Tag:LSU
Posted on: October 18, 2010 7:20 pm
 

Midseason Report: SEC

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.

East


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.

WEST


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 18, 2010 12:57 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 3:24 pm
 

Banged-up Auburn secondary goes from bad to worse

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

By any measure, Auburn 's 2010 season to-date has been a stunning success. Gene Chizik 's Tigers are sporting a surprising 7-0 record, the No. 4 ranking in the initial BCS rankings, and potentially sole possession of first place in the rugged SEC West after this week's visit from fellow unbeaten LSU . (Which, by the by, you can watch at 3:30 ET this Saturday, only on ... wait for it ... CBS!)

But those accomplishments have all been earned despite the struggles of an increasingly flammable secondary, one that suffered a 428-yard, five-touchdown carpet bombing at the hands of Arkansas last week and now ranks 108th in the country against the pass. Auburn fans might have argued that things couldn't possibly get worse after that performance, but no, things can actually get worse: Chizik has announced that injured starting safety Aairon Savage will have surgery today and is officially "out for a while."

Unofficially, however -- according to other reliable reports out of Auburn , anyway [Nevermind--see below.--ed.] -- Savage has broken multiple bones in his leg and is unlikely to return this season. It's a heartbreaking development for Savage, a sixth-year senior who had already lost consecutive seasons to a torn Achilles tendon and an ACL tear before being granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.

But it's hardly good news for Auburn, either. The Tigers will likely replace Savage with fourth-year junior Mike McNeil , who missed all of 2009 himself with a broken leg suffered during Auburn's spring game. The next safety up in the rotation? Either sophomore walk-on Ikeem Means or true freshman Demetruce McNeal , neither of whom have ever started a collegiate game.

It gets even worse for the Tigers from there. Current nickelback T'Sharvan Bell was forced to leave the Arkansas game with what's reported to be a hamstring injury and might not be ready for LSU, forcing Auburn to turn to either converted high school quarterback Chris Davis (also a true freshman) or sophomore Anthony Morgan . Again: neither has ever started a game at Auburn. Take one of the worst secondaries in the nation, subtract two of its top five players, replace them with underclassmen, and what do you get? Auburn may really, really not want to find out.

If there's any silver lining to this thunderhead, it's that LSU's 113th-ranked passing offense -- fresh off throwing for all of 54 yards against FCS McNeese St. -- doesn't look poised to take advantage of Auburn's issues this particular week. But if Auburn wants to stay undefeated and in the thick of the BCS race, McNeil is going to have to step into the void with authority, and Chizik will have to find some way of keeping his beleaguered unit afloat.

UPDATE: According to a report in Savage's hometown Albany Herald , Savage has broken a bone in his ankle and could return as soon as six weeks. That would give him a chance to be ready for the season-ending Iron Bowl or potential SEC Championship game, and certainly by Auburn's bowl game. Good news.


Posted on: October 17, 2010 8:43 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2010 9:20 pm
 

BCS rankings bad news for Boise State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The BCS rankings were just released on ESPN, and seeing Boise State at No. 3 is, at this point, trouble for the Broncos.

What's important to note here is that the BCS standings are, for the most part, resume rankings, and unlike teams in the power conferences, the cream of Boise's resume is done. Yes, the Broncos play in the WAC, but they've only played two of those eight games against that WAC competition thus far. Meanwhile, cupcake non-conference schedules are still being more heavily considered than conference games at this point in the season.

In other words, Boise State's not going to make its case on the field any better than it already has from here on out.

Now, this isn't to say that Boise State's chances are completely doomed; far from it. The Broncos are still ranked third in the BCS rankings, and there isn't much chance of them dropping any games and submarining their title chances from here until the end of the season. If Oregon or Oklahoma lose, the Broncos are in decent position. Their problem is that if teams like Auburn or LSU go undefeated, those teams are basically locks to pass Boise State -- and TCU's certainly not out of the picture, with its high-profile Mountain West Conference schedule still yet to come.

Still, though, the fact remains that Ohio State, Alabama, and Nebraska have all lost, and Boise State still needs help to get into the title game. That's not good news for the Bronco faithful in Idaho tonight.

Posted on: October 17, 2010 12:23 am
 

What I learned from the SEC (Oct 16)

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 15, 2010 8:15 pm
 

Insane Predictions, Week 7

Posted by the College Football Blog Staff

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that Les Miles would look like the endgame genius against Urban Meyer and Florida? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Highly Unlikely

Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore sprains his knee when he trips while running onto the field during pregame ceremonies, and all of a sudden, the Broncos must face San Jose State with a brand new quarterback. Boise coach Chris Peterson blames San Jose State and their groundskeeping for the mishap, and feeling untold amounts of shame, SJSU coach Mike MacIntyre forfeits the game. Moore recovers fully for the Broncos' next game, and Boise's march to a 12-0 regular season continues unabated. -- Adam Jacobi

