Thursday, October 30, 2008

Weekend Picks

Before I get to the picks, a few other items of note...

-What's grosser than gross? This or this?

-ESPN has lost its damn mind. They're going to let, nay, appoint Chris Berman to interview Barack Obama and John McCain at halftime of the upcoming Monday night game. The guy who's the master of "uhs" and "ahs" while doing highlights, horrible nicknames, the same crappy shtick, and the used car salesman-like short-sleeve dress shirt will be interviewing the men running for President of the United States. Seriously. Chris freaking Berman. I can't even express how outrageous this is. I don't really want to see either one of these guys interviewed at halftime of a football game, but I sure as hell at least want a competent individual conducting the interview. Like one who won't do something like this:

Berman: "Senator John 'We McCain Win This Election.' I haven't seen you since the days at the old Polo Grounds when the NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS played there. Ha! Just pulling your leg. How are you, sir?

McCain: "Ah, well, ah, Chris, I'm doing just fine. It's great to be here in front of my fellow Americans, watching America's favorite game on the night before what I hope is a great victory for our country and the Republican party."

Berman: "Eh, uh, ah so you're feeling good about tomorrow?"

McCain: "Chris, let me tell you, I have complete confidence in the American people that tomorrow, they will make what they believe is the right choice by electing me to be their next President. And we're looking forward to it."

Berman: "Well, best of luck Senator. Godspeed. We wish you well. And maybe you'll get to spend the next four years watching these Redskins play."

(Joint forced laughter)

That was horrible just to write. Let's move on (I had one for Obama too, but reading two of those would have been awful for you. That and I had a hard time coming up with a Berman nickname for him. Barack 'Oooo-bama We're Going to Win This Election' was the best I could do.).

Oh, and here's a reminder what a bitch Chris Berman is (language warning).

As for the picks, they were made while pondering which "I didn't try to kill myself" story was less believable, Isiah Thomas' or Terrell Owens'.....

Last Week: 6-1
Season: 42-10

Auburn at Ole Miss
Ole Miss' SEC road record: 2-1. SEC home record: 0-2. If the Rebels want to go bowling outside of Memphis, they've got to close out with two conference wins at home (Auburn and State). An interesting story this week was Ole Miss fullback Jason Cook calling out the Ole Miss fans and basically telling them they suck (my word, not his). While I agree with Cook that Ole Miss fans are awful, Cook and the rest of team should probably be more focused on why they turn into teenage girls and can't beat or put away teams they're better than (SC, Vandy, and Arkansas). Get some mental toughness and a killer instinct and you'll see what happens in the stands. Even crappy fans can recognize and appreciate watching a team with both of those.

As for this game, Auburn is about as dead in the water as a team can be. Ole Miss should win and, if they play like they're capable of, win by double digits. But who knows if the Rebels will fold like a wet sack when the first thing goes wrong or they get scared, like they love to do.

Tulsa at Arkansas
Gus Malzahn returns to Arkansas to exact reven.....nevermind. But I'm sure sportswriters across America would love to see him destroy Bobby Petrino. Look for Tulsa to light up Arkansas, even though the Hogs may not throw a pass, just to keep the clock running. For the record, if Ole Miss does make a bowl and that bowl is the Liberty Bowl, Tulsa will do the same thing to us.

Kentucky at Mississippi State
I can't think of anything remotely interesting to write about this game. Nothing. I guess it's worth noting that if Kentucky wins, and I say they will, the Wildcats become bowl eligible. Anything else?

I think that's about it.

Arkansas State at Alabama
My attempt to predict John Parker Wilson's stat line:
8 of 17, 118 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT. We'll see how that turns out.

Florida at Georgia
A few years ago, both schools wanted people to stop calling this game the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party because they felt like it accepted or promoted massive alcohol consumption. I have no idea what they're talking about.....

(the last thirty seconds are where the gold is)

Both offenses come into this game clicking, while only one defense appears to be working. I don't think Georgia has enough defense to stop Florida. LSU turned it over three times and still hit Georgia up for 38 points. Unless Florida turns it over, I don't see them getting much less than that. And Florida, since the Ole Miss loss, has outscored three teams 152-33. No, that is not Alabama's combined scores against David Cutcliffe teams in Tuscaloosa, but really what Florida has done to Arkansas, LSU, and Kentucky. I think Florida is putting it together at the right time for a push to Atlanta. I'm taking them here. They're so hot right now!!!

Tennessee at South Carolina
Do you think Steve Spurrier is going to take any satisfaction in driving the final stake into Phil Fulmer's undead heart? Yeah, me too.

