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.
Posted on: October 23, 2010 6:12 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2010 8:53 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
POSTGAME UPDATE: The play below was the highlight, but in the end the Auburn offense had plenty enough to see off LSU , 24-17. As in, had 527 total yards of offense , 25 first downs, a staggering 441 rushing yards, and a flatly unbelievable 8.5 average yards-per-carry. The big second-half blow was Onterio McCalebb 's 70-yard jaunt in the fourth quarter to give Auburn the final seven-point margin.
Nick Fairley continued to pace Auburn's defense (4 tackles-for-loss, 2.5 sacks), but the story here -- given the strength of the LSU defense -- is the rise of what is without question the SEC 's most fearsome offense ... and arguably, give or take an Oregon , the country's.
Auburn leads LSU 17-10 in the third quarter, but even the score of this matchup of undefeated SEC heavyweights sort of pales next to a transcendent football play like this one from Cam Newton :
If Newton wasn't already your Heisman front-runner, he is now. In fact, he's in danger of lapping the field.
Posted on: October 23, 2010 5:23 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2010 5:27 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Through one half, the LSU defense has lived up to its reputation ... and unfortunately for the visiting Tigers, so has their offense. Gus Malzahn 's dynamic Auburn offense was held to just 10 points and 177 yards in the first half, well below their season averages. While Cam Newton ran for 78 yards and a touchdown, he also threw for only 32 total yards and looked uncomfortable in the pocket against LSU's (arguably) SEC-best secondary.
But those 10 points were good enough for a 10-3 lead until the final 15 seconds of the half, when Jordan Jefferson escaped a Daren Bates tackle at the 10 and sprinted in to tie the game. The play capped a huge 14-play, 78-yard, momentum-changing drive for LSU following a missed field goal by the usually-reliable Wes Byrum , the miss wasting Auburn's own 13-play march. Both teams will kick themselves for missed opportunities; LSU took the ball across midfield on their first three possessions and scored just one 48-yard Josh Jasper field goal.
So who's got the upper hand? LSU will take the second-half kickoff, a big deal in what's shaping up as an extremely low-possession game, but LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee suffered a wrist injury just before the half; Les Miles just said he would play in the second half, but if he can't, can Jefferson throw well enough to keep LSU moving? Can Auburn use their big home crowd to propel themselves into a big second half, as they did against Clemson and South Carolina ? But what if Nick Fairley really has a head injury and has to miss the second half himself?
The Lee injury might tilt the odds slightly in Auburn's favor, but after 30 minutes, things are way too close to call.
Don't forget to stop by Tom Fornelli's live Facebook chat during the second half and have your say.
Posted on: October 23, 2010 2:03 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Watching college football is fun. I know, I do it every Saturday for about 13 hours. This afternoon I'll be watching Auburn and LSU battle on CBS, listening in on the soothing, dulcet tones of Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson. You should watch too, because it should be a pretty good game.
Know what would make the game even better, though? Chatting about it with me. If only there was some kind of way to do that.....
Oh, wait, there is! I'll be hosting a live chat over at our Facebook page in which I'll be talking about the game and answering your questions about what the hell Les Miles happens to be thinking. So make sure you join me there at 3:30 Eastern.
I promise, it will change your life forever.
Posted on: October 23, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:13 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. You like storms? We got storms. There's a front moving through the nation's heartland, and there's copious amounts of rain all the way from Chicago to Texas. Will this affect Missouri-Oklahoma? All times are Eastern.
Purdue at No. 11 Ohio State, 12:00, Columbus, OH: Upper 50s, clear
Syracuse at No. 20 West Virginia, 12:00, Morgantown, WV: Mid 60s, mostly cloudy
No. 8 Michigan State at Northwestern, 12:00, Evanston, IL: Upper 50s, rain
Ole Miss at No. 21 Arkansas, 12:21, Fayetteville, AR: Upper 60s, cloudy (storms later)
No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 12 Iowa, 3:30, Iowa City, IA: Upper 60s, chance of rain
No. 6 LSU at No. 5 Auburn, 3:30, Auburn, AL: Upper 70s, clear
No. 14 Nebraska at No. 17 Oklahoma State, 3:30, Stillwater, OK: Mid 70s, chance of storms
No. 7 Alabama at Tennessee, 7:00, Knoxville, TN: Mid 60s, partly cloudy
No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 18 Missouri, 8:00, Columbia, MO: Mid 60s, scattered storms
Air Force at No. 4 TCU, 8:00, Fort Worth, TX: Upper 60s, scattered storms
Late night kickoffs
Washington at No. 15 Arizona, 10:15, Tucson, AZ: Upper 60s, partly cloudy
Posted on: October 22, 2010 5:49 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.
