Who will win the SEC East QB Battles?

We realize that this is an important time of year for those of you trying to work out who’s going to win the all-important 12 vs 5 seed in March Madness, but there’s something more important happening in SEC land: The SEC East QB battles (the ones in the West have already been set out).

FLORIDA

Josh Grady vs Luke Del Rio vs Austin Appleby vs Feleipe Franks vs Kyle Trask vs Treon Harris

Del Rio and Harris have got tenure but Franks could be a great wild card. He’s a pro-style, four-star local quarterback who should be a lot of fun to watch. Austin Appleby, who transferred to The Swamp from Purdue, will shake things up too. Appleby threw for 8 TDs and 8 INTS at a rate of 57.5, which is hardly golden, but Harris is the most hated quarterback in Gainseville since a bad Chris Leak. This will be fun.

PREDICTION: Appleby

GEORGIA

Jacob Eason vs No-one Else

Georgia did everything they could to get him to come to Athens, and after an early commitment and then a brief look at Florida, he came to town. And the “battle” was over with. Kirby Smart has a starting quarterback. Now, all he has to do is pray he doesn’t get injured…

PREDICTION: Eason. 

KENTUCKY

Drew Barker, Stephen Johnson, Gunnar Hoak

If you’re a Kentucky oddsmaker, you SHOULD be making Barker the favorite, bearing in mind two of his competitors – Patrick Towles (graduation) and Reese Phillips (transferred to FCS powerhouse Montana) have left the building. But Johnson – a three-star Juco transfer and three-star Ohio player Hoak will press him all the way.

PREDICTION: Barker, although expect Johnson to get his throws in gametime.

MISSOURI

Drew Lock, Jack Lowary, Marvin Zanders, Micah Wilson

Drew Lock is adored by Missouri fans we know. They felt that he should have been given the starting job at the beginning of the 2015 season instead of having to wait around for Maty Mauk to get suspended. Anyway, we lock Lock’s arm, his leadership, and if his offensive line can improve 40% from where it was last season, he should be a good pick in Barry Odom’s first season.

Prediction: Lock.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Connor Mitch,  Lorenzo Nunez,  Michael Scarnecchia, Brandon McIlwain, and Perry Orth

This is going to be a riveting battle bearing in mind that Mitch, Nunez and Orth all have starting experience. Orth threw for 1,929 yards, 12 TDs and 9 INTs, while Nunez went 376-3-3 and Mitch 165-1-0. Nunez was the most accurate of the three passers, but managed to suffer a “hyperextended knee and sprained LCL” in practice that will probably keep him out for the Spring Game, according to Josh Kendall at The State. Kendall is also reporting that McIlwain took charge of one of the drives in practice. This battle will go on until the end.

Prediction: Orth, until he falls to pieces and gets injured, and then it’s McIlwain’s team. 

TENNESSEE

Josh Dobbs vs The Great Big Zero

There’s no point putting anyone up against Dobbs since the kid-with-the-amazing-disappearing-hairline is going to get the starting job. We’ll also throw it out there that Dobbs may well compete for All-American and Heisman honors by the time this season’s over. He’s a hell of a quarterback.

Prediction: Dobbs

Why Mark Richt’s firing at Georgia was coming

I don’t know what the world is coming to in our profession. I think when you win nine games, that’s a pretty good season, and especially with the body of work that he’s been able to put together there for however years he’s been there. …I hate to see people that have the character and quality and ability to affect young people in a positive way like Mark Richt not be a part of our profession.” – Nick Saban.

Last Sunday, Georgia released a statement that they had decided to end the career of Mark Richt “by mutual consent”. Richt was gone, and the atmosphere around Athens has been like a funeral. There were some fans who went straight outside the Georgia offices to show their support at the firing of Mark Richt. After all, it’s a shame to get rid of one of the SEC’s most decent coaches, isn’t it? Mark Richt wasn’t a crap-talker (like Steve Spurrier), an idiot talking about his marital exploits (Bret Bielema), or a loveable idiot (Les Miles) or a Napoleon-like control freak (Nick Saban). Richt was about making his players winners on an off the field. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t.

Sometimes Richt had to boot players who decided that The Good Life wasn’t for them, and preferred to steal, to beat their girlfriends, and to smoke pot even after they had been arrested. Les Miles didn’t fire one of his players, Jeremy Hill, after he threw a punch at someone. He left it to a player vote as to whether the team would like to keep him. Richt gave players two or four-game suspensions, while other coaches in the same position in the SEC gave them one or two, coining Spurrier’s fantastic quote: “I sort of always liked playing them that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.” This year was a banner year for Georgia’s athletic behaviour, because no-one was suspended during the regular or off-season.

Would Georgia fans have swapped a few arrests for a trip to the SEC Championship Game this week? Absolutely.

           LUCK AND LOYALTY

And despite winning two SEC Championships and six SEC Eastern Division titles in his 14 years and amassing a 145-51 record, Mark Richt didn’t have a lot of luck.

In recent years, season-ending injuries to Keith Marshall, Todd Gurley, Malcolm Mitchell and Nick Chubb as well as members of his defense all but eradicated Georgia hopes of reaching the promised land. It seemed like no team in the SEC could injure themselves like Georgia did, and the team wasn’t as deep as some would have liked. And why not so deep? Recruitment loyalty. If every player who committed to Georgia early-on had actually stayed a Bulldog, Georgia would have had a Top.5 recruiting class for year in, year out. A couple of years ago it was Derrick Henry. He’s doing OK at Alabama. Now it’s top running back B.J. Emmons. Now, top UGA recruit Jacob Eason, who is meant to be the saviour of the UGA passing game, is now visiting Florida. If he decides to go to Gainseville, you can be assured that the Dawg fans might be burning down McGarity Island, to misquote Larry Munson. My take on recruitment loyalty is that Mark Richt didn’t text the kids 400 times a day like certain SEC head coaches did, and in a world where high school kids want to “feel the love” all the time, a coach who actually had other priorities in life didn’t make them feel ‘loved’, so they went elsewhere to get their ego stroked.

THE END HAD TO COME

But although it’s sad to see one of the SEC’s great coaches get booted, it’s hardly surprising.

His record against Florida was 5-9, and 2-4  against South Carolina since 2010. He’s also 2-3 against Alabama since Nick Saban was in charge (3-3 overall). And losing a 21-point lead to Tennessee, breaking a long winning streak didn’t make the locals happy, either. And during the final years of his tenure, Georgia’s ability to fall to pieces while the game was won was quite incredible. That probably didn’t help him, either.

A blog noted that since 2007 , Georgia’s record was 1-10 against teams who ended the year in the Top 10, and 2-10 against teams who were Top 10 at the time. Georgia has not been a top 25 team half the time since 2007 (2009, 2010, 2013, 2015). To say that the firing had been coming would be an understatement.

And the blog noted that the future’s bleak in 2016, after the graduation of 20 seniors and the departure of others to the NFL. To

Add to that this season, where offensively Georgia went from great to clueless (we’d blame a lot of that not necessarily on Richt so much as Brian Schottenheimer, who many will be hoping gets his marching orders in the next week), and struggled with a crappy Auburn, a mighty Georgia Southern and an even-mightier Georgia Tech. For $3.31m, that’s not what Georgia boosters and administrators expect – especially for a team that some felt would challenge for a National Title in 2015.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Was it sad to see Mark Richt go at Georgia? Sure. Was it surprising? No. People had been asking for his head every time Georgia had one of those comical/heartbreaking losses people talked about. Will he land on his feet somewhere else? Yes. And that’s what happens to good guys.

 

 

 

 

Rollin’ Tide – Final SEC Power Rankings

It was quite a week in the SEC. And while it was about the football, it kinda was and it kinda wasn’t. We had Cam Newton threatening to slap the s_(& out of a heckler before the Iron Bowl, Les Miles getting chaired off against Texas A&M after he kept his job despite everyone saying that he was out of one, and Mark Richt getting booted from Georgia despite a 9-3 season. Down South, the Florida Gators were wonderfully inept in a 27-2 home loss to Florida State, and Ole Miss won the BATTLE OF THE EGG in CowbellLand. Elsewhere, Kentucky lost to Louisville after being 21-0 up (and their QB Patrick Towles has said he’s transferring) and Missouri didn’t show up against Arkansas.

So here’s our final regular season standings:

