Friday, September 17, 2010

Tennessee vs Florida

Which UT team will show up for the Florida game? Will it be the team that gave Oregon all they could handle in the first half, or will it be the team that got manhandled during the second half? Honestly at this point I have no clue. The big thing this week will be the running game. The team in this series has won the majority of the previous matchups has had the most rushing yards. If Tauren Poole gets going anything can happen. Of course, Poole and Oku seem to be the biggest offensive threats so far this season so I am sure Florida will load the box and force Tennessee to throw.

Defensively Tennessee ran out of gas last week and the lack of depth really showed so if Tennessee’s offense isn’t productive this could be another nightmare. Florida isn’t without issues either. Brantley will be starting his first road game and the center to qb exchange could still be an issue in a hostile environment. It doesn’t help that one of the wideouts likes to make death threats and is no longer on the team.

Overall, Florida does not look as good as they did last year with Tebow but they still are talented. The deciding factor likely will be if Florida can find an identity on offense and if Tennessee decides to play all four quarters even if the score doesn’t go their way. Tennessee is a young team that will hopefully improve and cause some upsets later this year and although Florida is down this year, Tennessee has a very tough task at hand.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Police Blotter: Fear the Jorts

Florida receiver Chris Rainey was arrested and charged with a 3rd degree felony for "aggravated stalking" based on a text message he sent to a lady friend described by the AP as "the woman he dated on and off the last three years."  His crime, again per the AP:

Officer Jesse Bostick said the woman fell asleep and missed a call from Rainey. Rainey then went to her home, they talked and she told him to leave. According to Bostick, the woman got the text a short time later and called police.

The text message? "Time to die, Bitch!"  If I do not see Bama fans holding signs with those 4 words on them on October 2, um, well, I'll be disappointed at the missed opportunity.

Since Rainey is innocent until proven guilty, I'll assume that this text was not meant as a threat.  Maybe he meant "die" as a Shakespearean euphemism for orgasm.  He wasn't stalking, he was sexting!  Or maybe, like Sideshow Bob's "Die Bart die" tattoo, he was simply using the German definite article.  "Time to the, Bitch."  Gibberish, but non-threatening gibberish, lawya!

Apparently, Rainey's text was not the most threatening message the former-sometime-girlfriend received:

"I did not want to have him arrested," she said. "When the police came, I signed papers to not press any charges. I don't fear for my safety. ... People all over the country have been calling my cell phone. I'm not afraid of him. I'm more afraid of all the repercussions."

Dear Jorts-wearers:  It may not be the best idea to send threatening messages to a woman's cell phone right after one of your players was arrested for, well, the exact same thing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Coaches' Poll

Let's look at this week's Coaches' Poll, which is 1/3 of the BCS formula:

1 Alabama (55) 2-0 1470 1
2 Ohio State (4) 2-0 1410 2
3 Boise State 1-0 1278 3
4 Texas 2-0 1262 4
5 TCU 2-0 1168 5
6 Oregon 2-0 1122 8
7 Florida 2-0 1108 6
8 Nebraska 2-0 1095 7
9 Oklahoma 2-0 1062 10
10 Iowa 2-0 1050 9
11 Wisconsin 2-0 889 11
12 LSU 2-0 740 16
13 Arkansas 2-0 738 15
14 Utah 2-0 625 20
15 Auburn 2-0 618 20
16 South Carolina 2-0 527 25
17 Miami (FL) 1-1 417 12
18 Arizona 2-0 410 23
19 Stanford 2-0 338 NR
20 Penn State 1-1 296 14
21 West Virginia 2-0 264 22
22 Michigan 2-0 254 NR
23 Houston 2-0 220 NR
24 California 2-0 131 NR
25 Missouri 2-0 82 NR

Conference breakdowns:

Conf.      Ranked Teams      High                  Low                           Median
SEC:         6                         1 (Alabama)     16 (South Carolina)    12.5 (LSU/Arkansas)
Big 10:      5                         2 (Ohio State)   22 (Michigan)             11 (Wisconsin)
Big 12:      4                         4 (Texas)          25 (Missouri)              8.5 (Nebraska/Oklahoma)
PAC 10:   4                         6 (Oregon)        24 (California)            18.5 (Arizona/Stanford)
MWC:      2                         5 (TCU)            14 (Utah)                   9.5 (TCU/Utah)
ACC:        1                       17 (Miami)          17 (Miami)                17 (Miami)
Big East    1                       21(West Virginia) 21(West Virginia)     21(West Virginia)
C-USA    1                        23 (Houston)       23 (Houston)            23 (Houston)

