Sunday, October 03, 2010

From the Weekend That Was

Week:  6-1
Season:  35-7

Auburn 52, Former Directional School 3
Pat yourself on the back as you begin another week.  Why, you ask?  Because you, good reader, had 11 more yards of rushing than Cam Newton, the SEC's leading rusher, had on Saturday.

Connecticut 40, Vanderbilt 21
Vandy took a not-so-commanding seven-point lead with 5:06 remaining in the first half.  The next time they scored was never.  Coincidentally, the next time a Vanderbilt game will be interesting to watch is also never.

Mississippi State 49, Alcorn State 16
Is it possible for a backup quarterback to lead the conference in interceptions?  Dan Mullen seems intent on finding out.  Tyler Russell threw another interception, bringing his season total to five, which is just one behind Jordan Jefferson, who may be becoming a backup quarterback.  Can I possibly add more commas or clauses to the previous sentence?  You shut your mouth.

Ole Miss 42, Kentucky 35
It was about damn time one of Ole Miss' opponents starting handing out turnovers like the Rebels normally do.  I had become convinced Ole Miss was going to go the length of the season without intercepting a pass.  Luckily for the Rebels, Mike Hartline and his below-averageness came to town and threw one pick (probably should have thrown at least one more; he may thank our defensive backs' hooks for hands), while the Wildcats also coughed up two fumbles and all three turnovers were turned into touchdowns.

However, things did not completely fall apart and the center did indeed hold.  Ole Miss once again built a giant lead and then played Gray's least favorite game, "Hey, Let's See How Close We Can Come to Giving This Game Away."  Houston Nutt needs a note pinned to his shirt that reminds him to KEEP TRYING TO SCORE because we have a defense that does not have a pass rush and the ability to defend plays to the outside or pass plays in general in its skill set.  Only inside of five minutes with at least a two touchdown lead is the offense allowed to stop attacking.  And even then it's a little dangerous.  Okay, still VERY dangerous.  I've never seen a team that needs its offense to protect a lead by attacking instead of working the clock.  But it is our lot in life.  And yes, it is miserable to experience.

Going forward, I think as Ole Miss gets more and more comfortable running the spread/read option, they will become a pretty decent offensive team even against good teams.  In the past two weeks, they've put up 97 points on admittedly bad defenses, but that's what good offenses do to bad defenses.  Obviously, Alabama will make things extremely difficult, but, while I know our defense will not stop Arkansas or Auburn, I believe we should be able to move the ball with pretty good success on both of those teams.  Hopefully, we'll find enough offense and a smattering of defense to put together three more wins out of the remaining seven games and do battle with the Conference USA champion in the Liberty Bowl.  And win or lose 65-61.

LSU 16, Tennessee 14
The English language does not provide words that sufficiently describe Les Miles' coaching ability, clock management and ass-backwards fortune.  He was literally two Tennessee Volunteer players away from being fired before he made it back to the locker room.  Instead, he's sitting at 5-0 and will live to crush the spirits of another team in an even crueler fashion.  As angry as I get at Miles, LSU and their defying-of-everything-that-is-decent-and-holy luck, I want Les Miles at LSU.  The longer he stays there, the greater the chances LSU will remain an extremely beatable team.  If he finally gets canned, LSU will certainly stumble into a coach who knows what the hell he's doing.  And the last thing Ole Miss needs to have to deal with is two massive powers in their division, Alabama and LSU (which has the resources and recruiting base to become another Alabama).

If you're a Tennessee fan, I recommend that you stay in the bathroom and continue vomiting, especially now that we're about to take another look at Les Miles' latest masterpiece called "32 seconds, one play, whattheshitarewesupposedtodonow."  Also, you should be ashamed that your coaches were so confused by Miles that they confused themselves and kept 13 players on the field.

The great part about this disaster is that Jordan Jefferson comes in off the bench to run that play, so one would assume the LSU coaches would have told him that if he does not get in, here's what he should do.  But that would be too easy.  Instead, they didn't and Jefferson looks over at the sideline at the 21-second mark, waiting to be told what play to run.  Whatever he was supposed to do after getting stopped was not properly communicated to him until there were 10 seconds left.  From the time he was tackled at the two (28-second mark) to the play he was supposed to run was decided upon and relayed to him, 18 seconds elapsed.  18 seconds.  It was as if the LSU coaches assumed there was no way Jefferson was not going to score.  The contingency plan was nothing more than "What's a contingency plan?"  A six-year old child's imagination has more organization than LSU's two-minute offense.

In a way, I feel sorry for LSU's players.  They devote an incredible amount of time, energy and emotion to playing football for LSU and have that rewarded by being coached by an idiot.  One day, he's going to cost them a game they should easily win, but until that bill comes due, I need them to keep making plays to bail him out, leaving him in control of a program that could be Alabama Lite.

Colorado 29, Georgia 27
Apparently, A.J. Green means that Georgia will still lose, but lose closely.  I said it on Twitter this weekend, but I cannot believe that Les Miles will outlast Mark Richt in the race to fire a coach first.  If Richt loses to Tennessee next week, I doubt he even sees the end of this year.

Alabama 31, Florida 6
Alabama decided on Saturday that it was time to remind everyone that in the SEC, it's Alabama and everyone else.  As expected, they physically dominated Florida's defense and forced the Gators' offense into four brutal turnovers.  Though pretty much everyone knew Florida was not nearly the team Alabama was, they still were Florida and a team considered the main threat to Alabama's domination of the SEC.  So it still needed proving just who was in charge and Alabama did the proving.

Obviously, we know what Alabama is.  They play great, physical defense and pound away in the running game, mixing in the pass very well.  They did what they do best and dominated.  On the other hand, as CBS' Gary Danielson pointed out, Florida has not figured out or settled on what they do best.  They're caught in between running the offense they ran with Tebow and throwing much more than they have in the past.  Clearly, John Brantley, or just about anyone in America, cannot run the same offense they used with Tebow.  He's not fast or strong enough to run any sort of option plays, yet Florida seems determined to make him do so.  His strengths lie in dropping back and throwing.  Until they make a commitment to running an offense suited to Brantley or bring in a more athletic, run-oriented quarterback, they're going to struggle on offense.

Washington 32, USC 31

Given to the player who dominated with or without the help of his teammates and coaches
Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Ole Miss
9-17, 90 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
9 carries, 43 yards, 1 TD
While not overwhelming, he did score four touchdowns and no one else in the league really did much of anything this week. A.J. Green was considered, but he lost to COLORADO.

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
Jordan Jefferson, QB, LSU
3-10, 30 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs
Narrowly edging out Mark Richt, who would have been the first coach to ever win the award twice (and in consecutive weeks).

Given to the coach who dominated whatever task was in front of him
Nick Saban, Alabama
What's up, Urban?

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. Jordan Jefferson 6
2. Jeremiah Masoli 5
    Ryan Mallett 5
    Tyler Russell 5
5. Cam Newton 4
6. Mike Hartline 3
    John Brantley 3
    Aaron Murray 3
    Matt Simms 3
    Greg McElroy 3
    Larry Smith 3

LSU at Florida
What can Les Miles do for an encore? Will 17 points be enough to win this game? Will Les Miles be fired this week just because?

Alabama at South Carolina
Alabama's third straight game against a good team, which has to be wearing on them mentally and physically. I doubt South Carolina can avoid smashing their own hands in the car door, but they certainly could make this a pretty could game.

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