We know Alabama is one of the best four teams in the country. The Crimson Tide haven’t just played every team it’s come against well, it has (apart from Texas A&M) massacred them.

The Crimson Tide has burnt through much of its opposition, and it’s probably the best team in college football.

The College Football Play-Off Committee’s eye test would definitely see Alabama’s blitzkrieg of its opposition and put it as the best team in the country. But then, it has to worry about strength of schedule. And it also looks at how teams improve week to week rather than fall apart. That’s why Ohio State fans are probably very excited about the prospect of seeing their team in the Top 4 despite an early-season loss to Oklahoma. Because despite OSU’s home spanking by Oklahoma, it has been one of the best teams in college football by a mile, doubling up No.2 Penn State in offensive yardage and shutting down Saquan Barkley in the process.

So back to Alabama. Alabama’s strength of schedule probably looked great when they ripped apart No.3 Florida State in Atlanta on the first game of the season. Florida State has gone 2-4 since that game, and was recently ripped to shreds by Boston College, 35-3. Alabama’s next-strongest game was a road game at Texas A&M. Texas A&M lost to a now-mediocre UCLA team and last week were driven into the ground by Mississippi State. The rest of the games played by Alabama have been non-conference laughers against Fresno State, Colorado State, and practical walkovers against Tennessee (we all know what’s happening there), Ole Miss (it’s almost as bad in Oxford as it is in Neyland), and Vanderbilt (they haven’t won a game since the Bama blow-out).

Listen, we’re not saying that Alabama’s not good. The Tide is probably the best team in the nation. It’s deep. It’s talented. It’s three running backs of Damien Harris, Bo Scarborough and Najee Harris could probably start anywhere else in the country. And while Jalen Hurts’ throwing as a quarterback might be a little on the poor side (he’s only 25th in the country in pass efficiency and 86th in total passing yards), his running is exceptional. Oh, and the defensive unit – as per usual – is a freak show (No.1 in the nation in total yards given up).

SO WHY AREN’T THE CRIMSON TIDE NO.1?

As much as the pollsters love the Crimson Tide, there’s one major fact: The schedule has been easy on them. Georgia has the best win out of the two teams, beating Notre Dame on road, which is an excellent 7-1. Georgia also beat Mississippi State into a pulp earlier on in the season, and MSU has wins over LSU and on the road at Texas A&M on its resume, as well as shellacking of Kentucky, a team that is better than most people expect.

Apart from one half against Missouri when its secondary was lit up, Georgia also has an elite defense, and an exceptional pairing of (still fit) running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, and QB Jake Fromm has done wonders after taking over the job for an injured Jacob Eason.

But the problem for the Tide is the strength of schedule. If Alabama curb-stomps LSU, Auburn, and Mississippi State, they should be No.1 and UGA – who play Auburn as the last of its ‘major games’ in the coming weeks – will be No.2.

But above all else, we really hope to see the Crimson Tide play Georgia in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, because it would be one of the most-hyped games in college football history. Good luck getting a ticket for that one, folks.

(BTW, our other two teams in the play-off would be Notre Dame (they only lost to UGA by one point and are currently en fuego) and Clemson (better SoS than Ohio State, honestly).

 

 

Can Georgia replace ‘The Human Joystick’?

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The Human Joystick. The guy that moved through opposition players like they were nothing, with the screams of joy emanating from the fans behind him. The human highlight reel. The one-of-a-kind for that season.

And now, Georgia fans, Isaiah McKenzie is gone. And with him will be his numbers.

Georgia fans will talk about reloading after McKenzie’s decision to opt for NFL riches after his junior year, but it’s going to be really, really difficult.

McKenzie not only brought a receiving threat to the table (663 yards, 7 TDs on 44 receptions, going for an average of 14.4 yards/ reception), but also brought a running threat too (134 yards, 2 TDs on just 19 carries, averaging 7.1 yards/play). He also returned 23 punts (for 245 yards and a touchdown).

If you want to take this as total, the hole that McKenzie will leave will be even bigger. He accounted for 26% of all total receiving yards, 20% of all receptions, and – this is the most galling – 43% of all total throwing touchdowns. Thanks to Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, his loss won’t be felt hugely in the Georgia backfield, but still.

For a moment, take away the fact that the Dawgs have a young offensive line, and this could be yet another season where red-clad fans see opposition linemen run through their line, and let’s just look at the talent coming back to Sanford….

