Friday, August 31, 2007

The day after kickoff: What SEC blogs are saying

Well, the first game of the season has come and gone in the SEC.

First stop -- Mississippi State:

From LSU:

From others who had a comment:

UPDATE: Gregg Ellis says that Croom has reinstated Josh Riddell, formerly suspended QB today. I'll bet after last night's 6 interception performance by Henig, this will cause a few eyebrows to elevate. But I'm sure that didn't have anything to do with it ... ;-)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Game Day: Best of the SEC

Today is game day for Mississippi State and LSU, and the kickoff for the 2007 football season. Today, we'll be looking at the teams who have the biggest games this week: MSU, Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia, and LSU.

Kyle Veazey is excited about the new Wendy's in Starkville, but less than thrilled about the Dawgs vs. the Tigers. Jeremy at Mississippi State Sports Blog is more more upbeat, and has links to MSU's game notes for both State and LSU. Travis at Hail Dear 'Ole State scoffs at MSU coach Sylvester Croom's rationalization for dressing out the Dawgs in white uniforms.

On the LSU side, Richard Pittman at Geaux Tuscaloosa describes his game routine. Tigersmack does the Garfield/Les Miles cartoon thing.

Will Collier at From The Bleachers looks forward at Auburn's team, the schedule, and Kansas State. Auburn91 at Track Em Tigers takes a long look at K-State from soup to nuts, and pronounces Saturday's game as likely to be a "low-scoring slugfest."

Jon at Fulmer's Belly is concerned about Erik Ainge's broken pinkie finger. He notes the Florida game falls square in the middle of Ainge's recovery schedule. I think he'd better worry about Cal. Jai Eugene at Loser with Socks does enough tongue-in-cheek worrying for both of them, though. Meanwhile, Joel at Rocky Top Talk has a more serious look at the game, with some help from the Cal blog, The Band is Out on the Field. And Doug Coffin at The Power T measures the heat of Phil Fulmer's seat, and does it in style.

Finally, we look at what will be happening between the hedges in Athens on Saturday. Macondawg at Dawg Sports suggests a special cocktail to commemorate the occasion. Ludakit at the Dawg-gone Blog is more circumspect, and takes a look at the things the Dawgs need to do to win. David Ching at the Georgia Bulldog Blog examines a spreadsheet sent to him by an OSU fan, and analyzes the analysis.

Good luck to all the SEC schools in their first test. May you be injury free and play your best.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Jerrell Powe: Smarter than the NCAA

What a blogswarm over the Jerrell Powe situation. It seems that yesterday the NCAA ruled that Powe was ineligible to play football until 2008, but in spite of that fact, he could still attend school at Ole Miss, keep his athletic scholarship and attend classes.

Erik at Deepsouthsports calls the NCAA ruling "bat-shit crazy", and at first glance, I am inclined to agree with him. Either Powe is eligible for an athletic grant-in-aid, or he isn't, and if he is eligible for an athletic scholarship, why in the name of all that is holy can he not play football?

DSS quotes Powe's lawyer as claiming that the NCAA just established a new category of qualifier. He calls it the Jerrell Powe category, but I call it some kind of crazy Solomonic solution that calls the integrity of the NCAA itself into serious question. How can a person qualify for a scholarship, yet be forbidden to play? The very concept itself is illogical, unreasonable, and, well, bat-shit crazy.

Of course, now Powe's lawyers are talking about filing for relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and given that the NCAA has contradicted nearly every rule it has and quite possibly the very justification for its existence, it's hard to imagine that the Powe won't prevail either on appeal or in a lawsuit.

Anyway, there is lots of other blog reaction, both positive and negative. Seth at the Hotty Toddy Blog has a quizzical reaction, and defers to Sunday Morning Quarterback, who had this to say:

Such pure humanitarianism is only possible motivating factor for the university, which has obviously admitted a student whose qualifications - the ones entirely invalidated by the NCAA - are woefully inadequate; according to the Association, Powe's coursework verges on non-existent, but he apparently will remain at Ole Miss until he finds a way onto the field, come hell or high water, or, I dunno, bad knees. This is the kind of academic environment Steve Spurrier can appreciate.

SMQ is right -- what motivation can Ole Miss possibly have to give Powe a scholarship of any kind? Based on this NCAA ruling, the very word "scholarship" is an oxymoron if Powe's scholastic work was worthless. To paraphrase Mr. Spock from Star Trek The Original Series, "There is no fact, no extrapolation of fact, or theory ..." which makes sense out of this mess. It is lacking any semblance of reason.

Powe would best be served if he would just give up and spend two years in JUCO, but I suspect that isn't what will happen. By not following anything like their own rules, the NCAA has opened themselves up to a "whadthefxup?" by any number of judges under any number of grounds.

