Wow. The 2017 SEC Championship Game between Georgia and Auburn will be the first SEC Championship game since 2013 not to feature Alabama.

It’ll be Auburn’s first trip to the SEC Championship Game since it won a 59-42 shoot-out against Missouri in 2013, and it’ll be Georgia’s first trip to Atlanta since they lost 32-28 to Alabama in 2012 in one of the greatest SEC Championship Games in living memory.

This year, both teams come with one spot in mind: The College Football Play-Off. Basically, the winner will go to the College Football Play-Off, while the loser will be on the outside looking in.

Of course, there’s a revenge factor for Georgia. On November the Bulldogs were schooled at Jordan-Hare, losing 40-17. Auburn comes with momentum, having toppled two No.1 teams in a row in Georgia and Alabama in the Iron Bowl (with an untidy performance against Louisiana-Lafayette in the middle).

In other words, no-one in the South – or in college football – can wait for this one.

Here’s why both teams will win.

WHY GEORGIA WINS

The revenge factor. Georgia was hammered at Jordan-Hare. There are arguments that if WR Riley Ridley had caught Jake Fromm’s throw, things might have been different. Of if Georgia had decided not to give 75 yards on seven, stupid penalties. Having said that, that wasn’t the real reason the Bulldogs lost. The Bulldogs lost because they couldn’t stop Kerryon Johnson, who pummeled Georgia’s offensive line. They lost to an Auburn defensive line that shut down Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, and they lost to the better quarterback in Jarrett Stidham. But now, all this doesn’t matter. Kirby Smart’s team have been looking forward to this for a week (they are pretty well-rested after easily dusting Georgia Tech in ‘Clean Old-Fashioned Hate’ (or whatever that rivalry’s called), and they now know how to stop Malzahn.

Georgia’s also going to win because they are sick to death of being told how they will ‘Georgia’. In other words, how they will miss out on the epic victory, like Mark Richt managed over and over again (with the exception of the 2005 SEC Championship Game – the last time the Dawgs won the trophy). This time it’s different, it’s personal. Chubb and Michel are both fit – unlike Johnson, who is listed as ‘probable’ by the Tigers, but we both know that with the pain that he left the Iron Bowl in, he’s unlikely to be at the top of his game. They also know how to win, and how to take advantage of what is still a week Auburn secondary.

Oh, and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium isn’t going to be a game at Jordan-Hare, either. It could feel like a home game for Georgia.

WHY AUBURN WINS

There is no team in college football with greater momentum than Auburn at the moment. After all, they’ve dispatched of two No.1s. And not only have they beaten Georgia and Alabama, but they’ve comfortably beaten them. No-one’s playing as well as their defensive line, led by Jeff Holland, Marlon Davidson, Derrick Brown and Dontavius Russell. They’ve got back-up players (Nick Coe and Andrew Williams) who are nasty as well. This defensive line didn’t just stuff Georgia – they stuffed Damien Harris and Bo Scarborough. Unless Jake Fromm turns into the new Baker Mayfield, the invasion of the Georgia offensive line will continue.

Oh, and there’s the offense, too. QB Jarrett Stidham played two of the best games of his season against Georgia and Auburn – even if his TD stats didn’t show it against the Tide (he threw for 3 TDs and 214 yards against Georgia). He’s taken control of the offense at just the right time, and he’s going to cause Georgia’s defense problems on broken plays with his legs as well as with his arms. And we ‘almost’ (hee! hee!) forget about Kerryon Johnson. Not only does he throw touchdowns, but he’ll also run over defenses. He was IMMENSE before getting injured against Alabama, and even better against Georgia. All season long he’s been incredible, running for 1,276 yards and 17 TDs, running over defenses who have tried to stop him. Gus Malzahn’s confident he’ll play.

And in terms of offensive brains, you’d take Malzahn over Kirby Smart or his offensive coordinator, Jim Chaney. So we can’t wait for the pack of cards to come out.

WHAT VEGAS THINKS

Auburn’s a two-point favorite.

WHAT WE THINK

This is going to be a damned classic. There’s no way this is going to be as one-sided as people think. We think Georgia’s D is going to come in angry as hell, and they are going to target Johnson’s shoulder (fairly or unfairly). That’s going to mean that Stidham will be forced to throw more against a very good Georgia secondary. And the revenge factor – and the fact that it will be a home game for the Dawgs – is huge.

Oh, and we’re still quite smug about Vegas only making Georgia a 11-point favorite against Georgia Tech last week. They blew that out mid-way through the third quarter. Thanks for the money!! 

SO OUR PREDICTION…

Georgia 35, Auburn 28.

