Sunday, November 29, 2009

Let the BCS discussion begin.

I know it's early, but it's really never inappropriate to discuss how the BCS system is ruining college football, not to mention that it never seems to get the correct two teams into the final game. Let's do a rundown, starting with the most recent:

2008 - Oklahoma gets in, despite that whole situation with Texas and Texas Tech, and a questionable decision to put them into the Big 12 title game, essentially locking them into that slot.

2007 - LSU gets in, despite the regular season loss to Arkansas at the end of the season. Georgia should be in, but gets snubbed since officials didn't want a team who didn't even play for their conference championship to play for a national championship. Results: Ohio State gets drubbed 38-24, Georgia beats Hawaii 41-10.

What do you think the next Uga should be?

I'm sure you've read, but with the passing of Uga VII a couple of weeks ago, what is the University of Georgia going to do? You might think that the university isn't sure, which is probably why PETA gave its suggestion for a suitable replacement. Is it just me, or are those guys crazy?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rivalry Week - by the numbers

84 - Number of seconds #2 Alabama led Auburn on Friday.  It just happened to be the last 84 seconds.

1.5 - Mean number of college football legends in their last regular season game Saturday in Gainesville.  1 is Heisman winner Tim Tebow, who scored 5 TDs before leaving the game in the 4th quarter.  .5 is Bobby Bowden, who has about a 50/50 chance of returning as Florida State's head coach next season.

22 - The most yards on a single rush by both Dexter McCluster and Anthony Dixon on Saturday.  Both runs came on TD drives in the 2nd Quarter.  McCluster's 22 yard scamper was the first play of a 6-play 73-yard drive.  Dixon's run set up Mississippi State 1st and goal at the 4.  Here, the similarities end.  McCluster accounted for 82 of Ole Miss' 90 yards on the ground.  Miss State, on the other hand, rolled up 412 yards of offense (317 on the ground) in a 41-27 route of Ole Miss. 

9 - Number of points scored in 2 overtime games Saturday.  LSU kicked a field goal in OT to beat Arkansas 33-30.  Tennessee scored a TD (no kick required) to beat Kentucky 30-24.

2 - Number of chances it took Les Miles and LSU to figure out how to manage the clock at the end of a game.   If you're going to call timeout, do it right after the play ends.  Use the sidelines and get out of bounds.  Give yourself time to kick the field goal at the end.  Unlike last week, LSU did all these things against Arkansas, propelling themselves to overtime and a win.

7-5 - Regular season record of, count 'em, 6 SEC teams: Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennesee.    How do you determine who goes to what bowl out of that mish-mash?

0 - Number of ACC Division Champs able to beat middling SEC teams on Saturday.  South Carolina dominated Atlantic Division Champ Clemson 34-17.  Georgia outlasted a comeback attempt by Coastal Division Champ #7 Georgia Tech 30-24.  As if we needed more evidence of the SEC's superiority over the ACC.

Friday, November 27, 2009

South Carolina Recruiting Bowl

What you see here is what I like to call Fake Hype. Clemson is very good at fake hype. They brainwash their freshman into thinking God himself couldn't make a creation to top their campus (did I mention it is an exact replica of Auburn's campus?). Have you ever heard a Clemson alumn ever say anything about their school that didn't use absolute terms in describing the greatness that they [wrongfully] think it is?
That's where this picture comes in. This is the "lifesize" heisman poster put out by Clemson before the beginning of the season. The only problem is that not-unlike Clemson's view of itself, this poster is larger than life. The poster is 6 feet tall, which is taller than even brand new cleats and sole inserts could make C.J. Spiller. Just check his stats and look at the poster next to Clemson coach/insurance salesman, Dabo Sweeney. In case you didn't know Dabo is just a phoenetic spelling for what his relatives used to call him when he was a youngin'. Slightly smarter people would have enunciated Dabo into Dat Bo...or Dat Boy...or finally...That Boy.
If you can't tell yet, there is a special kind of hatred reserved for Dat Boy and his team (mainly his team and its fans). The only problem is that we play them after getting beat on by the SEC for a whole season (where we usually become bowl eligible early and then go cold during the home stretch), while Clemson gets to beat up on the likes of Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina, NC State, and Virginia to build their false sense of confidence going into the finale.
Granted, Spiller did have a great game or two on offense this season (one game where he ran, threw, and received a touchdown in the same game). But, his main damage has come on special teams this year. Therefore, he can be negated and they can be beaten; just ask Maryland...who lost to William and Mary but beat Clemson.
So what happens tomorrow during this game? No one knows with these two teams. There have been too many blowouts, too many head-scratchers, and too victories for the the kings of Fake Hype. At some point if I am going to claim all of the hype is fake, the Gamecocks are going to have to expose the fraud. The Gamecocks are going to have to kick away from Spiller, shut him down on the run, shut him down in the slot, and thoroughly pound his defense to keep him off the field. The game is in Columbia at noon, so in order to enjoy the rest of the day, the Gamecocks are going to have to send the Tigers back to the cow pastures with the hype, hopes, and self image shattered. I want and expect nothing less.
Go Gamecocks!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Battle for the Golden Egg 2009

Last year's Battle for the Golden Egg was never in doubt. Ole Miss scored 45 points and State gained 37 yards. It was one of the most enjoyable, humiliating defeats I have ever witnessed.

Mississippi State has improved this year. But, could they really have gotten any worse?! I haven't been back to Starkville in close to 11 years. I swore that I never wanted to return and have kept that pledge. State will probably make this game closer than it was last year - and they always try to incite a fight during the pre-game activities. I expect nothing different from the Hunchback of the Golden Triangle, Dan Mullen.

Dexter McCluster only needs 97 yards rushing to become the 4th player in Ole Miss history with 1000+ yards in a season. Look for Dex to get that and then some and look for the Landsharks to shut Anthony Dixon down. This one will appear to be close until the 3rd quarter when the Rebels will wear the helpless, hapless, hopeless Leghumpers down.

The Golden Egg remains in its rightful place - Oxford.

Ole Miss 34
Mississippi State 13


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Iron Bowl 2009

OK, here's a different perspective:

Auburn finishes up the regular season on the plains against dreaded rival Alabama. Auburn comes in hobbling, starting the season strong with five consecutive wins, only to drop 4 of the last 6, including losses by 7 to both Georgia and Kentucky. Many of Auburn's players (Todd, Ziemba, Trott, etc.) look confused, making mistakes that you'd expect freshmen to make. On the other hand, Alabama is riding a high that, with this win, could mean two straight undefeated regular seasons. There is talk of Ingram winning the Heisman (a long shot, considering who is in this pool), and McElroy is back to his early season form.

I think Auburn may be in this game early, but expect Auburn to fall apart around the 3rd quarter when their depleted team becomes too tired to hang with Alabama. Alabama will look to exploit this weakness on the offensive side with constant running to set up the pass; they will look to exploit this weakness on the defensive side with pressure on Todd, who does not know what to do under pressure.

As much as I'd like to see Auburn win this game, I don't think they are on the same par as Alabama. I'd like to see a close game, but that too will not happen. Prediction: Alabama 34, Auburn 17.

Iron Bowl 2009

The final game of Alabama's regular season is upon us. But before the trip to Atlanta to take on the Gators and then (hopefully) a Championship bowl game in Pasadena, there's arch-rival Auburn. Bama will travel to the plains of Auburn in hopes of retaining the Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Award trophy. This will be the first Bama-Auburn game on a Friday in 21 years. The deck is stacked against the Tigers in this game, but anything can happen.

Auburn's OL is experienced, but thin. They have been lucky to avoid injury here all season. Their rushing attack is lead by Sr. Ben Tate. Tate believed he was the best RB in the state, but forgot about Mark Ingram. If Auburn was actually in Georgia, as some people believe, Tate may be correct.

