Posted on: October 30, 2010 11:29 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2010 11:32 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
1. The SEC East will be decided on November 13. A few weeks ago the SEC was up for grabs with just about every team in the division still in contention to win it. Now, after Saturday's events, only two teams remain. With their wins on Saturday, only South Carolina and Florida have a realistic shot, and they play in Gainesville in two weeks. Florida has Vanderbilt before that, which they should win, and while South Carolina has a tough test with Arkansas next week, they can withstand one more loss. Either way, the winner of that game on the 13th is going to Atlanta.
2. Auburn cares not for the BCS curse. Oklahoma couldn't overcome it last week, and some folks wondered if Auburn would be the next #1 team in the BCS to suffer a loss, but it didn't happen this week. The Tigers took care of Ole Miss 51-31 on Saturday night in Oxford, and the Cam Newton Heisman Locomotive kept on barreling down the tracks. In fact, Newton decided he was tired of merely passing and running for touchdowns, so he decided to catch one this week as well.
3. Tennessee found a new quarterback. And his name is Tyler Bray. The freshman saw his first action last week, and came on in relief of Matt Simms against South Carolina this week as well, and it looks like he may have wrestled the starting job away. Bray was far from perfect for the Vols, but he did throw for 159 yards and two touchdowns, getting the Vols back into the game before South Carolina pulled away late. Considering that Bray is the future for Tennessee, and the Vols have nothing left to play for, it only makes sense to roll with Bray the rest of the way.
4. Aaron Murray is going to be very good one day. It's just not going to be this season. At times on Saturday, Murray made fantastic plays to help lead Georgia back from a 21-10 deficit and force overtime against Florida. Unfortunately, he also turned the ball over four times, including the back breaker in overtime. Even so, Murray showed the kind of flashes on Saturday that have to make Georgia fans very optimistic about the future.
5. Chas Henry will rest peacefully tonight. I've felt incredibly sympathetic for Florida punter Chas Henry this season. He's had to fill in for an injured Caleb Sturgis, and has missed a few huge kicks for the Gators, including one that led to a loss against Mississippi State. Still, he made a very big one on Saturday night, nailing a 37-yarder to win the game in overtime.
Posted on: October 30, 2010 8:30 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Several of the much-ballyhooed six undefeated teams going on the road today have struggled and struggled mightily (we're looking at you , Michigan State .) With just under eight minutes left in the third quarter, it's safe to say Auburn is not one of them .
The Tigers have raced out to a 44-17 lead on the road at Ole Miss thanks to another dominating offensive effort. Auburn has enjoyed nine possessions and scored on eight of them, fumbling the ball away on the other. Cam Newton has done most of his damage in this game through the air, connecting on 15-of-21 passes for 188 yards and a score, while also catching Auburn's first touchdown on a Kodi Burns fade to the back of the end zone. Rest assured that that play, too, will be going on the Heisman highlight reel.
But he's hardly been a one-man show, as Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb have combined for 205 rushing yards and Demond Washington returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
All in all, it's been all Auburn ever since the Rebels' Jeff Scott scored a touchdown on their second play from scrimmage. We'll see what happens with Oregon , but at least one team today has played up to their gaudy record and the No. 1 ranking.
Posted on: October 30, 2010 5:31 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2010 5:40 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
As Jerry Hinnen wrote about earlier this afternoon , the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party took on a bit of added significance following South Carolina 's win over Tennessee on Saturday morning. Essentially, whoever loses this game is eliminated from contention in the SEC East. Through the first 30 minutes it looks like Georgia is the leading candidate.
Florida heads into halftime with a 21-7 lead thanks to a ground game that seems to be finding its legs, and some Georgia mistakes. Chris Rainey, playing in his first game since being suspended for those text message shenanigans , has scored a touchdown along with Jeff Demps and Trey Burton. More importantly, John Brantley is playing better than he has in weeks. He has thrown an interception, but he's also completed 8-of-11 passes for 123 yards in the first half.
Also, to the delight of Channing Crowder, he's yet to be chased down by any white linebackers.
One quarterback who hasn't been having his best day is Georgia's Aaron Murray. The Bulldogs have turned the ball over three times, and all three came courtesy of Murray. He's thrown two interceptions and fumbled once, while only completing 5-of-14 passes, though one was a 63-yard touchdown pass to Tavarres King for the Bulldogs lone score.
Take away that pass from Murray, and he's 4-of-13 for 60 yards.
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