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.

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.

Nick Saban signs extension but raises questions

Nick Saban has signed a contract extension this year that will pay him $11.1 million in 2017 as part of an eight-year deal that will pay the coach a total of $65 million – and that’s before bonuses that could pay him another $700,000 per year until 2024.

Also seeing their salaries bumped are new AD Greg Byrne (who only took the job in June), as well as his assistants, led by co-defensive co-ordinator Tosh Lupoi, who will earn $950,000, while new offensive co-ordinator Brian Dobell has re-signed until January 2020 in a $1.2 million salary deal.

Record

Saban’s record at Alabama is stunning – 119-19 over the last 10 years, with four of those years leading the Crimson Tide to a National Championship.

During his tenure at Alabama Saban has not been immune from the loss of co-ordinators, who have gone on to varying successes. Former OC Jim McElwain is the head coach of Florida, former DC Kirby Smart is the head coach of Georgia and most recently, OC Lane Kiffin in the head coach of Florida Atlantic University, while offensive line coach and recruiter supreme Mario Cristobal is now the co-offensive co-ordinator at Oregon.

The deal is great for Saban, his family, for Alabama fans still worrying he might leave for Texas, and of course, his agent Jimmy Sexton, who should be pocketing a tidy amount for the negotiation.

Alabama and other schools

In the time that Saban has been in charge of Alabama, the school has made more than $100m from football – which is absolutely stunning. And football’s success and the subsequent financial income has meant good news for the other non-revenue-making sports ‘on the Alabama roster’, which are being kept afloat by the thousands of fans buying tickets, shirts, hats and probably pets called ‘Crimson’ just for bathing in the light of the pigskin.

Oh, and rival schools – whether they like to say it or not – probably love Saban’s success, because every time the Crimson Tide come to town there is more fanfare than a Royal Wedding in Britain, leading to higher TV exposure. The SEC certainly loves Alabama’s success – Saban’s made the conference look better. ESPN and CBS have enjoyed the Crimson Tide for viewing figure purposes, and those charming people on the secondary market who concentrate on Tuscaloosa games are probably driving Mercs.

But what about the students?

The biggest annoyance we have with a deal like this for Saban is that Alabama players over the years of Saban’s multi-million dollar success have been paid exactly $0. Of course, there are stipends (and we suspect under-the-table ‘players’ donations’ given by boosters (it being the SEC), but that’s nothing if you consider what Alabama has made in terms of sports revenue.

Of course, the likes of Paul Finebaum and many Alabama fans will argue that Saban’s contract is worth it, and we’d agree – if you are thinking about the price paid by the university itself. There are a ton of players who have profited from Saban’s teaching, too. Especially the 22 first round picks who played for Saban in Tuscaloosa (65 in total have gone pro).

But there are a ton of players who have played for Saban and have come out with exactly nothing, while their coach has reaped the financial rewards.

I’m sorry, but that doesn’t seem right.

 

Should Alabama fans be pleased with their new OC?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Steve Sarkasian leaves Alabama for Falcons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This could be interesting.

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

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

Who’s going to win Alabama vs Washington?

I sorted of jumped around in my seat when I saw that Vegas had narrowed the prediction of Alabama’s margin-of-victory to under two touchdowns before their College Football Play-Off game with Washington in Atlanta.

There are no doubts that Washington’s a good side. Their sole loss of the season – to a USC side that probably would be playing in its place if the Trojans had had any early season form (they were good for about a quarter against Alabama on Opening Saturday!) – wasn’t great, but otherwise, Chris Petersen’s side was effective.

All the odds stack up in Alabama’s favour. It’s defense – Nick Saban’s pride and joy – is the best in the country. Washington will give you a chance, but their secondary feasts on stupid decisions by quarterbacks. They had 19 interceptions in the regular (plus Pac-12 Championship Game) season. Alabama’s defense is downright FREAKY – its linebackers and secondary players seem to average a touchdown and a Pick-6 EVERY SINGLE GAME.

On  the offensive side, Alabama’s offensive line is – as we know – incredible, and everyone from Bo Scarborough – who’s going to battle it out for a Heisman in 2017 to Calvin Ridley to OJ Howard are frigteningly good. Washington has playmaker John Ross who can destoy a mistake-making secondary, but wouldn’t Nick Saban have focused on ways for him NOT TO GET THE BALL?

The question will be, then: Who is the quarterback to avoid those problems. Jake Browning, if we’re honest, hasn’t really been the same since he was torched against USC for two interceptions and safety, while Jalen Hurts has been convincing all season. Of course, there have been moments that he’s given up the odd stupid INT, but with the offensive line as it is, I sincerely doubt that Washington’s going to get the pressure.

PREDICTION: Alabama by 21 and the only reason why it’s that close is that Saban shows respect for Petersen.

