Friday, October 30, 2009

Picks - Week 9

Our updated standings (last week, overall):

Chuck Visor: 4-4, 32-21

Drake McHugh, Esq.: 5-3, 28-25

Max Power: 5-3, 27-17

Brocktoon: 3-5, 26-27

Carter Slade: 6-2, 23-19

Woody Widenhoefer: 1-6, 22-18

Full Monte Kiffin: 5-3, 21-22

Dick C'est Bon: 0-0, 14-12

Arnold Porkzenegger: 0-0, 3-4

Herschel Talker: 0-0, 0-1

Tubby-bowl ‘09:
Ole Miss (-4.5) at Auburn, 11:21 AM, SEC Network:
In this match-up of Tommy Tuberville’s two former teams, I agree with Max. It’ll be a “Navy Nightmare,” but for the team in Burnt Orange and Navy Blue, not the team in Harvard Crimson and Yale Navy. In fact, the description of the game as a nightmare is appropriate since, given the performance against Arkansas with the 11:21 start, it is unlikely Auburn will be awake. This year’s coach drama is a bit different. Instead of Rebs angry at Tommy “Pine Box” Tuberville for leaving them, Ole Miss’ Nutt is mad at Auburn’s Malzahn for creating division in the program at Arkansas, and Malzahn is mad for being fired by Nutt. Last week I said Auburn would have a chance against LSU if Todd played well. I said there was no reason for Todd to play well against LSU’s defense. Just replay that comment this week, as Ole Miss’ front 7 is as good as it gets. Ole Miss wins and covers.

The Game Formerly Known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party:
Florida (-14.5) vs. Georgia, 2:30 PM, CBS:
If you ask me, it’s tough to call anything that starts at 3:30 local time a cocktail party, but here it is. Call me crazy, but I think the Dawg’s have a chance to win this one. I certainly don’t like a UF team that struggled against Arkansas and Mississippi State as a two-touchdown plus favorite. I’ll Hunker down with the points.

Must be Homecoming:
Eastern Michigan (+36.5) at Arkansas, 6:00 PM, ESPNU:
Can’t remember which of the Michigan directional schools is good and which is bad? The Western Michigan Broncos are OK, 4-4, 3-2 in the MAC. The Central Michigan Chippewas are good. They’re 7-1 with their only loss to Arizona. They beat Michigan State and are undefeated in the MAC and lead their division. The team that the Hogs will play, the Eastern Michigan Eagles, is bad. As in, 0-7 with losses to Army, Temple, Kent State and Ball State bad. This is a big line, but I’ll take the Hogs to cover.

Questionable Rivalry Game I:
Mississippi State (+3.5) at Kentucky, 6:00 PM, FSS:
Since the league split into divisions in 1992, and started the one-permanent cross-division rival schedule in 2003, MSU and UK have played every year. I suppose there’s some deep tradition of rivalry between these teams of which I am unaware (checking Wikipedia, nope). These teams have only played 36 times, with UK holding a slight edge 20-16. Anyway, this is a flip-a-coin game. I’ll take MSU only because it comes with 3.5 extra points.

ESSS EEE SEEEEE RULEZ!!11!:Georgia Tech (-11.5) at Vanderbilt, 6:30 PM:
As an SEC homer, normally I’d have to take the SEC team over any SEC opponent. However, this is Vandy and Ga Tech. The Jackets already beat MSU, who beat Vandy, (also Ga Tech beat Va Tech, who lost to Bama, whow beat Ole Miss who beat Vandy) so by transitive property Ga Tech is clearly the better team. I know Vandy beat BC in a bowl last year, but they also lost to Wake Forest and Duke last year. BEEEEEESSSSSSS RULE !!!11!!

Mouths of the South:
South Carolina (+6) at Tennessee, 6:45 PM, ESPN:
I thought this game would have lost some luster with the departure of Phil Fulmer. After all, it was kind of fun to see Spurrier scrap and sometimes barely beat the Coach and team he had tormented and dominated when he was at UF. Well, in comes Kiffin and whoa, Nelly, has this guy got a mouth that can match the OBC’s. Locker-room bulletin board fodder this week: Kiffin allegedly told SC’s leading wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey that if he went to SC he’d end up pumping gas for a living. Both QBs are spotty, so whether Garcia or Crompton has the better game will determine who wins. If I were picking this straight up I’d likely take Tennessee since the game’s on Rocky Top, and unfortunately, it looks like Jeffrey has the flu. But I believe SC’s D is for real, so I’ll take them plus the points.

Questionable Rivalry Game II:
Tulane (+36) at LSU, 7:00 PM:

This game is the inverse of UK-MSU. While the Cats and Dogs are two evenly-matched mid-league powers on the rise but with no history as rivals, The Tigers and Green Wave have a history dating back to the Southern League, but they are no where near evenly matched today. These squads have played some 97 times since 1893, but the most recent Tulane victory was 1982. But any rivalry that includes a riot (1938) is not a rivalry to be taken lightly. My only hesitation in picking LSU is the size of the line and the fact that I don’t expect LSU to go all out or leave the starters in too long with a West-division championship game coming up next week in Tuscaloosa. I’ll take the Wave plus the points.

Auburn....what's left to say?

I know I didn't post a recap of last week's game against the Bayou Bengal Tigers, but that's because I didn't watch it (that's two weeks in a row where I found something more productive-working on my dissertation-than watching the Auburn Tigers go down in flames). I imagine the game went like this: Auburn completes a pass for 1 yard, then runs for 2, then punts on third, just to catch LSU off guard. Then LSU scores. Repeat ad nauseam.

Is this week's game going to be any different? Max Power thinks so, but I think it'll be another game that a team other than Auburn runs away with. At a 4.5 point line, I think you take Ole Miss on this one, and put a lot of money on it...that is, unless they decide to bench Chris Todd, then you just put about half of what you were going to bet on the game, but still on Ole Miss. Charles Hollis of The Birmingham News likes Ole Miss here too, by more than the spread. They came out like gangbusters against Arkansas, and that trend continues this week against highly-favored-turned-laughing-stock AU. I'm not saying I'm laughing, but I probably won't watch the game again either. Prediction: Ole Miss 34, Auburn 13. I hope I'm wrong again.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Blind Side

I dare you not to get teary eyed...

Navy Nightmare!

Auburn has declared this Saturday's Halloween game against Ole Miss as a Navy Nightmare. But, I have to ask a couple of questions. One, will navy scare a team and fans who wear the color all the time? Also, whose nightmare will this game be?

I suppose some could argue that the nightmare could belong to Houston Nutt. Or Gus Malzahn. Because as most people who follow these teams expected, this game is turning into a grudge match. Don't believe me? Check out here, here and here. For much of this season, my fellow Rebels and I have discussed how Malzahn has been wanting to stick it to Coach Nutt ever since their messy separation in Fayetteville. But what about Coach Nutt? One could argue that Coach Nutt is equally bitter about how Malzahn splintered the fanbase and began Nutt's unfortunate departure from the school he loved. So, don't be surprised if Ole Miss' coaching staff (many of whom were also affected by the feud with Malzahn) has some tricks up their sleeves.

There are a lot of questions in this game. Will Auburn's high octane offense shake off the last three games and return to its early season form? Will Malzahn choose to use different players in order to kickstart "Gus' Bus?" Will Dexter McCluster continue to shine like he did last Saturday? Which Jevan Snead will show up? Can Ole Miss' defense slow down the AU offense and hold them to 20 points or less?

Many Auburn fans I know who have tickets to the game aren't going. They cite Halloween, the weather, Auburn's current three game slide and the fact that Auburn has not played well in early games in recent history. But for weeks now I've had reservations about this game and I still do. I think Ole Miss can win this game, but it is going to be a fight and the Rebels don't historically play well in Auburn.

Bottom line is this - as the "homer" for Ole Miss on this blog I am picking the Rebels to win this one. But it will be close - Ole Miss 27, Auburn 21.

Forward Rebels and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Congrats to Herschel

Herschel and Mrs. Talker welcomed a 7 lb 13 oz, 20 inch little girl into the world yesterday. Congratulations. You'll get her home from the hospital in plenty of time to watch the Georgia-Florida game together.

Jevan & Co. Take Down Petrino's Pigs

Final score: Ole Miss 30, Arkansas 17. But that score was closer than the game actually ever was as the much heralded Ole Miss offense finally lived up to some of the preseason hype last Saturday.

Arkansas fans made a huge showing in Oxford as they REALLY wanted to take the evil Houston Nutt down and strut through the Grove post-game telling all Rebel fans how terrible he is. Alas, they are left to wonder for another season and off-season about what might have been had they had the sense to keep him in Fayetteville.

Jevan Snead and the offensive line looked spectacular. Dexter McCluster was a man on a mission and received SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Heck, he only had 36 less yards than all of Arkansas' offense! And speaking of retrospect, Ole Miss fans were left wondering what might have been had this offense shown up in Columbia in September or Oxford a few weeks ago. But, that's water under the bridge now. What Ole Miss can still do is win out. Do that and they assure themselves of probably the 3rd best record in the SEC.

First things first, though. The Auburn Tigers are up next and on a bad skid. And if you don't think Gus Malzahn has had this game circled since he was hired you're smoking something. There is still plenty of bad blood between Nutt and Malzahn for how things ended in Fayetteville and Gus will have plenty of tricks up his sleeves to try and embarrass his old coaching "buddies."

More on the Rebels and Plainsmen later in the week. For now though, enjoy the sound victory Rebels!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gameday Open Thread

Two sort-of Heisman hopefuls square off today in T-town with Mark Ingram carrying the ball for Bama and Eric Berry trting to stop him. Woody and I will be there live.

Plus, tiger-on-tiger action in the swawp tonight on the Deuce; the up-and-coming Hogs vs. the down-and-falling Rebels in the brunch game; Gators and Gamecocks on varying levels of upset alert (UF in Stark-vegas tonight; SC hosting Vandy); Kentucky looks to take a step toward bowl eligibilty vs. the Warhawks of La-Monroe; and the Bulldogs of Athens looking to avoid a defeat vs. Bye week. Quite a slate of SEC action.

Leave your thoughts, reactions, and suggested punishments for any referee incompetence in the comments below.

South Carolina v. Vanderbilt

What exactly has South Carolina done the last two seasons when they woulda coulda shoulda gotten a win against Vandy? Just take a look to the left for a visual answer to that question.

