Nothing says "beat Northwestern" quite like a Lynyrd Skynyrd medley on the beach. (It starts around the 1-minute mark.) Happy new year, War Damn Eagle band.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Nothing says "beat Northwestern" quite like a Lynyrd Skynyrd medley on the beach. (It starts around the 1-minute mark.) Happy new year, War Damn Eagle band.
... is one Tommy Tuberville. Click here to read more.
... when it comes to coaches being great copy (and video). Let's review:
Here are the rosters for Saturday's Offense-Defense Bowl in Myrtle Beach, along with where the players are heading. And SI's Andy Staples tells the story of a Mississippi kid who's not getting much love from big-time programs. Plays QB. Last name Favre.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Coach Rich Brooks says he's 80% out the door, though AD Mitch Barnhart said Tuesday night he wants Brooks to stay. If Brooks does leave, Joker Phillips would take over as just the second black head coach in SEC history.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sports Illustrated's S.L. Price, a Chapel Hill grad, delves deeply into Urban Meyer's psyche and finds more than a cyst. He finds a man torn by obligations and a desire to succeed that goes far beyond mere drive. Read more.
How does Nick Saban handle the pressure of being a big-time football coach? He says he has no choice.
The folks down at the Times-Picayune have plenty on their plate right about now, not just with the Sugar Bowl game itself, but with all the Urban Meyer intrigue and Tim Tebow's last hurrah (not to mention the Who Dats in fine fettle). They asked a bunch of people from the college football world to weigh in on Tebow. Here's one that stood out -- it's not about his character or his religion or his legacy, it's just about the guy as a football player. It comes from LSU's own Billy Cannon.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Urban Meyer's about face has been out for 18 hours, but this is still the best thing I've found on the Florida coach's personal dilemma: doing the thing that he loves more than life in a life-changing way.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Is it . . .
It's all developing as we speak. He's resigning for health reasons. Orlando Sentinel has it covered here.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Sports Illustrated scribe Austin Murphy talks up Texas' chances against Alabama. Story here.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
We'll start with a few hints:
SEC champion. 24-game regular-season winning streak. Heisman Trophy winner.
Am I boring you yet?
All these accomplishments apparently have monetary as well as intrinsic value. Or so says Forbes, which picks Alabama as the most valuable college football program in the SEC.
Texas takes the top prize, and their balance sheet is something straight off a "Dallas" rerun.
Money, however, doesn't bring you happiness. Too often, it brings you Albert Means.
And the last time I looked, the Longhorns and all their bucks were decided underdogs Jan. 7.
In other words: All hat, no cattle.
No crown, either. RTR.
-- Michael Gordon
(P.S., the SEC teams listed are: Alabama, 5th; Florida, 6th; LSU, 7th; Georgia, 9th; South Carolina, 12th; Tennessee, 13th; Auburn, 14th; and Arkansas, 17th.)
Everybody knows Florida is fast. But this fast?
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
For starters, according to ESPN's morning radio host, we have the most passion, the best players and coaches, the best TV contract . . .
This we all know. But this morning, Cowherd also pointed to the SEC's bowl lineup.
Three weeks ago, Oregon State played for the PAC 10 championship and lost a riveting game to rival Oregon. Three weeks ago, defending national champion Florida fell to Alabama in the SEC Championship. That game wasn't close.
Yet compare the consolation prizes. Florida goes to a mammoth payout in the Sugar Bowl. Oregon State? They ended up in Las Vegas, playing in a 41,000-seat stadium, in miserable conditions, against BYU from the Mountain West. The Beavers lost their pelts.
Check out the comparative bowl trips for the rest of the PAC 10 vs. the SEC. The Left Coast crew should be embarrassed. The SEC takes care of its schools far better.
Cowherd, a Left Coast guy, put it this way. It's like inviting a girl out to a five-star restaurant and at the last minute not being able to get in. The SEC picks up the phone and immediately lands a great table in a four-star place. The PAC 10 tells its date: "Want to walk across the street to Der Wiener Schnitzel?"
So add this to the SEC's superiority: We really know how to treat our women.