Tulane at LSU
How about some classic Les Miles....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

From the Weekend That Was

West Virginia 34, Auburn 17
Auburn fans, welcome to the Kodi Burns era. Complete with 33 yards of offense in the second half of a game in which they dominated early. While a national television audience got a great look at the disaster that is the Auburn offense, they also got a look at a defense allergic to tackling and about as interested in playing football as I am in watching Frank TV. The Auburn defense was shredded for 445 yards and, at my last check, still has not tackled Noel Devine. Oddly enough, the offense held onto the ball for over 35 minutes, but only produced 260 yards. I'm guessing the 3.9 yards per play probably didn't help in the total yards category.

I have to believe Auburn coaches are busy right now burning the midnight oil in their offices. You know, sprucing up their resumes, contacting moving companies, and seeing if Tony Franklin would be interested in having them on his staff when he is eventually named a I-AA school's head coach.

Florida 63, Kentucky 5
Dear Kentucky (and LSU),


Ole Miss

Duke 10, Vanderbilt 7
It's hard to play football, much less win a football game, when you've got both hands wrapped around your throat. I hope all Vandy fans enjoyed losing the way other teams have lost to them this year. Two missed field goals and three turnovers. Way to make your opponent win the game. But hey, at least you'll be able to hear the PA from the Music City Bowl.

Georgia 52, LSU 38
Ok, so LSU's defense does stink. Not shaky, it stinks. And so does the Georgia defense. And so do choppy sentences. I can't stop. Too easy. And too fun.

Anyway, I thought this was one of, if not the, best game I've seen Stafford play. He pretty much did whatever he wanted when he wanted. I'm not positive, but I believe a couple of his throws traveled close to 464 miles an hour. That's just my estimate so I could be wrong.

Obviously, a horrible LSU defense contributed to this loss, but the three turnovers by LSU's offense were huge (two of which were run back for touchdowns). All of sudden Jevan Snead, Casey Dick, and Chris Smelley have some competition in the not-so-coveted interceptions title. Jarrett Lee moved into a tie for third place with Smelley. Now that Smelley isn't starting anymore, look for Lee to certainly claim third for himself and possibly make a run at Snead for the top spot.

Mississippi State 31, Directional School 22
Sylvester Croom on if he was OK with burning true freshman Arceto Clark's redshirt eight games into the season (especially after Clark's stat line - 1 carry, 2 yards):
"Yeah. We're going to play him some more. Guys, I'm not worried about what's happening four years from now. I'm going to let somebody else worry about that if that needs to be. I'm worried about winning a game today. And burning a redshirt? Hey, all I want to do is win today. We're going to play him next week, we're going to play him the week after that, and what happens four or five years from now, I'm not concerned about."

Ladies and gentlemen, your reigning SEC Coach of the Year!

Ole Miss 23, Arkansas 21
I'm just glad it's over. If Arkansas hadn't have gotten screwed on that offensive pass interference call and kicked the field goal to win by one, I don't think I could have watched another Ole Miss game this year. This one nearly killed me as it was. Can we please stop this last possession of the game crap? People are going to die if this keeps up. I'm serious. Someone is literally going to keel over at an Ole Miss game. I just hope it's not me.

Alabama 29, Tennessee 9
A cyber high-five to all those smart enough to take Alabama at -6.5. That was one of the dumbest (and most rewarding) lines I can remember this year. It's a sad state of affairs in Knoxville when the most rewarding thing they'll be able to say at the end of the year is that they helped keep Vanderbilt from going to a bowl.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Weekend Picks

From earlier tonight and I was wrong on both predictions. Auburn did not win and I did not watch any of the World Series:

"Full post coming later, but needed to get the Auburn/WV pick in before the game. I'm taking Auburn and fully expect to be driven to the Rays/Phillies game by offensive ineptitude, the likes of which we have never seen. Well, at least since the Auburn/State game."

Before the rest of the picks, it was nice to see Rick Cleveland dust off the "What if Mississippi had one university" column. This column usually makes an appearance every three years or so, but, while this one still had the usual "how great the school would be" points, it did have some nice history behind it. Really interesting stuff compiled by Cleveland and the historians he credits.

On to the picks....

Last week: 5-0
Season: 36-9

Kentucky at Florida
Urban Meyer is slowly crawling up my "I really don't like him" list. His general demeanor of arrogance and intensity comes off as really forced. Stalking around the sideline, he looks like a weekend softball player trying get himself jacked up to play the Roto-Rooter team. Does he really need to try that hard? And if he's such a great motivator, why did his team lose at home to a 3-4 team that can't make a clutch play to save its life? And now comes this: He likes to give recruits the Ed Orgeron treatment. Seriously. If Ed Orgeron did this, he would have been unmercifully mocked (and rightfully so), but since it's the great Urban Meyer, it means he's really intense and wants to win more than any other coach. That's like saying Urban Meyer likes to breathe more than any other person.