WHO FROM THE RETURNERS REPLACES HIM?

  • Sony Michel (RB): We liked how he was used out of the backfield over the last couple of years. He’s a definite game-changer. Had 149 yards receiving on 22 receptions. The problem for Georgia will be whether they can keep Michel healthy. He’s had injury problems for the last two years. Which is unfortunate, for a man of his talent.
  • Terry Godwin (WR): Underimpressed in just about every game last year. He had 38 receptions for just 397 yards and no touchdowns. That’s hardly a massive return for the five-star recruit. His averages from 2015 to 2016 barely improved. But Godwin’s going to be the No.1 receiver in Athens next year – and will have to prove it.
  • Riley Ridley (WR): Ridley’s freshman season in Athens was a pretty productive one. He had 238 yards on just 12 receptions – although we’re a little worried that he was actually targetted 22 times. He’s also injured his foot, so he’ll definitely not play the Spring Game and probably be out until mid-summer.
  •  Jeb Blazevich/ Isaac Nauta (TE): Smart’s use of the TE is very Saban-like, and the increasing use of them continues bring a new dimension to the attacking game.
  • Javon Wims (WR): The former JUCO transfer started only 3 games but still had 190 yards on 17 receptions. And no fumbles.

WHAT ABOUT THE FRESHMEN?

There are things to be excited about for the Bulldogs. 6ft 2 incoming freshman (and four-star recruits) Jeremiah Holloman and redshirt freshman Mark Webb ought to bring in some size out wide for QB Jacob Eason, and both Matt Landers and Trey Blount are both considered to be a little raw.

SO IN OTHER WORDS….

McKenzie will be pretty much irreplacable in 2017 with what he brought to the offense. There aren’t a lot of players that were a three-headed hydra of offense like he was. We expect UGA to go more towards the run this year – despite having Eason’s cannon. The reason? The offensive line. We’re not sure if he’ll be as lucky in his second year to survive as he was in his first.

 

 

Georgia star RBs, LBs return for senior year

Georgia star running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will return for their senior years, giving second-year head coach Kirby Smart a massive boost going into the 2017 season.

Added to that is the news that Smart’s defense will be boosted by the announcement that offensive linebackers Lorenzo Smart and Davin Bellamy will also return.

Last year Chubb had 988 yards and 7 TDs on 207 carries, averaging at nearly 5 yards a carry. Michel had 753 yards on 137 carries with 3 TDs.

Carter had 37 total tackles including 17 solo tackles, while Bellamy had 49 tackles and 4 sacks and one pass defended.

SEC Preview – Week 7: Will Tennessee beat Alabama?

GSo now they’ve beaten Florida, Tennessee fans must be feeling the magic for the visit of their second-most hated rival, Alabama. If we’re honest, Alabama has OWNED Tennessee (results-wise, anyway), beating them in every game since 2007. The only game that reasonably close was last year, when Josh Dobbs’ heroics nearly beat the Crimson Tide.

Prior to that, Mississippi State travel up to Mormon country to play BYU on Friday, Ole Miss travel to Arkansas in what could be a shoot-out for the ages (bearing in mind both lack any defense), Missouri go to Florida, Vanderbilt travel to Georgia, and Southern Miss to LSU.

So here are our previews:

  1. No.1 Alabama at No.9 Tennessee

Nick Saban said that the Tennesee game was the biggest game on the Crimson Tide’s schedule, which should enrage a lot of Auburn fans, who are feeling butthurt enough what with Germans burning down their oaks and Alabama winning all those National Championships. Tennessee’s a 12-1/2 point home underdog, which might feel kind of right, if you consider that Alabama’s defense was pretty poor for three quarters against Arkansas (they gave up 30 points). But Tennesee only plays for one half, and they are injured to hilt. The crowd could well be a factor, though.

PREDICTION: We’re calling Alabama to win by more than 12-1/2 for this reason: The Crimson Tide is more capable of putting together a full game than the Volunteers. And the offense is much better. 

2. No. 12 Ole Miss at No. 22 Arkansas

The biggest mystery for this season so far is: How in the heck is Arkansas still ranked? They’ve been one of this season’s biggest letdowns, with an awful, awful offensive line – formerly one of their strengths. The ‘D’ can’t stop anybody. You know? It’s going to be fun, because Ole Miss can’t really play any defense either. We know that because Ole Miss is 80th in the country in yards/game, and Arkansas is 68th. This WILL be fun, folks.

