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 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 27, 2010 11:36 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 11:38 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Two weeks ago, the Arkansas defense gave up 65 points to Auburn . Last week, the Arkansas defense gave up 512 yards to Ole Miss . Safe to say the Arkansas defense could use some help.
As of this morning, it's equally safe to say Razorback defensive tackle DeQuinta Jones is not the person offering that help :
Arkansas defensive tackle D.D. Jones has been arrested for possession of a controlled substance, according to the Washington County Jail Log ...The Hogs will probably be fine without Jones's services this week as they not only take on toothless Vanderbilt , they take on toothless Vanderbilt in toothless Vanderbilt's first week under new offensive coordinator Des Kitchings .
But if the arrest costs Jones any more time, it'll hurt. The following week brings a trip to South Carolina , and Jones to date has been one of Arkansas's most productive defensive linemn, starting all seven games and ranking ninth on the defense in tackles from his defensive tackle spot. After bring gashed with Jones by Cameron Newton and Jeremiah Masoli , leaving him at home is not how the Hogs want to face Marcus Lattimore and Co. on their visit to Columbia.
Posted on: October 25, 2010 6:57 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:11 pm
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:
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.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big Ten, Blaine Gabbert, Boise State, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Dan Persa, Darron, Davey O'Brien Semifinalists, Denard Robinson, Iowa, Kellen Moore, Kirk Cousins, Landry Jones, Matt Barkley, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Mountain West, Nebraska, Nevada, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pac-10, Purdue, Ricky Stanzi, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Mallett, SEC, Stanford, Taylor Martinez, TCU, Terrelle Pryor, USC, WAC
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 23, 2010 1:58 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Gary Patterson thought he wasn't hurt to begin with , but if Ryan Mallett is suffering any lingering effects from last week's concussion against Auburn , it hasn't shown up in his play. At halftime Mallett is 7-of-14 for 143 yards, better than 10 yards an attempt, with one touchdown and interception each. The Arkansas offense had its way with the Ole Miss defense throughout the half, picking up four plays of 20 or more yards in the first quarter alone on its way to the Hogs' 21-3 halftime lead. The interception hurt, but generally, Mallett played like the country's most dangerous long-range bomber he is.
Mallett's gotten plenty of help, though; his touchdown pass came on a tremendous diving catch by potential future NFL first-rounder Greg Childs , and Joe Adams turned in a highlight-reel 97-yard punt return for a touchdown.
But long-term, the biggest question in this game for Arkansas was Mallett's health, and it appears that question has been answered in a most positive fashion.
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 21, 2010 12:00 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Last month during a win over SMU, TCU head coach Gary Patterson was caught on camera yelling at a trainer on the sidelines. Turns out that Patterson wasn't very fond of the trainer's decision to hold running back Ed Wesley out of the game with what he diagnosed as a concussion. Well that trainer was the team's head physician, and during an interview with American Medical News , he gave us a better idea of what went down on that sideline.
"He was knocked unconscious, and any loss of consciousness is automatically considered a concussion," said Dr. Samuel J. Haraldson. "He had an unsteady gait and a few memory problems.
"Then five or six plays later, I literally was verbally accosted by the coach, screaming at me insanely at the top of his lungs that he doesn't think [Wesley] has a concussion and what right do I have to hold him out,"
Haraldson says that after TCU had taken control of the game, Patterson did come over and offer what he termed a "pseudo-apology." Of course, a few days later Patterson told ESPN Dallas that as far as he was concerned, Wesley "was fine ten minutes after he got hurt."
It's a problem that isn't just taking place at TCU, either. Coaches throughout the country are under more pressure to win football games than ever before, and treating concussions so carefully is a new thing in football because we're only know becoming aware of what kind of damage they can do. Just look at Arkansas, where even though Ryan Mallett suffered a concussion last week against Auburn, he's back practicing and is likely going to play again this Saturday.
That's a decision based on winning football games, not Mallett's personal well-being.
These are supposed to be student -athletes, after all, who aren't being paid to play at the school. Instead they're being rewarded with a free education, which doesn't mean much if you can't remember anything you learned because your coach is rushing you back onto the field following a concussion.
Hat tip: Doc Saturday