And let's not forget the quote announcers love to repeat during Florida games. Meyer said he wants to have "the fastest team in America." Announcers and talking heads gush over this as if he invented the forward pass. A coach wants to have the fastest team in America? Surely you jest. What a visionary.

Oh, and Florida wins.

Duke at Vanderbilt
Sphincter muscles across Nashville are tightening right now. The owners of those muscles know that if they lose this, there's a really good chance they lose out and don't make a bowl. I think Duke has an excellent chance to win because, while they aren't a good team, Vandy's offense is so bad Duke will be in the game. I'm taking Duke in this one, not because they'll go out and win it, but Vandy will self-destruct Ole Miss-style.

Georgia at LSU
At the beginning of the season, this was poised to be one of the premiere games in conference play and on the national scene. It's still a big game, but neither one of these teams have shown they're one of the best in the country or if they'll even be in Atlanta. LSU's offense is suspect (as their defense might be after the Florida thrashing) and Georgia does an amazing job drifting between a pretty good team and a mediocre team as the game goes along. Neither team is very impressive, but I think Georgia brings a little more to the table than LSU.

They've had a couple of wins where there really wasn't much doubt they'd win (Arizona State and Tennessee), while LSU had one (State) that ended up being a little interesting in the end (State cut it to 10 with just under three minutes to go). I know that's an idiotic thing to measure, but it does say Georgia has shown an ability to dominate at times (I'm not counting some of the scrub teams both have played). Throw in Richt's insane 27-4 record on the road and I'm taking Georgia in this one.

Ole Miss at Arkansas
As I stated before the season began, Ole Miss might go 1-11, but you could mark it down they'd beat Arkansas. I know Houston Nutt is ready for this game, question is will that translate to the players. I think it will because it may finally be dawning on these guys that when you push back good things happen (see: second half at Alabama). If they show up to play and don't turn the ball over multiple times, I think Ole Miss rolls in this one.

Directional School at Mississippi State
I noticed the line in this game went from -14 (State) to -10 in just a few days. That's pretty impressive. Obviously the betting public has no faith in the Bulldogs. I know State isn't very good, but the Blue Raiders stink. If Sly Croom manages to bumble this one away, I think it would be totally justifiable to can him before he reaches the locker room. I hope it doesn't happen because I would really like him to be there for another, oh, ten years. Only good things happen for the rest of the SEC while he's there. State slugs their way to a win.

Alabama at Tennessee
Why are people even giving Tennessee the time of day in this game? Attention world: Tennessee stinks. Has no one paid attention to the last seven games? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. Alabama wins and makes people some money with a ridiculous -6 1/2 spread.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

From the Weekend That Was

Georgia 24, Vanderbilt 14
Another Georgia game, another miserably boring game. One team is obviously better than the other one, but not good enough or screws up enough to keep from blowing the other team out. This was like watching a Big Ten 11:00 am game with Northwestern and Iowa playing. Only Pam Ward's voice sounded like Dave Neal's. Good news for those interested in slipping into comas, Georgia will be the 2:30 CBS game for the next two weeks.

Alabama 24, Ole Miss 20
Hey, look! Another loss by seven points or less! That makes 18 in five seasons! No, really, 18. Including four this season. Shoot me in the face.
A few keys to actually not losing any more of these games:

-Jevan Snead playing like he did in the second half, especially the fourth quarter. I was shocked when CBS showed him on the sideline in the fourth quarter walking up and down the bench telling everyone on offense to be ready. An odd sight to see an Ole Miss player not cowering in fear during the fourth quarter. Great effort by him.

-Less Dexter McCluster. Look, the guy can be fantastic at times but this fumbling business has reached the point he can't be trusted. It's time to cut his touches and tell him to get on the ground whenever someone comes within five yards of him. Do we really need another McCluster fumble to kill a scoring drive?

-More Brandon Bolden. The guy is averaging 5.2 yards a carry. Cordera Eason has been serviceable, but I think it's pretty obvious Bolden brings more to the table than him. And although Enrique Davis had one good run, he's not the guy right now.

-The offensive line needs to stop having the mental psyche of fourteen year-old girls, sack up, and hit someone in the mouth. We should start referring to this group as "short yardage killers."

Kentucky 21, Arkansas 20
Arkansas' Michael Smith goes for 192 yards on 35 carries and one touchdown. How might Kentucky have won this game? Casey Dick: 11 of 29, 94 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs.