True to form, Loser With Socks' Jai Eugene skewers Powe, Ole Miss, Deepsouthsports, and nearly everybody but the NCAA. Well, I got to give it to him, he makes some resounding arguments against Powe's matriculation to Ole Miss. Looks like to me, though, that even with his 15(!) on the ACT (don't start with the 'cultural bias' crap, I don't want to hear it), he is smarter than the buffoons at the NCAA who handed down this gem of a ruling. Bat-shit crazy, indeed.

Injury/suspension report from around the SEC blogs

OK, today we are still in the game week mode as we move quickly toward the first football of the SEC 2007 season. As you know, we don't have a lot of big games coming up this week, but there are at least 3 or 4 games that have a little bit of mystery to them.

But we'll get to that. First, let's have a look at the injury and suspension reports from blogs around the league:


  1. WR Keith Brown and MLB Prince Hall suspended 1 game (Via BamaPride)
  2. Brian Motley, broken ankle (Via The Capstone Report and Eight in the Box)

  1. DE Marcus Harrison arrested, suspended indefinitely (Via the Hawg Blawg)
  1. Safety Antavious Coates, career ended, torn ACL (4th time) (Via Georgia Bulldog Blog)
  1. Tailback Brad Lester, day to day due to academics (Via Track Em Tigers)
South Carolina:
  1. Emanuel Cook, suspended over the weekend on a weapons charge, has been reinstated at USC. But the bad news for Cook doesn't end there. Check out the details at Leftover Hot Dog.
For other injury/suspension news, check here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Choosing from among the stars: The 75 greatest moments in the SEC

Roy Exum writes today for the about an attempt by colleague David Paschal to define the "75 Greatest Moments" in the SEC throughout the length and breadth of it's storied history (evidently available to print subscribers only). Exum was rather shocked, to say the least, that Paschal led off with Hal Mumme instituting the "Air Raid" offense at Kentucky.

Now, I am a Kentucky fan, and I do look fondly on the somewhat goofy memories of that first season, the amazingly good results we had with Mumme's new scheme, his endearing if somewhat whimsical obsession with all things Jimmy Buffet, the wailing air-raid sirens every time his TV show came on. Kentucky fans have been largely bereft of any kind of football glory since the heady days of 1976 and 1977 when we shared the SEC regular season championship with Georgia and Alabama, respectively, up until then. Never mind that he left under a cloud of distrust and doubt -- for a couple of years there, Hal Mumme gave Kentucky fans something different, and not just in terms of victories on the gridiron.

But even this Kentucky fan has got to agree with Exum. There are so many great moments in SEC football, choosing among them would seem to be like choosing from among the stars in the sky. Heck, Roy wheels off quite a few classics just ruminating over his column. Still, he comes to the conclusion that even though he didn't agree at first take, Paschal's article made him think about the impact of the "Air Raid", about the fact that it brought UK its first victory over Alabama since 1922.

Heck, how about that "hail mary" pass back in 2002 when LSU pulled off the "Bluegrass Miracle?" Or Alabama winning the Iron Bowl on a last -second 52 yard field goal in 1985? Or Herschel Walker -- just about every play? The list could literally go on forever.

But ultimately, Exum doesn't think that the Mumme offense even hits his top 750, and you know, I would probably agree with him. But if one were to try to pick 75 or even 175 great moments from the SEC, calling any of them worthy of the moniker "greatest" is going to get second-guessed from the bayous of Baton Rouge to the hills of Knoxville. But just as Exum said -- no matter who picks what, they all make us think -- and they are all great.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Best of the SEC: Game Week

As we all know, this is it -- game week. It's time for all the SEC football teams to show us what they are made of, who's on first, put the petal to the metal, git it on, git 'er done -- well, you "git" it. So all this week, we are going to be looking first to game posts -- the best analysis, the best prognostication, etc., regarding this weekend's games.

While some of us in the SEC will be cupcaking our way through Saturday, a few of us, most notably Tennessee and MSU will not. Georgia has a fairly worthy opponent, and so does Ole Miss. For the rest of us, it is more like a scrimmage weekend, but at least we aren't scrimmaging against ourselves.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Sunday Basketball Post: Who is getting the job done recruiting in the SEC

Yes, yes, I know it's football season. I know basketball season isn't for a couple of months. But we do need to perform a little roundball coverage, and that's what we're doing today.

The question for today is, who is getting the job done recruiting wise in the SEC for 2008 so far? Yes, we have a long way to go before we assign ratings to teams for recruiting, but let's take a look at the top three performers so far in both the East and the West.

