Friday, August 21, 2009

The Final Countdown: 13

Number 13 in the countdown brings us to yet another (and probably the second of many) lists void of meaty content. It’s Friday afternoon and no one enjoys engaging the brain more than is required to pretend that you’re working right now. Two days ago, the post topic was related to Brett Favre and my desire for him to disappear forever. Today, it’s related to another NFL quarterback, but one not quite as successful as Brett Favre or even Trent Dilfer. Dan Marino, unlike those two, wore number 13 for the Dolphins and never won a Super Bowl.

So, to honor him in a backhanded compliment sort of way, today’s post is dedicated to 13 great players in the SEC that never won an SEC championship game. There is no particular order to the list and I have most certainly left off some good players (but there's only so much room and it's my damn list), and the list is heavy with Ole Miss and Mississippi State players because, well, everyone on both of those teams is eligible. Now, 13 Dan Marinos of the SEC…

1. Eli Manning, Ole Miss. If not for one crappy defense after another, David Cutcliffe and Ole Miss’ version of Lou Groza, perhaps Manning wouldn’t be on this list. By the way, it’s 2009 and I still haven’t gotten over the 2003 game against LSU.

2. Deuce McAllister, Ole Miss. Another player victimized by David Cutcliffe. His best chance for Atlanta came in 1999, yet his head coach managed to lead a team loaded with NFL talent to a 7-4 record. And I’m obligated to mention that he split carries with Joe Gunn. Who? Exactly.

3. Jerious Norwood, Mississippi State. Arguably the best running back in State history and played on arguably some of the worst teams in Mississippi State history. Never even had a winning season. His performance against Florida in 2004 in which State won 38-31 helped get momentum behind the “Croomed” phrase as Ron Zook would be fired the week after losing that game.

4. Patrick Willis, Ole Miss. Another David Cutcliffe victim. If Willis starts at linebacker like he should have in 2003, maybe he changes the LSU game. Odds are he wouldn’t have, but dammit he should have had the chance. To be fair to Cutcliffe, Ed Orgeron later destroyed any remaining chance to see Atlanta.

5. Eric Moulds, Mississippi State. I don’t think there’s any argument that he was the greatest wide receiver in State history, which is pretty amazing considering Derrick Taite was once one of his quarterbacks. I swear Moulds had like a 59” inch vertical leap.

6. Tim Couch, Kentucky. A product of Hal Mumme and Mike Leach’s Air Raid system, but still an impressive quarterback. His arrival at Kentucky could be labeled the starting point of Kentucky football coming out of the total suck and into the above average and mediocrity.

7. Darren McFadden, Arkansas. My one-time man crush made it to Atlanta, but never won. Hopefully, he’ll get out of Oakland and we still might be able to get that apartment together.

8. Matt Jones, Arkansas. Before he was enjoying cocaine on the console of his car, Jones was terrorizing the rest of the SEC with his freakish athletic ability. Another guy who made it to Atlanta, but never won.

9. Felix Jones, Arkansas. Let’s just go ahead and get that whole backfield on the list. Part of me wishes he could have been the feature back at Arkansas (assuming Darren McFadden never existed) just to see how great he would have been (and he was still pretty great).

10. Steve Taneyhill, South Carolina. The man with the long flowing hair that was actually ripped out in one game against Tennessee. Although he never made it to Atlanta, he did set the record for longest time in college. I have no facts in front of me, but I’m pretty sure he played at South Carolina for nine years.

11. Tim Bowens, Ole Miss. The seven-toed man was dominant in his brief period of time at Ole Miss. He can attribute never seeing Birmingham (host before Atlanta) to playing with quarterback Lawrence Adams. Nothing against Adams, he played hard, but he had no business playing quarterback in the SEC.

12. Dicenzo Miller, Mississippi State. The most beloved State running back until Jerious Norwood got on campus. My lasting memory of him is watching him outrun about 16 white BYU defenders for a touchdown on a Thursday night game on ESPN.

13. Corey Chavous, Vanderbilt. One of probably no more than five outstanding players from Vanderbilt since 1992, so he needs to be mentioned. How he ended up at Vanderbilt confuses me. The kind of sounded like I actually know the story, which I don’t. I’m sure it’s compelling and rich.

NOTE: I might not have Internet access tomorrow, so there’s a chance number 12 doesn’t make it. We shall see.

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