Tennessee 34, Mississippi State 3
More bad news for State fans: Tyson Lee stinks too. Never a good night when two of the three of your team's interceptions thrown are returned for touchdowns. Then throw in the fact your offense accumulates 189 total yards. It was bad enough (and been bad enough all season) that the Clarion-Ledger and its sports editor publicly wrote something needs to be done. Remember, this is the same paper that defended Ole Miss basketball coach Rod Barnes until he produced a fourth straight season with four conference wins. They are typically a staunch defender of all coaches receiving paychecks from state universities (except Ed Orgeron, they pretty much hated him from the start), so I consider this a big deal. The paper isn't calling for Croom's head, but the clock is ticking on one Woody McCorvey.

LSU 24, South Carolina 17
No wonder LSU won. Much easier when it's 12 on 11.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Weekend Picks

Made while watching Bobby Bowden stare from the sidelines like a man who just misplaced his wallet.....

Last week: 2-3
Season: 31-9

Vanderbilt at Georgia
Let the Vanderbilt free fall begin. Next week's game against Duke is the biggest game of the year for Vandy. If they lose that one, there's a really good chance they won't make a bowl. They finish with Florida at home, at Kentucky, Tennessee at home, and at Wake Forest. Kentucky and Tennessee seem to be the most winnable games, but playing at Lexington and Tennessee's discovery that Nick Stephens should have been playing all year doesn't bode well for Vandy. The good news for the Dores is that David Cutcliffe is in charge of one of the teams they have to play. His track record with far superior teams against Vanderbilt doesn't exactly brim with dominance. And I think it's safe to say Duke does not have a more talented team than Vanderbilt.

Ole Miss at Alabama
The good news for Ole Miss: Alabama likes to run. While Ole Miss isn't great against the run (9th in the SEC), it's better than having to rely on their pass defense, which ranks dead last in the conference. More good news: Alabama is ranked 10th in the SEC against the pass and Ole Miss is fourth in passing offense. Yes, this does appear to be a team with which Ole Miss matches up well.

However, consider the following: Ole Miss has a nasty habit of making bad to average quarterbacks look good to great (see: Smelley, Chris). I do think the Rebels will be able slow down Alabama's running game, but even as unreliable as John Parker Wilson is, he'll end up having a good game courtesy of the Ole Miss back seven. Speaking of unreliable, Jevan Snead on the road against a team on which we probably won't be able to run. And it's at a place where Ole Miss quarterbacks notoriously have their worst games. I have as much confidence in him as I do in Ed Orgeron's ability to give up Red Bull.

Like many Ole Miss/Alabama games, this one will end up being close and, like many Ole Miss/Alabama games, Ole Miss will lose in a new, soul-numbingly way.

Arkansas at Kentucky
Do you think there could be any less dislike between two fanbases? What a weird matchup. After Kentucky wins, Arkansas fans will wonder just what in the hell they're doing playing Kentucky. They didn't do that crap back in the old Southwest Conference days. Those two thoughts will be followed by a long pause and a fond memory of how Frank Broyles did things back before black people played college football.

Mississippi State at Tennessee
I feel for you Bulldog fans, I really do. Well, not really. If Tennessee coaches weren't fearing for their lives, Jonathan Crompton would be starting this game, which would most certainly lead to a State win. But now you know how Ole Miss fans felt last year after we watched you beat an unorganized Auburn team early in the year, then by the time we played them they had figured out what they could and couldn't do on offense. So enjoy a taste of our pain.

I still think this is a relatively close game. Tennessee's offense isn't good enough to totally blow this one open and with Willie Beamon calling the plays and not Sly Croom, State will keep it interesting.

LSU at South Carolina
Stephen Garcia versus Jarrett Lee. That sort of sounds like an Ultimate Fighting Championship title match. Only instead of an octagon and two insane people, there will be two average to below average quarterbacks throwing bad passes on a football field. Other than that, I've got nothing on this game. LSU could win by 20 or lose by 10 and I wouldn't be surprised. Neither one of these teams make any sense, but I'll assume Stephen Garcia spent at least two nights this week at penny pitchers in a Columbia bar, which leads me to take LSU in this game.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

From the Weekend That Was

South Carolina 24, Kentucky 17
Through blatant stupidity, I somehow managed to overlook Spurrier's record against Kentucky before Saturday. He was a cool 15-0 going into the game and now, 16-0. Just stunning that I would miss that tiny detail before making my pick. As usual, I'm an idiot.