Granted in the past Vandy has been a pretty formidable opponent. However, this year things have started to swing in the other direction for both teams. South Carolina actually looks like they have the talent to compete with the better teams in the nation. Vandy, on the other hand, has been on a bit of a backslide. All that being said, Vandy is not to be taken lightly. A couple of big plays or sloppy plays can change both teams' seasons in a hurry.

South Carolina starting corner back, Auguste will be back on the field after a 3 game suspension. That coupled with another week for the young players to mature (hopefully...after all maturity is not something that abounds in that locker room lately) and learn should make the Gamecocks prepared to right the wrongs of the last two years against Vandy. This one is a night game in Columbia, so you know the fine establishments in the Vista and Five Points are rooting for a happy fan base to leave the stadium (perhaps early if the Gamecocks have a heafty lead late) to fill their bar stools. Go Cocks.

I'll take the Tigers to win.

Found this out there by some LSU fan. Don't know if they realized that "irrelevance" was spelled incorrectly. You might say that was the joke, but I don't think so.

I agree with Dick that this game used to be THE matchup in the SEC west, with the winner going on to represent the west in the SEC championship game. Unfortunately for both teams, neither is living up to the hype. Auburn is looking like the team to beat in the west, and by that, I mean teams are looking to their matchup with Auburn as a win. LSU has had a couple of close games against Georgia and Mississippi State. With a combined 10-3 record, I'd expect more out of these teams.

I don't really understand the whole jersey controversy. LSU likes to wear the away jersey, and Auburn always wears their home jersey. Doesn't the home team get to pick? I don't really know what the rules are for jerseys, but this seems like two coaches trying to get a psychological advantage in the game.

I think this game takes a while to get going, and look for a lot of sputtering, a lot of wheels turning but going nowhere. If you're looking for a prediction, I think LSU ends up winning late (this would make the third game in a row), taking the game away from Auburn. Call it LSU 26, Auburn 20. I hope for Auburn's sake they can pull it out, though.

War Eagle!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Third (Fourth) Saturday in October!!!

Tomorrow afternoon (2:30c) the mighty Crimson Tide will take on the Tennessee Volunteers in a classic rivalry match-up. Tennessee has a lot of momentum from their dismantling of the UGA defense and consecutive off-week, but Alabama should present a challenge for the inconsistent Jonathan Crompton. This game has the chance of being a low-scoring defensive struggle. Both teams will likely attempt to stack the box in order to inhibit the running game, and force the QB's to beat them. Greg McElroy started strong early in the season against Virginia Tech, but has taken on shades of former Bama QB John Parker Wilson during SEC play.

Bama RB Mark Ingram achieved quite a Heisman buzz following his 246 rushing yards on South Carolina last week, and he will be the Tide's go to back against the Vol's as well. Nick Saban likes to keep a fresh set of legs in the mix, so look for freshman phenom Trent Richardson as well as the seasoned Roy Upchurch to get plenty of carries as well. Look for Bama to mix it up much more with the Wildcat set. You may even see some explosive players get some reps...

Ultimately, however, this game will come down to which team's QB can take what the opposing defense gives him. This is why Alabama will defeat Tennessee tomorrow, 21-10.

Picks - Week 8

Picks - Week 8

Our updated standings (last week, overall):

Chuck Visor: 5-2, 28-17

Brocktoon: 6-1, 23-22

Drake McHugh, Esq.: 4-3, 23-22

Max Power: 6-1, 22-14

Woody Widenhoefer: 4-3, 21-12

Carter Slade: 4-3, 17-17

Full Monte Kiffin: 5-2, 16-19

Dick C'est Bon: 0-0, 14-12

Arnold Porkzenegger: 0-0, 3-4

Herschel Talker: 0-0, 0-1

I tried mobile blogging from the blackberry this am from a CLE presentation at the Sheraton in downtown Bham, where word on the street is both Miley Cirus and KISS are staying. It didn't work. So here are my belated picks (typed on a blackberry while listening to presenters dicuss the 3 areas of the law doing well in the down economy: (1) employment law, (2) bankruptcy, and (3) something about tax credits and real estate development and govt housing that reminded me a little bit of the commercial paper lecture from bar review where about 1 hour into it I was like, "they're just talking about checks, right? commercial paper is just checks, right?"). Anyway, leave your picks in the comments:

Ark +5 @ Ole Miss - with all due respect to the Rebs' big win over, um, UAB, unless Arky is hung over from their near win against UF, I like piggies to win. And you're giving me 5 points! Soowee!

UT +16 @ Bama - don't get me wrong, I think bama wins here, but not by more than 16.

La-Monroe +16 @ UK - heck if I know. I picked UK to cover over Louisville and got burned. Plus La-Monroe beat Bama on 9/11, or something. I'll take the war hawks (ragin cajuns?) to cover.

Vandy +11.5 @ SC - this is tough. I don't like SC to beat anyone by 12, but I don't think this Vandy team is good at all. Against my better judgment, I'll take Vandy, cause nerds have to stick together.

UF -21.5 @ MSU - this line is way too big. Even if he could (which I doubt) would Urban really run up the score on Mullen? More cowbell.

AU +8 @ LSU - Easy call. Take the tigers. (Rimshot) If Todd plays better than last 2 weeks, Au has a chance. Reasons to believe Todd will play better against LSU D? (crickets) take the corndog scented tigers.

