We were thinking about doing an article in the shower about the best records in the SEC over the last five years, but they’ve already been nicely covered by everyone from Gridiron Now to Saturday Down South.

You’ll be astonished to hear that Alabama’s got the best home record in the last five years, and the crappiest home record is Kentucky’s.

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to you to find out that after the 2016 season happened, every single SEC team in the last 5 years has winning records in the comfort of their own homes (Kentucky was the last to get to black but did so after going 5-2 last year). Last year’s two worst home records were Georgia’s and Mississippi State’s at 3-3, and Georgia’s could easily have been 2-4 if you count how badly they played against Nicholls State (mind you, UGA fans would deride Tennessee’s Hail Mary victory as a fluke, but there we go).

So with that in mind, it’s quite difficult to work out what the worst losses teams experienced at home, so we’re going for ANY in the last five years….

Alabama: We’re trying to work out what was more stunning: The Texas A&M game where Johnny Manziel ran Nick Saban’s team ragged in 2012, or Ole Miss‘s win in Tuscaloosa for the first time in 25 years. We’ll take (deep breath), the Texas A&M game….

Arkansas: When No.8 in 2012, the Razorbacks lost at home to Louisiana-Monroe. The fans are still blaming Bobby Petrino’s extra-vehicular activities for the mess that was 2012.

Auburn:  The 28-10 loss to unranked Mississippi State helped to signal the start of the end for one Gene Chizik. It was about then that Auburn fans realised that their team really wasn’t going to be very good. Chizik was fired in November, and brought in a guy called Gus Malzahn. That worked out OK…

Florida: Losing 26-20 at home to mighty Georgia Southern in 2013 saw Gators chomped.

Georgia: In 2013, Georgia went to Vanderbilt ranked as the No.15 in the country. They lost 31-27.

Kentucky: Kentucky has been amazing at struggling against non-big conference teams, with back-t0-back losses to Western Kentucky at the end of the Joker Phillips era and the start of the Mark Stoops won, but our favourite might well be 2016’s 44-35 home loss to Southern Miss….who ended 4-4 in the Conference USA.

LSU: The No.9 Tigers had won three straight against Arkansas and were probably looking forward to their 2015 encounter with the Razorbacks, particularly as they’d been thrashed 17-0 in the game previous in 2014. However, the Tigers bombed out, losing 34-17. This only heaped the pressure on Les Miles, who wouldn’t survive the 2016 season.

Missouri: The 31-27 home loss to Indiana as a No.18-ranked team in 2014 seems like a huge result at first, but then getting 51 dropped on you by Middle Tennessee State in 2016 was even worse.  Right? RIGHT?

Ole Miss: The Mid-South rivalry game between Memphis and Ole Miss wasn’t much of a rivalry between the two teams, with Memphis losing the six games in a row. It seemed obvious that No.13 Ole Miss would deal with the Tigers in 2015. They didn’t, losing 37-24.

Mississippi State: The score of South Alabama 21, Mississippi State 20 opened up the 2016 season. Not great for the SEC, and certainly not great for the Bulldogs, either.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks’ 23-22 home loss to The Citadel in 2015 won’t be a game that Gamecocks fans will want to be reminded of.

Tennessee: There were a lot of poor losses in the 2012 season, but standing out is the Vols’ 41-18 shellacking by Vanderbilt.

Texas A&M: Auburn had two SEC wins in 2015. One of them was a 26-10 win at Kyle Field against the Aggies. This made Kevin Sumlin’s seat a little hotter. It’s very hot going into the 2017 season, we can tell you.

Vanderbilt: The 37-7 crushing home loss at home to Temple in 2014 was the worst home opening defeat for the program in its entire history. It was hardly an ideal start for new coach Derek Mason, either.

If you feel that there are some games we’ve forgotten about, let us know via Twitter on @secblog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QBs in the SEC: Who’s in the best shape for 2017?

LSU always seems to have a quarterback problem, it’s been argued that Florida hasn’t had a good one since Tebow, and Georgia hasn’t won the SEC despite having good quarterbacks, while Alabama has won a lot of SEC titles without having any quarterbacks that you’d say are NFL-worthy. So for 2017, which SEC team is in the best shape at quarterback? And who is struggling? Clue: It’s probably not a team from Baton Rouge.

