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Tag:Florida
Posted on: November 4, 2010 11:17 pm
 

NCAA Lesson Plan, Week 10

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here are the main story lines to keep your eyes on in Week 10. You will be graded on this. Eyes on your own paper.

Who's the class of the Mountain West? For all the consternation caused by TCU jumping Boise State in the BCS rankings this past weekend, the real drama happens this Saturday at 3:30 on CBS College Sports, when TCU faces fellow unbeaten conference member Utah in a pivotal game that may have national championship implications. After all, if Utah beats TCU but doesn't hop Boise State in the BCS rankings, the Utes would be right to question why that'd be the case. If TCU wins and wins out, though, Boise State's national title hopes are effectively over regardless of the Broncos' undefeated record for the second year in a row.

And past the implications, it should be a really interesting game to watch; these two teams are some of the best-coached, toughest squads in all of college football, "non-AQ" label be damned. TCU quarterback Andy Dalton is having another stellar season, and the Utes are tied for third in scoring offense this season. Oh, and both defenses are in the top six in both scoring defense and total defense ; TCU in particular hasn't even given up more than seven points in a game since September. Something's gotta give ... right?

Will the SEC races be over? The key SEC matchup this week -- almost by default, considering the glut of non-conference games there on Saturday -- is certainly No. 5 Alabama at No. 12 LSU , at 3:30 on CBS. Both teams are 7-1 and ready to make a push for, at the very least, an at-large BCS bid. But here's the thing: if LSU wins, the SEC West is basically over; Auburn would have to lose to both Alabama and Georgia the week prior for LSU to take the division title. Let's at least wait for Cam Newton to be declared ineligible first.

Meanwhile, No. 17 South Carolina could take a commanding lead in the SEC East... or all hell could break loose. Again. The Gamecocks travel to Fayetteville to put their 4-2 conference record on the line against No. 16 Arkansas . If the Gamecocks pull off the win and Florida drops their game against Vanderbilt (tell us it can't happen; go on, tell us.), SC takes the SEC West just like that. It could , technically, happen.

Will off-field distractions doom top teams? So undefeated No. 2 Boise State 's out of the national championship picture the way things look now, and it hosts a surprising 7-2 Hawaii . Drama?? No. 3 Auburn faces 5-3 Chattanooga , possibly without Cam Newton. And OK, technically, the Mocs are an FCS team, but still: intrigue??? Even No. 7 Wisconsin faces plucky Purdue , and Wisconsin has to deal with this blog that clearly makes fun of it and its fans. Chicanery???? Look for all three of these ranked teams to lose by at least 20 points this week as their worlds crash down around them.

Posted on: November 4, 2010 3:42 pm
 

SEC Title Hunt preview, Week 10

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 a mostly premature prediction.  Agree? Disagree? Got any good haikus? Leave 'em all in the comments section below.

West Division

Auburn (9-0) (6-0)
Alabama (7-1) (4-1)
LSU (7-1) (4-1)
Mississippi State (7-2) (3-2)
Arkansas (6-2) (3-2)
Ole Miss (3-5) (1-4)

Week 9 Preview
With their convincing victory over Ole Miss last weekend, Auburn has eliminated both Arkansas and Mississippi State from the West race. Thanks to a head-to-head loss to Auburn and a second loss for both the Razorbacks and Bulldogs within the division (where Auburn finishes 4-1 at worst), it appears that's it's impossible for either team to win a tiebreaker against the Tigers, whether it be two-way, three-way, or even four-way. Since the Tigers are already two games up in the loss column with only two to play, the Hogs and Dogs cannot do better than a tie and are done where Atlanta is concerned. A share of the West will be as good as it gets.

But that's not the case for either LSU or Alabama , who will play what will very likely amount to an elimination game Saturday in Baton Rouge. The Tide could still make Atlanta after a loss by winning out, having Auburn lose to Georgia , and watching LSU drop one of their final two SEC games; they'd win the three or four-way tie at 6-2. But that's a lot of breaks to catch. LSU, on the other hand, has no way back in the event of a loss, as they'd fall into the no-way-past-Auburn boat shared by Arkansas and MSU.

For the winner of LSU-Alabama, though hope remains very much alive. LSU would need a pair of Auburn losses, but if they got them they would control their own destiny for Atlanta. Things would be even rosier for the Tide, who control their own destiny already and would be only two home games away from the divisional title.

Which is why Auburn will be rooting hard for LSU (not, of course, that they wouldn't be anyway). A Bayou Bengal win would mean that after dispensing with FCS Chattanooga this week, Auburn would have the golden opportunity to clinch the division at home next week against Georgia. The opinion here is that they won't get it, however; unless Patrick Peterson can produce some game-changing plays in the return game, it's hard to see how LSU's feeble passing attack makes enough hay against the Tide's defense to put a game-winning number of points on the board.

Week 10 West winners: Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss
West Favorite: Auburn

East Division

South Carolina (6-2) (4-2)
Florida (5-3) (3-3)
Georgia (4-5) (3-4)
Vanderbilt (2-6) (1-5)
Kentucky (4-5) (1-5)
Tennessee (2-6) (0-5)

Week 9 Preview
Thanks to form holding in the South Carolina vs. Tennessee , Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas, and Kentucky vs. Mississippi State games, what once appeared to be an incomprehensible mess will almost certainly come down to one game: South Carolina at Florida, Nov. 13, for all the division's marbles.

It's "almost" because there's one remaining possible fly in the ointment: Vanderbilt, who hosts the Gators at noon Eastern this Saturday. If the Commodores can pull off the shocker, Carolina will go into their evening game against Arkansas knowing that a win will send them to Atlanta for the first time in the program's history.

Much more likely, of course, is that the Gators take care of business and render the tilt between the Gamecocks and Razorbacks completely meaningless where the East title is concerned. Even in the event of a Gator win and Carolina loss -- a likelihood, given the downtrodden state of the Carolina secondary and the skills of Ryan Mallett -- the Gamecocks will still have the tiebreaking upper hand if they can win in the Swamp, and Florida will have no way past that tiebreak after that fourth loss. It will be 100 percent winner-take-all.

(Note that Georgia has been eliminated; even the Vandy-over-Florida / Arkansas-and-Florida-over-Carolina / Georgia-over-Auburn series of events that leads to a three-way tie at 4-4 doesn't help them, since Florida would take it on the strength of head-to-head wins over both the Dawgs and Gamecocks.)

Week 10 East winners: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee
East Favorite: Florida


Mostly Premature SEC Championship Game Prediction - Auburn 34, Florida 28

Posted on: November 4, 2010 1:05 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2010 1:05 pm
 

Dowling dismissed because of his attitude

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Monday Florida's head coach Urban Meyer announced that the team had dismissed freshman safety Jonathan Dowling for violating team rules.  On Thursday we found out what team rules he violated.  Turns out that the kid was kind of punk, or as one unnamed source told the Palm Beach Post, "he was a complete (expletive)."

While we don't know for sure what expletive was used, I'd guess it rhymes with bassmole, which isn't a word but suits my purpose here.

Apparently Dowling was not complying with coaches and staff members and spending his days not going to class and skipping tutoring sessions.  When he was confronted by the coaching staff about it, he acted like one of those bassmoles, and Meyer decided that was enough to kick him off the team.  Which is fine.

This is Florida, after all, and there is just no place for that kind of behavior in the Gators program. 

While the Gators will tolerate you firing off an AK-47 in a parking lot, getting arrested for a DUI, or arrested for threatening to kill your girlfriend, those are very different circumstances.  See, those guys are all starters who contribute on the field, so while they might be suspended for a while, they're going to be back when they're needed.

But if you're just some punk-ass freshman with an attitude on the bench?  Well, that's just uncalled for.  

