Another experience drinking the Ole Miss Kool-Aid and another disappointment. So glad the Rebels decided to show up when playing for a trip to the best (at least financially) bowl game in school history since black people started playing college football. Well done, Ole Miss, well done.
Alabama 26, Auburn 21
Nick Saban said it perfectly at halftime and after the game, if the Crimson Tide could weather the shitstorm, they had a chance to win the game. And after Auburn's blitzkrieg in the first few minutes with Alabama playing the role of Poland and France, the Tide pretty much shut Auburn down, save for a blown coverage on the long touchdown pass in the third quarter (take away the 72-yard touchdown and Auburn had just 43 yards of offense in the second half). And although he tried to throw more than one interception, I'll give Chris Todd credit for throwing only one and not absolutely killing his team like someone who plays for Ole Miss. He essentially already kills his offense with the inability to throw the ball with any degree of accuracy over 10 yards, so it was nice to see him not destroy Auburn's bid for the upset (On the last play of the game, my dad and I questioned whether or not he could actually throw it into the end zone from the Alabama 43-yard line. To our surprise, he cleared the goal line by a good two to three yards.).
Also, I'd like to mention how well Auburn's defense played after I spent most of the season besmirching their efforts. They played with an insane amount of emotion and were one of the first teams all year to take away Alabama's ability to run. So a tip of the cap to you, good sirs. If I'm Florida, I really take a look at how they were able to limit the run because they have the secondary to play the one-on-one coverage Auburn could not while loading up against the run. And if CBS doesn't pull an ESPN and give us a damn countdown clock to the Florida/Alabama game like the Ohio State/Michigan clock that ran for like 112 days, I'm going to send a nasty and indignant email to somebody.
South Carolina 34, Clemson 17
Representing one half of the ACC in the conference championship game, it's Clemson! A team that surrendered 223 rushing yards to a South Carolina team that had amassed a whopping 179 yards on the ground in its last three SEC games combined. And a South Carolina team that had lost four of its last five with the lone win coming over a fantastically bad Vanderbilt team (14-10). Oh, and the Doak Walker Finalist, C.J. Spiller, got his special teams touchdown, but as far as actually running the ball, he turned in a solid nine carries for 18 yards. The scene in Jacksonville (I assume this game is still played there) on Saturday night should be one of the great moments of this college football season.
Mississippi State 41, Ole Miss 27
As I mentioned to open this post, Ole Miss decided their C to B game would be enough to beat a hungry Mississippi State team, which we found out was not the case. Make no mistake about it though, this was, as we in the South like to say, an absolute ass-whuppin'. While the Jevan Snead meltdown was not a surprise, Mississippi State's domination of the Ole Miss defense certainly was. I'm not sure anyone on the State offensive line would have said before the game that they could block the offense's way to 317 yards rushing.
I wrote last week that I thought State needed to get something out of the passing game in order to win. What I should have said was that they just needed to get something out of the quarterback position. And with Chris Relf looking like Tommy Frazier circa 1995, they certainly did. What was so frustrating as an Ole Miss fan is that 11 other teams have seen Relf and knew what his capabilities were. And all 11 kept Relf from averaging, AVERAGING, 8.7 yards per carry. The Rebels were basically clueless when it came to defending the read option. Defensive ends came crashing down, not even considering that Relf could actually keep the ball, and linebackers did the same. It's like the defense watched about four minutes of film and said, yeah, we got this. Well done, guys, well done.
Now, here's the paragraph I've had 30 or so hours to think about. I tried my best to let my rage die out before putting my thoughts into words, and I think I've done a decent job of that. So, here goes. Jevan Snead is the worst quarterback in the SEC. There's no other way to say it. Yes, Tyson Lee and the guy from Vanderbilt are awful, but they have 2% of the physical abilities that Snead possesses. Snead has the NFL arm, athleticism and size to be a great quarterback, but HE HAS NO CLUE WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND HIM. His inability to read defenses, throw over the middle and put any damn touch on the ball absolutely cripples the Ole Miss offense, which was on full display on Saturday. And when you compound that he actually has a running game behind him, it's even more disgusting how poor he really is. As one of my friends said to me on Saturday, Snead needs to buy Shay Hodge a car or pay for his apartment for as many times as Hodge bailed out yet another one of this crappy throws. If not for Hodge, I doubt Ole Miss wins seven games and Snead probably throws 25 interceptions.
Here's a stat for you: In his last 25 games as a starting quarterback in the SEC, Snead has thrown 30 interceptions. 30. No, that is correct. 30. And if it's possible, he's getting worse. Seriously, there is no way that he can be allowed to keep playing quarterback with those numbers. Throw in that he doesn't have a high completion percentage and he's really not bringing anything to the table. Personally, I cannot stomach the idea of watching him play another football game at Ole Miss. He's a complete liability and there's no reason to risk throwing away another game because of five games last season and this alleged talent he has. Please, for the love of all things decent and holy, make him win the job this spring (I say that because I am aware the guys behind him could actually suck worse). Or hell, let's just run the Wildcat every damn play next year like the Dolphins are attempting in the NFL this year. I refuse to watch him throw 1.42 interceptions every game next year.
Florida 37, Florida State 10
Remember when every talking head in college football was going apeshit over the Miami/FSU game on Labor Day, saying the once great rivalry was back now that both teams are poised to be back on the national stage? So how'd that work out? The Seminoles ended up being a bad team in a horrible conference and Miami, while better, lost to a pair of teams (Clemson and North Carolina) that good teams don't lose to (also, the Hurricanes had the ACC's winner of the Awww-Shit Trophy in Jacory Harris, who also threw 17 interceptions on the year).
There was one moment of outstanding comedy in this game when CBS cameras caught Bobby Bowden wearing a headset, pretending to coach. I haven't seen that many Florida State games over the past few years, but the ones I have seen involved a bewildered Bowden staring out at the field wondering whether or not Joe Paterno won on that day while not being within 20 feet of a headset. Good times.
Tennessee 30, Kentucky 24
Damn you, Rich Brooks, damn you! Every time I throw my support behind you, you go out and lose. HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME LOOK LIKE A FOOL. Although, I suppose he deserves some credit for taking this game to overtime while being outgained 446-261. It's also important to note that Jonathan Crompton didn't go down without a fight in the Awww-Shit Trophy competition, as he did give us one last interception to remind us of the magical journey we thought he was going to take after throwing eight picks in his first four games. *Tears*
LSU 33, Arkansas 30
The sports gods teased us with LSU facing another two minute drill, but took away our good fun like the jerks that they are (I'm done with Jevan Snead era at Ole Miss so I no longer care about angering them). Another clock management debacle from Les Miles would have been undescribably awesome. I'm excited just thinking about it even though it's already passed. I'd offer my congratulations like so many others have to Les Miles and offensive coordinator Gary Crowton for successfully coaching a two minute drill, but that's like congratulating me for showering and feeding myself. I would hope I know how to do those things.
I wrote last week that I thought Ryan Mallett needed to get close to the 60% completion mark in order for Arkansas to win (which he had never done on the road in SEC play). He finished 17-39 (44%) and Arkansas lost a game in which they had probably should have won. Now, it's not entirely his fault (nice job, Razorback special teams), but he needed to have a performance like he's had at home and he didn't have it. I'm very interested to see if he sticks around for another year because I feel like another five or six games of experience and he'll start to see the Matrix and win games like this one.
Georgia 30, Georgia Tech 24
And representing the second half of the ACC championship game, it's Georgia Tech! The Bulldogs obliterated the Georgia Tech defense to the tune of 339 yards on the ground and even had Joe Cox looking competent, which is best done by having him throw as few times as possible (14 for this game). Yes, Tech did lose its quarterback for a few series, but last time I checked he has nothing to do with defense. If their defense showed up at all (or even exists outside the ACC), Tech probably wins this game. Can you feel the excitement for Jacksonville yet?
GAME I DIDN'T PICK BUT DESERVES MENTION HERE
USC 28, UCLA 7
For some odd reason, UCLA started calling timeouts as USC was kneeling the ball trying to run out the clock. So Pete Carroll gave them the F-you treatment and called a play (a deep play-action pass), which resulted in a touchdown. UCLA responded quite rationally and nearly started a 170-man King-of-the-Ring Battle Royale at midfield. This might make the alleged Battle for Los Angeles (I'm pretty sure this is the name of a Rage Against the Machine album too) a little more interesting, except for the whole thing about Rick Neuheisel being 0-2 against Carroll while being outscored 56-14 in those games.
DEUCE MCALLISTER OF THE WEEK
(Given to the player who dominated with or without the help of his teammates and coaches.)
Chris Relf, QB, Mississippi State
3-5, 43 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
15 carries, 131 yards, 1 TD
Relf was the difference in the game for Mississippi State. His ability to read the crashing Ole Miss defensive ends and then run for almost nine yards a carry put an end to any chance Ole Miss had to win the game. While his stats were great, they weren't totally overwhelming, but what he brought to the game for State won it. And in another fairly significant note, he took Tyson Lee out of the game.
ERIC OLIVER OF THE WEEK
(Given to the player who caused his team’s fans the highest degree of wailing and gnashing of teeth due to blown assignments and generally piss poor play.)
Jevan Snead, QB, Ole Miss
17-29, 275 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT
Was there any doubt he wouldn't win this? I covered all of his failure above, but I'd like to add one more time how I really cannot stand the idea of seeing him take another snap in which he will most likely do something dumb.
JOHN VAUGHT OF THE WEEK
(Given to the coach who dominated whatever task was in front of him.)
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
After being dominated by Alabama, beaten thoroughly by Arkansas and eliminated from bowl eligibility, Mullen rallied the troops and thumped his in-state rival who was playing for a major bowl game. And he won a major college football game with only calling 14 passes.
2009 Awww-Shit Trophy Final Standings
The trophy, which gets its name from the reaction of fans when their team’s quarterback throws an interception (“Awww-shit!!!"), will be awarded at the end of the year to the quarterback in the SEC who throws the most interceptions. A more prestigious award I cannot recall.
1. Jevan Snead 17
2. Joe Cox 14
2. Tyson Lee 14
4. Jonathan Crompton 12
Congratulations to Jevan Snead for being the most liberal quarterback in giving the ball away. You cost your team the Auburn and State games with your inability to deliver an early knock-out blow due to inaccuracy and sealed the team's fate with some late killer interceptions. And now, in a Belly of the Beast exclusive, it's Jevan Snead. Take it away, Jevan.
"Wow. Thanks. You know, a lot of people think it's really hard to throw this many interceptions, almost like you have to try to do it. But I gotta say, if you just trust where you're going to throw the ball before you even take the snap, the picks will take care of themselves. And if you just ignore whatever coverage the defense is in and deliver a smoking hot, wildly inaccurate ball, there's a good chance your receiver can't grab it. Hopefully, all the NFL teams won't touch me with a seventh round pick and I can come back next year and make it two straight."
Outstanding. Can't wait for next year.
(Post is delayed for a few moments while I play in traffic on the Interstate.)
WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS WEEK
Florida vs. Alabama
WELCOME TO THE ARMAGEDDON GAME.