  1. Mississippi State: Nick Fitzgerald did wonders at Mississippi State last year. He led the SEC in total yards in 2016, throwing for over 2,400 yards and 21 TDs (and no interceptions) and rushing for nearly 1,400 yards and 16 TDs. He also beat Ole Miss, which pretty much makes him God in Starkville. There are worries because he didn’t have a sharp Spring Game, but it’s a Spring Game. Mississippi State’s in fine fettle at that position. Whether he’ll have the contributors he needs now Fred Ross he needs to give him the good stats is another thing altogether.

2. Auburn: After playing one Spring Game for Auburn, there was already Heisman hype around Jarrett Stidham on the plains. Some have even compared him to Drew Brees. Managing to get Stidham – who was already familiar with a high-octane offense by playing for Baylor in 2015 – to come play for you was a masterstroke by Malzahn and company. Stidham is a fantastic dual-threatt QB who’s going to cause defenses a lot of problems.

3. Alabama: Talk about an embarrassment of riches. Nick Saban keeps on getting hold of freshmen who are so good that that sophomore who had an insane season is suddenly worrying about his job. We see with Jalen Hurts – who had an incredible freshman year – in a sudden quarterback battle with Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa – a five star from Hawaii – had a brilliant Spring Game which got the tongues about Hurts’ job stability. And next season? There will probably be someone else to scare the crap out of these two.

4. Georgia: With Jacob Eason, the Bulldogs have an entrenched starting quarterback. His problem might well be the same that haunted him last year – the offensive line. But for pure stability – and a cannon for an arm – the Dawgs are going to be juuuuust fine.

5. Arkansas: We quite like the shape the Razorbacks are in at this position. Allen’s got a cannon, and threw for 3,450 yards, 25 TDs and 15 INTs last year. His problem will be the offensive line, which got him sacked THIRTY FOUR times last year. But if that improves, the Razorbacks have one of the best weapons in scrimmage around.

6. Missouri: Drew Lock’s going to start at quarterback for the Tigers, and he’s got the arm to be a star. If his receivers (we see you, J’Mon Moore) could actually catch the ball, then he could put up some immense stats and lead the Tigers forward.

7. Kentucky: Drew Barker vs Stephen Johnson is an interesting QB battle. Barker was the 2016 starter before he hurt his back, and then Johnson took the team over and led the team to seven wins – including a win over hated rivals Louisville. There is hope in Big Blue Nation. Although Mark Stoops has been uncommittal about the QB battle, it’s Johnson’s team, and UK is in a good position.

8. Vanderbilt: Kyle Shurmur will start. He had 2,400 yards passing, although he threw more INTs (10) than TDs (9). He progressed nicely through the last few weeks of the season, throwing for 221, 252, 273 and 416 yards in his last four games of the year. The 416 came against Tennessee’s defense (just in case you were thinking it was against a ‘nobody’. Vandy should be in pretty good shape here.

9. Ole Miss: Shea Patterson was given a lot of love when he walked into The Grove, and during his first year he threw for nearly 900 yards with 6 TDs and 3 INTs. And the opposition (Texas A&M, Vandy and MSU) wasn’t terrible either. The problem won’t be about Patterson’s skills, but more if the team plays with confidence after the trouble that the school is going to be in with the NCAA. And we’d argue that’s going to be a lot.

10. South Carolina: A lot of people were excited about Jake Bentley, who came in mid-way through the season and threw for 1,420 yards and 9 TDs (and 3 INTs). His strong Spring Game got Gamecocks fans drooling (if they weren’t already bearing in mind they had a Final Four game to watch that day).

11. Florida: The QB battle between Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask is certainly an interesting one, although both aren’t particularly well-known quantities. Luke Del Rio’s coming back from a shoulder injury, and could compete for the job. While some are excited about Florida if the QBs prove capable, we still don’t know a massive amount about them. They should be helped by a nasty defense, though.

12. Texas A&M: Jake Hubenak, Kellen Mond, and Nick Starkel didn’t exactly stand out at A&M’s Spring Game, but Starkel was given the most love because of how he stood in the pocket – and that his receivers dropped passes. The good news for Aggie Nation is that the running game looks very solid indeed.

13. Tennessee: Former Josh Dobbs back-up Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano are fighting it out for the Vols QB position, but I’m not convinced about either of them. Sorry, Vols fans.

14. LSU: This is how bad the LSU QB competition is. Ed Orgeron – normally Mr Exuberant and Mr Confident in these situations – told the press: “No-one has earned the starting spot…. Most of the spring, [starter for most of 2016] Danny [Etling] has been there. Nobody has taken him over. But tonight, underneath the pressure, the guys didn’t perform the way we wanted to. They’ll have to show me who can perform under pressure and be the LSU quarterback.” Normally when the guy who ended last year as the starter is safe and hasn’t transferred or been arrested (ie doesn’t go to Oklahoma), he’s your man to be the starter for 2017. Not so for Louisiana State University. In the Spring Game, Justin McMillan passed only three times and Lindsay Scott didn’t pass once. And Etling was horrible. These could be bad, bad times for the Purple and Gold and trying to get a QB into Baton Rouge.

Mississippi State gives Mullen monster extension

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who’s going to win the Iron Bowl? And other Rivalry Week predictions

It’s THAT weekend again, which means that either you are going to have drunken yourself into a stupor by the time Rivalry Weekend comes around, or most of your Thursday-or-Friday-or-Saturday will be spent either talking crap at tailgates or talking crap while being stuck in traffic.

A couple of weekends ago it was set to be a tremendous Iron Bowl, and then Auburn went and lost to a crappy Georgia team, while the SEC East looked really interesting. Now, Florida can afford to get thumped by Florida State and have the excuse: “We were resting folks for the SEC Championship Game” (where they’ll get shellacked anyway). Still, almost every game involving a SEC team should be interesting this week -which is more than can be said for Week 12. You know, apart from the Vanderbilt game. HOLY CRAP DID ANY OF YOU SEE VANDY BEAT OLE MISS LIKE THAT?

So here we go…..(in order of day)

THURSDAY

LSU vs Texas A&M

This is a battle for the two of the biggest let-downs of the season. LSU let us down from the moment they lost to Wisconsin, while Texas A&M had a great start to the season, and then lost handily to mighty Mississippi State. This will probably be the last game we say goodbye to Leonard Fournette and Myles Garrett, so the match-up will be worth watching when you get bored of the ad break that is the NFL. LSU’s a road favorite in Kyle Field  – but after watching their awful offensive performance against an undermanned Florida we have one question: Why?

PREDICTION: LSU’s a 6-1/2 point favorite. We’re taking Texas A&M to win outright. 

FRIDAY

Arkansas vs Missouri

The great thing about this game is that (probably) not a lot of people will be watching it, so the CBS guys can pretty much talk about the Iron Bowl. The most interesting thing to come out of Missouri this week is that the NCAA is investigating the school for academic fraud – which should fit it in nicely with a lot of other SEC schools. Joking apart,  Missouri fans will be wanting this game – and their seasons – over with bearing in mind the defense’s failures and the news that livewire running back Damarea Crockett had been arrested for pot and banned for this game, which will give the crowd in Columbia even less reason to be excited. Arkansas, on the other hand, ain’t great either.

PREDICTION: The Crockett loss will be huge for Missouri. Arkansas is favored by 8. We predict they’ll beat that nicely.

SATURDAY 

  1. No.13 Auburn at No.1 Alabama (3.30pm) 

Nick Saban wasn’t too pleased about how Alabama played against Tennessee-Chatanooga, and for very good reason….the Crimson Tide was awful. But does this mean that the No.1 team in the nation – who has been imperious all season long – will underestimate their hated rival? No. Auburn’s definitely improved on both sides of the ball as the season has gone on, but they really need Shaun White to come back from injury to get the team going again. Jeremy Johnson was able against Alabama A&M, but then again Gus Malzahn himself could have thrown for a couple of TDs bearing in mind the opposition. As for Alabama, this is a pretty beaten up team, but they’ll be fine come Iron Bowl. They always are!

PREDICTION: Alabama’s a 17 point home favorite. We think they win by 3 touchdowns. 

2. South Carolina at No.2 Clemson (7.30 pm) 

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was asked whether he planned to rest players for South Carolina game prior to the ACC Championship Game in Orlando. He looked the reporter in the eye and said: ‘You’re obviously not from South Carolina‘. Funnily enough, Dabo’s not either…..he’s from Birmingham, Alabama (but that’s another point entirely). ANYWAY, with all that said and done, he’s gonna have a damned fired up Clemson team to face South Carolina in the other Death Valley. If Clemson play as well as they are capable of (and don’t take their foot off the gas) they’ll win this easily.

PREDICTION: Clemson’s a 23-1/2 point favorite. We think Clemson wins by 24. But it’ll be one of the most interesting games of the day from a betting point-of-view, we can tell you.

3. Kentucky at No.11 Louisville

The Governor’s Cup game is high on the list because of Lamar Jackson – and no other real reason. If Jackson puts up a ton of points and touchdowns, then it’ll be difficult not to put him in the Top Three for New York, if not the No.1. Not because Kentucky’s incredible, but it’s because it will cap an incredible season. After Louisville’s O-Line was mauled all night long by future NFLer Ed Oliver and the Louisville defensive line, it’ll be interesting to see if Kentucky can get the same sort of pressure.

PREDICTION: The bookies don’t seem to think so, with Louisville at 25-point favorite. I’ll take Louisville to win, but by 14 in a game that’s close until the final quarter.

4. No.13 Florida at No.14 Florida State (8pm)

After their stunning victory at LSU despite the Tigers living in their red-zone, Florida will be really excited to go into Tallahassee to play their ultra-hated rival. The Gators have the annoying ‘Gator Chomp, while the Seminoles have the annoying ‘Tomahawk Chop’ (or whatever they call it). Florida hasn’t beaten FSU since 2012 and has only won once in the last six years, and this doesn’t look an opportune time to change.

PREDICTION: Florida State’s a 7 game favorite. We’ll take FSU by 10 or more.

5. Georgia Tech at Georgia (12pm) 

The Georgia – Georgia Tech game’s got one of the best names for a rivalry around: “Clean, Ole Fashioned Hate”. Georgia will be looking for revenge after the last time Tech went to Georgia and won at Sanford in overtime 30-24. The great things for the neutral is that the last three games have been very close (2015 was decided by 6, 2014 and 2013 went to overtime and double overtime respectively). This year, it’ll be intriguing to see how both sides rev themselves us for a rivalry where pride is TRULY on the line, bearing in mind both sides are 7-4 and out of contention in their conferences. Seriously, this one’s all about record. Won’t stop the fans liking each other any less, though.

PREDICTION: Georgia’s a 4-point favorite. We’ll take Georgia in the ‘over’. 

6. Mississippi State at Ole Miss (3.30 pm) 

The Egg Bowl has been christened by some cruel people ‘The Rotten Egg Bowl’ bearing in mind how bad the football has been in The Magnolia State this year. Of course, for every close (loss) Ole Miss has had (and there have been another) there has been getting beaten by three touchdowns by Vanderbilt. For every win over Texas A&M that Mississippi State has stunned the world with, there’s been a South Alabama, and a Kentucky. Listen, we still think Nick Fitzgerald’s a great quarterback and Shea Patterson’s a lot of fun to watch, but the rest of this game could be one for the bourbon. Just to get you through it.

PREDICTION: Ole Miss is an 8-point favorite. We’ll take Ole Miss by a field goal in an under-the-radar awful-come-classic. 

 

Er, this is a terrible SEC line-up of games: Week 12 Predictions

I love the SEC as much as anybody, but I hate it when the schools decide that the weekend before Thanksgiving is going to be THE WEEKEND to play garbage.

I know, I know. The protector of such massive games such as Alabama A&M’s visit to Auburn will beg you to look at what nearly happened to Auburn against Jacksonville State last year, or what DID happen to Mississippi State against South Alabama. Or what happened to Arkansas against Toledo last year. ‘Hey, Alabama once got beaten by UAB’, another fan will tell us.

The fact is this: Alabama ain’t gonna get beaten by Chattanooga, Austin Peay ain’t gonna conquer Kentucky, Western Carolina probably won’t stop South Carolina, and we don’t see UTSA beating Texas A&M. The only that’s possibly interesting is Louisiana Lafayette’s game against Georgia – and that’s because UGA was so goddawful against Nicholls State. Sorry about the spreads this week, folks. They ain’t worth the effort. Rather like watching the games themselves (if Georgia loses to ULL in a ‘blackout’ game it will be funny, though)….

So here are the SEC games that are on offer. And it’s hardly run-to-the-TV to watch these, either (outside of LSU vs Florida). Once again, we order them in terms of interestingness….

  1. No.23 Florida vs No.16 LSU

By now, you understand the background to this game: It was meant to be played much earlier in the year in Gainseville (where it probably would have meant a hell of a lot more), but Hurricane Matthew stopped that happening. Anyway, LSU has been greatly improved since Les Miles’ departure, losing one game only, that was to Alabama. Florida’s defense has a lot of NFL-good players on it, but it’s beaten up at the moment, while Leonard Fournette and Darius Guise are looking to continue as one of the best 1-2 punches in college football.

PREDICTION: LSU’s a 14-1/2 point favorite. We’ll take LSU by 14 as the SEC East continues its slide against the SEC West. 