QB Chris Todd has been inconsistent this season for the Tigers, but is still a quality SEC player. His numbers have been similar to Greg McElroy's. Auburn will have their work cut out for them moving the ball on this Alabama defense. OC Gus Malzahn is a master of misdirection, but a team as disciplined as Alabama should be effective if they play assignment football. Alabama will still try to get to Todd early in the game. Look for blitzes by Sr. Javier Arenas, who is as effective in tackles for loss as he is in returning punts. Other than that, Alabama knows they have a talent advantage. They will play a basic defense and rely on talent and depth to avoid tiring from Malzahn's high-tempo offense.

Alabama will counter as they have all season, with a bruising running game and play action passing. Bama leads the SEC in rushing offense. Auburn is last in the SEC in rushing defense. It does not take a "rocket surgeon" to realize this could be a problem for the Tigers. The fact that Auburn's defense is dinged up from injuries and lack of depth will not help their performance. If LB Eltoro Freeman is not cleared to play, you can bet Ingram will have a performance worthy of a Heisman trophy.

Although I always get nervous at this game, I think the Tide will take care of business. Alabama wins 31-10.

Cochon de lait

My bad. You probably thought you were going to get a picture of the special edition Nike Combat uniform that LSU will sport for the game against Arkansas.

In recognition of LSU fans' affinity for consuming the flesh of its opponents' mascots, Nike has given Oregon a sabbatical from it's role as experimental palate and has developed a new uniform for the Saturday afternoon game against the Hogs - amusingly named "Cochon de lait". Translated, it literally means "suckling pig" or "pig in milk." Much as in North Carolina and Alabama, however, where "barbecue" can be a verb or noun, "cochon de lait" is often used to describe the entire suckling pig-cooking and -eating process.

Regardless of how you feel about the uniform, if you're a Tiger fan, you have to appreciate the diversion from a couple of concerning similarities to the end of the 2008 season. All conspiracy theories regarding Coach Miles' instructions to or not to "clock" the ball with 0:01 left in regulation aside, watching the offense's heroic comeback effort last week fail only because of the team's incredulity at having actually converted on 4th-and-26 is enough to shake any fan's confidence. And that's just the aside on another troubling trend: LSU is 0-2 the last two seasons while heavily favored against Arkansas. They only have Houston Nutt, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones to blame for one of those losses. This time, the best passing quarterback in the SEC has a real chance to make it three-straight (only this time, the line isn't so large).

Earlier this season, I thought it was a matter of time before LSU's running game dominated a game. Surely, then, they would start looking like themselves (ball control, pressure from the defensive line, the occasional razzle dazzle). Now, after Charles Scott and Keiland Williams have played their last downs as Tigers, even I am convinced that Jordan Jefferson is going to have to win the next two games. In a shootout with Arkansas, I don't know if I like those odds.

See you in Atlanta???

Picks - Week 13

Our standings (last week, overall):

Chuck Visor: 4-4, 54-33

Drake McHugh, Esq.: 6-2, 50-37

Max Power: 5-3, 48-30

Brocktoon: 6-2, 45-42

Full Monte Kiffin: 3-5, 42-35

Carter Slade: 3-5, 28-24

Woody Widenhoefer: 0-0, 22-18

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

Arnold Porkzenegger: 0-0, 3-4

Herschel Talker: 0-0, 0-1


Alabama (-10) at Auburn (CBS 1:30 PM) - The Iron Bowl. Intense Rivalry. Throw out the records. Except don't really. The favorite usually wins this game. Auburn just doesn't have the talent to compete with Bama, especially on defense. Auburn won't be able to move the ball on Bama's stout defense. Bama rolls by more than 10. Bring on the Gators.

Clemson (-3) at South Carolina (ESPN 11:00 AM) - Clemson has been surging of late, winning 6 in a row since starting the season 2-3, winning their division, and setting up a rematch with GA Tech for the ACC championship. SC is on the opposite trajectory, having started the season 5-1 but now sitting at 6-5. The 'Cocks last win was 10/24 against Vandy. Clemson will win by more than three, and begin yet another round of "How long will Spurrier stay at South Carolina" speculation.

Ole Miss (-8) at Mississippi State (SEC Network 11:21 AM) - The Egg Bowl. Ole Miss is on a bit of a roll, coming off home wins against Tennessee and LSU. How will they play in Starkville with a new-look Mullen-led Bulldog team looking to avenge last year's embarrassing loss? Pretty well, I'd say. Still, I think the LSU game took a lot out of the Rebs. I think they'll win, but I think maybe MSU keeps it close. I'll take the cowbells and the points.

Florida State (+24.5) at Florida (CBS 2:30 PM) - How much pleasure can one take from beating up on a confused, old man? Trick question: Mayer's CPU is not programmed to experience what you humans call emotions. His phasers are set to "dominate" and that's what his team will do? But not by 24.5. Not with Bama next week with a chance for another NC on the line. Gators win in a blowout, just not a 25 point blowout.

Tennessee (-3) at Kentucky (ESPNU 6:00 PM) - this is the toughest pick of the week for me. UT seemed depleted in their game against Ole Miss. Plus, have you heard they'v had some off-field distractions? A tune-up against Vandy may be just what the Vols needed. The Wildcats just beat Georgia in Athens and earlier this year beat Auburn in Auburn. UK is 7-4 and a win over UT would make them the 2nd place team in the East. Wildcats at home and a 3 point 'dog makes me pick UK in what I expect to be a game that could go either way.

Arkansas (+3.5) at LSU (ESPN 6:00 PM) - This is another tough game to pick. I can see Mallet and the Hogs shredding a Tiger team still hungover from the "debacle in Oxford." If the game comes down to 4th quarter time-management, I'll take the shark-eyed Petrino's team 8 days a week. So, I guess I'll take the soowee pigs, minus the points.

Georgia (+7.5) at Georgia Tech (ABC 7:00 PM) - I expect Ga Tech to win in a shootout. The Jackets would have approximately the same defensive stats on the year if they just put 11 homeless Atlanta panhandlers on the field when the other team has the ball. On the other side of the field, the English-speaking world would be shocked if defensive coordinator Willie Martinez remains employed in Athens next year. Result: lots and lots of points. I think Ga Tech should win, but UGA may be able to score enough to keep it within 8. So, I'll take the 'dogs and the points and probably regret it on Sunday.

Bonus Picks:

Pittsburgh at West Virginia (straight up) - Mountaineers upset the Panthers dream season.

Notre Dame (+10) at Stanford - The Cardinal will send Charlie Weis packing in a manner befitting his tenure - a narrow loss to a suposedly inferior team. So, I guess I'm taking the Irish and the points.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Podcasts

I figure blogging to be a little light on a holiday week, but it is rivalry week and there are some big games this weekend, so we decided to do some more podcasts. Hope you enjoy.

Alabama-Auburn, and other stuff, with Brocktoon and Carter Slade:

Georgia-Georgia Tech with Herschel Talker:

Ole Miss-MSU with friend of the blog and MSU grad James:

Tennessee- Kentucky with Full Monte Kiffin:

Plus some bonus banter and a major broadcasting faux pas:

P.S. I intend to put up a picks post tomorrow for the weekend games.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Local News breaks actual news, film at 11

This video of a local Louisiana newscast is funny mostly because of the treatment of the outcome of a college football game as near-apocalypse.  It's the most hyperbolic over-reaction to a loss since, well, you know.  You'd think the local news in a place raveged by Hurrican Katrina a few short years ago would have a slightly better sense of perspective.  This is Louisiana so, of course, you would be wrong.

I also like this video for pointing out that Les Miles' attempt at CYA in claiming he doesn't know who called for the spike is a little disingenuous given the video of him signaling to spike the ball.  Paraphrasing the dad from A Christmas Story, "That's real news, not like that politics glop."

