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 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 30, 2010 3:09 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Florida Gators community was stunned earlier this year when Lamar Abel, a former walk-on defensive tackle, died suddenly at the age of 21. Foul play was never suspected or anything, but that doesn't make Abel's passing any less sad for those who knew him.
Now, over five months after Abel died, the Gainesville medical examiner has finally released a report that concludes Abel died of cardiac arrest, according to the Orlando Sun Sentinel. The official ruling is "natural/sudden cardiac arrest," to be precise, and while that doesn't give a "why" (like an enlarged heart or other congenital defect), sometimes there isn't a "why" to be found. Personally, I've lost a friend in essentially the same way; he was 23, a good athlete in high school, and had sudden cardiac arrest while at work one day. There wasn't anything anybody could do, and no evident cause for his heart to stop. It just, you know, happened.
At any rate, there's no telling exactly how much comfort is to be derived for Abel's friends, teammates, and family that he died of natural causes rather than as a result of a destructive habit, but it's something, and having as many answers as possible goes a long way in dealing with grief in situations like these.
Posted on: October 29, 2010 3:22 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.
Doctors have long said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but these doctors obviously didn't have the Saturday Meal Plan in mind when they came up with that load of poop. I mean, the morning slate has been pretty light all season, but this week? Wow, it's barren. I wouldn't normally ever say this, but if there was ever a Saturday morning to get all those chores around the house done that you've been putting off, this would be it. Besides, you're going to need some room in your stomach to eat all the candy you decide to keep from the trick or treaters on Sunday.
Still, if you insist on it, here are your options.
Main Course - Cincinnati vs. Syracuse - Noon - ESPNUSee? I told you. I wouldn't normally recommend the Big East to anybody, but this really is the most important game on Saturday morning. Syracuse has been one of the bigger surprises of the season, and if you ever want to check them out without sacrificing better games, than this week is your best chance to do so.
Both the 'Cuse and Cincinnati are still very much alive in the Big East race, and the conference does still get that automatic BCS berth, so I guess that makes this game worth your time.
Side Orders: I suppose that when Jacory Harris is playing quarterback for Miami there's always a chance that the Hurricanes could be upset, so I guess that's reason enough to tune into Miami and Virginia on Saturday morning. Or you could go with Illinois and Purdue! Oh how exciting that will be! Though, truth be told, Illinois is one of those teams that may be a lot better than is record indicates. I would have made Kansas State and Oklahoma State the main course, but since it's not being televised nationally, I just couldn't. Still, if it's on in your area, I suggest finding it.
Main Course - #14 Nebraska vs. #7 Missouri - 3:30pm - ABCUnfortunately, the two biggest games of the day will be played at the same time on Saturday afternoon. It was tough to choose between the two for the main course, but since the winner of this one is basically a lock to win the Big 12 North, I chose this.
Missouri jumped out last weekend and showed the country that they are, in fact, a legit undefeated team by knocking off Oklahoma, but this game may be even tougher. It's one thing to defend your home turf, it's another to go into a hostile environment and take down a strong Nebraska team.
Well, unless your Texas, but the Longhorns are stuck in some kind of bizarro dimension this season.
If the Tigers can win in Lincoln, then barring something crazy, they'll continue climbing the BCS rankings and reach the Big 12 title game undefeated with the conference and possibly a shot at the national title on the line.
Side Orders: Of course, if the Big Ten is more your thing, then you can't go wrong with Michigan State and Iowa. This game is the last true roadblock between the Spartans and an undefeated season, as they don't have to face Ohio State this season. Also, while the Hawkeyes lost last week, they're still in the hunt for the Big Ten title as well, but a loss in this game would wipe away all hopes. Or maybe you'd prefer Georgia and Florida. The game doesn't have the normal hype considering neither team is ranked right now, but whoever wins this game has a good shot to win the SEC East. The loser is just about done.
Main Course - #24 USC vs. #1 OregonThis is your best option on a Saturday night that is a little light compared to the last few weeks, but anytime you get a chance to watch Oregon play, you should take advantage of it. This team is just fun, and considering the amount of smack that has gone back and forth between the Ducks and Trojans this week, it's that much better.
If the Ducks annihilate USC on Saturday night, they also have a chance to impress those computers and jump Auburn in the BCS rankings. Also, since USC isn't allowed to go bowling this season, or win the Pac-10, they don't have much left to play for aside from possibly knocking the Ducks out of the title game.
Side Orders: ABC's other prime-time game this weekend is Ohio State and Minnesota. Seriously, the only thing I have to say about that game is pray you get Oregon and USC in your area. If you don't, flip on over to Ole Miss and Auburn because watching Cam Newton run over dudes is always a good time. There's also Washington and Stanford, or you can check out Penn State and Michigan. In other words, there's nothing fantastic, but there is plenty of quality on Saturday night.
Late Night Snack
Odds are that it won't be televised in your area, but if it is, take some time out to watch TCU and UNLV. Believe me when I say that TCU is just as good as Boise State or any of the other undefeated teams in college football these days, they just don't get as much national television exposure. So, if you can, do yourself a favor and find this one. It might just change your mind about who should be playing for a national title, and who shouldn't be.
