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.
For more breaking news and analysis follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNCAAF or subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 21, 2010 1:49 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
One of the deepest ongoing mysteries in the SEC is why Mark Richt and Georgia simply cannot shake their team's penchant for (mostly) petty lawlessness. There are plenty of other coaches with a more laissez-faire approach to discipline than Richt, and plenty other programs with more character risks on the roster than the Bulldogs ... but almost none of them can match the amazing 11 arrests the Dawgs have racked up this calendar year, with several coming since the start of Georgia's roller coaster of a season.
Not surprisingly, this is a development of some concern for Georgia fans, and no Georgia fan's opinion carries as much weight as Dawg uberlegend Herschel Walker . So when Walker says of Richt ...
"The losses, that is going to concern me as well, but when you got kids that got off-field problems, we need to get into and see what’s going on. Because when you got off-the-field problems, there’s something going on with that program ...... it's the clearest sign yet that if Richt wants to maintain the support of the Dawg fanbase -- particularly in the face of the miserable 1-4 start that put his head on the chopping block before routs of Tennessee and Vanderbilt righted the ship -- he'd best either find a way to keep his players in line, or desperately hope that whatever shoulder-devils have been luring them astray take the rest of the season off.
Walker did say that individual responsibility is "one of the problems I think athletes have today," but left the onus squarely on Richt to solve the Dawgs' problems. As for potential solutions, well, reading the notorious comments section of the Journal-Constitution website is wholeheartedly not recommended, but we can't help but make note of user "Chili"'s useful suggestion regarding Walker's budding mixed-martial arts career:
The next one arrested should have to get in the cage with Herschel.Yes, please. And hey, at this point, what does Richt have to lose?
Posted on: October 20, 2010 2:24 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Florida Gators are on a bye this week, but when they do return to action next week against Georgia, the Gators may have an old weapon back. During his weekly appearance at the SEC teleconference on Wednesday, head coach Urban Meyer said that Chris Rainey is once again eligible to play for the Gators. Rainey returned to practice last week, but has had to sit out for the last five weeks following his arrest for aggravated stalking.
Still, just because Rainey is eligible to play, Meyer didn't want anyone to make the mistake that all this means he will play.
“Chris Rainey is eligible to participate in the Georgia game, but I’m not saying he will,” Meyer said. “That hasn’t been determined.”
No, it hasn't been determined, but trust me, Rainey will be playing against Georgia. You don't let him start practicing again and then restore his eligibility for him to sit on the sideline while your struggling football team battles for its life. The fact is that while Rainey may not be the answer for what ails Florida, his return certainly wouldn't hurt the team's chances.
So unless Rainey manages to get himself arrested during Florida's off week, he's going to be on the field against Georgia.
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 12:23 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
1. Parity has wrought havoc in the SEC. Remember the days when there was no question that the SEC was the class conference in college football? Well, that either no longer applies to the conference, or everybody has become so good that everybody can beat everybody. No matter which side of the argument you fall on, one thing is clear: when it comes to who is going to win the conference, none of us know anything.
2. The SEC East is up for grabs. Sticking with the parity theme, while we know that the SEC West is going to finish with either LSU, Auburn or Alabama on top, the SEC East can be had for the taking by anybody who wants it. South Carolina may have lost to Kentucky on Saturday night, but no matter, if it wins out it's still theirs. Right behind the Gamecocks is Florida, who have lost three in a row, and Georgia. The same Georgia team that we all thought might have a new head coach by the end of the season.
3. Cam Newton is a monster. Newton had a monster performance against Arkansas on Saturday, leading the Tigers to 65 points -- the first time that Auburn's hung 60 on an SEC opponent since they did it to Florida in 1970. With all the losses in the top 10 this week, it's safe to say that Newton will be on top of the Heisman list come Monday. The only question is how long will his defense let him stay there?
4. Florida REALLY wishes it still had Cam Newton. You really do have to wonder how much time Steve Addazio has left in Gainesville following another anemic performance from the Gators offense against Mississippi State. Anytime your defense holds an opponent to 10 points in your building, you have to win that game. Florida just couldn't get it done. It's time to go back to the drawing board, and the Gators may need to put the dry erase marker in somebody else's hand.
5. Marcus Lattimore is the key to South Carolina's offense. Lattimore had 212 yards and three touchdowns in the first half against Kentucky, and South Carolina had a 28-10 lead. Then Lattimore spent the second half on the bench on the second half, and the Gamecocks couldn't do anything on offense, getting outscored 21-0 in the second half and losing. Leaving the ball in the hands of Stephen Garcia is just not a winning formula.
Posted on: October 16, 2010 2:07 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The debut of Uga VIII has been going pretty well for the Georgia Bulldogs this weekend. While Uga is chilling on the sidelines the Bulldogs are off to a very nice start against Vanderbilt, holding a 22-0 lead at halftime.
Things didn't start out all that smoothly, as the Bulldogs needed all three of their first-half timeouts on their opening drive and still had to settle for a field goal, but the ride hasn't been nearly as bumpy since then. The Bulldogs have put up 297 yards of offense against Vandy, while limiting the Commodores to 76 yards on defense.
Washaun Ealey is enjoying all the extra carries he's getting with Caleb King suspended for the game, outgaining Vanderbilt by himself with 89 yards on 10 carries, including a 58-yard run to set up a 15-yard touchdown by Carlton Thomas. Aaron Murray hasn't been fantastic, completing 9-of-17 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown, but he's making the plays he needs to with his arm and legs.
Still, even if it hasn't been all that pretty, the Bulldogs will happily take what looks like an easy victory this week. Given the way things started in 2010, the idea of being 3-4 and 2-3 in the SEC after today means that a bowl appearance is still a possibility.
Posted on: October 13, 2010 6:18 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2010 6:21 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
For all their troubles this year -- whether at wideout or offensive line -- it can certainly be argued that the Georgia Bulldogs' most pressing need was at, well, Bulldog. Uga VII, the seventh iteration of their live English bulldog mascot, died unexpectedly near the end of last season, during just his second year on the job. A replacement bulldog, Russ (Uga VII's half-brother) filled in to finish out the 2009 season and to start this season, but well, it's just not the same you guys. With no Uga VIII, everyone's just going through the motions. Certainly that, and no other reason, is why Georgia embarked* on a four-game losing streak earlier this season.
But if you're a dog or a friend of a dog, fret no longer; a real Uga is coming to town, and he met the press today. Here's a picture, courtesy of Danny White:
LOOK AT THAT CUTE LITTLE UGA! Look at those sweetheart eyes! Is that an intimidating little doggie? No it's not! Not at all! I bet he's such a softie that he listens to Air Supply every night and craps strawberry ice cream. Who's my little teddy bear bulldog? Who's my little teddy bear bulldog??
Err, sorry. Got carried away a little bit. But seriously, that dog is way too adorbs to be an Uga. It's so adorable it made me type "adorbs."
Posted on: October 13, 2010 2:27 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Back in August, the Georgia offensive line was, to say the least, well-regarded; the players combined for 155 starts coming into the season, which was tops in the nation. Phil Steele ranked the Dawgs' front five as the best in the NCAA in his preseason magazine. Georgia placed two linemen in the SEC's preseason all-conference teams this season, which doesn't sound fantastic, but no SEC school had three. It's a good year for linemen in the SEC, and Georgia looked like they were at the top of the heap.
But along the way, ugh. Josh Davis was ineffective at right tackle, forcing head coach Mark Richt to move LT Clint Boling to the right side and install Trinton Sturdivant (who's coming off two knee injuries) at RT. Chris Davis and Tanner Strickland both struggled at right guard, so that paved the way for true freshman Kenarious Gates to start at RG last Saturday.
“Gates did a nice job,” Richt told the Athens Banner-Herald. “He did not have a bunch of busted assignments. Being next to [center Ben Jones] and Clint [Boling] helped him a lot, I’m sure, for those guys to get him where he’s supposed to be. … He pass protected pretty good. There might have been one pressure or one sack that was attributed to him. Overall, he did well.”
From the top O-line to only two of the five starters keeping their original assignments, all in the first week of the season. Not good form, Dawgmollies.
It's worth noting that Gates wasn't even Georgia's most highly-regarded offensive lineman by a longshot; Rivals and Scout both gave Gates a 3-star rating, and his only other major college offers were from the drecks of the SEC. That isn't to point out that Richt took the redshirt off the wrong true freshman, but just to further illustrate the folly of strictly adhering to the arbitrary 5-star ranking system. Gates is playing because he was best-suited to the task, and once camp starts, those ratings don't really mean much of anything.
At any rate, Georgia's 2-4 and facing a road test at Vanderbilt this Saturday. A win puts them one step closer to .500 -- and a bowl berth. No, sneaking into the Music City Bowl at 6-6 to face, like, Maryland wasn't really ideal for the Dawgs at the outset of the season, but Georgia's not really in a position to get choosy about their postseason prospects at this point.