PREDICTION: Ole Miss is a 7-1/2 point favorite. I like Ole Miss to win by 10, but I also LOVE the over for 67-1/2. 

3. Mississippi State at BYU

Listen, we’re putting this up beyond other games because the crowd is going to be WILD in Utah for the BYU game for the visit of Mississippi State. We’re not saying MSU is any good (it really isn’t), but BYU’s ‘D’ is pretty mediocre, too. Expect lots of blondes. Lots, and lots of blondes (of both sexes). We don’t know every guy in the place has a wife but he shouldn’t have two, because apparently polygamy’s illegal in Utah.

PREDICTION: BYU’s a 7-point favorite. Can’t believe people don’t have more faith in BYU. If you feel like betting on the non-drinkers, take BYU in the over.

4. Missouri at No.18 Florida

Missouri looked like a great, speedy offense against lower opposition, and then fell to pieces about LSU. But Florida’s offense is pretty horrible too, only scoring a smidgeon over 28 points/game. Florida’s defense is excellent, though – and better than Missouri’s. The Vanderbilt/Florida game was horrible, and we’re praying that it won’t continue this week.

PREDICTION: Florida’s a 13-1/2 game favorite, but actually, we like the ‘under’ for 48-1/2. That’s how miserable we believe the game will be.

5. Vanderbilt at Georgia

Georgia’s running back duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel looked awesome against South Carolina, but Jacob Eason – to coin a Bret Bielema phrase – looked borderline erratic. Vandy’s 79th-ranked rush defense (176.8 yard/game) will do well to stop them. Especially if Georgia’s offensive line is looking as improved as it did against South Carolina.

PREDICTION: Georgia’s only a 14-point favorite. Is the reason why is that they should have walked away with the South Carolina but kept letting the Gamecocks back into the game? We think UGA win by 21 or more. 

6. Southern Miss at LSU

Southern Miss is going to walk into Baton Rouge with a bad-ass offense FORTY POINTS PER GAME (yes, you read that properly), but properly won’t walk out with the win, bearing in mind that LSU is mourning not only the loss of Les Miles but more important, Mike The Tiger who passed away earlier this week. Southern Miss gives up a not-great 159 yards/game of rushing a week, so good luck against LSU’s offense, folks.

PREDICTION: LSU’s a 25-point favorite. The Tigers looked so damned good against Florida but they’ve had a week off and the momentum may have come down. We’ll take the Tigers to win by more than that, because Southern Miss had 55 dropped on them last time out against UTSA.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Live! The Quarterly SEC Awards (Or SECs)

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Is that Derrick Henry? Is that Nick Saban? Is that Lane Kiffin with Nick Saban’s daughter? Is that Leonard Fournette, brushing off all the reporters as he goes? Is that Les Miles, who’s stopped to say something that no-one understands?

Yes folks, it’s your quarterly SEC Football Blog Awards, given out to the players, teams and coaches who have made a difference – good or bad – in the first quarter of the season. And afterwards, we can all go to Chilli’s with players from the University of Georgia and threaten people.

(DRUMROLL PLEASE)

THE GOOD AWARDS

BEST PLAYER

Leonard Fournette (LSU)

BEST IMPRESSION OF THE INCREDIBLE HULK 

Leonard Fournette, in his performance against Auburn.

BEST QUARTERBACK PERFORMANCE

Greyson Lambert (Georgia)’s performance against South Carolina was something special, when he went 24-25 for 330 yards and 3 TDs.

BEST QUARTERBACK ESCAPE FROM PRESSURE TO PULL SOMETHING OUT OF HIS REAR

Chad Kelly (Ole Miss) against Alabama, where he avoided the sack – and getting himself killed- by the throwing the ball up to ANYONE and it was deflected off an Alabama player and into the arms of Quincy Adeboyejo, who took it to the house.

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER

Myles Garrett (Texas A&M)

MOST IMPROVED DEFENSE

That’ll be your Texas A&M Aggies. New DC John Chavis has done wonders. Might need to sort the “stop the running back down the middle” game.

BEST NEWCOMER

Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) is – as mentioned on the Solid Verbal – already one of the most exciting players in college football.

THANKS FOR STAYING AWARD FOR SENIORITY

Dak Prescott (Mississippi State) – Has been pretty great this year for Mississippi State, who ran LSU close and beat Auburn on the road in the last four weeks. Prescott’s been the key. He might not be the Heisman contender…but he should be.

TEAM WE WERE CONCERNED ABOUT BUT ACTUALLY ARE OK

Mississippi State. This is a pretty solid team Dan Mullen’s put together after so much talent left in 2014. Thanks for staying, Dak Prescott.

TEAM WE WERE CONCERNED ABOUT BUT MIGHT NOT BE GODDAWFUL

Vanderbilt. Terrific defensive performance against Ole Miss indicates things might be turned around a little in Nashville. Anchor…up?

TEAM THAT MIGHT REALLY BE QUITE GOOD THIS YEAR

Florida. Jim McElwain’s turning this boat around, folks!!

 

TEAM WE’VE BEEN LAUGHING AT OVER THE YEARS BUT MIGHT HAVE TO TAKE NOTICE OF NOW..

Kentucky. Apparently the “BB” in “BBN” doesn’t stand for basketball, but stands for “Big Blue”. Nice, Mark Stoops.

AND NOW, THE MOMENT YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR….THE BAD AWARDS!! AND DON’T WORRY, AUBURN, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO CLEAN UP THIS YEAR….

PLAYER WE THOUGHT WAS GOING TO BE A HEISMAN CONTENDER BUT OUTRIGHT SUCKED

Jeremy Johnson (Auburn). He is a human tire fire. Let’s hope that Johnson is studying hard, because he might need that degree when all is said and done.

WORST QUARTERBACK MESS

South Carolina. Steve Spurrier’s on No.3 right now. Auburn’s on No.2, for those of you counting.

BIGGEST OFFENSIVE ****-SHOW

Missouri, Missouri, Missouri. No quarterback, no running game, and the receivers can’t catch.

YELLOW FLAG AWARDS FOR DRIVE-YOU-CRAZY-PENALTIES

LSU’s 28 penaties for 258 yards (9.2 yards/penalty) IN THREE GAMES takes some beating. Arkansas leads the SEC with 31, by the way.

WORST SPECIAL TEAMS EFFORT, BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS

Alabama in the Tide’s loss to Ole Miss included two fumbles on kick returns early, which included TWO kick-off return fumbles. Alabama went 10-0 as a result, and never recovered.

WORST DEFENSIVE EFFORT WHILE HAVING A 4TH QUARTER DOUBLE-DIGIT LEAD 

Tennessee. That’s to you for the Oklahoma and Florida games.

TEAM THAT WE THOUGHT WOULD BE SEC CONTENDERS BUT….AREN’T

Auburn…..Tennessee….Arkansas….. Take your pick.

MOMENTS THAT WILL HAUNT HIM FOREVER BROUGHT TO YOU BY “#KARMA” BY JEN BIELEMA

“Ohio State’s ranked No. 1 and they have one game remaining on their schedule that has anybody ranked right now — Michigan State. We’re going to play eight straight opponents that are ranked.” – Arkansas coach Bret Bielema. His team then lose to Toledo the next week. And Texas Tech the week after. And Texas A&M in overtime the week after. And…

(Quiet Clap, clap, clap)

And your bonus category:

FUNNIEST STORY IN THE SEC THIS QUARTER 

Lane Kiffin’s getting fired from Alabama!!Apparently, Lane Kiffin was getting fired at Alabama the Thursday before Saturday’s game with ULM for sleeping with Nick Saban’s daughter. The rumor mill went through the roof….and it didn’t happen. We don’t know if he DID sleep with Saban’s daughter, but he wasn’t fired.

SEE YOU NEXT TIME FOLKS!!!

How good is Ole Miss? Week 4 SEC rankings

Ole Miss was expected to smash Vanderbilt at home and didn’t, instead grinding out an 11-point win over the Commodores and never totally looking in control. Yes, we know that they were coming off a monster win at Alabama, but that’s hardly College Football Play-Off form. Ohio State, by the way, has been ‘grinding’ since it won at Virginia Tech – although it found some signs of life on Saturday.

The fact is this: Ole Miss is still the toast of the SEC West, but we don’t have a clue how good the SEC West actually is. Last year, it was so much easier….