  1. Alabama (1): Because no-one’s rolling like the Tide right now in college football. The defense is scary. Listen, Auburn kept it close until the final quarter, but then Derrick Henry and the rest of the team put on the after burners, and there was nothing that Gus Malzahn’s team could do catch up.
  2. Ole Miss (3): Yes, we know they got the crap slapped out of them by Florida, but right now if the two sides had a re-match in The Swamp, I’d take Ole Miss. Florida’s offense is horrific right now. Ole Miss is not. And Ole Miss beat Alabama. Which Florida is not going to.
  3. Florida (2): Because they are going to the SEC Championship Game, and we have to be nice.
  4. Arkansas (6): Yes, we know they lost 51-50 last week and are on a one game winning streak after slamming Missouri, but the Razorbacks are a team not many want to face in a bowl game right now. Hogs fans would love to play Texas Tech. If they, it’ll be first to 900. And we’ll love it!
  5. LSU (8): The way LSU played on Saturday night was inspired, and gave a lot of people hope in the program that didn’t have it a week ago. Funny what will happen when your boosters try and fire one of the most successful coaches LSU has ever had. Joe Alleva’s ashen face at the press conference was a joy to watch. Seriously, he looked like the husband who came home and found someone ****ing his wife. Les Miles now needs to fire Cam Cameron. Quickly.
  6. Texas A&M (4): Aggies fans absolutely loathe offensive co-ordinator Jake Spavital. Funny, not many choice words for John Chavis’ lack of run defense coaching, though.
  7. Tennessee (7): Smashing Vanderbilt gets you up a notch, but this offense could be quite something next year if everyone’s not hurt. The Vols are certainly playing like they are on a high.
  8. Mississippi State (5): Massive disappointment on their goodbye to Dak Prescott- and Prescott himself was the biggest one.
  9. Auburn (10): Played with a lot of moxie, but were ultimately overmatched against Alabama.
  10. Georgia (9): Goodbye, Mark Richt. You will be missed. Georgia fans are praying you take Brian Schottenheimer with you.
  11. Kentucky (11): Blowing a 21-0 lead and then getting the news your starting quarterback’s leaving? That’s Kentuckeeeee.
  12. South Carolina (14): Played their collective asses off against Clemson and came up just short. There is hope.
  13. Vanderbilt (12): Getting blown out by your rival is not a good look, especially for a defense that was meant to be hugely improved.
  14. Missouri (14): Ugh.

 

Will Alabama lose both Smart and Kiffin in 2015?

It’s that time in college football where everyone’s getting hired and everyone’s getting fired, but the big news might well be at the University of Alabama, where the Crimson Tide may well be looking an offensive and defensive co-ordinator when all is said and done.

It’s obvious to me and any writer out there that offensive co-ordinator Lane Kiffin won’t want to stay long-time in Tuscaloosa. He’s got a 35-21 head coaching record from his days at Tennessee and Southern California (we can’t call ’em USC on a SEC website), has a great offensive mind and is a fantastic recruiter. He’s also as loyal as an arms dealer.

His agent, Jimmy Sexton, is very good at finding spots for his clients, and with recruiting hotspots like Miami and Georgia up for grabs (as well as South Carolina, Missouri and Virginia (amongst others) for the record), it won’t be a surprise if Kiffin walks after the National Championship Game.

Then there’s Kirby Smart. If you’ve spent any time in Athens, Georgia, you’ll know that Kirby Smart is LOVED by Georgia fans. He started his coaching career at Georgia as an administrative assistant, returned there in 2005 as a running backs coach, and then went to work for Nick Saban. He also played as a defensive back for Georgia for four years, where he ended up as an all-SEC player in 1998. For us, there’s one major issue with Georgia signing Smart: He’s got absolutely ZERO head coaching experience. So why give a person their first career start at one of the biggest schools in the land?

But for Smart – who has been with Saban as his defensive co-ordinator for the last nine years – there are other interesting job opportunities. Matt Campbell has left Toledo (who Arkansas fans may remember) to be the head coach of Iowa State. Justin Fuente won’t be coaching at Memphis anymore, because he’s going to replace Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. And Bowling Green is expected to lose its head coach Dino Babers to UCF in a move that we can only see as a ‘move-across’ rather than a ‘move up’ (but that’s just us).  All three schools would be happy to get hold of a coach with Smart’s caliber. Otherwise, if Missouri’s looking for a defensive coach and decide not to keep current DC Barry Odom, why wouldn’t they move for Smart? I just think that Smart going to Georgia would be a bad move, but Smart going somewhere else right now would be a smart one. Excuse the pun.

Nick Saban seems to be supporting schools hiring Smart. He said on the SEC Championship teleconference: “I’ve said many times before in years past that Kirby has done a fantastic job for us and I think he’ll be an outstanding head coach,” he said. “I don’t think everything you do as an assistant necessarily prepares you as a head coach, but I also think by the same token that Kirby is very capable of doing all the things necessary to be a head coach. He’s a good teacher, players respond to him well. He’s outgoing. He’s got a good personality. I think he’ll do a good job in all the other areas that you’re talking about. I don’t have any question about that at all.

He added that he hasn’t had any contacts from schools about Smart. Or Kiffin, for that matter. “I would expect those things to happen when we get finished playing.

So what would happen to Alabama if Kiffin and Smart both left? Probably nothing. This is the biggest team in the land. They could go out and get two great ones. And if Kirby Smart did in fact go to Athens, there’s a pretty useful defensive co-ordinator in (current Georgia DC Jeremy Pruitt (who the players absolutely love) who we’re pretty sure Saban would like on his staff in Tuscaloosa.