Speaking of dads, an anecdote from my dad's trip to Oxford yesterday:

Setting - The Grove.

Female LSU fan: (mistaking my dad and his friend for Ole Miss fans) Tiiiger bait!!

My dad: Roll Tide!

Female LSU fan: F*** Nick Saban!

My dad's friend: You probably did.

Friday, November 20, 2009

UGA VII dies

I'm sad to report that UGA VII has died at the ripe age of 4 (in people years). I liked UGA VI better, as he was good at biting Auburn players.

UGA, you will be missed.

Auburn: No Game = No Loss

Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I guess 7-4 is better than I expected at this point.

Nutt vs. The Hat

Well, it's here. Ole Miss vs. LSU. Biggest rivalry game of the year. The Magnolia Bowl. The 50th anniversary of the season when Ole Miss beat LSU 21-0 in the Sugar Bowl and only allowed a total of 76 yards of offense to the Tigers.

Lot of questions about tomorrow's big game in Oxford. Will Jordan Jefferson play and if so, will he be effective? Will Dexter McCluster continue his amazing display on offense? What will Jon Chavis' defense do to contain Dexter? If Peterson shuts down Shay Hodge, will Jevan be able to connect to other receivers? Will the new offensive line for Ole Miss have another good day opening holes and giving Snead time to find those receivers? Will Sandra Bullock lead the Hotty Toddy before the game? Will the Klan realize how idiotic they look and sound in front of Fulton Chapel in the "free speech zone" before they leave (hopefully for good)?

Most Rebel fans will tell you that the last two games of the year are both big rivalry games, but with different aspects to the games. LSU is the rival we love to beat more than anyone else. MSU is the team we dread losing to more than anyone else.

More often than not this game is played close. I don't expect anything different tomorrow at 2:30. Vegas was right last week and I was wrong. I thought UT and their vaunted defense would come in and shut down the Rebel offense. Again this week, Vegas has Ole Miss as 4 point favorites. An unranked team playing at home against a top 10 team is favored by 4? I would LOVE to believe that Ole Miss wins this game by 4 or more and marches on to the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day.

But, I can't. Don't get me wrong. I'll be cheering for the Rebels and hope they pull it out. But, my skeptical Rebel heart has been broken too many times. LSU wins this one in a close one by 3 and the Rebels get a repeat trip to Dallas as a consolation prize after running by the Leghumpers next week.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Picks - Week 12

Our standings (last week, overall):

Chuck Visor: 7-2, 50-29

Drake McHugh, Esq.: 6-3, 44-35

Max Power: 6-3, 43-27

Full Monte Kiffin: 7-2, 39-30

Brocktoon: 3-6, 39-40

Carter Slade: 1-0, 25-19

Woody Widenhoefer: 0-0, 22-18

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

Arnold Porkzenegger: 0-0, 3-4

Herschel Talker: 0-0, 0-1

Miss. State (+11.5) at Arkansas - SEC Network 12:21 ET - MSU is improved everywhere but in the win-loss column. Oh, yeah, and they laid an egg against Bama at home last week. What chance should I give them to show any life against Arky? They need to win both of their last 2 games just to get bowl eligible. I think the cowbells will save all their emotion for the Egg Bowl next week. Hawgs roll.

Chattanooga at Alabama (no line) - SEC Network (split coverage) 12:21 ET - The only interesting question is how long Ingram stays in and whether he gets the stats he needs for his Heisman campaign. Roll Tide.

Florida International (+45) at Florida - (PPV) 12:30 ET - Bama beat FIU 40-14 back in September. Urban will want to beat the Airport by more than that. Go Gators!

LSU (+4) at Ole Miss - CBS 3:30 ET - I got burned last week because I thought Auburn and Tennessee should have been favored so I took them plus points. Vegas knew more than I did, as both UGA and Ole Miss covered. This week, I'd expect LSU to be favored in this game. Vegas says it's the Rebs that have the upper hand. With fear and loathing, I'll take the fightin's Nutts. PS, don't wear white to the game, you may be sending an unintended message.

Vanderbilt (+17) at Tennessee - ESPNU 7:00 ET - Some rivalry. UT is 70-27-5 all time against the smart kids. Vandy last won in 2005, and that was their first win in 22 years. Last year, when Vandy went 6-6 in the regular season and won the Music City Bowl, the 'Dores were actually favored by 3 and, in true Vandy fashion, lost 20-10. Vols need the win to get bowl eligible. Despite their off-field troubles, I like UT to win, and win comfortably, just not by 17. Give me the Dores and the points. I'll regret it Sunday.

Kentucky (+9.5) at Georgia - ESPN2 7:45 ET - Herschel Talker said earlier in the season that all these close Georgia games might make him have a heart attack. Well, apparently Uga VII couldn't take it any more. Even without their mascot, I think the Dawgs can handle the Cats. But can they beat 'em by 10? I think that UK can keep it close. I'll take UK and the points.

Auburn (+5) v. Bye Week - Auburn's the kind of team this year that could lose in a bye week, AMIRIGHT?

Bonus Picks:

Ohio State (-12.5) at Meeshagan - Right now, Michigan couldn't beat Western Michigan (of the Mich directional schools, they're the bad one). Buckeyes roll. Remember the Rose Bowl, they'll lose to Oregon then.

Harvard at Yale - the 126th playing of The Game. The Elis leads the all-time series 65-52-8. But the Crimson have won the last 2 and 7 of the last 8. Harvard (6-3, 5-1) will end up 2nd in the Ivy after losing to Penn last week. Yale (4-5, 2-4) is having a down year. Crimson signal-caller Winters will light it up in the air in the first half, then Gordon will punish the Bulldogs on the ground in the second. Illegitimum non Carborundum -- ipso facto!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The hits just keep on coming

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is this the smile of a shoplifter?

First, the caveats: Yes, every team has stuff like this happen every now and again.  Sometimes in spectacular fashion, a la Jimmy Johns repeatedly selling blow to undercover cops outside the football complex, sometimes in a mere yeoman's effort, such as Anthony Dixon getting arrested this past summer for a DUI.  Casting stones, glass houses, etc. etc.

But, what really separates this story (UT player Nyshier Oliver arrested for shoplifting a shirt from Dillard's) from the garden variety shoplifting, domestic violence, assault, DUI and generally raisin' a ruckus type-offenses that players from every team get cited for every year is timing. 

As the saying goes, timing is everything.  This news breaks on the heels of the arrest of 3 Vol players last week for armed (with a pellet gun) robbery.  And, oh yeah, there's this dang quote from Coach Kiffin again:

"We've had zero arrests in 11 months here,"  Kiffin boasted on Wednesday, Nov. 11, which was not only one day before pellet-gun-gate, but actually four days after Oliver was arrested.  That's right, Oliver was arrested Sat. Nov. 7, just hours before the UT-Memphis game.

That means either Kiffins did not know one of his players had been arrested when he made his boast, or decided to make a boast that he already knew was false.  Either way, not good for a Coach who's already earned a reputation for letting his mouth write checks his ass can't cash.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

See Dexter Run - and Run and Run and...

Dexter McCluster didn't much appreciate the Tennessee defense talking trash about his size. Or speed. “They talked the whole game. They chirped and chirped and chirped. We’d get a 15-yard run and they’d talk trash. We’d get another one and they kept chirping. They never seemed to get enough and it kept me motivated,” he smiled. “After the long run (71 yards for the game-sealing TD) I thought they’d quit, but they didn’t. Then, I had to laugh.”

Apparently, Coach O's brilliant move to make his defensive linemen run laps around the team hotel at 6 yesterday morning didn't help them have the freshest of legs. At least, that's what the rumor was according to UT's own radio man, Bob Kesling.

