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 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 4:52 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2010 4:58 pm
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).
For more breaking news and analysis follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNCAAF or subscribe to our RSS Feed.
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.