And in answer to the question: Will Lane Kiffin and Kirby Smart leave Alabama in 2015? Yes. Where? We haven’t a clue.

What’s the crappiest game on a crappy SEC schedule? Week 12 previews

GeIt’s strange to say this, but Ole Miss vs LSU could have been the play-in game for the SEC Championship. Had Ole Miss actually played  in The Swamp (they were destroyed instead) or played Arkansas with any respect in the least (they didn’t), and had LSU had an offensive co-ordinator that wasn’t Cam Cameron, this would have a match-up for the SEC West and a possible spot in the play-off. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and LSU’s trip to The Grove is suddenly higher on the “Who Gives A Crap?” scale than we thought would be possible before LSU’s trip to Tuscaloosa, where they were promptly disassembled.

So here are the non-conference games in order of crappiness. Many thanks to thesaurus.com for the synonyms….

  1.  Charlotte at Kentucky (HORSE MANURE) — The FAU/Florida clash should be No.1, but Charlotte lost to FAU, which makes the 49ers eerily similar to their NFL counterpart. They are in ESPN’s Bottom 10 after losing to equally-crappy UTSA.
  2. Florida Atlantic at Florida (GATOR FECES) — The mighty FAU are a fantastic 2-8, with wins over Charlotte and FIU. They are also considered for Bottom 10-ness. They’ll really threaten Vernon Hargreaves and that Gators secondary with that incredible vertical passing game (or whatever).
  3. Charleston Southern at Alabama (ELEPHANT DUNG) — This Charleston Southern team’s so great that it’s 9-1. In the Big South. The Big South is a FCS Division. And although there are still over 1,000 tickets left, we doubt that there will even be 60,000 in the Stadium (although no doubt the Crimson Tide will be claiming another sell-out to go with a 57th National Championship on Saturday).
  4. The Citadel at South Carolina (BIRD CRAP) — Can’t find out what The Citadel does, because – yes – it’s a 1-AA school. I still think that The Citadel and Charleston Southern could probably beat Charlotte and FAU, so that’s why these games aren’t higher on the list.
  5. Idaho at Auburn (EAGLE EXCRETA) —  Idaho’s passing offense is ranked 31st in the country. Auburn’s passing offense is ranked 108th. Unfortunately for the 3-7 Vandals, they give up 488.9 yards/game, good for 116th (Auburn’s 79th, giving up 411.8). Idaho scores 29.2 points per game, and Auburn scores 25.7. Some dude called Buck Cowan is a Top 10 tight end in college football, according to Idaho’s Twitter (“The 8th Best!”). The Vandals have beaten Ohio, ULM and Troy. They’ve also lost three in a row. Is that enough of a rundown?
  6. Georgia Southern at Georgia (DAWG TURD) — Georgia Southern’s 7-3 and if  you believe some of my buddies who actually went to the school, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to go to school there. Southern likes to score points (they average over 37 a game), but their schedule’s so crappy we hardly expect a monster performance. The last time GSU played a Power 5 team (West Virginia) they lost 44-0. While we don’t think they are going to get shut out in Sanford, we DO think the game will be over by halftime.

THE BIG PREDICTION: SEC SCHOOLS WILL GO 6-0

AND NOW…..THE BRUISING, BLEEDING, BIIIIIIG IN-CONFERENCE SEC MATCH-UPS (In order of “greatness”)

  1. LSU at Ole Miss — Ole Miss really, really hates LSU. This girl Ashley made national headlines by drunkenly attacking her friends after the Rebs lost in 2014. If you haven’t seen the video, watch it. It’s hilarious. And Ashley didn’t actually go to Ole Miss, either. Oh, and going into the game, both are struggling. Ole Miss is actually playing better than LSU, while the word on the street – and the media – is that if LSU loses its third straight game (Alabama and Arkansas were the last two), Les Miles is once again fighting for his life. Bearing in mind the school’s state of finances, I don’t believe that they want to pay out $15m to buy him out. Ole Miss is a four-point favorite, and we’re taking the REBELS by 10.
  2. Mississippi State at Arkansas — Mississippi State was destroyed by Alabama at home. Arkansas is rolling suddenly after back-to-back shock wins over Ole Miss and LSU respectively. This game could be pretty interesting, folks. The bookies reckon it will be, because Arkansas is only a three-point favorite. We think ARKANSAS wins by 7. 
  3. Tennessee at Missouri — While many people believe that getting continually punched in the face would be more fun than watching this game, it’s an opportunity for many to say goodbye to Gary Pinkel, who’s going to need your prayers in the coming months. Tennessee’s a nine-point favorite. We’ll take VOLS by 10.
  4. Texas A&M at Vanderbilt – Someone on our Twitter feed said that this game might be a doozy if Vanderbilt start well. More like snoozy. Vanderbilt is only a 7-point underdog. WE’LL TAKE THE AGGIES BY MORE THAN 14.