Last week the SEC had 7(!) teams ranked in the top 25. While Georgia dropped out after losing to USCe, and Florida dropped one spot after another rocky start offensively, the remaining SEC teams in the poll all moved up (except Alabama, for obvious reasons). Some, like Auburn and Carolina, moved up considerably. Virginia Tech's loss to James Madison didn't seem to hurt Boise State; they remian at #3.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Carolina's Path to Atlanta

2010: Year of the Gamecock?
With South Carolina’s impressive wins over Southern Miss, 41-7, and East Division rival Georgia, 17-6, you’re starting to hear people say that this may be Spurrier’s best shot at taking the Gamecocks to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. No doubt, Carolina is legit this year. Garcia seems to have matured into a game-managing quarterback that doesn’t make mistakes. This probably has more to do with the emergence of a strong running game on the shoulders of freshman monsterback Marcus Lattimore than Spurrier’s off-season regimen of tough love. Plus, the Ellis Johnson coached defense has been stout for a few years now.

So, Carolina seems to have finally gotten over the hump the year that Florida is without both Dan Mullen and Tim Tebow, lacking an offensive identity, and having trouble with simple things like snaps, etc. Tennessee is in a very down year and Georgia has been defeated on the field. With all due respect to Chinese astrology, all this seems to suggest 2010 as the year of the Gamecock.

Pencil in every East game except Florida as a win - Vandy and UK on the road and home against UT. However, looking at Carolina’s schedule, I started to think the Gamecocks are at a distinct disadvantage in their West Division draws.

Carolina plays Auburn, Alabama and Arkansas – three teams picked pre-season to be tops in the West. Florida plays Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State. Georgia, effectively 2 games behind with their loss on Saturday, still has the most manageable West Division schedule – Auburn, Arkansas and Mississippi State. Can Carolina win the East without beating 2 out of their 3 games against West teams?

Arkansas comes to Columbia and if the Gamecocks can run the ball with Lattimore and keep the ball away from Mallet, I think they’ll win that one. The Gamecocks play Auburn at Jordan-Hare, but play Furman the week before, basically giving them 2 weeks to prepare. I say that game is a coin toss right now. Carolina does have a bye week before facing Alabama in Columbia, but at best I’d give the Fightin’ Spurriers an outside chance at an upset against the defending Champs. Getting 2 out of 3 won’t be easy.

Fortunately for the ‘Cocks, so long as Florida loses at least one league game (Alabama looks likely at this point) and SC sweeps the East, SC can lose to 2 out of 3 from the West and still claim the East with a win Nov. 13 in the swamp. Some scenarios:

(1) The only way the Florida game won’t be for all the marbles is if there is more than a 1 game difference between the two teams’ league records. Let’s say SC is somehow undefeated and UF has losses to both Alabama and LSU (as many question marks as there are for the Gators, I can’t realistically see any other SEC team on their schedule beating them – Georgia with AJ Greene back?). In that scenario, the Gamecocks could lose in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and still win the East.

(2) Losing 2 out of 3 to the West will only hurt SC if Florida goes undefeated through Nov. 13, meaning SC could beat Florida and still not play in Atlanta.

(3) More likely, Carolina has at least one loss (Alabama) and UF has at most 2 (Alabama and LSU) and the Showdown in the Swamp determines the East Champ.

So, right now, the East looks like a 2 horse race to be decided Nov. 13. Which, of course, given how crazy college football is, means it will not work out this way at all.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The UT Martin game last week was not televised on basic cable so unless you were one of the few who watched the game on PPV, ESPN game plan, or on the internet the Vol's are still a mystery this season. I for one watched the game and can tell you that although depth is an issue and may lead to losses later this year, the Vol's played very sound football. Martin may have been less talented but the Vol's showed up to play (just ask Mississippi if this is important), and both UT’s offense and defense played with discipline.