And Ohio State vs Clemson is going to be a battle royale between two great teams. If it was on coaches alone, we’d take Urban Meyer every time, but Clemson  has a better quarterback, more talented receivers, and an attacking defense and more’s the case, has got a team that’s been there before. The problem with Clemson is that Dabo Swinney can see his team take a big lead, and then becomes far more conservative, which in fact ended up hurting him in the National Championship and several games this season. It would be wise of him not to do that against the Buckeyes.

PREDICTION: Clemson by 5 in AN INSTANT CLASSIC.

Lane Kiffin to leave Alabama, reports say

Lane Kiffin is to leave his job of offensive coordinator at Alabama to become the new head coach of Florida Atlantic, multiple reports have said.

Florida Atlantic will apparently pay Kiffin $1 million-per-year – a near-30% drop – from the $1.4 million-per-year he’s being paid by Nick Saban.

Kiffin was praised by legendary Miami and Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger who told Fox Sports: “He was a great player, himself, and a fine coach. He’s got a good track record and he’s qualified.

Kiffin will continue to coach the school during the College Football Play-Off – in which Alabama is an overwhelming favorite to take home the title. Nick Saban was supportive of the move.

We think this is a wonderful opportunity for him,” Saban said. “He’s done a great job here.”

It’s weird and wonderful that this news comes just a day after the SEC Blog wrote the article: Why can’t Lane Kiffin get a head coaching job?

 

 

 

Why can’t Lane Kiffin get a head coaching job?

This year the rumors were hotter than ever that Lane Kiffin would get a prized coaching job. And even hotter that they would be in Houston, following Tom Herman’s decision to go to Texas to be the new head coach.

It looked a slam-dunk. The good people at USA Today reported so. And then suddenly, there was a U-Turn in the Houston ranks, who instead decided on former UH offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to be the head coach.

The school’s logic? Houston’s board of regents chairman Tilman Fertitta (great name, by the way sir) called into a radio station and said: ‘”Lane Kiffin did not show me anything that Major Applewhite did not show me. Sure, he’s been a head coach, and he’s been an OK head coach. But I can tell you this: It was not a safe hire.”

OK, so what did he mean by safe hire?

Was the term ‘safe hire’ about really being an ‘OK head coach’?  At Tennessee he moved the Vols from a 5-7 record to a 7-6 record, but his mouthing-off about Alabama and Florida didn’t help him when lost to them. And there seemed to be a bunch of hope. So when he left for SC, Kiffin was actually better than most people believe at USC – particularly after the postseason bans and loss of scholarship players in the 2010 season that dropped his would-be 85 scholarship players to just 71….and he came with an 8-5 record. The next season – with another bowl ban – USC had a 10-2 record. In 2012, he showed a lot of self-confidence — even voting the Trojans to No.1 in a preseason poll….and finished with an 8-5 record. In 2013, the most famous move for him was being fired at LAX after starting the season with a 4-7 record. And as an offensive coordinator at Alabama, he’s seen nothing but success, helping Nick Saban to a National Championship in 2015 (and probably in 2016, since the Crimson Tide looks unstoppable under his offensive tutelage) and back-to-back-to-back SEC Championships. Oh, and there’s been a Heisman Trophy thrown in there for Derrick Henry, too. But there is this fact: In two out of three of his head coaching jobs, Kiffin has been fired. And both of them have been unceremonious. Houston probably couldn’t face a controversy like that again.

….But he’s proved to be excellent offensive coordinator… As an offensive coordinator at Alabama, he’s seen nothing but success, helping Nick Saban to a National Championship in 2015 (and probably in 2016, since the Crimson Tide looks unstoppable under his offensive tutelage) and back-to-back-to-back SEC Championships. Oh, and there’s been a Heisman Trophy thrown in there for Derrick Henry, too.

Was the term ‘safe hire’ about loyalty? The University of Houston probably looked at Kiffin’s one-stop ‘drop’ of Tennessee (and the way he did it) and thought to themselves: ‘As soon as ‘bigger job’ comes up, he’ll walk. And we don’t want to be seen as a ‘feeder school’ to big-time programs.

But remember this… Kiffin was fired at the Oakland Raiders. And he was fired at the Trojans. He didn’t leave them.

Was the term ‘safe hire’ about his mouth and actions? OK, so here’s the problem that Houston probably thought about Lane Kiffin. While every time you’ve seen Kiffin on the sidelines next to Nick Saban, Saban’s been the one giving out the abuse (Kiffin’s taken it…much to my admiration, if I’m honest). But that hasn’t always been the case. He was called a ‘flat-out liar’ by Oakland’s ownership in 2008 because the rumors were floating about his considering college football roles…and then he denied it. That probably didn’t score any points with the Houston guys. Then, there was his arrival in Tennessee, when not only did he say in an overly-confident arrival that he would beat Florida and Alabama (he didn’t), but a few weeks after said that Urban Meyer – then the Florida coach – of cheating and NCAA violations. That probably didn’t go down well. Then he was rude about other SEC competitors.

Was the term ‘safe hire’ about his actions? And speaking of actions, there have been a bunch of accusations  – that we won’t print – about Lane Kiffin’s off-the-field behavior that certain boards of regents might be unhappy with. But then again, Major Applewhite didn’t exactly do himself any favors in that department, either.

