Sunday, November 30, 2008

Week 14 SEC Bowl Projections

* Nothing too earth shattering this week. Biggest change is that Mark Schlabach sees Alabama pulling (what will be in Vegas' eyes) the upset this weekend in Atlanta.

* At this stage of the season, Ole Miss is more deserving of the Capital One Bowl bid than Georgia is.

* So it looks like most think that Kentucky is going to get a chance to win its 3rd straight Music City Bowl after all. For that to happen, it would seem that both the Music City and Liberty Bowl rank Vanderbilt first on their preference lists and the Commodores opt to play in Memphis. Maybe I'm just wrong, but I can't imagine that the Music City Bowl is thrilled with a mediocre Kentucky team attempting to three-peat.

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.

An Open Letter to Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick

Dear Mr. Swarbrick,

I do not envy you. You're going to be under an intense national spotlight over the next several days as you decide whether or not to continue the contract of offensive genius Charlie Weis. You're going to hear a lot of people imploring to cut your losses now, pay his ridiculous buyout, and move on to perhaps a "real" college coach.

But please, no matter many stats you look at or how many boosters threaten to pull funds - don't fire Charlie Weis.

This is the man that led Notre Dame back to glory. Remember? There's even a book about it. Think of all the good times that Coach Weis has brought. Remember when he almost beat USC in 2005? I know USC has outscored the Irish by 93 the last 3 years, but like I said, remember the good times. The Irish earned all 4 first downs they made last night.

And who can forget the happy faces of the cadets last year when Navy snapped its 43-game losing streak to the Irish last year? And while Coach Weis designed the 120th ranked offense in the country last year, this year, he used his decided schematic advantage to move the Irish all the way up to top 80 this year. Forget his dismal record against teams with winning records. With the joke of a schedule the Irish play every year, that's hardly an obstacle to bowl eligibility.

The simple fact of the matter is that Notre Dame deserves a coach like Charlie Weis. He's brash, arrogant, and hasn't accomplished much of anything lately, just like the Irish. I know he's failed to endear himself to several key university figures and alumni. I know he has yet to accomplish anything with his own players. I know the Irish lost to a 9-loss team this year for the first time in school history. Simply put Charlie Weis is the man to lead Notre Dame back to glory again. He's done it once, and now the program is worse off than it was before he was hired. He'll do it again.

And even if he doesn't, the rest of the country - including myself - will enjoy watching the failure every week on NBC. So please, when you're considering the overwhelming mountain of evidence that suggests Charlie Weis has no clue what he's doing, ignore it all. In uncertain economic times such as these, this country needs all the sources of joy it can get. Watching the Irish embarrass themselves on national television week after week is certainly a good place to start.

Thanks for your time today and I look forward to watching more terrible Notre Dame teams in the future.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shameless Pandering (but a good deal)

For those looking to avoid the long lines inherent to this time of year, online shopping is the way to go. I've got a cool site (BigFlySports) that has agreed to offer free shipping to anyone who uses promotional code DEADGUY8 when you're checking out. They specialize in NCAA Merchandise so you won't find a better selection of stuff out there. You'll find some real nice stocking stuffers and if you decide to make a purchase, be sure to use the code DEADGUY8 for your free shipping!

See below links to directly access merchandise from all 12 SEC teams:

Mississippi State
Ole Miss
South Carolina

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Week 13 SEC Power Poll (and Happy Thanksgiving)

Fewer voters this week as everyone was getting ready for Thanksgiving, but the song remains (basically) the same. Ole Miss was the big winner this week (jumped to 4th) while the Hogs were the big losers, falling back into last after their loss in Starkville.

For all the insight you just can't get anywhere else, check out Garnet and Black Attack.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Week 14 Picks

As Mrs. Dead Guy has decreed that the overly large family celebration of Turkey Day be held here in our humble abode, picks are brief this week as my time not cleaning, cooking, and raking is limited.

Mississippi State @ Ole Miss
Wednesday's Line: Ole Miss -16

After a win like last week's in Baton Rouge, common thought would be the Rebels are due for a let down. Even with an improved offense behind QB Tyson Lee, they just don't have enough firepower to play 60 minutes with the Rebs. The "Golden Egg" goes back to Oxford.

Straight Up Winner: Ole Miss
Against the Spread: Mississippi State

LSU @ Arkansas
Wednesday's Line: LSU -4.5

LSU was manhandled by the Rebels' defensive line last week and RB Charles Scott was held to just 10 yds. They won't have those same problems against the Hogs' porous D, which surrenders 4.5 ypc and 170+ ypg. Regardless of who starts at QB, LSU wins this one.

Straight Up Winner: LSU
Against the Spread: LSU

Georgia Tech @ Georgia
Wednesday's Line: Georgia -8

Both teams feature strong rushing attacks and strong rush defenses. But only one team features a real QB and a 7-game winning streak in this series. And they're playing Between the Hedges. Georgia all the way.

Straight Up Winner: Georgia
Against the Spread: Georgia

South Carolina @ Clemson
Wednesday's Line: Pick 'Em

Unlike the UGA/GTU series, this series is swung much in the favor of the in-state rival from the ACC. Neither team has lived up to expectations this season, but Clemson seems to have rallied around interim HC Dabo Swinney. South Carolina meanwhile can't make up its mind on a QB and is coming off a 50-point throttling. While this one will be much closer, Clemson pulls it out.

Straight Up Winner: Clemson
Against the Spread: Clemson

Auburn @ Alabama
Wednesday's Line: Alabama -14

Obviously, the biggest storyline here is "Can Auburn lock up an Independence Bowl bid with a win?"... or not. Tide fans have had this date circled all season as the chance to end 6 years of frustration. The Tigers will - as always - fight valiantly to the end, but their offensive woes will do them in as running against Bama's front 7 will be next to impossible. The Tide rolls.

Straight Up Winner: Alabama
Against the Spread: Alabama

Florida @ Florida State
Wednesday's Line: Florida -16.5

The Criminoles have experienced something of a resurgence this year and enter the game ranked in the Top 20. While they're certainly improved, there's no real advantage they have in this game except for the fact it's in Tallahassee. The Gators are too focused and crisp right now to drop this one to their arch-rivals.

Straight Up Winner: Florida
Against the Spread: Florida State

Kentucky @ Tennessee
Wednesday's Line: Tennessee -4.5

A few weeks ago, I was convinced the Vols would suck it up and play like a decent team the last 3 games of the season and fall ass-backwards into a Liberty Bowl bid. In the first of those 2 games, they've played as bad or worse offensively as they have all season. Unfortunately for UK, it was 1984 the last time the 'Cats beat the Vols. Neither team is very good offensively, but I'll give the edge to UT at home in Fulmer's swan song as the Battle Captain.