Oregon will be much more of a challenge than last weeks opponent, and this game will likely be an indicator of how well the Vol's will do this year. Offensively, game management will be key with most emphasis being stressed on the running game and keeping Oregon’s offense off the field. Both backs for UT ran very well in the opener and it will be interesting to see how they perform against a better opponent. Although UT’s offensive line in inexperienced, they are quite bigger than Oregon’s defensive front and may open up some holes. UT’s receivers are very young as well, but here again a size advantage may benefit Tennessee. I would also look for both tight ends to be more of a factor this week especially Rivera who left Oregon a couple of years ago before coming to Tennessee.

Defensively coach Wilcox’s game plan will be key. He has said that the only reason he has stopped Oregon while at Boise Sate is assignment football, but look for some trickery to confuse Oregon’s offense. Crowd noise and humidity will likely also be a factor especially on Oregon's qb who will be making his first away start.

I am not predicting a win, but I think the score will be closer than the 12 point spread given Oregon’s inexperience at qb, jet lag, exposure to humidity, and confusion caused by the loud and rowdy fans at Neyland.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Recap: Auburn defeats Miss. St., 17-14

Auburn opened
SEC play this season with a win over SEC West opponent Mississippi State, 17-14. Either team could have run away with this one and/or loaded up with a lot of points if it weren't for turnovers. Both teams lost a fumble and threw an interception that seemed to stall any momentum they possibly had at the time. Both offenses seemed to sputter just five days after showing up to the extreme, undoubtedly due to this game being an SEC matchup rather than one against a lesser team.

While Auburn's offense didn't show the same game they have in the past, the defense did step up. Nick Fairley had to be the defensive star, recovering a fumble, intercepting a batted ball, and coming up with a handful of tackles. On the offensive side, Cameron Newton showed he is a one-man playmaker, single-handedly converting several third downs with his legs, but the offense misfired as a whole many times when they could have put the game away.

The game was a much lower-scoring affair than I predicted in the preview, but the margin of victory was just about on the nose. The game really was decided with Mississippi State's failure to convert their last fourth down, a mere 25 seconds left in the game. Up until that point, I wasn't sure we had enough to get the victory, but as they said several times on the broadcast on ESPN, any win in the SEC is a quality win.

The Tigers have a 9-day break before their matchup with yet another southern Tigers team, Clemson, which is scheduled for a 6 pm Central kickoff on the plains. Let's hope Auburn can keep this ride going.

War Eagle!

Picks - Week 2

Britney Spears

Last week's records:

Full Monte Kiffin: 8-5

Drake McHugh, Esq.: 8-6

Brocktoon: 7-7

Dick C'est Bon: 0-1


Leave your picks in the comments.


Auburn (-2) at Mississippi State, 7:30 ET / 6:30 CT, ESPN – One thing’s for sure – this will not be a repeat of the 3-2 score last time these teams met in Starkville. There will be offense, and lots of it. And you don’t have to be Admiral Ackbar to see the huge trap potential here. Home underdogs seem to do well on Thursday nights. Auburn’s defense showed no signs of improvement over last year in their opener. I see the potential for a road loss similar to what happened to Auburn at Arkansas last year. Auburn will have to score early to take the crowd and the cowbells out of the game. I still think Auburn has the better athletes, and with Mississippi State, I want them to show me something more than beating up on Memphis before I buy the hype. I am very hesitantly taking the Tigers.


Georgia (+3.5) at South Carolina, 12:00 ET / 11:00 CT, ESPN2 – Like MSU, I tend to take the “I’ll believe it when I see it” approach to South Carolina. But, it’ll be a big road test for Georgia’s freshman quarterback, who won’t have his go-to receiver with AJ Greene out. South Carolina always plays Georgia close and occasionally scores the upset. If this were a straight-up pick-em, I might take Carolina. But with a nearly 4 point line, I think I’ll take the ‘Dawgs, not because I like them to win, necessarily, but because I think it’ll be an extremely tight game.

USF (+15) at Florida, 12:21 ET / 11:21 CT, SEC Network – USF has had this game circled the entire off-season. I don’t think it matters. The Bulls don’t have the athletes to hang with the Gators. However, someone will have to be able to actually snap the ball to the QB before that matters. USF will hang close, but not win. So, I’ll take the Bulls and the points.

LSU (-9.5) at Vanderbilt, 7:00 ET / 6:00 CT, ESPNU – Vanderbilt was incredibly mistake prone against a Northwestern team that they had every chance to beat. LSU was mistake prone against a UNC team they actually did beat. LSU’s lack of discipline and offensive identity will bite them this year, just not in this game. Bayou Bengals cover.

Penn State (+12) at Alabama, 7:00 ET / 6:00 CT, ESPN – I think that Alabama will win by about two touchdowns, so I guess I’ll take them to cover. I wonder how much Saban will run up the score on Joe Pa, with all the “history and tradition” hoopla surrounding this game. Do you think Bama will let Penn State stay close enough so that a late score by the Nittany Lions bring them within the spread? Maybe, but I’ll still take the Tide.

UL-Monroe (+34) at Arkansas, 7:00 ET / 6:00 CT, FSN South – Pass-happy ‘Hogs will win and cover.

Oregon (-12) at Tennessee, 7:00 ET / 6:00 CT, ESPN2 – Did you see that Oregon scored 72 points last week? Tennessee’s defense, as decimated as it may be, will still give the Ducks more of a challenge than they’ll see all year in the PAC-10. Ironically enough, if Lane Kiffin were still on Rocky Top, I’d pick the Vols to cover, based on their underdog performances against Florida and Alabama. Dooley, on the other hand, will take chances to try to win, and in the process let the Ducks cover. I’m taking Oregon.

Western Kentucky (+24.5) at Kentucky, 7:30 ET / 6:30 CT, CSS – Western Kentucky is in only their second year of Div. IA football and with a new head coach. I think Kentucky blows them out of Commonwealth Stadium. Cats cover.

Ole Miss (-20.5) at Tulane, 9:00 ET / 8:00 CT, ESPN2 – There’s strong temptation to extrapolate last weekend’s stunning loss, say, hey, Tulane has to be better than Jacksonville State, and pick Tulane to at least cover, especially with such a huge line. Sample sizes of one, however, have terrible predictive value. Then there’s the cliché: Houston Nutt is at his best when his back’s against the wall. Clichés usually have some truth behind them. Ole Miss either pulls it together or else this is going to be a long season. I think the Rebels will play well and actually cover.

Bonus Picks:

Florida State (+7.5) at Oklahoma – Based on Oklahoma’s poor performance last week in barely beating Utah State, I have to think this line is a little large. It’s possible the Sooners were saving up for the Seminoles, but I also remember a recent game where FSU travelled west as an underdog and came up big against BYU. I like the Seminoles to at least cover, if not win outright.

Miami (+8.5) at Ohio State – I normally don’t like picking Ohio State, but this team does seem to have turned a corner. I think that the Buckeyes will win and cover.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Preview: Auburn vs. Mississipi St. (tee-hee)

First, let me say that I had a nice long preview typed up yesterday, only to have it not save or write to the blog. So here is my attempt to salvage a lot of what I had written.
Is Auburn playing Mississipi St. or Mississippi St.? I think it's Mississippi St., but I'm not sure.

Auburn and Mississippi State are both coming into the game Thursday with high-powered offenses from their previous games against Sun Belt opponent Arkansas State and C-USA opponent Memphis, respectively. I didn't watch the Mississipi State-Memphis game, but it appears that Mississippi State's offense was firing on all cylinders while their defense absolutely manhandled Memphis. Auburn, on the other hand, had a potent offensive output but showed a defense that appeared sluggish, similar to how the defense played last year. Cameron Newton lived up to the hype, being named SEC Offensive Player of the Week.

I would say that both teams look to score many more points than they did the last time these teams met in Starkville. 2008's game was an Auburn win, 3-2. This game appears to be headed in a much different direction, and I think we should expect a shootout decided in the last half of the fourth quarter. The line is anywhere from a 1.5 to 2.5 point spread in Auburn's favor. If the line stays at or below 1.5, I'd say take Auburn. If it gets above 2, I'd say take Mississippi State. As far as a prediction, let's go with Auburn 44, Mississippi State 42. The over-under line is at 53.5 or 54, and I would say go with over on that one--I know this is the SEC now, but they're both nice offenses.