Yep. It happened during the wooing of junior college QB Jordan Rodgers, who signed Monday with the Commodores. (He's the brother of Green Bay QB Aaron). Go here to find out more.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
What might have changed if one second hadn't been put pack on the clock. Think about it: one second, about the time it takes to mash here.
Monday, December 21, 2009
ESPN's "Outside the Lines" has started a big series about problems with the NCAA, a topic with much fertile ground to cover. It's worth the time to go root around in the whole thing, but here's the red meat for SEC football fans: Salary and incentive numbers for SEC coaches and assistants. Is your school overpaying enough? Time to find out!
-- Tommy Tomlinson
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Here's a little compensatory information concerning the University of Alabama's decision to cancel three days of classes so students can attend the BCS Championship in Pasadena next month.
Friday, December 18, 2009
. . . that fairness is the SEC Expats' middle name. With that in mind, the SEC F. Expats are happy to provide further context on Tennessee's continuing daytime drama of recruiting violations.
By now you've heard the story of the Alabama lawyers seeking a continuance of a court case because it would conflict with their attending and/or enjoying the Jan. 7 championship game.
Various sites are looking back at the Aughts, or Naughts, or whatever it is you call the years since 2000. SI's Stewart Mandel calls Tebow and Meyer the player and coach of the decade (go here for that). And the blog Team Speed Kills takes us back to the days of Mike Price, Ron Zook, etc.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
"The Longhorns ... have what is, hands down, the nation's biggest, wealthiest and most eccentric collection of college football boosters."
Full story here from The Wall Street Journal.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Wonder why the SEC is so good? Check out the Associated Press' All-American team. Almost half of the players are from our schools. Alabama's six first-teamers are an all-time record.
Yes, the conference has become a shark tank of great coaches. Yes, we have the biggest television contract, the best TV slots, the prettiest girls, the best stadiums. But if you're making lists, have a peek at every credible recruiting ranking from the last three years. Florida, Alabama, LSU and Georgia will be among the Top 10. This year, Tennessee and Auburn have joined them.
So, yes, it is a simple game. Get great coaches who attract great players, then turn them loose on the world.
For the record: The Big 12 had 7 on the AP team. That gave them and the SEC 19 of the 25
spots. The national championship game between Texas and Alabama will feature 9.
Among those also receiving votes . . .
The ACC: 2.
The Big 10: 1.
The PAC 12: 1.
The remaining spots went to Notre Dame (where great recruiting classes leave to join the priesthood), Idaho and TCU.
The SEC breakdown:
Mark Ingram, running back.
Mike Johnson, guard.
Leigh Tiffin, kicker.
Terrence Cody, tackle.
Rolando McClain, linebacker.
Javier Arenas, cornerback.
Aaron Hernandez, tight end.
Joe Haden, cornerback.
Eric Norwood, linebacker.
Eric Berry, safety.
Drew Butler, punter. (They have a outstanding long snappah, too.)
Remember all the talk about Alabama's schedule actually being tougher than its No. 2 ranking (behind Miss. State, Mr. Roberts) because so many of its biggest opponents didn't play the week before?
Turns out the Bama fans smelling big, fat institutional rodents were right. Next year, Alabama will play six teams coming off byes. Since 2007, they will have played 16 of those games. The next highest number for an SEC opponent? 5 for LSU.
Sort of challenges the premise that Alabama was ever irrelevant. Even when we stunk, teams sure seemed to want an extra week to prepare.
The SEC has promised adjustments. Mash here for details from the Tuscaloosa News.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
And speaking of Johnny Musso (before M. Gordon gets a chance to) ...
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
"With all due respect, I really think we have more important things to spend our time on."
-- Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., who on Wednesday voted against a measure that would do away with the BCS set-up.
And from the other side of the aisle, here's what Rep. Lee Terry, a Republican from Nebraska, had to say about his support of the bill:
"Do I think there are problems and corruption based on money in this system? That was clear on Saturday night."
Full story here and here.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
"You don't want to go where they ain't pretty."