As the closing seconds count down on the scoreboard at Ross-Ade Stadium, Tim Brewster looks up at it to see the final score: Purdue 37, Minnesota 13.  Knowing that these are probably the last few seconds that he'll spend on a sideline COMPETING and FIGHTING  with the Gophers, his emotions get the best of him.  Danny Hope begins to make his way to midfield to meet the coach, but instead Brewster bursts into tears and sprints off the field.  He then hides in a supply room deep within the bowels of the stadium, refusing to come out until eventually Minnesota AD Joel Maturi lures him out by promising he's not going to fire him.  Brewster then opens the door and comes out, his face red and blotchy, covered in tears.  "Really?" he asks Maturi.  "No, you're totally fired," says Maturi before kicking him in the groin. -- Tom Fornelli

Arizona's slide continues after falling to Oregon State despite getting some help from the replay officials.  This time, facing Washington State, the home officials give the Wildcats a taste of their own medicine and refuse to replay a game-winning touchdown that was actually an incomplete pass. Mike Stoops has no timeouts, and the Cougars quickly kick the extra point to pick up that elusive first conference win. It is later revealed that the replay official was Washington State alumnus Drew Bledsoe, who emerges from the booth in full Wazzu regalia and facepaint. The Pac-10 finds no fault in this. -- Chip Patterson

Severely Unlikely

With Texas trailing Nebraska 24-7 just before halftime, Mack Brown makes his way over to Colt McCoy who is watching the game from the sidelines.  "Listen, I need you to come to the locker room at halftime.  Give these boys a pep talk."  McCoy agrees, but Brown was lying.  Instead Brown locks Garrett Gilbert in a shed -- hey, it's popular in Texas -- and convinces McCoy to put on Gilbert's uniform.  McCoy then goes out and leads Texas to a comeback victory, finding James Kirkendoll for the game-winning touchdown with, you guessed it, one second left on the clock. -- Tom Fornelli

Michigan's defense pitches a shut out against Iowa. The Big House rocks as Denard Robinson totals 600 total yards of offense and the Wolverines bounce back from the loss to "Little Brother" with a performance for the ages as the Wolverines reclaim a spot in the Top 25 with a 48-0 win over the Hawkeyes. Adrian Clayborn, struck with grief, eats 400 cheeseburgers on the ride home and gives up on the NFL for a career in the lawn and garden industry. Turns out Clayborn is quite the green thumb. -- Chip Patterson

The Kansas football team shows up to an empty Memorial Stadium in Lawrence. Head coach Turner Gill and his Jayhawks were under the impression that their game would be played on Saturday, and thanks to various elaborate pranks by Kansas State fans, they had no idea that they had been scheduled to play on Thursday night. KSU coaches, upon finding out that Kansas had not appeared for the game, dressed their scout team in KU colors and had them put up token opposition. Somehow, they also had a scout team Turner Gill. The garbage-time touchdown Kansas State allowed to its double agents was a sublime touch. -- Adam Jacobi

Completely Ludicrous

McNeese State trots into Death Valley on Saturday night and shines under the lights. LSU quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson combine for an NCAA-record 11 interceptions, five of which are returned for touchdowns.  The other six picks are hideous arm-punts that prevent the Tigers from finding the end zone once. Patrick Peterson returns 4 kick offs for touchdowns, but LSU falls 35-28. -- Chip Patterson

Emboldened by reports that he was coaching with his job on the line, Tim Brewster leads his team to an emotional 35-34 victory over a frisky Purdue squad... then rips off five more wins to finish the season, culminating in a 55-0 revenge win over Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes at TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota's 7-5 (6-2) record and a host of other conference losses among the rest of the Big Ten vault the Gophers into the Rose Bowl, making them the first five-loss team to earn a trip to Pasadena. A month before the game, Brewster announces that he's leaving the Gophers to coach his beloved Texas Longhorns; Mack Brown has retired, as expected, but the program was stunned when defensive coordinator (and presumptive next head coach) Will Muschamp pulled a simultaneous "sympathy retirement." The Gophers hire Mike Leach on the spot, and the new Pirate Gophers stun Oregon on January 1st, 45-31. -- Adam Jacobi

There's nothing out of the ordinary taking place in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night.  It's early in the fourth quarter and the Alabama Crimson Tide have a healthy 24-6 lead over the Rebels, but then suddenly a bright, white light can be seen in the sky.  Those who notice it assume that it's a comet or meteor passing by the planet, but it keeps getting bigger and bigger before everyone suddenly realizes it's coming right for them.  As it gets closer, it becomes clear that it is some kind of UFO, in fact, the space ship actually looks like a piece of fried calamari.   It lands at the 50-yard line, and out comes Admiral Ackbar.  Knowing immediately what's taking place, the new Ole Miss mascot makes a break for it before he is apprehended by members of the Rebel Alliance.  The Rebel Alliance then holds a trial on the field, determining whether or not the Bear shall live.  This does not please Nick Saban.  After a few minutes Saban walks briskly up to Admiral Ackbar, takes his gun, and executes the Bear himself before saying, "There.  NOW GET THE HELL OFF OF MY FIELD."  Ackbar and his soldiers sheepishly retreat to their ship and take off.  Not even the Rebel Alliance wants to mess with Nick Saban. -- Tom Fornelli

Posted on: October 15, 2010 3:52 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2010 3:55 pm
 

Arizona's Shaquille Richardson to start

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Word came from Tucson earlier this week that a cornerback named Shaquille Richardson was making his first start of his Arizona career this weekend. Naturally, we're skeptical about this news. We're under the impression that there is literally only one person in the world named Shaquille, and, well, this sounds exactly like something he'd do.

