Posted on: October 30, 2010 3:43 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2010 3:44 pm
Posted on Jerry Hinnen
For once, it appears that the famed late-season "Chicken Curse" afflicting South Carolina -- which seemed to rear its ugly head in the first half of their match-up with Tennessee -- has passed the Gamecocks by, for at least a week. If any team was cursed in the second half, it was Tennessee, who 1. lost fumbles on two of their first three possessions of the half, including a muffed punt 2. saw Tyler Bray throw a simple pick-six on the other possession early in the half 3. had a punt bounce off the leg of a Carolina player setting up a punt return ... directly into the arms of a second Gamecock player.
Ultimately, though, it's not luck that has players like Alshon Jeffery and Marcus Lattimore on the Gamecock roster, and it was those two who made the difference. Jeffery turned a routine 10-yard slant route into a 70-yard touchdown after Bray had tied the game at 24 with a rope of a touchdown to Denarius Moore , giving Carolina a 31-24 lead. Lattimore made sure it stood up, punishing the Vols on an 8-play, 77-yard touchdown drive that sealed the win. Tennessee can feel good about Bray's surprising performance (9-of-15, 2 TDs) and that they didn't fold when Carolina appeared to take control of the game in the third quarter, but the team with Jeffery and Lattimore was always going to be the better team today.
As a result, the pressure is on Georgia and Florida -- with Carolina's win, it's official that the loser of today's World's Largest Cocktail Party is out of the SEC East race . For the Dawgs and Gators, it's win, or go metaphorically home.
Posted on: October 30, 2010 1:47 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2010 1:48 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
No one would have disputed coming into this weekend that South Carolina -- despite being the odds-on favorite to win the SEC East even after their stunning loss to Kentucky -- had a long way to go to finally shake their penchant for late-season collapses and the so-called "Chicken Curse" that's haunted them every time they've enjoyed even a little prosperity.
But the Curse was supposed to at least wait until next week, when the 'Cocks took on Arkansas . This week was supposed to be a gimme, a lay-up, with Carolina hosting Tennessee , a team winless in SEC play that had lost their last two games by 58 points.
But behind Matt Simms ' best performance of the season to-date, the Vols have had other ideas. Simms has gone 9-of-12 for 148 yards and a nifty touchdown to Luke Stocker , leading Tennessee into a 10-10 halftime tie on the road. The Vols could even be ahead if not for a disastrous sequence following a first-and-goal at the Carolina 6, when Tennessee went backwards on two plays before a third-down sack and Simms fumble helped set up a Carolina touchdown drive.
But we've seen this movie before when it comes to the Vols, who have put together solid first halves against teams like Oregon and Alabama before their razor-thin depth chart caught up with them late in the game. It won't help that Marcus Lattimore appears to be fully over his ankle injury, running for a tough 92 first-half yards and adding another 26 as a receiver.
So Carolina remains the prohibitive favorite. But given their history, the Gamecock faithful have to be sweating a bit at the moment.
Posted on: October 30, 2010 11:59 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. It's most certainly fall across the land today, and while most stadiums are staying dry, the wind is a real factor in several of the games. Will it affect the passing games of the undefeated teams playing on the road today? All times are Eastern.
Tennessee at No. 17 South Carolina, 12:00, Columbia, SC: Low 60s, clear
No. 20 Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 12:00, Manhattan, KS: Low 60s, clear
Georgia vs. Florida, 3:30, Jacksonville, FL: Mid 70s, partly cloudy, breezy
No. 5 Michigan State at No. 18 Iowa, 3:30, Iowa City, IA: Low 60s, partly cloudy, windy
No. 7 Missouri at No. 14 Nebraska, 3:30, Lincoln, NE: Mid 60s, clear, windy
No. 15 Arizona at UCLA, 3:30, Pasadena, CA: Low 60s, rainy
No. 3 Auburn at Ole Miss, 6:00, Vicksburg, MS: Low 60s, clear, breezy
No. 25 Baylor at Texas, 7:00, Austin, TX: Low 70s, clear, breezy
No. 8 Utah at Air Force, 7:00, Colorado Springs, CO: Low 60s, partly cloudy, windy
No. 1 Oregon at No. 24 USC, 8:00, Los Angeles, CA: Mid 60s, cloudy, early chance of rain
Late night kickoffs
Colorado at No. 11 Oklahoma, 9:15, Norman, OK: Low 60s, clear, breezy
No. 4 TCU at UNLV, 11:00, Las Vegas, NV: Upper 50s, partly cloudy
Posted on: October 30, 2010 3:09 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Florida Gators community was stunned earlier this year when Lamar Abel, a former walk-on defensive tackle, died suddenly at the age of 21. Foul play was never suspected or anything, but that doesn't make Abel's passing any less sad for those who knew him.
Now, over five months after Abel died, the Gainesville medical examiner has finally released a report that concludes Abel died of cardiac arrest, according to the Orlando Sun Sentinel. The official ruling is "natural/sudden cardiac arrest," to be precise, and while that doesn't give a "why" (like an enlarged heart or other congenital defect), sometimes there isn't a "why" to be found. Personally, I've lost a friend in essentially the same way; he was 23, a good athlete in high school, and had sudden cardiac arrest while at work one day. There wasn't anything anybody could do, and no evident cause for his heart to stop. It just, you know, happened.
At any rate, there's no telling exactly how much comfort is to be derived for Abel's friends, teammates, and family that he died of natural causes rather than as a result of a destructive habit, but it's something, and having as many answers as possible goes a long way in dealing with grief in situations like these.
Posted on: October 29, 2010 7:38 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that Iowa State would put up 28 points on Texas before hanging on for victory OH WAIT ADAM JACOBI DID EXACTLY THAT. WHAT. WHAT. (You can't see this, but I'm posturing like an imbecile.) We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever. As you can tell.
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin goes B-A-N-A-N-A-S on homestanding Texas, throwing for 310 yards without an interception and running for another 75 with a pair of touchdowns, leading the Bears to a season-defining 27-24 win over the Longhorns. Afterwards, Texas coach Mack Brown first blames a failed attempt to do the John Wall dance as a motivational tactic in the pregame locker room, then complains that the Bears' Waco recruiting base gives them "a big leg up when it comes to athletes."
During the second quarter of the Auburn-Ole Miss game, Cam Newton is tackled after a 15-yard gain on the Rebels sideline near Jeremiah Masoli. As Newton gets up to the ground Masoli yells at him "Hey, I totally would have ratted you out to the cops if I'd seen you with that stolen laptop, Newton!" This enrages Cam Newton, who then immediately triples in size and turns green. He literally rips Masoli in half, and Auburn is assessed a 15-yard personal foul. Oh, and Newton is kicked out of the game, to great protestation from Auburn head coach Gene Chizik. Without Newton, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn suddenly seems like less of a genius, and Auburn's offense stalls. Ole Miss comes back to win and ends Auburn's hopes for a national title. -- Tom Fornelli
Michigan State loses to Iowa this weekend. Okay, that's not exactly a wild prediction, but what ensues turns the college football world on its head. Michigan State wins the rest of their games, as does Ohio State, and both teams finish the season at 11-1 (7-1) without facing each other. The Big Ten tiebreaker rules award Ohio State the Rose Bowl bid, enraging the Spartan faithful. However, Oregon earns a trip to the national championship, freeing their spot to be taken by a BCS-eligible team from a non-qualifying conference, as is the new rule. Trouble is, Boise State also makes the title game, while TCU beats Utah to knock the Utes out of contention. But instead of the Horned Frogs receiving the bid to Pasadena, TCU is ruled ineligible for bowl play and stripped of all 12 wins after an investigation reveals that they'd been using ringers from the NFL, and nobody at the NCAA had really bothered to check until a concerned Utah fan noticed that the players kept arriving to the games in their personal helicopters. I assume everybody in the NFL has their own helicopter. With no non-AQ schools left standing and no other Pac-10 teams in the top 16 of the BCS standings, the Rose Bowl instead selects Michigan State to face Ohio State, creating the first real Big Ten Championship Game a full season before Nebraska even shows up. The Rose Bowl Committee decides that this game is "kinda way better without the Pac-10 around," and the Big Ten decides to make the Rose Bowl the permanent home of its conference championship game, to be decided every year on January 1. You know, because of tradition. -- Adam Jacobi
Tags: 2011 Rose Bowl, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Boise State, Cam Newton, Gene Chizik, Gus Malzahn, Insane Predictions, Iowa, Jeremiah Masoli, John Wall, John Wall Dance, Mack Brown, Michigan State, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Robert Griffin, Rose Bowl, SEC, TCU, Texas, The Incredible Hulk, Utah
Posted on: October 29, 2010 12:00 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's always one of the first factoids cited whenever the ACC 's lack of strength is a topic of discussion, even ahead of "Wake Forest won the league championship within the past decade": the ACC has never earned an at-large bid to the Bowl Championship Series . 12 years, 12 whiffs, 12 missed paychecks worth millions of dollars and 12 missed opportunities to grab some kind of foothold of respect within the sport.
The talking points in the immediate wake of N.C. State 's dramatic 28-24 win over Florida State last night were that the Wolfpack had stolen away control of the ACC Atlantic and that Russell Wilson 's sudden return to form means they just might keep it. But what shouldn't be missed is that the loss all but guarantees the ACC will go yet another season without an at-large BCS bid.
That's because the Seminoles were the conference's only halfway viable candidate. Virginia Tech has taken two losses already, one to FCS James Madison in the season's biggest upset to-date. Neither Maryland nor the Wolfpack have the kind of cachet to pull in TV ratings over similar programs from other conferences (not to mention their pair of losses each). Miami was embarrassed in defeats to Ohio State and the 'Noles. Etc.
After their early-season thumping at Oklahoma , you wouldn't have said the Seminoles were a favorite to land a BCS at-large berth, but as long as they kept winning, they would be in the mix. They still have name-brand recognition dating back to the Bobby Bowden glory days. They play an exciting brand of balanced offensive football led by a high-profile star in Christian Ponder . Most importantly, they had just the one loss and the remaining schedule (home against North Carolina and Clemson , at Maryland , home to Florida in what could be a key ACC-SEC triumph) to make the leap into the BCS top 10, even the top 5. If the 'Noles ran the table but lost in the ACC title game to, say, the Hokies, they would have received a long look from bowls like the Sugar and Fiesta .
But a hypothetical three -loss FSU team? With non-AQ bid snatchers like Boise State and TCU around, not to mention the likes of Ohio State, the Auburn-Alabama loser, or a Big 12 team like Nebraska or Oklahoma ? Forget it. This isn't the year, either, and every one that passes with the BCS millions going places other than the ACC makes it that much harder for the conference to break through next year.
It's fair to say the ACC powers-that-be weren't begrudging N.C. State their raucous celebration after the victory last night. But if any Wolfpack fans happened to stumble onto a sour and depressed-looking ACC official in the aftermath, here's to hoping they weren't begrudging that official his bitterness and disappointment, either.
Posted on: October 28, 2010 7:36 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 7:39 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
There's obviously still a long way to go before this year's edition of the Iron Bowl , with plenty of pitfalls for both teams involved: Ole Miss and resurgent Georgia for Auburn , LSU in Baton Rouge and Mississippi State at home for Alabama .
But if both teams can navigate their way through those troubled waters without a loss, the battle royale between 11-0 Auburn and 10-1 Alabama for not only 1. the right to go to Atlanta and play (a heavy SEC East underdog) for the SEC championship but 2. potentially a spot in the BCS national championship game would make it, hands-down, the biggest game in college football this season.
So maybe it's not a surprise that even with the game still a month away, the Crimson Tide are -- allegedly -- already beginning their preparations :
That's a tweet from Travis Reier of BamaOnline.com , and if he's right that those numbers don't correspond to players from the Tide's next opponent (LSU ), it seems an incredibly good bet that they do correspond to Auburn starting wideouts Kodi Burns (18) and Terrell Zachery (81).
Of course, this wouldn't be the first sign that Nick Saban was taking the Auburn game extremely seriously; the Tide rescheduled the week prior's matchup against fledgling FCS program Georgia State for Thursday rather than Saturday all the way back in July. According to Reier it's not unusual for 'Bama to use bye weeks to look further ahead down the schedule, and certainly no one will be surprised if word leaks that Auburn is using next week's game against FCS Chattanooga to begin studying for the Tide.
But all the same, with LSU as formidable an opponent (particularly in Tiger Stadium) as they promise to be, and with the Georgia State week also looming as an opportunity to focus on Auburn, there seems little question that the Tide wouldn't be breaking out the 18's and 81's already if so much didn't promise to be on the line.
HT: From the Bleachers .
Posted on: October 28, 2010 7:12 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 7:13 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
If you can't tell by reading my name up there, I am a white male. I'm also a white male that played in various sports as a youth, and was never quite able to shake off the stereotypes that are typically attached to the white "athlete." Much like Wesley Snipes once told us in a movie, white men can't jump. I can jump, just not very high. I'm also not all that fast. In fact, my Little League baseball coaches took to calling me "Lightning" because they thought they were funny. I just thought they were douchebags.
As I grew older I became more comfortable with my lack of athleticism and caucasion limitations. I accepted them for what they were. When I see fast, white linebackers playing in the NFL or in college, I don't get jealous, I'm just happy somebody is out there helping the cause. Not all people feel this way, however. Take, for instance, Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder. The Florida alum knows what is wrong with his former team these days, and it hit him when he saw those white linebackers running down John Brantley.
“They don’t have an identity,” Crowder told reporters immediately after last week’s game at Green Bay, which followed Florida’s 10-7 loss to Mississippi State. “They don’t know what — John Brantley don’t know what he wants to do. He can’t outrun anybody. I saw him get run down by a white linebacker last week, which was a disgrace to all Florida football history.”
But if Mike Pouncey was playing quarterback, who would snap the ball over his head?
To be fair to Crowder, while I don't necessarily agree with the way he goes about saying it, I totally concur with his assessment of what the Gators are doing on offense. John Brantley is not a running quarterback, yet Steve Addazio and Urban Meyer insist on treating him as though he is. So I don't think it's fair to blame Brantley, nor compare him to Tim Tebow, because he isn't Tim Tebow.
Also, just for kicks, I'd like to see Crowder have a race with Brian Urlacher. If he can't win that one, then he obviously shouldn't be playing linebacker in the NFL.