SEC East

  1. Florida -- Billy Donovan is once again taking it to conference rivals. 5-star stud C/PF Kenny Kadji from IMG Academy leads the way. 4-star PF Allan Chaney from New London, CT has also pledged to the Gators. 3-star small forward Ray Shipman and point Erving Walker round out the class.

  2. Kentucky -- Billy Gillispie has only has one player committed so far, but it is 5-star point forward DeAndre Liggins from Chicago.

  3. Tennessee -- Like Kentucky, Bruce Pearl has only inked one commit at this point, 4-star center Philip Jurick of Chattanooga.

SEC West

  1. Alabama -- For a guy who's coaching skills may best be described as mediocre, Mark Gottfried continues to prove that he can tap the talent in his home state, and it is considerable. Jamychal Green, a 5-star stud power forward leads the class, followed closely by 4-stars Tony Mitchell (small forward) and Alabama SG (and brother of current Tide player Ronald) Andrew Steele.

  2. Mississippi State -- Rick Stansbury is working on what is unquestionably his best recruiting class ever, pillaging Kentucky for 5-star shooting guard Scotty Hopson, and gaining the favor of in-state 4-star Romero Osby. 3-star Virgina point guard Demarquis Bost rounds out the class.

  3. Arkansas -- John Pelphrey has obtained commitments from 3-star point guard Terrance Joyner from Mendenhall, Mississippi, and unrated small forward Chris Gragg.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Best the SEC: Police Blotter Edition

Well, only 7 days away from the start of the football season, a goodly number of SEC players are finding themselves in legal difficulties. To wit:

Some other great posts not related to lawbreaking:

Friday, August 24, 2007

Periodic bleg

One of the missions of this blog (a blog with a mission? -Ed.) is to try to maintain as comprehensive a list as possible of SEC related blogs. It is a bigger job than I thought, because the Internet is, well, a big place.

It is so big, in fact, that I have to periodically enlist some help from people who read us. That's the point of this particular post. If you know of an SEC-related blog not listed on my blogroll to the left, or you are a new SEC blogger, please drop me a note at, and I will get your site into my feed reader and on my blogroll.

On another administrative subject, those of you who read this blog will note that some schools get more tags than others. Quite simply, some schools have a really outstanding blog presence online, and I am not really an "affirmative action" blogger -- the best of the day in my opinion usually gets a mention. Not always -- occasionally when a school hasn't been mentioned for a while, I make a point to link one of their blogs. Also, I don't really do message boards unless they also have a blog, so schools with a really strong message board presence but a weak blog presence are obviously underrepresented.

But the goal, obviously, is to notice the best or the most interesting out there, while tying to maintain some semblance of egalitarianism. It is a tricky balancing act, and is turning out to be tougher than I thought. So for those out there blogging excellence who think I am ignoring you, be patient. There is a man, not a machine, behind this thing, and I'm giving it my best.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday: Best of the SEC Blogs

Spanning the World Wide Web to bring you the constant variety of commentary. Today, we have lots of goodies out there, so let's get started:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nick Saban - Pharaoh, Caesar or Napoleon?

The Tuscaloosa News has a big, fat story on a big, fat story in Sports Illustrated (don't you just love how the media loves to write about ... itself!?). Here is a quote from the SI article:

“They have welcomed him as Caesar, as pharaoh, and paid him enough money to burn a wet dog. Now he will take them forward by taking them back to the glory of their past -- the 21 Southeastern Conference championships, the 12 national championships, the Team of the 20th Century (as The Wall Street Journal called the Crimson Tide in 2000).

“Saban has not promised them so much -- 'I don’t believe in predictions,’ he says -- but they believe. It may take two years, three, more, to be in the discussion again when people talk about the best teams in college football. But they know he will take them home."
I think a comparison to Napoleon would be more apt. Saban has been crowned Emperor of Alabama for the nonce, but what will happen if Tuberville defeats him and Alabama wins 7 or 8 games, and maybe loses whatever bowl they wind up in? As a Kentucky fan, I understand, perhaps as only Kentucky fans can, about what expectations can mean when the fans are, as my grandmother used to say "A bit tuch'd". But basketball and football are vastly different, and if Alabama is unable to contend for an SEC championship this year, how many more years will Saban get, especially given the amount of money he is being paid?

Alabama fans expect results. 92,000 fans at a practice game don't suggest that they are expecting a couple more seasons as also-rans. But when they look at his salary and the historical place of Alabama in the national picture, 7 or even 8 win seasons will not get it done. 'Bama fans are bound to want much more, and that right soon.

