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 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 28, 2010 4:10 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 4:27 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
As the regular season winds to a close, we'll break down the conference races and let you know what scenarios are needed for your favorite team to grasp that automatic BCS berth. In the SEC, we'll shake down each division race first then make an insanely premature prediction. Agree? Disagree? Got any good haikus? Leave 'em all in the comments section below. For the ACC edition, click here .
West DivisionAuburn (8-0) (5-0)
Alabama (7-1) (4-1)
LSU (7-1) (4-1)
Mississippi State (6-2) (2-2)
Arkansas (5-2) (2-2)
Ole Miss (3-4) (1-3)
Week 9 Preview
With Auburn sitting a game up on their bitter Alabama rivals but a full two or more on the rest of the field -- thanks to head-to-head tiebreakers over LSU , Arkansas , and Mississippi State -- it looks like there's not much stopping an Iron Bowl meeting (Nov. 26, only on CBS!) for all the Western marbles. But we're not there yet. There are plenty of reasons a team calling itself the No. 1 team in the country has lost on the road each of the last three weeks, and an awful lot of those reasons are in play again this week as emotionally-drained Auburn travels to Ole Miss . Houston Nutt has enjoyed a ton of success against favored Auburn teams over the years, and with Jeremiah Masoli now in what appears to be firm command of Nutt's offense, the Rebels have the ability to take advantage of the Tigers' often-porous defense.
But the Rebels are also struggling to stop the run in SEC play, giving up 162 yards per game, and that's after playing Vanderbilt and before playing Auburn (who has rushed for more than 300 yards in their last four SEC outings). If the Tigers come out focused enough to execute in their punishing ground game, they should wear down a Rebel defense that has sagged in several second halves.
If Auburn does come away with the win, Arkansas and Mississippi State will be all but eliminated even with wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky , respectively; they would need to run the table, see Auburn to lose to both Georgia and Alabama , and get enough other help to squeeze into a three-way tie that would avoid the head-to-head dilemma. Much more likely is that when the smoke clears, next week's critical game between LSU and Alabama (both of whom are on byes this week) will either help set up a winner-take-all Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa ... or, if LSU wins, bring Auburn within one win of clinching the West.
Week 9 West Winners -- Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State
West Favorite -- Auburn
East DivisionSouth Carolina (5-2) (3-2)
Georgia (4-3) (3-3)
Florida (4-3) (2-3)
Vanderbilt (2-5) (1-4)
Kentucky (4-4) (1-4)
Tennessee (2-5) (0-4)
Week 9 Preview
The most muddled division in all of college football should gain some clarity this week when Georgia and Florida play a de facto elimination game in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (3:30 ET this Saturday--only on CBS!). Assuming South Carolina holds serve at home against reeling, winless Tennessee , the loser will find themselves at least two games behind the Gamecocks with only two games remaining on Carolina's slate. Though either team could still hope for a three-team (or even four-team) tie at 4-4, there doesn't appear to be a way for this Saturday's loser to win that tiebreak.*
The Gators do have the advantage of controlling their own destiny, while Georgia will need help even with a win. But it's Mark Richt 's team that comes in as the Vegas favorite after destroying the Volunteers, Commodores, and Wildcats over the previous three weeks. The Dawg offense looks rejuvenated with A.J. Green back in uniform, changes along the offensive line leading to better holes for Washaun Ealey and the rest of the Dawg ground game, and Aaron Murray coming into his own as the trigger-man in charge. The Gators remain mired at 89th in the country in total offense, and unless Urban Meyer has worked some miracles during his team's bye week or the Gator return game reprises its magic from the LSU loss, it's difficult to see how Florida scores often enough to keep pace.
If Georgia does win, there's still a long road to the division title, though; they'd have to either defeat Auburn on the road in Week 11 or hope Carolina loses to Florida in Gainesville and Arkansas at home. But neither scenario is that far-fetched, meaning the East would stay muddled for at least a few more weeks.
One thing we can say: with Kentucky and Vanderbilt both major road underdogs this week (at Miss. St. and Arkansas, respectively), their brief run as legitimate players for the divisional title appears to be over.
*Since South Carolina would be the first team eliminated from that tiebreak, thanks to their divisional loss to Kentucky. After that, it's Florida vs. Georgia head-to-head.
Week 9 East Winners -- South Carolina, Georgia
East Favorite -- South Carolina
Insanely Premature ACC Championship Game Prediction - Auburn 35, South Carolina 31
Posted on: October 28, 2010 11:55 am
Edited on: October 28, 2010 12:02 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Marcus Lattimore is a measty (man+beast) individual with very focused goals on demolishing anything that stands in his way. His running style is a perfectly blissful combination of evasion and force, he can accelerate through closing gaps or bounce off defenders like a pinball. He has been a crucial piece of the Gamecocks' success, but the health of the true freshman became a concern after missing South Carolina's 21-7 victory over Vanderbilt while nursing a sprained ankle he suffered in the loss to Kentucky. South Carolina welcomes Tennessee to Columbia on Saturday, with the Volunteers still searching for their first conference win. Unfortunately for Derek Dooley's squad, Lattimore appears to have the green light to unleash hell on earth.
Lattimore said after practice Wednesday that he feels "100 percent." He is anxious after watching backup Brian Maddox rush for a career high 146 yards against the Commodores, a game that Lattimore feels he could have suited up for, but as starting quarterback Stephen Garcia pointed out Lattimore can be just as dangerous catching passes out of the backfield. With so much attention on the wide receivers downfield, Lattimore can catch balls in open space and use his running ability to break a big play. Against Kentucky, Lattimore racked up 133 yards receiving, including a 47 yard reception for a touchdown.
So Lattimore is healthy, and has all of his weapons fine tuned to help the Gamecocks make a run at the SEC Championship. I suggest that the remaining opponents of the Gamecocks hide y-...well, you get the idea.
Posted on: October 25, 2010 4:37 pm
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:
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: