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Weekly SEC Thoughts & Observations!
Well the regular season is winding down with the SEC title game this saturday and Alabama looking to nail things down against the Gators. New meat, the last two season’s the SEC had beaten up on Missouri in championship game. Mizzou had the defense this season to come back and frankly had one of the worst offenses in the nation. And in program history to take it a step further. Anyway, I picked Bama at the outset of the season to be here and then move on to bigger things and nothing has happened to change my mind. Let’s take a look at things.
ALABAMA: I had a Triple Star on the Tide last week and they made me sweat to the end. A lucky tipped pass touchdown had put the Tigers in position to ruin the bet. But Derrick Henry, that’s Mr Henry to most, saved the day with a 25 yard romp to cap his monster day. And possibly cap off his Heisman trophy year. Props to Adam Griffith as well, that 47 yard field goal didn’t hurt our cause as well. What I most respect about this team is their balanced. They can score and lord knows they can defend. I know a lot of people hate Alabama, that tends to happen when you are that good. They are well coached, loaded with athletes and when riled, that front seven on defense is downright violent. I don’t even think we have seen their best game yet. Hopefully it will come in the title game. To me, the best two clubs in the land right now are Oklahoma and Alabama. That would be an epic battle. I would love to see Baker Mayfield go to work against the Tide defense. One can only hope.
ARKANSAS: Major props to the Hogs. They took a season that looked like it was going sideways and finished strong. Sometimes you just kick yourself over bets you don’t pull the trigger on. I over thought the Missouri and Arkansas game. It just looked too easy to me. Alex Collins had a huge day that did not get a lot of national run because of Henry’s exploits but trust me, Collins will be playing on sundays. Arkansas has a killer offensive line, I wish they could teach the Mizzou line a few things, and with that bull running behind them they are a hand full for anyone. I will be very curious to see who draws this team in a bowl. Brandon Allen is playing lights out right now. Not crazy about their defense however. Shutting down the Mizzou offense is like Moe slapping around Shemp, it’s not exactly Joe Louis in the ring. But overall head coach Bret Bielema has to feel good about his programs progress. Since Missouri vacated the Big 12 and no longer has kansas as it’s arch enemy they are trying to market and build a rivalry between the Hogs and Tigers. I do not know about down there but around these parts it is just not taking. Those things cannot be contrived. There has to be some real hate at the root of it. Maybe in time.
AUBURN: The season that many down south feel should have been. I felt they were a little overrated this preseason but I honestly did not expect this kind of season from the Tigers. One of the favorite moments from the game saturday was watching Will Muschamp blow a gasket. It reminded me of the movie scanners where the dudes head explodes. I had a coach like that once, I remember him getting grilled in the locker room by the head coach who stated plainly, how do you expect the kids to remain calm and focused when you can’t yourself. I never forgot that. Emotion is wonderful, it is the foundation of which the game is played. But controlled anarchy. That was our motto. Muschamp seems to be wired a little too tightly. The Tigers will go to a bowl but I am not certain at all how motivated this team will be. No escaping the fact it will be a let down from what they had envisioned. Something to keep an eye on guys.
FLORIDA: I thought Florida State would handle the Gators and they did. Florida looks like crap on offense. Much like Mizzou they have the salty defense but that offense is tough to watch. Now they have to look for a way to muster up some offense and move the chains against the Tide. Well, good luck with all that. They scored 2 damn points saturday. Think about that. Now they face Bama. Good lord agnes! Actually Harris had some receivers get some separation and get open saturday but he missed them. No other way to put it, he is marginal with his accuracy at best. The kid was sacked four times and just generally had a long day. Hell, nobody expected this team to be in the SEC title game so lets not overlook the fact they made it. Not a strong division, that is no secret but they were the last man standing. I wish I could offer up more hope in the title game but I just think they are so over matched trying to generate anything substantial on the offensive end. Vegas has tagged the Tide a whopping 17 point favorite. They will likely clear it too.
GEORGIA: I’ve been kind of rough on the Bulldogs this season. Just seems that year after year they under perform. They have the football players in spades. Mark Richt is a helluva recruiter and something just did not click. He has recruited likely the best young QB in the nation coming in next season. I have a relative who runs a football camp out west who says this kid has it all. Now Richt is departing. They went 9-3 and 5-3 in league play. That is a solid season but we all know expectations are high in Athens. Another instance where I will be real curious to see who they get in a bowl. Another case of a SEC club perhaps playing less than inspired ball in a lesser bowl. Some inferior team might come in all full of piss and vinegar and knock them off. Of course that will fuel the SEC haters who would be clamoring their nonsense about how overrated the league is. Well, whatever. You talk to real football people on the inside and that is a weak ass argument. Oh well I digress.
KENTUCKY: No other way to put it. Not really. This team had bigger plans. Last week they had Louisville down 24-7 at the half and it looked like the might get a huge win for the program. Bragging rights and all. But they spit the bit. Ended up blowing the thing to the Cardinals 38-24. What a way to conclude the season. The Wildcats offense in the second half resembled Missouri’s, and that is some scary stuff. Mark Stoops has to be livid with his progress. I do not honestly have any real contacts yet with that program so I have no idea what the pulse is. Thankfully for Cat’s fans basketball is here and we all know that is the side of the bread that gets buttered in Lexington.
LSU: I have tried to think of how to approach this one. I try to be candid here and just be myself. But I know I am also expected by RJ to watch my language and show some restraint. So, I will try. Okay, here we go. LSU you can kiss my Spartan ass!!!! I think the way you handled the whole thing with Les Miles was a total damn disgrace. I think you made a national ass of yourself on a national scale. If I was a head coach and saw how you drug Miles through that spectacle I would hang up on your ass if you called me asking for an interview. Les Miles may be a colorful guy but he has proven himself as a good coach. YOU ARE FORTUNATE to have him. You are fortunate he did not tell you to go screw yourselves after that. I call BS on the whole sorted affair. There are people at other programs, Mizzou included, that would give their left nut to have him take over their football program. Shame on you!
OLE MISS: Just think of how the scenario would be different had it not been for that overtime 4th and 26 loss to Arkansas when the Hogs pulled off the miracle. Just think about that. As it is, 9-3 and 6-2 in league play. Solid year but damn, what could have been. VERY impressive win against a very solid Bulldogs team. I have stated it before and will again, a source who knows this stuff told me the Rebels have more legitimate pro prospects on their roster than anyone else in the league. Chad Kelly is having an epic year and will likely top it off with a huge bowl game. Reb’s are good, very good. If they play focused and engaged they might destroy someone in a bowl. Once again, motivation will be the key. That is half the battle or more when capping the bowls guys. Who wants to be there and who is just taking a vacation.
MISSISSIPPI STATE: Tough way to conclude the regular season for the Bulldogs. Loss to their intra state rivals. Dak Prescott will be remembered for eternity around Starkville. Special quarterback. Seems like he has been there for a decade. They just dug themselves into too big a hole against a team that will make you pay. It was just too much to rally back from. They did give it a valiant effort though and props to Dan Mullen and his staff. That program is in very capable hands.
MISSOURI: They laid a dinosaur egg this season. I could go on and on here. I suppose what pisses me off the most is the inexplicable collapse of the offensive line, a veteran group. Basically it was a season where anything that could go wrong, did. Maty Mauk imploded and was kicked off the team. The offense was handed over to a true freshman who got abused. The wide outs gave up on the season and ran sloppy routes. Russell Hansbrough was hobbled most the season and when he did feel okay he had no holes to hit. The head coach had cancer and was coaching his last year knowing it before anyone else. Students were making asses of themselves on campus. Just a night mare. On the flip side, and this is worth mentioning. The Tiger defense fought valiantly this season. To a man. They deserved better. Other coaching staffs marveled at the Tigers defense. Oh well, just a mess and now they are trying to attract a new coach. Thankfully AD Mac Rhoades put the kibash on any bowl talk yesterday making it clear the Tigers would not accept any bowl invitation even if one was rendered. In other words, it was time to put this sorry ass season out of its misery.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Good grief. I don’t honestly have much to offer here. Like Mizzou they are scrambling to find a head coach to try and jump start the program again. 3-9 and they won only 1 league game. They did play Clemson tough last week and props for that. No question about it. But losing to the Citadel, man oh man. I just don’t know. I feel bad for Jon Hoke who was talked out of leaving his job in the NFL to go back to work as DC for Spurrier and then saw everything go to hell. Not sure what he will do now. Good man and good coach, he will land on his feet.
TENNESSEE: Solid year for the Volunteers. 8-4 and 5-3 in league play. Just think, they had Oklahoma on the ropes. Anytime you light up a quality defense like Vandy’s for 53 points it deserves some kudos. Program seems to be headed in the right direction and they should be a major player for the division title next season. I have a feeling they will use this season as a springboard to a strong bowl appearance.
TEXAS A&M: I had the Aggies last week as a Rabid Dog at LSU and they had their chances. No question. Fact is they ran into a Tigers defense that was playing it’s ass off for Miles. I have zero question. The Aggies defense dug in and played well for the most part, well enough to usually prevail actually. But Kyle Allen just could not get the offense into the end zone after the opening quarter. Oh, and eleven flags does not help the cause. But overall Kevin Sumlin is a proven winner. The Aggies will likely play a solid bowl.
VANDERBILT: Well 4-8 and 2-6 in league play. I suppose that is about what most folks outside of Nashville expected. Not sure what the realistic expectations were with the fan base. Much like Mizzou, the defense held up their end of the deal. Listening to Derek Mason he felt the team was starting to hit it’s stride and make some legitimate advances just as the season was concluding. Well they are done for now. Even with a sick 40 bowls, the Commodores will be watching again.
Okay, that is a wrap. I might to one more after the Bowls are completed to tie up the loose ends and see how things shook out after all the dust settles. On my own business side I had one game that jumped out at me for the upcoming weekend. It was loaded yesterday and is my College Triple Star Release. Will be the only college triple this weekend for sure. This season in college football the Triples stand at 10-6, +19.80 units. I could go over every one of them and frankly we could have been much stronger but had more than our fair share of buzzards luck. I had two games of the year in college football. I had one SEC game of the year and it won with Kentucky over Missouri. I had one overall game of the year and it was a bummer with Arkansas losing to Mississippi State in a game they should have won and covered. But that is water down the river now. Anyway, one Triple in play this saturday.
Thanks as always for stopping by guys. Best of luck with your action. Hope you’ve enjoyed the weekly posts.