So how will it play out? We don’t know. Kiffin’s obviously an offensive genius but he’s got the hirers really, really worried about his mouth, his history with ownership, leadership, and SEC and NCAA administrators when a head coach. Nick Saban has openly supported Lane Kiffin finding a head coaching job, and has said that he’s ‘ready again’ to take the job. That’s an excellent reference if you ask us. Florida Atlantic are said to be going for Kiffin, but the talks have stalled. How does this blog think things will go? Kiffin will stay for another year as OC of Alabama. And God Help Us All. 

Can Texas A&M tame the Tide?: Week 8 SEC Preview

Texas A&M vs Alabama didn’t need a lot of hype after Johnny Manziel beat the Tide almost single-handedly in 2012, and was great in 2013 too. The rivalry took some time off in 2014 and 2015, after the games were basically a replay of SlaughterHouse 5: Saban Version, when the Tide massacred the Aggies.

But the 2016 version? Wow. This could be AWESOME. Both teams are unbeaten atop the SEC West, and there’s talk about title games, play-off entries and the suchlike. It’s going to awesome.

Elsewhere, LSU faces its first test after the arrival of Ed Orgeron with the visit of Ole Miss, and Arkansas goes to Auburn. Elsewhere, Mississippi State vs Kentucky WILL BE PLAYED AND SOMEONE WILL HAVE TO WATCH IT, and the same could probably be applied to UMass’ visit to South Carolina, Middle Tennessee State’s trip to Missouri, and Tennessee State’s wander to Vandy.

So, here’s your SEC games in order of importance:

  1. No.6 Texas A&M vs No.1 Alabama

Alabama scorched ‘tough’ road opponents Arkansas and Tennessee in the last weeks so badly that Vegas believes the Crimson Tide will run out 17 point winners. But the believers – and most of them are wearing Aggie colors – believe that Trevor Knight – who’s actually beaten Alabama before when he was at Oklahoma – could do it again, and believe that if Knight’s accurate and the offensive line don’t get him killed, then Alabama’s secondary could be worried by the speed of Texas A&M’s wide receivers. They’ll also tell you that Myles Garrett’s one of the best defensive players who ever lived. And it’s hard not to agree. But then again, Alabama’s defense keeps on scoring touchdowns. Lane Kiffin’s tactical genius is helping to making the offense so damned difficult to stop. And if the game DOES go down to the wire, do you trust Alabama’s kicker or Texas A&M’s, the latter who’s shank will still go down long in history as one of the worst you’ll see in a long time. I’m taking Alabama.

PREDICTION: Vegas has Alabama as an 18-point favorite. I’m sorry, that’s cautious for me. Take Alabama, but by under 18.

2. No. 23 Ole Miss at No.25 LSU

This is Ed Orgeron’s first real game in charge of the Tigers (it would have been the second had Florida not been cancelled blah blah blah blah…), and it comes at a time when Ole Miss is reeling from its loss against Arkansas (again). Tiger Stadium will be rocking, and Coach ‘O’ has promised that both Darius Guice and Leonard Fournette will play, which could prove to be a double-fun combination. I’m still a little scared by LSU’s lack of great quarterback play, and if Ole Miss stifles the run (which it hasn’t done so far this season), Ole Miss could be in trouble. But there’s one thought that I like: This one could be a shoot-out. And the reason is this: LSU’s defense has played well, but it hasn’t played that well, and it certainly hasn’t played an offense like Ole Miss’ one. This could be fun.

PREDICTION: LSU by 7 – beating Vegas’ 6-point stance – but we also like the OVER of 60.5. 

3. No.17 Arkansas vs No. 21 Auburn

Auburn have slowly impressed me so far this season (I saw them play against Clemson, LSU, a little against Texas A&M and Mississippi State), and for the first time in years, we’re talking more about the Tiger’s defense than offense. I’m still not crying with joy about Sean White and what the time has to offer, but it should have better against an Arkansas team who doesn’t have a lot defensively either. But this year, Arkansas games are damned fun to watch. I can’t think of a dull one I’ve seen (sorry, I didn’t catch the blow-outs!).

PREDICTION: Auburn’s a 10-point favorite and we’d like to implore you NOT to take it. Take the over for 55-1/2 though. 

4. Mississippi State vs Kentucky

This will be terrible, but on the other hand, this could be one of the East’s wins against the West’s. So….. (I’m done now).

PREDICTION: Mississippi State walk into Kentucky as 7-point favorites, probably buoyed by the performance at BYU and the fact that Kentucky’s defense is laughable. So that’s why we’re taking Kentucky in the upset. 

BIG PREDICTIONS OTHERWISE: Missouri to beat Middle Tennessee State by MORE THAN 6-1/2; Vanderbilt to beat Tennessee State; and South Carolina to beat UMass by 28. 

 

 

 

 

Quick SEC Preview: The Players To Watch

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

SEC PLAYERS

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

NON-SEC PLAYERS

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