Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tebow's Near Death Experience / Concussion Dream

Tim Tebow: What happened, where am I?

Angel: Heaven, where else?

TT: It looks a lot like Disney World.

To Bowl or Not To Bowl

After Vanderbilt's solid win over Rice, it looks like they may be able to pull off another 6-win season and a bowl trip despite a tough remaining schedule. Especially if LSU and Miss. St. are both for real. Vanderbilt took tough losses to both. The Miss. St. loss looked especially bad, but, after their close call with LSU, Miss. St. may actually be a good team. The defense has been solid all season, and the offense showed some life against Rice. Anyway, here is how I think they can get the additional 4 wins.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Some thoughts on AU's defense

Franklin was given six games to transform Auburn's offense and was then canned. In that stretch, Auburn went 4-2. To light the same fire under Ted Roof, I guess Auburn has to lose some games. I think the Auburn mindset is to allow lots of offense and points as long as we have more. I don't anticipate this is a worthy goal or one that is allowed to continue for long.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Moral Loss?

So the Vols did not perform as well as I had hoped. I thought they would be energized after their moral victory at Florida last week but I was disappointed. On the CLK show Coach Kiffin noted that the team did not seem up for the game. Given the lack of urgency and some key injuries along with a suspension, the game was ugly.

The opening drive was promising with Tennessee scoring a TD for the first time this season on an opening possession; however, on the ensuing kickoff return TN gave up a TD. Then Crompton threw an INT that led to an Ohio TD. After this TN took control but never pulled away to a comfortable lead.

Auburn Wins!?

Another Auburn victory(?) this week, this time at the hands of Ball State. Auburn gave Ball State an early lead with a punt that bounced off Anthony Gulley's chest and was recovered around Auburn's 20-yard line. It looked like Auburn was going to allow another score on the Ball State's next possession until Zac Etheridge forced a fumble after a completed pass right around the same spot. Luckily, a couple of possessions later, Ball State returned the earlier favor, fumbling and giving Auburn the ball around their own 25-yard line. After a sloppy first quarter, Auburn and Ball State tied, 7-7.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gameday Open Thread: Rainy Day Edition

The forecast for every SEC game today is 60 - 100% chance of rain and thundershowers. The lone exception is Vandy at Rice. Chance of rain in Houston today is only 30%

Carter's dad, sister and brother-in-law look to get wet today at Bryant-Denny. Carter himself will be dry in the luxury box. Ah, the benefits of going to school with a bunch of rich kids at BSC.

Brocktoon and I will be getting soaked as the fightin Malzhans pour on the points tonight at Jordan-Hare.

Top Ten Reasons Why Ball State Doesn't Have A Chance

In honor of David Letterman's alma mater's trip to the Loveliest Village on the Plains, I present you with a top 10 list about Ball State, Auburn, the game, and one unrelated fact:

10. Ball State was good last year...last year.
9. Auburn was not good last year...last year.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Gamecocks Win in Upset

Arrived back in Hoover about 6 hours ago from Columbia. And for the record I applaud South Carolina and Coach Spurrier on their impressive showing last night. The Gamecocks executed just enough to win and secure their first ever win over a top 5 team at home.

Vandy vs. Rice: No Huddle Madness

You don't see many no huddle offenses in college or the pros these days. When you do see them though, you expect a highly tuned offensive machine like the Jim Kelly-led Buffalo Bills of the early-to-mid '90s. Well get ready to have your world rocked---both Rice and Vandy run unique no huddle offenses that do not gain many yards or score many points. Vandy's no huddle has scored only 12 points in the last 2 games, while Rice has no wins to show for its offensive gimmickry. I am interested to see how a game plays out when both offenses use the no huddle, but neither ever gains yards, gets first downs, or scores points. I predict the result is a punt-fest. My over/under is 15 for the game.

Wright about now

Right about now it’s time for the Tide to stop thinking about Ryan Mallett and focus on Jarius Wright. It would probably be a good idea for Alabama to go ahead and worry about Joe Adams and Greg Childs as well. Most likely you’ve never heard of any of these guys, but each one of these receivers is a big time playmaker and they’re helping Mallett put up some gaudy numbers.

Signs of the Football Apocalypse

South Carolina beats a ranked team and now this:


1) Apparently that league does not have a play clock / enforce delay of game rules.

2) If this is the video Kanye was talking about, Taylor Swift is owed a BIG apology.

3) The receiver has to stop and wait on the ball. After all that, the QB still can't hit him in stride.

4) The kicker is a bit unconventional, but if he can split the uprights on a consistent basis, don't tell me you wouldn't take him over Leigh Tiffin.

No more cupcakes.

Substantively speaking, this week's preview of LSU at Mississippi State should look a lot like last week's preview: continue to develop Jordan Jefferson's game management abilities and deep passing game, work on Chavis' defensive scheme with live ammo and try to get a running back a 100-yard game before the SEC gauntlet really starts.

Picks - Week 4

For those of you keeping score at home, our records from last week:

Max Power 7-3
Chuck Visor 6-4
Drake McHugh: 5-5
Dick C'est Bon 4-5
(didn't pick UAB-Troy)
Brocktoon 4-6

Brocktoon's performance led him to make a Tebow-esque promise to outpick everyone else the rest of the year. We will see.

Leave your fearless predictions (against the spread) in the comments section. Here are mine, based largely on the transitive property of football:

Brocktoon's cousins visit the in-laws: Tennessee (-23.5) vs. Ohio: Who the heck knows? Hardesty and Brown will run the ball lots and Ohio won't be able to stop them. So long as Crompton's arm is used for handing off and not for throwing, UT covers.

West Div. Showdown: LSU (-12.5) at Miss. State: LSU's lackluster performance against Washington in Seattle doesn't look so bad after the Huskies toppled the USCw Trojans. The Bulldogs laid an egg against Auburn, but dominated a favored Vandy team in Nashville. The same Vandy team that played LSU close everywhere but the scoreboard. I think LSU wins, but doesn't cover the spread.

East Div. Showdown: Florida (-21.5) at Kentucky: Tennessee showed that a good defense can slow down, but not stop, the Tim Tebow Show. Kentucky doesn't have a great defense, but they have lots of returning starters, and the Gators have some players injured and suffering the flu. Part of me thinks Florida comes out guns blazin' after UT's "moral victory," but the other part thinks the Gators will play flat in a classic let down game. It's in Commonwealth stadium, so I'll give UK the benefit of the doubt to cover the spread.

Nerd Bowl: Vandy (-7) at Rice: UAB beat Rice, bad. The same UAB that lost to SMU and Troy. Vandy covers. If this were a Quiz bowl game, the score would be higher.

Cupcake of the week: Auburn (-33) vs. Ball State: The fightin' Dave Lettermans look awful this year without Brady Hoke. They lost to the same N. Texas team that Bama throttled last week. Auburn will want to build a big lead early to rest some starters and build some sorely needed depth in anticipation of next week's showdown in Knoxville. You get what you pay for. And AU paid $800k for this one. They cover.

Uncle Verne's Game of the Week: Arkansas (+17.5) at Bama: Bama has a strong offense and defense. Arky only has one of these. Bama will win, but Mallet's arm keeps the score closer than the spread. Pick: Hogs plus the points.

OOC Game of the Week: Georgia (-12) vs. Arizona State: The (Sun) Devils go down to Georgia, they are lookin' for a win to steal. It may be a sin, but I'll take the Dawgs, minus the points 'cause I think they're better 'n you.

Bonus pick 1: ACC = Always Consistently inConsistent: UNC (+2.5) at Georgia Tech: The name of the game in the ACC is inconsistency. Just when a team starts to look good, you can count on them to crap the bed. The Jackets looked terrible in a loss to Miami last Thursday, and the Tarheels looked good beating East Carolina by double digits last Saturday. Law of averages in a conference full of average teams: Tech covers.

Bonus pick 2: AIRRAID!: Texas Tech at Houston (no favorite): Don't bet the line, take the over. Tech played the Longhorns tighter than expected but Houston beat OK State who beat UGA. Cap'n Leach finds a way to get his team the final score and W.

Smoked Hogs for lunch!!!

The Arkansas Razorbacks come to Tuscaloosa this Saturday, for what is sure to be an exciting open to Alabama's SEC gauntlet. The Razorbacks hope that Coach Bobby Petrino's innovative offense can rupture what appears to be a dominant Tide defense.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adventures in Pigskin Hyperbole

According to this lengthy profile of superhuman 6ft-7 Wolverine-turned-Hawg QB Ryan Mallett from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazzette, he throws a football faster than any major league pitcher throws a baseball - 115 mph. No word on whether he can throw the pigskin a quarter mile.

Color me skeptical, as the source seems to be one of Mallett's teammates:

"Ryan Mallett has the strongest arm in college football ," said All-SEC tight end D.J. Williams. "I've caught some balls that I had to take my gloves off because he ripped all the sticky stuff off of them." Williams said the Razorbacks have timed Mallett's throws at 115 mph with a Juggs gun.

What I imagine a Juggs gun looks like (mildly NSFW).

I have the flu

So "Herban" was not happy with his teams performance against the Vols. What can I say. I guess I'd be disappointed too if my team was ranked #1 in the nation and couldn't put away a supposedly mediocre team that had lost to UCLA the week before. If my master plan to hang 60 on a team I despised did not happen I guess I'd be pretty pissed too, but I'd at least man up to what happened and not blame poor performance after the fact on the flu.

Thursday Night Picks and Open Thread: the Sophomoric Humor Edition

Not since Houston Nutt coached Casey and Nathan Dick* has the SEC provided such opportunity for high school guy humor as tonight's matchup of Houston Nutt's Ole Miss Rebels and Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks. The Nutts are a 3.5 point favorite over the Cocks. Our own Max Power and Chuck Visor will be there LIVE tonight in Columbia, so come back tomorrow for a full recap from them. Their previews are here and here. Max says his Rebs will cover; Chuck thinks Spurrier pulls out the W.

The Ole Ball Coach v. Ole Miss

As I ponder tonight's matchup between U.S.C. and #4 ranked Ole Miss in Columbia, I realize that I have not seen a visor toss yet this season. Maybe there have been tosses thus far. Maybe I could be rightfully accused of not watching Coach very closely during some stretches of the game. But, as I think back, we only have a few turnovers and none of them were really really mind-blowingly bad. Also, we only have a couple of costly penalties, and even in some of those there was some good to take away from it. For example, when we had a long touchdown pass and catch taken away because of an illegal formation against Georgia. Sure, it took 6 points off the board, but the catch ... on the road ... by a freshman receiver was a pretty nice confidence booster for receiver, quarterback, and coach.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Throw a flag! Do it! I dare you! Throw a flag now!

A very late recap of the Arkansas/ Georgia game

After taking a few days to think the game and watching it again online at (you can watch all the SEC games there for free after they’re played – check it out), I’m even more shocked that those people we called “referees” that night even stepped out on the field. I didn’t realize how fragile and sensitive these “referee people” were, so I definitely applaud them for their bravery to walk out on the field.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rebels vs. Gamecocks

Usually when the #4 team in the country plays an unranked conference opponent -even on the road -they're favored by more than 3-4 points. Not so Thursday when Ole Miss travels to Columbia, SC to take on Darth Visor and the Gamecocks of USC.
An old college roommate of mine and I have had this game circled since the spring. Why? A couple of reasons - revenge and it's a trap game. On the road. Against a national championship coach whom the Rebels have never beaten.

A (Un)Storied Rivalry

Is there an SEC rivalry more unstoried than Vanderbilt-Mississippi St.? I really can't think of any rivalry that even comes close, and, although I haven't looked up the stats, I'd even be willing to bet that Vanderbilt and Mississippi St. have two of the lowest (if not the two lowest) SEC winning percentages of all-time.

Gamecocks 38- Flo-Rida Atlantic 16

As predicted by yours truly, the South Carolina Gamecocks ran the ball, then they ran the ball, and then when that finally seemed like enough running they ran the ball some more. Although the game was a way-to-tight 17-16 at halftime, the defense picked up the intensity in the second half and pulled away for a comfortable win. Final Score, 38-16 barely covering the spread thanks to a botched extra point attempt by the Owls.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Shame, shame Trooper!

Did he or didn't he? Click on the photo and decide for yourself...

Trivia answers + questions

So, about my earlier remark, the answer to the trivia question "Who started at QB in Troy's first game as a Div. I team?", the answer is Hoover's own Brock Nutter. Good job to all who knew that one.

In honor of the big Alabama-N. Texas matchup this past weekend, I have another two trivia questions.

Eli Gold made mention of the first one, but here goes:

1) What are the 12 universities in Division I-A (I refuse to call them FBS) football whose nickname does not end in an -s? Bonus points for naming the mascot too.

2) By my count, there are 13 colleges and universities in Division I-AA (again, not FCS) that fall in this category as well. Bonus points for naming the mascot too. I'll give hints here:
  • Three of the schools are in the Ivy League
  • One school changed in 1999 from the Fighting Christians to their current nickname
  • Three of the schools (none of the previously mentioned ones) have the same nickname (that mascot is pictured in this post)
  • One of the teams plays Division I-A basketball

I'll be impressed if anyone can name several of them without looking.

Auburn won, but only in the points column (OK, turnovers too)

For those who didn't stay up until after 11 pm central time after the 1+ hour Mother Nature delay, Auburn came out on top over the West Virginia Mountaineers, 41-30. Auburn played exactly how I predicted, despite covering the spread with a late score. Auburn was able to fight off several WVU threats and were aided by six turnovers, two of which were deep in Auburn territory. However, the score, as is sometimes the case, was not indicative of the game that was played on the field.

If you take a look at the box score for the game, West Virginia had more first downs, more total yards, a couple more passing yards, over twice as many rushing yards, fewer penalties, and a longer time of possession. The categories where Auburn won were in the aforementioned turnovers and points. If you didn't know the outcome and looked at the box score, you'd probably guess that West Virginia won the game (well, maybe not with six turnovers, but you get the idea). The final touchdown came when Craig Stevens returned the fifth and final interception 15 yards for the score, and the previous touchdown was set up by a Jake Ricks interception returned to inside the 20-yard line. Thus Auburn was able to capitalize on some short field possessions. Auburn's first scoring drive of more than 50 yards was their final score before halftime, and the only other such scoring drive was capped by a screen pass to Mario Fannin that went for 82 yards. Who would have thought Auburn's bright spot would have been the passing game. Todd threw for 284 yards and four scores. He is light years ahead of where he was last year, but that wouldn't take much. With West Virginia lining up to take down the running game, Auburn was able to capitalize through the air.

Without a doubt, without the turnovers, West Virginia manhandles Auburn. I'd like to think that wouldn't be the case, and I guess you can't start playing "what-if" with football. I'm glad Auburn won, and I think that does a lot to bolster our image for the positive. Auburn still didn't make it into the top 25 polls, which doesn't surprise me based on how we played. Don't look for them to make it next week either against an easier-than-last-year Ball State. I guess we'll have to start 5-0 with a win over Tennessee to make an appearance in the top 25.

Take a breather, Auburn. You won the game and are now 3-0 to start the season for the first time since...last year. Let's hope the implosion doesn't begin again. I'm OK with allowing lots of points as long as we score more, but let's not start talking national championship just yet. (For the record: I don't think anyone actually IS talking national championship right now.)

Laughing point: I don't know if anyone caught this on the broadcast, but the funniest quote made by the commentators was, and I'm paraphrasing, "Chris Todd had a relationship with Tony Franklin last year." Yes, I think we all knew that.

See you guys on the plains this week against David Letterman's alma mater!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Georgia 52 Arkansas 41

No. These teams don't play in the WAC. This is the SEC and despite this fact, the Dawgs have won back to back shoot-outs the last two weeks. I have suffered mild heart attacks because of these last two games (ok, maybe not but I could have) and have scared all of those around me. This team has played well on offense the last two weeks and if we had any semblance of a defense, we would be world beaters...It's the latter that has me very worried.

The Jackal (unfortunately) is Still Alive

For Drake...

Lions, Rebels and Gamecocks - Oh My!

Okay, so the good news is the Rebels won 52-6 and escaped without any major injuries. The bad news is they looked sluggish and uninspired. I know, I know. Swine flu ran amok throughout the team and Jevan Snead's grandfather died last week so it has been an unusual season so far. The good guys were also playing an FCS team that is only slightly better than the Hoover High Bucs. Actually, come to think of it Hoover might give the Lions a run for their money...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Promise (about the picks for this season)

To the fans and everybody in King Football nation, I'm sorry. I'm extremely sorry. We were hoping for an undefeated pick season. That was my goal, something I have never done here.

I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any picker in the entire country pick as hard as I will pick the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of his brain as hard as I will push my brain the rest of the season.

You will never see a picker pick better than I will the rest of the season.

God bless.

Saturday Open Thread

If that doesn't get you excited for a day of football, then you can just catch the next Delta flight back to Moscow, Comrade.

Saturday Morning Briefing

Good morning!

To get your gameday started right, here's a handy compendium of this week's wit and wisdom. All the info you want, with none of the annoying Corso and Herbstreit you don't.

Friday, September 18, 2009

SELA Lions vs. Ole Miss Rebels

The Rebels had a VERY early bye week and thankfully were able to get all of their key players infected with the swine flu. Thank God! Okay, obviously I don't wish anyone to get infected with swine flu - except Jackie Sherrill and Ed Orgeron. But if the Rebels were going to be exposed to H1N1, better during their bye week than in 3 weeks when Alabama rolls into Oxford.

South Carolina v. Flo-Rida Atlantic

This week, the Gamecocks decided to invite both the offense and the defense to join them for their game on Saturday. Last week the defense took a break (as did the special teams) after the offense failed to show up for the first game. Now all three phases of the game are done trying to prove they are the most important and the team just wouldn't be the same without them.

Police Blotter: Cocks beaten at Oarhouse

Actually, it looks like this time the Cocks did the beating.

Former USCe players Jordin and Dustin Lindsey, along with their father Billy, opened up a can at the Oarhouse Bar & Grill in Dauphin Island, Alabama, resulting in four people injured, a broken nose, and obligatory assult (technically battery, right?)charges.

I assume "completed their eligibility last season" is a euphemism for "did not graduate."

Spurrier wishes he could have gotten that kind of intese play from his current defensive players last Saturday.

Update: a little more detail in this story.

WVU at AU: who scores more?

I touched briefly on this game earlier in the week, but a little more analysis is in order. Auburn plays home game #3 of the season against their toughest foe in what should be a shootout. Both teams are scoring a lot (WVU, 34 ppg; AU 43 ppg) and both teams are allowing a good number of points on defense (WVU, 20 ppg; AU 18.5 ppg).

On the offensive side, Jarrett Brown looks like a solid passing threat, completing 43 of 57 pass attempts on the still early year. He also has 19 rushes for 142 yards, an average of 7.5 ypc. RB Noel Devine is also having a solid year, rushing for 192 yards on 36 carries (5.3 ypc). Five of WVU's players have long receptions of over 30 yards each, so the passing threat seems to play out in their favor. Top receiver Jock Sanders has 17 catches, despite being 5'7", which is athlete-speak for 5'5". On the flipside, Auburn's running back corps seems to be solid, running off 345 ypg on the ground. AU's passing game will keep it short, possibly using the pass to set up the run (stranger things have happened).

On the defensive side, nothing noteworthy has happened. WVU allowed 20 points to Big South powerhouse Liberty and 20 points to spoiler East Carolina. Meanwhile, Auburn allowed 24 to Mississippi State, a team they blanked last year (if you consider that Ryan Pugh scored the 2 points for Mississippi State).

On special teams, both kickers are perfect on the season in FGs and XPs. Return games are OK, both teams ranked in the 50s on yards per return.

All in all, I think this game comes down to which team cracks first on defense. Look for Auburn to win a tight one late, 38-35.

LSU Tigers Week 3: Da Boibon Bowl

Expect more substantive previews when LSU opponents are more ... substantive ... than the Ragin' Cajuns, but Farmer Fran (and probably some of my distant relatives) are coming to Baton Rouge to play-a-the foozball with the Tigers.
Here's what I expect: Jordan Jefferson gets another vanilla warmup (and maybe one next week against Mississippi State) before the competitive part of the SEC West slate begins, so don't expect to see any more of the playbook than you did against Vandy.

Georgia-Arkansas Preview

Well, where do I begin? The Dawgs started off the season with a lackluster performance on offense to what most considered a Top 10 team. Then they follow up the opener with a defensive letdown against a mediocre South Carolina offense that also had no pulse the previous week. Was Oklahoma State that good? Apparently not since they lost to Houston in week 2...Was South Carolina a world beater that held back the in the opener? We'll see...The truth is, we don't know what to expect from this young Georgia squad. Last week, the offense (when they rarely had the ball) looked pretty explosive and moved up and down the field.

Alabama vs North Texas Preview

There are bad teams, and then there's North Texas. Coach Todd Dodge, who was Greg McElroy's high school coach in Texas, will be without his son and starting QB for the 11:20 C.S.T match up in Tuscaloosa. The younger Dodge injured his shoulder last week in an overtime loss against Ohio. It could be a very long day for the Mean Green of North Texas. If Alabama has trouble scoring on this team, however, we are in for a long SEC season as well. The North Texas defense allowed 47.6 ppg in 2008, dead last in both the Sun Belt Conference and the nation. The possible absence of Julio Jones and Roy Upchurch due to injury will go unnoticed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Picks - Week 3

Every week I'll put up a post for us to pick that weekend's games against the spread. Post your picks in the comments section, along with a sentence explaining each pick. I'll keep up with everyone's record and post a leaderboard as we go through the season. I'll get us started.

Blue Grass Battle: Kentucky -13.5 vs. Louisville: I think Kentucky should win, but by 14? Why not? The Cards are on a skid. Pick: UK to cover.

Brunch game: Bama -38 vs. N. Texas: Bama couldn't cover against Fla Intl Airport, I doubt they'll run up the score on McElroy's old HS coach. Pick: Mean Green to beat the spread.

Unadulterated Hate: Tenn +29.5 at Fla: Fla beat Tenn by 24 last year in Knoxvegas without the extra motivation of Hello Kiffins' mouth writing checks his lack of talent and depth can't cash. Crompton is a turnover machine. Meyer has no soul. Pick: Fla covers, plus some.

Cupcake the first: LSU -27 vs. La-Lafayette: LSU has done nothing to impress yet, but La-La is, well, La-La. Pick: LSU to cover.

Cupcake the second: SCAR -20.5 vs. Fla Atl: Garcia looked good against UGA, but then again the UGA defense made Okie State look good, who turned around and lost to Houston. Pick: SCAR to cover (barely).

Cupcake the third: Ole Miss v. SE Louisiana (Div 1aa), no line: Comments re: LSU apply here as well. Hint: Pick Ole Miss and you will have at least one point on the leaderboard.

Cellar dwellers collide: Miss State +9 at Vandy: Read that again. Vandy is a 9 point favorite against an SEC foe. Jackie Sherrill is rolling over in his grave. I get that they're at home, but since when is Vanderbilt Stadium a tough place to play? Pick: Bulldogs plus the points.

Revenge?: Auburn -7.5 vs. West F'n Virginia: I see this game going one of 2 ways: (1) close game full of inconsistent play by both teams or (2) The War Malzhans score early and often. At Jordan-Hare and W. Va. has a new (but so far solid) QB, so I'll lean toward option 2. Pick: Auburn to cover.

Game of the week: Georgia at Arkansas (straight up): Some sites have Ark favored by a point or two, others UGA, so we're just going to pick this one straight up. Dawgs played pretty poor on the road (and pretty poor at home for that matter). Pick: Hogs in a barnburner.

Bonus game (since it piqued Brocktoon's interest): UAB + 6.5 at Troy: UAB beat Rice in impressive fashion, then lost as a heavy favorite to SMU. UAB's Webb is a good, dual-threat QB. This Troy team ain't your slightly older brother's Troy team. UAB not only covers, they win.

UAB at Troy

Did I miss something? Troy is favored by 6.5 over UAB?

Thursday Night Open Thread: Jackets at 'Canes Cripple Fight Edition

Two teams from the SEC's gay little brother, the ACC, clash tonight on the World Wide Leader. The Ramblin' Wreck travels to Coral Gables to take on da U. Miami beat Florida State in an amazing display of defensive ineptitude 2 weeks ago, after which State crapped the bed and nearly lost to Jacksonville F'in State! Seriously, the Criminoles scored the go-ahead TD with 35 seconds left in the 4th. And before you start with your, "but Ryan Perriloux plays for J'ville State, and he's really good," (1) check the stats: 12 of 27 passing and only 39 yards on the ground for the former Bayou Bengal, and (2) LSU's other former QB came from and returned to HARVARD, which ceased to be a football powerhouse around the same time women got the right to vote. There are no coincidences in life, son, only the appearance of coincidence.

Georgia Tech, on the other hand, tried to blow it's 21 point lead last Thursday night agains Mike-Shula-doppleganger Dabo Swinney's Clemson squad. Only a fake field goal for a touchdown that the ACC has retroactively declared illegal , kept Ga Tech alive against the Tigers.

So who will win tonight? Tech is a 4.5 point 'dog on the road. I predict 24-17, as this is the default ACC score for all football games. Paul Johnson's team wins and covers the spread, and the Tuberville to Miami rumors begin in earnest.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BobbyBall 2009

A friend of mine recently pointed me to a new t-shirt, pictured above, being marketed by Vanderbilt's athletic department. Wait, hold that, actually Vanderbilt doesn't have an athletic department (see here) so this must be marketed by Vanderbilt's Division for Student Life, which covers both Division I intercollegiate athletics and intramural sports like flag football and ultimate. Anyway, back on point, the BobbyBall'09 shirt had me wondering about its meaning and the lasting impact of WoodyBall, which if you don't recall, is the particular brand of football developed by Woody Widenhoefer, Vanderbilt's head football coach from 1995 to 2001. Since my own career at Vanderbilt coincided with the last half of the WoodyBall era (1998-2001), I was lucky enough to witness it at its zenith. As far as I can tell, WoodyBall was characterized by a stagnant offense, erratic and risky play calling---especially on 4th down or in the 4th quarter (a fake punt from our 20 yard line late in the 4th quarter up 7 on a ranked Georgia team comes to mind), a low winning percentage (4-36 in the SEC), turnovers at key moments in the game/season (a fumble in the waning moments against Kentucky within field goal down by 2 and needing a win to secure your first bowl game in 15 years), and other generally inexplicably horrific events (one football player fell down an elevator shaft---he did survive). However, Vanderbilt did have an outstanding defense one season (1st in the SEC in 1997) and a good one in a couple of other seasons, which must be why they kept Woody around for 6 years despite a 15-40 record. Or it could have been the prevalence of "We've got a Woody" signs at the football games. Hopefully, BobbyBall will continue to be nothing like WoodyBall. Although, if Bobby doesn't start winning some of these close games, like this past week's 23-9---closer than it score indicates---game to LSU, it may start to come close. Only time will tell.

2010 Southern Regional at the Georgia Dome

They've hooked up for some compelling post-season basketball and baseball games, so why not get the tackle football teams into the act?

Six months after Ty Lawson came off the bench in the closing minutes of the second round of the NCAA tournament to bring UNC back from elimination at the hands of LSU, the Tar Heels and Bayou Bengals have mercifully ended weeks of speculation by agreeing to open the 2010 season in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A kickoff game in the Georgia Dome. Apparently, Big Chicken has decided to continue its twice-annual SEC-ACC snuff film -- only this time, the Fighting Sabans get to stay home. Butch Davis' resurgent(?) Tar Heels follow in the footsteps of Clemson and Virginia Tech, trying to do that which the ACC (and Ohio State) has thus far been unable.

It stands to be an uncharacteristically robust out-of-conference challenge for the Heels (who don't stand to gain all that much with respect to recruitment because they play biennially at Georgia Tech). LSU, meanwhile, adds the likely (possibly... hopefully...?) nationally-ranked Tar Heels to an out-of-conference schedule that already includes West Virginia. It seems like Les Miles and Joe Alleva already remember how playing (and beating, unmercifully) Virginia Tech in 2007 (as opposed to adding a creampuff to an out-of-conference slate that typically includes Tulane, North Texas and one or more "directional-Louisiana" schools) pushed them above the end-of-season morass and into the title game in the Superdome.

It's a good start. Every little bit helps the SEC shed its reputation as the Mark Mangino* of out-of-conference schedulers. Every Tiger fan also knows it's just window dressing until a rematch with the Trojans takes place.

*Cupcakes. I'm talking about cupcakes. Until our audience expands beyond spouses and each other, I feel like analogies need to be trampled with explanation.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Recap: Auburn vs. Miss. St.

Auburn's first SEC test under new coach Gene Chizik proved to be...wait for it...mediocre. I guess I'm not quite sold on the new style of play. Granted I think under Tuberville's "noffense" of the 08-09 season we would have lost by several points, I think the new defense has much to live up to (I tried to make the word "nodefense", but it doesn't roll off the tongue). 24 points to SEC offensive powerhouse MSU is a wee bit much. Not that I'm knocking MSU, but...OK, I'm knocking them a little bit. Auburn seems to have, overnight, turned into a Tulsa or a Houston...teams that score a lot of points but also give up a lot of points. I say can Roof and bring in defensive mastermind...Tommy Tuberville. At least then maybe we'll win 49-10 next time.

I'm not complaining too much. After all, a win is a win. However, in today's college football climate, with the polling and the politicking and the finagling of poll results (see the Stoops brothers' shady deals circa 2004), style plays a large part of a team's future. I think Auburn better nip this in the bud and quick.

Now, about the game: I felt like I watched 25 games of Auburn-MSU Saturday (I guess total-points-wise, it was like 25 of last year's game). The ground game looked solid. Between Tate and McCalebb, and to a lesser degree Fannin, the team looks stout. Chris Re-Todd had what for him was a stellar game and for others would not be so good, unless you go to Navy or Air Force: 10/23 for 186. But old Noodle-Arm showed a glimpse of last year's QB at the helm. I don't think Auburn can use the run to set up the run, can they?

I think Auburn's first true test will come this week vs. WVU. Granted they had trouble with Liberty (featuring Hoover's own Robby Cramer long snapping), they did beat E. Carolina, who has played troublemaker the past couple of years. Without White at the helm, and no Slaton, you'd think they'd be pushovers. Not so, with Jarrett Brown looking pretty good thus far and super-fast ex-criminal Noel Devine running up some yards. Let's see what they can do against Auburn's defense...oh wait, nevermind. Prediction: 38-35 Auburn (I hope).

Ricky's post-rant interview

Many of you probably saw Bama stereotype "Ricky" rant

(extremely NSFW audio) against the ref who called Rolando McClain for 2 personal fouls in the VaTech game. Well, some enterprising bloggers tracked him down for an email

Read the whole thing, and you will learn that Ricky is a 24-year-old trucker from Bham who has a best friend named "Dale" and a "supportive" girlfriend (despite the fact that he was caught on camera beating a metal folding chair against her dining room table) who is "used to" his rants that leave holes in the walls and bedroom door. He drinks Budweiser and Jim Beam. He likes to "come over on people while driving" if they have a "Honk if you sacked Brodie" bumper sticker and in fact threw his car keys from his house during that sacktastic 2005 Iron Bowl.

Oh, and Ricky's sorry if his calling the VaTech player McClain pushed down the "n-word" made you think he's racist. He didn't mean it that way at all.

If he didn't exist, Auburn fans would have to invent him.

But, before I throw too many stones from my glass house, I sympathize with Ricky missing his cousin's wedding for a Bama game. I, along with all the other males there, watched the 2007 Bama-Arky game in the bar at my sister-in-law's wedding reception.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Gauntlet - SEC schedule 2009

This is why the SEC is the best conference in football. Week in and week out they have to play each other - well, except when they play Western Kentucky and FIU and Charleston Southern - but that's because quality opponents are afraid to play us out of conference (ahem, Oklahoma State, UCLA).

OK, so maybe SEC fandom isn't all about facts and logic and reason, but there is lots of beer-and-bourbon-fueled passion each week that no other conference can touch. Whatever team emerges in Atlanta in December will be more than equal to dismantling your Oklahoma or Ohio State or whatever weak team with a pansy schedule the World Wide Leader in Sports is pimping this season - see Lou Holtthzz' attempt to hype Notre Dame as title contenders, who responded with a loss to Michigan. (Actually ESPN has a big SEC contract and will be pimping the SEC all season.) SHUT UP, BRAIN, football season has nothing to do with you!