UGA +5 vs. BYE - kidding, kidding.

Bonus pick:

TCU @ BYU (straight up) - TCU to win.

Plus, my ACC always take the cold team over the hot team lock: take UVa plus the points at home against the Bees of Ga Tech.

This game used to mean so much more...

I really enjoyed the LSU-Auburn rivalry in its heyday. During the early- and mid- "aughts" this game decided the SEC West - and was always a supreme example of defensive ferocity.
At least LSU still plays defense.
Will Muschamp no longer incurs sideline warnings or headbutts players for (either of) the Tigers, but Gus Malzahn (at least until two weeks ago) and John Chavis have restored some luster to the assistant ranks for each team. As compelling as the new Auburn offense v. new LSU defense matchup is, however, the LSU offense v. Auburn defense matchup has the potential to be a stink fest. LSU's offense has, except for the last two minutes of the Georgia game, made defenses from Athens to Seattle look great all season. Then again, if Charles Scott and Keiland Williams are going to start looking like DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart anytime this season, Auburn's defense will certainly supply the butt.

If you want to hear a prediction, you should know that I've been predicting the arrival of LSU's running attack all season long. We're still waiting for that. I can confidently predict that something weird or sensational (having little or nothing to do with the competition itself) will happen. (See the barn burner, the cigar chomp, the no-call pass interference and, of course, the Lesticles game.) I've read that Coach Cheesedick has reported on Alabama sports radio that the War Chickens will don their road whites in Tiger Stadium, "forcing" LSU to wear navy (it really does look purple in the stadium, though). Unfortunately I don't get Alabama sports talk radio in New Detroit, so I don't know what was said. I also don't know if anyone really feels like they have a handle on the SEC-white jerseys-at-home rule, though.
The game is at night on the deuce. As incredible as it is for Auburn to lose three in a row, I think LSU steals this one. Whatever you do, don't take the "over" on points.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Trivia Pt. 4: Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh My!

More mascot/nickname trivia! This one is in honor of the Tigers-Tigers matchup this week in Red Stick.

1) What is the most prolific nickname used in both I-A and I-AA football: Tigers, Wildcats, Bears, Bulldogs, or Eagles?

2) What is the most prolific nickname used amongst I-A football teams: Tigers, Wildcats, Bears, Bulldogs, or Eagles?

3) What is the most prolific nickname used amongst I-AA football teams: Tigers, Wildcats, Bears, Bulldogs, or Eagles?

4) What is the most prolific nickname used solely in I-A football (that is, no I-AA team uses the nickname for its football team): Huskies, Owls, Cougars, Aggies, or Broncos?

5) What is the most prolific nickname used solely in I-AA football (that is, no I-A team uses the nickname for its football team): Dukes, Lions, Bison, Lumberjacks, or Hornets?

6) How many teams in Division I football have the word "Fighting" in their nickname?

7) How many teams in Division I football have the word "Golden" in their nickname?

8) How many teams in Division I football have the word "Red" as part of their nickname?

9) How many teams in Division I football have the word "Blue" as part of their nickname?

10) Which of these is not a Division I football team's nickname: Demons, Jackrabbits, Seawolves, Lynx, or Delta Devils?

11) Which of these is not a Division I football team's nickname: Huskies, Retrievers, Great Danes, Terriers, or Bulldogs?

12) Which of these is not a Division I football team's nickname: Fightin' Injuns, Ragin' Cajuns, or Runnin' Bulldogs?

Answers in the Comments section.

An X's and O's Look at Saban's Defense

Came across this article a little while ago from brophyfootball. It's a very interesting read if you like to understand the technique and schemes involved in football.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oh my.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive is grounding until Nov. 14 the crew that brought you the phantom excessive celebration call against UGA in the LSU game and the phantom unsportsmanlike conduct call against Arky in the UF game (along with other questionable calls in that game).  And he doesn't want you just goofing off and playing video games for a month, this is supposed to be punishment!
Memo to all other aggrieved fanbases: complain long and loud enough about the officiating and you too can get public apologies and suspended crews.  You will still lose the game, but you have to take solace wherever you can find it, I guess.

If you ain't cheatin' you ain't tryin'!

The OBC is at it again.  This time, he has accused Bama of cheating on its kicks by placing tape on the ground to mark the spot for the holder to place the ball.  Bama cheating and Spurrier complaining about other teams' cheating are up there with death and taxes on the inevitability scale.  By the way, did Kiffin ever take that NCAA recruiting test?  Anybody know where I can put my hands on some extra textbooks?

UPDATE: The Great Saban responds:

"I have to be very honest about this. I was not aware of this," Saban said. "I have become aware of it since it was brought to our attention. We certainly don't want our players to do anything that's illegal. It is a 5-yard penalty if you do anything to enhance the spot. We've done some research on it, and over half the teams in the league do something with it. They put a piece there or whatever it is so the kicker knows where the ball's going to be spotted. We even saw verification where last year South Carolina's kicker did it. This is not something that is really unusual for people to do. It is something that shouldn't be done because it's against the rules. We're actually happy that it was brought to our attention because I wasn't aware of it. It's something that will not do because it's certainly not worth a 5-yard penalty."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rebel Offense Shows Up in Big Win

Jevan Snead and the Ole Miss offense decided to show up for most of the game against UAB and hopefully gained some confidence heading into the game against Arkansas. Obviously, no one is deluded enough to think a win against UAB means all the Rebels problems are solved. But, this game was needed for Ole Miss' offense to feel at least competent heading into a must win against a Razorback team that ALMOST upset Florida in the Swamp. (And might have won if not for the corrupt SEC referees who protect the SEC's cash cows - Alabama and Florida - at all costs.)

The game was never in any doubt. All that was in doubt was whether or not Jevan would complete more passes to his receivers than the new FieldTurf at Vaught-Hemingway. He did and the Rebel offense showed glimpses of the 2008 team -albeit against a pitiful C-USA team.

Defensively, Ole Miss continued to shine and was able to get through Homecoming without many injuries. Marshay Green is still questionable for this Saturday, but was cleared to practice today.

Preview of the game versus UPIG later in the week. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming...


Tennessee, casting about for any type of advantage in their upcoming game against the AP Poll's No. 1 team in the country, asked the Mighty Saban if they might please take advantage of the new USC-UCLA rule (which allows both teams to wear colored jerseys if the home team agrees) and wear their creamsickle orange jerseys at Bryant-Denny this Saturday.  Understanding that all Tiders know 2 things: (1) Tradishun and (2) The Bahr, UT pointed out that UT used to wear orange jerseys as the visiting team back when the Bahr coached.  The Vols' plea fell on deaf ears, as Bama's Jersey Nazi, noted scholar and Athletic Director Mal Moore, said he thinks visiting teams ought to wear visiting jerseys. Mal added that Mrs. Lane Kiffin can wear whatever she wants.
I am going to the game with Woody Widenhoffer and his parents.  The Widenhoffers are UT grads and will be pulling for the Vols, but Woody, despite being a Vandy grad, is a Bama fan and will be pulling for the Tide.  I am a fan of neither team but my initial inclination was to wear red since I am a Bama (law school) grad.  However, in honor of the jersey color controversy, I will wear whatever color (orange or crimson) gets the most votes in the comments to this post.

Monday, October 19, 2009

SEC Disrespect

The following statistic really highlights the disrespect the SEC receives from the national media. Below are the number of weeks---for a total of 13 weeks---different SEC teams have spent as the BCS #1 team in its 11 year existence. Note that this week is actually Florida's first week as a BCS #1 team, since they entered both of their national championship games as the #2 team and there is no BCS ranking after the game. I suspect all 5 of Alabama's weeks came last year. Anyway, 13 total weeks for the SEC as the BCS #1 team in over 11 years seems ridiculous for a conference that has won 5 of the 11 BCS national championships (and it could have been 6 if Auburn had gone to the title game in 2004), and is 5-0 in BCS championship games. I looked for the complete statistics on who has spent the most weeks at #1, but couldn't find them. I suspect multiple teams, at least USC and Ohio St., have spent more weeks at #1 than the entire SEC! What is even more ridiculous is that this disrespect continues....I heard Mike Lupica on the Sports Reporters on Sunday arguing that USC is still the best overall team despite its record on the strength of its wins at Ohio St. and Notre Dame.

Alabama 5
Tennessee 5
Florida 1

The Football Brocktoon Series (FBS) Midseason Rankings

Does anyone like ranking football teams? Absolutely! Does anyone like the BCS? Absolutely not! Therefore I present to you the initial Football Brocktoon Series Midseason Rankings, without all the computers, biased regional sportswriters, Kirk Herbstreit putting USC in the top 5 just because, etc. I know this opens me up to criticism, but when has that ever affected me? I'll slowly be adding team pictures and writeups to this post when I find the chance.

1. Florida - I know what you Tide people are thinking, he's just putting them over us because he is an Auburn fan. Au contraire, mon frere. I'm not sure if the Tide fans have noticed that Florida has been at the top of the rankings for the entire season (minus the AP poll this week only which isn't factored into the BCS standings). Tebow hurt and still winning games makes him a champion. The Florida/Alabama argument will be left to be settled on the field December 5 in the Georgia Dome.

2. Alabama - Ingram is playing like a madman lately, rushing for 240+ yards against South Carolina. If he can keep this up, I think Alabama can make a decent run at the National Championship. Unfortunately, Julio Jones hasn't lived up to the hype this year; call it a sophomore slump. Alabama probably makes the run the rest of the year and will meet an undefeated Florida in the SEC Championship Game for the second consecutive season.

3. Boise State - Perennial Cinderella team Boise State has shown this year that they are legit, showing up what turned out to be a very good Oregon team to start the season. Look for Boise to continue their run through the WAC and probably get no kudos from anyone. Boise, I'm here for you, and I also think you'd beat Texas in a head-to-head matchup. Oklahoma fans remember what happens when you overlook Boise.

4. Texas - Texas ranks lower than you'd expect since they showed this past weekend that any team with a decent defense can hang with Texas. That doesn't mean I don't think they're good, but I think they're not as good as many people think they are. Sam Bradford in the game gives OU the win.

5. USC - Despite a loss at lowly Washington, USC has demonstrated that they deserve a high ranking by putting teams down, including wins over California, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. The game against Oregon on Halloween is looking like the Pac-10 game of the year and has the winner going to the Rose Bowl.

6. Cincinnati - Tony Pike has Cincinnati running on all cylinders. Despite his injury in the last game against USF, Pike may make a recovery and play this week. Let's hope he's ready to play by the time Cincinnati faces West Virginia (Nov. 13) and Pittsburgh (Dec. 5). If Pike makes a full recovery, look for him to pass for 3000 yards this season and lead Cincinnati to at least 10 wins.

7. TCU - The Horned Frogs are looking like the team to beat in the Mountain West, and this week's game against the other team in the conference (BYU) will show just what they are made of. I've doubted TCU with their two close call wins against Clemson and Air Force, but they've also shown up in-conference team Colorado State and ACC opponent Virginia.

8. Iowa - Somehow Iowa keeps winning games. The only win by more than 11 was over in-state, out-of-conference rival Iowa State. They had close call wins over I-AA team Northern Iowa and Sun Belt's Arkansas State, but they do put up Ws, including wins over Penn State and this past weekend over Wisconsin who I thought would win the game.

9. Oregon - After losing LeGarrette Blount for the season because of his stupid actions, and the manhandling at the hands of Boise State, Oregon looked like they were done, right? Wrong. Since then they've gone 5-0 with a win over then #6 California 42-3 and wins over Utah, UCLA, and Washington State. If they beat USC in two weeks I think they go 11-1 and take a trip to the Rose Bowl in January. Now if someone could get them some decent uniforms.

10. Georgia Tech - The Ramblin' Wreck has been running through the opposition, literally. The team is averaging more than 280 rush yards per game. Anthony Allen, Jonathan Dwyer, and Josh Nesbitt have the majority of the carries and almost 1600 yards on the ground between them, and the team has 22 rushing touchdowns through 7 games. Look for this number to continue to rise since, as the old adage goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

11. Miami - Da U is back. Well, sort of. They did get waxed by Virginia Tech a few weeks back, but other than that blemish, they look decent. They pulled the upset over Oklahoma, beat Georgia Tech (before they were established, and also beat FSU (who hasn't). The rest of their schedule is pretty weak (they are in the ACC, of course), so look for them to finish out strong, winning at least 10 games.

12. Virginia Tech - They lost this week to a better-than-expected Georgia Tech team, and an early loss against Alabama set them back, but they have wins over Nebraska and Miami, and a soft schedule the rest of the way plays in their favor. Tech will finish in the top 10 and will play in the ACC championship game.

13. Penn State - The Nittany Lions can't score very much by their own standards, but they are also holding teams to just under 9 points per game. Their only real game left is against Ohio State, and barring their loss to Iowa a few weeks back, they stood a good chance of winning out. Daryll Clark and Evan Royster get it done week in and week out.

14. LSU - I realize their only loss was to Florida, but they could have easily lost to both Georgia and Mississippi State. The Mad Hatter has his team believing they can win, but with games left against Alabama and Arkansas, LSU doesn't have the staying power. They'll get a medium-sized bowl game, but don't expect to go to Atlanta this year.

15. Oklahoma State - The Cowboys are playing like a Jekyll and Hyde team. One week they only beat Texas A&M by 5, the next week they beat Missouri by 19. Zac Robinson has the feet and the arm to make plays. Too bad Dez Bryant is done for now or I'd have ranked them higher.

16. BYU - They still have TCU and Utah left on the schedule, but win out and BYU may be looking at a possible BCS bowl game. Max Hall is already up over 2000 yards passing on the season, and Harvey Unga is a workhorse, carrying over 100 times for nearly 600 yards. If the defense can step up, this team has a shot of playing spoiler in the postseason.

17. Houston - Case Keenum may be the most underrated player in college football. He has nearly 2500 yards passing through 6 games. This past weekend was his low yardage game at 334 yards against Tulane. He had 76 attempts against UTEP for 536 yards. Had they won against UTEP, a team they are far superior to, Houston would be in the top 10. They will win out the rest of the way, coming up with an 11-1 record and a possible BCS bid.

18. Oklahoma - This is the best 3-3 team in the nation. Keep in mind they have lost their three games by a total of 5 points. Had Sam Bradford stayed healthy I think they'd be 6-0. Landry Jones is no slouch, but he needs more time to become a better QB. The rest of their schedule looks pretty tough, but OU will win at least 4 games. Their bowl picture looks bleak, but at least they'll be in a bowl game.

19. Utah - I had forgotten that this team was good. The giant-killers from last year are back in form, and the Mountain West is a three-game race with TCU and BYU. Pretty soon that conference will have to be in straight-up consideration for BCS games instead of playing for an at-large bid.

20. West Virginia - The only blemish on their record is against an Auburn team that is now sub-par, and West Virginia had a chance to win that game. The speed on this team and its ground game are the strong points, and their passing game is decent too. They still have several tough games to go, including home games against UConn and Pitt, and away games against Cincinnati and South Florida. If this team wins out, they are in a BCS bowl game. That is a tall order, though.

21. Ohio State - Not as good as billed, but then again, are they ever? The Buckeyes won against Wisconsin despite pretty much all of their points coming on special teams, but losses to USC and Purdue (2-5) make them look like not much of a contender. With games left against Penn State and Iowa, Ohio State will be doing good to get to 8 wins.