I've been to many, many Rebel games in my lifetime. But the one I went to Saturday was probably one of, if not the, most impressive displays I've ever seen in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Dexter had 282 rushing and 324 all-purpose yards against the 3rd best defense in the SEC and 13th best in the nation. That's the most rushing yards given up by a Tennessee defense in 113 years of playing football. It was incredible and surreal. And while I enjoyed every minute of it (including watching my 2 year old daughter experience her first Ole Miss game and scream Hotty Toddy early and often), I had to wonder where this offensive gameplan was back in September in Columbia or in Auburn a few weeks ago.

But all Rebel fans and players can do is look ahead to the last two games against their biggest rivals - the coonasses (LSU) and the dumbasses (MSU). Win out and Ole Miss is probably playing in the Capital One Bowl. Split the games and the Cotton Bowl is still possible. Either outcome is very good. But still not what we dreamed of for this season. Oh well.

I'll write about the upcoming game against the boys from Baton Rouge later, but will end this post with one of my favorite poems:

I'm a Rebel,
I'm a Rebel,
I'm a Rebel through and through.
And I'd rather be a Rebel,
Than a coonass from LSU!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A House Divided

In anticipation of the 113th playing of the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry, a series began in 1892 and played continuously since 1944, I decided to do an email interview with two of my friends, Josh and Jennifer, one an Auburn grad and the other a Georgia grad, married since April, on what it's like to be "A House Divided."  The series is a close one, with Auburn leading 53-51-8.  As Brock noted on the podcast, the most plated rivalry in 1A is Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Go figure.

Drake: When did you find out that Josh/Jennifer was an Auburn/Georgia fan?

Josh: I don’t remember.

Jennifer: I can't really remember, I guess pretty soon after I met him.  I do remember seeing his license plate from Alabama and figured we would just be friends :)

Drake: How did you respond?

Josh: I thought, at least she’s not a uat fan.

Jennifer:   I was just glad it wasn't Florida or Tennessee.  Those would have been deal breakers. 

Drake: You don't have one of those "House Divided" car tags do you?

Josh: No, I told her that we could get one for her car, but mine would have AU. Funny thing about that though, we have a big laugh every time we see a house divided that is like UNC/Penn State “House Divided” or some other schools not in the same conference or even region of the country. Really?!? UNC and Penn State are big rivals now? That’s not a house divided. That’s cheer for one team in basketball season and the other in football season.

Jennifer: Absolutely not!  I don't want anything but GA on my car.

Drake: What years were you at AU/UGA?

Josh: 1994-1998.

Jennifer: 2003-2006.

Drake: What are some of your memories of the AU/UGA rivalry from those years?

Josh: I remember the awful tie that ended Auburn’s 20+ game unbeaten streak in 1994 and set us up for our loss to Bama the next week; and the horrible overtime loss in 1996 (which stood as the longest game in 1-A for years). We were up by 21 I think at the half and let them come back to tie it and take it into overtime. One of the worst games I’ve ever had to suffer through. Also if I recall both those games were night games in mid-November—very, very cold. Psychologists say that we humans are much more in tune with negative memories than positive ones, which along with my not taking the road trip to Athens, is probably why I remember little from the two away victories we had while I was in school.

Jennifer:  Not really any...  

Drake: Any other AU/UGA memories that stand out?

Josh: I went to the 2001 game in Athens and sat in the student section, when we upset UGA on their home field. That was a great feeling.

Jennifer: Our sweet mascot, UGA, jumping up to bite the mean Auburn player [Ed. Note: wide receiver Robert Baker; this was the 1996 OT game Josh referenced above.] AND the blackout from two years ago.  That was the first game we watched together and we were with his family.  I was very proud when we whooped them! 

Drake: Do you generally cheer for your spouse's alma mater? Is that difficult?

Josh: Yes. It was difficult at first because she wouldn’t cheer for AU. So I became a big Gator fan for a few weeks. That quickly cured her of her dislike for Auburn.

Jennifer: Yes, sometimes depending on who they are playing.  I try to at least not cheer against them out loud.

Drake: Have you been to any college football games together? How was that?

Josh: Yes, but not since we’ve been married, and no Auburn/UGA games yet. We’ve been to UGA vs UK, and AU vs Vandy. We cheered for each other’s team…for the most part.

Jennifer: Yes, but not GA/AU games YET!  It was fun b/c both times we were cheering for the same team. 

Drake: Will you watch the AU/UGA game together? Why or why not?

Josh: We’ve talked about it, but haven’t decided yet. I think with both teams having a somewhat disappointing season, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Maybe I’m just na├»ve though.

Jennifer: I think so although I have thought a lot about watching it separate to avoid an argument.  This game should be very interesting. 

Drake: Have you watched the game together in the past? How was that?

Josh: Yes, the last two years. It was awful because UGA won both times. Actually it was worse two years ago when AU was actually good and should have won the game. By the time the AU/UGA game came around last year, I had already written off the season, so it wasn’t so bad. That’s why I think it won’t be that bad this year. I know she’s already given up on her Bullpuppies for the season.

Jennifer: Yes, but thankfully UGA has won since we have been watching them together so its been easy for me.  Hopefully this year will be the same.

Drake: What will Sunday be like in your house if UGA wins?

Josh: Crying and Gnashing of teeth…pretty much like the Monty Python scene “Bring out your dead”

Jennifer: We will get up and go teach our Sunday school class and I will make lots of comments about the game and be fairly obnoxious.  All of our friends will also give him a hard time at church and it will be very fun...for me!

Drake: If AU wins?

Josh: Happiness and Joy…like Christmas morning, Thanksgiving Dinner, and New Year’s Eve all wrapped into one.

Jennifer:  I will be very disappointed for many reasons.  It will also depend on how the game goes. 

Drake: Any other thoughts on being a "House Divided"?

Josh: Don’t call yourself a “House Divided” if you went to Kansas and your wife went to Florida State, or the scorn of all the real “Houses Divided” will be upon you.

Jennifer: My main concern is when we have children.  I want my kids in red and black every weekend and I know Josh will want orange and blue.  Also, their bedrooms will most likely be very tacky.  I don't see either of us backing down on that.  Oh, and one more thing - GOOOOO DAWGS!! 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gators at the USC

Saturday at 3:30 is gametime. It is also Camo time. In honor of the troops, the Gamecocks will wear camo uniforms with the players' last names substituted out, in favor of words like service, honor, leadership, etc. There, of course is another added benefit that I am surprised South Carolina was able to set up. Just think about it...we will be able to put as many guys on the field as we want, and no one will be able to tell how many are out there. We can play 12 on 11, or hell even 15 on 11 if we have to. Florida will not be able to tell who to cover, who to block, or where we are running. All they will be able to see is the ball. I can't believe we didn't think about this in the past. Everyone already knows that Tennessee wears orange so they can go straight from the prison, to highway pickup, to the field without changing clothes. Now the Gamecocks can go from hunting to playing football without changing clothes. They gave us the formula, we just never decided to use it until now. For some reason the Gators incorporated orange, but never thought of the multi-faceted fashion possibilities available to them. For that reason look for the Gamecocks to sneak up on the gators, put together a strategic plan that makes Florida fight on more than one front, and use the art of war to bring the Florida civilization to its knees. Go Gamecocks!

Trivia Pt. 5: Rivalries

So, in honor of the South's Oldest Rivalry, a new trivia question:

What are the longest running rivalries in college football? How about the top 15 in I-A, and we'll say the top 5 in I-AA.

Answers are posted in the Comments section.