Tags: Auburn, BCS, Boise State, Cam Newton, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Jacory Harris, Kansas State, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, Saturday Meal Plan, Stanford, Syracuse, TCU, Texas, UNLV, USC, Virginia, Washington
Posted on: October 28, 2010 7:12 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 7:13 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
If you can't tell by reading my name up there, I am a white male. I'm also a white male that played in various sports as a youth, and was never quite able to shake off the stereotypes that are typically attached to the white "athlete." Much like Wesley Snipes once told us in a movie, white men can't jump. I can jump, just not very high. I'm also not all that fast. In fact, my Little League baseball coaches took to calling me "Lightning" because they thought they were funny. I just thought they were douchebags.
As I grew older I became more comfortable with my lack of athleticism and caucasion limitations. I accepted them for what they were. When I see fast, white linebackers playing in the NFL or in college, I don't get jealous, I'm just happy somebody is out there helping the cause. Not all people feel this way, however. Take, for instance, Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder. The Florida alum knows what is wrong with his former team these days, and it hit him when he saw those white linebackers running down John Brantley.
“They don’t have an identity,” Crowder told reporters immediately after last week’s game at Green Bay, which followed Florida’s 10-7 loss to Mississippi State. “They don’t know what — John Brantley don’t know what he wants to do. He can’t outrun anybody. I saw him get run down by a white linebacker last week, which was a disgrace to all Florida football history.”
But if Mike Pouncey was playing quarterback, who would snap the ball over his head?
To be fair to Crowder, while I don't necessarily agree with the way he goes about saying it, I totally concur with his assessment of what the Gators are doing on offense. John Brantley is not a running quarterback, yet Steve Addazio and Urban Meyer insist on treating him as though he is. So I don't think it's fair to blame Brantley, nor compare him to Tim Tebow, because he isn't Tim Tebow.
Also, just for kicks, I'd like to see Crowder have a race with Brian Urlacher. If he can't win that one, then he obviously shouldn't be playing linebacker in the NFL.
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 3:00 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2010 3:01 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Florida wide receiver Chris Rainey's time away from the field appears to be coming to an end. After being suspended indefinitely for his aggravated stalking arrest last month, Rainey has returned to practice this week and could see his first bit of playing time since Florida's 38-14 victory over South Florida on September 11. As least that is the way it sounds from head coach Urban Meyer's comments on Wednesday.
"As of now, he’s done everything he’s supposed to do,” Meyer said on the SEC teleconference. “What is today? Wednesday? Tomorrow is the deadline that I set with him and myself, and I’ll just do a thorough check again tomorrow of everything we asked him to do."
Rainey has completed the required community service in his deferred prosecution agreement, and the junior from Lakeland, FL will likely be looked to for an immediate impact for a stagnant offense. Rainey could fill in as the big-play threat that has been missing with speedy running back Jeff Demps being limited by a sprained foot for nearly five weeks. That will come as welcome news for the Gators, losers lost three straight games.
After being reinstated to the team on October 10, Rainey was back on the sideline to witness the Gators' 10-7 loss to Mississippi State. Now with a week of practice under his belt, Rainey will no doubt be looking to make up for lost time on the field against Georgia. The Gators can still make a run at the SEC East Division title with a win over South Carolina on November 13, but cannot afford any more conference losses if they plan on being in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.
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Posted on: October 25, 2010 1:00 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It was just three weeks ago, after a humuliating 29-27 defeat at Colorado (the same Colorado, incidentally, that's currently sharing the Big 12 North basement with winless Kansas ) that the question wasn't if Mark Richt would be relieved of his head coaching duties at Georgia , it was when : midseason, after another flogging at the hands of Florida in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party? Or at year's end, after defeats to bitter rivals Auburn and/or Georgia Tech ?
Richt might still find himself in hot water if he can't get past the Gators, Tigers or Yellow Jackets, but after three emphatic wins over fellow SEC East rivals Tennessee , Vanderbilt , and Kentucky , Richt's ship officially appears righted and the Dawgs find themselves just a game out of the divisional lead. How complete has the Dawg overhaul been? Despite Georgia's 3-17 record against Florida since 1990 and losses by a combined 90-27 score the past two seasons, Vegas oddsmakers have installed the Dawgs as 3-point favorites over Urban Meyer 's reeling Gators for this week's annual grudge match.
The odds on that decision were probably off the board following the defeat in Boulder, a loss that newly-installed Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity doesn't seem to have entirely forgotten about just yet. From the Department of Backhanded Compliments, McGarity's thoughts on the Dawgs' season to-date :
No doubt McGarity is sincere in his respect for Richt's ability to change course and willingness to (successfully) improvise once that improvisation became necessary.
But his recognition that Richt failed to have the program going in "the right direction" coming out of preseason practice (particularly given Richt's track record for slow starts) suggests that as far as Richt has brought the Bulldogs the last three weeks, if he can't bring them past the worst Florida team of Meyer's tenure with a squad playing as well as any in the SEC (Auburn excepted), we still won't be certain how much longer Richt will be allowed to bring them anywhere. If a coach who can admit his mistakes is nice, a coach who doesn't make them in the first place is better.