How soon? Well, I'm not really qualified to say, this being football and all. But my guess is, this year is Saban's only warm up. If Alabama isn't contending for the SEC championship next year, I'll wager "" will be up and busy, and 'Bama fans will be making ready to exile him to whatever the SEC football equivalent of Elba is (maybe Kentucky, like Bill Curry).

Frankly, I hope Saban succeeds. Alabama and Kentucky fans are closer kin than most of either fan base would admit. Only in Kentucky basketball can Alabama fans find a peer when it comes to passion ... nay, obsession, with a college sport. Maybe Gator football (remember Ron Zook?), but I'm not so sanguine about that.

Anyway, Nick Bonaparte, good luck. You are going to need a heaping helping, in my judgment. Like my brethren in Lexington, Alabama fans are not noted for their long-suffering patience.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday Late Night Blogging

Careening toward the first kickoff of 2007, there are several interesting items today that deserve some attention.

The Alabama bloggers are up in arms about the Simeon Castille arrest. There is so much coverage of this story, I'm going to do a quick list of the best:

Moving on, our next stop is College Football Resource, who was voted the #2 Football Blog by SI on Campus. Not only that, but he has his usual Tuesday pundit roundup, which is not to be missed. In this week's edition, he calls the Pat Forde article about football in the South "Pure poppycock." Read the whole thing.

Jon at Fulmer's Belly continues his ranking of SEC coaches. It's a bit of a surprise to find Phillip Fulmer ranked only 8th, and Kentucky's Rich Brooks ranked higher than Urban Meyer and Houston Nutt. With all the BS Nutt went through earlier this year, and all the crap that fell out of his pie hole, I can't quite believe he ranks below Brooks. And Brooks getting gigged for touting his team, well -- that just ain't right, Jon! Fulmer's Belly also thoughtfully plugs Best of the SEC Blogs. Thanks, Jon!

Heisman Pundit has a roundup of college football, and it is well worth reading. It seems that the Big 10 commissioner suggested that the SEC had lower academic standards than the Big 10, and maybe that's why the SEC has so much speed. HP mocks both the SEC and the Big 10 in two paragraphs. And they said it couldn't be done ...

Kyle Veazey reminds us that Leonard Postosties is no longer with us. I miss that guy also.

Nixforsix at Old School Nasty continues his review of SEC schedules, this time it's LSU. The Bayou Bengals aught to like what he has to say in this one.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Not everything about Mondays sucks

Just because the work part is miserable, it doesn't mean the blogging is. And looking around today, we have some downright excellent blog posts to help elevate your day out of the doldrums.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Fun & Games

I have to step up and defend the Kentucky Wildcat's honor here. Larry Vettel wrote today for that Florida faces more top 20 ranked teams than anyone

Florida State will open the season ranked No. 19 despite tough times in Tallahassee in recent years. That means Florida will face FIVE of the top-20 teams. That’s more than anyone else will have to go up against. It puts into perspective the need to have two or three home wins you can count on, doesn’t it.

I hate to break it to Larry, but the Kentucky Wildcats face no less than five top 20 teams themselves based on the most recent poll: LSU, Florida, Louisville, Georgia, Tennessee. In fact, Kentucky faces three of the current top ten: LSU, Florida and Louisville. Throw in Arkansas at #21, and frankly, I think UK's is "bigger" than Florida's in this dimension.

In other UK-related news, Lexington Herald-Leader and Rich Brooks critic John Clay asks if there is any more room aboard the Brooks Bandwagon. Sure, John -- jump right on. And here is a little salt and pepper for that crow ...

BamaMag writes that Alabama point guard Ronald Steele, still not 100% after off-season surgery, will not be playing much in Canada. Instead, Mikhail Torrance is likely to step in, along with others.

Seems like the Pac 10 teams are so enamored of USC, they are giving up before the season even begins. Jeez, guys, get a freaking testosterone injection, willya?

Richard Pittman at Geaux Tuscaloosa has a warning for Alabama fans:
If Bama is going to have to win with offense, they're going to find that harder than they think. I don't think they're scoring 45 points on SEC teams, and may have trouble holding the better offenses in the league to less than 30.
That's likely to be right. Although, I really don't think Alabama will be that bad defensively. They have serious questions, though, especially against the run.

Jai Eugene at Loser with Socks thinks the Gators aught to be #1 till someone proves they can beat them. I think this argument actually has some merit, but I'm sure the media types who vote in the poll won't see it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Best of the SEC: Conference wars addition

Lots of SEC bloggers have been weighing in on the conference wars lately, and so have many of the mainstream media. GeauxTigers at And The Valley Shook points us to this article by Pat Forde of ESPN, which explains why the passion of the South propels the SEC to pre-eminence in college football. Forde's article makes sense to me, but then again, he is talking about people like me. Forde holds forth that the South is college football, and anything less than the best is simply unthinkable:

The reason is simple: The SEC has to be better than the Pac-10. It's nonnegotiable.

The quality of life in the South is dependent upon good college football. Local economies, race relations and collective psychological health all would suffer without it. Sweet tea would not be as sweet. Fried chicken would not be as crispy. Country songs would be even sadder.

If SEC football were mediocre, the South might as well be back in Reconstruction.
Auburn Football at Fanblogs discusses this Tony Barnhart (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) article where Barnhart ranks the conferences, then defends his choices. Really, the biggest debate seems to be for second place. I find it interesting that both the blogger and Barnhart rank the Big East so low.

BamaPride points us to this Sports Illustrated article that says Alabama and Nick Saban are dominating in-state recruiting (this means you, Auburn fans). Paul Finebaum at the Mobile Register agrees, but Jerry Hinnen at Joe Cribs Car Wash tells the Tiger faithful not to buy what Dawg fans like Finebaum and others like Mike Farrel are selling.

Quinton McDawg at Georgia Sports Blog says the new kickoff rule moving the line to the 30 from the 35 shouldn't hurt the Dawgs too bad. But David Ching at the Georgia Bulldog Blog notes that if it were up to Mark Richt, college football would do without the kickoff altogether, and just begin at the opponent's 24 after each score.

Ching interviews Georgia assistant coach Jon Fabris, and Fabris finds the kicking game to be inconsistent in NCAA rules, with a large disparity between how punts and kickoffs are handled. Injuries are also a concern, something that we worried about here back when we first blogged on the rule.

Dawg Sports and Hey Jenny Slater both take a look at the football Blogpoll with different perspectives. Kyle King at Dawg Sports makes the case for resume ranking. Doug at Hey Jenny Slater says his Blogpoll ballot sucks, and that it was much easier last year than this.

A few more quick hits:
  • Brandon at Cock -n- Fire takes a long, hard look at the Kentucky Wildcats game with the 'Cocks down in Columbia, and pronounces it a dead heat -- almost.

  • Heisman Pundit looks at the front-runners for the Heisman Trophy at this very early stage of the game. Will pre-season publicity have more of an impact than actual performance?

  • Suarian Sagacity ranks the best teams based on his own algorithm over the last five years. Needless to say, Stewart Mandel and he come to rather different conclusions.

  • Guy Tiller at VolNation makes the case that close calls are the difference between a good season and bad. Taking a look at some of the teams who had close calls go against them last year (and if your memory is bad like mine, you might be surprised at who they were), you have to wonder what could have been but for a couple of bounces.

There are many more blogs worthy of mention today, but it is time for dinner and a big, juicy steak awaits. So, until later ...

UPDATE: Corrected a couple of links. Sorry, folks.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Back to FOOTBAW!!!

OK, so I had to stray a little into basketball there yesterday. So sue me.

But not so today. Today we return to the sport that is nearly at hand, and have a look at some of the interesting bits out there on Al Gore's greatest invention.

First, there is this article from The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida. It's been a while since I have seen a mainstream sports media outlet rub salt in a wound like this. It starts with the title, which is fittingly "Flashbacks of 41-14 Loss to Florida Still Haunting Buckeyes". Stings a little but not too bad, right? But it does get better:

The loss of so many well-known standouts from last year's team - Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Troy Smith, receivers Anthony Gonzalez and Ted Ginn Jr., tailback Antonio Pittman, three defensive linemen, two starters in the secondary - may actually make it easier for the Buckeyes to purge those dreadful memories. At least that's the hope.

"I think they've probably been beat up enough. We're ready to move on," Heacock said of the returning players.
Heh. If this isn't a "Poor wittow Buckeys" moment, I have never seen one. Jeez, the angst is killing me. Congrats to The Ledger for totally emasculating the Big Ten's most accomplished football team.

On the heels of some friendly give and take between myself and Bobby O'Shea of Vanderbilt Sports Line, we have this article over at The Sporting News. It seems like the eight wins Bobby predicts for Vandy is too low a bar for the team -- they are setting their sights on not just any old bowl, but a BCS bowl.

Having lofty goals is definitely a good thing, but one must wonder if the word "realistic" should enter into their thinking. Is it really realistic for Vanderbilt to get invited to a BCS bowl, given their schedule? VSL hasn't yet gone that far, but one thing is for sure -- the Commodores will be no pushover this year. Consider the rest of the SEC on notice. Whether the rest of us "pundits" believe it or not, the 'Dores claim to believe.

The Associated Press defends the Pac 10 from the evil SEC and, in particular, that minion of Saban Satan himself, Les Miles. The article points out proudly that four of USC's last five losses have come against Pac 10 teams, dating back to 2002:
But to some critics — including Miles, perhaps — those results only support the perception that the Pac-10 has become USC and the Little Nine. The Trojans have won or shared four straight conference titles.

The perception is, so to speak, miles away from reality. Most of USC’s recent trouble has come in its own backyard.

Four of USC’s last five losses, dating to October 2002, have come against Pac-10 rivals.

Now, think about that for a minute. In the last 4 years, USC has suffered only 4 defeats at the hands of conference foes. No SEC team can even come close to matching that 4-year conference record. For example, in that same time period, Florida lost something like 11 games to conference foes. Auburn lost 9. LSU lost 10. You get the picture, but apparently Pete Carroll doesn't:
“If you look at our score spreads, in-conference versus out-of-conference, it’s obvious that our toughest games are in the conference,” Trojans coach Pete Carroll said.
Yeah, Pete. Exactly. Your conference is so tough, all nine of them have been able to hang one whole defeat per year on your team in the last 4. Hello, Pete! Remember the theory of holes ...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wednesday: Best of the SEC Bloggers

We all know that football season is almost here, but there are lots of folks around the SEC thinking about basketball. As a Kentucky Wildcat fan, I think about basketball a lot, and today I'll be recognizing the intrepid SEC basketball bloggers trudging toward the glorious day in mid October when hoops practice begins.

Obviously, since this is football season, we have a short post here. But we have to keep an eye on basketball as well as football, and I don't know how I'm going to keep up during the overlap.

I'd also like to thank Third Saturday in Blogtober for mentioning us on their blog today. Thanks, gentlefolk!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tuesday's Best of the SEC

The best thing you can say about Tuesday is that it isn't Monday. Never has that been more true for me than today. But time marches on, and so we continue inexorably forward to the start of a brand new season.

So who is blogging excellence today? I found a few, as usual.

Thanks to Nixforsix at Old School Nasty for the plug he gave us today, as well as Bobby O'Shea at Vanderbilt Sports Line. Much appreciated, amigos.

Monday, August 13, 2007

News around the SEC

Looking around the SEC today, there are a few news articles of interest that deserve comment.

First up is this article in The Chattanoogan by Roy Exum. It describes an event during Bear Bryant's reign at Alabama involving one of his players and pot back during the early 1970's.

If you haven't read this story or heard it before, you really should just bookmark the link above and do it. It is one of the most fascinating stories I have ever read about Bear Bryant, and even if you don't love Alabama football, you should read this. I have always been a sucker for stories about redemption.

Continuing with the Alabama theme, we have this story from the Memphis commercial appeal about Nick Saban. Seems he is as much of a stranger to his players as he is to most Alabama fans. I found this kind of interesting:

Fair or not, Saban has become the poster child for coaching-salary excess ($5 million per year), though Castille, speaking to reporters at SEC Media Days last month in Birmingham, said he had been unaware that Saban is the highest-paid coach in college football. If Saban resides in a stratospheric tax bracket, well, Castille could not care less.

"I mean, the only time I ever really think of it is when I see him hop into his Mercedes," Castille said.

Now, I don't know Nick Saban from a load of coal, but I don't particularly like to see coaches parading expensive cars in front of players. I would rather Saban come to work in a less ostentatious vehicle. It's no mystery to anyone that he is the highest paid college coach in America, but tooling around campus in a Mercedes just doesn't seem like the best way to demand sacrifice from your players. I'm probably just old-fashioned, though.

On top of this, Cary Estes at ESPN thinks Nick Saban is overrated, and he may have a point. But one thing is for sure -- Nick Saban has energized the considerable Alabama fan base, and that is good news for a dispirited Tide following who must feel like the post-Bryant years are like Moses' time in the desert. They are starved for national relevance, and while Saban is a rock star now, he will have very far to fall if he doesn't deliver -- and soon.

From one overrated thing to another, Trev Alberts of CSTV thinks Florida is overrated this year:
Florida is the most-overrated preseason team in the last 10 years. I understand what they achieved last year. But with what they lost, the conference they play in, to be No. 3 in the country in the Coaches' Poll? They're probably No. 11, No. 12, just outside the Top 10 if you ask me. All of their preseason rankings are based on what they accomplished last year.
I think he's right in one respect -- the Gators are ranked way too high at number three. But I don't think they deserve a ranking outside the top ten, either.

Complicating Florida's situation is their kicking game, which, if you believe this report, is in even worse shape than last year. Chris Hetland was only 6-15 last year, including 3-11 outside of 20 yards, and he is gone. Who will replace him? Well, at this point, neither Joey Ijjas or Jonathan Phillips is setting the world on fire.

The Gators weren't exactly the hottest special teams school in the SEC last year. The fact that their kicking game seems to be sub-Gator standard is not promising, and only reinforces the idea that perhaps the Gators are not quite worthy of their lofty pre-season ranking.

Auburn is dealing with a good news/bad news situation. The good news is freshman quarterback Kodi Burns is making a serious impression on the coaching staff. The bad news is that Auburn is racking up some serious injuries, including some hits to the O-line and special teams.

Arkansas cannot seem to go a day without off the field controversy. This time, it comes in the form of an ESPN report that Darren McFadden has already taken a decision to enter the NFL draft after this year, which allegedly came from McFadden's mother. Now, that news should come as a surprise to no one, except it did -- to his mother.

On top of all the Houston Nutt drama, this is just one more distraction Arkansas doesn't need.

Maybe I was too hard on Bobby O'Shea's review of the Vanderbilt Commodore's season this year. Bobby thinks that the 'Dores will go 8-4, and articles like this from the Jackson Sun help reinforce the view that the Commies might well surprise some of the big boys this year. I still don't see 8-4, but 6-6 or even 7-5 seem very realistic to me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Catching up a bit

Yesterday was one of those days where I simply couldn't get everything done, and so I wasn't able to update this place. Well, life happens, I suppose.

But Saturday is another day, and a day off at that. So it's time for me to take a look around and see who has been excellent while I have been ... well, not.

Needless to say, this will be a rather lengthy post.

  • Year 2 (Florida) continues his season analysis. Check out how your favorite team stacks up against the Gators (assuming, of course, they are on the schedule).

  • Bobo at WorldClassGlass (Ole Miss) notes this Andy Katz article over at ESPN. Apparently, some teams in the SEC like to play little pre-game games to annoy the visitors. Fortunately, the SEC isn't anywhere near the worst offender of this sort. Some of these "annoyances" are pretty unsportsmanlike, if you ask me.

  • Bobby O'Shea at Vanderbilt Sports Line has a schedule preview for Vandy. He has Vandy beating such worthies as Alabama, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Wake Forest. With all due respect, I think optimism has gotten the better of him. But who knows?

  • Tiger Tales (Auburn) blogs about Auburn's role in the college loan scandal for which it received a demand for documents from the NY Attorney General. Auburn is claiming no direct relationship with UFS.

  • The Valiant Underdog (Vanderbilt) blogs about a Steve Megargee article on Yahoo! Sports listing three Commodores among the "best players you've never seen". He thinks this bodes well for Vanderbilt's season.

  • The Cover Two (Georgia) thinks maybe Dawg fans should consider some sacrifices to the gods for intervention in this year's football season. He says Kyle King of Dawg Sports (Georgia) made him do it.

  • There is little doubt that the Houston Nutt drama in Fayetteville is beginning to wear on the psyche of Arkansas fans. Razorback fans should be in hog heaven over Darren McFadden's Heisman bid, and the promise of some exciting football this season, but the coach's on and off the field newsmaking is beginning to take a toll.

    The Hog Blogger (Arkansas) has had it with the Days of our Nutt, and says that it's time for him to go:
    Today’s been a rough day for Hog fans. Any doubt we once had that nothing was afoot in Fayetteville can essentially be tossed out the window. We’ve tried to stay positive. We’ve tried to give Houston a break at times, hard as it’s been. After today, though, we’re done. Win or lose, Houston Nutt is a distraction, and is hurting the program. We understand that there are 20 oral commitments at stake. We understand there is a race for the Heisman Trophy set to begin in a little over three weeks. And yes, for the millionth time, Nutt defenders, we understand that this team won 10 games last season. However, we will not stand here and tolerate this ridiculous conspiring, blatant rule-breaking, rumoring, intimidation, and all-around absurdity.
    Hat tip: Razorback Blogs

  • Todd at Roll 'Bama Roll (Alabama) also gets in on the Houston Nutt act.

  • Now, for something completely different. TonyOrlando at Alabama Gameday creates a competition between the SEC East and West fan bases, ranking them on some ... unique criteria.

  • Loser with Socks' Jai Eugene (Tennessee) says Gator fans are starting to think Tim Tebow is engaging in some serious suckage, and provides evidence.

  • Heisman Pundit (Unknown fan affiliation) gets in on ranking the conferences. His conclusion, like mine, was that the SEC was tops, but not by itself. His analysis is a lot more sophisticated than the effort I put forth.

  • Travis at Hail Dear Ole State (MSU) doubts Sylvester Croom's hype about the team this year. He says Croom's statement is really putting he and his coaches on the line.

  • Senator Blutarsky at Get the Picture and Kyle King of Dawg Sports (Georgia) take Stewart Mandel's recent column asserting Georgia isn't a national power any more to task.

