showed no interest in fighting back. With news that his buyout’s $10m less than people first though, Jeff Long will now be under pressure to fire Bret Bielema.
  13. Tennessee: It’s OK, Butch Jones – Every team gets the living crap beaten out of it by Alabama. Butch Jones should be fired at season-end, though.
  14. Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt has to get its running defense better if it’s going to come off the bottom. Before the bye week the team had no momentum at all, and we’re sorry to say were a worse team than Tennessee.

Can Tennessee survive Alabama? Week 8 SEC Predictions

We’re going to make a massive prediction this week and tell you that someone might make a comment about Philip Fulmer when Tennessee comes to Tuscalossa. Apart from that, this – on paper – isn’t a wildly interesting slate with Auburn going to Arkansas, LSU going to Ole Miss, Kentucky going to Mississippi State, and Idaho visiting Missouri.

So here are the games in the level of interesting:

  1. Auburn (-15.5) vs Arkansas: If things were going to be smooth for Bret Bielema and Arkansas this season, things suddenly became a lot less smooth when it was reported that Bielema’s buyout was in fact $5.9 million NOT the $15 million as earlier thought. That’s a hell of a jump. Apparently, a reporter read the contract. And we can tell you that there’s another SEC fanbase who’s not happy: Auburn. The Plains are smoking about not getting their first win in Baton Rouge since 1999, particularly with a comfortable 20-0 lead. But after the cruise control, the offensive playcalling went into its shell, LSU’s ‘D’ played out of its mind, and LSU won. Suddenly, the critics are saying: “If Malzahn doesn’t beat Georgia or Alabama, he’s out”. The good news for Auburn? They are facing an Arkansas side that just had the crap beaten out of it by Alabama, and gives up nearly 5 yards/rushing attempt. That should let Kerryon Johnson feast. PREDICTION: Auburn by 14.
  2. Alabama (-34.5) at Tennessee: Nick Saban’s going to spin his usual crap about Tennessee being one hell of a football team and being unlucky last week against South Carolina, but the first half is far from the truth. Tennessee is a bad football team. They managed to lose against South Carolina despite having a bye week to work out how they might actually score a touchdown. Listen, we don’t think Butch Jones is going to get his ass kicked out of Knoxville after the slaughter in Tuscaloosa, but this won’t be close. If you have anything to do between 3.30 and 7pm (ie watch other college football games), do so. PREDICTION: Alabama by 40. 
  3. LSU (-6.5) at Ole Miss: LSU’s second-half defense against Auburn was pretty amazing, helped by defensive backs Done Jackson and Eric Monroe, who had 6 pass break-ups between them. Ole Miss looked as though it was going to be in a tussle with Vanderbilt, but rolled. With AJ Brown back and Shea Patterson looking to throw the ball every play (they average 357.2 yards/game, the 6th-highest in the NCAA), LSU’s defensive backs are going to have a real challenge. Oh, and LSU has to grow up. The Tigers are 89th in the FBS for penalties, compiling 433 penalty yards this season – that’s nearly 62 yards per game. You can see that one of LSU’s players gets booted for targeting (as happened at Mississippi State, twice). On the offensive side of the ball, we expect Darrius Guice to be given the ball a lot against a D that has given up 238.5 yards/game – one of the worst in the country. And Danny Etling – if he’s not terrible, could be counted on for a pass TD or two against a D that’s given up 10 pass TDs this season and nearly 13 yards per completion. PREDICTION: LSU wins by 7 in a close, entertaining one. 
  4. Kentucky at Mississippi State (-10.5): We stupidly tweeted that we couldn’t believe Kentucky was a 10 pt away favorite at Mississippi State, but then realised that we’d got the order of things wrongly, and it was the Bulldogs who were 10 point favorites. We still think it’s low. Kentucky’s gone 1-1 in classics this season (the fortunes could have been reversed against Florida and Missouri), while Mississippi State’s blown out a team that they weren’t meant to (LSU), and were blown out by a team that they were meant to play really, really close (Georgia). After getting swatted by Auburn following the UGA game, Mississippi State finally looked better against BYU, and we think it’ll continue against Kentucky. Although Kentucky’s been nasty against the rush (97.2 yards/game), they are mediocre overall (385.5 yards/game), which should give Nick Fitzgerald lots of chances to exploit them. We expect Kentucky to try and control the clock as it has against all its opponents, but we don’t think they’ll be particularly effective. PREDICTION: MSU by 13.
  5. Idaho at Missouri (-14.5): Get this: Missouri is so bad that they are only a 14.5 home favorite against Idaho, who has played no-one on their schedule. Yes, we get that Missouri struggled mightily with Southeast Missouri State at the start of the year but Idaho? Really? In the last two weeks Missouri’s offense has clicked a little better, with Drew Lock throwing bullets and scaring the life out of secondaries.  And We think Idaho will give up more than the 162.3 yards/game they give up through the air on this offense. Idaho’s offense is also pretty mediocre (ranked 97th overall), so if Missouri can actually make a stop, they should win comfortably.If you’re watching this game, watch out for Emmanuel Hall, who had 270 yards and 3 TDs in the last two games – including 141 against Georgia. PREDICTION (And I don’t believe I’m saying this): Missouri by 28. 

QUICK PREDICTION FOR AN OUT- CONFERENCE: Michigan goes to Penn State as a 9.5 road favorite. Michigan’s got the best defense in the land, and Penn State has struggled against some bad teams of late getting the Saquon Barkley run game going. And Michigan’s won 3 straight over the Nittany Lions. We’ll take Michigan. Even if it’s only the points. That gives an advantage to Georgia. 

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.

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.

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.
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