Straight Up Winner: Tennessee
Against the Spread: Tennessee

Vanderbilt @ Wake Forest
Wednesday's Line: Wake Forest -4

The Deacons play too sound to play into VU's hands. They manage the clock well and don't turn it over, both things that have frustrated the 'Dores all season. While Vandy is a great story to become bowl eligible this year, WFU has been there/done that and that experience will show in this game.

Straight Up Winner: Wake Forest
Against the Spread: Wake Forest

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Week 13 SEC Power Poll Ballot

1. Alabama
Until Florida beats them in Atlanta in a couple of weeks, the league’s only undefeated team and #1 team in the country stays atop my rankings.

2. Florida
Sure it was just the Citadel, but it’s impressive the Gators were that sharp against such a weak opponent. May have hands full in Tallahassee with a depleted DL.

3. Georgia
An eighth straight win over Georgia Tech Saturday would help assuage some of the disappointment from this season. Though it’s hard to be too disappointed in (what should be) a 10 win season and a top 10 ranking.

4. Ole Miss
That was no upset in Baton Rouge. The better team won. If the Rebels had been healthy and accustomed to winning all season, their record would be much better than 7-4. Wins in Gainesville and Baton Rouge prove that.

5. LSU
Replacing their stars from last year as well as inexperience at the QB position has dropped LSU from the elite SEC teams. They bowl-bound, but that’s about it.

6. South Carolina
One of many conference teams this year plagued by inconsistencies, particularly at the QB position. It’s forced Spurrier to juggle QBs, which we all know he hates to do. *wink*

7. Vanderbilt
So instead of playing loose because they’d picked up that elusive 6th win, the ‘Dores come out and lay their biggest egg of the season.

8. Kentucky
The ‘Cats will try to do what Vandy couldn’t – knock off the worst Tennessee team in school history. If they don’t, can you say “Music City Bowl Three-peat”?

9. Auburn
Nothing would make Tiger fans happier than to lock up an Independence Bowl bid this weekend.

10. Tennessee
21 yds passing? For an entire game? And you won? So the Volunteer Navy runs a Service Academy offense now?

11. Mississippi State
The Bulldogs emerge from the cellar with an offensive explosion against the defenseless Hogs.

12. Arkansas
You know how I know your defense sucks? You gave up 445 yards to Mississippi State.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Week 13 SEC Bowl Projections

* Nearly everyone is in agreement with their picks now. There's really not too much discussion left except for the 'Dores and 'Cats end up.

* That is, unless LSU lays another egg this weekend in Little Rock and winds up 7-5 and on a losing streak. If that happens and UK and Vanderbilt both win this weekend, the defending national champs could find themselves in the Liberty Bowl.

* Ole Miss' win over LSU all but punched their ticket to the Cotton Bowl. That's the good news. The bad news is that whichever Big12 team they draw - Mizzou, Texas, Texas Tech, or Oklahoma - would be a prohibitive favorite over the Rebels.

* Florida and Alabama just have to survive upset attempts from their arch rivals to play in a de facto elimination game for the BCS Title game.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Week 13 Picks

Tennessee (3-7, 1-5) @ Vanderbilt (6-4, 4-3)
11:30 CDT, Raycom
All-Time Series: Tennessee 69-28-5
Wednesday’s Line: Vanderbilt -3

This is a game the Vols have almost always penciled in as a win before the season. Fulmer is 14-1 against Vanderbilt in his career at UT and has never lost in Nashville. Overall, UT is 24-1 against the ‘Dores over the last quarter century, but did lose in 2005, the last time UT missed a bowl game.

It’s a different season though. Vanderbilt is actually favored over Tennessee. It’s the Vols who will be home for the holidays watching the ‘Dores play in a bowl game. The fans watching this game won’t see much offense. Neither team can move the ball - UT is 11th (267.1 ypg) and VU is 12th (266.9 ypg) in the SEC in total offense and neither score much either – Vandy is 8th (21.3) and UT is 11th (16.0).

My gut is – for some reason – telling me that UT pulls this one out somehow. I have determined – much like John Cusack in High Fidelity – that my gut has $#*+ for brains. The Vols looked horrible against an awful Wyoming team. While this Vanderbilt team is certainly not a world-beater, now that the pressure of picking up that elusive 6th win is gone, football will be fun again. And what could be more fun for the Commodores than to knock off Tennessee?

Straight Up Winner: Vanderbilt
Against the Spread: Vanderbilt

The Citadel (4-7) @ (#3, #3)Florida (9-1, 7-1)
12: 30 CDT, PPV
All-Time Series: Florida 13-0
Wednesday’s Line: N/A

Bleh. With the rhythm that the Gator offense is in, this game is not a good time for UF. It won’t be competitive at all, obviously, but with the starters getting so much rest, it may be a closer score than the 56-6 last week.

Straight Up Winner: Florida
Against the Spread: N/A

Arkansas (4-6, 1-5) @ Mississippi State (3-7, 1-5)
1:30 CDT
All-Time Series: Arkansas 12-5-1
Wednesday’s Line: Pick’ Em

Who wants to be last in the SEC West? Please take a giant step backwards. Both of these teams have fallen off since last season, but only the Hogs seem to have a hope for the future. This has never been an easy matchup for the Bulldogs and Arkansas is 12-1 the last 13 seasons, including a current 9-game win streak with 4 straight wins in Starkville.

This will probably come down to turnovers. MSU committed 5 last year and lost 45-31 despite dominating the Hogs offensively. This year, even against the Hogs’ porous D (12th in the SEC), the Bulldogs will have trouble moving the ball. On the flip side, the Hogs offense has steadily improved this season, while MSU’s D has been inconsistent against conference opponents.

The Hogs had the weekend off last week to rest up and get healthy. They’re still clinging to an outside shot at a bowl game and can carry that hope one step further with another conference road win. Look for the Hogs to control the game on both sides of the ball and get a much needed win.

Straight Up Winner: Arkansas
Against the Spread: Arkansas

Ole Miss (6-4, 3-3) @ (#18, #18)LSU (7-3, 3-3)
2:30 CDT, CBS
All-Time Series: LSU 55-37-4
Wednesday’s Line: LSU -4.5

The Inaugural “Magnolia Bowl” takes place this weekend, as the two schools’ student governments have named this rivalry. Not sure what Magnolias have to do with LSU, but I digress. While these games are (typically) competitive, LSU has won 6 in a row in Baton Rouge and hold a 36-24-1 record there all-time against Ole Miss.