Alabama’s still the SEC’s best – Week 11 SEC Power Poll

We thought Dak Prescott would give Alabama a run for their money in Starkville on Saturday. We even (deep breath) thought they might score the upset. God, were we wrong. Alabama went in absolutely beat the “cow” out of the “cowbell”, and boy, it was frightening to watch. Elsewhere, Georgia beat Auburn won The Battle Of The Trainwrecks, and Arkansas showed some more guts in a late season run by going to Baton Rouge and toppling LSU. Oh, and Florida beat South Carolina by 10, in a brutally uninteresting game, and Kentucky’s season-ending implosion continued with a loss at Vanderbilt. Missouri found a win in their locker against BYU in an emotional game after head coach Gary Pinkel announced his resignation, and Tennessee and Texas A&M rolled.

Oh, and sorry about not firing out the predictions for the game. We were busy looking at news about the Paris attacks, and communicating them via our Twitter feed. That seemed to be more important.

Anyway, without further ado…

  1. Alabama (1): Unless the opposition’s Ole Miss, this team is unstoppable. Seriously. We fear for any team that’s going to get in Derrick Henry and the Crimson Tide’s way during the play-off. That’s you, Auburn and Florida. We can’t wait to see you and your receding hairline in New York, Mr Henry.
  2. Florida (2): The offense is suddenly absolutely horrible, and seemingly getting worse since they smashed Ole Miss in The Swamp. The Gators went up 17-0 and were strolling….before South Carolina came back strong. Now, imagine if they go up 17 against Alabama and relax. They’ll get nuked.
  3. Ole Miss (4): They are up here NOT by the virtue of having lost to Arkansas, but by the virtue that the Rebels beat Alabama and Mississippi State really didn’t. We still can’t wait for The Egg Bowl. But before that, Ole Miss have a nasty game against LSU.
  4. Texas A&M (6): Didn’t really rise up because they savaged Western Carolina 41-17, or because we’re giving a huge amount of credence to the overtime win over Arkansas, but because we reckon they’ll be better than LSU come Thanksgiving.
  5. Arkansas (7): We laughed at the thought of Bret Bielema’s team finding any form this season, but back-to-back huge wins at Ole Miss and LSU proves that he might not be such a bad coach after all….
  6. Mississippi State (3): Wow. That was a home letdown, wasn’t it?
  7. LSU (5):  Talk about the wheels coming off the wagon after a big loss. Leonard Fournette’s 127 yards and 1 TD looked like nothing as Alex Collins ran for 141 and 2, and the Razorbacks housed Les Miles & Co 31-14. And we think if the two played again, Mississippi State would win.
  8. Tennessee (8): No heart attacks for the Vols, who won 24-0 against mighty, mighty North Texas.
  9. Georgia (9): Awful offensive performance, but Georgia fans! Just think of it like this: If Georgia HADN’T have won against awful Auburn, it could have been Mark Richt’s head.
  10. Auburn (10):  Awful offensive performance. Just think of it like this: If Auburn had one, you might not have a lot to complain about, Auburn fans!
  11. South Carolina (12): Great comeback against Florida couldn’t become perfection. The story of the Gamecocks’ season.
  12. Vanderbilt (13): The highest the Commodores have been this year! Derek Mason’s got this defense improving!!
  13. Missouri (14): Great win over BYU after Gary Pinkel’s shock resignation.
  14. Kentucky (12): Wow. The wheels are falling off the Mark Stoops wagon fast, aren’t they?

What in the hell happened to Ole Miss? Week 10 SEC Recap

Without further ado, here’s our rankings for Week 10 of the SEC Football Blog.

