Sunday, November 1, 2009

What we learned from Week 9

*As hard as it is to say it, congrats to coaches Kiffin and Chizik and their kids. Vols continue to improve, and Saturday night they beat the quits into South Carolina early. Auburn, meanwhile, found its legs against Mississippi and may have regained enough mojo to run through the tape of its remaining games. The Tigers' problems stopping the run shouldn't be a big issue until Alabama comes calling the day after Thanksgiving.

*On the other hand: the teams of Messrs. Nutt and Spurrier ran to predictably underwhelming form. The Rebels, clear favorites after taking out Arkansas, looked lifeless on the Plains. This is what makes Nutt so exasperating a coach. Few people relish the underdog role more than he. But his teams never have mastered those itty-bitty details known as week-to-week effort and consistency. Ole Miss, a pre-season media darling, has given sports journalism a bad name.

South Carolina? Sheesh. Even Spurrier's best teams at Florida were sloppy, yet won on talent and The Visor's novel schemes. A decade later, Spurrier's players continue to perform like they don't practice very often. Plus, at Carolina he lacks the talent to take on a league that has caught up with his play-calling. In one of the biggest games of the Spurrier II era, the Gamecocks played as if they didn't like being hit and left the ball lying on the ground like so many abandoned eggs. The stadium will start emptying early when Florida comes to town this month. It's November, after all, when SEC teams begin deciding if they want their poultry baked, broiled or fried.

*The two best linebackers in the SEC, maybe the country, are Brandon Spikes and Rolando McClain. Similar size. Similar position. Similar ferocity. One difference: Spikes, too often, plays like a thug. Check this BS move.

(And we've added a poll so you can tell us whether you think he should be suspended.)

*Where did all those great recruiting classes go at Georgia? The talent gap is significant.

*Looking ahead: Don't be surprised if LSU doesn't win in Tuscaloosa this week. The Tigers are playing better on both sides of the ball, and their talent at the skill positions is obvious. Two keys for the Tide: Can they make life more complicated for Jordan Jefferson, and can Julio Jones and company get open against the superb LSU cover guys?

Say what you want about the dropoff by Greg McElroy, the truth of the matter is he's had to make far tougher throws because his receivers have trouble creating space. Maybe that explains why Nick Saban is after just about every top receiving prospect in the Southeast, including Greensboro's Keenan Allen, who's expected to announce his commitment to the Tide as soon as this week.
-- Michael Gordon

I found myself watching the annual Florida beatdown and wondering which of our guys could start for the Gators. The only two I could be sure about were A.J. Green at WR and Drew Butler at punter. Of course it's a rebuilding year for Georgia -- when you lose the #1 and #12 picks in the draft, you're rebuilding -- but I'm guessing Florida will be better next year, post-Tebow, than we are now.
Now we're 4-4 and staring 6-6 in the face with Auburn and Tech yet to play. Tough week. Tough year.
-- Tommy Tomlinson


bama brother said...

Mr. Mike,
I would have to agree with you on LSU-Alabama. One question -- would a healthy Colin Peek make a difference in this game?

Anonymous said...

What I learned this week:

-Auburn is talented but fragile. We are in desperate need of a stud QB and at least 2 stud linebackers in the next recruiting class. A week ago I was worried about finishing over .500. Now it suddenly looks like we'll be 8-3 when The Evil Empire comes to town. My hope for the Iron Bowl is to lose by less than 10. Wouldn't that qualify Chizik for coach of the year?

-Tennessee, and Crompton, might just be good after all. Lane is still a big crybaby and I'd still rather have at least 4 other SEC QBs than Crompton in a truly big game, but they're better than they looked early on.

The SEC is a 3-tiered conference. 'Bama, Florida and LSU are the top tier, Vandy is all by themselves at the bottom, and the other 8 are all quite similiar - good but not great. Tennessee appears to be ascending to the top of the second tier, along with Auburn.

-OK, devil, I'll make a deal with you. If you give me LSU over 'Bama this week, I pledge to root for 'Bama in the SEC title game (yes, I'm counting on LSU losing to either Ar-Kansas or Misipi). A 1-loss 'Bama beating an undefeated Florida leaves the BCS completely screwed. And that's what we all want, isn't it?

Michael said...

Bama Bro: A healthy Peek could be the difference, given the inconsistency of the other receivers.

Early w ord out of T-town is that he could play, but at a diminished capacity.

Tennessee showed the world how to play our defense. LSU will follow that game plan with better overall talent ---- except at QB. We really need to put the game on Jefferson's arm and brain.

If not, we will be in big, big trouble.