Monday, September 27, 2010

From the Weekend That Was

Week:  4-3
Season:  29-6

Tennessee 32, UAB 29
I'm not sure what's more embarrassing, the Blazers of UAB rampaging through your alleged defense to the tune of 544 total yards, OR beating that UAB team in double overtime and carrying the player who scored the winning touchdown off the field.  I can't confirm this, but I'm pretty sure Phil Fulmer coughed up some mashed potatoes when he saw wide receiver Denarius Moore being lifted on the shoulders of his teammates after catching the game-winning touchdown in the SECOND OVERTIME AGAINST UAB.  The good news for Tennessee and its fans is that proper shower discipline was maintained and the shame of the game and celebration was adequately washed away.

Alabama 24, Arkansas 20
I said it on Twitter during the game, but I will repeat it again here:  I recant my belief that Mark Ingram is not the best running back on his team.  Trent Richardson is very, very good and probably does possess more physical gifts than Ingram, but Ingram presently holds the title of "I can't believe we have to tackle this guy 25 times.  Shit."  While Greg McElroy was busy throwing way too many passes and two brutal interceptions, Ingram was keeping Alabama from getting run out of the building.  It was a performance strong enough that when my summer house is completed sometime around 2035, Ingram is certainly welcome to spend June and July there, despite his playing for Alabama.

As expected, Ryan Mallett took advantage of an inexperienced Alabama secondary.  Though, I'm not sure anyone thought he'd put up 357 on them.  However, it was Arkansas' inability to run the ball that ultimately undid them (64 yards on 20 carries).  With 6:01 to go in the game and Alabama cutting the lead to three (20-17), Arkansas was clearly reeling and needed to eat some clock to let their defense get its heart rate down to 200 beats a minute.  Instead, this is what happened:
1st down:  Mallett incomplete pass to Greg Childs
2nd down:  Holding penalty
2nd down:  Mallett completed pass to Knile Davis for nine yards
3rd down:  Mallett intercepted
Total time of drive:  1:21 (and Alabama has the ball on the Arkansas 12)
Alabama would score to take the lead, which would force Arkansas into a pure throwing situation and Mallett into another interception.

If Arkansas has any kind of running game, they can take a couple minutes off the clock, punt and make Alabama put together a 60-70 yard drive in three or four minutes to win the game instead of a 12-yard drive.  I'm not saying Arkansas needed to make some major commitment to the run because Mallett's arm gives them the best chance to win, but against really good teams, you have to be able to control the ball when you have a lead.  And from this game, we learned Arkansas is a pretty good team, but not a great team.  Their defense, which I thought played pretty well for who they are, is not strong enough and they can't run the ball.  They have established themselves as the second best team in the SEC West, but once again, it's Alabama and everyone else.

Also, there's at least a 75% chance Mallett throws for 600 yards against Ole Miss.  Watching Mallett's first half performance, I started to get dizzy and broke out into a cold sweat.  Then later, when Fresno State's quarterback looked like Steve Young against us, I went outside and projectile vomited in the bushes.  NOT GOOD TIMES.

Florida 48, Kentucky 14
Mike Hartline, WELCOME BACK TO EARTH.  2 INTs and the 24th straight ass-kicking at the hands of Florida.

Mississippi State 24, Georgia 12
I encourage everyone to spend some time in thought with their favorite Mark Richt memories because the production of those memories is soon to be halted.  A school with the size and resources of Georgia should never start 0-3 in the SEC, yet here they sit.  Plus, I think there's an unwritten SEC rule that states "no coach is allowed to stay at a school for longer than 10 years because no coach can successfully perform his job for such a period of time in the eyes of SEC fans, who, for the most part, are a batshit crazy people."  Fair?  Of course not, but you know what else isn't fair?  Watching your team repeatedly shit the bed for 10 seasons.

I tried to watch as much of this game as possible, but I found out that watching three games at once (Ole Miss/Fresno, Auburn/South Carolina and this one) is much harder that it seems, but made easier when one of them is a miserable football game and not fit for human viewing (i.e., THIS GAME).  From what I was able to watch, Dan Mullen did indeed abandon the Tyler Russell Experience and ride Chris Relf's legs (21 carries, 97 yards), which he should have been doing all along.  And in good news for Relf's survival through the 2010 season, a running back surfaced with a decent game (Vick Ballard, 14 carries, 77 yards, 2 TDs). 