It will be strength on strength when LSU lines up on offense. LSU’s Charles Scott is one of the best RBs in the country, but the Rebels’ D-line has been great against the run all season, particularly of late. The Rebels’ secondary is there for the taking (225.2 ypg, 12th in conference), but can LSU count on Lee to make the right throws, or even to not throw a touchdown to an OM DB?

Last week, LSU fell asleep for 2.5 quarters before launching an unbelievable comeback. Ole Miss dominated hapless UL-Monroe from the opening kickoff. The winner of this game has the inside track to a 2nd place finish in the SEC West and possibly the Cotton Bowl, unless swirling rumors about Notre Dame come to fruition, in which the case the SEC should pull out of the Cotton Bowl and find another place to send their fans besides that dump… again I digress.

I’ve gotta go with the hot hand right now. LSU is deservedly a small favorite in this game, but Ole Miss is playing better football. Houston Nutt won in Baton Rouge last year when LSU won the BCS Championship game. This LSU team has been blown out by teams with explosive offenses this season – UF and UGA – and lost a heartbreaker to Alabama. Look for the Rebels to stack up the middle and focus on Charles Scott, all but daring Lee to make a throw down the field. In the end, too many TOs from LSU and the Rebels win the first Magnolia Bowl.

Straight Up Winner: Ole Miss
Against the Spread: Ole Miss

Week 12 SEC Power Poll

Florida strengthened its lead for best in the SEC. Count me as one of the four still voting Alabama, though the Gators will be my pick in the SEC Championship game barring Tebow and Harvin being abducted by aliens or lunatic Tide fans.

For the most incredible insight into the SEC available anywhere on the web, check out Garnet and Black Attack.

And seriously, somebody tell me why Sylvester Croom dressed up as Emperor Palpatine for the game last Saturday...

Monday, November 17, 2008

My SEC Power Poll Ballot, Week 12

1. Alabama
Got the Mississippi State Monkey off their backs. Now have a couple of weeks to prepare for the Auburn Gorilla.

2. Florida
Another SEC opponent, another ridiculous blowout. No, this is not a repeat from last week. Or the week before. Or the week before.

3. Georgia
This is one of the most frustrating teams in conference to watch. For everything they do well, they undo with mind-boggling inconsistency or careless penalties. Stafford is becoming Mr. Clutch.

4. LSU
So THAT’s why the Tigers originally scheduled an open date after the Alabama game. Great comeback win for the Tigers, but never should’ve been in that situation.

5. Ole Miss
Bowl-bound in Nutt’s first year with impressive 59-0 win over UL-Monroe. Should be a very entertaining game in Baton Rouge this weekend.

6. South Carolina
I was ready to move the Gamecocks up to #4 had they been competitive in Gainesville. I certainly would’ve kept them at #5 had they at least shown up. But that was ugly.

7. Vanderbilt
Again, congratulations to the ‘Dores for locking up a bowl bid. Here’s hoping you get to travel outside of Nashville for the full experience.

8. Kentucky
Could’ve taken a big step towards locking up the Chick-Fil-A Bowl bid with home victory over floundering Vanderbilt. Instead, may end up falling bass-ackwards into a 3rd straight Music City Bowl.

9. Arkansas
The Hogs are clinging to waning bowl hopes entering this weekend’s showdown in Starkville.

10. Auburn
The play-calling of the Tigers this year has been questionable at best. Couple that with special teams breakdowns and it’s safe to say the Tigers let the Georgia game get away from them.

11. Tennessee
Close the season with two teams they’ve perennially dominated, but this Volunteer team doesn't dominate much of anything. Except Mississippi State.

12. Mississippi State
Why was Sylvester Croom dressed like Emperor Palpatine Saturday night?

Week 13 SEC Bowl Projections

Here's a look at this week's SEC Bowl projections from a panel of "experts".

* Apparently NBC's Cary Estes was projecting Auburn to knock off Georgia as the Tigers have disappeared off this list completely.

* Tennessee and Mississippi State are already guaranteed losing seasons. Arkansas and Auburn are both mathematically alive for bowl eligibility, but both teams would need major upsets to go their way.

* I know Alabama fans are upset that they're being slighted - #1 in the country and not predicted to reach the title game - but the simple fact of the matter is that the Gators are the best team in the country right now. Both teams just need to stay focus and avoid pitfalls between now and December 6th.

* Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt are all about equal in the eyes of the 5 pundits listed. I've talked about this before in previous threads, but I don't think the Music City Bowl would take Kentucky for a third straight year unless their hand is forced by circumstance. And I doubt the Wildcats players or fans would be too excited either.

If the Chick-Fil-A Bowl (which chooses teams before the Music City Bowl) has the choice between a 7-5 Ole Miss team and a 7-5 Kentucky team, my guess is that they'd take UK to revitalize the CATlanta atmosphere so prevalent at the SEC Basketball tournament of years past. If Ole Miss knocks of LSU this weekend and finishes 8-4 and 2nd in the West though, the 'Cats may end up back in Nashville.

* Vanderbilt is in an interesting situation as the Music City Bowl is hosted (basically) just across the river from their campus. While the 'Dores certainly won't be picky about a bowl game after a 25 year drought, the coaching staff may prefer to travel to another city to be sure the players get the full bowl experience.

They could theoretically end up in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl with a win over UT this weekend and knocking off Wake Forest on the road next weekend. That would then send UK to Memphis for the Liberty Bowl and Ole Miss to Nashville for the Music City Bowl.

* UPDATED 11/18/08Mandel's picks are in from CNN/SI. Apparently, he thinks the Gamecocks are going to lose next weekend in Clemson, as he projects Ole Miss to take the Outback Bowl bid. While a Gamecock loss is certainly not out of the question, I'm not sure that would land Ole Miss in Tampa.

From the Bowl Tie-In Page on

The Outback, Chick-fil-A and AT&T Cotton Bowls will work with the conference office to determine picks 3-5. The Cotton Bowl has the first preference of teams from the Western Division and the Outback Bowl has first preference of teams from the Eastern Division. The Cotton or Outback Bowl can select teams outside of its divisional preference, but must not select them before the opposite bowl selects from its divisional preference.
In his scenario, the Cotton Bowl selects LSU, which would seem to imply the Tigers beat the Rebels this weekend. The Outback Bowl takes Ole Miss, which they'd be allowed to do since the Cotton Bowl had already taken an SEC West team. To me, it seems that if the Rebels beat LSU and MSU, they'd be more attractive to the Cotton Bowl than LSU would be. If they don't beat LSU, it seems the Gamecocks would be more attractive to the Outback Bowl than the Rebels unless they get blown out at Clemson next week. Neither scenario has the Rebels landing in the Outback Bowl.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

'Dores, Rebs Going Bowling

Doormats no more.

