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  • Select 17 – Week 3

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    9 Texas A&M
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Posts Tagged ‘BCS’

One for the Road

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 16, 2011

Another week has flown by here at BlogHawgs.  It’s been a great week, and as always we are grateful that you chose to spend some of your time with us.  This is the calm before the storm.  Bama Week kicks off on Sunday, and we’ll be ready to roll.  We’ve got some excellent stuff in the works, so please be sure to check back next week.  You’ll be glad you did.

Here are a few of our most popular stories from the week:

BlogHawgs Razorback Rewind – Week 2

Spirit, Mullen Both Confused on Saturday

NFL – Evaluating Week 1

The Idiot Box – Emmy Preview

Should Texas Change from Burnt Orange to Yellow?

Arkansas Football Team to be Featured Next Month in ESPN TV Series

BlogHawgs Week 3 College Football Preview – Twitter Style

Free Money – Week 3

For this week’s One for the Road, we return to Grantland.com for an exceptional look at college football — but not the games we watch on Saturdays.  Chuck Klosterman looks at small schools and the games they play.  These teams operate in a completely different reality than the Division I fellas.  From facilities, to players, to schemes, it’s a night-and-day difference.  For example:

Last October, Maine Maritime Academy defeated Westfield State University, 42-21. That score was probably mentioned in a few newspapers, but that doesn’t make it news; this was a Division III game between two members of the New England Football Conference, hosted by a town with a population of 1,300 and a community aesthetic matching Cujo. But there’s one detail about this contest that made it unlike almost every other college football game from 2010: Maritime won by three touchdowns while passing for exactly 0 yards.

They rushed for 435, but they passed for none (they threw the ball just five times, and the only one that didn’t hit the ground was an interception). Even weirder, the Mariners managed to win without controlling the clock — Westfield had a greater time of possession. Yet as unorthodox and lopsided as those numbers seem, they were only slightly crazier than most of Maritime’s 2010 schedule: The Mariners went 6-1 in their conference, scored more than 46 points a contest, and somehow averaged 16 passing yards a game. The week after beating Westfield, Maritime defeated Framingham State 50-26, again throwing for 0 yards. The week after that, they knocked off Massachusetts Maritime by a single point — and here, again, they won without a single passing yard. They went 5-0 in October with 63 total passing yards (not 63 per game, but 63 for October). Half their team stats seem like misprints; last season, the Mariners’ starting quarterback appeared in 11 games and completed a total of 17 passes. But this is how the Mariners want it. This is the design. This is the most reactionary offense in America.

You can check out the rest of Klosterman’s piece here.  I encourage you to do so.  This is the type of story that reminds me why I love the game.

 

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Free Money – Week 3

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 15, 2011

Two winning weeks in a row means everyone should tread lightly this weekend.  Everyone but us, of course.  Adam and I both maxed out all 8 plays, our parlay, and our teaser options for Week 3.  I don’t see a lot of games I love, but I see a lot I’d sleep with.  This is a fun NFL week because we’ll begin to see which teams are real and which are really lucky (or really bad).  It makes the NFL a bit more difficult to handicap this week, but I see several winners on the board.

Once again, here is a quick recap of the rules:

  • Maximum of 8 single plays during the week
  • One option teaser and one optional parlay also allowed
  • Minimum of $50 wager
  • Players must include at least one CFB and at least one NFL game in the picks
  • Both started the season with a $1,000 bankroll but can buy back into the game if they go bust

For the first time this season, Adam and I are butting heads.  The funning thing is, we’re butting heads on a dog game that we neither one should probably be playing.  Kentucky has looked mediocre at best this season, stumbling to a 2-0 start.  Louisville has been even worse, losing at home to Florida International.  I think I’ll just check for that score on the Internet rather than actually watch the game.

 

Free Money!

Brett ($1,093)

  • Kentucky (-5) v. Louisville, $55 to win $50
  • Oklahoma St. (-13.5) at Tulsa, $55 to win $50
  • Arkansas (-22.5) v. Troy, $77 to win $70
  • Arkansas St. (+24.5) at Virginia Tech, $55 to win $50
  • Detroit (-9) v. Kansas City, $66 to win $60
  • NY Jets (-9) v. Jacksonville, $66 to win $60
  • New Orleans (-6.5) v. Chicago, $66 to win $60
  • Washington (-3.5) v. Arizona, $66 to win $60
  • Parlay: NY Jets (-9), New Orleans (-6.5), and Washington (-3.5), $50 to win $250
  • Teaser:  Navy (+23) v. South Carolina, New Orleans (-0.5)

 

  • Total Wagers:  $616
  • Max Win: $760

 

Adam ($1,210)

  • UNDER 50 – LSU/Mississippi State, $55 to win $50
  • Louisville (+5) at Kentucky, $55 to win $50
  • Wisconsin (-17) at Northern Illinois, $55 to win $50
  • Tennessee (+9.5) at Florida, $55 to win $50
  • Navy (+17) at South Carolina, $55 to win $50
  • Ohio St. (+2.5) at Miami (FL), $55 to win $50
  • Green Bay (-10) at Carolina, $55 to win $50
  • Dallas (-3) at San Francisco, $55 to win $50
  • Parlay:  Ohio St. (+2.5) & Arkansas (-22.5), $50 to win $125
  • Teaser:  Green Bay (-4) & Navy (+23), $60 to win $50

 

  • Total Wagers: $550
  • Max Win: $575

 

Wager accordingly. As usual, BlogHawgs.com is not responsible for missed mortgage payments or repossessed vehicles.

 

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

BlogHawgs Razorback Rewind–Week 2

Posted by Adam Butler on September 12, 2011

Second verse, same as the first. Arkansas did the expected in Week 2 and treated Los Lobos like Little Penny.  Here are our thoughts on Arkansas 52-3 victory over New Mexico after a day of reflection.

What We Saw in Week 2

The “Razorbacks Remember” tributes to the victims of 9/11 were tremendous. Whether it was the national anthem, fly over, the color coordination of the fans, the red, white and blue logos on the field and Hogs’ helmets, or the over-the-air salutes, they got it right. It was all done very well.

This just in: Arkansas’ wide receivers are fast. Very fast. Joe Adams, Jarius Wright and Cobi Hamilton (and you can throw Marquel Wade into the mix, too) have more speed than a handful of NFL teams’ wide receivers. It shows when UA QB Tyler Tyler Wilson gets them the ball in space. They–and the weak opponents–are the main reasons Arkansas has scored 50 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 1928.

–Wilson had a few bumps along the way, literally and figuratively. He again showed better touch on short passes than his predecessor, New England Patriot, Ryan Mallett. This led to plenty of yards after catch for his speed burner wideouts. But, Wilson also struggled some against zones, forcing things at times in the Red Zone, and failing to get the ball out of his hands quickly on another occasion. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There is value to learning from your mistakes and correcting them mid-game. As a QB, you aren’t always going to have your “A” game, but there a plenty of times you can win as long as you settle down and utilize the weapons at your disposal.

–For the second consecutive week, Wilson risked his health and safety at the goalline. Wilson took a hit and was rewarded with a TD just before half, but it also helped him punch an early ticket to the sidelines with concussion-like symptoms. Brandon Mitchell came in and moved the team, but we would like to see Wilson pick his spots a little better. There is a reason he is the starter and, for now, Mitchell is just the capable backup that adds a different dimension to the offense.

–Wilson wasn’t the only Hog to test the frayed nerves of Arkansas’ most anxious fans. Defensive end Jake Bequette went down in the 1st quarter with a leg injury, which wass later diagnosed as a strained hamstring. He returned to the sideline and did not have the look of a guy who expected to miss significant playing time, if any. Jarius Wright also tweaked his knee after again proving to be one of Wilson’s favorite targets. None of the three injuries appear to be serious and that is good news as Arkansas eyes a showdown with Alabama in a few weeks.

–Mitchell showed the explosiveness that had impressed coaches in camp, but as of yet, had not been on full display under the big lights. He was quick and decisive in the passing game, showed off a very strong arm and was a load on the run. Don’t get me wrong–there shouldn’t be, and isn’t–a quarterback controversy. But, just as we saw last year, the backup has to be ready at a moment’s notice, particularly if you have real title aspirations.

What We Didn’t See in Week 2

–The real Greg Childs. Numerous reports from  fall camp revealed that Childs is 100% physically after rehabbing from season-ending knee surgery last year. But, Childs clearly isn’t all the way back mentally. By my count, he had 3 passes targeted to him, and he looked like he wanted no part of them, coming out of his cuts timidly, and with his eyes on the approaching defenders. The old Childs would have snagged the passes, looked those guys up, and punished them.

While Arkansas, as a team, can probably overcome sub par numbers from Childs, I yearn to see him get back to his old form because Childs is a prototypical NFL wide receiver, and I would hate to see a career wasted because of the fateful tearing of his patella tendon. Look for Arkansas to get him the ball early next week in the hopes of getting his mind right heading into the showdown in Alabama.

What You May Not Have Seen in Week 2

–True freshman cornerback Tevin Mitchel (no typo, there) played early and often, and looks to have the athleticism and confidence to contribute meaningful SEC minutes this season.

–Senior defensive end Tenarius “Tank” Wright lived up to his nickname, as he punished UNM’s kicker on a fake field goal he stonewalled, and he generally had a nasty disposition all night. That’s a good thing. There will be no free lunch in the SEC and if Arkansas wants to continue to build as a program, it needs to play  like the biggest, baddest bully on the block–without picking up dumb personal fouls.

–We have an increasingly ridiculous tailgating situation at War Memorial Stadium. Yes, the tailgating is a lot of fun and the game atmosphere typically benefits. But, something has to be done about the guys who get too far into their cups. I saw one guy who had more “almost fights” than UNM had points. To say he was acting like a fool isn’t fair to fools. And, I am pretty sure “Rack ’em Willie”(NSFW) hung out near our vehicles for the entire second half There is alwayss going to be some riff raff, but I just don’t want to see any Bryan Stowe incidents at Hog games.

What We Hope to See in Week 3

–The running game needs to continue to improve. But for a fumble, Ronnie Wingo Jr. did just that. He had 73 yards on 12 carries and was, for the most part, quick, and decisive. Weakside offensive tackle Jason Peacock seemed to improve from Week 1 to Week 2 and will be worth watching next week to see if he grabs playing time ahead of Week 1 freshman Mitch Smothers.

–I want the old Greg Childs back. He is a beast, when he’s locked in. He just needs to remember that.

–Arkansas needs to take care of business, early. Troy is a step above the competition to date, and the Hogs don’t need to give them any reason to believe they can leave Fayetteville with a huge upset. And, the Razorbacks need to be able to get their starters some action but keep them healthy for the SEC opener on September 24th.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Select 17 – Week 3

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 12, 2011

Not a lot of movement in this week’s poll.  The chalk walked this past weekend, although a few had to pull out minor miracles to get it done.  Ohio State looks very fragile, Mississippi State showed it is not quite ready for prime time, and Arkansas flexed against a weak opponent for the 2nd straight week.  Week Three presents a few marquee games, notably Florida State v. Oklahoma.  The conference schedules are about to get into full swing over the next 2 weeks, and that means this is the last week we’ll see a Select 17 with this little movement.

Rank Team Votes LW
1 Oklahoma (6) 147 1
2 Alabama (2) 144 2
3 LSU (1) 133 3
4 Stanford 115 4
5 Wisconsin 107 6
6 Boise St 106 5
7 Florida St. 97 7
8 Arkansas 91 8
9 Texas A&M 75 9
10 Nebraska 73 10
11 Oklahoma St. 60 11
12 Virginia Tech 59 12
13 South Carolina 53 14
14 Oregon 41 13
15 Michigan St. 28 16
16 Florida 22 NR
17 Ohio St. 10 17

Others Receiving Votes:  West Virginia 6, Baylor 5, Arizona St. 2, South Florida 2, Auburn 1

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Gameday

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 10, 2011

Good Morning and a Hearty Wooooooooooo, Pig Sooie

The Hogs take on New Mexico this evening at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.  Kickoff is set for 6:05pm and will be televised on ESPNU.  For details today’s 9/11 Tribute at War Memorial – including the Red, White, and Blue Out seating chart, you can check here.

As for the game itself, no one expects this one to be close at all.  New Mexico is completely out-manned on both sides of the ball, both on the field and in the coaching booths.  The Lobos offensive line leaks like a sieve, the defense does not have the depth needed to challenge a national power, and the special teams do not appear to be very special.  Meanwhile Arkansas looked as dominant as I can recall in a season opener last week, pushing around an inferior opponent like you expect an SEC title contender to do.  Look for the Hogs to run a similar gameplan this week, strengthening their base offense and defense while adding a few new wrinkles.  However do not expect a fully expanded playbook.  There’s no reason to give Alabama and Nick Saban anything to study that they might see in 2 weeks.

BlogHawgs Prediction:  Arkansas 55, New Mexico 10

What Others Are Saying

ESPN.com SEC Bloggers

Edward Aschoff:Tyler Wilson was good, but not great in his starting debut last week. The Razorbacks didn’t need him to be great, but he should improve this week and spread the ball around even more. … Arkansas 44, New Mexico 7

Chris Low: The Hogs put a couple of special teams touchdowns on the board last week in the opener thanks to Joe Adams’ punt return prowess. Don’t be surprised if the defense gets into the act this Saturday in a second straight rout for the Hogs. … Arkansas 48, New Mexico 10

Bruce Feldman, CBSSPorts.com

Arkansas 49, New Mexico 6: Tyler Wilson and his stud WRs (Jarius Wright and Joe Adams and crew) are too good for the Lobos, and the Hogs’ D will feast on a New Mexico offense that surrendered 10 sacks in last week’s loss to CSU.

College Football News

What Will Happen: Target practice. Arkansas should be able to do whatever it wants offensively, and while New Mexico will provide more of a defensive speed bump than Missouri State, this could be over after about ten minutes.

CFN Prediction: Arkansas 45 … New Mexico 6

Feel free to post your predictions, thoughts, and reactions to all of college football today.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Farmers Flight

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 6, 2011

Hey SEC, can we play?

There goes the neighborhood…

It looks like the Aggies to the SEC saga is entering its final week.  Exactly four weeks ago we told you that Texas A&M would head to the SEC, abandoning a failing Big XII and its long standing traditions with Texas.  (Sub in “Arkansas” for Texas A&M and “SWC” for Big XII, and this story could have been written more than 20 years ago.)  According to Andy Staples at Sports Illustrated, one of college football’s messiest divorces of all time could be finalized in the next 24 hours.

Reports today tell us that the SEC presidents are scheduled to meet tonight to vote on adding a new member.  Nine of the 12 SEC university presidents must vote to approve a new member, and it is widely believed that will happen.  Of course, Texas A&M appears to be that new member.

Staples takes time to explore the looming changes this move will almost certainly set in motion.  Are 16-team conferences on the horizon?

Let’s hop in the time machine and travel back to July 2010. In an interview with SI.com, the Pac-12’s Scott explained that he believed superconferences would eventually form. “Something like that is bound to happen at some stage,” Scott said 14 months ago. Why? Because when he floated the idea in 2010, Scott found that television executives loved it. “What you couldn’t predict is what fan reaction would be, what media reaction would be and how the TV executives who would ultimately have to stroke some big checks would react,” Scott said. “That was the part that was very pleasing. I got contacted by every major TV network in the country.”

Lots of eyeballs on Atlanta today, where the meeting of the SEC presidents has been scheduled.  We’ll let you know what we hear.

UPDATE I (3:51pm) – One source in Aggieland tells us that a press conference has already been scheduled for tomorrow in College Station, presumably to announce that Texas A&M will join the SEC as the league’s 13th member.

UPDATE II (9:35pm) – Word is filtering out tonight that the Aggies have received the requisite votes needed to become the SEC’s 13th member.  David Sandhop over at Aggie Websider has some details.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

BlogHawgs Heisman Five + 1 (09/06/11)

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 6, 2011

Special to BlogHawgs.com from Kris Boyd

My how the times have changed and, wow, how the + 1 was an unknowing prognosticator of the starting QB’s for the Sugar Bowl with Ryan Mallett and Terelle Pryor by ranking them #’s 1 and 2 in the original 5 + 1. That being said, it appears as if Baylor and OU will be pouring some sugar on themselves in January.

Kellen Moore is present and accounted for and we all know my bias against Boise State. I also see you Malcolm Agnew and Vick Ballard. Keep it up. Without further ado, the Blog Hawgs 5 + 1 rankings after week 1. As always, I’m not afraid to move players drastically up and down this list week in and week out. I’m not married to my rankings like 99% of the “real” voters are.

1. Robert Griffin, III, QB, Baylor RG III cemented himself as a passer and winner and not just a “dual threat QB” by making a good TCU defense look silly. We know Griffin will put up gaudy stats, but he also has a few more games against top 25 teams to back up those numbers and keep him atop this list.

2. Landry Jones, QB, OU Jones would have been #1 on this list had Robert Griffin not destroyed TCU. Jones will throw for 4,000 yards and 40 TD’s and will probably go undefeated. That is a recipe for holding up a posing trophy at the end of the year.

3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State What was not to like about Kellen’s performance against Georgia in another huge game at the beginning of the season? He did have a pick that he probably shouldn’t have tried to fit in, but he was feeling it at that time. Moore went on the road (neutral field, please) and picked apart a pretty good SEC defense.

4. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State Weeden is going to be like Jones–except for the whole undefeated thing.

5. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon A stout LSU defense stymied James most of the night and he was dropped down because of that. LaMichael will have to step up in big games or he will fall off this list forever. We’re cutting him some slack because of his history.

+1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford Luck is going to have to really stand out if he wants to move up playing in a very weak PAC-10. Especially since a very junior high-esque LSU offense was able to move the ball easily on Oregon.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Select 17 – Week 2

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 6, 2011

Like everyone else in America today, we’re running a bit behind.  The holiday weekend was fantastic, but the pile of work waiting at the office was not ideal.  Speaking of not ideal…how about those Georgia Bulldogs?  And the weather, too.  You think there are any climate change believers now in the upper midwest?