  1. Alabama (1): It’s funny. Alabama does well against teams that have weak quarterbacks and not a great quarterback (Georgia, LSU). Alabama does well against terrible quarterbacks (Texas A&M). Alabama does less well against a mobile quarterback,with good receivers and a better running game (Tennessee, first half of Arkansas). Alabama loses against teams who have got a good defense, a good quarterback, and very good wide receivers (Ole Miss).
  2. Florida (2): Er, the win against Vanderbilt was….er…..absolutely terrible. If they play like this offensively against Alabama the winner of the SEC West, then they’ll lose by 3 touchdowns. The defense is tight, though. Not many teams can run on these guys. Or pass, either.
  3. Mississippi State (6): Is Dan Mullen the best coach in the SEC? Just maybe. Is Dak Prescott the best QB in the SEC? Definitely.
  4. Ole Miss (4): [Wright Thompson voice] A student lies there in The Grove. Around him are deserted tents, half-full red solo cups, and the odd smashed chandelier. I walk slowly to go speak to him. I’ve been to The Grove a million times, so I make sure that he’s OK. Maybe he just wants some piece. It’s been a hell of a day. I look closer, and realise that he’s got no pants and no underwear on. He’s holding a bottle of Jim Beam in one hand. His bowtie is a mess, and his shirt is covered in beer, mess, tears and grass stains. “Arkansas did this to me!”, he says. “We lost in overtime to freaking Arkansas. Arkansas lost to Toledo. We. Beat. Alabama. And we lost to Arkansas. ” He can’t stop repeating himself. Maybe it’s the bourbon. Or maybe it’s the shock that once again the Rebels might not be taking the trip to Atlanta despite beating their hated rival. Or maybe he’s an Ole Miss fan. We’re used to shock, rage and upset living in Oxford. But Hugh Freeze was bring it all to us. And then it happened. Ole Miss Football happened.” Ole Miss is about 5-5 on batshit-crazy plays this season after THE lateral play, by the way.
  5. LSU (3): The media should punch themselves in the face. They hyped up this LSU team so much that the Committee drank the same Kool-Aid and put the Tigers at No.2. ESPN gave them a College Gameday spot. This was a team who hasn’t played that well all season. And Brandon Harris was never a world-beater. And the defense was never that good. Yes, Leonard Fournette’s a great player, but when Alabama can be aggressive because when you stop him the pressure’s put hard on Brandon Harris, Les Miles is onto a loser. And that’s what happened.
  6. Texas A&M (5): Team Trainwreck has just rolled into College Station. Kyler Murray goes from God to goat (not G.O.A.T.) almost at a flick of a stwitch, John Chavis’ big-time defense really isn’t looking that big-time at the moment, and to cap it all, A&M got slapped 26-10 at home to mighty Auburn. We know that there’s dissatisfaction amongst Aggies players about playing time. I get the feeling that we’ll be saying goodbye to OC Jake Spavital at the end of the season, and Kevin Sumlin’s seat it getting hotter.
  7. Arkansas (7): Bret Bielema tells the media on Monday: “I made sweet, sweet love to my wife on the weekend. We did it while watching that crazy lateral play.
  8. Tennessee (8): If you’re a Tennessee fan, we’d suggest you go and see a doctor about your heart when the season is over.
  9. Georgia (9): Our prediction that the Georgia vs Auburn game could be awful still stands up, despite the Dawgs scoring 27 this week. Sony Michel and Keith Marshall had good games, and Greyson Lambert was not terrible. But Georgia vs Auburn will be a terrible game.
  10. Auburn (10): See above. Except we’d argue Auburn’s actually in a better direction right now. And they might get to bowl eligibility. Which is quite an effort bearing in mind how crappily they started the season.
  11. South Carolina (12): Kentucky beat South Carolina so should be above them, but South Carolina’s playing the better ‘ball since Spurrier left. And the wheels seem to have come off Kentucky’s season at some speed.
  12. Kentucky (12): See what we said about South Carolina. And add this: “You know you’re doing terrible when Georgia drops 27 on you and they don’t have a quarterback”.
  13. Vanderbilt (13): Weird to think that Vandy will probably look at themselves and think: “We were unlucky to lose in The Swamp on Saturday.” Derek Mason is ensuring this team is no walkover.
  14. Missouri (14): The team is refusing to practice until the Missouri President resigns. Some bright spark pointed out: “Since when did they show up to practice?”

Will Georgia fire Mark Richt? Can LSU upset Bama? Week 10 SEC Predictions

Losing a game is something Georgia fans hate doing. Losing to a rival as insignificant as Tennessee (OK, that they VIEW as insignificant) is even worse. Getting blown out in The Cocktail Party by their most hated rival – again? Don’t just make Mark Richt’s chair hot. Burn it.

As soon as Georgia lost – and went their second straight game without a touchdown – the calls for Mark Richt’s head reached deafening height. Never mind that he was the winningest head coach the program had ever seen. Never mind that season after season Georgia had brought home competitiveness, bowl games, zillions of dollars into the team’s accounts and NFL Draft picks. If you lose in Georgia, you’re out.

And that’s where Mark Richt looks to be going….out.

This week life’s not going to be any easier for him as the Dawgs host Kentucky at home. The announcers will spend 2 hours talking about Richt’s job security, and the rest talking about what will be a horrible, horrible game.

Anyway, here’s your predictions for the rest of this weekend, which includes some game in Tuscaloosa between Alabama and LSU….

  1. LSU at Alabama

Both sides have had games where they’ve played impressively, but when it’s come to poorer opposition, both Alabama and LSU have contrived to stink the house down. We all know what’s going to happen: LSU’s going to hand the ball to Leonard Fournette, who’s going to run headlong into the impenetrable wall known as the Alabama front line. Alabama’s going to hand the ball to Derrick Henry, who’s going to run the ball at a pretty good but not-like-Alabama LSU front line defense. If that fails, they’ll go to their quarterbacks, who aren’t great. They will throw to their wide receivers, which are pretty evenly matched (at a push we’d take LSU). But Alabama has home field advantage, and a real need to win this one. Because if they fail, they don’t win the SEC West, don’t go to the SEC Championship Game, and don’t get in the College Football Play-Off. So, nothing big on the line then….

PREDICTION: Alabama’s a 6-1/2 point favorite with Vegas. We’ll take Alabama by 10. LSU really isn’t that good, folks. 

2. Kentucky at Georgia

Because I’m one of the people who stops to look at the car wrecks. And the way both sides are going about their season, “Car Wreck” would be pretty appropriate right now.

PREDICTION: Georgia’s a 14-point favorite. We’ll take Georgia by 7 in another awful offensive showing.

3. Auburn at Texas A&M

Now Carl Lawson’s back for Auburn, the defense actually looks a little better. Will it be able to stop Christian Kirk or Kyler Murray? Probably not. But it should be really fun to see them try.

PREDICTION: Texas A&M’s a 7-point favorite? Really? That low? We’ll take A&M by 14. 

4. Arkansas at Ole Miss

The Razorbacks have actually played better away than they have at home, which is why we give them a cat-in-hell’s chance at Ole Miss. Plus, Ole Miss hasn’t really looked the same since it was smashed on the road to Florida. The win over Texas A&M in the Worst Game In History a few weeks back righted the ship a little, but then they sank a little playing badly against Auburn. Arkansas could really spring an upset, you know.

PREDICTION: Ole Miss at 10-1/2 point favorite? I’m taking the Rebs by 7. But this will be close.

5. Vanderbilt at Florida

Florida’s ranked highly, so they could do with a win just to stay in the Play-Off conversation. This win will cement the SEC East for the Gators, too. Vanderbilt still trying to get up after being crushed by Houston.

PREDICTION: Florida’s a 20-1/2 point favorite. We’re taking the Gators by 28. 

6. South Carolina at Tennessee 

Tennessee could finish second in the SEC East. South Carolina could finish last. Both need to win for differing reasons.

PREDICTION: Tennessee’s a 17-point favorite. We’ll take the Vols by 21. 

7. Mississippi State at Missouri (Thursday night)

If you like horrific offense, then you’ll love watching the team in gold and black on Thursday night. If you love watching a guy who’s underrated because he should be a Heisman contender, then you’ll love watching the team in the white (Dak Prescott). This game WILL be ugly.

PREDICTION: 9-6?? No really. Mississippi State’s a 7-1/2 point favorite. We’ll take MSU to win by 10.

 

Who wins the Cocktail Party? Week 9 SEC Preview

After last week, Alabama (the best of the SEC) and Missouri (the worst) are both off, making our weekend decidedly less interesting. The weekend would have been pretty incredible, what with the drinking and carrying on that goes on all the way from Athens and Gainseville to Jacksonville this weekend as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party rolls into town, but Georgia’s nothing without Nick Chubb and Florida’s not unbeaten anymore. Seriously, does this showdown – which virtually ensures the bragging rights and the SEC East title – mean that much, bearing in mind how goddawful the East really is?

Anyway, enough of my grumpiness. Here are your SEC predictions, and rankings, in order of importance…

  1. Florida vs Georgia (Jacksonville)

Everything to me points to Georgia losing by a double-digit margin, bearing in mind that Nick Chubb’s done for the year, and Grayson Lambert’s really not a good quarterback. Everyone thought Florida wouldn’t be the same after Will Grier got banned for a year for drugs, but Treon Harris was perfectly serviceable against LSU. And Florida’s defense – despite their showing in Baton Rouge – is going to do a lot better against a far lesser offensive juggernaut.

PREDICTION: Florida’s only a 2-point favorite with Vegas. We’ll take Florida by 10.

2. Ole Miss at Auburn

This was one of the games of the SEC West before the season started….and then Auburn imploded. Anyway, Auburn’s looking better offensively, but defensively, it’s a horror show. Which should be exploited by Chad Kelly and Laquon Treadwell. Defensively, Ole Miss is still missing Tony Connor, but the return of Robert Nkemdiche should continue to revitalize this D, which only gave up 3 points to Texas A&M in a game which involved SEVEN turnovers.

