Posted on: October 24, 2010 1:01 am
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.
Posted on: October 22, 2010 5:49 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
BreakfastMain Course - Northwestern vs. #8 Michigan State - Noon - ESPN
Michigan State leads the way for breakfast for the second straight week, which is what happens when you're the only undefeated team left in the Big Ten. Be forewarned, though, just because this matchup doesn't seem all that appealing, it...ok, it isn't really. It's just that the morning slate is light again because that's just the way things work in this television dominated world.
Still, the Spartans shouldn't take Northwestern all that lightly. First of all, no road game is easy, even if it's being played in a stadium with 35 people in it. Yes, Northwestern inexplicably dropped a game to Purdue last week, but that's Northwestern's style. It has a tendency to play to its opponents. So there's a chance that the Wildcats could hand MSU it's first "Sparty, no!" of the season.
Side Orders: Ohio State hosts Purdue, and this game may be interesting for a few reasons. First of all, it's our first chance to see how the Buckeyes will respond following a loss, and they'll also be looking for revenge for last season's loss in West Lafayette. Speaking of revenge, I'm sure Notre Dame wouldn't mind beating Navy and starting a new trend there as well. Or you can just watch Texas, West Virginia and Virginia Tech romp over some conference foes.
LunchMain Course - #5 Auburn vs. #6 LSU - 3:30pm - CBS
Two undefeated Tigers roll into Jordan-Hare on Saturday, and only one will emerge. Who is it going to be? Well, there are going to be two different games being played in this one. There's the game between each team's strength -- Auburn's offense and LSU's defense -- and their weakness -- Auburn's defense and LSU's offense.
Odds are that whichever team's weakness best resembles a strength is going to emerge victorious, and have a much easier path to the SEC title and possibly a BCS game. If you're wondering which way I'm leaning, well, I'll just say that one team has Cam Newton at quarterback and the other has some indecipherable combination of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee.
Also, I'll be doing a live-chat during this game over at our Facebook page, so stop on by and make fun of Les Miles for four hours with me, won't you?
Side Orders: The afternoon is packed with some big games this week. If for some reason two undefeated teams battling it out isn't good enough for you, you can always go with Iowa and Wisconsin or the also undefeated Oklahoma State taking on previously undefeated Nebraska.
Main Course - #18 Missouri vs. #3 Oklahoma - 8pm - ABC
Personally, I've been waiting to dig in to this one for a while. I've seen Missouri play a few times this season, and as I've said here before, I'm just not sure what to make of them. The Tigers are a good team, but are they really 11th in the BCS good? Is that what a couple of victories over some 3-3 BCS teams and nobody else gets you these days?
Whatever the case, we'll find out on Saturday night. If the Tigers can knock off the team that sits atop the current BCS standings, then I guess we have to take them seriously.
Though, I feel I should point this out as well, just so Missouri fans can hate me a little less, I think Oklahoma is a bit overrated as well. Still, I think the Sooners will prove to be better on Saturday night.
Side Orders: Bit of an light night on the menu this week. There really aren't any other marquee matchups being played on Saturday night. Kentucky and Georgia could be interesting seeing as how both teams are still alive in the SEC East, but other than that the only game that even catches my eye is TCU and Air Force. Though, if you hate yourself, you could always tune in to Texas A&M and Kansas.
Late Night SnackThe Washington Huskies have found a home as a late-night snack here. I've featured them here twice in the last few weeks, and they're undefeated in those games. Can they run the streak to three on the road against an Arizona team that is without Nick Foles?
Tags: Air Force, Arizona, Auburn, Cam Newton, Georgia, Iowa, Jarrett Lee, Jordan Jefferson, Kansas, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan State, Missouri, Navy, Nebraska, Nick Foles, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Saturday Meal Plan, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 22, 2010 3:14 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's easy to pick out this weekend's biggest games: LSU and Auburn , Iowa and Wisconsin , Oklahoma and Missouri . But every week there's plenty of interesting matchups -- no, really -- that don't feature ranked teams and don't make anyone's "must-watch" list other than the team's fans. Here's four of them you should keep an eye on regardless (all times Eastern):
Penn State (3-3, 0-2) at Minnesota (1-6, 0-3), 12 p.m. This one won't feature a ton of points (the Gophers and Nittany Lions rank 76th and 108th in scoring offense, respectively), and obviously it's not going to have much impact on the Big Ten race, either. But this is the game that could legitimately be the beginning of the end of the Joe Paterno era; the Lions might be able to stomach one humiliating loss (last week's 20-point home shellacking at the hands of Illinois ), but a second at the hands of the reeling, coach-less Gophers -- not to mention the accompanying 0-3 conference record and dwindling hopes of bowl eligibility -- could start the succession planning in earnest. The long-term implications alone make this contest critical.
Rutgers (4-2, 1-0) at Pitt (3-3, 1-0), 12 p.m. Both the Scarlet Knights and Panthers have suffered some serious nonconference pratfalls --- Rutgers' unthinkable loss to Tulane , Pitt's home bludgeoning at the hands of Miami -- but both got off to 1-0 starts in Big East play with big wins over UConn and Syracuse , respectively. This is the Big East, after all: once you get to 2-0, it's impossible not to call you a serious contender in the conference. The key matchup will be Pitt's fast-rising Ray Graham (118 rushing yards per game) against Greg Schiano 's 15th-ranked defense.
Kansas State (5-1, 2-1) at Baylor (5-2, 2-1), 3:30 p.m. There's honest-to-God Big 12 implications here; if Mizzou loses to Oklahoma late Saturday, the Wildcats could forge a three-way tie atop the Big 12 North with their own date against the Tigers still to come. But the stakes are probably higher for the Bears anyway; a win would push Baylor to six wins and a postseason berth for the first time since they played the 1994 Alamo Bowl. There's surprising talent on display here, too: Wildcat back Daniel Thomas is the conference's second-leading rusher at 130 yards a game, and Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin (14 TDs, 3 INT) has a Denard Robinson -esque blend of rushing speed and throwing accuracy.
Georgia (3-4, 2-3) at Kentucky (4-3, 1-3), 7:30 p.m. The storyline for this one is simple: the winner stays in the dead thick of the muddled SEC East race. Beyond that, last November the Wildcats used a bevy of Georgia turnovers to upset the Dawgs in Athens and have generally given Mark Richt 's team fits the past few seasons. If Richt wants to permanently silence the bleating for his head that began after Georgia's 1-4 start, he can't afford a second straight defeat at the hands of a team that's been Georgia's traditional inferior. Too bad for him the Wildcats have been feisty at home thus far this season, pulling one major upset against South Carolina last week and coming within one stop of doing the same to Auburn the week before. As long as Randall Cobb is around (even if Derrick Locke isn't), expect more feistiness to come, and for this one to come down to the wire.
Posted on: October 21, 2010 3:44 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2010 3:46 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
When Kentucky's leading rusher Derrick Locke left the Auburn game with a stinger, head coach Joker Phillips knew that he would need to get some extra production from backup running back Donald Russell and wide receiver Randall Cobb in order to have a shot against South Carolina. Russell and Cobb delivered that and much more to help the Wildcats stun the Gamecocks 31-28, their first conference win of the season.
Both players were threats in the running and passing game, with Russell accumulating 111 yards of total offense while Cobb added 90 yards and the game winning touchdown reception. Phillips will need to get that kind of production out of them again this week against Georgia, with Locke already being ruled out of Saturday's contest.
Phillips said Thursday Locke is still dealing with pain from a pair of shoulder stingers sustained earlier in the season. However, he is more optimistic about Locke's chances to play when Kentucky travels to Mississippi State on October 30. The Wildcats were able to win without Locke once, and the fans are hopeful they can do it again. Georgia's offense looks completely different from the beginning of the season after rattling of two straight 40+ point games. Kentucky's defense did a phenomenal job shutting down the Gamecocks in the second half, but were lucky to not be behind by more at the break.
Kentucky's chances are not dead in the SEC. In fact, it is not out of the question that the SEC East representative in Atlanta may have three conference losses. But for the Wildcats to even become relevant in the discussion, they need to win every game. Luckily, they face this renewed Georgia team at home under the lights. If the fans have forgiven Randall Cobb for his Twitter rant, they will return...and in greater numbers.
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Posted on: October 19, 2010 3:44 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Following an upset win over South Carolina on Saturday, Kentucky wideout Randall Cobb went to his Twitter account and went off on Kentucky fans for what he deemed a lack of support. Cobb said that he enjoyed hearing the crowd tell the Wildcats they sucked and that they couldn't even fill the stands with a top-ten team in town, before letting them know that basketball season was just around the corner.
Except he said it with worse grammar.
Well, now that he's had a few days to think about it -- also known as getting yelled at by his coach and talked to by the school's pr department -- Randall has seen the error of his ways and issued an apology on Tuesday afternoon.
“First off," Cobb told reporters . "I just want to start off by saying I made a mistake. I did. I messed up. I take blame for everything I said. I know I was wrong. I was wrong for the fact that I took a small percentage of our fan base and lumped them all as one and made it all whole. That’s not how our fans are. 99 percent of our fans are great fans. And they know that. They’ve been there supporting us throughout the years. I took a small chunk and made it something big, and I can’t do that. I made a mistake, I’m a man, I admit my mistake and I just want to let everybody know that I’m sorry and I hope they can forgive me.”
While saying he's sorry is a great first step, I think if Cobb really wants to win the fans back he should take them out to Red Lobster for some cheesy biscuits.
As for whether or not Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips plans on instituting a no-Twitter policy, the coach said he has no plans to do so. According to Phillips, it's fine if the players tweet, but that they have to "be smart about it."
Hat tip: CFT
Posted on: October 18, 2010 7:20 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Now that we've reached the halfway point of the season, we have a lot better idea of which teams to take seriously, and which ones we can forget about. Of course, there's still a lot of football to be played this season, so in the Midseason Report we'll be taking a look at what each team has remaining in front of them, and what they'll have to do to call themselves conference champions. In this post, we'll take a look at the SEC.
1. South Carolina (4-2, 2-2) - The Gamecocks may only be 2-2 in conference play this season, but in the 2010 version of the SEC East, that's all it takes to be on top. The question is whether or not Steve Spurrier and South Carolina can stay there. A question that is hard to answer when your quarterback is the completely unreliable and unpredictable Stephen Garcia. As we saw against Kentucky, the Gamecocks need Marcus Lattimore to stay healthy down the stretch if they're going to hold on and reach the SEC title game. The good news is that they have two very winnable games up next on the schedule in Vanderbilt and Tennessee. After that, however, they get Arkansas and Florida in The Swamp. All four are winnable games, but if the SEC has taught us anything this season, it's that every game is losable as well.
2. Florida (4-3, 2-3) - Oh the SEC East, the one place in the country where losing three straight conference games still leaves you in control of your own destiny. Sure, the Gators are 2-3 in the SEC, but all three of those losses came against SEC West teams. Which means that if Florida wins out it'll be going to Atlanta. The Gators play Georgia, Vanderbilt and South Carolina to finish out their SEC slate over the next three weeks, and both of the tough games (Sorry, Vandy) either come at home or at a "neutral" site. What will determine whether Florida can get it done is which offense shows up. Will it be the unit that managed to put up 29 points against a tough LSU defense, or the one that couldn't break double-digits against Alabama and Mississippi State ? I wish I could say I knew, but getting Chris Rainey back can't hurt.
3. Georgia (3-4, 2-3) - Yes, that's right, Georgia is still alive in the SEC East. Forget about those four straight losses that left us all wondering if Mark Richt would survive the season, the Bulldogs have exploded the last two weeks and are right in the thick of things. The problem for Georgia is they have no room for error, and have already lost to South Carolina this season. So even if they do survive a trip to Lexington this weekend -- something Auburn barely did, and South Carolina couldn't -- they still have to play Florida in Jacksonville and travel to Auburn. Yes, seeing the Bulldogs outscore Tennessee and Vanderbilt 84-14 over the last two weeks was encouraging, but let's not forget that Tennessee and Vanderbilt are horrible.
4. Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-2) - Listen, I'm not going to pretend that Vanderbilt has any chance of winning the SEC East. It's just I have to include them because the way the dominoes have fallen thus far in the season, they're not out of contention yet. So, yes, Vandy has a chance to win the SEC East. I also have a chance at convincing Megan Fox to drop the dude from 90210 and marry me instead. Let's see which one happens first.
5. Kentucky (4-3, 1-3) - Kentucky is in the same boat as Vanderbilt in that it's alive, but barely. Though to Kentucky's credit, they've been a lot more impressive than Vanderbilt. The Wildcats nearly knocked off Auburn and did take down South Carolina, and the tough part of the schedule is done. The problem is that not only would Kentucky need to win out, but they'd also need quite a bit of help from everybody else.
1. Auburn (7-0, 4-0) - Cam Newton is the new Tim Tebow, but this kid isn't nearly as interested in quoting the Bible as he is in running over defenses. I have no doubt that Newton is good enough to lead this Auburn team to the SEC title game, but the Auburn defense leaves me incredibly concerned, as does its remaining schedule. The Tigers get LSU at home this week, and then have three winnable games before finishing the season in Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl. If Auburn can overcome its defense and win out then I don't think there's any question that this team will be playing in Arizona come January with a crystal football on the line.
2. LSU (7-0, 4-0) - Can you comfortably say that you can predict what Les Miles is going to do next? No, of course not. The man is insane, and his team seems to have taken on the identity of its bi-polar head coach. The most worrisome aspect of the Tigers is obviously the offense, and you have to figure that at some point Jordan Jefferson or Jarrett Lee are going to throw that back-breaking interception to end this team's hopes. Considering that the Tigers still have Auburn and Alabama back-to-back over the next few weeks before finishing the season in Fayetteville, there will be plenty of chances for them to do just that.
3. Alabama (6-1, 3-1) - You didn't make the mistake of thinking this team was dead, did you? Is this Alabama team as good as last year's national champion? No, there's no way the 2009 Alabama defense lets Stephen Garcia tear it apart. Still, even if this defense isn't as strong as last season's unit, it's pretty darn good. The Tide have an easy game with Tennessee this week before having to travel to Baton Rouge, but then they have their last three games at home with Georgia State sandwiched by Mississippi State and Auburn. If Alabama wins out, it's going to Atlanta, and barring some catastrophic injury, I can see it happening.
Prediction: Trying to predict what's going to happen in the SEC is a fruitless exercise in that come Sunday morning, the entire conference could be turned upside down. Still, a prediction is what is asked of me, and a prediction is what ye shall receive.
Two teams will travel to Atlanta to play for the SEC title, and I believe those two teams will be Alabama and Florida. Yep, again. As far as Alabama is concerned, I just think they'll win out, with the SEC West being decided on the final Saturday when they end Auburn's bid at an undefeated season and a national title.
Florida? Well, I don't have that much faith in the Gators at this point, but that's still more faith than I'll ever be willing to put in Stephen Garcia. So they'll be the lucky recipient of a second beating by the Tide in December.
Posted on: October 17, 2010 6:05 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
So far a number of schools have decided to keep players off of Twitter. Places like Boise State, Miami and North Carolina have all banned the social media site, and if you were wondering which school might be next, I have a pretty good idea.
Randall Cobb played a pretty big role in Kentucky 's win over South Carolina on Saturday night, and while he no doubt enjoyed every minute of the Wildcats' victory, he also noticed what was going on in the stands in Lexington. He then took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon to air out his frustrations with Kentucky fans.
Cobb sent out one long message to Kentucky football fans in three tweets. I'll just get one large (SIC) out of the way now.
"To all the fans: Loved seein Yall come late, love hearin Yall tell us we suck during the game, love that we have to play against our own fans too! Love that we can't pack the house against the #10 team in the nation. It means that much more to me. I love my team! Brotherhood they got my back n I got they back. The rest of Yall can get ready for bball season!"
To which Kentucky fans probably replied, "We have a football team?
The three seperate tweets have since been removed, though there are screenshots of each over at College Football Talk . Oh, and Kentucky basketball season starts on November 1 against Pikeville. It's only an exhibition game, but I'll bet Rupp Arena is packed.
Posted on: October 16, 2010 12:54 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:16 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. It's another gorgeous day across the country, but it's starting to get just a little bit chilly. You should still bring the sunscreen. All times are Eastern.
Boston College at No. 16 Florida State , 12:00, Tallahassee, FL: Low 70s, clear
Illinois at No. 13 Michigan State, 12:00 , East Lansing, MI: Mid 50s, partly cloudy
Missouri at No. 21 Texas A&M, 12:00 , College Station, TX: Low 70s, clear
No. 15 Iowa at Michigan , 3:30, Ann Arbor, MI: Low 60s, partly cloudy
No. 12 Arkansas at No. 7 Auburn , 3:30, Auburn, AL: Low 70s, clear
Texas at No. 5 Nebraska , 3:30, Lincoln, NE: Low 70s, clear
No. 10 South Carolina at Kentucky , 6:00, Lexington, KY: Low 60s, clear
No. 1 Ohio State at No. 18 Wisconsin , 7:00, Madison, WI: Mid 50s, partly cloudy
Mississippi State at No. 22 Florida , 7:00, Gainesville, FL: Low 60s, clear
Late night kickoffs
Ole Miss at No. 8 Alabama , 9:00, Tuscaloosa, AL: Low 50s, clear
No. 24 Oregon State at Washington , 10:15, Seattle, WA: Mid 40s, partly cloudy
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Big 12, Big Ten, Boston College, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Kickoff Weather, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon State, Pac-10, SEC, South Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M, Washington, Wisconsin