So the question is this: Is Shaquille Richardson actually Shaquille O'Neal? Take a look at this picture from last week's game (which may have been slightly edited) and judge for yourself:

Several aspects of this picture raised red flags:

1) It's commendable that Shaq found a college jersey, since it'd be a dead giveaway if he showed up in his Celtics uniform. But the problem here is that it's a basketball uniform, and LSU is not Arizona. Big clue there that something's up.

2) He's very far out of position to make a play, indicating that he is not performing his duties as a cornerback at a starter's level. Shaquille is probably just filming a segment for Shaq Vs. or something.

3) 7'1", 320 is far too big for a defensive back. 

4) He's dunking a basketball. Where did he get a basketball and a hoop to dunk on? Those aren't on a regulation football field, as far as we know.

5) This is definitely not photoshopped in any way.

Again, this is up for people to judge for themselves, but we're pretty sure "Shaquille Richardson" is nothing more than a lazy pseudonym, and we're going to see "The Big Cactus" make his return to the state of Arizona this week. Seems pretty selfish of him to insert himself into a college football game like this.

Disclaimer: the CBS College Football Blog staff performed no actual research in preparing this article, and none of it should be construed as factual.

Posted on: October 10, 2010 12:04 am
Edited on: October 10, 2010 1:07 pm
 

What I learned from the SEC (Oct 9)

Posted by Tom Fornelli



1. Les Miles is the smartest, craziest moron to ever coach a college football team.   Seriously, the man took nothing but grief all week from the media and his own fans following the near debacle against Tennessee last week.  And it was well deserved!  It's not like it was the first time he's had problems with clock management at the end of the game.  Then the Mad Hatter goes and pulls another white rabbit out of the hat against Florida by calling that fake field goal in the video above.  You know what kind of guts that takes to make that play call when your fan base is already calling for your head on a plate? Then he managed to have his team spike the ball following a big catch by Terrence Tolliver to set up a first and goal.  A few plays later it was Jarrett Lee hitting Tolliver on a fade to win the game, and the Mad Hatter had struck again.  LSU is 6-0.

2. Alabama is mere flesh and bone, just like you and I.   Following its 31-6 win over Florida last week, Alabama had been crowned as the clear-cut best team in the country, and people like me were wondering if it would ever lose again.  Turns out it would.  The Tide saw their 19-game SEC win streak come to an end in Columbia on Saturday, 'Bama's first regular-season loss since 2007.  Now they find themselves in the unfamiliar position of having to win out to have a chance to get back to the SEC title game.

3. The Ol' Ball Coach still has it.   With the win over Alabama, and Florida's loss to LSU, the Gamecocks find themselves in the driver's seat in the SEC East.  Odds are that when they roll into Gainesville on November 13 there will be a trip to the SEC Championship on the line.  As long as Stephen Garcia doesn't try throwing any more passes through the uprights, I like their chances.

4. The Auburn defense needs work.   Listen, it's nice that the Tigers are 6-0 and tied with LSU atop the SEC West standings, but if their defense doesn't play better than it did in Lexington on Saturday night, they can kiss any hopes of an SEC title goodbye.  The Tigers were torn apart through the air, as Kentucky completed 24-of-29 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns.  They needed a last second field goal to get out of Lexington alive and keep this from being one of the saddest Saturdays in the state of Alabama's history.

5. Mark Richt and the Bulldogs have a pulse.   The first five weeks of the Georgia season had been a nightmare for Richt and his team, and it was one it had to be wondering if it would ever wake up from.  Richt will have to thank Tennessee for remembering to set the alarm.  Georgia finally played like the team we're all used to seeing on Saturday, putting up 402 yards and 41 points on the overmatched Vols.  Georgia needs four wins in its last six games to go bowling, and looking at the schedule, suddenly it seems manageable.

Posted on: October 9, 2010 5:15 pm
 

Report: John Brantley a game-time decision

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It seems Las Vegas may know more than Florida coaches are willing to give them credit for.  Earlier this week several Las Vegas sportsbooks took the Florida and LSU line off the board thanks to some questions about the status of Florida quarterback John Brantley.   Florida coaches said Brantley was fine, and he practiced during the week.

Now, just a few hours before game time, we get this.  According to a tweet from Gator Country , sources are saying that Brantley will be a game-time decision.



Obviously if the report is correct and Brantley can't go it would put Florida at a serious disadvantage against LSU.  Well, as big a disadvantage as you can face when Jordan Jefferson is starting for the other team.
 
 
 
 
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