Congratulations to Vandy and Ole Miss for locking up bowl bids yesterday. It's been a while for both schools, well a LONG while for VU. The 'Dores knocked off a tough UK team in Lexington last night while the Rebs throttled a hapless UL-Monroe team. I doubted whether or not Bobby Johnson could get VU over the hump after their recent skid, but they had a great gameplan last night and ran it well.

Just a bad all around weekend for UK fans as the feeling of deja vu in Rupp must have been rampant as the 'Cats fell to VMI to open the season.

No congratulations will be offered though to Fat Charlie and his pathetic Irish for wrapping up bowl eligibility. With the soft schedule the Irish play nearly every year, they should be bowl eligible. Here's to knocking back a few cold ones while Florida State beats the Irish by 4 TDs in the Gator Bowl.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Random Bits

* There were 4 SEC baseball stadiums named to Rivals Top 10 list, though it may not be the ones you thought it would be. The site offers this disclaimer:

LSU and South Carolina were omitted from our list because both schools have ballparks that still are under construction.
As for the ones that did make the list:

Baum Stadium – Arkansas
Baum Stadium is the palace of college baseball stadiums. Though many schools now are building new stadiums, they still are playing catch up with the Razorbacks. When Baum Stadium was erected in 1996, it was the class of college baseball. Not much has changed, as the capacity currently is 10,500 and luxury suites extend from the left-field foul pole to the right-field foul pole. Arkansas fans also pack the house rain or shine and provide a premier home-field advantage for their baseball program. Everyone aspires to have a facility like the University of Arkansas.

Polk-Dement Stadium -- Mississippi State
No school blows out a postseason party in a regional or super regional quite like Mississippi State. While the Bulldogs struggle to fill the stands until the weather warms up, Polk-Dement Stadium is an excellent venue to watch a game. In addition to a roomy grandstand, the Bulldogs also have what is called the "Left-Field Lounge", where patrons line the outfield wall with barbeque pits, coolers and whatever else they can get in their possession. The official capacity for the stadium, including outfield seating, is 15,000. Those that watched the Starkville super regional two seasons ago know exactly what the Bulldogs are about at Polk-Dement Stadium.

Oxford-University Stadium -- Ole Miss
Ole Miss has one of the hidden gems in college baseball. Though observers in the Southeastern part of the country know about the great atmosphere at Oxford-University Stadium, people nationally just now are getting a taste of what the Rebels are about. O-U Stadium holds about 3,500 spectators in the main grandstand, but thousands of fans often line the grassy areas down the left and right field lines and the outfield. In 2005, a record 10,119 fans were in attendance as the Rebels played Alabama. Ole Miss currently is in the midst of a renovation campaign that will increase grandstand seating.

Plainsman Park – Auburn
When the Tigers decided to renovate their facility in 1996, many schools, including Baylor, took notice of the project. Plainsman Park is one of the nation's best stadiums and has a wonderful façade to go with a cozy atmosphere. Plainsman Park has a capacity of 4,096 fans. However, the record attendance for a single-game was set in 2002, as 4,715 fans packed the stadium to watch Auburn play LSU. Recently, the Tigers have installed a new drainage system for the playing surface and a state-of-the-art strength and rehabilitation center. Auburn certainly is a trendsetter.

* ESPN has their first Bracketology up for the 2008-09 season and Lunardi projects just 5 SEC teams to dance this year:

Florida (2-seed)
Tennessee (4-seed)
Kentucky (8-seed)
Alabama (11-seed)
LSU (13-seed)

I’ll throw out that Ole Miss will make the tournament in the form of an 8-10 seed as well. They’ve been on the bubble the last two seasons and will pull it through this year. Lunardi projected them back in April in his first post-tourney Bracketology listing, so I’m not sure why they dropped.

Hard to believe the season kicks off in earnest this weekend. I’ll get a preview up sometime next week.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Week 12 Picks

(#13,#12)Georgia (8-2, 5-2) @ Auburn (5-5, 2-4)
11: 30 CST, Raycom
All-Time Series: Auburn 53-50-8
Wednesday's Line: Georgia – 8.5

It's the South's oldest rivalry and one of the best. Through 111 games, Auburn has outscored Georgia by a mere 45 points. It's the 18th straight time that one or both schools have been ranked when the game was played and – surprisingly – the lower ranked or unranked squad has won 7 of the last 12 years. Georgia has won consecutive blowout games.

The Tigers paltry O struggled again last week against Tennessee-Martin until Kodi Burns realized he was faster than everyone else out there and ran wild. As bad as the 'Dawgs D has been the last 3 weeks, no way they lose containment on Burns as consistently as the Skyhawks did. In the SEC, only Arkansas has allowed more TDs than Georgia has this year. On the flip side of that, only MSU and UT have scored fewer TDs than Auburn.

Despite all of Auburn's troubles this year, this is not going to be an easy game for the 'Dawgs. Tuberville is at his best when his back is against the wall, though this year, the talent differential between the two schools is deep a chasm to void. If Georgia's big 3 show up to play, the Tigers just don't have the firepower to keep up. Look for an inspired effort by the Tigers early, but too much Stafford and Moreno in the second half. 'Dawgs by 10.

Straight Up Winner: Georgia
Against the Spread: Georgia

Louisiana-Monroe (3-7) @ Ole Miss (5-4, 3-3)
1:00 CST
All-Time Series: Ole Miss 2-0
Wednesday's Line: Ole Miss -21

Ole Miss looks to become bowl-eligible this weekend against Louisiana-Monroe. The rebels are the 3rd SEC West the ULM Warhawks will have played this year, having dropped a 34-0 game to Auburn in the season opener and basically choking away a 28-27 game the next week to Arkansas. Ole Miss has outscored ULM 80-17 in the 2 previous meetings.

Assuming the Rebels learned from Alabama's overlooking of ULM last year, this one won't be close. The Rebels have too much firepower on offense to stumble here. Even if the turnover bug comes back, they should have enough to get the win. The Grove will be rocking as the Rebels clinch a postseason berth for the first time since Archie's youngest graduated in 2003, but no way I'm giving up 3 TDs to a team as schitzo as Ole Miss.

Straight Up Winner: Ole Miss
Against the Spread: Louisiana-Monroe

(#24,#23)South Carolina (7-3, 4-3) @ (#4,#3)Florida (8-1, 6-1)
2:30 CST, CBS
All-Time Series: Florida 21-4-3
Wednesday's Line: Florida -21

The Ole Ball Coach heads back to his old stomping grounds Saturday as the red hot Gamecocks take on the even hotter Gators. The Gamecocks have bounced back from a rocky start to put themselves in a position for a New Year's Day bowl game. The Gators have bounced back from a loss at home to Ole Miss and are playing perhaps the nest football in the entire country.

This will be the sternest test the Gators will have faced since their loss to Ole Miss. While Georgia came out and laid an egg in Jacksonville, Spurrier will make sure that doesn't happen here. A win in the Swamp, and his Gamecocks would like take the Capital One Bowl bid away from Georgia. Unfortunately for him, that just won't happen this weekend. Tebows apology and proclamations were internet fodder for many a joke, but he and the Gators have backed them up with their recent stellar play. The Gators win this on, but 3 TDs is too much.

Straight Up Winner: Florida
Against the Spread: South Carolina

Mississippi State (3-6, 1-4) @ (#1, #1)Alabama (10-0, 6-0)
6:45 CST, ESPN
All-Time Series: Alabama 71-18-3
Wednesday's Line: Alabama –20.5

Though Alabama has owned this series through the years, they've dropped two in a row to the Bulldogs. Even more remarkable is the fact that it's been 3 seasons since Alabama scored an offensive TD against the Bulldogs. Over the last 3 years, the Tide has managed 8 FGs and 3 defensive TDs against MSU and are 1-2.

John Parker Wilson has single-handedly choked this game away the last two seasons. He's a combined 35/73 (48%) for just 308 yds with 0 TDs and 4 INTs. While you never know what you're going to get from JPW, this Tide team has been too steady and consistent all season long to drop a game like this to a team like Mississippi State. Sure it's a fun story that's been beaten into the ground that for 2 straight years, Croom has beaten his alma mater who wouldn't hire him, but that will long forgotten on Saturday.

Frankly, unless JPW throws the ball directly to Pegues or any other of MSU's defenders, I don't know how the Bulldogs are going to score in this game. Alabama will do what they do and MSU won't be able to stop them or to score on them. The only question will be if the Tide will stay focused long enough to cover 3 TDs.

Straight Up Winner: Alabama
Against the Spread: Alabama

Troy (6-3) @ (#19, #20)LSU (6-3, 3-3)
7:00 CST, PPV
All-Time Series: LSU 1-0
Wednesday's Line: LSU – 18.5

This is the Hurricane Gustav make-up game from earlier in the season. It's just the 2nd meeting between these schools and LSU had to rally very late to eke by Troy 24-20 in 2004. The Tigers are 32-0 against Sun Belt teams.

This won't be close. It's a night game at Tiger Stadium and Troy is not one of the 3 best teams in the SEC, which are the only teams the Tigers have fallen to. There will be some emotional hangover from last week's disappointment, but it won't last long. Troy is a very good offensive team and – if taken lightly – will pose a real threat for an upset. With a big conference game next week against Ole Miss, this is a definite trap game situation, but no way the Tigers drop this one.

Straight Up Winner: LSU
Against the Spread: Troy

Vanderbilt (5-4, 2-4) @ Kentucky (6-4, 2-4)
7:00 CST, ESPN2
All-Time Series: Kentucky 39-37-4
Wednesday's Line: Kentucky -4

While it doesn't have the marquee schools or the star power of the other games this weekend, this is the most important game of the weekend in terms of conference standings. It's been a close series throughout its history with 33 of the 80 games (41%) decided by a TD or less.

Kentucky has found new life on offense since inserting stud freshman Randall Cobb in as starting QB. They knocked off MSU on the road (which Vanderbilt failed to do) and went toe-to-toe with UGA for 58 minutes before falling on one of the plays of the year in college football. Meanwhile, Vandy is headed in the opposite direction, dropping 4 straight. The Commodores haven't scored more than 14 points in 5 straight games.

The 'Cats have been playing most superior opponents close, dropping close ones to UGA, South Carolina, and Alabama. They're also winning the games they're supposed to, and this game qualifies in that category. The 'Cats will continue to play smart on offense and the defense - though it's struggled a bit lately - will find that Vandy's anemic offense is just the cure for its ails.

Straight Up Winner: Kentucky
Against the Spread: Kentucky

Week 11 SEC Power Poll

Changes at the top and bottom of the poll with the creamy filling in the middle staying basically the same. After yet another conference blowout, Florida has wrested the top spot away from the undefeated and #1 nationally Crimson Tide. And after another humiliating defeat, Tennessee fell behind MSU for worst of the SEC. For all the insight you just can't get anywhere else, check out Garnet and Black Attack.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Decided Schematic Advantage

It’s been a while since I ranted a bit about Fat Charlie and his Pathetic Irish, but after reading Senator Blutarsky's take on this, I figured it was time to pull one together. The one sentence that should incent any college football fan is this:

If Notre Dame beats Navy and Syracuse and loses, as expected, to USC on the road, the Irish will finish 7-5. That should be good enough for them to earn an invitation to the Cotton Bowl, Gator Bowl or Sun Bowl…
First of all, no way the Cotton Bowl selects a 7-5 Notre Dame team over LSU or Ole Miss or any other SEC team. The point is most likely moot as the Gator Bowl would surely jump at the chance to bring Fat Charlie to Jacksonville.

Secondly, I just don't get why people are still obsessed with Notre Dame. They haven’t won a bowl game since 1993. They haven’t been competitive in a bowl game since 1998. They're a whopping 5-4 this season playing almost exclusively with the players Weis has brought in, though I'm sure it's somehow still Tyrone Willingham's fault the Irish suck again this season. Despite all that, the Irish are on TV every weekend, and actually have special exceptions written into some bowl contracts, including the BCS games.

In his tenure at Notre Dame, he has exactly one win that you can look back and point at and say, “Nice win there coach” and that’s the 41-17 beatdown of Penn State in 2006 when the Nittany Lions finished 9-4. Other than a win over a 7-5 Michigan in 2005, there’s hardly a win worth mentioning. To put a little more perspective on it, Pat Forde has this to say in his latest Forde Yard Dash:
After once again playing piñata for mighty Boston College, Weis is now 1-16 in his past 17 games against teams that finished the season .500 or better -- or, in the case of 2008 opponents, currently are .500 or better. That lone point of pride in those 17 games: a seven-point win last month over Stanford, which presently is 5-5 but easily could end up 5-7 and wipe that victory off the books.
Greg Couch of the Chicago Sun-Times references that same PSU victory in 2006 as Weis' only accomplishment at Notre Dame and also offers these gems:
...the most-hyped coach in college football history has been one big failure. Never has so much hope and hype been built from hot air. But when you sell yourself on spec, as Weis did, sooner or later, the finished product comes in.

Under Weis, Notre Dame has never beaten a good team.

In the Sagarin computer national rankings, Notre Dame is ranked behind James Madison.
Let’s take a closer look at Notre Dame’s offensive numbers from last year, the 3rd year that the Fighting Irish had their Decided Schematic Advantage over everyone they played:

2007 Notre Dame:
Scoring Offense: 16.4 ppg
Total Offense: 242.3 ypg
Passing Offense: 167.0 ypg
Rushing Yards: 75.25 ypg

For those of you struggling to grasp how pathetic those numbers, here’s how they compare to the 2008 Tennessee team:

2008 Tennessee:
Scoring Offense: 16.0 ppg
Total Offense: 267.1 ypg
Passing Offense: 162.8 ypg
Rushing Yards: 104.3 ypg

So, the offensive genius designed an offense that managed 25 less yards per game than the Vols are averaging this year. The Irish aerial attack last year did manage to put up nearly 5 more passing yards per game than the current Jonathan Crompton/Nick Stephens debacle in Knoxville this season. And the Vols are doing this against (mostly) SEC defenses, while the Irish played the Service Academies and mid-tier Big 10 teams.

***Update: Another stellar column from Jason Whitlock***

For those of you who are interested in joining the millions of "Huge Notre Dame Fans" out there, please refer to the following flow chart:

My Week 11 SEC Power Poll Ballot

1. Alabama
The Tide was finally forced to prove they could play from behind. But if they must make a late FG in a crucial situation, is Leigh Tiffin really the guy for the job?

2. Florida
I know it was Vandy, but the Gators are rolling right now. Will face a stern test in Columbia this weekend.

3. Georgia
38-49-38. No, not Sir Mix-A-Lot's dream girl. They’re the point totals the once vaunted UGA defense has been given up over the last 3 weeks. They should get back on track against hapless Auburn this weekend.

4. South Carolina
Despite a heads up loss to LSU, the Gamecocks are a better team right now. Have a shot to knock off the Gators this weekend in The Swamp.

5. LSU
Perhaps Jarrett Lee's receivers should wear the other teams' uniforms. The opposing DBs seem to be his favorite targets for TDs.

6. Ole Miss
Can lock up a bowl bid with a win over Louisiana-Monroe this weekend. And no way an SEC team would ever lose to UL-Monore this late in the sea… Wait, what? Alabama? Oh, never mind.

7. Kentucky
Matched UGA point for point for 58 minutes. It took an unbelievable play for the ‘Dawgs to eke it out in Lexington. The ‘Cats may finish with 8 wins.

8. Vanderbilt
I can only imagine how fragile the psyche of this Commodore team is right now. They've gone from college football's best story to potentially orchestrating a choke job worthy of last year's South Carolina team.

9. Arkansas
Another nice effort Saturday despite the loss. Will need to use the off weekend to get Michael Smith’s dinged up shoulder healthy.

10. Auburn
Hey, a win is a win right? The Tigers snapped a 5-game skid. Now their bowl eligibility rests on knocking off either Georgia or Alabama. Good luck with that.

11. Tennessee
Vols’ fans could be looking at the worst team in the storied history of Tennessee football, statistically speaking. Became first SEC team to lock up a losing record this year.

12. Mississippi State
After squealing like pigs all weekend in Tuscaloosa, the Bulldogs will join Tennessee and Auburn as the only SEC teams to have losing seasons wrapped up.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Week 12 SEC Bowl Projections

My Thoughts:
* I added in Stewart Mandel's picks from CNN/SI, though his fall in line with majority consensus on every game.

* With Penn State's loss to Iowa, both Alabama and Florida control their own destiny to play in the BCS Title game. As long as neither slips up against their final 2 regular season opponents, the loser of the clash in Atlanta will receive a Sugar Bowl Bid as a consolation prize.

* Please disregard any posts I may have made in the past weeks stating that Tennessee would rally around Fulmer's departure and win out. What a horrid performance they put on Saturday.

* And if anyone knows how to reach Cary Estes, the contributing writer for, I'd love to hear if he thinks Auburn is going to knock off Georgia or Alabama to get their 6th win and wrap up an Independence Bowl bid.

* At least to me, it doesn't make sense for Kentucky to end up in Nashville for a 3rd straight season. The Bowl-Tie-In page on the SEC's site says:

In selections 6-7, the AutoZone Liberty and Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowls will make their selections, not in any specific order, but in consultation with the SEC Office. The Bowls will rank available qualified teams in order of preference. If there are no similarities in the order of selection, the bowls will be granted its selection. If the bowls rank the same teams in preference, the team involved in the process would get its preference of which bowl to participate.
If the Chick-Fil-A Bowl selects Ole Miss over UK, that's going to leave the 'Cats and (supposedly) Vanderbilt left as the 6th and 7th bowl-eligible teams. Obviously the Liberty Bowl would rank Vanderbilt ahead of Kentucky, but would the Music City Bowl rank Kentucky ahead of Vanderbilt on its list of preferences? And even if they did, would Kentucky really opt to head to Nashville again?

* I'm still not convinced that Vanderbilt wins another game this season to wrap up that Liberty Bowl bid. They're stuck in a pressure cooker at this point and with a shaky defense and shakier offense, win #6 is looking tougher.

* I like Bruce Feldman. I really do. He and Chris Low are the best two college football writers has. But there's no way that the Capital One Bowl deems LSU the most attractive non-BCS-Bowl-bound SEC team. Sitting at 3-3, they're going to have to work just to finish with a winning conference record. Ole Miss and Arkansas are certainly capable of knocking them off. Georgia is far and away the more attractive option there, especially considering the woodshed beating laid on the Tigers in Tiger Stadium.

I Can't Say I'm Surprised...

but it doesn't make this news any less mind-boggling.

EVERGREEN, Ala. — Authorities say an argument over Saturday's Alabama-LSU football game led to the shooting deaths of a couple at a home in southern Alabama.

Prosecutors identified the victims as Dennis and Donna Smith of Brewton. The shooting happened about 7 p.m. Saturday at the home of Michael Williams in the rural community of Owassa.

Williams was arrested and charged with two counts of murder.

Investigators told the Press-Register newspaper in Mobile that Dennis Smith, an LSU fan, called Williams, an Alabama fan, after Alabama's 27-21 overtime win and an argument ensued.