Bama-MSU Preview

This week, the Tide makes the short trek to Starkville, MS, to take on the MSU Bulldogs. Head Coach Dan Mullen has done very well in his first year at the MSU helm. The cupboard was not left completely bare by Sylvester Croom, and Mullen has done a good job installing his spread offense. MSU is still at heart, however, a physical running team. Led by the #8 rusher in the country, Anthony Dixon (avg 125 yards per game), MSU will often try to run up the middle on Alabama's defense. MSU's QB, Tyson Lee, is not known for great arm strength or size. Look for Mullen to have Lee throw quick passes to the wide-outs in order to spread out the Bama defense and open lanes for Dixon. Saban likely knows this. Alabama will respond by staying in its base 3-4 and try to keep fresh DL's and LB's on the field. If MSU get's desperate and starts throwing every play, Saban's Nickel formation will pick him off all day.

Alabama will respond with what Saban believes is necessary to win a MNC--a balanced offense. Bama made a statement early in the LSU game last week by passing more in the first series than in the rest of the season. Ingram will still run up the middle, mix in some Wildcat, and catch jailbreak screens, but look for McElroy to take more shots down field. Alabama will switch to a more ball-control offense if MSU has early success against the Tide defense.

I was originally confident about this matchup, but these types of games always worry me. The emotional win and clinching of the SEC West last week could have the Tide in for a let-down, but if Coach Saban can't keep the team focused, then nobody can.

Score Prediction: Bama 28-10

Picks - Week 11

Brocktoon here, filling in for Commissioner McHugh, who is busy working for the man today, with your picks for the week. A successful week was had by most last week, and several people are up over .500 against the line. The current standings, with last week's record and overall record, are as follows:

Chuck Visor: 6-4, 43-27
Drake McHugh, Esq.: 8-2, 38-32
Max Power: 8-2, 37-24
Brocktoon: 8-2, 36-34
Full Monte Kiffin: 7-3, 32-28
Carter Slade: 1-0, 24-19
Woody Widenhoefer: 0-0, 22-18
Dick C'est Bon: 0-0, 14-12
Arnold Porkzenegger: 0-0, 3-4
Herschel Talker: 0-0, 0-1

Now for this week's picks:

Coach O's Revenge: Tennessee (+5) at Ole Miss (12 pm ET, CBS) - The real-life Farmer Frankie visits his old team as Tennessee looks to become bowl-eligible after a slow start. The Vols look impressive as of late with wins over Georgia, South Carolina, and Memphis, and a near-defeat of Alabama. Their most lopsided loss was a 10 point loss to Florida. On the other hand, Ole Miss is 6-3, playing like 3-6. A loss to Auburn set them back, but a win here would make them bowl-eligible as well (you can't count both of the I-AA victories). I would have figured Tennessee was favored here, but it might be the case of a homer line. I'll take Tennessee with the outright victory.

SEC East Cellar Dwellers: Kentucky (-3) at Vanderbilt (12:21 pm ET, SEC Network) - Kentucky is looking for a 6th victory on the season to make them bowl-eligible. Vanderbilt is looking forward to finishing their schedule and beginning the basketball season. Kentucky covers.

Spurrier's Revenge: Florida (-17) at South Carolina (3:30 pm ET, CBS) - Florida is looking toward their meeting with Alabama in the SEC Championship game, but they must first wrap up regular season SEC play with a trip to the Old Ball Coach's new home. South Carolina is looking to salvage what started as a nice season that has slowly gone down the crapper. South Carolina has dropped the last two by considerable margins and now looks to possibly winning 7 games. I normally would take South Carolina here, but I think Florida is going to stick it to them. Florida covers and makes Steve Spurrier thrown his visor at least once.

The South's Oldest Rivalry: Auburn (+4) at Georgia (7 pm ET, ESPN 2) - Neither team has played great down the stretch despite starting strong. Auburn would like to go into the Iron Bowl with a victory, and Georgia would like to go to a bowl. Both teams have a lot to play for. Look for a tight game, with Auburn's defense making the difference. Auburn wins the game and saves a little bit of face.

Tech vs. State, Just Like in the Allstate Commercials: Louisiana Tech (+23) at LSU (7 pm ET, ESPN U) - Are there any players left for LSU who can still play? With Jarrett Lee at the helm, LSU wins, but not by 23. I'll take the Bulldogs to block.

I've Got A Fever, And The Only Prescription Is More Cowbell: Alabama (-12.5) at Mississippi State (7 pm ET, ESPN) - Alabama looks to continue their dominance over competitors. Greg McElroy seems to have regained his composure, and Julio Jones scored a touchdown for a change. Alabama still wins the game, but with Mississippi State playing at home, they will beat the spread. If this game was the same line in Tuscaloosa, I'd take Alabama.

Hawg Heaven: Troy (+13.5) at Arkansas (7:30 pm ET, CSS/ESPN 360) - Troy, who has now won 7 games after starting 0-2, takes on an Arkansas team that has been hit or miss over the last 3-4 games. Arkansas is happy to get Troy at home, though, and a win will make Arkansas bowl-eligible also. They will take it to Troy just like Florida did, behind-the-woodshed style. Arkansas covers the spread, winning BIG.

Bonus Pick #1: Iowa (+16) at Ohio State (3:30 pm ET, ABC) - The wheels finally fell off Iowa after winning several close games, including a 3 point squeaker to Arkansas State. Ohio State is coming off a big victory over Penn State and has a lot of momentum. Iowa's backup QB, James Vandenberg, not only looks like he's never played football before, he's also named after my favorite 80s metal band. Ohio State covers, embarrasses Iowa.

Bonus Pick #2: Utah (-19.5) at TCU (7:30 pm ET, CBS (maybe?)) - This game will undoubtedly decide the winner of the Mountain West conference. TCU is riding high, winning their last 4 by an average score of 44-6. Utah is no slouch, with their only loss a 7-point win by Oregon. I'd like to think Utah will keep it close, but I'm not sure they will. Despite that, I'll take Utah to beat the spread and regret it later.

Yaw, Yaw, Yawky Top!

Well, it's finally here. The game where Ole Miss faces off against its former coach and the absolute worst head coach hire in NCAA football history. UT, he's all yours.

Ole Miss comes into tomorrow's game hoping to repeat last November's success. The Rebels need to win out or at worst go 3-1 during this stretch to continue momentum within the program.

Tennessee has been playing incredibly well lately and I expect them to give the Rebels a real difficult game. Monte Kiffin has probably been looking forward to his defense wreaking havoc in Oxford for a while. The Vols have dealt with a minor distraction this week which has already been chronicled on the blog earlier this week. But, I don't think the incident stops the Vols from being focused and continuing their improvement.

While I am hopeful that the Rebels will come out fired up and playing their best, I have a bad feeling about this one. Unless Jevan and the offense can handle the famous Tampa 2 defense and unless the defense plays lights out against an improving Crompton and Co., it could be another long day for Rebels fans.

Wish I could call this one for the Rebs, but...

Rocky Top and Coach O, 27
Rebels, 13

Preview: The South's Oldest Rivalry

It's Auburn's next to last game, which means it is time to take on Georgia in the South's Oldest Rivalry. Take a gander at the program from the 1959 game, 50 years ago, also at Sanford Stadium.

This is honestly the first time I remember neither team being ranked when they meet, and quite a slide from 2004's premier matchup of top 5 teams that Auburn won 24-6. Georgia has had the upper hand lately, winning the last three. Auburn's last victory came in a 31-30 win in 2005 with a last minute field goal. Check out this nice summary for the past twelve meetings between the teams. The home team has dropped 3 of the last 4 games between these two teams, and 8 of the last 12.

Neither team is playing well, with Georgia losing to Tennessee and Florida by considerable margins and Auburn dropping three in a row, including a home loss to Kentucky, before correcting with a win over Ole Miss. This Georgia fan really thinks Auburn is going to put the hurt on, but I'm not sure.

Now for the annual historical analysis that comes with this game: Although not as storied as the Auburn-LSU matchup, this one is much closer. Auburn holds a slight edge over Georgia in the all-time series, 53-51-8, but Georgia holds the all-time scoring edge over Auburn, 1747-1698. This is the seventh-most played series in the country. Most noteworthy that I can remember is this reminder of Robert Baker almost being bitten by UGA V back in 1996, probably one of the most memborable moments in the recent rivalry.

As I alluded to in the podcast, I'm surprised Auburn isn't favored in this game based on current play. I think Auburn has a chance to take this game and get at least 8 wins (with the dreaded Iron Bowl left), and if the offense can play well like they have the last couple of weeks, they just might pull it out. The defense must take control, putting the game in the hands of Joe Cox, who has struggled at times throughout the year. For a prediction, make it Auburn 27, Georgia 23.

War Eagle!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Police Blotter: SchadenfreUT Edition

Three Vol players have won the award for most ironic use of a pellet gun.   This story combines the least admirable aspects of old-UT and new-UT: (1) a reputation for misbehaving players so bad that Orson Swindle at tracks off-field chicanery by giving a "Fulmer Cup" award to the school with the most trouble with the law each offseason; and (2) lane Kiffin's propensity for shooting off his mouth.  Juxtaposition is a bitch:

Lane Kiffin, yesterday, praising Ed Orgeron: "He deals with a lot of our discipline and has done a phenomenal job with it," Kiffin said. "We've had the highest (team) GPA we've had in five years. We've had zero arrests in 11 months here."

The AP, this morning, reporting: KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Three freshmen Tennessee football players, including highly touted wide receiver recruit Nu'Keese Richardson and starting safety Janzen Jackson, were charged with attempted armed robbery Thursday morning. Richardson, 18, and Jackson, 18, along with defensive back Mike Edwards, 18, and companion Marie Montmarquet, 22, were charged after a report of an armed robbery at a gas station in an area known as "The Strip" at the edge of Tennessee's campus.

Adding insult to injury, the getaway car: a Toyota Prius.  While the desire to sneak up on their unsuspecting prey and then make a silent getaway is admirable, they could use a little work on their camouflage:

A Volunteer TV News photographer on the scene captured the suspects while they were being identified. At least one of them wore a black University of Tennessee t-shirt with an orange Adidas logo and the phrase “impossible is nothing.”

Reactions are coming in from around the league.

Steve Spurrier: "You can't spell pelleT gUn without UT."

Urban Meyer: “I think it’s funny that Nu’Keese had to cheat to rob people and still couldn’t do it.”

Alshon Jeffery: "Sign with South Carolina and pump gas? Sign with Tennessee and rob gas stations."

As Drudge would say, developing . . .


We're still working out the kinks a little bit on the podcasts. If you can't get one to play, click on the blog title so that it opens that post in its own page, it should play there.

Podcast: Tennessee - Ole Miss

This is Full Monte Kiffin and me discussing Tennessee generally and previewing UT - Ole Miss.

Podcast: Auburn-Georgia

This is Brock and me talking Auburn generally and AU-UGA specifically.

Podcast: Bama-MSU

This is Brock, Sugar Lumps and me reviewing Bama-LSU, talking Bama generally, previewing Bama-MSU, and reviewing Auburn-Furman.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

High Four!

I once proposed that college football games be divided into five 12-minute quintiles.  This guy foiled my plan.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Game Day Open Thread

Will Saban get to hold another one of these, this time while wearing Crimson?  He needs to beat his old team if he wants a chance this year.

While the showdown in T-town is the biggest game of the week . . . well, actually it's pretty much the only game this week.  Two years ago on LSU-Bama weekend, the C'est Bons were staying with us for the weekend.  Watching the game with Dick was not an experience Mrs. McHugh cared for (LSU won).  After, we went to Jim n' Nicks for supper, and not of word of football was uttered by anyone.  Last year, we were in the Smoky Mountains with the C'est Bons, plus the in-laws (Mr. and Mrs. Slade, Bama fans).  It made for an interesting afternoon, with the Slades and Mrs. McHugh watching upstairs, the C'est Bons downstairs, but each able to hear the others' cheers and boos.  When Bama finally won in overtime, we all went to dinner and, again, not a word of football was uttered.  This year, Mrs. McHugh has announced that she'll be watching with her Bama-lovin Daddy and no one else.  Together, they are the two most pessimistic Bama fans you'll ever meet.

Arky and SC will likely be a "good" game in that it matches two roughly equal teams: Arky O v. SC D = good football; SC O v. Arky D = mediocre football.  Also, the game doesn't really count for much, SC, though 2nd in the East, is already out of contention for winning the division, and at 6-3 is already bowl eligible.  Arky is actually in last place in the West and, at 4-4, they need two wins just to get bowl eligible.

East Champ Florida is playing the worst team in the SEC 2-7 (0-5 SEC) Vandy.  Already Vandy is out of contention for a bowl game.  Florida already clinched its division and is a 35-point favorite.  Unless Tebow gets another concussion, this is a snoozer.

While I guess UT-Memphis is some sort of cross-state rivalry, what sort of rivalry is it really when one team owns a lifetime 20-1 record over the other.  However, the last time these two teams met (2005), UT narrowly prevailed 20-16.  The '05 Tigers were 4-4 when they met the Vols and ended the year 7-5 with a MotorCity Bowl victory over Akron.  This year, Memphis is 2-6 and dead last in C-USA East.  After losing tomorrow, Memphis will lose any hope for going to a bowl this year.  Impress your friends by pointing out the Memphis coach (for now) Tommy West played for UT in the '70s. 

Miss State has the week off to get ready for its home date with Bama next week.

Everybody else decided it was I-AA week.  Auburn's playing Furman.  Georgia's playing Tennessee Tech.  Kentucky's playing Eastern Kentucky and Ole Miss is playing N. Arizona.  Since we're all a litlle unfamiliar with these teams, here's a little primer.

Furman is a 2,600 student liberal arts school in Greenville, SC, founded in 1826.  Their mascot is the Paladins and their color is purple.  They play in the Southern League, which includes some 1-AA powerhouses like App State, Georgia Southern, Elon and Wofford.  It also includes Samford and the Citadel.  Furman is 4-4 on the year.  Vandy's coach Bobby Johnson used to be the coach at Furman.  As Brock pointed out, Two-a-days star Max Lerner plays for Furman.

Tennessee Tech  is a public university of 8,200 students in Cookeville, TN.  I once had a TA from Cookeville who had the strongest country/southern accent I've heard this side of George Lindsey.  Their mascot is the Golden Eagles and their colors are purple and gold.  They play in the Ohio Valley Conference.  TTU's coach is Watson Brown (his website lists his phone number and e-mail, give him a call, find out how he's doing).  Watson Brown used to be the head coach at UAB and Vandy.  He is the brother of Texas' Mack Brown.  TTU is 5-3 this year.

Eastern Kentucky is also in the OVC.  It's a school of 15,000 students founded in 1906 and located in Richmond, Kentucky.  Their mascot is the Colonels and their colors are maroon and white.  Their head coach is Dean Hood.  The Colonels are 5-3 on the year.

Northern Arizona is a school of 17,000 founded in 1899 and located in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Their mascot is the Lumberjacks and their colors are blue and yellow (their unis look like West Virginia).  They play in the Big Sky Conference with I-AA powerhouse Montana, who beat Furman in the championship game in 2001, Bobby Johnson's last year at Furman before leaving for Vandy.  Their coach is Jerome Souers.  The Lumberjacks are 5-3 this year.

