Sunday, July 27, 2008

Scary Thought

So I'm flipping through Phil Steele's college preview guide today, looking at bowl projections and schedules et al, and a terrifying thought occurred to me... What if the BCS Championship Game was Ohio State vs Clemson? Before you laugh, consider the facts: Each plays in a mediocre conference and will be favored in most if not all their games.

Florida and Georgia - considered by most to be the SEC's best shot at yet another title this year - each have much tougher schedules, particularly UGA. While no one with half a functioning brain woulds argue that OSU or Clemson is better than either UGA or Florida, the chances of either SEC team getting through their regular season slate unscathed are very slim. It's just the nature of the beast in the SEC and something that outsiders can't understand, because they're not exposed to it in the lesser conferences like the Big10+1 and the ACC.

While Ohio State has a big road game @ USC early on, that will be by far their biggest test of the season. Everyone outside the Buckeye Nation will be pulling for USC in that one because, quite frankly, no one wants to see OSU in the BCS Championship Game again this year. They've been embarrassed in it for two straight seasons, and that's enough. If they get past the Trojans, they're all but guaranteed an undefeated season and third straight humiliation.

As for Clemson, they're the preseason pick by everyone to win the ACC this season. They open the season on a neutral site against Bama and end the season against South Carolina, but have - obviously - a very manageable conference slate. The biggest problem for the Tigers has been consistent inconsistencies. HC Tommy Bowden's seat has been hot for several years running as his Tigers always drop at least one inexplicable game per season. Phil Steele projects them to be a BCS team this year and with a few lucky breaks, they could end up playing for all the marbles.

Can you imagine that game? I'm talking about Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes... The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria! It would be like watching an SEC game in slo-motion. The announcers would be working overtime to try and convince the viewing public that the game is worth watching. The Sugar Bowl would have the highest national viewership, as - quite frankly - no one outside the two fanbases would care.

Like I said... Scary Thought

Friday, July 25, 2008

SEC Brawlers

Two former All-SEC performers have been at the center of brawls recently, though to varying degrees. Former Tennessee All-American Candace Parker was one of the key contributers to the big WNBA brawl - think about that phrase for a moment... - that happened earlier this week. The melee resulted in 10 suspensions and a torn ACL. It also resulted in an all-time high number of times the WNBA was talked about in a single week. The high-ups can say what they want to about being disappointed, shocked, ashamed, etc., but deep down they're loving the extra publicity.

Most of you have probably seen the below minor league basebrawl from yesterday. What you may not realize is that it all started when former Ole Miss All American SS Zach Cozart was beaned in the head. Here's a professional video of it. More significant then Cozart being beaned is the asshat pitcher who tries to throw a ball at someone in the opposing dugout and misses. He hit a fan instead who was taken to the hospital.

If you haven't seen the below raw footage of the fight yet, be warned there's some NSFW language.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

There's no Place Like Home

Former Tide guard Antoine Pettway has clicked his heels together and is returning to Tuscaloosa to be an assistant coach on Gottfried's staff, replacing Kobie Baker. Pettway is most remembered by SEC fans for his Ruby Red slippers high tops and the layup he hit to beat Florida after the Gators apparently made a conscious decision not to guard him.(see video below)

And while it's a good story, I wonder why this hire was made though. He's part of the Tide Nation, no doubt, but wouldn't it have made more sense for Gottfried to have hired a veteran coach who could really teach his players something?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Not too much going on these days...

Other than what seems to be a twice-weekly occurrence of players being booted off teams, all's quiet for now. Well, except for Urban Meyer. Most of you have probably heard about this...

Simply calling Tim Tebow the best quarterback in college football apparently isn't enough. Gators coach Urban Meyer told a Miami audience that Tebow ''is the greatest player of our era.''
Tebow certainly has the potential to be the greatest player of this era, but I think it's premature to bestow that honor on him just yet. The MNC ring as a freshman and the Heisman as a sophomore put him in a class by himself, but he's got at least one year in college. SEC coaching staffs have had another full offseason to work on defensive schemes to slow him down. And, there are plenty of defenders across the SEC who will take a little extra joy popping the defending Heisman winner.