22. Pittsburgh - The Panthers are back! Dave Wannstedt has this team believing in themselves and have converted quite a few people (including me). They end the season against West Virginia and Cincinnati, so the team has quite a road ahead of them.

23. Texas Tech - Nobody gave them a chance, then they showed up Nebraska last week, one week after beating Kansas State 66-14. Their only losses are a 1-point loss to Houston and a 10-point loss to Texas. Games against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are left on the schedule, but the passing game is ridiculous. Taylor Potts hasn't even played every game and has 1800 passing yards.

24. Kansas - Kansas was looking good until a loss last weekend to Colorado, but their wins have been lackluster. Wins over Southern Miss (7 points) and Iowa State (5 points) could have gone the other way. Plus they have several difficult games left on the schedule. They may end up with only 7 wins once the season is over.

25. Nebraska - Their only tough loss was this past week to Texas Tech. They played Virginia Tech down to the wire. Bo Pelini has this team almost back up to where it was under Tom Osborne, but they'll have to get a little more consistent in the passing game.


I didn't even watch the game, but I'm sure it went a little something like this:

Auburn plays well in the first half, going into halftime up by a touchdown, thanks to a blocked kick that was returned. Otherwise, it's 7-7 and a little sluggish.

Now, just as with every game this season, Auburn forgot there was a second half and that you have to play it. That was unfortunate, because as we know, if Auburn showed up for the first half and is only up by 7, this can't look good. And it didn't, with Auburn yielding 14 points in the last quarter. Chris Todd throws for under 100 yards, just like in the days of old (last year), and Auburn shows that their short-lived success under Gene Chizik was not sustainable.

Kentucky wins the game for the first time since 1966, and Auburn shows us that a 6-6 record, which is where they're headed, is only a 1 game improvement over a coach who had proven himself over the years.

If you watched the game, how did I do?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where have all the Gamecocks gone?

Big game against Alabama on Saturday night. Huge game if the Gamecocks win. Seems like the only real pressure is the pressure to not get injured. However, apparently the pressure has gotten to a couple of key players this week. Starting offensive lineman, Heath Batchelor, has decided this week that football is not enjoyable. Jarvis Giles, a supremely talented 1st year running back has violated team and school policy for some undisclosed transgression related to academics. Seems we have student athletes at South Carolina and Giles thought we had athlete athletes.

As for the game, it happens to be homecoming weekend in Alabama. It happens to be a night game. Alabama leapfrogged Texas in the polls to hold down the #2 spot. South Carolina squeezed past Kentucky to move up to #22 from #25. As it stands now, the Gamecocks are the only ranked team that Florida will play until the SEC championship game. That's a sad commentary on the SEC and perhaps Florida and their typical late season non-conference rival (whoever they are...Hot Bobby!).

Will the Gamecock defense hold strong? Will Stephen Garcia continue his transformation? Will Alshon Jeffery remain the up and coming wide receiver the Ole Ball Coach keeps raving about (and by raving, I mean actually complimenting him in a very flat tone)? Will Kenny "I would run 500" Miles be able to shoulder the load at RB? My fear is that if the game is not going well, Coach will just try to conserve health for the upcoming games against some SEC East schools and winnable games against Arkansas and Clemson (or Clempson or Clemzin, or however those rednecks are saying it these days).

As always, Go Gamecocks!

Vandy, Vandy, Oh Hell No!

Georgia travels to Dudley Field today for a grudge match between a horrible offense and a horrible defense. Georgia's defense allows nearly 36 ppg, while Vanderbilt's offense averages less than a touchdown per game. On the flip side, Vanderbilt has the next-to-last rushing defense in the SEC, while Georgia has the worst rushing offense. Look for A.J. Green to be difference in the game, as he has been for every Georgia win this year. Without him, the 'Dawgs are likely 0-6. I predict a relatively close game, but in the end Georgia pulls it out 24-10, with A.J. Green throwing at least one touchdown pass to himself. Vanderbilt's season out-look has gone decidely down from its peak after the win over Rice, with South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee left on the schedule.

Friday, October 16, 2009

UAB at Ole Miss

UAB has always had an excellent program and I expect that they will come in to Oxford Saturday night giving Ole Miss their best shot.

The Blazers are a perennial contender in their conference and have always played the underdog role well.

Under Coach Andy Kennedy, the Rebels have improved significantly and are looking forward to another banner season. It's interesting that he would schedule his alma mater for an exhibition game in mid-October, but it should be a good game for both teams to prepare for the season. My dad worked at UAB for 26 years and I have such fond memories of going to basketball games with him. So this will be a particularly hard game for me as I pull for the Rebels against the Blazers.

What's that, you say? These two schools are playing in FOOTBALL? And Gene Bartow is no longer the head basketball coach?


Sorry about that.

Apparently, Ole Miss is playing UAB in a homecoming game that features one of the worst defenses in Division 1 and one of the worst offenses in the SEC. Should be a good day to go out and spend some time with the family and catch the score Sunday morning on

The Rebels do feature one of the SEC's best defense and enter this matchup as a 22 point favorite. From what I've read, UAB has an outstanding QB in Joe Webb but if you stop him, you stop the Blazer offense. This game comes at a good time for Ole Miss and their coaching staff and I look for them to rebound nicely and hopefully gain some momentum before entering the final stretch of the season.
Ole Miss can still finish strong and after stewing about the loss and contemplating giving up Rebel athletics (again), I do think the Rebels will look much better this Saturday.

Ole Miss 31, UAB 13.

Bama Defense at Affecting Quarterbacks

I will try to get a preview of the USCe game out later today. Found this interesting article from ESPN, however. It gives statistical examples of opposing teams' QB ratings when they play Alabama this season. Hope we can keep this going.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Picks - Week 7

Our Records:

Chuck Visor: 5-4, 23-15

Drake McHugh, Esq.: 5-4, 19-19

Woody Widenhoefer: 5-3, 17-9

Brocktoon: 4-5, 17-21

Max Power: 0-0, 16-13

Dick C'est Bon: 0-0, 14-12

Carter Slade: 4-5, 13-14

Full Monte Kiffin: 3-6, 11-17

Arnold Porkzenegger: 0-0, 3-4

Herschel Talker: 0-0, 0-1

My picks for the week (Leave yours in the comments):

Georgia Bulldogs (-7.5) at Vanderbilt Commodores - SEC Network - 11:21am CST: Georgia's ginger QB doesn't play well in the daylight. A.M. kickoff in Nashville. Can UGA make yet another previously inept offense look good? Georgia 17, Vandy 12

Mississippi State Bulldogs (-4.5) at Middle Tennessee State - ESPNU - 12:30pm EST: Sad. MSU is only a 4.5 point favorite to a team that got shallacked by Troy and whose offense is coached by Tony Franklin. The Bolldogs nearly beat Houston last week and will take down MTSU convincingly. Miss. State 38, MTSU 17.

Arkansas Razorbacks (+24.5) at Florida Gators - CBS - 3:30pm EST: Florida's defense is stout, and probably capable of putting pressure on Mallett and covering his receivers like Bama did. Coming off a big, emotional win over LSU in Baton Rouge with all the Tebow Concussion drama, UF may come out a little flat. Will the Coach's let Tebow be Tebow or play it conservative as they did against LSU? Florida 35, Arkansas 21

Ole Miss Rebels (-22) vs. UAB Blazers - Fox Sports Net - 7:00pm EST: Can Ole Miss score 22 points? UAB burned several of us already when we picked them to cover as a 9-point dog against Troy. Not this time, Blazers. Ole Miss 27, UAB 3

Kentucky Wildcats (+13) at Auburn Tigers - ESPNU - 7:30pm EST: Kentucky limps into Auburn banged up at several positions including their starting QB, who probably won't play. I think Auburn is mad about their performance last week and looking to show they're better than what they showed against the piggies. UK is catching them at just the wrong time. Auburn 37, Kentucky 14

South Carolina Gamecocks (+17) at Alabama Crimson Tide - ESPN - 7:45pm EST: I wonder how much of a trap game this might be between Ole Miss and Tennessee. SC's defense is pretty good, and Garcia has shown lots of improvement over last year. Upset special? Alabama 24, South Carolina 17

Bonus, Non-SEC Picks:

Texas (-3) vs. Oklahoma: Don't ask me why, but I have a feeling that the Sooners get it done. Oklahoma 31, Texas 24

Virginia Tech (-3) at Georgia Tech - using our normal ACC Pick'em Rule (always pick the cold ACC team over the hot ACC team) is tough here, Va Tech beat BC bad last week and is only 3 weeks from their beat down of Miami, but Ga Tech just outscored a favored FSU at Tallahassee. But the Jackets are playing a bit above their heads as a team with no discernible defense, and they've won the last 3 weeks. Their streak ends Saturday. Va Tech 27, Ga Tech 18

More Wildcats!: AU-UK Preview

But not the Wildcat offense...the Kentucky Wildcats (who, coincidentally, are one of the answers to last week's trivia question). Auburn, somewhat downtrodden after their waxing at Fayetteville, return to the plains to take on what shouldn't be, but will be, another test of the team's poise, game plan, want-to attitude, etc (6:30 pm Central, ESPNU). Auburn is looking for a bounce back, and a win will put them back in the top 25, maybe around 23 or 24, depending on their performance. I expect another close call for the Tigers, but there are a few things playing in their favor this week:

1) The game is back in Auburn. Auburn loves the home field advantage (who doesn't?), but they tend to play like a different team when it's in front of the fans, and this is not just this year, but several years in recent memory. This is probably one of the strongest advantages they have in this game.

2) The game is back in the night. Auburn looked like they were still asleep in last week's game, and seeing how the other five games were all played at night, with Auburn looking decent (I won't say "good"), Auburn will be up for this one.

3) Will Hartline play? Kentucky's QB was pulled in last week's game due to a sprained knee. I sprained my ankle once, and I had to miss league bowling one week, so I'm guessing that in football, a much more stressing and physical sport, a sprain could easily be reaggravated. On the flipside, bowling is one of the few sports you can participate in and do well while drinking beer.

I hope that last week's team doesn't show up again, and I think that a loss probably woke a lot of the team up to some of its problems. Unfortunately, though, this is the SEC, and no team can be overlooked. Expect a medium scoring effort for both teams, with Auburn returning to the W column in a tight one. Prediction: AU 34, UK 30.

War Eagle!