As for the game, reigning SEC offensive player of the week Chris Smelley played like Chris Smelley since he was not playing Ole Miss, whose defense has produced more SEC offensive players of the week than I can remember. He threw two picks and did his best to keep Kentucky in the game, even having one of his interceptions returned for a touchdown. Seriously, Steve Spurrier, stop thinking about tee times or whatever it is you do during the week and pull the plug on the Chris Smelley Experience. The world is begging for Stephen Garcia, not just because he is the better quarterback, but because if he has some success there's no limit to the misdemeanors in which he will most certainly engage.

Think about it, any success as the starting quarterback will cause his ego to nearly explode, which will result in him assuming he's invincible (or more invincible than he already thinks he is). Keying a professor's car? Child's play. How about consuming enough alcohol to kill every infection in Sudan, followed by him trying to literally rip his professor's car apart with his bare hands? And any night like that will definitely end with the kicking and/or punching of homeless people and hipppies. Just don't be surprised when it happens.

Mississippi State 17, Vanderbilt 14
Sylvester Croom does things the right way, is old school, hard-nosed disciplinarian, turning the corner blah blah blah blah blah. He won because Bobby Johnson was dumb enough to play Chris Nickson (3 of 10, 15 yards, 1 INT) for over three quarters. Seriously, Johnson didn't play the guy that led them to the win over Auburn until the fourth quarter. What was going on in those three quarters? Pretty much nothing. The longest drive led by Nickson? 17 yards. Yes, 17 yards. And he played for over 45 minutes.

I know some of that was the result of State's defense and Vandy's generally inept offense, but the moment Mackenzi Adams came in the game Vandy went on a 10 play, 57 yard touchdown drive. After watching him bring a dead offense to one with a pulse against Auburn, how could you wait three quarters to put him in? I don't even care about Vandy and I'm just as enraged as all 12 Vanderbilt fans.

Looking at State, they did what they should have done. Run the ball and don't turn it over. I need someone with time and math skills to create a formula that tells me what the percent chance State has to win when they run more than they throw. Even if it's around 40 percent that's roughly 80 percentage points higher than when they throw more than they run.

One last thing, State's recent improvement on offense (I know 247 yards of offense against Vandy isn't great, but they've looked better since the LSU game) is cause for speculation. Have Croom and McCorvey suddenly figured out how to call and coach football games? I think not. My theory: Tyson Lee is State's version of Willie Beamon. He's changing the plays in the huddle and leading this offense that could potentially climb into the mid-to-lower 80s of NCAA rankings in total offense. Watch for his rap video coming out in early November.

Georgia 26, Tennessee 14
The only good that came out of this game for Tennessee is that the Nick Stephens era will actually be 30% less terrible than the Jonathan Crompton era. Really, Stephens wasn't that bad, especially since Tennessee couldn't run the ball. He actually made it interesting in the third quarter when they cut Georgia's lead to 20-14. If he starts, and I suspect Vol fans will burn the stadium down if he doesn't, against State, they should beat State on Saturday. If Crompton was still around, I would have picked State.

And yet another uninspired performance by Georgia. Maybe they should try a blackou....oh, wait. Nevermind.

Arkansas 25, Auburn 22
This is what happens when Kodi Burns gets to play most of the game. One offensive touchdown and a dazzling 7 of 18, 119 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT performance from Burns. Throw in Arkansas outgained Auburn 416-193 and I'm amazed this was even close. Well, I was amazed until I remembered Casey Dick was the other quarterback in the game, then not so much.

My question is is (wow, two "is's" in-a-row....weird) this the beginning of the end for Tommy Tuberville at Auburn? I don't pretend to have my fingers on the pulse of Auburn football, but the sense of unrest going on there can be felt by those who don't really care about Auburn. Looking ahead, the Tigers go to West Virginia, Ole Miss, and Alabama, while hosting Georgia and at Tennessee-Martin. I only see one sure win in there. They'll probably end up beating Ole Miss because we're Ole Miss and we'll find a way to lose a game we should win, but it's still a real possibility for Auburn to end up 5-7. I don't know if Tuberville can survive that, especially after the mess he created by firing his offensive coordinator six games into his first season and he's got less offensive production than a Brandon Cox-led offense.

Florida 51, LSU 21
There's no need to worry about Les Miles butchering a game when LSU's defense can't stop the run. If Florida can keep their running success going, they will become a really, really good offensive team. Luckily for Ole Miss, Tim Tebow and the boys decided they'd wait until after the Ole Miss game to play harder than anyone else in the nation (what a stupid post-game interview). Thanks, Tim. And tell Urban his play calling on fourth and short is spectacular.

