Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thoughts from an eventful weekend in the SEC

* First things first: Love him or hate him, it was the end of an era as the final seconds ticked off the clock in Neyland Stadium Saturday night. While Fulmer was certainly an easy target, his record - particularly early in his tenure - speaks for itself.

That said, I'm not sold that Lane Kiffin is the right fit yet at a BCS school. He's assembling an impressive staff, but the SEC East is hardly the ideal scenario to learn the ropes.

* Though his 5-year performance certainly merited it, I'm surprised Mississippi State pulled the plug on the Croominator. While his hiring was certainly an intriguing story for a week or two, it was hard not to tire of the media adoration even as his teams failed miserably on the field, mostly due to his poor recruiting and strategizing. In his 5 years in Starkville the Bulldogs never ranked in the top 100 in total offense.

In his swan song Saturday in Oxford, the Bulldogs had 14 drives: 12 punts and 2 interceptions. The never had a drive of more than 14 yds. I'm not sure who the Bulldogs are going to be able to afford, but aside from being probation-free, the program is in no better shape than when Croom was hired.

* The dominating performance Saturday capped a remarkable 4-game run to close the season for Ole Miss. They've given up just 20 points over the last 4 games and set a school record with 11 sacks Friday afternoon. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the Capital One Bowl select the streaking Rebels over the porous Georgia Bulldogs.

* Speaking of UGA, that was just ugly yesterday. The Bulldog offense certainly got the preseason memo about the talent level of this team. It seems though it never reached the defensive coaches. The 2008 'Dawgs are more reminiscent of 2007's Florida team than either program would want to admit.

* Tommy Tuberville will be the first to admit that he's the primary reason for Auburn's disappointing 5-win season this year. While it's certainly not the season he or Auburn fans, I'm not sure it merits a pink slip. His recent track record is significantly better than Fulmer or Croom's is. But with the ridiculous pressure he's under - particularly with Saban's success at Alabama, it wouldn't surprise me to see him end up somewhere next year. The Auburn fanbase isn't as fractured as Arkansas' was before Nutt left, but it's certainly within walking distance.

* I think LSU fans were a lot happier with "2-loss Les" than "5-Loss Les". It's ugly when you don't have a serviceable QB in this league.

* Spurrier can't be having any fun in Columbia. I gotta figure he's done after this season. The Gamecocks are 4 years into the Spurrier regime and there's been 4 5+ loss seasons. I can't imagine that's sitting well with the OBC's psyche.

* Going to be a helluvan SEC Championship Game Saturday afternoon. Mike Slive and his staff couldn't have asked for anything more.

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