Hit the bricks, kid.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 12:55 pm
 

Florida kicker unfazed by choke sign

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Much has been written and discussed regarding Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham making a choking signal at Florida kicker Chas Henry before his game-winning field goal last Saturday. One person who it may surprise you believes all of that writing and discussion is a lot of useless hot air? Chas Henry himself :

“Honestly, it’s just in the middle of a game,” Henry said. “It doesn’t matter. The coach can do whatever. It doesn’t matter at all as far as coaches and repercussions ... It’s one of the most intense rivalries in college football. Stuff like that, it’s not even on the field. It has nothing to do with it. It’s just football.

“I think it’s ridiculous what people are trying to say that he should have to apologize for it or be fined or anything. He’s a great coach. I look at his record. It’s just an intense game.”

This is an admirable bygones-by-bygones approach from Henry, who of course already had the last word by making the kick. But when even Bulldog fans are mostly admitting Grantham could have done more to apologize , he really could have done more to apologize; the line between players and opposing coaches has been in place in virtually every sport since sports began, and for a reason. Crossing it should trigger something from Grantham's end other than him simply saying it won't happen again.

But considering Henry's reaction in the heat of the action, it's no surprise he doesn't see Grantham's mistake as worthy of further response:

“I see that they’d taken a timeout and I looked over at their coach and I started laughing, like, ‘You’re going to ice me? I’m not even the kicker. You’re going to ice me?’” Henry said today. “So I start looking and I see the guy doing the choke. I look at him again and he does like, ‘You’re gonna choke.’ So I take my helmet off and I gave him a little smooch at him. I blew him a little kiss.

“That might be why he got a little upset about that. Then he did it again.”

Frankly, if you're looking for reasons the Gators have gone 18-3 the last 21 years against the Dawgs, you could do worse than the fact that Florida's players are relaxed enough to blow "little smooches" at opposing coaches just before the biggest play of the game, while Georgia's wound up enough that they feel the need to send the entire team onto the field to show how not-wound up they are.

Posted on: November 3, 2010 4:16 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2010 4:21 pm
 

SEC in danger of failing to fulfill bowl tie-ins

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Though it's been described in some quarters as a "down year" for the SEC , the polls would beg to differ; the league still hogs a third of the BCS top six and more than a quarter of the BCS top 20. A year after Alabama and Florida staged a de facto play-in game for the right to play for the BCS national championship, most bowl projections --- including CBSSports.com's -- currently see this year's meeting between a potentially undefeated Auburn and a potentially one-loss Alabama to be just as critical. Charges that the league's lack of depth was being masked by the Tide's and Gators' dominance have been answered this season as up-and-comers like Auburn, South Carolina , Arkansas , and Mississippi State have more than filled the vacuum left by the decline of Florida and Georgia .

In short, at the top of the standings, it's as good to be the SEC as ever. Too bad the story is a different one in the league's other half, where several teams will have to scratch and claw their way to bowl eligiblity. While fewer bowl teams would be something of a black mark for the league's record, it would be even worse news for the bowls on the back end of the SEC's 9-game bowl tie-in pecking order.

With the league all but guaranteed a second spot in the BCS (likely to go to either the Auburn-Alabama loser or LSU in the event the Bayou Bengals knock off Alabama at home this weekend), the SEC will need 10 bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of those tie-ins. If they fall short, the struggling Birmingham Bowl -- having already lost its papajohns.com title sponsor and sitting on the ninth and final choice from the SEC pool -- could be forced to invite a Sun Belt also-ran that would almost certainly lead to diminished attendance and TV ratings. The bowls with the SEC's No. 7 and No. 8 choices, the Liberty Bowl and Music City Bowl , are more stable but would no doubt take some form of hit from being forced to choose a lower-rung Big East team or non-AQ at-large squad.

So there's more at stake in the race for bowl eligiblity for the SEC's bottom half than just gift bags and extra practices. CBS projects nine of the conference's teams to make it across the line to the postseason, but this assumes a few results break the SEC's way. Taking a look at the league's eligibility picture ...

Team-by-Team

Auburn, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Arkansas : Each of these teams has already earned postseason eligibility.

Florida : The Gators need only more one win, and if the exceedingly unlikely event they don't get it this week against Vanderbilt , they will Nov. 20 against FCS Appalachian State .

Kentucky : This is where things start getting at least a little dicey. The Wildcats have used the four-mediocre-nonconference-wins plus-two-SEC-victories blueprint to eligibility before and, with only four wins to date, could need it again. Charleston Southern will get them to five, but if the 'Cats botch their Nov. 13 home date with Vandy, they'll have to end their 25-game losing streak to Tennessee (the NCAA's longest between two teams) in Knoxville to make the postseason.

Georgia : With Idaho State on tap this week but a trip to Auburn the following Saturday, the 4-5 Bulldogs are likely to be at 5-6 and in need a win at home over Georgia Tech in the season's final week to go bowling. The 5-3 Yellow Jackets have taken a step back this season but won their last trip to Athens.

Ole Miss: This is where the shots at eligibilty get legitimately long. The 3-5 Rebels will need three wins out of a slate that includes a home dates against Louisiana-Lafayette and Mississippi State and trips to Tennessee and LSU. The Ragin' Cajuns are a gimme, but the Rebels will likely be underdogs in the other three and will need a pair of upsets to make up for their season-opening stunner against FCS Jacksonville State .

Tennessee: At 2-6, the Vols must win out to grab a bowl berth. But they have the schedule to make it happen, at least: vs. Memphis , Ole Miss, and Kentucky at home with only Vandy on the road. But at 0-5 in the SEC and dealing with a quarterback controversy, it's hard to see the Vols running the table even against that soft slate.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores also sit at 2-6, but with Florida up this week, they will very likely be the first SEC team officially eliminated from postseason consideration.

Best-Case Scenario

Kentucky beats Vandy, Georgia beats either Auburn or Tech, Tennessee wins out, and Ole Miss shocks both LSU and Mississippi State to send every SEC team but Vandy into the postseason (four of them at 6-6).

Worst-Case Scenario

Kentucky loses to Vandy and Tennessee. Tennessee loses to Ole Miss. Ole Miss loses to LSU and Mississippi State. Georgia loses to Auburn and Georgia Tech. And only seven SEC teams go bowling.

A Prediction

We'll stick with the CBS line for now: the Dawgs and 'Cats do enough to keep the Music City and Liberty happy, but neither the Rebels nor Vols make it and the Birmingham Bowl scrambles. But should Kentucky lose to Vanderbilt or Georgia to their in-state rivals from Atlanta, there's going to be some very unhappy bowl executives in either Memphis or Nashville.

Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:19 pm
 

Much ado about nothing with Georgia's Grantham

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Saturday in Jacksonville, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was caught on camera making what appeared to be the universal "choke" signal before Chas Henry lined up to make a game-winning kick in overtime for Florida.   Grantham repeatedly put his right hand up to his throat after Georgia called a timeout to ice Henry.

Now, for some reason, the fact that a coach on the opposing team would somehow hope that a kicker would blow a field goal and not beat his team is apparently a big deal.  Why?  I honestly don't know.

Should Grantham have been rooting for Henry?

Whatever the case is, Mark Richt felt the need to address it at his weekly press conference.

“I’ll just say that emotions run high and people do things that they probably wish they wouldn’t do,” Richt said. “I think that was what was being communicated. I don’t think he’s necessarily proud of it. We're just gonna learn from it and move on.”

Personally, I side with Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray who said that he didn't think it was that big of a deal as "it's not like he charged the field at the kicker and tried to do something to him."

Which, if Grantham had done, would have been wrong but so very awesome.
Posted on: October 30, 2010 11:29 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2010 11:32 pm
 

What I learned from the SEC (Oct.30)

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
 

Gators up 21-7 at halftime

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.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com