One more thing, we learned a few things about LSU this weekend. One, Andrew Hatch stinks. I know, it's shocking a Harvard transfer isn't very good. Didn't see that one coming. Two, Jarrett Lee teeters between average and slightly above average. It would have helped if he had any running game at all, but I don't think he's good enough right now to win a game when he has to shoulder the burden. And finally, LSU's defense isn't as good as we thought. While good, they aren't, as some writer once put it, the 800-pound gorilla with a chainsaw for its unit.

From everywhere else....

-Tommy Bowden was finally taken out back and shot Old Yeller-style. Bowden was best known for beating his dad's Florida State team when his job was on the line and for his lone superpower, mediocrity.

-One person (in addition to thousands of unquoted Clemson fans) in support of the firing/resigning/whatever was former starting quarterback Cullen Harper. Harper was quoted as saying, "It's what he deserved." In a related story, Harper and his six interceptions and four touchdowns got what he deserved when backup Willy Korn was named the starter.

-Someone woke Bobby Johnson up and told him Mackenzi Adams should be starting. Too bad no one passed the word around, say, halftime of the State game. Vandy could be 6-0 had he been paying attention.

-Pour one out for Dicky Lyons Jr. A guy with a fantastic name, and by all accounts someone you'd want on your team, tore two ligaments in his knee, ending his career at Kentucky. My lasting memory of Dicky Lyons is watching him tear up the Rebels during Ed Orgeron's one and only disastrous trip to Lexington. I don't remember what his final stats were, but I do remember at some point during the game incoherently screaming about our defense's inability to stop a short white guy. Not good times.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Weekend Picks

Last week: 3-2
Season: 29-6

Arkansas at Auburn

Tommy Tuberville's solution to Auburn's offensive woes? Can his offensive coordinator six games into the season. Mind you, they never ran the same offense Tony Franklin ran at Troy and Tuberville's big quarterback recruit had zero ability to run the offense that was suited to his athletic ability, but Franklin took the fall for the 104th-ranked offense. I know he was technically in charge of the offense, but I think it was pretty obvious Tuberville was never totally comfortable with the new offense and was heavily influencing what was going on there. To me, Franklin was trying to make chicken salad from chicken poo.

And being the classy guy Tuberville is, here's video of Franklin literally packing his car in front of the Auburn coaches' offices. Ridiculous he had to go through this. Of course, this is the same guy who said Franklin's job was safe three days ago and once claimed the only way he was leaving Oxford was in a pine box. Tommy Tuberville is a pretty good coach (who now looks like his time is running out in Auburn), but a more arrogant asshole you won't find.

As for this game, Tuberville could start at quarterback and Auburn would win this game. Incidentally, why is the over/under to this game at 39? I think if it was set at 16 it would be too high.

LSU at Florida
Florida is giving six points in this game? Really? Florida, whose offense hasn't done much of anything this year (against real teams....not counting Ole Miss as a real team), is playing one of the better defenses in the country in LSU and they're giving points? Not to mention LSU is undefeated and ranked number four while Florida, in the last two weeks, struggled with Arkansas for three quarters and lost at home to an Ole Miss team that cries when the popular girl won't talk to them. I don't understand this at all.

But just as I'm about to pick LSU to win this one, a thought enters the back of my mind. Will this finally be the game where Les Miles' insanity-laced decisions finally bite him? He HAS to be due for it, right? He got away with murder last year, and like The Juice, lived to tell the tale. This is a game LSU should win, but they're starting a young quarterback on the road in a game Florida must win if they want any shot at getting back in the national title discussion. Stupidity colliding with a desperate team could spell disaster for LSU. However, I'll take a page from Les Miles' book and go completely against the argument I just made. LSU wins.

Tennessee at Georgia
Speaking of fired offensive coordinators, Dave Clawson is on the clock now. The Vols are 97th in total offense and 106th in scoring offense. Of course, Clawson might not be the only one fired, instead, he'll most likely be joined by Phil Fulmer and the entire Tennessee staff. David Cutcliffe may be smarter than I thought. He must have known how awful Crompton was going to be and jumped ship before he had to freshen up his resume'. Good times in Knoxville will get even better after Saturday's loss to Georgia.

South Carolina at Kentucky
Is it possible for Spurrier to string together two SEC wins in-a-row? Or can Chris Smelley play well in two straight road games? I say not a chance. The pre-Ole Miss Chris Smelley should return and Kentucky will benefit.

Vanderbilt at Mississippi State
Let it be known Vanderbilt has the 114th-ranked offense in the country. That's eleven spots behind State's high-octane offense. Eleven spots behind the team that hung 14 points on Louisiana Tech. You can't keep winning with that little offensive production. The absurdity ends this week. That's right, mark it down, I'm taking State this weekend. Let the Vanderbilt free-fall begin.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

From The Weekend That Was

I was in Oxford this past weekend, so I didn't get a chance to watch many games. Instead, I was treated to one of the most disgusting Ole Miss losses I've seen in a long time, and watched the 2007 Mississippi Sta.....errr, 2008 Vanderbilt Commodores pull another victory out of a dark place on which most people sit.