War Eagle!

If Jerrell Powe knew 49 was more than 48 . . .

He'd be PISSED!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Review: First Football Saturday 2010

Mrs. Brock and I met Drake and Drake Jr., along with a few friends, at a local pub/eatery to watch football on this, the first day of college football season 2010. We did not attempt the eating challenge this time (4 lbs. of meat in the form of a mega burger--see picture to the right), but a good time was had by all. Both Auburn and Bama were playing on the big screens, although the Bama fans couldn't watch the game without sound, so we had to listen to that while watching the Auburn game. No big deal I guess.

Drake Jr. was easily the youngest person in this pub/eatery, and he was a livewire. He was carrying around his toy pistol, shooting at people. Then he got into the iPhone and its crazy blinking light app, making the iPhones "kiss", shaking the phones around, all of which was caught on video by Mrs. Brock. Drake Jr. also pretended to tell me stories in jibberish, and I pretended to make the iPhones disappear, which amazed him. Later, probably when he was tired of playing Leapster, Drake Jr. decided his new name was going to be Frank Peepee, which we later coined as his drinking name (a name he would use only while in bars). I suggested that the persona of Frank Peepee should speak in third person, which was funny to all at the table above 5 years old. Drake told Drake Jr. he should get ready to go, to which Drake Jr. replied "You have to say, 'Frank Peepee, you should get ready to go.'" Classic Frank Peepee.

Once we left, Drake Jr. decided he was no longer Frank Peepee since we weren't in the pub, but at our friends' house, Drake Jr. did not want any of the dogs to lick him, so I had to carry him in. He was yelling at one of the dogs to sit, which he did not immediately do, to which Drake Jr. said, "It is hard to be a teacher of dogs." Well spoken, Drake Jr.

Drake Jr. ate some Auburn cookies shaped like tigers which he enjoyed thoroughly. He was actually offered the tiger head or the butt, and he chose the butt (I knew Drake Jr. was a butt man). Later he told Drake he wanted ice cream also, but he was already pretty hopped up on cookies. Drake Jr. enjoyed shining the laser on the floor and making the dogs chase it. One of our friends wanted Drake Jr. to play with the dogs, so she held one of them up to him. Drake Jr. petted him, then pointed out that the dog had a penis. He then remarked two more times about the dog's genitalia, to which Drake said, "You can stop staring any time." Drake Jr. let the conversation go after a little while. He never really warmed up to the dogs either.

In all, football took a back seat to the antics of Drake Jr./Frank Peepee. Auburn won the game 52-26, but they did not cover, as I suspected they may not. However, as I mentioned earlier, the over/under of 58 points was easily achieved. I realized, though, that Drake Jr. is some good entertainment, and Frank Peepee even better. We may try to watch most of the games in some sort of pub in hopes of seeing some more of Frank Peepee.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rocky Road Ahead?

A new season and another new coach. Most think Tennessee will struggle this year and rightfully so. After another coaching change and more player attrition it would be safe to say even if none of the above happened with a new qb and offensive line most would be concerned about this season. I would be lying if I said that I was not concerned but some things do look promising.

Tauren Poole seems to be a great running back. He probably should have had more carries last year but he was stuck behind Bryce Brown on the depth chart mainly because Lane Kiffin wanted his new recruit (Brown)to be happy. The new head coach (Dooley) and renewed competition may have been a factor in Brown's departure. The O line is all new but during the off season they have really worked together to become a cohesive unit. I am also interested to see what our D can do under new defensive coordinator fro Boise State, Justin Wilcox. Lastly, Matt Simms is an unknown at qb but has reportedly been very impressive as of late in practice. Nothing much will be learned this week as the Vols open against UT Martin, but next week will be crucial when Oregon comes to Knoxville.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's only two years old, but in each season, an aspiring ACC squad with lofty national expectations comes into this game and gets crushed by (to this point) Alabama. It happened to Clemson in 2008 and VaTech in 2009. UNC was a great re-cast of the prior ACC roles - and the good people of Chick-fil-a even did the league a favor, by substituting the somewhat tarnished LSU Tigers for the Alabama juggernaut. One month ago, all indications were that this game would make be a more evenly-matched contest than its predecessors.
But then a funny thing happened. One of the most highly regarded athletic programs in the country's football team -- coached by a man who was recruited to clean up the mess that was the late-80s/early-90's Miami Hurricanes -- is staring down the barrel of a prickly NCAA-led rectal probe. Marvin Austin, arguably the Heels' best defensive player, is suspended indefinitely. We still don't know how many other starters will be withheld, but the number 16 has been prevalent.
Aside from the enormous distraction, UNC (especially its defense matching up against LSU's impotent 2009 offense) appeared to have a legitimate shot - if not the upper hand - in this early contest. But if the Heels lose anywhere near that number of starters, especially on defense, I don't think there's any way they can stay on the same field with LSU. The Tigers are on a 29 consecutive game tear through regular season non-conference competition. Though most of those games were played against the likes of La Tech, North Texas, App State and others, there were some noteworthy non-conference wins in recent years. Virginia Tech, Washington and Arizona State come to mind. The Heels might not be the same team that LSU has been preparing for, but they will be the first of two live ammo non-conference matchups in 2010.
Nothing is guaranteed with it comes to season openers (or Les Miles for that matter), but wait for West Virginia to come to Baton Rouge in a few weeks if you want to measure this team against a quality non-conference opponent.

Picks - Week 1

Leave your picks in the comments.

Southern Miss (+13.5) at South Carolina, 7:30 PM Eastern, ESPN – the first game of the 2010 season (GET EXCITED!!11!). Don’t get me wrong, SC wins and the game won’t really be in doubt. But there’s a lot of distance between winning and winning by 2 TDs. Given: (1) Spurrier’s love-hate (minus the love) relationship with his starting (?) QB; (2) SC not wanting to show much ahead of next week’s showdown with Georgia; and (3) the offense-free 2009 Thursday night opening game crapfest between SC and NC State – I just can’t pull the trigger on SC with this line. I’ll take the Eagles and the points.


Miami (OH) (+36.5) at Florida, 12:00 PM Eastern, ESPN – This game against Zook’s alma mater was scheduled when he was still the coach in Gainesville. I think there’s some pressure for UF to run up the score to show off their shiny new QB and raise their pre-season rankings a bit. This is a huge line, but Meyer seems to generally beat up on cupcakes, so I’ll take the Gators to cover.

UL-Lafayette (+28.5) at Georgia, 12:21 PM Eastern, SEC Network – See UF/Miami analysis above. UGA will want to let their young QB get some real experience ahead of the SC tilt next week. UGA probably also feels disrespected by being lumped in with SC, Ark, Aub, LSU and the other teams kind of lumped together at the middle rung of the SEC. Bulldogs playing for respect and to get their coach off the hot seat. They cover.

Kentucky (-3) at Louisville, 3:30 PM Eastern, ABC – Any team with a first-year coach is dangerous and unpredictable. UK doesn’t quite fit in that category because Joker’s been on staff as the coach-in-waiting for a while. Louisville, where Kragthorpe left the cupboard very bare, brings in much-heralded Florida DC Charlie Strong as their new head coach. Ordinarily I’d pick UK here without a second thought. I’m going with my first instinct and picking the ‘Cats, but Strong in his first game of his first year makes me nervous about it.

Jacksonville State at Ole Miss, 3:30 PM Eastern, CSS – No line = no worries. Masoli-free Rebs still romp.

UT-Martin at Tennessee, 6:00 PM Eastern, PPV – I’m not sure if there’s no line because this game is “off” or “pick-em.” I kid (maybe). Cherish this win, Vol fans.

Arkansas State (+31) at Auburn, 7:00 PM Eastern, FSN South – I don’t see Auburn trying to run up the score with a quick turnaround for next Thursday’s game against in Starkville. Plus, I’m not sure Auburn’s D can shut anyone down to the extent they can beat someone by 31. I’ll take Ark State and the points.

San Jose State (+37.5) at Alabama, 7:00 PM Eastern, PPV – Bama will not just get their back-ups in early, thanks to a knee scope on Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, the backup RB, Trent Richardson, will start. SJSU is ba-a-a-a-ad, but a 6 TD spread is a lot. Flip a coin. I’ll take Bama, ‘cause the backups are pretty good.

Tennessee Tech at Arkansas, 7:00 PM Eastern, PPV – No line = no worries. Maybe if Tech were coached by the non-Watson Brown brother. No, not even then.

Memphis (+21.5) at Mississippi State, 7:00 PM Eastern, ESPNU – Dear Bulldogs, Schadenfreude and Glass Houses do not mix. Before you take too much pleasure in a certain Ole Miss QB’s apparent ineligibility, bear in mind that the only reason State doesn’t have its own laptop-thievin’ signal caller is because they were the runners-up in the battles for the services of both Masoli and Newton. As for the game, um, does Memphis still have a football program? Bulldogs cover.

Northwestern (-4.5) at Vanderbilt, 7:30 PM Eastern, CSS – I don’t care how “folksy” and full of “down home charm” your new coach is, the Purple Wildcats will win nerd-bowl 2010.

LSU (-6.5) vs. North Carolina, 8:00 PM Eastern, ABC – Wow, this line went from 3 to 6.5 today, presumably based on rumors that lots of UNC players will be ineligible. Buy the Tigers now, before this line gets any higher. A more risky bet might be taking the under on current number of expected UNC player suspensions (16 per ESPN’s Joe Schad).


UConn (+3) at Michigan – Michigan is a mess right now and Uconn is pretty good. Losing this game would send the wolverines into a season-long tailspin with RichRod gone before November. This pick is more hope than prediction, Go Huskies!

Boise State (-2) vs. Virginia Tech – Speaking of picks borne out of hope, the popular pick of the Hokies in this game I think is largely from media people who don’t want a season-long debate over whether an undefeated non-BCS conf team “deserves” to be in the NC game. I think BSU will outscore VaTech in this (with all due respect to Oregon State) one game season for the Broncos.

2010: The Year We Make Contact

College football season officially begins tonight with several games on the docket for a Thursday night. For Auburn fans, the season begins Saturday with the traditional cupcake team from a non-major conference--the Red Wolves of Arkansas State, a team who, according to ESPN, averaged just 330 yards of offense per game in '09. For Auburn fans, I'm sure that several questions come to mind:

1) Will Cameron Newton live up to the hype as QB?

2) Who will step up and replace Ben Tate as the workhorse on the ground?

3) Will Gene Chizik improve on last year's record or settle for mediocrity?

After Alabama's national championship last year, Auburn fans are somewhat deflated but not much. Alabama's fans have been gracious toward Auburn's fans about the NC (at least the ones I've talked to), but I'm sure that Auburn would like to hold that spotlight soon also. While I think that is an incredible long shot and likely not to happen this year, it certainly gives Auburn a target at which to aim.

Auburn is a favorite in Saturday's game, hovering around 31 points with a 58 points over/under. I'm not sure about the 31 points (I feel like that's a pretty close line), but I think the combined output will definitely exceed 58. If I had to make a prediction (which I'm sure you guys would like), I'll go with Auburn 49, Arkansas State 17 (I guess I'll go with that line).

If you aren't going to the Plains this weekend, the game is on at 6 pm CST on FSN South.

War Eagle!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Countdown to Gamecock Kickoff

As the Gamecocks try to focus on what may be their best chance to really make some noise in the SEC East in many years, unfortunately some of that focus has shifted from the football field to the Whitney Hotel. The reason for the shift of attention is simple: a few players shifted their residence to the Whitney over the summer. Any math major out there can tell you the housing allowance for players is not enough to support a permanent hotel room.
Anyways, on to the football field (which is a place that some of those players may not see for a while), Southern Mississippi has had this game circled on their schedule for months. So. Miss has been open about their belief that this season will start with a win. Meanwhile, there are nothing but question marks among the SEC East power programs. The Gamecocks, return their QB, top RBs and WRs, and even a few studs on the defensive side of the ball. Add onto that a freshman 5 star running back, who may make Lattimore a household name, and hopes are high.
ESPN says all of this may amount to a must win situation for The Visor. I don't buy all of that, but with Georgia waiting in the wings, a loss on national TV on Thursday would reverse all of the excitement that started with the Gamecock Baseball team's national championship run.
CB Stephon Gilmore is my pick for player of the game, and naturally, I pick the Gamecocks to start strong with a victory tonight in Columbia.