* ESPN loves to make up new statistics and shove them down our throats - OPS anyone? Their latest is to come up with (in their mind) the definitive way to measure the prestige of all college basketball programs since 1984-85, the year the tourney went to its current format. They've listed #s 41-50 here and #s 51-300 here.

I love the reasoning ESPN gives as to how these numbers are indisputable:
Normally when you see these rankings, they are the "expert" opinion of one or more people whose knowledge (and sanity) usually is questioned by those who disagree. But with ESPN's Prestige Rankings, there is no such argument. We let the numbers do the talking. We assigned point values for certain successes (win a national title, earn 25 points) and failures (get your program banned from the NCAA tournament, lose three points), put all the seasons through our big calculator and came up with the No. 1 program (and the No. 300 program) of the past 24 seasons.
But I digress.

So far, 8 of the SEC's 12 schools have shown up...
41. LSU
T-86. Mississippi State
T-90. Auburn
T-96. Vanderbilt
99. Tennessee
T-105. Georgia
T-185. South Carolina
T-192. Mississippi

...which leaves Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas, and Alabama. Without taking the time to do the math, It'll be interesting to see if UF or UK comes out on top for the SEC. Each has 2 championships and a title game loss. I'd imagine Alabama will be in the next group, Florida in the 20s, and Arkansas somewhere in the teens. Even with mediocre play lately you gotta figure UK is in the Top 10.

In the end though, it's just another excuse for ESPN to fawn over ACC basketball. Once the top 10 is unveiled Friday, you can count on Duke Vitale to show up on Sportscenter and go crazy for Dook and UNC.

*UPDATE: 7/22*As expected, Alabama shows up at #35. More than any other SEC team, Alabama had the most opportunity to be higher than they are. While Florida had some painful early exits in recent years, the Tide made it routine in the late 80s/early 90s.
*UPDATE: 7/23*Florida checks in at #21
*UPDATE: 7/24*Arkansas shows up at #15
*UPDATE: 7/25*>Kentucky ranks #4, based almost entirely on Pitino's utter dominance of the SEC when he there.

* Next time you think you're doing well at the gym, try not to think of UT OL Jacques McClendon and how he benched 645 pounds. And no that's not a typo...

* Fairly interesting read on BleacherReport today: 30 Fearless Predictions for the 2008 season

* Off topic, but if you haven't see The Dark Knight yet, what are you waiting for? Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise is what all other superhero franchises wish they were. Superman Returns was mediocre at best and, after Spiderman 3, that franchise is dead. Iron Man was good, but Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are in a league of their own when it comes to Superhero movies.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Top SEC Newcomers

Chris Low ranks the SEC's Top 10 Newcomers
1. Jevan Snead, QB, Ole Miss
2. Chris Rainey, RB, Florida
3. Demetrice Morley, S, Tennessee
4. Chris Todd, QB, Auburn
5. Raven Gray, DE, Auburn
6. Will Hill, S, Florida
7. Jerrell Harris, LB, Alabama
8. Enrique Davis, TB, Ole Miss
9. Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
10. Blair Walsh, K, Georgia

Two each for the Gators, AU Tigers, Rebels, and Tide. He also includes DT Jerrell Powe and LB Patrick Trahan of Ole Miss and DE Gerald Williams and TE Brandon Warren UT. Each has the ability to be an impact player if they can get their classroom work taken care of. Powe in particular has been the subject of many a water-cooler conversation over the past few years in his seemingly never-ending saga. Former OM coach Ed Orgeron fought like a mad man to get Powe eligible, only be to be denied repeatedly. From what I'm hearing through the Ole Miss grapevine, Powe will be eligible this year, they're just waiting until after SEC Media Days to announce it as to not have to field the questions about it.

And, if you need a laugh, here are some stupid kids and hard metal basketball rims:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Billy Packer: Goodbye and Good Riddance

There are a few things in life I'll never understand. Braille on drive-thru ATMs. Why Radiohead is popular. Why Ohio State fans talk down about the SEC's scheduling when the Big 10 is such a joke. And how anyone could enjoy listening to a game called by Billy Packer.

But now he's gone.

A joyless, grouchy old man, Packer had been ruining the last weekend of the the Big Dance for 3 decades. Everything from his disinterested commentary during the game to his unfettered hatred of mid-major teams to his unabashed love affair with the ACC dragged down the final 3 games of the college basketball season.

Only Duke Dick Vitale has a more public love affair with all things ACC. And while Vitale is certainly a clown in his own right, at least you can tell he loves the game. His shtick is nerve-grating, but he exudes passion and joy whenever he talks hoops.

Meanwhile, Billy Packer's routine is two-fold: 1) Spout off random facts that have little relevance to the game that's being played and 2) Make countless matter-of-fact statements that are either blatantly obvious or a biased-opinion and indulge no dissenting views. And do both in a monotone voice with an unbelievable air of arrogance.

The NCAA tournament is the best time of year and this move by CBS will go a long way to making it even better. Packer's successor Clark Kellogg is a far more personable guy who's been a staple on the CBS studio show for years. While there may be some bumps in the road as he adapts to in-game commentary on the fly, I have no doubt that he will be much easier to listen to than Billy packer was. Hopefully CBS will be smart with their replacement of Kellogg.

One useless yet ubiquitous sports announcer gone. Now if we can just get rid of Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver...

Friday, July 11, 2008

College Football Helmet Identification Game

Think you know your college football helmets? Prove it then.

Click on this here link to download this quiz and see how many of the 50 helmets you an get. It's an Excel spreadsheet and it's free to download. I got 49/50, with only a MAC school eluding me.

(As with the helmet schedule, let me know if the link "expires" and I'll repost. Or just email me at thedeadguysec(at)gmail(dot)com.)


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Athens has been rockin' lately

What in the world is going on in Athens lately? For all the athletic success UGA has already experienced this year - in baseball, tennis, a remarkable SEC Tourney in men's basketball - it seems they're in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Here's a brief run down of recent events at UGA:

* A Semester of Shame ended
* Football players Justin Anderson and Trinton Sturdivant got in trouble
* So did Jeremy Lomax
* But not as much trouble as Michael Lemon
* And the basketball team lost yet another player due to behavior
* And another one left on his own
* And poor UGA VI couldn't bear it any longer

If you've ever driven to Athens from Atlanta, chances are you've driven through Dacula. Depending on your "mental state", stopping at the local Waffle House might have been on your agenda. Well, these two love birds took it one step further and had themselves a Waffle House Wedding.

Couldn't make it up if I tried

You don't have to be a college athlete to be stupid

As a society, we’ve grown numb to crimes like “marijuana possession” or “disorderly conduct”, especially when it comes to athletes that we root for every week. But the feathers of even the most diehard fans begin to ruffle when the allegations include “felony possession of cocaine” or “felony rape, aggravated assault, and kidnapping”.

Those are the two charges facing former Arkansas QB Matt Jones and former Florida SG Teddy Dupay respectively. Jones and two others were arrested in Fayetteville this morning. Dupay’s charges stem from an incident in Utah last month.

For Jones in particular, there is no excuse for this behavior. He’s a WR in the NFL, making great money and yet he’s busted in his college town doing cocaine in an SUV. There are plenty of people who would kill to be in his situation, but he apparently takes it for granted. He always came off as a clean cut kid at Arkansas. It’s too bad he’s wasting his life. Maybe he just took the fight Arkansas fight song a bit too literally... Hit that line, Hit that line, Keep on going...

Dupay on the other hand never came across as clean cut and never really tried to. He ran his mouth a lot on the court and didn’t even play his senior year after being linked to a gambling ring on campus. But that’s still a far cry from the charges he’s facing now.

It just struck me as odd that these two charges surfaced on the same day for two former SEC all-conference athletes.