Alabama 17, Kentucky 14
From the looks of the box score and a report from correspondent Miles, Alabama should have coasted to an easy win. It appears that penalties and three turnovers allowed Kentucky to hang around because anytime Glen Coffee rips off 218 yards, it shouldn't be close. Nothing against Glen Coffee, but he's sort of like Kenneth Davis in Super Tecmo Bowl. A quality back-up for Thurman Thomas, but didn't bring anything great to the table. Coffee is an above average running back who is benefiting from Alabama's justifiably stubborn commitment to running the ball and keeping it out of John Parker Wilson's hands (7 of 17, 106 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT this week).

I did make it in front of a TV right before Kentucky attempted their onside kick with 40 seconds left. Possibly the worst onside kick I've ever seen. I'm pretty sure it never touched the ground and was nothing more than a straight line drive out of bounds, which not only made it the worst kick I've ever seen but also the most anti-climactic kick I've ever seen.

Florida 38, Arkansas 7
Kudos to the Hogs for keeping it close until the fourth quarter. And kudos to Florida for finding not one, but two running backs who could successfully run the ball in a forward direction. Chris Rainey and Jeffrey Demps both went over the century mark against the SEC's worst defense. I know Arkansas is awful against the run, but this can be considered baby steps in the right direction for Florida. We shall see if this works this week against LSU.

Vanderbilt 14, Auburn 13
I didn't get to see the first half, but from what I was told Auburn came out and went straight at the Vandy defense to build its 13 point lead. Before I get to what I saw, I would like to take umbrage with ESPN's GameDay for dragging out Kenny Chesney and his bald head (covered by a poser Red Sox hat) and shirt with sleeves, which of course was rented (he doesn't own shirts with sleeves). Why was he on there? He's a fan of Tennessee, which to some degree is a rival of Vanderbilt (only because they're both in the same state and play in the same division) and yet, there he was on Vandy's campus as if this was completely normal. Surely Vandy has someone they could have put up there, right? This was probably the only time in my life I wanted to see Vince Gill on a stage.

For the record, I think he was there to promote his new album, Seashell Necklaces and Songs I Didn't Write, and whatever record company is putting out that album is most likely owned or partially owned by Disney, the owner of the Leader. And yes, I probably made up the name to his album. Who the hell knows or cares what it's called.

As for the part of the game I saw, Auburn's offense might be the most pitiful offense since a 5'8" Lawrence Adams was slinging it around for the Rebels in the early '90s. I only hope Chris Todd's shoulder is bothering him because no college quarterback can have that gimpy and inaccurate of an arm. And not to toot my own horn, but I will toot away, did you see what happens when Kodi Burns comes in a game? Nothing. Good defenses will never let him do anything until he learns to throw with any degree of accuracy and shows a hint of ability to read coverages.

I still stand by my claim that Vanderbilt is not a good team. They needed one billion turnovers to beat Ole Miss and South Carolina and caught an Auburn team who's offense is getting worse with each snap. They're a smart and an extremely lucky team, and it has been said it's better to be lucky than good, but this is not a good team. I can see Vandy winning eight or nine games with the remaining wins much like this one, or I can easily see them losing out to miss a bowl game.

One last thing, Mackenzi Adams has to be the starter the rest of the way. I have no idea how he does it, but he somehow strings together drives when absolutely nothing is working for Vandy. He's this year's version of the 2007 Wesley Carroll.

South Carolina 31, Ole Miss 24
A life as an Ole Miss fan is probably the worst thing that can happen to someone. So few peaks and many unbelievably miserable valleys. The win against Florida had me more excited about Ole Miss football than I've been since 2003. That's five freaking years. Then my excitement and optimism take a swift and brutal kick to the crotch. Just awful.

I've got three things to say about the game and then I'm done. I'm still fuming over the game and don't want to have that blow up again. First, Jevan Snead, as of right now, is the second coming of Romaro Miller. Skittish, can't handle pressure from the pass rush, and can't handle the pressure of the game. I'll get into more detail on this later in the week, but right now he can't be expected or even trusted to function in passing situations.

Second, turnovers again killed the Rebels. Two turnovers lead to 14 points for South Carolina. The one South Carolina turnover was wiped out when Ole Miss promptly fumbled the ball away a few plays later.