Chuck Visor's thoughts from Scranton, Pa

This short, all-purpose post is coming from my blackberry at the Gourdgeous (they have tons of pumpkins in the lobby) Hilton Garden Inn in the next-town-over from Scranton Pa. Here are the highlights:
My picks for the week, since I can't seem to post a comment on the picks post via the berry.
Ole Miss
Auburn (over my alma mater)
Notre Dame
Penn State

The South Carolina vs Arkansas game is and has been scary for me. Arky always plays us tough. We haven't played anyone tough in about a month. That's why my pick (for the 1st time this season) went against the Gamecocks. I am trying a little reverse psychology this week. I also know one thing for sure. If we fumble at all in the 1st quarter of this game, Spurier's head will explode. I am hoping for a Gamecocks win, but am guarded after watching their performances the last few weeks. Go Gamecocks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Guest Blog: Sugar Lumps on Bama-LSU

Carter Slade had the pig flu this week, so I asked Sugar Lumps to give us this week's Bama preview.   Being the Saban-inspired trooper that he is, Carter fought through and posted a game preview anyway.  Well, this game can't have too many previews.  So, I present to you: Sugar Lumps on "The Showdown in T-town."

Battle of the coaches…or the bad quarterbacks?

As regular Alabama previewer Carter Slade has been reportedly stricken with the pig flu, I am honored to be writing the preview for the hugely important Bama-LSU game. This is the 73rd meeting of these two teams, with Alabama leading the series 44-23-5; yet LSU is 6-4 the last 10 years, has won 7 of the last 9 meetings, and since 1982 has only lost 3 times in Alabama (while playing Bama, and has won the last 4 in Tuscaloosa). The billing the last couple years has been the “battle of the coaches”, yet this year the whole “coaches battle” seems to be out of the picture, with some seeing this as the “battle of the bad quarterbacks”.

Jefferson has been playing better, more consistent says Miles, since LSU’s dismal performance against Florida, but then again, the opponents’ defense was a lackluster Auburn one and Tulane, enough said. On the good side of the tracks, McElroy has been on a slippery slope as of late. Alabama only has 2 offensive TDs in the last 3 games and McElroy is 0-10 passing in the red zone during these last 3 wins. However, if you ask McElroy himself, or Saban, they would say his passing game against Tennessee was spot on.  Saban wants to go deep on Saturday, even if it means a turnover or incomplete pass; he wants to create opportunities with the passing game, and score on big plays outside of the red zone.

The teams match up pretty well on offense. Both have great talent at the skill positions on offense, while Bama has the edge on the O-Line front. LSU has lost their starting left guard and center; the replacement center is former Saints and Falcons quarterback Bobby Hebert’s son…T-Bob Hebert, I’m not kidding, his name is T-Bob. T-Bob says he knows he has a size disadvantage against Mount Cody (6-3 282 v 6-5 365), and will have to win with technique. LSU is 101st in the nation at giving up sacks, and Bama is 14th in sacks. This is going to be key, getting to Jefferson. He is no doubt a great athlete, but he is inexperienced. To piggyback, no pun intended, on one of Slade’s previous posts, quarterbacks have suffered greatly against Bama’s defense versus the rest of their opponents. Look for Bama to pressure Jefferson early and often, and to try to limit the big plays.

LSU has the 4th rated defense in the SEC and is dependent on its strong secondary. They will be looking to Patrick Peterson to stop Julio Jones, if and when McElroy can get the ball to him. Peterson will no doubt remember the OT 27-21 Bama win last year when Jones caught a pass with Peterson all over him at about the 3 yard line. This will be a great match up of sophomores; Peterson can match the muscle that Jones has, but Jones has a slight edge in the height department. Yet, Peterson has been struggling with the flu this week…with Saban wanting to go deep, look for Jones to break out of his second season slump.

Peterson won’t be the only one looking to avenge last year’s poor performance, Ingram only had 6 yards rushing on 5 carries last year. Given LSU is not as strong on rush defense, look for Ingram and Richardson to have big games to hopefully open up the passing game. Also, Roy Upchurch says he is back to 100% for first time this year, he says he’s ready, whatever his role. Upchurch is a workhorse, and great blocker on top of being a talented runner. I say he’ll be used as a prominent part of a trio with Ingram and Richardson.

Mrs. Sugarlumps and I were at the 2007 Bama-LSU game where I thought Bryant-Denny was going to come down when Arenas ran one back, only to see LSU score twice in the remaining 2:49 to win. Speaking of which, Arenas is creeping up on some NCAA records.

This game will no doubt have huge BCS implications. No one has to work to “get up” for this game. It will come down to which quarterback can perform better, and special teams (Edge: Bama (Arenas)). If Bama can confuse Jefferson as they have with other more talented QBs, and limit the big plays, we will go on for the win. I look for Bama’s passing game to rediscover itself, cover the spread (Bama +9) and win, 27-14. Roll Tide!

Northern Arizona? Really?!

I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay...

Ole Miss hosts the FCS Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in Oxford on Saturday. Not even going to waste time on this one.

Rebels win big and hopefully someone besides Jevan Snead gets playing time at the QB position...

Saban Bowl III

Like Super Bowl III, Wrestlemania III, and Rocky III...errr, The third "Saban Bowl" has the potential to be one of the best battles of the year. If Bama wins, they clinch the West. If LSU wins, and wins the rest of their SEC games, Atlanta and another crack at Tebow's head is the prize. Alabama will be fired up for this game. Coach Saban has already made comments this week to this effect, and the crowd is sure to deliver. The Tide should be well-rested and have the offense clicking on all cylinders. Don't believe Saban's "throw caution to the wind" comments earlier this week. McElroy will throw down field more often, but only if Ingram and Richardson are successful running early.
LSU will likely respond with veteran RB Charles Scott, who looks like a possible future version of Mark Ingram. Scott will have a tough time running against the Bama D, however. Miles knows that Saban will throw the blitz book at his young QB, Jordan Jefferson, in an attempt to confuse him. Look for LSU to try a lot of quick passes and slant routes to pick up chunks of yardage wherever they can. This game may very well come down to the best defensive front seven. LSU has not done a good job of pressuring QB's all year. If they give McElroy time in the pocket (something McElroy has not had since the Arkansas game) he will make them pay. LSU's secondary is one of the best in the SEC, but McElroy can go through his reads and pick them apart. There is still no word on whether TE Colin Peek will be healthy for this match up. He will be the Tide's not-so-secret weapon on offense this game if available, and a guaranteed first down with each reception.

This should be an exciting game. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Bama drops this one at home, but I think the Tide will win 20-10.

Picks - Week 10

Picks – The who-the-heck-knows edition.

First, the updated standings (last week, overall):

Chuck Visor: 5-2, 37-23

Drake McHugh, Esq.: 2-5, 30-30

Max Power: 2-5, 29-22

Brocktoon: 2-5, 28-32

Full Monte Kiffin: 4-3, 25-25

Carter Slade: 0-0, 23-19

Woody Widenhoefer: 0-0, 22-18

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

Arnold Porkzenegger: 0-0, 3-4

Herschel Talker: 0-0, 0-1

Since my pick record is pretty bad, I’ve decided my picks can’t be any worse in the games this week, where I know nothing about some of the teams and don’t even know who I expect to win in others, much less who might cover the spread. Here goes.

LSU (+7.5) at Alabama (3:30 p.m. / CBS ) – Since I think either team has a chance to win, the obvious pick would be LSWHo and the points, right? However, I have a feeling, based on nothing concrete or factual, that Bama is tired of all the criticism of their inept red zone offense and general inability to separate themselves as a truly elite team. Therefore, I think they will come out after their off-week loaded for bear (or tiger as the case may be) and put up some points. Also, have we forgotten that just 3 weeks ago the conventional wisom was LSU was overrated? LSWho? Exactly. Bama wins and covers.

Vanderbilt (+35) at Florida (7:15 p.m. / ESPN or ESPN2) – OK, here I know I’m picking UF to win, but by more than 35? I got burned last week thinking the Gators were showing a lack of offense that might hurt them against the Dawgs. Unfortunately, the Dawgs lack both offense AND defense (and special teams?) Vandy scored a bunch against Ga Tech last week, but Ga Tech has no defense. How can I not pick the eye-gouginest, referee-criticizinest team in the land to cover against Vandy. Gators cover.