Other predictions: Oklahoma will slam TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game, Clemson will have no problem with Miami (thanks to the fact that not only is it the better team but also Charlotte’s a home game for the Tigers), and Ohio State will beat Wisconsin by 14 in the Big Ten Championship Game, and USC will beat Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game. And Lane Kiffin will win with FAU (beating North Texas) and Scott Frost will take UCF to an unbeaten season by beating Memphis in a high-scoring, must-watch classic.

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.

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 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.

Is LSU really the third best team in the SEC? Week 8 Rankings

LSU suddenly look as though it has something to make its fans excited about. After the Troy disaster, the Tigers have won three straight (Florida, Auburn and Ole Miss), and even Danny Etling does not look as bad as Gary Danielson makes him out to be (some people think Gary Danielson’s better than WE think he is).

But are the Tigers the third best team in the SEC? It’s between them at Texas A&M. A&M was on a bye week, but with LSU’s road victory – albeit an Ole Miss team that is inept at stopping the run, they move up to third. Auburn’s also pretty good, too.

So here you are.

  1. Alabama: Nick Saban will probably be yelling at backup QB Tua Tagovailoa for the next week for throwing a pick-six in the crushing of Tennessee. Hey, let’s be honest, the biggest surprise in college football this year would be if Alabama gets upset. Or if Saban actually calms down.
  2. Georgia: Putting their feet up before the Cocktail Party next week, Georgia doesn’t have a lot of holes in its game either. The win at Notre Dame is suddenly looking better and better, although the Florida and Auburn games would really indicate how good UGA really is.
  3. LSU: Derrius Guice ran for TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SIX YARDS on Saturday night. That’s right: TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SIX. Danny Etling’s performance of 9-13, 200 yards and 2 TDs (he ran in for one more) wasn’t terrible either.
  4. Texas A&M: The LSU game on November 25th (basically to see who’s going to be the second-best team in the SEC West) suddenly looks really, really interesting. The November 4th game at home to Auburn may tell us a little bit, too.
  5. Auburn: The destruction of a woeful Arkansas team showed what happens when a team plays for 60 minutes, not takes its foot off the gas after 20. As Auburn fans watching the LSU game would know. After the win Twitter wasn’t filled with cries of “Fire that ****er Malzahn”, as Auburn fans seemed more satisfied. We’re sure that’ll change if they lose to A&M and then Alabama in November!
  6. Florida: The 6th-place is evident for the Gators’ mediocrity. They’d probably be lower if this poll was just based on offenses. The offense – for which Gus Nussmeir should be fired for at season-end – is a steaming pile of crap.
  7. Mississippi State: Crushing Kentucky was hilarious, bearing in mind that everybody thought the Cats were sneaky-good. Nick Fitzgerald may not have been great passing (18-26, 155 yards, 1 TD), but his running game was great (12 carries, 112 yards, 2 TDs). Excuse me while I stand up and applaud.
  8. South Carolina: We GET that Kentucky beat South Carolina. But still, we think that South Carolina would have coped better against Mississippi State than Kentucky did. Plus, Kentucky came back from a week off and still played badly.
  9. Kentucky: To come from a bye week and play this badly deserves a demotion in our rankings. We still think the Cats will be bowl eligible by the end of the season, but this the kind of display that makes you excited. Luckily for them, 3 out of their last 5 games are winnable (the only one that isn’t is a trip to UGA on Nov 18. They play Tennessee next week).
  10. Missouri: Missouri’s destruction of Idaho has given the Tigers a bit of momentum – something that the other 4 teams below them simply don’t have. Another awful performance by their secondary should see them safely ensconced at the bottom again!
  11. Ole Miss: The loss of Shea Patterson against LSU gives Ole Miss offensive problems. The Rebels already have huge defensive problems. It’s a pity Ole Miss and Missouri don’t play each other this season – it could be the most entertaining game of the year, with the over about 750!!
  12. Arkansas: The gray shirts matched the Razorbacks’ performance against Auburn: Miserable. They were given a hiding by the Tigers, and showed no interest in fighting back. With news that his buyout’s $10m less than people first though, Jeff Long will now be under pressure to fire Bret Bielema.
  13. Tennessee: It’s OK, Butch Jones – Every team gets the living crap beaten out of it by Alabama. Butch Jones should be fired at season-end, though.
  14. Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt has to get its running defense better if it’s going to come off the bottom. Before the bye week the team had no momentum at all, and we’re sorry to say were a worse team than Tennessee.

Can Tennessee survive Alabama? Week 8 SEC Predictions

We’re going to make a massive prediction this week and tell you that someone might make a comment about Philip Fulmer when Tennessee comes to Tuscalossa. Apart from that, this – on paper – isn’t a wildly interesting slate with Auburn going to Arkansas, LSU going to Ole Miss, Kentucky going to Mississippi State, and Idaho visiting Missouri.

So here are the games in the level of interesting:

  1. Auburn (-15.5) vs Arkansas: If things were going to be smooth for Bret Bielema and Arkansas this season, things suddenly became a lot less smooth when it was reported that Bielema’s buyout was in fact $5.9 million NOT the $15 million as earlier thought. That’s a hell of a jump. Apparently, a reporter read the contract. And we can tell you that there’s another SEC fanbase who’s not happy: Auburn. The Plains are smoking about not getting their first win in Baton Rouge since 1999, particularly with a comfortable 20-0 lead. But after the cruise control, the offensive playcalling went into its shell, LSU’s ‘D’ played out of its mind, and LSU won. Suddenly, the critics are saying: “If Malzahn doesn’t beat Georgia or Alabama, he’s out”. The good news for Auburn? They are facing an Arkansas side that just had the crap beaten out of it by Alabama, and gives up nearly 5 yards/rushing attempt. That should let Kerryon Johnson feast. PREDICTION: Auburn by 14.
  2. Alabama (-34.5) at Tennessee: Nick Saban’s going to spin his usual crap about Tennessee being one hell of a football team and being unlucky last week against South Carolina, but the first half is far from the truth. Tennessee is a bad football team. They managed to lose against South Carolina despite having a bye week to work out how they might actually score a touchdown. Listen, we don’t think Butch Jones is going to get his ass kicked out of Knoxville after the slaughter in Tuscaloosa, but this won’t be close. If you have anything to do between 3.30 and 7pm (ie watch other college football games), do so. PREDICTION: Alabama by 40. 
  3. LSU (-6.5) at Ole Miss: LSU’s second-half defense against Auburn was pretty amazing, helped by defensive backs Done Jackson and Eric Monroe, who had 6 pass break-ups between them. Ole Miss looked as though it was going to be in a tussle with Vanderbilt, but rolled. With AJ Brown back and Shea Patterson looking to throw the ball every play (they average 357.2 yards/game, the 6th-highest in the NCAA), LSU’s defensive backs are going to have a real challenge. Oh, and LSU has to grow up. The Tigers are 89th in the FBS for penalties, compiling 433 penalty yards this season – that’s nearly 62 yards per game. You can see that one of LSU’s players gets booted for targeting (as happened at Mississippi State, twice). On the offensive side of the ball, we expect Darrius Guice to be given the ball a lot against a D that has given up 238.5 yards/game – one of the worst in the country. And Danny Etling – if he’s not terrible, could be counted on for a pass TD or two against a D that’s given up 10 pass TDs this season and nearly 13 yards per completion. PREDICTION: LSU wins by 7 in a close, entertaining one. 
  4. Kentucky at Mississippi State (-10.5): We stupidly tweeted that we couldn’t believe Kentucky was a 10 pt away favorite at Mississippi State, but then realised that we’d got the order of things wrongly, and it was the Bulldogs who were 10 point favorites. We still think it’s low. Kentucky’s gone 1-1 in classics this season (the fortunes could have been reversed against Florida and Missouri), while Mississippi State’s blown out a team that they weren’t meant to (LSU), and were blown out by a team that they were meant to play really, really close (Georgia). After getting swatted by Auburn following the UGA game, Mississippi State finally looked better against BYU, and we think it’ll continue against Kentucky. Although Kentucky’s been nasty against the rush (97.2 yards/game), they are mediocre overall (385.5 yards/game), which should give Nick Fitzgerald lots of chances to exploit them. We expect Kentucky to try and control the clock as it has against all its opponents, but we don’t think they’ll be particularly effective. PREDICTION: MSU by 13.
  5. Idaho at Missouri (-14.5): Get this: Missouri is so bad that they are only a 14.5 home favorite against Idaho, who has played no-one on their schedule. Yes, we get that Missouri struggled mightily with Southeast Missouri State at the start of the year but Idaho? Really? In the last two weeks Missouri’s offense has clicked a little better, with Drew Lock throwing bullets and scaring the life out of secondaries.  And We think Idaho will give up more than the 162.3 yards/game they give up through the air on this offense. Idaho’s offense is also pretty mediocre (ranked 97th overall), so if Missouri can actually make a stop, they should win comfortably.If you’re watching this game, watch out for Emmanuel Hall, who had 270 yards and 3 TDs in the last two games – including 141 against Georgia. PREDICTION (And I don’t believe I’m saying this): Missouri by 28. 

QUICK PREDICTION FOR AN OUT- CONFERENCE: Michigan goes to Penn State as a 9.5 road favorite. Michigan’s got the best defense in the land, and Penn State has struggled against some bad teams of late getting the Saquon Barkley run game going. And Michigan’s won 3 straight over the Nittany Lions. We’ll take Michigan. Even if it’s only the points. That gives an advantage to Georgia. 

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