  • Jon at Fulmer's Belly (Tennessee) finishes ranking the SEC quarterbacks.

  • Paul Westerdawg at Georgia Sports Blog (Georgia) says Mark Richt is channeling Rodney Dangerfield (as Thorton Melon). Orson Swindle at EDSBS invokes Galactus and the Silver Surfer.

  • The Gamecock faithful have been in high dudgeon over Steve Spurrier's recent comments to the media bemoaning South Carolina's admissions policy. Scott Hood at Gamecock Central tells Gamecock fans to chill, all will be well:

    I’ve even seen posts bemoaning the prospect of Spurrier eventually departing USC over the issue.

    If you’re one of those people, I offer this: Don’t worry, be happy.

    Spurrier isn’t going anywhere.
    Cock -n- Fire wonders what USC's current admission policy is supposed to be accomplishing:
    The job of a public university is not to weed out undesirable students who are otherwise qualified out of some vague notion that they might not be able to graduate. Granted, the school can't graduate for the student, but the university is supposed to provide the resources necessary for the student to graduate. If no more than six out of every 10 students walk off your campus with a diploma within six years of beginning classes, something is wrong with the system, not the students.
    I think he's right.

  • Finally, The Capstone Report (Alabama) says that Nick Saban is really pissing him off. Pay no attention to the tongue behind the cheek.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The SEC -- King of Conferences? (updated)

A lot of us SEC fans like to think that the SEC is the King of Football conferences, and perhaps we are. But history may spread a bit of doubt upon that.

As of 2005-06, this is what the SEC vs. The World looked like:

Southeastern Conference vs. Division I-A Conferences

Conference Games W L T %
Sun Belt 191 178 9 4 94.20%
Western Athletic 103 91 10 2 89.30%
Mid-American 75 58 16 1 78.00%
Mountain West 155 109 42 4 71.60%
Conference USA 1181 758 374 49 66.30%
Big East 172 103 59 10 62.80%
Pac-10 108 63 38 7 61.60%
Atlantic Coast 1719 893 743 83 54.40%
Big 12 635 310 301 24 50.70%
I-A Independents 97 46 47 4 49.50%
Big Ten 184 86 91 7 48.60%

This is not so bad. The only conference we don't have winning record against is the Big Ten, and Independents and we are very nearly even with both. So just for comparison, let's look at the same thing from the standpoint of the Big Ten:

Big Ten Conference vs. Division I-A Conferences

Conference Games W L T %
Sun Belt 14 14 0 0 100.00%
Mid-American 253 215 34 4 85.80%
Conference USA 96 74 19 3 78.60%
Western Athletic 44 33 11 0 75.00%
Big East 490 324 147 19 68.10%
Mountain West 101 66 30 5 67.80%
Atlantic Coast 277 174 98 5 63.70%
Big 12 538 309 208 21 59.40%
Pac-10 528 265 250 13 51.40%
Southeastern 185 91 87 7 51.10%
I-A Independents 502 211 266 25 44.50%

I suppose that's pretty much what we would expect. It's interesting to note that although the SEC has a loosing record to the independents, it is a better record than the Big 10's. Interestingly enough, taking all wins and all games into account, the Big 10 and SEC have an identical 58% winning percentage overall against others.

Since there has been much talk about the SEC vs. the Pac-10, we might as well look at their table, also:

Pacific-10 Conference vs. Division I-A Conferences

Conference Games W L T %
Mid-American 11 10 1 0 90.90%
Sun Belt 14 12 2 0 85.70%
Western Athletic 711 564 130 17 80.50%
Mountain West 579 390 175 14 68.60%
Conference USA 191 125 59 7 67.30%
Atlantic Coast 81 43 37 1 53.70%
Big East 91 46 45 0 50.50%
Big Ten 528 250 265 13 48.60%
Big 12 386 163 210 13 43.90%
I-A Independents 168 66 91 11 42.60%
Southeastern 108 38 63 7 38.40%

Hmmm. Not quite cricket, now is it?


A table for the Big 12 by special request:

Big 12 Conference vs. Division I-A Conferences

Conference Games W L T %
Sun Belt 119 110 9 0 92.40%
Western Athletic 136 111 23 2 82.40%
Mid-American 60 47 13 0 78.30%
Mountain West 840 535 270 35 65.80%
Conference USA 1062 622 389 51 61.00%
Pac-10 388 212 163 13 56.30%
Big East 138 66 65 7 50.40%
Southeastern 635 301 310 24 49.30%
Atlantic Coast 234 111 123 0 47.40%
I-A Independents 101 46 53 2 46.50%
Big Ten 538 208 309 21 40.60%