2. Missouri at No. 19 Tennessee 

A lot of people – even the excellent Missouri podcast ‘The Mizzodcast’ doesn’t see a lot of hope in the Tigers winning in the Neyland Stadium, but they sure think it would be funny. They are also a lot happier than they were a week ago after Mizzou finally got its first SEC win in quite a while by defeating Vanderbilt. They’ll be hoping they play the same inconsistent Tennessee team that’s been driving its fans crazy all season long. At times, we’ve seen flashes from the Volunteers that’s made us think ‘play-offs’, and at times we’ve seen flashes from the Vols that’s made us think ‘mediocre’. Well, they are pretty mediocre, but mediocre could still get them a spot in the SEC Championship Game, where they’ll probably lose by 900 to Alabama.

PREDICTION: Tennessee’s a 16-1/2 point favorite and we think the Vols walk this one, winning by 3 touchdowns. Although if there’s money on Missouri being within 3 at half-time….take it. 

3. Arkansas at Mississippi State

Arkansas has been one of the most fun-yet-infuriating teams to watch this season. They’ve looked golden against tough defenses like Florida, yet fell to pieces against LSU’s run. Mississippi State, on the other hand, have looked like crap most of the season….until they blew out Texas A&M in one of the season’s most ununderstandable results. I actually like MSU’s Nick Fitzgerald a lot as a quarterback, but I’m unsure about the rest of the team.

PREDICTION: Mississippi State’s a 1-1/2 point favorite. This could be one of the most secretly entertaining games of the week. We’re taking Arkansas by a field goal. 

4. Ole Miss at Vanderbilt

Everyone’s fallen in love with Shea Patterson. Including us. Maybe not Texas A&M fans.

PREDICTION: Ole Miss is a 10-point favorite against a tough defense. We’re taking Ole Miss to win by 21 with Shea Patterson doing even more Johnny Manziel stuff.

Who’s going to win on Week 11?

As we understand by Donald Trump’s ascension to the White House, nothing is a foregone conclusion, but we don’t expect Alabama to shoot themselves in the foot at home to Mississippi State.

Anyway, here’s what we think is going to happen in the Week 11 games:

  1. No. 9 Auburn at Georgia – This season’s becoming so weird that you half expect Georgia to pull off the upset. But then again, that means that they’ll actually have to play well on both lines – something they’ve proved to be unable at doing. Auburn, on the hand, is on fire. We’ll take Auburn by 7 in a doozy.
  2. No.24 LSU at No.24 Arkansas – Both sides have been completely non-sensical all season long, which should mean that this game will be a lot of fun. I’m taking LSU by 10, with Leonard Fournette taking things over in the fourth quarter.
  3. Ole Miss at No.8 Texas A&M – The Aggies shouldn’t be ranked as high as they are, but they are at No.8 despite getting blown out at Mississippi State because the Play-Off Committee was videoed having an orgy a few weeks ago, and Texas A&M has the tapes. Allegedly. Quarterbacks, Chad Kelly and Trevor Knight won’t be playing, which makes this game a little more unsexy. Unless Shea Patterson starts and lives up to the hype. This will be fun. I’m taking Texas A&M by 4 in a back-and-forth classic.
  4. Kentucky at Tennessee – This could be under-the-radar fun. I expect both sides to put up a ton of points and give up a lot of points too. Tennessee wins by 14 with scores late in the game, but it’s close most of the way.
  5. Mississippi State at No.1 Alabama – Both sides overcame emotional victories last week, although we don’t expect Mississippi State to be a match for this Alabama team. Bama cruises by 24.
  6. South Carolina at Florida – Apparently Steve Spurrier’s got his eye on this game. I’m taking Florida by 14 in an awful one. 
  7. Vanderbilt at Missouri – Yuck. Missouri pulls off the ‘upset’ and wins! Maybe? 

Who’s the worst team in the SEC? (Hint: They play in the East)

The race for the bottom of the SEC was a really difficult race, made a lot harder to work out after the frankly illogical Mississippi State victory over Texas A&M, a win that should have been celebrated by the fanbase violently clanging bells on the field. We were shocked the field at Davis-Wade Stadium wasn’t invaded after the felling of the mighty Aggies, but there we go.

But it also made us think: Who in the heck is the worst team in the SEC? So here’s our countdown from 1-14. You can probably guess No. 14. Roll Tide.

