I know, believe me, I know it has been awhile, folks. I've been busy doing some things behind the scenes, but I am finally back on my normal beat, and with a vengeance. Believe me, I'm so happy to be back to doing the mailbag! Thanks to everyone who sent in submissions. Here we go, people!
Oh and haikus!
@inthebleachers I want a haiku that describes the original (non-game) programming that youwould like to see on the new SEC network.— Patti Jones (@DrPattiJones) May 23, 2013
I think Finebaum wins
Probably some classic games
And a cooking show
But, seriously, I think Finebaum will be the SEC Network's cornerstone in the afternoons. It is low budget programming, not from a quality standpoint, but from a "it doesn't cost a ton to televise a radio show" standpoint. Stationary cameras, general lighting and go from there. There's a reason CBS, Fox and ESPN all do that already.
I am sure it will show some of the games from the past in a myriad of sports, because it has bought syndication rights and getting to show some old-school stuff is fun. That also means it will be showing recent replays as a way to pass the time. Look for something similar to the Pac-12's 60-minute games, which are pretty cool.
My hope is it gives the schools a chance, either individually or as a group, to provide content. Give those kids some experience, a little time in front and behind the camera, and let folks see what they can do.
Oh, and a cooking and/or tailgating show. A "Taste of the SEC"-styled program where they show recipes or cooking techniques and couch it all with what folks are eating on SEC weekends. I'll watch.
@inthebleachers here’s an early ?: every time I cook bacon, it burns like hell or looks raw. Where’s the happy medium like the diner bacon??— Andrew J Abernathy (@ajabernathy) May 22, 2013
I'd say turn down heat
But still start with a hot pan
And pay attention
Bacon is delicious. It is meat candy. The key, and a lot depends on how you're frying it up, is your temperature. Cooking in hard-anodized aluminum versus cooking in cast iron versus cooking it on the grill all require different temperatures. I'm a cast iron and a grill guy myself.
On the stove top, I usually get the skillet warm so that when the bacon goes in, it cooks, sizzles. Not so hot that the bacon is popping all over the place, but rather that it starts to cook. From that point, just monitor it. Lift it up with your fork, and if it is starting to brown to your liking, flip it over and let the other side start to brown. Because bacon is not very thick, it will continue to cook all the way through and you should get what you're looking for.
You should really only have to turn it once. As the pan fills with grease, you might want to reduce the heat a bit as the skillet is now doing most of the cooking for you.
Franklin is the man
He wants to keep on winning
But two words: Butch Jones
I would not call it sensitive, more that the Vanderbilt head coach is quite aware of what is happening in the state. Anyone who has a brain in their head realizes that Tennessee was not exactly operating at full capacity over the last few seasons. Now, under Butch Jones, the Vols are hitting the recruiting trail hard. They are repairing high school relationships and that is a problem for Vanderbilt's recruiting.
Franklin made a lot of headway with coaches and kids, but now Jones is eating up that cushion. The Vols are recruiting hard and unlike Dooley, who could not get out of his own way, Jones is competent enough to build relationships and then turn those into commitments.
When someone comes into your yard and starts eating your food, it tends to make you a little uncomfortable, and Franklin is no different.
@inthebleachers why won't Saban match 1899 Sewanee's 5 day tour of deep-south-road mauling destruction?? What's Nick scared of Mike?!— David Wright (@DWright_10) May 23, 2013
Beat some really good ball teams
Then they got some rest
First of all, it is a five-games-in-six-days march. I know this because my best friend in middle school was born of two proud Sewanee grads and they had the poster framed in their media room. I think it said, "In 6 Days Sewanee Beat Texas, Texas A&M, Tulane, LSU and Ole Miss. On the 7th Day, They Rested."
I think the only thing Nick Saban is scared of is how much free time beating five teams in six days would give his team. He likes the week-to-week to control he has over his guys. If they knock out almost half the season in a week, his guys might find some trouble. He'll pass, ha ha.
@inthebleachers Do you think UCLA or Stanford have a chance at the National Championship?— Nick Page (@NFLDraftPage) May 23, 2013
Pick Mora or Shaw
Can they compete for it all
What is their ceiling
Whether you are talking about this year or in the coming years, I think the answer is yes. For Stanford, it finally found its quarterback last season, and although it lost Zach Ertz and Stepfan Taylor, I think the team is going to again be pushing for the Pac-12 title. The Cardinal were an odd loss on the road to Washington and a controversial Notre Dame goal-line stand from 12-0 last season.
As for UCLA, I like what Mora's done with his team. He's building it by improving the defense and line play. The Bruins will be young in 2013, but they also seemed to have bought into what their coach is selling and that makes them dangerous. Their schedule has real opportunity for wins. If they can get by Nebraska and Oregon, they could be staring at an undefeated year going into the USC contest.
For UCLA and Stanford, like all teams, the "compete for a national title" topic starts with minimizing losses and winning your league. Both squads have a shot to do that. For that reason, either team remaining in the hunt in November with a shot at the title would not surprise me.
Clemson for the win
With Sammy Watkins and Co.
Defense is the key
I absolutely think that Clemson has a legitimate shot at the national title this season. It lost two games a year ago, has good pieces coming back and is riding high off that win over LSU. Couple the positives with the fact that an undefeated, or perhaps even one-loss pass through its schedule definitely warrants a title shot, and, yes, its chance is very real.
However, the Tigers have to find reliable ball-carriers now that Andre Ellington is gone. They also need replacements for DeAndre Hopkins and Dalton Freeman. All tall tasks, but things that can be done.
The big unknown will be the defense. Year 2 in a scheme is when teams turn the corner from "knowing what to do" to "understanding the scheme," and that is when success starts. If Clemson can turn that corner, it might have a shot to be a complete team, something that helps push it closer to winning the big games on its schedule.
New guys on new teams
Who will be a breakout star
Um, duh, Aaron Lynch
This list has to start with Aaron Lynch. He's a beast mode all-star who physically is going to be one of the best players on the field every time he walks out. He's with USF now and that is a big plus for Willie Taggart in Tampa. I'm most curious to see how USF uses the versatile kid in the 4-3 scheme. He's athletic enough to play outside, but if moved inside, he can certainly give guards and centers problems, as well.
Texas A&M has a pair of running backs, one from Oregon and another from Oklahoma. But I'd say that Aaron Green, the former Nebraska player now at TCU, will have the biggest impact. The kid can absolutely ball, and he'll likely find his way into more touches once he gets some game action.
And, just for you, I'll go with Brandon Mitchell. Honestly, I expect him to beat out Pete Thomas and be a good one-year fix for Dave Doeren. He can move very well, he can sling the ball around and I think he's a good fit for the offense.
@RunYogaSurf: Trying to maximize small space but currently have a surplus of liquor. Sideboard? Hutch? Basic shelves? Throw a party?
Easy answer here
Go with a sideboard for sure
That is the best move
Sideboard is the winner here by a mile. If you don't have a lot of space, the hutch makes you have even less because they are gigantic hulking things that are just impractical. Sideboard gives you space on top to display things if you want, cabinets to store things in, and, if you're entertaining, it also acts as a buffet table. Keeps people out of your kitchen looking for food, keeps the table clear for dining and still puts the liquor and food in an accessible place.