PREDICTION: Ole Miss is a 7.5 point favourite. Let’s take Ole Miss to win by 7 in a shoot-out.

3. Vanderbilt at Houston

It’s strange to have Vandy up on this list for interesting games, but actually, it’s interesting because Houston’s is a real challenger to make a BCS Bowl (or whatever it’s called now), and Vandy’s defense is playing very stoutly. We’re not sure that the offense have got the cajones to keep up with Houston’s, but we know the ‘D’ can certainly slow Tom Herman’s freight train down.

PREDICTION: Houston’s a 12-point favorite. We’ll take Houston by 14, but only after a battle.  

4. Tennessee at Kentucky 

After the Vols’ heartbreaker against Alabama last week, it’ll be interesting to see how they rebound at home to a Kentucky team coming off losing by 32 on the road at Mississippi State. The great thing about this game might be the atmosphere at Commonwealth Stadium, which is going to be off-the-hook.

PREDICTION: Tennessee a 9-point favorite? Really? I’m taking Kentucky to at least cover that. 

5. South Carolina at Texas A&M

Texas A&M’s calling a ‘black out’ for the game, which should means that this game – which will be awful one the eye and very one-sided – should at least be fun for five minutes. We haven’t a clue who the quarterback will be (Kyle Allen, Kyler Murray or A.N. Other) , although the tip is that it’s going to be Murray, now Allen’s got the Everett-Golson-at-Notre-Dame-2014 disease. As for South Carolina? They are just trying to find life after Spurrier.

PREDICTION: Texas A&M’s a 16-1/2 point favorite. We’ll take the Aggies by 21. 

6. Tennessee-Martin vs Arkansas 

Yawn.

 

Week 7 Rankings: LSU, Bama roll while Georgia plunges

The SEC was dealt another blow by minor league opposition when Memphis beat Ole Miss, but otherwise things stayed with the favorites. Alabama went to Texas A&M and romped home thanks to the help of A&M QB Kyle Allen gifting them THREE pick-6s, LSU beat Florida on a fake field goal (we love you, Les Miles!), and Georgia and Missouri played a baseball game in which Georgia won 9-6. Oh, and South Carolina, free from visors and Spurriers, beat Vanderbilt.

After a lay-off of rankings last week, here’s our rankings after Week 7:

  1. Alabama (1): Texas A&M couldn’t stop Alabama’s rush, and Texas A&M couldn’t stop Alabama’s secondary (you remember: The guys we all thought would be ‘soft’?) snaring THREE interceptions and taking them back to the house. Oh, and try and run at this defensive front. Please. Try.
  2. LSU (6): Beat Florida by a field goal, and is looking better and better as the weeks go on. OK, that’s not actually true. Brandon Harris is looking better and better. Leonard Fournette’s just looking like Leonard Fournette.
  3. Texas A&M (3): Kyle Allen was awful. The defense couldn’t stop Derrick Henry. But strangely, this team is defensively better.
  4. Florida (4): Despite the fake field goal loss in Death Valley, this Florida team is still good, and still on the rise. Now imagine what they would have been able to do with Will Grier.
  5. Ole Miss (5): Laremy Tunsil’s coming back so that’ll make the offensive line so much better. And we all hope Robert Nkemdiche can get back to us after sustaining a concussion early on in the Memphis loss. The team looks bad without him.
  6. Mississippi State (7): Dak Prescott and the Mississippi State offense is starting to tick, which needed to happen against a lively Louisiana Tech team last week. This team is going to be a tough out in the SEC West this year.
  7. Arkansas (10): Didn’t choke it all away to bye week this week, but gave Alabama everything they could handle in Week 6. This team needs to learn not to give away penalties though.
  8. Tennessee (12): Grew some balls against Georgia after being down 24-3 early, and profited from Georgia’s lack of catching them. Josh Dobbs should get quite the treatment against Alabama.
  9. Georgia (4): The Nick Chubb injury at Tennessee has KILLED this team. The Florida game could be uncomfortable.
  10. Auburn (13): Win over Kentucky makes this team close (ish) to being bowl eligible, but it’s still not a very good side.
  11. Kentucky (10):  Kentucky probably feel they should have beaten Auburn on Thursday night. At the start of the season, who would have thought we’d be saying that?
  12. 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.
  13. South Carolina (14): South. Carolina. Is. Awful. But weirdly enough, less awful now Steve Spurrier’s gone.
  14. Vanderbilt (14): Welcome back to the bottom of the list, Vandy. We missed you.

 

 

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