From reading about the game and taking a look at the box score, it was probably a game Georgia should have won, but did the dumb things that teams coached by a guy who's going to get fired do.  Outgained the opponent, two turnovers (one of the 1-yard line) and committed nine penalties.  But, State deserves credit for taking advantage of that stupidity and not doing anything as dumb or even more dumb.  And one, shiny gold star for Dan Mullen for his first win against one of the bigger SEC schools.  He went with a much more conservative approach and forced a bad Georgia team to make plays to beat State.

Ole Miss 55, Fresno State 38
My list from last week that I wanted to see out of future games:
1.  Less Enrique Davis
-Two carries, which was mainly due to an injury
2.  More Brandon Bolden
-19 carries, 228 yards, 12 YARDS A CARRY, 2 TDs.  Houston Nutt, STOP PLAYING ENRIQUE DAVIS
3.  Exactly zero runs up the middle in short yardage situations
-Check.  We even brought out more read option than we have been running.
4.  A sign, single sign, of emotion or that someone out there gives a shit
-Whether it was the 6:30 start or just an I-don't-care attitude, the crowd was exceptionally rowdy and seemingly well-lubricated, which really fed the players, who were already pretty fired up.  Shocking that more emotion is involved in a night game that in the JP time slot.
5.  A guard that only gets obliterated by the opposing defensive lineman 70% of the time
Well done, back-up guards who got to start this week.  Aside from a few plays, they kept that number down near 15%-ish.
6.  One properly defensed play in the flat
I remember at least one, so we'll give this one a giant check in the "yes" box
7.  A safety that remains in proper position for an entire series
Getting a little greedy aren't you, Gray?  THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN THIS YEAR.
8.  To not look like Ed Orgeron is calling the shots
-We're certainly still operating defensively as if Ed Orgeron is calling the shots, but at least for now on offense we appear to be a competent unit.  Granted, Fresno State is probably terrible on defense, but we did do what teams are supposed to do to terrible defenses:  578 total yards (425 rushing).  Now, this is still a bad team, but if things get a little more feisty, they could pull off five wins.

And don't look now, but Jeremiah Masoli making a strong push for an Ole Miss quarterback to lead the league in interceptions two straight years.

One more note, Fresno State quarterback Ryan Colburn, after his 32-42, 390 yards, 4 TDs, was cordially invited after the game to join the Society of Quarterbacks Who Owe 50% of Their Career Statistics to the Ole Miss Defense.  Members include Andrew Zow, Greg Zolman, B.J. Symons, Danny Wimprine, Chris Smelley, and Matt Jones.

Wait, one more final note.  News that Ole Miss defensive end Kentrell Lockett, Twitter All-Star and a guy who appears to have a functioning brain, tore his ACL and is done for the year reminds us that life can be terribly unfair.  Here's to a full recovery and Tweeting during the remaining games of the season.

Auburn 35, South Carolina 27
I can't remember exactly, but I believe I said something last week about Cam Newton having his worst statistical game of the year.  Let's see, wait, yes, I did:

"BOLD PREDICTION THAT IS ALSO IN BOLD TYPE:  Newton will have his worst statistical game of the year so far."

And how did that turn out?  Newton went 16-21, 158 yards, 2 TDs and 25 carries for 176 yards, 3 TDs.  Damn you, Ellis Johnson and the South Carolina defense for proving what many already know to be true:  Gray is an idiot.  Not only did he have his best game of the season, he was clearly the best player on the field.  His passing, which is still not great, was vastly improved and I don't know if South Carolina has tackled him yet.  It was such a strong enough performance that we can now refer to Chris Relf as a poor man's Cam Newton.

I never thought South Carolina would lose this game due to its defense being dominated.  I expected that if the Gamecocks were to lose it would be at the hands of Stephen Garcia.  Though he tried his best (two backbreaking fumbles in the fourth quarter), it was ultimately South Carolina's defense that failed, unable to protect a 20-7 lead and later a 27-21 lead going into the fourth quarter.  They were given an assist from Garcia's two fumbles inside South Carolina territory, but Auburn's score right before halftime that they gave up got the Tiger's back in the game.

Obviously, the major story in this game was Steve Spurrier's decision to pull Garcia with 6:23 in the game and his team, down a touchdown, facing the most important drive of the game.  Spurrier, clearly frustrated with the two late fumbles, yanked his starter who was 15-21 for 235 yards and 3 TDs in favor of a true freshman.  And after Connor Shaw threw a terrible interception on that drive, Spurrier went right back to Shaw for the final drive, which was again THE most important possession of the game.  Incredibly, Shaw took them right back down the field and threw a pretty good pass to Alshon Jeffery in the end zone, and then the New Israel's team struck in a most unfortunate fashion for the Gamecocks.  The ball went through Jeffery's hands (who at that point had caught every damn pass thrown his way, 8 catches, 192 yards, 1 TD), hit another defender and was intercepted about eight inches off the ground from a third defender who came flying in from nowhere.  Add this to their missed 23-yard field goal, which was IMMEDIATELY followed by a Garcia fumble, and the New Israel continues in march to the promised land.  I'm not sure even Les Miles stands a chance against that kind of falling ass-backwards fortune.

LSU 20, West Virginia 14
407 yards of COMBINED offense.  5-26 COMBINED third down conversions.  25-52 COMBINED quarterback completions and attempts.  It was as awful as advertised.  But, a golden beam of heavy sunshine did shine through this mess.  Jarrett Lee made his triumphant return to Tiger Stadium.  Though he led an efficient three and out, Lee did NOT throw an interception that was returned for a touchdown.  He even managed to throw his one pass to someone on his team.  Here's to a quarterback controversy between the pu-pu platter and the pu-pu platter with a dash of soy sauce.

UCLA 34, Texas 12
The final score of UCLA's last two trips to Austin:  100-15.  Bit of advice to Texas athletic department people:  Do not schedule more home games with UCLA.

Given to the player who dominated with or without the help of his teammates and coaches
Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
16-21, 158 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
21 carries, 176 yards, 3 TDs
Multiply those stats by 2.5 and you'll get a rough estimate of what he'll do against Ole Miss on October 30th.

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
Mark Richt, Georgia
An uninspired effort in a game that was pretty much must win for the continuation of Richt's career at Georgia.  Two turnovers and nine penalties for 63 yards.

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
His first win over one of the bigger SEC schools.  He stuck with Relf and the ground game and waited for Georgia to make a play, which they didn't.

2010 Jevan Snead Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Quarterbacking Failure Leaderboard
Awarded to the SEC quarterback who throws the most interceptions during the season
1.  Jeremiah Masoli  5
     Ryan Mallett  5
3.  Jordan Jefferson  4
     Tyler Russell  4
5.  Cam Newton  3
     Chris Relf  3
     Matt Simms  3
     Greg McElroy  3

Florida at Alabama
Though Alabama should win, it is a matchup of the best from both divisions of the SEC (now that South Carolina has sufficiently and rather timely revealed themselves not to be the team from the East).  And if you think I'm going to put Tennessee and LSU in this space, you probably enjoy 17-minute YouTube videos in which the ins and outs of Microsoft Word are explained.


  1. Hey Gray,

    I am a little surprised that you didn't say more about the LSU/WVU game. The announcers watching the game were on the verge of teeth-gnashing for Les Miles' insistence on keeping Jefferson n the game. It was a horrific game to watch, so I don't blame you if you didn't take the time to do so.

    Please do yourself a favor and go to this link and read the "Open Letter to Les Miles":

    I think that this is funny for a couple of reasons:

    1) LSU fans actually believe that Les Miles will read this letter.
    2) If Les Miles reads this letter he will have a press conference and talk about the feelings of the LSU fans.
    3) If anyone ever tried to pull this crap on Nick Saban, Saban himself would track the guy down, stick a ring through the his nose and make him walk back to Bryant-Denny stadium. He would then chain him to the statue of Bear Bryant with a sign that read, "I think I know more than the Coach."
    4) Les Miles might be the first coach to be fired after going 10-3.

    LSU's defense is really good and really fun to watch. They might be as good as the teams from 2003 and and 2007.

  2. I thought this was funny too: