January 23, 2010
Well, another season of SEC football is in the books. Kind of bittersweet, isn't it? How did your team do? Better than you expected? Worse? Should you fire that Coach? Should you play that other QB? If that guy hadn't gotten injured, would your team have been better? Are you happy with your recruiting so far? And the all important question.....drum roll please...DID YOU BEAT YOUR RIVAL? As a fellow SEC fanatic, I hope most of these answers were positive for you and the millions more who live and breathe it just like we do.
Following are the 10 things I thought to be the top stories in the SEC this year.
1. Mark Ingram wins Alabama's first ever Heisman Trophy. Alabama is in all the Big Discussions; Best Coach ever, best teams ever, most championships, etc. but the sophomore from Flint Michigan finally puts them on the board with a Heisman. If you will listen long enough, any Bama fan will tell you that they don't play for individual awards. They play for championships. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well now you've got one so you can stop that song and dance.
2. Tim Tebow graduates. After 16 years of playing QB at Florida and being the face of college football as anointed by CBS, Tebow will move on to the NFL and probably after that, Mt. Rushmore. OK, so I'm overstating it a little. One of the finest young men to ever come through the SEC, he will be missed greatly by Florida fans and my own mother.
3. Alabama wins its 13th National Championship. Alabama has done this before. Twelve times in fact. Almost once per decade since the 1920's, but this one was special to Alabama fans. It was an undefeated season with ultra tough wins over their main rivals Tennessee and Auburn. It included a rematch victory over Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators, and it's first ever Heisman. Most importantly? It was accomplished by a Coach who is not one of "Bear's Boys." There are very few ghosts to slay for Alabama, but that was possibly the biggest. That big whoosh you here coming out of Tuscaloosa is the collective exhaling of Bama fans who have been holding their breath since 1992. Either that or there was a big chili cook-off in Demop.
4. Tim Tebow's concussion. Basically, the shot heard 'round the world part deaux. Just when you thought that this kid couldn't possibly get any more exposure Taylor Wyndham roars in off the corner and absolutely lays the wood to Tebow. On the way down his head struck the knee of Florida OL Marcus Gilbert. Tebow was taken from the field on a motorized cart where he appeared to vomit into a bag as he was leaving the stadium. A true warrior, he played in the very next game against LSU. One of the physically toughest and physically talented players I’ve ever seen, he approached unstoppable.
5. Rich Brooks retirement. Every time I saw Rich Brooks on the sideline arguing with a ref, I always assumed that Rich Brooks was right. He was a class coach, a positive representative of the SEC and he did a great job of recruiting for, running, and coaching a program which has to be challenging.
6. Dan Mullen being hired as Head Coach at Mississippi State. Actually the bigger story, as far as I'm concerned, is the firing of Sylvester Croom. It took guts for the administration at MSU to hire the first black coach in the SEC but possibly more to fire him. Urban Meyer's former offensive coordinator took the reins of this program and never looked back. He went eyeball to eyeball with Ole Miss and came out the winner in the Egg Bowl.
7. LSU's downward turn. Loaded, loaded, loaded with talent at every position, Les Miles still can't get it done. This man used to have the Midas touch but now everything that used to turn to gold now turns to...well you know. From bad clock management to losing bruising runner Charles Scott to injury, it just keeps slipping away for LSU.
8. Lane Kiffin's tenure at Tennessee. Well if you hate Tennessee, this was your year. No wait a minute, they went 5-7 a couple of years ago, lost to Vandy and didn't go to a bowl game. So if you hate Tennessee, I guess it was your year AGAIN. What was AD Mike Hamilton thinking about when he hired this kid? He trampled on everything Tennessee fans hold dear and then left it like it never mattered. Ouch. So now the answer is Derek Dooley. If you say so. At least Tennessee coaches will not be recruiting a roster full of "3 and flee" football players who view their University as nothing more than a stepping stone to the NFL. Tennessee now has quiet class in charge. Not some idiot kid or a Harvest Moon.
9. Auburn hires Gene Chizik who hires Gus Malzahn. You underestimated him didn't ya? I know I did. He hired Ted Roof. So what? He hired Curtis Luper. Who? He hired Trooper Taylor. That same Trooper Taylor who coached all those great Tennessee wide receivers? Hmmm. He hired Gus Malzahn? Look out SEC, it just got real. It's on now. OK so here’s what we're gonna do...the kicker pitches to the waterboy who laterals to Kodi Burns, who used to be a QB but is now listed as wide receiver who throws to Ben Tate who claims to be the best back in the State of Alabama (didn't Ingram win the Heisman? Nevermind) who pitches to Onterrio McCalebb who runs as fast as anybody east to west but since he never turns it upfield Auburn finishes 8-5 with losses to all their major rivals, but wins over La. Tech, Furman, Ball State, Northwestern, (I'm not making this up) Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and West Virginia. There is massive excitement on the Plains about this years recruiting class. Stay off the message boards Bama fans because they are Losing it with a capital L.
10. Georgia Bottoms out. Well by Georgia's standards they did. Dawg fans will not accept this kind of season without heads rolling. Willie Martinez' was the first to roll. If they could have fired Joe Cox they would have. AJ Greene was lost for part of the year. Mark Richt made an absolutely boneheaded decision after taking a late lead against LSU and decided to kick off to Trindon Holliday. Coach Richt, Holliday is the fastest man in the NCAA-IN ANY SPORT. You know that. For the second year in a row, Georgia played with a patchwork offensive line. In September, Washaun Ealey and Caleb King will be running behind an experienced O-Line with depth. Georgia will be back with a vengeance in 2010.
So, what did I leave out? Who did I overlook? What am I just plain stupid and wrong about?
Your comments and ideas are always welcome.
January 23, 2010