And third, this Ole Miss team appears to be made up of guys with the mental toughness of 8th grade girls. Their inability to respond to any sort of adversity is sickening. One thing goes wrong and they fall to pieces. And I'm tired of this crap about "they don't know how to win." Bullcrap. That's just an excuse for people who don't want to fight back. I think everyone (especially athletes) has this sense of personal pride inside them that says if someone pushes me, I'm going to push them back harder. They may push you back even harder, but you keep going after them. You might end up losing, but you don't ever think about it. You keep going as hard as you can and the whole time assume you're going to win.

This team doesn't think like that. This was a game they should have won and they let it get away because South Carolina called them fat and said they had no fashion sense. Absolutely disgusting.

Tennessee 13, Directional School 9
Welcome to the Nick Stephens era! 8% less terrible than the Jonathan Crompton era!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Weekend Picks

Made while watching Tampa Bay Rays fans ring miniature cowbells and listening to Harold Reynolds remind me why I smiled when he was fired from ESPN....

Last week: 5-2
Season: 26-4

Kentucky at Alabama
Kentucky appears to be the only team with worse success in Tuscaloosa than Ole Miss. Meaning, they've never won there. While this Kentucky team is undefeated, their most impressive win was over a bad Louisville team. Their other victims include two directional schools and Norfolk State, which, as you should surmise, aren't very good.

I'd still look for an Alabama letdown/slow start, much like their week two game against Tulane after they destroyed Clemson in week one. I think it's close for a half, then Alabama blows it open.

Florida at Arkansas
The perfect rebound game for Florida. They go on the road against a horrible defense and get the chance to work out their issues on offense, mainly their lack of a running back. Yeah, Percy Harvin went crazy last week, but in short yardage situations there was only Tim Tebow. Against good defenses (and mediocre ones) that's not going to work as well as it once did. I haven't seen every Florida play since Tebow began starting at quarterback, but I can't remember another short yardage play other than Tebow plowing ahead.

And Florida's defense will need figure out how they gave up 31 points after giving up only 19 on the season until last Saturday. They're fast, but their secondary isn't great and if you run straight at them you'll find some success. Unfortunately for Arkansas, none of Florida's problems are bad enough to help them win the game. Against ranked opponents this year, Arkansas has been outscored 101-24. And by the way, that's a total of two games. Florida pads some stats this week.

Auburn at Vanderbilt
The Sports Gods get another laugh at the expense of Ole Miss as GameDay will be in Nashville this Saturday. However, we'll get the last laugh when 47 people show up on Saturday morning, half of which will be Auburn fans looking for a place to tailgate.

I don't really care who does it, but please, someone show the country that Vanderbilt stinks. Auburn's defense is obviously good enough to shut down Vandy's offense, but the way Auburn's offense stays in neutral could mean this game stays close. And can someone explain to me why Auburn fans get excited when Kodi Burns comes in the game? Sure he's a great athlete, but he is a terrible, TERRIBLE quarterback. I know Chris Todd sucks, but holy crap, this team is 4-1 and one or two plays from being 5-0 (and I know you can make the argument they're one or two plays from being 2-3, but they're not). When you have a great defense, you can get away with having a crappy quarterback. Auburn's defense is good, but not good enough to overcome the turnover waiting to happen that is Kodi Burns. Auburn wins and the fan bitching reaches new levels.

South Carolina at Ole Miss
As of five o'clock today, Stephen Garcia has not keyed a professor's car, gotten in a drunken fistfight, or missed every class since Saturday. Which, of course, is good news for South Carolina as this prevents the artists known as Tommy Beecher and Chris Smelley from entering the game. More good news for South Carolina is the return of receiver Kenny McKinley. He gives the Gamecocks a competent receiver and more importantly replaces tight end Jared Cook as the team's best receiver.

As for Ole Miss, you better believe there's going to be a letdown/flat start. I've seen way too many Ole Miss games to ignore this. Hell, even if Ole Miss had lost last week they'd still come out flat. Crappy starts, that's what they do. It's science.

I think the Ole Miss defensive line dominates again. From the two South Carolina games I've watched, their offensive line was awful so I don't see how they'll be able to put up many points. I know South Carolina's defense is currently ranked number one in the country, but for some reason they don't really scare me. I know they were great against Georgia, but they always seem to have Georgia's number. Of course, there is an extremely high probability I'm wrong, but I think Ole Miss will be able to move the ball. I'm not saying they'll be up in the thirties again, but I would expect some points. An above .500 record in the SEC for Ole Miss? Surely you jest.

Directional School at Tennessee
Another week and another end to a crappy quarterback era? This could be the end for Jonathan Crompton, so drink it in.