-- Marcus Lattimore of Byrnes High in Duncan, S.C., referring to the influence of Tennessee's recruiting hostesses. The NCAA is investigating UT about it; full N.Y. Times story here. (Meanwhile, the Spartanburg Herald-Journal says the running back has narrowed his choices to South Carolina, Auburn, Penn State, Oregon and Georgia; story here.)
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
* Alabama-Texas in BCS title game in Pasadena.
* Arkansas-East Carolina in Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
* Auburn-Northwestern in Outback Bowl in Tampa.
* Florida-Cincinnati in Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
* Georgia-Texas A&M in Independence Bowl in Shreveport.
* Kentucky-Clemson in Music City Bowl in Nashville.
* LSU-Penn State in Capital One Bowl in Orlando.
* Ole Miss-Oklahoma State in Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
* South Carolina-UConn in Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham.
* Tennessee-Virginia Tech in Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
... and the SEC-against-the-world bowl breakdown ...
Big 12: 3
Big 10: 2
Big East: 2
Conference USA: 1
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Before we get to the current Game of the Century, a few words about "The Blind Side" -- and what it teaches about the SEC.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Perhaps the most controversial -- I say the best -- analyst in college football adds his thoughts to the pregame chatter.
Gary Danielson has a to-do list for both teams IF they hope to reach the national championship game next month.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Five reasons Florida wins:
1. They are the best balanced team in the country.
Nobody does more things well. They run the ball. They throw the ball. They catch the ball. They defend the run, they defend the pass. They cover kicks, they cover punts, and with Brandon James they are a special-teams threat at all times. We didn't mention that their cheerleaders are cute and their coach has good hair. We will if we need to.
2. They show well in big games.
Say what you want about every team being different, Florida is a program that's accustomed to winning. Granted, there is no Percy Harvin. There will be no Carlos Dunlap. And maybe Tim Tebow has been slightly off form since he got kicked in the head. But Florida owns the country's longest winning streak, and it was sewn together with scalps from the country's strongest conference. 'Nuff said.
3. Florida's offense, for one game, is almost impossible to defend.
If the SEC championship were best two out of three, maybe this would be different. But the task of controlling the Gators' spread/veer is too much to ask even from Alabama. Too much speed, too many variations, too well executed. Mt. Cody will look like a mountain, as the Florida backs and receivers speed right around him. Too many Alabama players must make the right decisions on too many plays to keep the Gators in check. And even if they do, Tebow ain't shabby at improvisation.
4. As good as they are, Florida is underrated in two key positions.
The Florida defensive backfield is the best in the country -- big enough to stop the run, fast enough to shut down passing games. That ability will give Gator lineman, even without the suspended Dunlap, time to pressure Greg McElroy. If Mac can't throw, Alabama won't be able to run. On the other side of the ball, Florida has the most quietly efficient passing game in the country. Short or long, Tebow seems to make his best throws in big games, even though he winds up like Mariano Rivera. Riley Cooper and Aaron Hernandez have proven to be almost unguardable, and if it's near them, they catch it.
The best college football player and leader of my lifetime.
Five reasons Alabama wins:
1. They're the underdog.
As Dawg Tomlinson puts it, this hasn't been a great year for the Overdogs. Tiger gets caught on the back 9 of the PGA, Tebow gets bonked, Tiger really gets caught . . . In last year's classic, Alabama led Florida well into the fourth quarter, until they were Tebowed on back to back drives. They've had a year to measure themselves against that performance. More importantly, Nick Saban has had a full year to brood and scheme. And would it surprise anyone if he asked his former boss Bill, as in Belichick, to drop by and watch some film?
2. Alabama has improved.
The defense is better. The offense has more playmakers. The quarterback has a better feel for the entire field. In Javier Arenas and Rolando McClain, Alabama has two of the best defensive players anywhere. Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Roy Upchurch are the best backfield threesome in college football, and Julio Jones is healthy again. Spencer Tillman of CBS says the Tide will control Florida's receivers, forcing Tebow to run. When you know he's coming he's a little easier to defend, meaning he's a lot easier to hit. If that happens, it will be Alabama controlling the fourth quarter, not the defending champs.
3. Florida is not as good as everyone thinks.
Sure, Florida has virtually everybody back from their BCS title team, but some of the magic is missing. Brandon Spikes has been beat up or suspended; Percy Harvin left an enormous hole; Tebow may still be seeing stars that have nothing to do with heavenly beings; Dunlap is still asleep on his wheel. When you compare the common opponents, Alabama carries a decided edge in margin of victory. Florida struggled against physical teams. Alabama beat LSU, South Carolina, Va. Tech and Ole Miss to their knees. In their two closest games, the Tide blocked kicks against Tennessee and drove the length of the field against Auburn. This Gator edition also struggled against also-rans Arkansas and Miss. State, two teams Alabama annihilated. Which Florida team will show up? This is no time for Gator schizophrenia.
4. Alabama learned from last year.
The Tide will stay better balanced on offense this year. Like Florida, they can run and throw. But last year's game turned in the fourth quarter when the Tide got pass happy. This year, they will run and throw more effectively. Last year, they kicked too many field goals when they got close to the Gator goal line. This year, they'll push through to the other side. One other thing: The Florida offense, though amazingly effective, won't seem so doggone new.
5. Not all fairy tales have a happy ending.
The Disney ones do, but check out the really old stuff. All sorts of horrible things happen, sort of like in life. Tebow has been a miracle of nature and character. But this year he will learn to deal with major disappointment. In the future, that will make him a better person. For the immediate, Alabama has the better team.
-- Michael Gordon
"It will be a real interesting matchup. Florida has better players, and Alabama has better coaches, so we'll see."
-- UT's Lane Kiffin (you were expecting somebody else?)
A better Alabama secondary and a lesser Florida pass rush are among the reasons CBS commentator Spencer Tillman picks the Tide in Saturday's SEC Championship rematch with Florida.
While rightfully gushing about Tim Tebow, he says the Gator QB faces a much better Alabama defense, particular in Bama's cover guys. Another reason: Alabama coach Nick Saban has been thinking about the rematch for an entire year.
Tillman also says the suspension of Carlos Dunlop makes it far easier for Tide quarterback Greg McElroy to use the pass to set up the run.
The resident Bama Skeptic says we'll see. I can't remember a game where the teams appear so balanced, and where the individual battles between receivers and defensive backs, linebackers against backfields, and lines against lines could turn the game one way or the other.
In the meantime, enjoy, then join in . . .
Jeremy Fowler of The Orlando Sentinel looks at the numbers and says the SEC is worth more than any other team or brand in the country: nearly $4 billion.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Various media are reporting that these matchups are either set or soon will be. (Take with the requisite grain of salt.)
This just out of Gainesville: Carlos Dunlap, last year's defensive MVP of the Gators' national championship game, won't be playing Saturday against Alabama in the SEC Championship after his early morning DWI arrest.
USC president Harris Pastides and AD Eric Hyman want to extend the Ol' Ball Coach's contract through the end of the 2013 season. Click here for the full story from The (Columbia) State.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Jess Nicholas at Tidefans.com doesn't sugarcoat it. A lot will have to go right for Alabama to beat Florida in Saturday's SEC Championship Game rematch.
Some highlights: Alabama must get its offense back in gear after a relatively poor showing against Auburn; the Tide also goes into the game banged up at linebacker. So do the Gators, but they have more depth to compensate. And, of course, a pretty good quarterback will be riding to the game on the Florida bus.
Read for yourself.
Couple of things to consider while you're crunching numbers and matchups for the SEC title game:
Sunday, November 29, 2009
1. It's hard to imagine one conference having a worse weekend than the ACC. Underdogs Georgia and South Carolina physically maul Tech and Clemson; Florida State looks inept . . . again; and even up and coming North Carolina coughs one up against a mediocre rival. Gee, whaddya say we all go down to Tampa to see if we can score some championship game tickets!
* Mullen's been jabbing Ole Miss ever since he took the job, never calling them by name but instead referring to them as "the school up north" or "the team up north."
* He had a countdown clock put in the locker room to remind players when they'd get another shot at Ole Miss (last year's score was 45-0 Rebs).
* He took to the microphone after the game and told the Starkville faithful, "This is one program in this state that's definitely on the rise and heading in the right direction," a response to a comment by Houston Nutt earlier in the week.
And for good measure, at game's end the MSU scoreboard flashed a postcard saying, "From Dixon With Love," both saluting RB Anthony Dixon and mocking the now-banned Ole Miss song, "From Dixie With Love."
Nothing to get too carried away about, but still ... State was 5-7 against a schedule that might've been the nation's toughest (9 bowl teams in all), and they've got a coach who's putting some fire in the program.
-- R. Trentham Roberts
Mr. Gordon was correct in his earlier Iron Bowl postgame decompression: Alabama was the better team. The Tide's players lived up to the moment when they had to. Greg McElroy looked an awful lot like Jay Barker on the final drive - poised and efficient in a moment when it's very easy not to be either.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Like I tried to tell my Auburn brethren all week, this one had the feel of an ulcer farm.
Congrats to Auburn. Congrats to Gene Chizik. Your team played hard and competed the entire game.
That said, the best team won, and maybe learned something about themselves and the best rivalry in the sport. Now Florida.
Spencer Tillman on CBS said something interesting after the game: He said Auburn-Alabama is the only rivalry of the weekend where the stats and season records don't matter. Auburn could have won. Many of its faithful will say the Tigers should have won. But they didn't, and Alabama did, for this reason. In the end, Alabama was good enough and disciplined enough to do what it needed to do to win when things up to that moment had all been going wrong.
In a day or two, I may feel differently, but right now I believe this is one of the great Iron Bowls of my lifetime. I think I would say that even if Auburn had won. Fortunately, I don't have to find out. Roll Tide. War Eagle. Take a deep breath.
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all, and that's enough of that.
Given the calendar, and given that our sport is football, there's a pretty fair chance that your team is playing someone you despise. It's Rivalry Weekend, more accurately described as College Football's Celebration of Sectarian Violence.
So here we go:
Georgia at Georgia Tech: Wounded dogs are angry dogs, and Georgia will fight hard for a half against Tech. But like a pit bull, the Engineers will keep coming, long after the Red and Black have lost their nose for the fight. Tech, 35-24.
Tennessee at Kentucky: The Volunteers' annual respectability caravan rolls into Lexington, and nobody ends a season on an easier note than Tennessee. But in Kentucky, they face a team that plays at or above its potential almost every week. This one will be close, and every team in the league is pulling for the Wildcats. I like the karma. But not the final score. UT, 21-17.
Clemson at South Carolina: I had this friend in high school who was a gifted basketball player, until he faced someone just as good. Rather than be exposed, he acted as if he didn't care. Steve Spurrier has a losing record against Clemson, and most times, it looks like he and his team could give a rip. Stephen Garcia cares, but he doesn't have enough help. Tigers, 24-21.
Arkansas at LSU: Les Miles coached the last minute against Ole Miss like a man with a severe concussion. Thus, his team once again is swooning while the Hogs are finding their legs. Worse for him, the LSU crowd may be more lathered up about his mental state than who wins what has become one of the SEC's most entertaining games. Entertain this: Hogs, 31-28.
Florida State at Florida: Let's save the print here: Tim Tebow is not losing his last home game in Gainesville. Fairy Tales don't end that way. Gators, 38-14.
Ole Miss at Miss. State: The "Egg Bowl" is a terrible farm-to-market, Eisenhower-Era name for a seething instate hatefest. This week, it shall be known as the "Houston Nutt Trap Bowl." In other words, Nutt's bigger and more talented team is about to lay an egg. Bullies, 24-21.
Alabama at Auburn: Alabama, in their coach's words, must change the way Auburn thinks about the Tide and themselves. In other words, if Alabama holds on to the ball and each player pounds away at the Auburn jersey in front of him, the Tide should take this one. But the scariest thing about Alabama's season so far is how -- the Terrence Cody block party aside -- it has lacked weirdness.
Something tells me something weird is in store at The Plains this week. It will keep the game closer. But hear this: The Evil Empire is bringing the Imperial Walkers. Tide, 35-20.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Ron Morris' column advising Clemson coach Dabo Swinney to put star C.J. Spiller on the bench for the Clemson-South Carolina game raises a provocative/troubling point about the status of some of the best rivalry games of the college football season.
Morris believes it's far more important for Spiller to be ready for the ACC Championship matchup with Georgia Tech than to risk his turfed toe to further injury against the Gamecocks.
Many South Carolinians undoubtedly are laughing out loud at the notion that Spiller shouldn't play -- particularly Clemson fans who might find it a tad ironic that the suggestion is coming out of Columbia, even if Morris is a frequent critic of Coach Steve Spurrier and his program.
Still, is the ACC Championship game more important to Clemson than its annual Civil War with Carolina?
Emotionally? Heaven's no.
Financially? Hell yes.
There are millions at stake if the Tigers beat Tech and make it to a BCS Bowl. But what price do you place on bragging rights?
This balance-sheet comparison has been made relevant by conference championship games and the whole BCS bowl system that have made Big Bucks an even move visible influence on the fabric of college football. Sadly, one of the losers in the new system are the end-of-the-year rivalry games that involve teams from different conferences: Florida/Florida State and Carolina/Clemson.
Not long ago, the Sunshine State slugfest was one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the year. Now it's nothing more than a potential speed bump before the real Big Game: the Gators' battle with Alabama in 10 days. Most of the college football world -- and the bowls and the networks and the casual fans -- are hoping beyond hope that 1. Florida wins. 2. Tim Tebow doesn't take another blow to the noggin. In short, let Florida win by two TDs and move on.
The same traps exist for Alabama as it prepares for its Friday visit to hated Auburn. The Iron Bowl keeps more of its luster because the teams are in the same division of the same conference, and many years the game decides who goes to Atlanta from the SEC West. Besides, the level of hatred remains so high that the game is always a kind of car wreck that no one can ignore.
This year, even the Iron Bowl has been compromised. If Alabama and Florida were both to lose this weekend, the winner of their game is still likely to get a shot at the national championship.
But it hard to imagine Nick Saban or Urban Meyer holding a slightly dinged-up star out of either game, just as it's hard to see Spiller not playing against South Carolina. There's just too much at stake -- from recruiting to in-state dominance to the personal satisfaction of kicking your annoying neighbor's butt.
Money is changing the game, but not that much.
-- Michael Gordon
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Tony Barnhart's take on the Iron Bowl? As with most things in Alabama, it comes with a little history.
"You can throw out the records" in this one. But only if you want to lose your shirt.
Some positives for UGA after Kentucky game
Monday, November 23, 2009
No word yet on when a decision will be made as to his football future. Full story here from the Knoxville News Sentinel. (Update: Jackson has been reinstated and will play Saturday against Kentucky. See Rocky Top Talk link at right.)
Most Alabama fans detest what you're about to see, but I'm not one of them.
Yes, I'd rather chew glass than lose to Auburn. But the Agrarians' celebration at the end of the 2007 game captures beautifully the glee of taking care of your instate rival, hurting him in a way that only you and he can fully understand, and savoring the sweet, sweet peace of knowing you won't have to take any crap for 365 days.
When it comes to all things Alabama/Auburn, it doesn't get any better than utter, blessed relief.
P.S. - 10:18 a.m., Peter St. Onge: This is a difficult week for Auburn fans. We know a whomping awaits us Friday. It likely will not be pretty. We could take a Revolutionary War approach to things this week and hit the Redcoats with fire from alternate angles - Did you hear that Notre Dame has Nick Saban on its short list? - but really, it won't make us feel better. Our football ipecac is coming. Bring it on.
P.P.S - Michael: Mr. St. Onge's perspective, while appreciated, is suspect. He is Auburn by marriage, not blood. The fires are again burning in Mt. Doom, and they are the fires of Auburn hope.
This is the perfect moment for the underdog in a rivalry game. Two weeks to prepare, a high-ranked opponent, and less than nothing to lose.
For those of us old enough to not only remember but able to deal with the pain, Auburn gained 80 yards of total offense in 1972, but blocked two punts for touchdowns late in the game to win. The parallels are scary. Alabama was undefeated and ranked second in the country. Nobody gave Auburn any chance. Besides, who won the flippin' Revolutionary War?
So Peter, why don't you poll your in-laws and get back to us. And thanks for writing a sentence with ipecac. During Auburn/Alabama week, we'll need all the respectability we can muster.
P.P.P.S - Peter: If Alabama can use the equivalent of a No. 1 vote from the Jefferson County (Ala.) Junior League in claiming some of its "national championships," I think I'm on pretty solid ground in declaring myself an Auburn fan. And a quick peek at Auburn message boards, as well as real, live conversations with other Auburn fans, shows that very few of us expect to beat Alabama. But we wonder: Do you think you'll have a better go at TCU in January than Utah last year?
This goes out to our AU and UA blogmates. The title sums up the emotions of the week quite nicely. Come back Friday evening for a special postgame version of "I Go To Pieces." Who'll be on the receiving end of that dedication? -- RTR
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Assuming that next week will be taken up with Florida-'Bama and bowl bids, let's go ahead and start the poll for wildest finish of the year. (If there's a worthy contender this coming weekend, we'll revisit.) I picked these 3 because they had folks ranting for days on end, and the endings were as much about the coaches and refs as they were about the players. -- RTR
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
First of all: Damn good dawg.
It's a lame week of college football -- unless you care deeply about Ohio State-Michigan, in which case you probably enjoy a nice bowl of cream of wheat in the morning. Just think of it as the eye before next week's hurricane -- the Egg Bowl, LSU-Arkansas, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State and of course Auburn-Alabama.
LSU at Ole Miss -- This game would save the Rebels' season, and Dexter McCluster is making the CFB version of a salary drive -- the footage from the Tennessee game is now on every NFL scout's hard drive. But isn't this the kind of game Houston Nutt always loses, usually in heartbreaking fashion? Tigers, 24-23.
Kentucky at Georgia -- Joe Cox's last home game. Followed by Georgia Tech and the Weed Eater Bowl. Dawgs, 38-21.
Vandy at Tennessee -- Every year the back end of UT's schedule is as weightless as cotton candy. Vols, 33-13.
Mississippi State at Arkansas -- The Bulldogs look a lot better on the field, although it hasn't shown up yet on the won-loss record. Hawgs, 28-19.
Florida 63, Florida International 7
Alabama 45, UT-Chattanooga 3
Damn fine dog is right, Tommy, and too short a life. Hope he didn't suffer . . . beyond being associated with this Georgia team, I mean.
Ole Miss 24, LSU 19. Rebs, like last year, are rounding into shape a little late in the game, but just in time to raise more Corndog concerns about Les Miles.
Georgia 20, Kentucky 15: UGA gets a decent sendoff, by a big slobbering whisker.
Tennessee 24, Vandy 10. The Vols hold on. Good thing, too. Their coach is running short on scapegoats -- and players for that matter.
Arkansas 35, Miss. State 20: Table being set for big pig expectations next year.
Florida/Alabama combined 102, Florida International/UT-'Nooga combined: 17.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
In honor of this week's riveting Alabama-UT Chattanooga and the Florida-Florida International slugfests, let's recap the season's overwhelming evidence that the SEC is the country's best league.
Could it be Alabama's signature win over Virginia Tech?
Or is it Auburn's signature win over West Virginia?
Or perhaps it's LSU's signature win over Washington.
Or what about Florida's win over . . . wait a minute, Florida hasn't played anyone out of conference that's worth a chomp.
And that's a problem. The SEC's national schedule stinks.
Sure, Va. Tech was preseason Top 10 when Alabama belted them around the Georgia Dome. Does anyone think the Hokies are even Top 20 now?
For a brief while, LSU's road win at Washington had some star power. But that's before the Huskies disappeared in a snow bank. Hell, Washington even found a way to lose to Notre Dame.
Auburn took care of West Virginia with a considerable assist from the Mountaineer quarterback. Still, a win's a win. Except, perhaps, when it comes against a mid-level Big East team.
Which begs the bigger question: Has the SEC really beaten anyone yet? Here's the answer. No.
