Here we go from the front porch of the Preacher Man, with a little different title, but the same old good humor, honest opinions, and ramblings from the world of the greatest football pundit in the SEC (Sarcasm, don't start with the nasty comments).
As is our habit, we will start by taking care of some non-conference business first. I must startout with a shout out and many "here, here's" for my old stomping grounds, the UTEP miners and Mike Price for picking up a huge win over the Houston Cougars. I lived in El Paso for over eight years while in the US Army, and I am happy to see them successful outside of basketball and cocaine smuggling.
Notre Dame continues to survive and every week brings a new "most important game of Charlie Weis's career." Their offense executes well in spurts and sputters, but their defense is horrendous. Congratulations are still in order. Keep an eye on them, because if they start firing on all cylinders, the BCS is in for a bump.
Great win for Miami over Oklahoma. This would seem to knock the sooners out of BCS contention, but we know how that goes, don't we? Along with USC, if they are in the top ten, they will manage to get there over much better teams. (Ask Auburn, LSU, or Alabama).
Speaking of USC, they steam-rolled Cal 30-3. What happened to the Golden Bears? They are not a bad team, but they seem to have given up the ghost.
Now on to the bread and butter:
1. The Tide Keeps Rolling
After yet another slow start, Bama started firing and improved to 5-0, 2-0 in the SEC. Kentucky always seems to play Bama close, and I thought this would end up being another nail biter, but it turned out to be all Crimson from the end of the half on.
Its a good thing Saban is such a nice guy and knows what true sportsmanship is all about. Any other "good" coach from the other "great" schools would have run up the scoreboard to feed their own ego's. This is what truly seperates the Vince Dooley's, Pat Dyes, Shug Jordans, Bear Bryants from all the rest. Saban is on his way to joining their ranks.
As for Kentucky, what can I say? I picked them as the dark horses of the East, but they are not helping themselves out any. I picked that they would lose last week and this week, and then have the chance to win out. After watching their 2-2 start, I am not so sure. They have all the pieces there: talent, coaches, desire, but they are missing something. In what is probably Rich Brooks last year before Joker Phillios takes over, I hope they fix it up soon and give him the BCS trophy he deserves.
2. Could Florida's Bye come at a More Opportune Time?
Call it luck, call it fate, or call it whatever you want, but Florida having a bye this week may have saved their season. Sure Tebow is not their team, and they are capable of playing and winning without him. Shoot, his backup can outplay just about any other QB in the country. But it is the mental impact he has on his teamates, the fans, and even his coaches.
So, for their upcoming battle against LSU, which will probably be their one and only real test before the season ends, the questions is: Can Tebow play? Should Tebow play? What will be the effect on the team if he doesn't?
Remember Coach Meyers remarks regarding all of those players with the flu? They would play, winning was more important. See above remarks about great coaches, but it is obvious that winning and NCS are more important than teaching these boys how to be men and get on with life after football. Remember when that was the primary goals of football coaches?
So if the doctors want Superman to wait two, three, or even four weeks before playing again, regardless of what HE thinks, why even consider it? Not only are you messing with this guys future NFL career, but you are messing with his entire future, period.
As good a coach as Urban Meyer is, decisions like this are what will really make him a "great" coach who can join all those "elite's" that have come before him. Winning is the purpose of playing, but winning in life...what a concept. Of course, the fans want him to play. What do they care; after next year, it is a new QB and Tebow is either in the NFL or not. As long as Florida keeps winning.
3. Auburn is 5-0. I said, Auburn is 5-0!
Gus Malzahn has taken this offense from the 104th rank offense to the third best in the nation in less than a year. He created the Wildcat, and just a few years ago was a nobody coaching high school football until Houston Nutt picked him up.
Now, from Arkansas through Tulsa to Auburn, you cannot help but think this guy is a future head coach, period. It could come as soon as next year with Notre Dame, possibly Michigan, and even more looking down on the plains.
But first things first, he has this offense humming. If the defense steps up, this team has a very manageble schedule until they face Alabama in November. Auburn seemed calm, collected, and disciplined when compared to Tennessee. The only concern I saw was they had a lot of players limping, hopping, and hobbling on the sidelines.