Elsewhere, Arkansas choked against Texas A&M at Jerryworld and lost in overtime, Tennessee choked away the first win in a decade against Florida, and Kentucky got its first win against a ranked side- Missouri – in a 21-13 victory. Leonard Fournette continued to be “Mr Unstoppable” at Syracuse – although LSU was awful up there, Auburn remained a trainwreck in losing at home to Mississippi State, while the SEC East’s favorite trainwreck – South Carolina – beat all-FBS trainwreck UCF (and was actually losing at halftime). And Georgia got outplayed by Southern’s band at half-time (#FIREMARKRICHT), but won the four quarters. Oh, and that little-known or cared about SEC team Alabama? They m’ehed their way to smashing ULM and taking a 2-1 series lead in that mighty rivalry.

So here are our rankings after Week 4:

  1. Ole Miss (Last week: 1) : The fact that Robert Nkemdiche scored his third touchdown of the season was the highlight – not the exclamation point – on a poor night offensively for Chad Kelly, who was picked off twice. Look, we know that Ole Miss was against defensive co-ordinators in the SEC in Derek Mason (he is, folks), but getting rescued by your special teams and an inability of a Vandy kicker to nail a fourth-straight field goal hardly has you saying: “This is the best team in college football”. But they still are the best team in the SEC. Maybe.
  2. Alabama (1) : This is not so much about Alabama’s defense turning it on against ULM (they only gave up 92 yards all day), but about the Crimson Tide’s offense. This offense isn’t great, but it pretty darned good. And all-round, I believe the Tide is better than Texas A&M.
  3. Texas A&M (3) : Why is Alabama a better team than Texas A&M? Because at JerryWorld, Texas A&M couldn’t stop Arkansas running backs Alex Collins and Damian Williams down the middle all day long. Alabama’s got a better offensive line and a better running back duo and will run the ball down their throat. Mind you, Alabama’s O-Line had better be ready for Mr Everything Myles Garrett, Alabama’s secondary better be ready for Christian Kirk, though. He’s something else, people!
  4. Georgia (4) : They got their ass whipped by Southern’s band at half-time, but won the actually football comfortably. Our prayers are with Southern WR Devon Gales, who suffered a spinal injury in the third quarter. These sort of injuries make you nauseous.
  5. LSU (5) : Every time you think the Tigers on a roll, Les Miles provides a piss-poor, sleepwalking, crappy effort against a far-inferior opponent. It happened against Saturday. LSU may have won 34-24, and Leonard Fournette got over 200 yards and 2 TDs, but my God, the penalties. The Tigers gave up ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY YARDS IN PENALTIES (14 of them). That’s terrible. The Fournette factor keeps them this high, though.
  6. Florida (6): The Gators got through this win by the skin of their teeth, and that’s OK. At least for Gators fans. Jim McElwain was an inches-wide field goal from losing being the first Florida coach since Ron Zook to lose to Tennessee. The Gators struggled to deal with the run, and at times the INCREDIBLE SECONDARY didn’t look so incredible. I’m still on-the-fence about the Gators. Sorry.
  7. Mississippi State (8): Heartily took advantage of the wreckery in Auburn to take home a 17-9 victory. Manny Diaz’ defense ensured Auburn’s offense went without a touchdown since 2011. Dak Prescott’s probably the best QB in the SEC right now. If there’s a side trending upwards in this league, it’s the Bulldogs.
  8. Tennessee (7): I saw this over Twitter yesterday: Three teams have given up double-digit leads in the fourth quarter this season. Two of them are Tennessee. The game’s match-up with Arkansas may get called off because Neyland’s flooded with both fanbases’ tears.
  9. Kentucky (9): I’m becoming a genuine believer in Mark Stoops, and the trouble he might cause Georgia and other teams when they come against the Wildcats in future games. Well, Mark Stoops’ defense. And Patrick Towles. Kentucky beat Missouri and had its first victory over a ranked opponent in 19 attempts.
  10. Arkansas (12) : Arkansas should have beaten Texas A&M in JerryWorld. They played really, really well. You know, until Bret Bielema decided to go conservative on the final drive, and the team murdered themselves with penalty flags. The referees didn’t exactly help them either, too. But this Arkansas team – if it gets some fire in its belly – might not be the tire fire we all thought it was post-Texas Tech.
  11. Missouri (11) : The Tigers have no offense. Simple.
  12. South Carolina (13): Before the game, a Gamecocks fans tweeted me a badge that said: “For the love of God, please beat UCF”. They did – 31-10 – and Lorenzo Nunez has a bit of confidence in him. Pharoh Cooper doesn’t need any confidence, thanks.
  13. Auburn (9) : Formally an offensive juggernaut, the Tigers simply don’t look that dangerous when they get the ball. And considering that defense is a major issue for them…..Safe to say Tammy from Auburn is not going to be very happy on Monday.
  14. Vanderbilt (14) : A great defensive performance against one of the best offensive teams in college football. Derek Mason is a defensive genius. Our problem? There’s no offense (at least against the ‘bigger’ teams). But a hell of an effort in Oxford, folks.

 

 

Can Tennessee end the Florida Drought? Week 4 Predictions

WE’RE IN WEEK 4? ALREADY?! In eight more weeks and a lot of bluster’s time, this regular season will be over. God, I’m depressed already. Anyway, let’s change that with memories of an awesome Week 3.

We saw some amazing sights. This included Leonard Fournette throwing off Auburn defenders with the ease of an elephant discarding a human (And by the Heisman hype he’s getting now, he might well be a god amongst men). We also balls bounce off Alabama special teams players, defenders, and wide receivers, and the bad bounces outnumbered the good ones. The Crimson Tide was upset in Tuscaloosa by Ole Miss in a game for the ages. And Arkansas? They lost at home to Texas Tech, and Kliff Kingsbury threw some shade at Bret Bielema.

We went 7-3 straight up in our predictions (we screwed up on ‘Bama, Auburn and Arkansas), and stank out the room on straight-up scores, so less to say about that the better.

Anyway, onto Week 4 with our SEC rankings:

  1. TENNESSEE AT FLORIDA

We’d like to rub this in for Tennessee fans: Y’all couldn’t beat Will Muschamp in 2014. This year’s Butch Jones team has been talked up a hell of a lot, but we’re very, very worried about the defense. They are dreadful. This year’s Florida team hasn’t been talked up a whole hell of lot, apart from the secondary…which has. Yes, the secondary which gave up 300 yards to ECU without Vernon Hargreaves. Well, with Hargreaves back they looked a lot sturdier against Kentucky – as did the defense – and they’ll come up against a high-octane offense in Tennessee and Joshua Dobbs, which rebounded from a heartbreaker against Oklahoma to beat Western Carolina with some ease. Oh, and they’ve lost CB Jalen Tabor, who got suspended for allegedly refusing a drug test. Here’s what Florida fan Cody Steeves has to say about THAT defense: “Tabor is a big loss, no doubt. I think Towles is a better downfield passer than Dobbs, but Dobbs and Hurd are gonna command a ton more respect on the run than anything UK had to offer. And we’re not gonna sack Dobbs 6 times. Quincy Wilson and the safeties wil really have to step up but I’d be much more worried if we took a big hit to our run defense in the UT game.” So there. And Florida’s offense is going to miss back-up QB Treon Harris, who’s also been suspended – allegedly for testing positive for drugs. Us? We just hope and pray 2014’s goddawful 10-9 game will not be repeated.

PREDICTION: Florida’s actually a 1-point underdog after the Tabor news. We’re taking Florida – for the 11th time – by 3.

2. MISSISSIPPI STATE AT AUBURN

We don’t normally say this in Week 4 of any sports season, but Auburn NEEDS to win this game. After they were destroyed by Leonard Fournette at LSU, they NEED to win this game to keep in the SEC West. Carl Lawson being out for the game ain’t gonna help the ‘D’ against MSU and Dak Prescott. On the other side of the ball, Gus Malzahn thought Jeremy Johnson was so horrible that’s he’s dropped him for The Human Tomato, Sean White (no, he’s not a snowboarder!!). White’s a pocket passer, who hopefully won’t make the stupid decisions that Johnson did….Auburn fans hope.

PREDICTION: Auburn’s a 2 point favorite. We’ll take them to win by a close 7. 

3. TEXAS A&M VS ARKANSAS (JERRYWORLD)

I hate this game being in JerryWorld, and always will….even if the game’s as exciting as it was in 2014. For 2015, Texas A&M’s a freight train, Arkansas is a freight train….wreck. Texas A&M’s high-octane offense is still putting up the points for fun, while Arkansas can’t score in the red-zone. Against Texas Tech, it was almost comical. Almost as comical is fans are being asked to pay $250 for the privilege of going to this slaughter on Stubhub.

PREDICTION: Texas A&M’s a 7-point favorite. And they’ll win by more. 

4. VANDERBILT AT OLE MISS

VANDY WON A GAME LAST WEEK! YOU READ IT RIGHT! VANDY WON A GAME LAST WEEK! This time they go to Oxford against an amped Rebels team that beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and who’s fanbase are going to ALL swear they were there, when the ticket availability would indicate otherwise. Anyway, we don’t see Vanderbilt doing much against Ole Miss’ defensive line….or much against Ole Miss’ offense, either.

PREDICTION: Ole Miss is favored by 24. We like Ole Miss by 28. 

4. MISSOURI AT KENTUCKY

Combined, both offenses scored 18 points on Saturday. EIGHTEEN (9 each, and Missouri won 9-6, and Kentucky 14-9). This game could be absolutely awful. Could? Or probably will be? We’ll go for the latter.

PREDICTION: Kentucky’s a 2.5 point favorite. We think they win by 3 in a putrid game. Maybe 3-0.

5. LSU AT SYRACUSE

We all know what Leonard Fournette did to Arkansas, so it’s going to be a foregone conclusion that he’ll put up 800 yards and 90 TDs against Syracuse, right? Well, first of all, we think Les Miles is going to “do a Matt Harvey” on Fournette, and not give him the carries. And with his back-ups – Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams – as well as a running Brandon Harris, Miles might not need to. You can also expect Harris to throw a lot more for Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre, who were both somewhat underused against Auburn. Syracuse gives up around 128 yards per game passing, but was pretty stout against the run, giving up 140 total. Mind you, the competition wasn’t that great, either.

PREDICTION: LSU’s a 24 point favorite. LSU wins by 18 in a game that they cruise, but somehow looks closer in the fourth quarter…mostly due to Les Miles. 

6. LOUISIANA-MONROE AT ALABAMA

Did you know that this series is tied at 1-1? Did you know that Alabama lost at home last week? Did  you know that Alabama fans are pissed at Lane Kiffin and want his head? Did you know that there were some amusing rumors running around Tuscaloosa about Lane Kiffin and what he did or didn’t do with a certain member of the Saban family? Did you know that people are calling the end of an era? Anyway, prepare for the critics to talk more about Ole Miss than they do about the game in front of them on Saturday. And prepare for the critics to get bigger if they play badly, too.

PREDICTION: Alabama’s a 38-point favorite. We think they’ll win by 41, with Derrick Henry scoring 3 touchdowns.

7. UCF AT SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina’s Lorenzo Nunez is going to be Steve Spurrier’s new quarterback project after not looking too awful against Georgia, and his running of a triple-option offense could be some fun to watch. The deal with Nunez should be to throw the ball to Pharoh Cooper – the only crowd-pleasing this of this Carolina thus far this season. Then South Carolina’s fans might not tear the roof off Williams-Brice. UCF’s started the season 0-3, by the way.

PREDICTION: South Carolina’s a 15-point favorite. We predict they win by 21 to take the pressure off Spurrier, a little.

8. SOUTHERN AT GEORGIA

STOP! THE BAND’S GOING TO BE ****ING AWESOME!! STAY FOR HALF-TIME!!! PLEASE!!! STAY FOR HALF-TIME!!!

PREDICTION: Georgia’s a 54.5 point favorite, with the over/under 74.5. We’ll take Georgia to win, but by 45. The Southern band will win half-time. Easily.

 

 

 

After Week 2: Auburn and Arkansas fall in SEC rankings

If you are an Auburn and Arkansas fan, you had an intensely forgettable Saturday. Of course, Auburn survived mighty Jacksonville State — in overtime — with the rest of the SEC cheering on the Tigers to fall, while Arkansas comedically fell at ‘home’ to Toledo (2014 record: 9-4, 7-1 MAC). Elsewhere, Missouri and Florida struggled with Arkansas State and East Carolina respectively, Tennessee gave up a 17-0 lead to Oklahoma in the best atmosphere of the day in Neyland, and Les Miles was Les Miles (and LSU won despite it). Otherwise, Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M pretty much cruised.

Anyway, here’s your SEC rankings after Week 2.

  1. Alabama (Previous Ranking: 1) — Resounding win over Middle Tennessee State despite starting slowly. Derrick Henry had another triple-touchdown day.
  2. Texas A&M (2) — Crushed Ball State with no issues whatsoever. We didn’t watch the game for fear that the commentators would use the words: “Revamped Kyle Field” 4,000,0000,0000,000,000,000 times. They (probably) did.
  3. Ole Miss (4) — “Jumped” one in the rankings. Simply because the offense looks awesome. And Robert Nkemdiche scored another TD. Something tells me that their two-game run of scoring 70 points ends in Tuscaloosa.
  4. Georgia (3) – There are worries at quarterback. Greyson Lambert didn’t have ‘it’ against a poor Vanderbilt side, and nor did Brice Ramsey. But even if Nick Chubb HAS hurt his ankle more than Mark Richt’s letting on, Georgia’s going to have a filthy RB set, offensive line and defense. They’re just fine.
  5. LSU (7) – Les Miles’ clock management is shocking. Leonard Fournette is awesome (3 TDs). Brandon Harris was a hell of lot better than we expected. Need to lessen the penalties, which could have killed them.
  6. Florida (8) – Struggled with dumb penalties and had some poor moments in the secondary, but Florida fans must be psyched to see the offense score more than 21 points in two-straight games.
  7. Auburn (4) – If Jeremy Johnson wins the Heisman this year, I’m going to be an exotic dancer. And they SHOULD have lost to Jacksonville State. Blame JSU for not going for it on 4th down.
  8. Mississippi State (10) – Great comeback (albeit too little, too late) and the Dak Prescott – De’Runnya Wilson connection could be fun to watch. But the defense was poor against the run. Could suffer in the long run.
  9. Arkansas (6) – The “Brandon Allen For Heisman” campaign stopped here when he airmailed it over yet another wide receiver and hit someone in the crowd.
  10. Tennessee (11) – This is a young team, and it’s going to be very good. But maybe not great in 2015. But as a buddy of mine pointed out: “If you give up a 17-point lead in that atmosphere, you’ve got problems”.
  11. Missouri (9) – Maty Mauk was pretty dreadful, but they had enough to beat Arkansas State. Yes, mighty Arkansas State. Auburn probably would have lost to them.
  12. Kentucky (12) – Kentucky’s got a good RB trio in JoJo Kemp and “Boom Williams” and Mikel Horton, who put up over 200 yards on South Carolina. Why so low? They could have easily lost it had it not been for a controversial INT/fumble call in the final minutes.
  13. South Carolina (13) – This team isn’t very good. Sorry, South Carolina.
  14. Vanderbilt (14) – We know there’s a land called hope, but it’s not going to come in Johnny McCrary, who’s not going to win games when throwing 500,000 times.

SEC Football Blog’s SEC Power Rankings

Here are our SEC Football Blog Power Rankings after Week 1 of the season.

  1. Alabama — They are going to be OK with Derrick Henry running behind that offensive line.
  2. Texas A&M  — Playing to a home crowd at Kyle Field Houston certainly helped. A lot. But this defense, led by Myles Garrett, was looking changed, talented and great.
  3. Georgia — If they stay healthy, Nick Chubb, Keith Marshall and Sony Michel will be a three-headed running back monster for SEC defenses to stop.
  4. Auburn — Fell to pieces at the end of the Louisville game. Was it tiredness or not giving a crap? Anyway, the Tigers are going to have to improve both in a loaded SEC West.
  5. Ole Miss — The defense is fantastic. So is the thought of Robert Nkemdiche as a running back.
  6. Arkansas — We’re not going to be giving out Heismans for Brandon Allen’s good showing against UTEP, but it was certainly a big positive.
  7. LSU — No game at Tiger Stadium, but I still think the Tigers are better than Mississippi State next week.
  8. Florida — At the moment, I trust Florida’s offense more than I trust Tennessee’s defense. Mind you, I trust Bernie Madoff’s defense more than I trust Tennessee’s defense.
  9. Missouri — The Tigers looked as fine as you can against a team that most people haven’t heard of.
  10. Mississippi State — Mississippi State survived Southern Miss. That’s not a positive thing.
  11. Tennessee — Offense is great. Defense is awful. It will be entertaining.
  12. Kentucky — 33 points given up against Louisiana-Lafayette shows how much they are missing Bud Dupree.
  13. South Carolina — A win’s a win, but gosh it was ugly against North Carolina.
  14. Vanderbilt — This is a very poor team.
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