Tag:SEC
Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:05 am
Edited on: October 26, 2010 12:18 pm
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Cowbell prescriptions getting real expensive

Posted by Tom Fornelli



The fine folks of Starkville, Mississippi have had that fever for a long time as well.  One they've only been able to cure through the mysterious healing powers of the cowbell, but now it seems that the SEC wants the afflicted fans of Mississippi State to either die of this fever, or just die broke.  You see, the SEC placed restrictions on when Mississippi State fans can medicate themselves during a football game over the summer.

Before the game, after the game, and during timeouts are permissible. 

Of course, for those who have needed the cowbell to soothe their soul over the years, it's hard to place such limitations on healing.  Which is fine, according to the SEC.  Fans can use their cowbells whenever they like, it's just going to cost you a hell of a lot of money.  Well, not you, but the school.

The SEC has let Mississippi State know that the school has violated these cowbell rules, and that they plan on fining the school for each violation at the end of the year.  Those violations cost $5,000 for the first offense, $25,000 for the second and $50,000 for the third and any violation after that.  Which, over an eight-game conference schedule that includes four games, would end up costing the school $130,000 should Mississippi State be found to have violated the rules in each home game.

Along with the fines, the SEC is considering just abandoning the new "Cowbell Rules" and just banning them once again.  Which may be the best route for Mississippi State fans to take, actually.  After all, having the cowbells banned before never stopped fans from ringing them.

Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:02 am
Edited on: October 26, 2010 11:04 am
 

Urban Meyer misses Cam Newton. Probably.

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Cracks abounded yesterday when Twitter collectively heard that Urban Meyer had described the agony of watching former Gator Cam Newton go apenuts for Auburn by saying "It's really hard." (No, the CBS College Football Blog was not above joining in .) Which, all gym-class joking aside, it has to be at this stage; Meyer and his offensive staff have been totally unable to either adapt John Brantley to the existing Gator offense or adapt the offense to Brantley, a problem that Newton would have rendered utterly irrelevant if he'd remained in Gainesville.

But even so, was that actually what Meyer meant when he said it? Someone get us an ALCOA sponsorship, because here's the transcript , and now You Make the Call :

Reporter: Do you allow yourself to watch Cam Newton on Saturday? Did you watch him?
Meyer: It’s really hard, I’ll tell you that. I don’t watch much of it.
Reporter: It’s really hard to watch it?
Meyer: Yea.
Reporter: Because…
Meyer: I just think he’s a very good player, and I’m trying to watch more of the teams we play, so I spend my time watching the other ones we’re going to play.
Reporter: So like every Florida fan in the country, you think, ‘What if he was here?’ You let yourself...
Meyer: No, no, no, no. I didn’t say that.
Reporter: Does that ever cross your mind?
Meyer: No.
Reporter: Liar. (Laughter ensues)
On the one hand, Meyer's defense makes logical sense. If you're one of America's most richly-paid coaches and your team is riding the first three-game losing streak of your current tenure, with your biggest rivalry game of the season coming up against one of the SEC 's hottest teams, you probably don't have a whole lot of time to kick back with a cold one on Saturday afternoon and watch one team you won't play take on one you've already played.

Then again: the highlights of Newton's masterpiece performance against LSU were near-inescapable Saturday for even the most causal of football fans, and suffice it to say Meyer is not a casual football fan. Meyer is certainly aware of them, aware of what Newton is doing at Auburn, and aware that -- according to the Miami Herald 's Mike McCall -- he made a sizable mistake in evaluating Newton's potential:

Newton left because Tim Tebow decided to come back for his senior year and John Brantley was waiting in the wings.

That's where UF's staff really messed up--they just missed on the kind of talent they had in their hands. The decision was effectively made when Brantley and Newton were freshmen and Brantley got redshirted, meaning he'd be around longer after Tebow's departure. There was also some talk of putting Newton at tight end, though we'll never really know how serious it was.

The verdict here? When Meyer adds "I'll tell you that" to the difficulty of watching Newton, he's not talking about carving out the time for it. He's talking about watching a player he recruited, groomed, and eventually let walk away win a Heisman Trophy -- probably -- for someone else while the quarterback he promoted instead flails. Meyer is only human. You can bet it's hard.
HT: Team Speed Kills .
Posted on: October 25, 2010 6:57 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:11 pm
 

Davey O'Brien semifinalists announced; no Persa?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Davey O'Brien Award, given annually to the nation's top quarterback, announced its 16 semifinalists for the award today. The list is as follows, in alphabetical order:

 

  • Matt Barkley (Soph.), USC
  • Kirk Cousins (Jr.), Michigan State
  • Andy Dalton (Sr.), TCU
  • Blaine Gabbert (Jr.), Missouri
  • Robert Griffin III (Soph.), Baylor
  • Landry Jones (Soph.), Oklahoma
  • Colin Kaepernick (Sr.), Nevada
  • Andrew Luck (Jr.), Stanford
  • Ryan Mallett (Jr.), Arkansas
  • Taylor Martinez (Fr.), Nebraska
  • Kellen Moore (Jr.), Boise State
  • Cam Newton (Jr.), Auburn
  • Terrelle Pryor (Jr.), Ohio State
  • Denard Robinson (Soph.), Michigan
  • Ricky Stanzi (Sr.), Iowa
  • Darron Thomas (Soph.), Oregon

 

All in all, this is a pretty thorough list of the quarterbacks who might end up being the top quarterback in the nation once December rolls around, but it certainly does seem as if there was one glaring omission: Northwestern sophomore Dan Persa . Persa currently leads the nation in completion percentage, is eighth in passing efficiency  and is fifth in total offense . Oh, and Persa also leads his team in rushing yards (341) and rushing touchdowns (six) -- each by pretty substantial margins over the nearest teammate.

Of course, it certainly merits mention that Northwestern is currently on a two-game losing streak, and that the Wildcats hadn't really beaten anyone of merit before the streak either. But in the Wildcats' losses to Michigan State and Purdue -- neither of whom have lost a Big Ten game yet, for what it's worth -- Persa was hardly "at fault" for the losses; he averaged 281 yards of total offense in the two games and scored four touchdowns to just one turnover.

It's hard to say who should be bumped for Persa's sake, though; every one of the top 16 semifinalists has a legitimate claim to deserving some sort of accolade. It's also worth pointing out, however, that until Missouri and Oklahoma faced each other this past weekend, Dalton, Gabbert, and Jones were all quarterbacking undefeated teams, and that's probably the only reason they're on the list; Jones and Gabbert, in particular, aren't even close to the top 16 of passing efficiency in the nation (34th and 39th, respectively). None of the three are terribly gifted runners, either, while Persa's been forced to anchor the woeful Northwestern ground game.

Of course, the O'Brien Award probably wants to avoid the embarrassment of not being able to even nominate a title contender's quarterback as a finalist, and with two conference losses, it's extremely unlikely that Northwestern will represent the Big Ten in Pasadena, much less make a run at a spot in the Top 10. Persa and his Wildcats aren't high-profile, and that's enough to leave him off this list. Inclusion's academic either way, since this is clearly Cam Newton's to lose, but it'd be nice to see a quarterback like Persa rewarded for putting together one hell of a season so far even when he doesn't have the supporting cast to win 11 games in a season.


Posted on: October 25, 2010 5:06 pm
 

Vandy coordinator carousel should stop on option

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's understandable that Vanderbilt would be a little desperate when it comes to the offensive coordinator's position: they rank 105th in total offense, a year after finishing 109th, a year after finishing 118th, a year after finishing 103rd.

But still, you'd think going through three coordinators in less than a calendar year would be a little much. Not if you're first-year head coach Robbie Caldwell , though, who today demoted previous play-caller Johnny Kiser back to quarterbacks coach and promoted running backs coach Des Kitchings to the coordinator's chair. Kiser was himself promoted just this past offseason at the expense of former coordinator Ted Cain , now the Commodores' special teams/tight ends coach.

That Caldwell has shaken up the usually-staid 'Dore coaching ranks is already on the surprising side. (Previous head man Bobby Johnson stuck with Cain through several disappointing seasons.) But what borders on stunning is that he selected the unproven Kitchings over a staff member with an excellent offensive pedigree and actual coordinating experience: Herb Hand , the current Vandy offensive line coach and a Rich Rodriguez disciple who served as co-coordinator alongside Gus Malzahn at Tulsa. Making the move even more mystifying is that for the past two seasons, Vandy has attempted (and largely failed) to run the same no-huddle, up-tempo attack that Hand had a major hand (heh) in developing with Malzahn for the Golden Hurricane.

That he was passed over in favor of Kitchings is probably a signal that Caldwell intends to scrap the sputtering no-huddle for something more conservative; he even added a "no comment" for good measure when asked about the possibility of such a change. But without a once-in-a-decade talent like Jay Cutler or Earl Bennett on hand -- and though Warren Norman is a productive running back, no such talent currently is -- swapping offensive philosophies at Vandy is like rearranging the proverbial deck chairs on that boat they made the move about.

Which is why Vandy is long overdue in following the lead of fellow academics-first peer Georgia Tech and embracing the triple option. Vandy faces an overwhelming talent deficit in regards to the rest of the SEC and realistically always will; it's past time, then, to turn towards the offensive scheme that has proven itself most able to level an uneven athletic playing field. After four straight years plumbing the bottom-most depths of the country's offensive rankings, it's safe to say that playing musical chairs in the coordinator's chair isn't going to deliver the kind of 180-degree change Vandy needs. With all due respect to Caldwell and Kitchings (who, in fairness, cannot do any worse than his predecessors), it's time to think much, much further outside the box.

Posted on: October 25, 2010 4:52 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2010 4:58 pm
 

Lattimore expected to play against Tennessee

Posted by Chip Patterson

With Saturday's 21-7 victory over Vanderbilt, South Carolina snapped an SEC road losing streak that dated by to 2008 and pushed the Gamecocks into the division lead in the SEC East.  After getting shut down in the second half against Kentucky, South Carolina's offense was able to get clicking again against the Commodores for 484 yards of total offense.  A statistic that is especially impressive with the absence of star running back Marcus Lattimore.  

Lattimore sat out Saturday's match up with Vanderbilt nursing a sprained ankle.  Word from Columbia is that he could have gone if needed, but head coach Steve Spurrier wanted to rest the true freshman in preparation for the Gamecocks' final three conference games: against Tennessee, Arkansas, and at Florida.  

So far, the plan appears to be working.  The Gamecocks picked up the W in Nashville and Lattimore was able to take the week off.  Spurrier says that after resting against the Commodores, Lattimore should be 100 percent for Saturday's showdown with Tennessee.  

Lattimore is currently fifth in the SEC in rushing yards per game (89.7) and has scored a touchdown in every game of his young career.  Lattimore's greatest strength's are not able to be read in statistics.  His running style is not completely power, but he rarely is brought down by less than two defenders.  The rare combination of power and speed can wear down a defense, opening up the passing game for quarterback Stephen Garcia to find All-SEC wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey down the field.  The Gamecocks are three conference victories from their first SEC Championship Game appearance.  All of their games are winnable, but with one loss the Gamecocks will find themselves in a messy three-way with Georgia and Florida.  No one wants that (innuendo intended).

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Posted on: October 25, 2010 4:37 pm
 

Derek Dooley compares own team to WWII Germany

Posted by Adam Jacobi

If there's one maxim about making comparisons and analogies, it's this: Don't mention the Nazis. Unless the subject directly involves the deaths of tens of millions of people, just leave World War II out of this. And since this is a blog about college football, well, it's pretty safe to say any references would be wildly inappropriate.

With that, here's Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley comparing his team to Germany's army during D-Day or something:

Right now we're like the Germans in World War II. Here comes the boats, they're coming. You have the binoculars, and it's like, 'Oh, my God, the invasion is coming.' That's what they did, they were in the bunkers. It's coming, they call Rommel -- they can't find Rommel. (Pretending to speak into a radio.) 'What do we do? I'm not doing anything until I get orders.' (Pretends to look through binoculars.) 'Have you gotten Rommel yet?'"

"All right, and the Americans were the exact opposite. We hit the beach, and we were on the wrong spot. 'What do we do? I don't know, but these guys are firing and we better hide over there and blow some stuff up to get up there.' They weren't looking for (help). That's where we've got to make that transition."

Now, here's the thing: in a vacuum, there isn't anything immediately wrong with what Dooley said. Yes, his grasp of the historical details is dubious, but Dooley acknowledges that himself shortly thereafter. More to the point, it's not as if he was in any way endorsing any aspect of Nazism whatsoever, of course, nor even addressing the atrocities that preceded and necessitated that American invasion.

But we're not in a vacuum, and there are likely tens of millions of Americans who would prefer not to be reminded of World War II and everything about it when they're just trying to enjoy football. That goes for plenty of other wars, for that matter, and there isn't much need to rehash the awful casualties of those. World War II, however, just happens to be predicated upon one of the most profane displays of inhumanity in the history of the world. It's probably not asking a lot for football coaches to just avoid references to it from here on out.

Here's video of the comments, via Dr. Saturday:

Posted on: October 25, 2010 1:22 pm
 

Matt Simms doesn't enjoy sharing snaps

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In an effort to shake things up with his offense, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley decided to give freshman Tyler Bray some snaps during practice last week and during Tennessee's loss to Alabama on Saturday night.  Obviously, considering the Vols only managed to score 10 points and gain 315 yards of offense in their 31-10 loss, not much changed with the two-quarterback system.

In fact, Bray struggled quite a bit, completing only 5-of-14 passes for 39 yards and an interception.  The man he took snaps away from, Matt Simms, didn't fare that much better, completing only 12-of-22 passes for 117 yards and throwing an interception of his own.  Still, Simms' performance was better than Bray's, and the junior quarterback thinks things would have gone a bit better had he been left in the game.

"I knew the plan going into the game was to get [Bray] a few drives or whatever," Simms said. "By the way things were going in the game at that moment, I really didn't think that I was going to get taken out -- later on in the game maybe. They stayed true to their plan, and I respect that, and I thank them for being honest with me, but at the same time those drives right there, I feel like I need to be out there, because I feel like I'm missing out on plays that could have been made or penalties that could have been avoided."

Simms did go on to say that he appreciated the coaches honesty in the whole situation, but that when it comes to sharing time with Bray that the coaches "know how I feel about that." 

It's easy to understand where Simms is coming from, because no quarterback who has spent the entire year as the team's starter is going to enjoy suddenly sharing snaps.  Especially when the team is losing.  Still, it's because Tennessee is losing that Simms needs to get over it.

While he hasn't gotten much help from his offensive line at all this season, Simms hasn't been very good.  He's thrown nearly as many interceptions (5) as he has touchdowns (7) on the year.  Obviously, Matt Simms: Full-Time Quarterback hasn't been a winning formula for the Vols.  So mixing in Tyler Bray, whom the coaching staff hopes can be the quarterback of the future, can only help in the long run.

So while Simms may not like sharing snaps, he should probably get used to it.  Then, when he is on the field, play so well that the coaches can't take him off the field.
Posted on: October 24, 2010 1:01 am
 

What I learned from the SEC (Oct. 23)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. Cam Newton is the greatest thing to happen to college football since Denard Robinson.   So this isn't exactly breaking news, but OMG CAM NEWTON IS FREAKING AWESOME.  I knew going into Saturday's game that the only way LSU could beat Auburn would be if they stopped Cam Newton, but I also knew that stopping Cam Newton is like trying to stop the Earth from spinning.  Unless Les Miles had control over a meteor -- and he might -- it just wasn't going to happen.  We're only 8 weeks into the season and Newton has already set the single-season rushing mark for a quarterback in the SEC with 1,077 yards.  If he keeps playing like this he should be allowed to take any laptop he wants.  Hell, he can have mine.

2. Nick Fairley is pretty special too.
  I said it during the game on Saturday, and I'll say it again here.  Nick Fairley just isn't going to stop until he has the head of every quarterback in the SEC mounted on his wall.  As great as Newton played on Saturday, the reason Auburn won was because every time LSU dropped back to pass, Nick Fairley was in the back field flinging people around like bean bags.

3. LSU only has so much "luck."
  I knew it was going to be hard for LSU to survive the entire season without a loss with a passing attack that works more like a retreat, and it came to a head on Saturday in Auburn.  Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson were only able to complete 15-of-28 passes for 89 yards.  That's 3.2 yards per attempt.  Against an Auburn secondary that was absolutely torched by Kentucky and Arkansas over the last two weeks.

4. South Carolina really needs Marcus Lattimore. 
We saw South Carolina struggle without Marcus Lattimore last week, succumbing to Kentucky and blowing an 18-point lead in the second half, and the Gamecocks struggled again against Vanderbilt without Lattimore this week.  Yes, South Carolina won the game, but it had a lot harder time handling Vandy than it should have.  The Gamecocks were only able to manage 2.9 yards per carry, and had to rely on Stephen Garcia.   That may work against Vanderbilt, but trust me, having to rely on Stephen Garcia to win games is rarely a good idea.

5. Georgia may just win the SEC East.  It's hard to believe that the Bulldogs are still alive, but they are, and they're dangerous.  They hung 40 points on an SEC opponent for the third straight week and thanks to four Kentucky turnovers, only needed 290 yards of offense to do it.  Oh, and if Washaun Ealey scores five touchdowns in every game, Georgia is going to be tough to beat.
 
 
 
 
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