Posted on: October 25, 2010 1:22 pm
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 23, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:13 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. You like storms? We got storms. There's a front moving through the nation's heartland, and there's copious amounts of rain all the way from Chicago to Texas. Will this affect Missouri-Oklahoma? All times are Eastern.
Purdue at No. 11 Ohio State, 12:00, Columbus, OH: Upper 50s, clear
Syracuse at No. 20 West Virginia, 12:00, Morgantown, WV: Mid 60s, mostly cloudy
No. 8 Michigan State at Northwestern, 12:00, Evanston, IL: Upper 50s, rain
Ole Miss at No. 21 Arkansas, 12:21, Fayetteville, AR: Upper 60s, cloudy (storms later)
No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 12 Iowa, 3:30, Iowa City, IA: Upper 60s, chance of rain
No. 6 LSU at No. 5 Auburn, 3:30, Auburn, AL: Upper 70s, clear
No. 14 Nebraska at No. 17 Oklahoma State, 3:30, Stillwater, OK: Mid 70s, chance of storms
No. 7 Alabama at Tennessee, 7:00, Knoxville, TN: Mid 60s, partly cloudy
No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 18 Missouri, 8:00, Columbia, MO: Mid 60s, scattered storms
Air Force at No. 4 TCU, 8:00, Fort Worth, TX: Upper 60s, scattered storms
Late night kickoffs
Washington at No. 15 Arizona, 10:15, Tucson, AZ: Upper 60s, partly cloudy
Posted on: October 22, 2010 4:15 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
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 South Carolina would fail to score a point in the second half against Kentucky a week after knocking off the Tide? Nobody... until now. 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.
Highly UnlikelyThe Tennessee Volunteers shock the world when they pull off an upset of the Alabama Crimson Tide in Knoxville on Saturday night. In his first start, Tyler Bray has far from an outstanding day, throwing for only 78 yards and a touchdown, but the Alabama offense can't stop tripping over its own feet. Greg McElroy fumbles three times, and throws four interceptions. To make matters worse, McElroy, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Julio Jones all have to leave the game with devastating knee injuries. After the game a shocked Nick Saban points out that "they just don't make ligaments like they used to."
Severly UnlikelyIt's halftime in Miami, and the North Carolina Tar Heels look to be en route to a huge win against the Hurricanes. They have a 24-0 lead thanks to four first half interceptions by Jacory Harris, and spirits in the locker room are high. Then a phone rings. Butch Davis answers it to be told that the NCAA has just suspended everybody on his team, and that he'll have to forfeit the game. Instead Davis recruits the North Carolina band to fill in for his team, and amazingly, they hold on to win the game 27-23. Three weeks later the loss is vacated when it's discovered that the tuba player accepted money from the New York Philharmonic.
Completely LudicrousFollowing Iowa 's narrow 27-24 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday, the two teams meet on the field to shake hands. Bret Bielema goes out of his way to find Ricky Stanzi and congratulate him on his three-touchdown game. Upon finding Stanzi, the quarterback tells Bielema, "Thanks. That's how real Americans play the game." This infuriates Bielema, who views his brand of pounding large young men into the trenches until they drop dead to be the real American football. The two begin fighting, and have to be separated. Though after the dustup, still feeling patriotic, Stanzi pulls the American flag out from under his jersey -- next to his heart, of course -- and puts it on a sharpened flag pole he keeps in his sock. He then hurls the flag forty yards through the air like a javelin where it goes through Bielema's chest and plants into the ground. Stanzi is carried off the field to chants of "USA! USA! USA!"
Posted on: October 18, 2010 3:27 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 3:27 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
At 2-4 and with his Volunteers mired in next-to-last in the SEC in total offense (Vanderbilt: the statistical gift to the rest of the league that never stops giving), it's undoubtedly desperate times for Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley . So it's not surprising he's turned to the first desperate measure of the college head coach: tossing raw freshmen into the deep end :
That "good luck, skinny kid" (from Chattanooga Times-Free Press writer Wes Rucker) may not seem particularly sensitive, but it's sure not inaccurate. At 6'6", Tyler Bray is the same height as current SEC quarterback giants Ryan Mallett and Cameron Newton ... but listed at just 192 pounds, he's nearly 60 pounds lighter. (There's a reason the universal recruiting consensus on the California-bred Bray was "good arm, lots of upside, don't dare put him on the field until he's had a year to fill out.") And he'll be facing Alabama, so yes, some good luck will likely be required to make it out in one piece.
There are a few things working in Bray's favor. He'll be playing at home in Neyland Stadium, for one, rather than facing the foaming hordes in Tuscaloosa. He's already seen some game action this season, entering in garbage time against UT-Martin and Georgia and completing 11 of his 18 passes (albeit with one interception no scores as of yet). And he won't face the burden of starting just yet -- Dooley's plan appears to be to start the up-and-down Matt Simms and bring Bray in at the first sign of trouble.
But there's only so many ways to spin "head coach of 2-4 team with terrible offense turns to fencepost-thin true freshman quarterback against defending national champions." The obvious conclusion -- that Dooley feels his back against the wall and wants to leave no tricks in the bag in his search for a season-salvaging win -- is the correct one here.
Posted on: October 10, 2010 12:04 am
Edited on: October 10, 2010 1:07 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
1. Les Miles is the smartest, craziest moron to ever coach a college football team. Seriously, the man took nothing but grief all week from the media and his own fans following the near debacle against Tennessee last week. And it was well deserved! It's not like it was the first time he's had problems with clock management at the end of the game. Then the Mad Hatter goes and pulls another white rabbit out of the hat against Florida by calling that fake field goal in the video above. You know what kind of guts that takes to make that play call when your fan base is already calling for your head on a plate? Then he managed to have his team spike the ball following a big catch by Terrence Tolliver to set up a first and goal. A few plays later it was Jarrett Lee hitting Tolliver on a fade to win the game, and the Mad Hatter had struck again. LSU is 6-0.
2. Alabama is mere flesh and bone, just like you and I. Following its 31-6 win over Florida last week, Alabama had been crowned as the clear-cut best team in the country, and people like me were wondering if it would ever lose again. Turns out it would. The Tide saw their 19-game SEC win streak come to an end in Columbia on Saturday, 'Bama's first regular-season loss since 2007. Now they find themselves in the unfamiliar position of having to win out to have a chance to get back to the SEC title game.
3. The Ol' Ball Coach still has it. With the win over Alabama, and Florida's loss to LSU, the Gamecocks find themselves in the driver's seat in the SEC East. Odds are that when they roll into Gainesville on November 13 there will be a trip to the SEC Championship on the line. As long as Stephen Garcia doesn't try throwing any more passes through the uprights, I like their chances.
4. The Auburn defense needs work. Listen, it's nice that the Tigers are 6-0 and tied with LSU atop the SEC West standings, but if their defense doesn't play better than it did in Lexington on Saturday night, they can kiss any hopes of an SEC title goodbye. The Tigers were torn apart through the air, as Kentucky completed 24-of-29 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. They needed a last second field goal to get out of Lexington alive and keep this from being one of the saddest Saturdays in the state of Alabama's history.
5. Mark Richt and the Bulldogs have a pulse. The first five weeks of the Georgia season had been a nightmare for Richt and his team, and it was one it had to be wondering if it would ever wake up from. Richt will have to thank Tennessee for remembering to set the alarm. Georgia finally played like the team we're all used to seeing on Saturday, putting up 402 yards and 41 points on the overmatched Vols. Georgia needs four wins in its last six games to go bowling, and looking at the schedule, suddenly it seems manageable.
Posted on: October 9, 2010 7:16 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Ol' Ball Coach has been calling ball plays at South Carolina since 2005 but in Steve Spurrier 's first five years at the school the Gamecocks had never picked up that program-changing win. They have now. Following its 35-21 win over defending national champion Alabama on Saturday afternoon Spurrier's Gamecocks have officially arrived on the national scene.
Yes, the Gamecocks had some big wins in Spurrier's first year in Columbia, knocking off Tennessee at Neyland Stadium for the first time in school history, and beating Florida for the first time since 1939, but neither of those wins propelled South Carolina to an SEC championship game, and the school has found itself as nothing but a middle of the road SEC team since.
This win against Alabama, though, may just do the trick.
Now the Gamecocks still have a long road to travel before they can ge there, with two tough tests against Arkansas and Florida -- in The Swamp -- remaining in their way, but if they can knock off a team that had won 19-straight in the SEC and took home a title last season, they can win both of those games.
Whether they do or not, however, isn't what's important here. It's the fact that it's possible at all. There have been many critics who have wondered whether or not Spurrier would ever be able to build a SEC contender at South Carolina, and considering that he's only won eight games once and one of four bowl games, their doubt was understandable.
But is it a coincidence that now, in his sixth season at the helm, and with a roster full of his own players, his Gamecocks find themselves 4-1 with a shot at winning the SEC East? I don't think so.
Five hours ago I was one of the many people who wondered if Spurrier had it in him. Now? Now I'm not sure anybody else in the SEC has it in them to take it away from Spurrier.
It's amazing what one win can do.
Posted on: October 9, 2010 1:43 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
So far this season the only thing anybody has talked about when it comes to the Georgia Bulldogs is what's gone wrong. Today, everything is going right. The Bulldogs are using all the frustration from the first five weeks of the season and are taking it out on Tennessee. Late in the second quarter the Bulldogs hold a 27-7 lead over the Vols, taking advantage of a Tennessee defense that seems all too willing to give them whatever they'd like.
Aaron Murray has thrown two touchdowns in the half and run for another, giving Georgia its first points on a 35-yard touchdown run. Tennessee has responded by turning the ball over twice on special teams along with an interception from Matt Simms.
Safe to say that if the Bulldogs had been playing like this all season, there wouldn't be nearly as much talk about Mark Richt's job status in Athens these days.
Posted on: October 8, 2010 3:19 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2010 5:15 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 - #2 Ohio State vs. Indiana - Noon - ESPN
You know what the real problem is with the ACC and Big East being so awful/mediocre this year? It really leaves the early menu of games leaving a lot to be desired. I mean, I have Ohio State and Indiana as the morning's best option.
Think about that for a second. Ohio State and Indiana. A game which hasn't seen the Hoosiers get within more than 19 points of the Buckeyes in every meeting since 2002 -- though the teams didn't meet in 2007 or 2008. The good news for Indiana is that the 19-point loss came last season, with Ben Chappell at quarterback.
The Hoosiers offense has been very impressive this season, but the Buckeyes will be by far their biggest test six weeks into the year. Considering that we can't be sure just how healthy Terrelle Pryor is, and the struggles the Buckeyes had in Champaign last week, this game could prove to be more interesting than you'd think.
Side Orders: Should that game go the blowout route, your other options Saturday morning would be the ACC fare of North Carolina State and Boston College. One is a team looking to rebound from its first loss, the other is a team that is having its three quarterbacks pick a number between 1-10 to see who gets to start. If you prefer something else, you can watch Georgia and Tennessee fight to see which school's season is more far gone than the other. It's a must win for Mark Richt, because a loss to Tennessee at home would only send him to the hospital with third-degree burns on his backside.
LunchMain Course - #19 South Carolina vs #1 Alabama - 3:30pm - CBS
If there's one thing I think we can all be certain at this point of the college football season it's that Alabama is the best team in the country. There's a bit of a gap between them and Ohio State and Oregon, but after the Ducks, things drop off quite a bit. That being said, going in to Columbia to take on the Gamecocks shouldn't be a cakewalk for the Tide.
What I think will be the key to this one is if Marcus Lattimore can do anything against the Alabama defense. While the Alabama defense is barely giving up nine points a game, they are allowing an average of 101 yards per game on the ground.
Though even if the Gamecocks do get a ground game going, they still have to stop Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, which no one has done to this point ('Bama is averaging 230 yards a game rushing). Considering the Gamecocks allow 128.3 yards a contest on the ground, I'm not sure they're up for the challenge either.
Side Orders: Listen, if people are taking this Michigan/Michigan State game so seriously that they're willing to die in order to see it, maybe you can take a few hours of your Saturday and do the same. There is never a bad time to watch Denard Robinson play football, as he is without question the most dangerous one-man show in the sport right now. If that's not good enough for you, check out Arkansas and Texas A&M. One team has a quarterback who lives up to the hype, and the other has a quarterback who lives up to the hype on one series and then proceeds to get that hype lodged in his throat, suffocating himself and his team. See if you can tell which one is which.
DinnerMain Course - #14 Florida vs. #12 LSU - 7:30pm - ESPN
This game will be interesting for plenty of reasons, but perhaps none more so than the battles between the fans in the seats. Watch as LSU and Florida fans argue about which team's offensive coordinator is going to drive some student to the top of the nearest bell tower with a sniper rifle sooner. Then watch the other fan base tell them that if their offensive coordinator climbed up that same tower he'd only manage to fall out before getting a single shot off.
Then watch both fan bases fall into each other's arms in tears, unified in despair. Then they'd smile when both agreeing that if it were Les Miles atop that tower, he'd kill 40 people before going to trial and being found not guilty on some technicality.
Side Orders: Though the rivalry between Florida State and Miami has lost some of its luster the last few years, the fact is both teams come into this game ranked and looking to stay on top of their respective divisions in the ACC. Or you can watch Stanford try to run its win streak over USC to three games in Palo Alto as Ed Orgeron yells incoherently from home thanks to that staph infection in his leg.
Late Night SnackThe Washington Huskies look to build on any momentum they picked up by beating USC on the road last week against an Arizona State team that couldn't headbutt its way to a victory against Oregon State.
Tags: Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Ben Chappell, Boston College, Denard Robinson, Ed Orgeron, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Indiana, Les Miles, LSU, Marcus Lattimore, Mark Ingram, Mark Richt, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oregon State, Saturday Meal Plan, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Terrelle Pryor, Texas A&M, Trent Richardson, USC, Washington