BreakfastMain Course - Northwestern vs. #8 Michigan State - Noon - ESPN
Michigan State leads the way for breakfast for the second straight week, which is what happens when you're the only undefeated team left in the Big Ten. Be forewarned, though, just because this matchup doesn't seem all that appealing, it...ok, it isn't really. It's just that the morning slate is light again because that's just the way things work in this television dominated world.
Still, the Spartans shouldn't take Northwestern all that lightly. First of all, no road game is easy, even if it's being played in a stadium with 35 people in it. Yes, Northwestern inexplicably dropped a game to Purdue last week, but that's Northwestern's style. It has a tendency to play to its opponents. So there's a chance that the Wildcats could hand MSU it's first "Sparty, no!" of the season.
Side Orders: Ohio State hosts Purdue, and this game may be interesting for a few reasons. First of all, it's our first chance to see how the Buckeyes will respond following a loss, and they'll also be looking for revenge for last season's loss in West Lafayette. Speaking of revenge, I'm sure Notre Dame wouldn't mind beating Navy and starting a new trend there as well. Or you can just watch Texas, West Virginia and Virginia Tech romp over some conference foes.
LunchMain Course - #5 Auburn vs. #6 LSU - 3:30pm - CBS
Two undefeated Tigers roll into Jordan-Hare on Saturday, and only one will emerge. Who is it going to be? Well, there are going to be two different games being played in this one. There's the game between each team's strength -- Auburn's offense and LSU's defense -- and their weakness -- Auburn's defense and LSU's offense.
Odds are that whichever team's weakness best resembles a strength is going to emerge victorious, and have a much easier path to the SEC title and possibly a BCS game. If you're wondering which way I'm leaning, well, I'll just say that one team has Cam Newton at quarterback and the other has some indecipherable combination of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee.
Also, I'll be doing a live-chat during this game over at our Facebook page, so stop on by and make fun of Les Miles for four hours with me, won't you?
Side Orders: The afternoon is packed with some big games this week. If for some reason two undefeated teams battling it out isn't good enough for you, you can always go with Iowa and Wisconsin or the also undefeated Oklahoma State taking on previously undefeated Nebraska.
Main Course - #18 Missouri vs. #3 Oklahoma - 8pm - ABC
Personally, I've been waiting to dig in to this one for a while. I've seen Missouri play a few times this season, and as I've said here before, I'm just not sure what to make of them. The Tigers are a good team, but are they really 11th in the BCS good? Is that what a couple of victories over some 3-3 BCS teams and nobody else gets you these days?
Whatever the case, we'll find out on Saturday night. If the Tigers can knock off the team that sits atop the current BCS standings, then I guess we have to take them seriously.
Though, I feel I should point this out as well, just so Missouri fans can hate me a little less, I think Oklahoma is a bit overrated as well. Still, I think the Sooners will prove to be better on Saturday night.
Side Orders: Bit of an light night on the menu this week. There really aren't any other marquee matchups being played on Saturday night. Kentucky and Georgia could be interesting seeing as how both teams are still alive in the SEC East, but other than that the only game that even catches my eye is TCU and Air Force. Though, if you hate yourself, you could always tune in to Texas A&M and Kansas.
Late Night SnackThe Washington Huskies have found a home as a late-night snack here. I've featured them here twice in the last few weeks, and they're undefeated in those games. Can they run the streak to three on the road against an Arizona team that is without Nick Foles?
Tags: Air Force, Arizona, Auburn, Cam Newton, Georgia, Iowa, Jarrett Lee, Jordan Jefferson, Kansas, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan State, Missouri, Navy, Nebraska, Nick Foles, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Saturday Meal Plan, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 21, 2010 5:34 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2010 7:29 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The production and sale of college football-related art is a multi-billion dollar business* in the state of Alabama, and no one profits from it more than Daniel A. Moore , the Birmingham-based artist whose oil paintings of famous moments in Alabama football history have made him a household name statewide. An example from last year's narrow escape against Tennessee :
Each and every Moore production is wildly anticipated (and eventually purchased by the thousands) by Crimson Tide fans in much the same way indie rock geeks salivate over their favorite band's next release.
Auburn fans, however, haven't had any equivalent single artist to turn to for their artistic needs. But maybe that's just a case of not having the right artist with the right motivation. Not surprisingly, budding Heisman candidate/Auburn folk hero Cam Newton may just be that motivation, as painter Carolyn Foret describes on her website:
Inspiration hit me fast last weekend! Pardon me right now, Alabama fans or those not interested in football! But CAM NEWTON came to life on my easel after watching him superman himself into the end zone a couple of times for my team, AUBURN UNIVERSITY.What does that life look like? Like this:
A gauntlet may have just been thrown down in Mr. Moore's direction. Maybe more to the point: if you needed any better evidence of the hold Newton and his seismic impact already have on the imaginations of Auburn fans, you've got it.
*Possibly a slight exaggeration.
HT: @warblogle .
Posted on: October 20, 2010 6:15 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Check out any of this week's multitude of Internet Heisman polls you like, CBS Sports's included , and you'll notice they'll have two things in common: 1. Cameron Newton 2. LaMichael James . Sure, James occasionally comes in a narrow third to Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, and there's even a few random holdouts declaring someone other than Newton to be the leader, but the consensus is universal that both Newton and James are in the very thick of the Heisman race.
This is significant because both Newton and James, like the polls, have something unfortunate in common: high-profile arrests.
By now, virtually every college football fan knows that while at Florida in 2008, Newton purchased a stolen laptop and tossed it out a window when a police investigation located it in his dorm room. (Those fans and even occasional writers, anyway, who aren't under the frequent misapprehension that Newton stole the computer himself.) Fans outside the west coast may have forgotten in James's blistering start, however, that James was suspended for Oregon 's season-opener after being arrested on three charges stemming from a domestic violence incident.
At the time, many pundits opined that Heisman voters would pass on supporting the candidacy of a player associated in any way with a domestic violence arrest. (James eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge and was sentenced to 24 months probation.) Similarly, some writers and even a minority of Auburn fans wondered whether even Newton's tremendous physical talent was worth the risk of recruiting and signing a player tarred as a thief and character risk.
But at midseason, with both players in the midst of brilliant, Heisman-worthy seasons, those concerns appear to be the very furthest thing from the trophy-tracking media's -- and potentially Heisman voters' -- minds. When Newton's past is referenced at all, it seems to be placed within the context of his redemption as charismatic team leader and even selfless community volunteer . (If you watched CBS' broadcast of the Auburn-Arkansas game, you know that Newton aspires to one day open his own day care center .) James's arrest and suspension seems to have become an afterthought as soon as he exploded for his eye-popping 72-yard touchdown run against Tennessee .
As far as this blogger is concerned, this is as it should be. Media members (or Heisman voters) trying to parse what off-field missteps would be worth altering coverage or opinions and which ones wouldn't opens up all kinds of messy ethical dilemmas and value judgments that aren't worth bothering with; if a player is on the field, what happens on the field is (almost always) the only fair criterion for which they should be judged.
But whether you agree with that position or not, the larger, more important lesson to learn from Newton's and James' unambiguous success (and resulting Heisman standing) is that once the on-field exploits are spectacular enough, the off-field mistakes simply aren't going to matter.
In mid-season, with Newton and James providing us fresh highlights and mind-blowing stats on a weekly basis, this seems blatantly obvious -- "analysis" on par with "that Les Miles sure makes some unorthodox decisions" or "maybe Virginia Tech shouldn't have tried playing James Madison five days after Boise." But we'll all do well to remember it come the offseason, when the next Newton or James gets in legal hot water and we're assured this is a major setback for the player's reputation and profile.
The 2010 Heisman race suggests that unless the offense committed is one serious enough to keep him away from his entirely, it simply won't be.