OK, altogether now, let's recite the SEC's case: Conference teams have to play each other and then survive the momma and daddy of all conference championship games.
But am I alone in feeling a little spooked by the lack of national competition the conference has faced? The exception is Mississippi State -- with games against Ga. Tech and Houston, games in which the Bulldogs gave almost as well as they received -- games they still lost.
Other notable defeats: Tennessee to a bad UCLA team. Vandy to just about everyone; and Georgia to Oklahoma State. Granted, Georgia got by Arizona State, but most believe the Dawgs will be tied to the back of the Ramblin' Wreck and dragged all around Grant Field when it meets instate rival Ga. Tech at year's end.
No one is arguing that the SEC isn't the deepest conference in the country, and CBS analyst Gary Danielson told Charlotte radio host Mark Packer last night that the league is stronger this year than last. But are Florida and Alabama really the country's two best teams? Maybe.
Three years ago, Ohio State and Michigan were the honorees of a season-long coronation. Their showdown that year -- akin to the buildup surrounding Florida/Alabama, don't you think? -- lived up to its billing, so much so that it appeared the BCS would opt for a Big 10 rematch to settle the national title.
In the end, either the computers or just enough writers blocked the do-over. Florida slipped into the game. The Rust Belt howled. Then the Gators went out and annihilated Ohio State. All the pundits were wrong. The best team all year in the sports pages was not the last team standing. The national take on the Buckeyes and the Big 10 has never been the same.
Could the SEC be setting itself for a repeat tumble? We think we're the best league, with the two best teams. But how do we know for sure until we leave our own backyard?
And here's what even scarier: The loser in Atlanta almost certainly will face an angry TCU or Boise State, still feeling the snub of the BCS. As the Sugar Bowl showed last season, that could get ugly in a hurry.
MORE ON THAT FLORIDA SCHEDULE
The SEC often takes heat for its terrible non-conference schedule, which will take front and center this weekend, with Alabama squaring off against Chattanooga and Florida tussling with Florida International.
Started thinking about UF and its non-conference schedule. About the Gators traveling outside of the region for a non-conference regular season game. Like LSU playing at Virginia Tech in 2002 and at Washington this season. Alabama playing Oklahoma in Norman in 2002. Auburn going into the Coliseum to play USC the same year.
And I kept thinking. Couldn't even picture the blue and orange outside the South, except for a couple of bowl games.
So I looked it up. The Gators last played a non-conference game outside of Florida in 1991, a 38-21 loss to Syracuse.
Florida fans will no doubt point to their annual game against Florida State as the reason the Gators can't be more ambitious with the schedule, though the Seminoles have been mediocre for five years. And yes, the Gators played Miami in 2002, 2003 and 2008.
But with 12 total games, couldn't Florida manage to cross the Mason-Dixon Line? Yes, they have to play LSU every year and yes they play the Seminoles. But what is now arguably the country's premier college football program should step it a notch. Wouldn't it be great to see Ohio State play in The Swamp? Or the game that every college football fan would like to see - Florida-USC?
With news circulating of a fourth Tennessee player having gotten into a legal jam, Joel Barker writes in Bleacher Report of how he no longer has stars in his eyes when it comes to Lane Kiffin. Here's a Kiffin quote about curfews that may yet come back to haunt him: "I don't like to make rules or have things that you can't really enforce." (More Kiffin quotes about the recent incidents here.) -- RTR
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
For the state juco title, it was East Mississippi Community College 75, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College 71.
You can read about the shootout here and here.
Everybody still refers to Gulf Coast as Perk, short for Perkinston, where the main campus is tucked away. And up in that part of the state, East Mississippi is sometimes called Scooba U.
Understand that the Great State of Mississippi has long had top-notch junior college football programs, winning 7 national championships since 1971 and sending a slew of players on to SEC and other schools (including Alabama's Terrence Cody, who played at Perk). East Mississippi is now ranked fifth nationally and Perk seventh.
Best postgame quote, from Perk coach Steve Campbell: "We'll learn something from this. I don't know what, but we'll learn from it."
-- R. Trentham Roberts