The Smiths went to Williams' home. Investigators said Smith had a pistol and Williams had a shotgun and fired. Donna Smith was a relative of Williams' girlfriend.
I can't even begin to wrap my mind around the idiocy of this. My guess is that neither the Smiths or Williams have ever stepped foot on the campus of Alabama or LSU (or any institute of higher learning for that matter). In my mind, in Williams' mugshot, I'm picturing unkempt facial hair and a mullet and possibly an "I'm With Stupid -->" shirt.

I just hope the state doesn't implode following this year's Iron Bowl - whatever the result is.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Week 10 SEC Power Poll

Florida or Alabama? Alabama or Florida? Even Florida and Alabama? That’s really the only argument left. Teams have really settled into their own little niches now as the spread between each place is becoming pretty pronounced. For all the insight you won’t find anywhere else, check out the full recap at Garnet and Black Attack.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Week 11 Picks

(#14,#14)Georgia (7-2, 4-2) @ Kentucky (6-3, 2-3)
11:30 CST, Raycom
All-Time Series: Georgia 48-11-2
Wednesday’s Line: Georgia -11

Georgia gets its chance to lick its wounds against a Kentucky team that earned bowl-eligibility last weekend in Starkville. While UGA has won 10 of the last 11 meetings between the two schools, UK prevailed in 2006, the last meeting in Lexington. The Bulldogs are 24-3 against Kentucky when ranked.

Polar opposite weekends for these two schools last week as Georgia was blitzed in Jacksonville while the ‘Cats wrapped up a bowl bid with an upset in Starkville. UK switched to something of a 2-QB look last week alternating sophomore Mike Hartline and freshman Randall Cobb. Their numbers weren’t overwhelming – 16/29 for 156 yds and 1/1 – but it (coupled with a blocked extra point) were enough for the win.

For the ‘Dawgs, things were bad at halftime. Down 14-3, things hadn’t gone UGA’s way. Then the third quarter happened, and all the national title dreams evaporated. That said, the defense should handle Kentucky well. The combination of Hartline and Cobb won’t be enough to exploit a UGA secondary that has given more passing yds than any conference team except Ole Miss. On the flip side, only Alabama has given up fewer rushing yds than UGA has.

This will be one of UGA’s best efforts of the season. Under Richt, unfocused games like last week have become commonplace, but rarely if ever on back to back weeks. Richt has been incredible on the road in conference and UGA is too talented and now too desperate for a win to let an injury-depleted ‘Cats team stand in their way of a win.

Straight Up Winner: Georgia
Against the Spread: Georgia

Arkansas (4-5, 1-4) @ South Carolina (6-3, 3-3)
12:00 CST, PPV
All-Time Series: Arkansas 10-6
Wednesday’s Line: South Carolina -11

Hard to believe it’s been 17 seasons since South Carolina and Arkansas joined the conference. Arkansas has won 2 in a row in this series and 3 of the last 4 have been decided by 6 points or less, the exception being the Hogs’ 48-36 victory last season.

Including last week’s win over UT, South Carolina is a meager 6-16 in November over the last 6 seasons, highlighted by last season’s epic collapse. This is seemingly a different Gamecocks team, as they’re playing fairly well heading into the latter part of the season. They’ll be facing an Arkansas team that has also matured and improved throughout the course of the season and one that is desperate for a win.

The Gamecocks rank 3rd in the country in total D, giving up just 250.7 ypg. Where they have struggled at times is offensively, putting up just 330.4 ypg, good for 86th in the nation. They’ve had just 255 and 254 yds the last 2 games against LSU and Tennessee. The major problems have coming running the ball where South Carolina ranks 106th nationwide.

It’ll be a battle of weaknesses as the Hogs’ sport the conference’s worst run defense, allowing 170 ypg and a 5.6 ypc average. Though Arkansas forced enough turnovers to knock off Tulsa last week, the Golden Hurricane still ran up 528 yds against the Hogs. While South Carolina won’t approach those numbers, they will find some momentum in the running game and be able to run a much more balanced attack.

South Carolina can’t sleep on this one. Arkansas needs this for a real shot at bowl eligibility so they’ll be fired up. The Hogs torched the Cocks last year for 650 yds (540 rushing), but that was with McFadden and Jones. This year, the Gamecock defense will be too much for Casey Dick and Michael Smith to overcome. South Carolina wins by 2 TDs.

Straight Up Winner: South Carolina
Against the Spread: South Carolina

Wyoming (3-6) @ Tennessee (3-6, 1-5)
12:00 CST, PPV
All-Time Series: Tennessee 2-0
Wednesday’s Line: Tennessee -27

This is exactly the kind of game the Vols need right now. With all the excitement going on in Knoxville, hosting a team as anemic on offense they are is just what the doctor ordered for the Vols. Currently, the Vols rank 115th in the country on offense with 272.4 ypg. Wyoming sits at 112th with 284.4 ypg. Those numbers are remarkably skewed from their 544 yd outburst last week against San Diego State.

The Volunteer D should have a field day with the Cowboys who have scored a TD or less in 5 games this season. And the offense should finally actually resemble an offense against a lesser opponent. This one won’t be close, but 4 TDs is too much to give anyone against the Vols this year.

Straight Up Winner: Tennessee
Against the Spread: Wyoming

Tennessee-Martin (7-2) @ Auburn (4-5, 2-4)
1:30 CST
All-Time Series: First Meeting
Wednesday’s Line: No Line

Not even worth the effort… Auburn rolls. Or at least they win by a couple of TDs. This offense never seems roll.

Straight Up Winner: Auburn
Against the Spread: N/A

(#1,#1)Alabama (9-0, 5-0) @ (#15,#15) LSU (6-2, 3-2)
2:30 CST, CBS
All-Time Series: Alabama 43-23-5
Wednesday’s Line: Alabama -3

While the Tide has dominated this series all time, the Tigers have run off 5 straight victories and 7 of 8, including the thrilling 41-34 win last season that started Alabama’s season-ending 4-game losing streak. Alabama is 24-8-2 in Baton Rouge. But none of that matters this weekend in Baton Rouge, not for this game.

As hostile as Arkansas fans were towards Houston Nutt, expect that to pale in comparison to what the LSU fans have in store for Saban. He will not be welcomed back with open arms or remembered for the 48-16 record he posted as LSU’s HC. It will be ugly. My only question is why this game is not at night. No game in recent memory has screamed “NIGHT GAME IN BATON ROUGE” more than this one.

LSU’s offensive strength this season has been pounding the ball on the ground with Charles Scott. Unfortunately for the Tigers, that plays right into the teeth of the Alabama D, which will be welcoming Mt. Cody back in the middle. The Tide have given up just 590 rush yds this year (67 ypg), a 2.9 ypc average, and just 1 rushing touchdown.

The Tide has also controlled the line of scrimmage on offense all season, leading the SEC in rushing offense as well with 1848 yds (205 ypg). They lead the conference with a 5.04 ypc average and their 22 rush TDs are 2nd only to Florida’s 23. And while JPW is not an elite QB, he has been steady this season and, most importantly, taking care of the football.

The Tide can punch their ticket to Atlanta with a victory in Baton Rouge. They’ll have success running the ball against a suddenly porous LSU defense and the defense should be able to handle a mistake-prone LSU offense. Look for Alabama to continue to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and feed off the turnovers by a youthful LSU backfield. “2-Loss Les” becomes “3-Loss Les” Saturday afternoon.

Straight Up Winner: Alabama
Against the Spread: Alabama

(#4,#5)Florida (7-1, 5-1) @ Vanderbilt (5-3, 3-2)
6:00 CST, ESPN2
All-Time Series: Florida 30-9-2
Wednesday’s Line: Florida -24

Florida has won 17 straight against Vanderbilt. Last year, UF BMF Percy Harvin paced the gators with 100+ yds receiving and 100+ yds rushing, the first Gator to ever pull that off. Let’s be brutally honest here, right now, Florida is playing as well or better than anyone in the country. Vanderbilt isn’t. The pressure to win one more game increases every week in Nashville and it’s not going to happen Saturday. Even an unfocused Gator team will make mincemeat out of this ‘Dores team. Florida rolls.

Straight Up Winner: Florida
Against the Spread: Florida

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My SEC Power Poll Ballot, Week 10

1. Alabama
Florida’s playing better right now, but the Tide are unblemished and sitting atop the national polls. That’s reason enough for me to keep them #1.

2. Florida
What they’ve done the last couple of weeks against 2 bowl-eligible teams has been nothing short of scary.

3. Georgia
Georgia appearing here (at #3) is, more than anything, a testament to the lack of quality depth the SEC typically has. The ‘Dawgs picked the wrong week to not show up.

4. LSU
Recent inconsistent play needs to be remedied before the Tide rolls into town this weekend.

5. South Carolina
Something tells me Spurrier took a special pleasure in putting the finishing touches on Fulmer’s career at UT.

6. Ole Miss
This year, the Rebels are 1 win away from being bowl eligible through 9 games. Last year, through 9 games, they were 1 win away from being 1 win away from being 1 win away from being 1 win away from bowl eligible.

7. Kentucky
The ‘Cats got back to the formula they used for their early season success: Play an opponent who sucks. Still, can’t argue with bowl eligibility.

8. Arkansas
The Hogs will look back at the ones that got away against Ole Miss and Kentucky when they’re at home for the holidays.

May be catching the Gators at the right time after the WLOCP blowout last week. If that’s the case, Florida may only win by 20.

10. Auburn
I know the Rebels’ secondary is weak, but I can’t imagine any successful gameplan that includes the phrase “43 pass attempts from Kodi Burns”.

11. Tennessee
Saturday’s lost was the final nail in Fulmer’s coffin, marking the end of an era in Knoxville. For all their problems, that was (in my opinion) the Vols’ last regular season loss of the season.

12. Mississippi State
Apparently just sucking on offense was enough for the Bulldogs. Now, they suck on special teams too.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Week 11 SEC Bowl Projections

After a weekend of games that helped solidify the pecking order in the SEC, projections (for the most part) are starting to be a little more consistent.

My Thoughts:

* Despite being #1 in the country and the only undefeated team left in conference, no one's projecting Alabama to hang onto that spot and make it to the BCS Title Game. After Florida's performances the last 2 weeks, it's hard to blame them.

* Ole Miss is seemingly the hardest team for the pundits to get a read on. The 5 projections here have them going to 4 different bowls. No other team has more than 2.

* I tend to agree with CBS and Scout that Tennessee finds itself back in a bowl game to send Fulmer out. The remaining teams on Tennessee's schedule - Wyoming, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky - are certainly all winnable games.

* I also tend to agree with Scout that Vandy won't be bowling this year. Their 5-0 start was an aberration and a forgotten one at that. They've got 4 games left, but this weekend's beatdown by Florida may drain what little life the 'Dores have left.

* Give credit to Petrino and the Hogs for turning around what was certainly a disastrous start to the SEC season, but I don't see them beating LSU or South Carolina, one of which they'll have to do to play in a bowl.

* Would the Music City Bowl really want Kentucky again? They're already the 2-time defending Music City Bowl Champs? Isn't that enough?

* Apparently they feel that if the Independence Bowl can't have Alabama, they don't want any SEC team. Only 1 projection for the Indy Bowl, and it's for Arkansas, which I just don't see happening.

Fulmer to Step Down

In a move that should surprise no one, UT and HC Phil Fulmer have reached an agreement and Fulmer will not be back next year.

Creativity Abounds in Oxford

After a questionable ending to the Ole Miss/Alabama game last year in Oxford, a local band called the Lexington Brothers penned this little ditty called "It's Okay to Hate Doyle Jackson". Last week, before the Rebels took on Auburn and their former HC, they sang a song called "Wasting Away in Tommy Tuberville". Pretty funny stuff.

* H/T to the 2 Ole Miss fans who sent this my way

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Morning Musings

Here's what I came up with during the extra hour of sleep last night:

* 43 pass attempts with Kodi Burns? Really? I know Tuberville was trying to take advantage of Ole Miss' weak secondary, but that's more than double his previous career high in pass attempts.

* No one will argue that Houston Nutt is a great Xs and Os guy, but he's won as many SEC games in 3/4 season as Ed Orgeron did in 3 years in Oxford. You've got to give Nutt a lot of credit for changing the losing attitude there in Oxford.

* Not a good day for the SEC's Bulldogs yesterday. Special teams breakdowns and UK's stout running defense were too much for the offensively challenged Bullies from Starkville. And what to say about the WLOCP but a simple "Wow".

* I think the win over Tulsa is more of a signature win than the win over Auburn was. Even though Tulsa is from a non-BCS, the Hogs lost an emotional game last weekend to their former HC, yet came out focused in this one, jumping out to 17 first quarter points.

* I would not want to be Phil Fulmer about now. Or anyone on the offensive side of the ball for the Vols. They had 34 yds rushing last night with a long of 8 yds.

* As for the Gamecocks, I bet they wish they had a mulligan to use on that Vanderbilt game. Of course you could say the same for Ole Miss and Auburn as well.

* LSU and Alabama made quick work of Tulane and Arkansas State last night in advance of one of the most anticipated games of the year.

* The ending to the Texas/Texas Tech game last night was insane. It also opened the door a bit wider for Florida to make a run to the BCS title game.