Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Final Countdown: 9

Only single digits now stand between us and the start of college football, and I’m starting to get a little giddy. As we get closer to the actual day, that feeling of giddiness will most certainly be replaced by nerves, terror and a huge crushing weight that won’t be lifted until the season is over. Wait, why do I like college football again? Before you or I start thinking about that too much, I’ll throw out a distraction to prevent such an evil thought from creeping in our heads.

I can only watch so much football, not because I get sick of it, but because there are only a certain number of hours in each day, I can only be in one place at once and I don’t live at Buffalo Wild Wings where I can get every sporting event known to man on my TV. And when it comes down to watching Ole Miss or your team play, your team can go to hell. I mean that in the nicest way possible. So, given my limited time to watch SEC football, number nine on the countdown brings us to the nine players I’m looking forward to watching play against Ole Miss each week, meaning one person on each team per week.

Now, you might be saying, “But Gray, Ole Miss only plays eight conference games, how can there be nine players?” It’s nine weeks if you count Atlanta, bitch. That’s right, I said it.

Of course, I hope these players are destroyed by the Rebels, but I’ll be satisfied if they all going down in massive, crushing defeat.

In order of appearance on the schedule…

1. Stephen Garcia, South Carolina
I just want to see if he’ll make it this far in the season without doing something to get suspended. That’s the primary reason I look forward to seeing him play. The second reason would be to see if Spurrier can work his alleged quarterback magic on a guy that looked clueless at times last year. I know he was young and inexperienced (although not in property crimes), but even Spurrier was quoted that he had no trust in him. Obviously, Garcia has more talent than anyone Spurrier has ever coached at South Carolina, which isn’t saying a whole lot, but a Spurrier team with a competent quarterback is a dangerous one.

2. No one, Vanderbilt
If you thought I was going to mention Chris Nickson, Mackenzi Adams or Jared Hawkins, then you are terribly mistaken. Other than the end of the game, there is nothing I look forward to when playing Vanderbilt.

3. Julio Jones, Alabama
If he had a legitimate quarterback throwing the ball to him, I can’t even imagine the devastation he would cause. Even with Marshay Green’s surge of confidence and badassery at the cornerback position heading into this season, I don’t want to see that match up. God help the rest of the SEC if Greg McElroy becomes a good quarterback by Jones’ junior year.

3b. Greg McElroy, Alabama
Since Vanderbilt offers nothing of interest, I’m interested in two players from Alabama. I’m really curious to see if Saban is going to be even more conservative on offense than he was last year. McElroy allegedly has more talent than John Parker Wilson did, but he’s never played before, which I’m sure scares Saban. Alabama’s defense will be one of the best in the country so I’d be surprised if much changes on the offensive side of the ball, but if McElroy gets comfortable early in the season, they might elect to be a little more aggressive, especially if their offensive line can’t run block like last year’s could.

4. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
Sort of like Stephen Garcia, I am interested to see if Mallett avoids a lengthy suspension and plays in this game. I assume he’ll be around as long as he can lay off the sauce during the season. I’m also curious to see how far he falls below the Bill Brasky-like skills Arkansas fans claim that he has. If you believe everything you read, Mallett can throw the ball 3.4 miles, runs the 40 on one leg in 4.7 seconds, can do 47,000 jumping jacks without resting and once ate the Bible while waterskiing. Also, he could not beat out Chad Henne at Michigan.

5. Chris Todd, Auburn
The man left for dead by the Tommy Tuberville regime (minus Tony Franklin) is back under center for the Tigers. Todd makes the list here because I really want to see a D-I college quarterback that’s physically unable to throw the ball further than 40 yards. I saw flashes of it on TV last year, but can’t put into words how excited I am to see it in person.

6. Jonathan Crompton, Tennessee
I just want to see him alive and at the game. Remember, this is the guy who received death threats from Tennessee fans. And given the Vols’ lack of healthy receivers, Crompton’s limited ability at quarterback and the general disposition of Tennessee fans, it might be a little dicey that he makes the trip to Oxford. However, if not for Crompton, I would have selected Eric Berry to see if he lived up to the hype he’s been getting.

7. Jordan Jefferson, LSU
I might have said Charles Scott here, but then I remembered he gained a whopping 10 yards on 10 carries against Ole Miss last year. To be fair, it was a significant chunk of the 37 total rushing yards they had. Anyway, like seeing Ryan Mallet, I want to see if Jefferson can live up to the hype he’s received from LSU fans. Allegedly, outside of Tim Tebow, he’s the only other quarterback in the SEC that can walk on water. Hopefully, I’ll get a good look at that feat. As for his playing skills, he’ll have plenty of offensive help around him so I feel like he will make a jump in terms of quality quarterbacking.

8. Tyson Lee, Mississippi State
I just want to see the look on his face when he lines up under center (assuming he’s back into the quarterback rotation after Chris Relf is sentenced to the bench and Tyler Russell is being protected from his offensive line) and sees the same defense that crushed his soul and body. Although since he’s so short, he might not actually be able to see them across the line of scrimmage (ZING!).

9. Tim Tebow, Florida
Ah, yes, Atlanta. The stars are aligned, now it just has to happen. Ugh. Anyway, who wouldn’t want to see Tebow play? Yes, the guy is disliked for the media lovefest he has received everyday for the past three years and the speech he gave after the loss to Ole Miss. Although, I don’t think he deserves all the dislike for the Ole Miss speech. That whole thing blew up because the media loves that type of stuff (especially since they could relate it to Florida’s win streak) and Urban Meyer being a schmuck. I find it hard to believe he gave a crap what was made of it after he said it.

But, I don’t understand the massive dislike for Tebow the person and player. He’s tough, plays hard, is pretty damn good and is seemingly a genuinely good guy. What’s wrong with that? Hate people like Thom Brennaman, whose worshiping of Tebow reached epic levels in last season’s national championship game. I’d give two or three toes to have a Tim Tebow on my team. Yet come December 5th, I want him destroyed (but in a good way).

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