SC (+7) at Arkansas (12:21 p.m. / SEC Network) – These match-ups of two middling teams are always tough to pick. I could see an Arky blowout a la the Arky-AU game, or I could see a close SC win a la the SC-Ole Miss game. Has Arkansas won a close game all year? Has SC won any game that wasn’t close? I think SC’s defense keeps them in it and they have a chance to win it at the end. SC plus the points.

Memphis (+22.5) at Tennessee (7 p.m. / ESPNU) Is Memphis really that bad? Seriously, I couldn’t tell you anything about the Tigers football team this year. What’s their record, who have they played, are they in C-USA? I have no idea. I know Tennessee, and I know they’ve only beaten one team by more than 22 – UGA 45-19. They did beat SC by 18 last week, but they only beat Ohio by 11. UT’s playing better of late, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they cover tomorrow.

Well, well. Everyone’s picking accuracy is about to go up because the following games against I-AA cupcakes have no line:

N. Arizona at Ole Miss (7:30 p.m. / CSS) – Quick, name N. Arizona’s mascot. I thought so. Forward Rebels! You’re gonna be bowl eligible!

Tennessee Tech at UGA (1 p.m. / UGA PPV) – I think former UAB coach and Texas coach Mac Brown’s brother Watson Brown coaches at Tenn Tech. Finally, a team Georgia’s staff is capable of out-coaching. Hunker down, dawgs!

E. Kentucky at UK (1 p.m. / Local Coverage) – These aren’t the Hilltoppers, right? That’s W. Kentucky. Who’s E. Kentucky? Go wildcats! (Unless that’s also EKU’s mascot.)

Furman at Auburn (1:30 p.m. / AU PPV) – Furman is in South Carolina and in the same league as Samford. Their mascot is the Paladins. War Eagle!
Bonus picks:

Navy (+12.5) at Notre Dame – I know exactly 3 things about the Navy football team: (1) they nearly beat Ohio State in the season opener; (2) they won a game last week without attempting a forward pass; (3) Hoover High alumnus Jared Bryant played there. With absolutely no basis for doing so, I’ll take the Midshipman and the points.

Ohio State (+5) at Penn State – I believe both teams would lose if the laws of physics allowed it. For games like this they should suspend the overtime rules and just let the game end in a 5-5 tie. And the teams should wear leather helmets and striped rugby shirts. Also, can someone tell me why the Nittany Lions play in beaver stadium? Wouldn’t it be great if SC played a game in “Happy Valley”? OK, gun to my head I don’t think Penn State can win by more than 5, there.

Ole Miss Recap, Furman Preview

So, Auburn exceeded expectations last weekend, beating Ole Miss 33-20 and becoming bowl eligible again. I didn't see that coming, but Max Power certainly told us it would be close. I'm not sold on Auburn being "back", but if they can play better, we may beat Furman and Georgia, getting up to at least 8 wins (with Alabama looming in the distance). I didn't watch the game (again), but from what I've been told, Auburn got up after the injury that sent Zac Etheridge to the sideline for, probably, the rest of the season. Luckily, Etheridge will be OK and will be ready next season.

On to the Furman game...the Paladins come in with a 4-4 record, 3-3 in the Southern conference. The only things I really know:

1) That shirt is awesome! A bunch of kids at the school got them when they went on the college trips last year. I think that is hilarious!

2) At least one player on their team went to Hoover (safety Max Lerner, also from MTV's Two-A-Days).

Auburn should take this one easily as a tune-up for a night-and-day Georgia team. Prediction: Auburn 45, Furman 17.

War Eagle!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Told Ya So

Auburn won. Big. But it could have been much different. (Thanks rogue, corrupt SEC officials.) There was no indisputable evidence and so many holding calls that weren't called against the Tigers, but magically were called against the Rebels.

But give Auburn credit. They played hard and were hungry for this one. I knew it was going to happen, but didn't want to say it - wish I wasn't typing it right now.

Stubborn coaching, plus a terrible quarterback that needs to be benched, plus poor OL play, plus tired defense, plus slow receivers = not the best season in over 40 years. The waiting continues. The death march goes on - on to Northern Arizona. Maybe the Rebels can defeat another FCS opponent.

Here's hoping the Rebels don't end up needing a win in Starkville to become bowl eligible...

On a related note, RB Rodney Scott deserves much praise and recognition for his heroic actions in possibly saving Auburn's Zac Etheridge from paralysis or death. Outstanding, Rodney!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Belated Halloween

Meant to post this yesterday.  Enjoy watching the slowest white boy you will ever see run a punt back for an 87-yard TD.  50 years ago, Heisman trophy winner Billy Cannon's Halloween run lifted No. 1 LSU over No. 3 Ole Miss 7-3.  Guess losing on Halloween is a bit of a tradition for the Rebels.  Interesting historical note: this was Ole Miss' only loss in 1959.  They met LSU again in the Sugar Bowl, beat them 21-0, and shared the national championship with Syracuse.  Oh yeah, and Billy Cannon later served 2 years in federal PMITA prison for being part of one of the top ten conterfeiting rings in U.S. history.

Nothing quite that colorful happened yesterday, if you don't count the wardrobes.  Tennessee served up more tricks than treats by beating South Carolina in festive black jerseys and orange pants.  And I'm not sure if Georgia's black helmets and black pants (c'mon, they're the sons a' bitches in SILVER britches!) were intended to recognize Halloween, or, like when they wore black jerseys against Alabama, to mark their own funeral. 

Halloween was a treat for UF, who, with more than a month to go until the SEC Championship game in Atlanta on December 5, punched its ticket.  Florida's win over Georgia gives the 'Dawgs 3 league losses (LSU, UT and UF); SC's loss to UT gives the 'Cocks 3 SEC losses (UGA, UA and UT).  The Vols already have 3 SEC losses (AU, UF and UA).  The Gators only have two league games left (Vandy and SCar), so even if they lost both, they'd still be in.  In case you're wondering, UK already has 4 league losses (UA, UF, SC and MSU) and Vandy is winless in league play (0-5).  Speaking of Vandy, their loss to Ga Tech puts them at 2-7 on the season and ensures that the Commodores will not be back-to-back bowling this year.

In the West, the title will likely be decided next week in Tuscaloosa between LSU and Alabama.  If Bama wins, they're in.  LSU will have two league losses (UF and UA) and even if Bama lost both its remaining SEC games (MSU and AU, so not likely) it would own the head-to-head tie-breaker over the Bayou Bengals.  Every other team in the West already has at least 3 SEC losses.  However, if LSU wins Saturday, they're in the driver's seat, as both The Tide and Tigers would have 1 SEC loss, and LSU would own the head-to-head tie-breaker.  Bama would have to hope LSU slips against either Ole Miss or Arkansas (not unreasonable) to sneak in to the Championship game.  Believe it or else, Auburn's win yesterday (which also got them bowl eligible at 6-3) puts them at 3rd in the West.  All 3 of Auburn's losses are against SEC foes.  Ole Miss and MSU also have 3 SEC losses each.  I know what you're thinking, it's possible to have some sort of crazy four-way SEC West tie. (It can't be 5-way because Ole Miss and MSU still have to play each other.)  Here's how.  Bama loses to LSU then drops its last two to MSU and AU, making them 5-3 in league play.  LSU wins against Bama, but then loses to Ole Miss and Arky, and the Tigers are also 5-3 in the SEC.  Auburn wins out (against UGA and Bama) so they're also 5-3 in the SEC.  Then, either Ole Miss (UT, LSU and MSU) or MSU (UA, UA, OM) wins out, and they're 5-3 too.  If you think you know who would play in ATL under that (admittedly very unlikely) scenario, show your math in the comments.

Also, enjoy this inteview of frequent King Football commenter Sugar Lumps: