Who are the SEC players to watch out for in 2018?

Regardless of what the pro-SEC fans say, a lot of stars left the conference in 2017. Just from the National Championship Game, Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama), and Roquan Smith (Georgia) are gone in their junior years, while Nick Chubb and Sony Michel (Georgia) departed after four years. The bigs are gone too, with ‘Big’ Bo Scarborough (Alabama) and Da’Ron Payne (Alabama) departing for NFL riches.

But that’s not all. From Auburn Kerryon Johnson and Kam Pettway are off, while at LSU Derrius Guice, Arden Key, Kevin Tolliver and Donte Jackson leave. For Texas A&M, the most exciting player in college football – Christian Kirk – is going to take his returning talents to the pros.

But despite the amount of heroes going to the NFL, there are more heroes that are going to come along. And yes, we know that we have mentioned five-star recruits that are going to start this year, but they could be arrested/dismissed/suspended before the season starts, so we’re not counting our chickens.

Here are our Top 12/13 (in no particular order):

  1. Drew Lock (Missouri): Lock exploded under OC Josh Heupel, passing for a breathtaking 3,339 yards and 23 TDs. In fact, he was the only QB to cause Georgia’s DB trouble all season long, and we’re expecting great things from him in 2018 – especially with a lot of pressure on him from NFL Draft ‘experts’ who expect him to go in the Top 5 in 2019. His only problem(s) could be his wide receivers not being able to catch, and new OC Derek Dooley (we still don’t understand why Barry Odom passed on former UCLA OC Jedd Fisch).
  2. Deebo Samuel (South Carolina): The most explosive, exciting player in the SEC last year – until he was injured. He can return punts, run the ball and receive throws, and he’ll rip a team’s defenses apart if they don’t watch out for him. He’s the next Christian Kirk and potentially the SEC’s answer to Christian McCafffery.
  3. AJ Brown (Ole Miss): Brown is going to be one of the greats of Ole Miss when he’s done with his career in Oxford. In a freakish sophomore year, Brown had 1,252 yards receiving and 11 TDs. We expect many more things from this exciting player come 2018.
  4. Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama): One amazing half of National Championship may not a starting QB at Alabama make, but Tua, with his strong arm and ability to move around in the pocket, is already prepped to Alabama’s next throwing star. Don’t get us wrong, Jalen Hurts could get his job back and slice up defenses with his legs (and he could also be extremely useful on trick plays), but now the starting Bama job is Tagovailoa’s to lose.
  5. D’Andre Swift (Georgia): Swift had 771 yards and 4 TDs for the Dawgs, and now Chubb and Michel have gone to the NFL, Swift will be the No.1 running back. Expect him to get 1,000.
  6. Jarrett Stidham (Auburn): If Stidham can play as well as he did against Georgia (Game 1) and Alabama, then he’ll be one of the biggest stars in the conference. He’s got good legs, a great arm, and we think Stidham could flourish.
  7. Nick Fitzpatrick (Mississippi State): Before he was injured against Ole Miss, Nick Fitzgerald was phenomenal for the Bulldogs. Statistically, he may have had a worse year than he did in 2015 last year, but he still had SIX rushing games of over 100 yards. We expect him to flourish in Joe Moorhead’s offense. Moorhead’s great with mobile QBs – just as Penn State’s Trace McSorley.
  8. Damien Harris/Najee Harris (Alabama): Harris’ decision to return for 2018 is a fantastic one – he’ll be vying with Stanford’s Bryce Love as the best RB in the country. He had 1,000 yards and 11 TDs this year, and we expect excellent things next year too. As part of the two-headed monster, Najee Harris has the speed to match Damien’s brawn, while is going to be great for Nick Saban and his new offensive co-ordinator.
  9. Jake Fromm (Georgia): Fromm’s going to go from ‘game manager’ to ‘star’ in Athens – particularly when Kirby Smart lets him throw the ball more.
  10. Tyrel Dodson (Texas A&M): As much fun as we’ve made of the Aggies’ ‘D’ in the past, there’s no denying what a star Dodson was in his second year. The freakish linebacker had 104 tackles and 3 INTs, and he could break out as the next Myles Garrett.
  11. Kyle Shurmur (Vanderbilt): You might make a lot of fun out of me for including a Vanderbilt player, but hear us out. As terrible as Vandy was in the SEC (their only win came over Tennessee), Shurmur still managed to throw for 2,823 yards and 26 TDs. It may not have lit up the scoreboards, but he’s proved himself a leader on the team. If he remains hot, there could be NFL discussions.
  12. Aeris Williams (Mississippi State): We didn’t consider Williams until we saw his numbers for this year, and then felt guilty. The sophomore RB reminded coaches of Le’Veon Bell with his running style, and made a lot of Cowbellers happy with his 1,107 yard, 6 TD performance – as well as 142 yards receiving. Expect him with better numbers under Moorehead.

Also considered: David Reese (Florida), Malik Davis (Florida), Mecole Hardman (Georgia), Traeyvon Williams (Texas A&M), Devwah Whaley (Arkansas), DeMarkus Lodge (Ole Miss), Javon Wims (Georgia), Emmanuel Hall (Missouri).

Ole Miss avoids death penalty, but not penalties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Ole Miss confirms Matt Luke has head coach

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

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

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

 

 

 

Bret Bielema is out at Arkansas

Bret Bielema is out at Arkansas after five years at the helm.

‘Bert’, as he’s ‘affectionately’ known by social media, was fired after the Razorbacks were beaten 48-45 in a thriller at home to Missouri, leaving the school with a 4-8 record. This is the second coach that has been fired this season after a loss to the Tigers – the first was Tennessee’s Butch Jones.

Bielema was fired almost immediately after the game. There were rumors that he had been fired as he walked off the field, but Arkansas pointed out that they hadn’t been that cruel – it was ‘actually in the coach’s office by the visitor’s locker room’, ESPN stated.

Bielema was quick to protect himself, telling the press that six out of his Top 10 players were available to play a ‘significant’ time for the Razorbacks, and he also admitted that that team didn’t have the depth of SEC West competitors. He also noted that in the five years that he’s been at the helm, he had the toughest schedule in the SEC.  Arkansas finished 1-7 in the SEC this year, with their lone win coming over Ole Miss this season in what was ironically one of the most exciting games of the conference’s fairly-moribund season.

Bielema’s SEC record was outright terrible, with a 10-24 SEC record, and a 27-29 overall record that included some embarrassing losses, particularly to Toledo. His only positive win percentage with the Hogs was bowl games (2-1).

There were some good wins during Bielema’s time, including shut-outs of ranked opponents LSU and Ole Miss in 2014, and a bowl trouncing of former hated rival Texas in the Texas Bowl in 2014.

But they weren’t enough to paper over the cracks of what was a disappointing reign for a state employee that was being paid $4.1 million by the school as well as having a contract buyout of $5.1 million.

OUR TAKE

If we’re honest, the fact that Arkansas finished bottom of the SEC West behind an Ole Miss team (who it ironically beat!) that had the shadow of NCAA sanctions floating over them and an interim coach, their second straight losing SEC record, and the fact that in Bielema’s time, they couldn’t beat their SEC West rivals very much (they had a 0-5 record against massive rival Texas A&M, which included THREE overtime games in four years, was 0-5 against Alabama, 1-4 against Auburn, 1-4 against Mississippi State and 2-3 against LSU. The only SEC West team Bielema ended having a winning record against was Ole Miss, with a 4-1 record). We all knew (pretty much) that the writing was on the wall for Bielema when Arkansas fired its head coach Jeff Long earlier this year.

Previewing The Iron Bowl and every other #RivalryWeek game in the SEC

Because it gives me a chance to ignore the extended family and watch football for three days, I love Rivalry Weekend. It starts with the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night, and then moves through like a hurricane until the regular season (sniff! Sniff!) winds up at the end of Saturday.

This rivalry week for the SEC looks pretty damned special. There’s an Iron Bowl at Auburn, with Alabama visiting. We’ll hear the words ‘Kick Six’ mentioned a lot, and Harvey Updyke’s name may crop up ever so often. The story that’ll probably get missed this week is about Rodney Alexander, an Alabama fan who shot an Auburn fan this week over an Iron Bowl disagreement. That almost puts Updyke and Smoking Lady to shame.

There’s also ‘Good Ole Fashioned Hate’ as Georgia goes to Georgia Tech, The Egg Bowl which sees Ole Miss and Mississippi State (regardless of what people think, they really hate each other down there), and Florida versus Florida State, which is actually going to be one of the worst games of the year (Chip Kelly or no Chip Kelly). There’s Louisville vs Kentucky in the Bluegrass Bowl, where we see LeSean Jackson play. LSU hosts Texas A&M as the ‘replacement game’ for the Aggies’ traditional Texas game (that got called off when they went to the SEC, which in my mind is still the biggest load of B.S. since the Longhorn Network) for what could be Kevin Sumlin’s goodbye, and surging Missouri goes to Arkansas is what could be Bret Bielema’s last, too. Arkansas fans are praying so.

Oh, and there’s the terrible, terrible games of Tennessee playing Vanderbilt, which pits two 0-7 SEC teams, and Florida State going to Florida. All four teams suck so much that trying to work out the best one is a law unto itself.

So here are the games in order of interest for this writer:

  1. Alabama (-4) at Auburn: There is going to be some atmosphere in Jordan-Hare – especially with the SEC West division and a potential play-off trip on the line. We should see both sides beat the living crap out of each other on the lines, but I still think Calvin Ridley can cause Auburn’s secondary more damage than Auburn’s receivers can do to Mykah Fitzpatrick and friends. PREDICTION: Alabama by 7.
  2. Georgia (-11) at Georgia Tech: A lot of people keep telling us how Georgia Tech’s slow play will stop them getting beaten into a pulp by UGA, but my argument is is that UGA’s fast play – thanks to its electric running backs and fast, fast defense – may rack up the points before Tech can even stop them. PREDICTION: Georgia by 14.
  3. Missouri (-9.5) at Arkansas: The ‘Bert Bowl’ is really interesting, because it could be Bielema and Jen’s last game. Then Wisconsin fans will scream ‘karma’. Missouri is an offensive juggernaut at the moment, but will it last against an Arkansas team who have been fighting quite a lot recently for its coach? PREDICTION: Arkansas by 3 in an upset. But carrying Bielema off the pitch would be the biggest feat by this Arkansas team.
  4. Texas A&M at LSU (-10): Another game in which we could say goodbye to another coach, the Aggies travel to LSU. Again, a sneaky pick for one of the funner games of the week, Kevin Sumlin – who is rumoured to be leaving College Station very soon indeed – has to jack up his Aggies in a game that they have never won. Ed Orgeron’s team also has a knack of playing down to its opponents. PREDICTION: No major celebrations here. LSU by 10.
  5. Clemson (-13.5) at South Carolina: If Jake Bentley can keep away from throwing INTS (the last time he played vaguely competent defenses he threw five of them), then this could be a classic. Clemson, with all their firepower, still aren’t the same team that won the National Championship last year. A Clemson loss would make an OK season for South Carolina all the sweeter, because it would knock the Tigers out of Play-Off contention for good. PREDICTION: Clemson by 10 in a battle.
  6. Louisville (-10) at Kentucky: This is more about saying goodbye to one of college football’s greatest players (Lemar Jackson). If Kentucky defends him badly, he’ll have a field day. But then again, Louisville’s ‘D’ is nothing to write home about, and Kentucky could well exploit it –especially in front of a partisan Commonwealth Stadium crowed. Oh, and there’s Bobby Petrino’s return to the SEC. Apparently, his time at Arkansas was a bit of a [motorcycle] wreck. PREDICTION: Louisville by 7 in a high-scoring thriller.
  7. Ole Miss at Mississippi State (-14.5): The rumors are circling about Dan Mullen leaving. By the end of Sunday, he could have a choice (Tennessee, Texas A&M, Arkansas). But right now he’ll have to concentrate on the Ole Miss game with Mr UT-CHATTANOOGA Nick Fitzgerald. Ole Miss can score points, too. This Egg Bowl will be very fun indeed. PREDICTION: Mississippi State by 10 – although it’s close going into the 4th
  8. Florida State (-5) vs Florida: I remember when this used to be a HUGE, HUGE GAME. Now, it’s a match-up between two of the worst teams in the State of Florida. Maybe Chip Kelly will spice up the rivalry next year – especially if Jimbo Fisher moves to Texas A&M, where he’s rumoured to be going after this year’s massive failure. PREDICTION: Florida State by 3 in a close, entertaining game.
  9. Tennessee (-1) at Vanderbilt: It’ll be like watching ‘America’s best sports crashes’. Seriously. Here at the SEC Football Blog we’ll wait around for the final score for this one…and we pity any fans actually going. PREDICTION: Tennessee by 10. That’s how bad Vanderbilt is.

The SEC Rankings after Crap Saturday don’t change very much

The best thing about Crap Saturday is that that weekend ends all the weekends of crap games, and it’s one week before our favorite long weekend of the year: Rivalry Week.

But we’ll get onto Rivalry Week tomorrow, once we’ve basked in the glory of last Saturday’s incredible SEC schedule, which saw zero upsets, one close, fun game and….er…. (in other non-SEC news) Baker Mayfield grabbed his crotch at some Kansans, and then wrote his usual apology.

So here’s your SEC rankings from 1-14.

  1. Alabama: Heroically beat Mercer to preserve unbeaten season. Games like the Mercer vs Alabama is why we love SEC Football.
  2. Auburn: Struggled early against Louisiana-Monroe, but eventually hit the gear they were looking for. They could have done with an easier tune-up before the Iron Bowl.
  3. Georgia: The Dawgs absolutely dominated Kentucky. We already can’t wait to the SEC Championship Game.
  4. Mississippi State: One week they play like they play like Champions, the next week they struggle against Arkansas. That’s why they dropped a beat. We still don’t understand Dan Mullen’s great mystery of a team. But it’s fun.
  5. LSU: Beat Tennessee in horrific conditions in which we saw goalposts nearly fall down, an Ed Orgeron interview for the ages, and Noah building an ark.
  6. Texas A&M: Won a thriller in Oxford where first-half defense was so bad we thought it was going to be a Pac-12 game. Sadly, both sides managed to play some defense in the second half, and the Aggies won 31-24. Still, it was a fun game.
  7. Missouri: The Tigers continued their surge by crushing Vanderbilt on the road. They are now bowl-eligible. After the Purdue game, that seemed unthinkable. Will Drew Lock go after this junior year? Probably….but it’s inadvisable.
  8. Ole Miss: We’re looking forward to the Egg Bowl a hell of a lot more than we did when the Rebels lost at Cal a month or two ago.
  9. South Carolina: Beat Wofford. But we’ll say this – if the Gamecocks played Kentucky right now, they’d probably beat them.
  10. Kentucky: Housed by Georgia. But the Cats are bowl-eligible, and that’s fine for Stoops & Co.
  11. Arkansas: Actually played pretty well against Mississippi State. You have to wonder what might have happened if their QBs hadn’t either been injured or suspended.
  12. Florida: The Gators actually ruined my weekend, because they beat UAB and we love Bill Clark so much that we wanted a fairytale ending to what’s been a glorious season. It’s not that we hate Florida, it’s just that we love UAB. Because UAB’s amazing.
  13. Tennessee: Battled the elements against LSU, but they were closed down by an excellent defense.
  14. Vanderbilt: Eeew. The Commodores are so damned bad at the moment that I’m taking Tennessee in the game this week.

Crap Saturday: Previewing the worst weekend in the SEC season

Some rude SEC hater (@SECexposed) called this weekend of the college football season #chickenshitSaturday, and when I looked at the SEC schedule, I had to agree. If there are any Alabama fans getting excited over the chance of watching the Crimson Tide eviscerate Mercer, then you probably need to get out more. But please don’t poison trees or smoke in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Both will get you in trouble and be the butt of jokes here, there and everywhere.

Anyway, back to this Saturday. We’re christening it ‘Crap Saturday’, because the schedule’s a load of crap.

The biggest game is….is…. LSU’s visit to coach-less Tennesseee? Missouri’s bid for getting into an unlikely bowl against Vanderbilt, who still don’t have a SEC win? Texas A&M’s trip to Ole Miss….where both teams have given up on their season? Kentucky vs Georgia, which is expected to be less spectacle and more slaughter? Frankly, we’re repping UAB’s trip to The Swamp this weekend.

So here are your weekend’s most interesting games. We’re not going to bother with Alabama hosting Mercer, Auburn hosting UL-Monroe and South Carolina-Wofford because there’s going to be nothing close about any of those games. We’d be surprised if Vegas is going to let anyone bet on these either.

OK, so here we go…

  1. UAB at Florida (-10.5): Bill Clark has done more of a miracle with that UAB team that any well-pocketed SEC head coach has done with their team. Remember this about UAB: Certain parts of University of Alabama governing board wanted to wipe the school off the face of the earth. Well, they are back, and UAB is a magical 7-3. We know about Florida and the fact that it’s been a nightmare. What else do you want us to say? Florida’s a 10.5 point favourite in this one. PREDICTION: Florida by 14. UAB keeps it interesting until the fourth quarter. 
  2. LSU (-15.5) at Tennessee: There were great parties in Knoxville when news came through that Butch Jones had been fired at Tennessee. And then Jones added to his delightful resume by walking off with $8 million and immediately started calling recruits to tell them to go find somewhere else to play. Anyway, LSU comes into town to play a team led by Brady Hoke – himself a bit of a disaster when it came to head-coaching (Michigan, cough! cough!) – who’s now the interim head coach after spending time being the defensive line coach (yeah, that defensive line that gave up 400 yards to Missouri on Saturday). LSU isn’t on fire (they didn’t play well against Arkansas until mid-way through the second quarter of the game), but they’ll have too much for the Vols. PREDICTION: LSU by 21
  3. Mississippi State (-12) at Arkansas: The pre-end-of-season bloodbath in the SEC may continue in Fayetteville this weekend as Bret Bielema hosts a Mississippi State who must feel more than a little aggrieved to have lost their game against Alabama. Not only did they lose to some terrible coaching calls, but they also lost to some terrible refereeing ones, too. Now, against Arkansas, which keeps losing games because they are flat-out terrible, they should have no problem. The problem for MSU will be how motivated they will be after a soul-destroying loss. PREDICTION: MSU by 10. 
  4. Kentucky at Georgia (-21.5): If Georgia catches the throws they are meant to catch and come out more disciplined than they were against Kentucky, then Kentucky’s going to get run over. Georgia should play angry – because they are still in a shout for a College Football Play-Off place. And with Alabama and Auburn playing joke opponents on Saturday, this is their chance to get noticed…for good reasons. PREDICTION: Georgia by 35. Most of the fourth quarter we will have to listen to Nessler and Danielson prattle on about why the Dawgs didn’t play like this against Auburn.
  5. Texas A&M at Ole Miss (-3): This may well the most fun game of the day, which both teams prepared to put up the points. Maybe that’s why Vegas is giving an O/U of 69.5. Of course, both quarterbacks will now let themselves down and the only highlight will be Christian Kirk running for his usual touchdown, and Texas A&M getting out with 10-3 victory where half of Oxford has left to go back to the tailgate. But if Nick Starkel and Jordan Ta’amu shine – as well as WR gods A.J. Brown (Ole Miss) and Kirk – then we could be in for a fine, fun game. We are expecting a lot of points. PREDICTION: Texas A&M wins by 7, but the O/U is well over the 69.5. We can’t wait! 
  6. Missouri (-8.5) at Vanderbilt: Missouri’s flying high after one of booking in back-to-back impressive games against Florida and Tennessee (albeit one without coach, and one barely with one). Drew Lock can throw bombs, and the running backs are looking very, very good. This all bodes well for Vanderbilt, who hasn’t been able to stop anybody since they were run over by Alabama, and were destroyed by Kentucky, who normally plays down to its opponents. This does not bode well for the Commodores. PREDICTION: Missouri by 17 in a high-scorer.

Oh, and congratulations to Alabama, Auburn and South Carolina on your hard-fought victories.

Should Alabama be No.1 in the first CFB Play-Off Rankings?

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).

 

 

Will Georgia raise a cocktail? Week 9 SEC Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUST REMEMBER: IT JUST MEANS MORE. 

So here we go, in alphabetical order:

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