Ben Tate suffered from some kind of injury, but hopefully it was just cramps. But what a hair-brained hit by Blank towards the end of the game. Rumor has it that the SEC will take a look at it again at the opposing coaches request, and whether his coach disciplines him or not, this could get ugly.
And Tennesse, what can I say? Defense was shoddy, which was unusual. Offensive play calling was stupid, which we have come to expect. Why in the world would you be running the ball in the fourth quarter when you need two scores? They made one, but it was too little, too late.
They need a new OC badly. But again, maybe the hard-headed loudmouth will keep calling his own plays until he is run out of town in a year or two. I have this thing about Tennessee...
4. The Mad Hatter Pulls Another One out Against Georgia
This was a game I watched closely, because it seems as if the west will be decided on November 7th between LSU and Alabama.
But not so fast, my friend. LSU cannot possibly keep squeeking by in the SEC. They have a good team, and I just do not know what to make of them. One week, they barely beat Vanderbilt, the next they shine.
They better get it together quick, because Auburn is lurking and looking like a contender as well. I hope beyond all hope that LSU knocks Florida off of their pedestal this Saturday, but man, you just cannot predict which team will show up.
Like I have said all year, I like LSU and enjoy seeing three teams in the top five every week, but they are not playing like a number four team.
But looking from the other side, Gerogia is not too shabby a team, themselves. Like LSU, they have been in some pretty tough battles this year. Well, all of their games have been battles.
But lets be honest here: it was ugly on both sides Saturday. Multiple red zone failures, stupid penalties, questionable play calling. And it can be argued that one of the many blown calls by the ref's changed the course of the entire game. Take that play back, adn LSU might not have scored.
But this is not a game of what if's, it is a game of winners and losers. I have seen many games that were so good that I hated to see either side lose, but this was almost the opposite. I like both teams, but I just felt neither deserved the win here. And I know I will have lots of comments about this from friends from both fan bases, but I am trying to be honest here.
Come on Tigers, pick it up! Dawgs, its not over yet, so keep digging!
5. The Ole Ball Coach is 4-1
Look out SEC, Spurrier is winning again. I only saw the highlights of this game, but SC State is no push over; USC played a solid, well coached game. Steve Sr. did most of the play calling, and it showed. In what could be his last year, he looked like he was having fun again.
Their schedule does them no favors, but they should still go bowling this year. If they pull a few upsets, they may even make the BCS, but this conference is more crowded than it looked at the beginning.
The way I figure it, the most bowls the SEC could play would be ten. It would be possible to make 12, but we just beat each other up too much. Mississippi State and Vandy are on the outside, looking in, but they have pretty easy schedules from here on out.
6. Ole Miss Wins...Snead Snoozes
Did someone mention that Jevon Snead was a heisman candidate? If substitutins are allowed, they may want to stick Gref McElroy in there instead. He is the number two QB in the country right now. Snead? I didn't see him listed.
But they picked up the win, right? The team did, as Snead didn't help them any, missing his forst 8 throws and being intercepted. Thankfully they had a running game, or Houston would have had a problem.
7. Arkansas Picks up a Much Needed Non-Conference Win
What can we say here but, huh? Where was this team last week? I guess it was just a mental thing, because the Razorbacks took it to the Aggies from the first whistle to the last play. A&M was up to this point undefeated, with a defense rated as one of the top ten in the nation.
Sound familiar? But the hogs believed they could win this one, and they did. Good thing they didn't last week, because these boys looked hot.
8. Mississippi State loses Another Heartbreaker
Another close loss for the Bulldogs. But 42-31? Where was the defense here? I tell you what, and you can take this to the bank, if Dan Mullen ever gets a good defense, there will be some moving and shaking going on in the SEC. We are liable to have two good Mississippi teams not named Southern Miss.
And that's the view from here. I know, I know, I stepped on a few toes, but hey, we are almost half way there. The time for excuses is over, adn the teams that want to win MUST win from here on out.
Most are entering there most challenging stretch on the schedules, and the pretenders will be seperated from the winners,a nd as fans, we all win. Not sure I can stand many more of these surprises in my fantasy leagues though.
1. Alabama 2. Florida 3. Auburn 4. LSU 5. South Carolina 6. Ole Miss
7. Georgia 8. Arkansas 9. Kentucky 10. Mississippi State 11. Tennessee
And thats this weeks rundown.
In my world, anyway.
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