  1. Missouri (0-5 SEC, 2-7 total) – Hasn’t won a game and while they looked competitive against South Carolina, this is a bad, bad team – especially on the defense. The fanbase seems to hate new DC DeMontie Cross and the decision to recalibrate the defense, and the offense is riddled with mistakes.
  2. Vanderbilt (1-4, 4-5) – The defense is definitely doing some good things, but the offense is still terrible.
  3. South Carolina (3-4, 5-4) – Back-to-back SEC victories is suddenly exciting a fanbase about the Will Muschamp hire. We’re still not excited about the Gamecocks for 2016, although Muschamp’s 2017 class – considering how good he is a recruiter – could be something to watch.
  4. Mississippi State (2-3, 4-5) – The win over Texas A&M boosted them up the table, but you still think that things would have been different had Trevor Knight and Myles Garrett not been injured during the game.
  5. Kentucky (4-3, 5-4) – Gave Georgia the fright of its life and it’s a lot of fun to watch the Wildcats on offense. Defensively, they are a shambles.
  6. Georgia (3-4, 5-4) – Georgia’s medicore. That’s all there is to really say (They beat UNC, South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky and should have beaten Tennessee, but were slaughtered about Florida, and lost to Vanderbilt and things will probably be really ugly against Auburn)
  7. Ole Miss (1-4, 4-5) – Chad Kelly’s injury ain’t going to make things a lot easier. Defensively again this has been a trouble.
  8. Florida (4-2, 6-2) – Boatraced on the road at Arkansas. The offense hasn’t clicked for most of the season. We will see how the Gators do down the stretch against LSU and FSU. This could get nasty.
  9. Tennessee (2-3, 6-3) – The only saving grace for Tennessee this season has been the win over Florida and the taking Texas A&M to double overtime despite the injury horror show. How much they’ve rebounded from the other horror show – the debacle at South Carolina – remains to be seen. They also haven’t managed to play a 100% good game this year. Butch Jones for Coach Of The Year? Nope.
  10. Arkansas (2-3, 6-3) – The excellent performance against Florida seems to indicate things going in the right direction, although whether this is a minor blip for Bielema remains to be seen what with LSU.
  11. LSU (3-2, 5-3) – The loss at home to Alabama showed us the importance of Les Miles actually recruiting a good QB, which he failed to do every since Zach Mettenberger.
  12. Texas A&M (4-2, 7-2) – This MSU loss was a bad day at the office. With the loss of Trevor Knight for the year and Myles Garrett’s injury really not 100%, we’ll see how bad this day at the office gets.
  13. Auburn (5-1, 7-2) – Hot Seat what? Gus Malzahn for Governor!
  14. Alabama (6-0, 9-0) – Nick Saban 2020. Just saying.

(A Very Fast) Week 10 SEC Preview

After the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, this blogger feels like he’s been writing, drinking and tweeting all week long, so apologies if this SEC Week 10 preview is shorter than usual.

So in order for you to read this (quickly), here’s a line on what we think will happen in each of the SEC games this week, which is – as usual – in order of importance.

  1. No.1 Alabama at No. 13 LSU — Alabama will do the same as they did last year and block off Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guise, and force LSU to throw. LSU’s QB Danny Etling really isn’t very good. Sure, LSU’s ‘D’ athletic enough to keep this close, but we still think Alabama wins this by 10. It’ll definitely be fun in Baton Rouge though!
  2. No.4 Texas A&M at Mississippi State – This is only this high because Texas A&M’s in the College Football Play-Off, and suddenly everyone will be watching for this game to be a potential pigskin. Don’t worry Aggies fans….it won’t. Texas A&M by 28, and Dan Mullen’s seat gets hotter.
  3. No.11 Florida at Arkansas  – This is the first part of the CBS doubleheader, so if you hate Verne and Gary, the 3.30’s the one to watch. But if you don’t want to watch an ugly game, we’d advise staying away. Florida will probably win by 6 in a lackluster game, and edge ever closer to another visit to Atlanta.
  4. Georgia at Kentucky – Kentucky’s still in with a shout of the SEC East. Georgia is not. If Georgia loses to UK for the first time since 2009, the cries of Dawgs yelling: “Did we pick the right coach?” will get ever louder. We think Georgia will win this won by 7 in probably the second-most entertaining game of the week. Pity it’s on the same time as LSU vs Alabama. Not even the Kentucky and Georgia fans wanted that to be the case…
  5. Missouri vs South Carolina – Two weeks’ ago, this would have been a battle for the SEC’s worst teams, but Misssissippi State and Missouri are claiming the spots for their very own- particularly after USC upset Tennessee last week. This game is going to be incredibly poor in standard. South Carolina to win by 10. Maybe 13-3. 
  6. Vanderbilt at No.9 Auburn – We’ve got this lower than a number of other games because we think a born-again Auburn’s going to win this in a hurry. Tigers by 28. 
  7. Georgia Southern vs Ole Miss – Ole Miss destroys their second Georgia-based team of the season by 40.
  8. Tennessee Tech vs Tennessee – Tennessee hosts their 2-5 rivals. I didn’t know they were called the Golden Eagles, or were called Cookeville, TN home. I do know that Neyland Stadium’s probably going to be 2/3 full – if that – for this one, and the Vols should win by 48.

The SEC: Consistently Inconsistent

I’ll be honest, it’s damned hard to work out the SEC this year. That’s because almost everyone’s really inconsistent.

For example: Arkansas go and beat Ole Miss and then get massacred on the road to Auburn. They also had the chances to beat Texas A&M and killed themselves offensively, and then defensively, they killed themselves against Alabama. So what do we know about Bret Bielema’s side? Borderline – and very – erratic. And Bielema himself gets abused by his own professors. Which is kinda awesome.

Then there’s Tennessee, who were some people’s dark horse pick to go to the Play-Off, but haven’t put together four good quarters of football all season long. That means that it’s been extremely exciting for the Neyland faithful, but also very irritating. The injuries probably didn’t help when it came to playing Alabama at home (and getting crucified).

Of course, who could forget Ole Miss, who had two great halves of football against Florida State and Alabama….and are 0-2 in those games. They beat the living crap out of Georgia, but then lost a fun, fun, fun, fun game to Arkansas. And then were driven over (literally) but LSU.

Then there’s LSU, who were in such a dire situation they fired Les Miles. They are unbeaten since then – even though you should probably forget that all the Tigers’ games so far have been in the friendly confines of Death Valley. And that the Auburn loss probably wasn’t a bad one at all.

Florida got headlines so far for two things: 1) Getting into a fight with LSU about playing the game. 2) Saying crap to Tennessee and then blowing a big lead against a rival who really, really hates them. The consistency has come from the D, which is generally awesome. The offense? Yeah…so….

And Auburn? Their defense was incredible against Clemson, but the offense sputtered until it blew up for two weeks in a row, crushing Mississippi State and Arkansas. But Gus Malzahn’s got this team whirring, and it’s getting pretty good. One thing consistent is the idiots that seem to live on The Plains – especially the German arsonist d***head (hey, he’s a d***head, he’s German, and he’s an arsonist) who decided to burn one of the Toomer’s Oaks down.

Vanderbilt looked to be the model of consistency – the bad kind – until they played well enough to beat Georgia. So they’ve broken their SEC donut for this year. The defense is looking good. The offense is horrible. Should Derek Mason go be a defensive co-ordinator at a big, big school somewhere?

Texas A&M‘s kicker was hilarious(ly BAD) against Tennesee. The Aggies were punished for their errors against ‘Bama, who completely shut down their run game. Listen, if anyone told an Aggie fan they’d only have a loss this season so far they would have bitten your hand off. This Aggies side is pretty damned good, folks.

Georgia‘s a team who thought would be horrible this year because of their lack of line, but managed to look pretty good on those fronts against Tennessee and North Carolina (they ended up 1-1), but bizarrely looked crappy against Nicholls State and the aforementioned VandyAnchors. Oh, and we’ve definitely seen some dumbass decisionmaking from Kirby Smart. Like – let’s do a toss-sweep to Isaiah McKenzie on a 4th and 1 with the game on the line. Or throwing it IN THEIR OWN END-ZONE against Tennessee. Or a celebration penalty against Tennessee that would end up helping to cost them the game.

And Missouri? They are plain awful. Or is it grain awful? Anyway, the decision to change a perfectly good defensive situation is a JOKE, and the offense AIN’T A LOT BETTER. Losing to Middle Tennessee State may mean the Tigers don’t go to a bowl game for the second year in a row. Will the Tigers end their nine-game SEC losing streak soon? Er, against who?

South Carolina can’t get an offense moving in the SEC.

Kentucky can’t stop anyone on defense, but they are the most secretly fun team to watch in the SEC. Well, maybe them and Ole Miss and Arkansas.

Mississippi State‘s actually won a game in the SEC and played in a SECRETLY BAD/GREAT game against Kentucky last Saturday. That they lost.

And the one team that’s inconsistent. You may have heard them before. They’ve won 41 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, and they look odds-on to win NUMBER FORTY TWO. If there’s an offense that can capitalize on their mistakes, we’d like to fit in. Because at the moment, it’s Alabama and the rest. Why? Because Nick Saban’s the best head coach in the country and Lane Kiffin’s probably the best offensive co-ordinator. Steve Sarkasian, who’s also a very good OC, has sobered up enough to come on board as an advisor, and Jeremy Pruitt’s defenses are opportunistic, fast, and good. Oh, and the players ain’t bad either.

 

 

SEC Week 6: Hurricanes, bad names, and long-ass games

The only thing anyone was talking about this weekend was the fact that the LSU-Florida game got ‘postponed’ because of Hurricane Matthew and never may see the light of day again, which could lead to quite a ruckus in the SEC Standings – especially in the SEC West. Both ADs Joe Alleva (LSU) and Jeremy Foley (Florida) and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey have made complete asses of themselves in all of this, and Sankey showed no backbone whatsoever.

Now, back to football: College Gameday’s ‘crowd’ at the start of ESPN’s 3-hour college football preview might as well have been The 1/12th Man, bearing in mind how small the crowd was, but it grew larger as the day wore on. I still want to punch the scheduler in the face for bring on The Chainsmokers, who showed no knowledge about the sport, but were able to pimp their buddies and a shoe company. The game itself was a 5-hour epic, not helped by the fact there were a ton of injury time-outs, it went to double over-time, and CBS had to have 164 EXTRA ****ING COMMERCIAL BREAKS. Of course, Clay Travis liked to blame the bands and the fact that they played for 40 minutes at half-time, but then again, it’s Clay Travis. I leave it at that.

Elsewhere in SEC Country, we learned – if we hadn’t already – that Arkansas doesn’t have a defense, Mississippi State without Dak Prescott is an abomination, Georgia’s offensive line really isn’t that bad (or is South Carolina’s terrible?), South Carolina’s got an awful offense, and Alabama is really, really scary on offense. 

So here are your rankings:

  1. Alabama (6-0): Nick Saban had another Napoleon-like tantrum when it became plainly obvious to anyone watching that his defense couldn’t stop Arkansas. But when your offense is up by three touchdowns to start the game off, it doesn’t really matter. Alabama has its starting QB for the next 3 (or 4) years, so other applicants should look elsewhere.
  2. Texas A&M (6-0): Texas A&M blew a huge lead, couldn’t convert 7 turnovers, missed a 37-yard field goal with time running out in hilarious fashion, and still came out victors against Tennessee. Now who’s the lucky ones? John Chavis was right to say that there are things to be learned on the defensive side of the ball. Stopping a running back might be one of them.
  3. Ole Miss (3-2): I’m dropping Tennessee down a place despite them taking Texas A&M to two overtimes on the road despite seven turnovers and a bunch of injuries? Yes. And here’s why: If Ole Miss and Tennessee played each other, I’m not sure Tennessee could stop Ole Miss. It would end up 70-69, though.
  4. Tennessee (5-1): This team can’t play two halves of football. But Good Lord those comebacks are fun to watch.
  5. Auburn (4-2): We know it seems this is pretty high for Malzahn’s team, but his defense is GOOD.
  6. LSU (3-2): Yeah…so Arkansas was that bad against Alabama.
  7. Florida (4-1): Yeah….so Arkansas was that bad against Alabama.
  8. Georgia (3-3): The good news: Nick Chubb was healthy. Sony Michel was healthy. The O-Line looked OK. Isaiah McKenzie is fun. The bad news: Jacob Eason is borderline erratic.
  9. Arkansas (4-2): Bret Bielema’s has no defense. After the TCU game, I think that was established. What is now concerning, is that Arkansas has no offensive line, either. The biggest star of the game was Arkansas Agriculture professor Dr. Lawton Lanier Nalley, who screamed at Bielema: “If I had your record, I would be ****ing fired. **** you!”. He was arrested. Would he be right? Probably not, but if Arkansas ends this season 5-7 – which it could quite easily do, the seat could be warming. Apparently Mr. Nalley was drunk. Well I never.
  10. Missouri (2-3): The guys at Mizzodcast – the best podcast around (in our humble opinion) for a SEC Team, are probably convinced that the bye week saved them a loss. I still think they are better than one SEC West team.
  11. Mississippi State (2-3): I watched Mississippi State this week get CRUSHED by Auburn, and I become more convinced that Dak Prescott was the only reason Dan Mullen looked like a good coach.
  12. Kentucky (3-3): Beat Vanderbilt in a horrible game, and convinced nobody.
  13. South Carolina (2-4): Lost to Kentucky, and the offense downright stinks.
  14. Vanderbilt (2-4): At the end of the season, Vanderbilt should fire Derek Mason or ask him if he wants to be the defensive co-ordinator. I’m not sure he’s got the hand of the offensive side of it.

 

 

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