Boise State and LSU made it look easy on Saturday night, while most of the other Top 10 teams did the same.  Every team that was expected to roll did so, although South Carolina stumbled out of the gates.  Stephen Garcia came off the bench and directed a dangerous Gamecock offense in the second half to great success.  Perhaps the biggest surprise is that there were no surprises on Saturday.  I guess Baylor “shocked” everyone on Friday night, but they were only a six-point underdog at home to a team breaking in a new quarterback.

It’s a big week coming up with two critical SEC matchups.  South Carolina travels to Athens for their annual early season matchup with Georgia, and Mississippi State takes on Auburn in a “must win” game for both teams.  I’m not even kidding.  The loser of that game cannot win the SEC West.

The Select 17…

Rank Team Votes LW
1 Oklahoma (6) 148 1
2 Alabama (2) 141 2
3 LSU (1) 135 5
4 Stanford 114 4
5 Boise St. 107 8
6 Wisconsin 101 6
7 Florida St. 99 7
8 Arkansas 86 9
t9 Nebraska 77 10
t9 Texas A&M 77 11
11 Oklahoma St. 59 13
12 Virginia Tech 58 12
13 Oregon 47 3
14 South Carolina 44 14
15 Mississippi St 39 17
16 Michigan St. 16 16
17 Ohio St. 14 NR

Others Receiving Votes:  Florida (8), West Virginia (3), Baylor (1), BYU (1), Penn St. (1), Missouri (1)

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

One for the Road

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 2, 2011

It’s been another big week here at BlogHawgs.com, and we thank you for making us part of your routine.  Football season is upon us, and judging by the work productivity I’ve noticed today everyone has mentally checked out for the holiday weekend.  Arkansas kicks off against Missouri State tomorrow night at 6:05 in Fayetteville at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.  If you’re not heading to The Hill you can watch the game via PPV for $34.95.  Follow us on Twitter for updates from around college football tomorrow and of course during the Hogs game tomorrow night.

Here are a few of our more popular stories from this week.

The Football Binge Survival Guide

ESPN’s Rick Reilly Picks Arkansas to Win National Title

Evaluating the SEC East

Evaluating the SEC West

Red Swarm – 2011 Arkansas Defensive Preview

Proving Its Points – 2011 Arkansas Offensive Preview

Free Money

2011 SEC Predictions

——-

This week’s One for the Road comes in video form.  With excitement for a new football season at the boiling point, we wanted to take a stroll through the 2010 season one last time.  These are some YouTube videos cataloging some of the Arkansas Razorbacks highlights from a season that ended in New Orleans.  Here’s hoping they head back to The Big Easy this winter.

Have a great weekend and GO HOGS!

HARD KNOCK LIFE

TYLER WILSON AT AUBURN

TOP 10 PLAYS OF 2010 RAZORBACK FOOTBALL SEASON

Posted in Commentary, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

2011 SEC Predictions

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 2, 2011

It’s finally here.

College football kicked off last night, proving once again that God does love us and wants us to be happy.  Mississippi State and Wisconsin rolled, Kentucky survived, and Syracuse pulled off a dramatic comeback…that no one could watch on television.  It looks like the major sports broadcasting networks are already in midseason form.

The time has come for the brain trust at BlogHawgs.com to impart some knowledge to you the reader.  We have sifted through the reports, analyzed the data, and come to our predictions.  We have been reasonably successful with these in the past, and I’m pretty confident these predictions will stand the test of time.

EAST

  1. Georgia – Mark Richt will turn it around this year, and it could be a remarkable turnaround at that.  While I see a path to an unbeaten season, I’m not about to go down that road.  All the Bulldogs road games are ones they can win, but the lack of depth at RB and development of new receivers creates too much doubt for me to make the big, bold prediction.  They’ll probably end up dropping one of those roadies and stumble at home against Mississippi State.  Predicted Finish:  9-3, 6-2
  2. South Carolina – When it comes down to it, I just cannot trust this team enough to pick them to win the division.  On paper they have the most talent and experience, which typically makes a team an obvious choice.  But the defense is just young enough in the front seven and the schedule includes tons of tough road games, meaning a traditionally mentally weak team needs to overcome its inner demons if they want to win the division.  I just don’t see it with this group.  Predicted Finish:  9-3, 5-3
  3. Florida – The Gators look like this year’s wild card team in the East.  It’s very difficult to predict how they’ll respond to wholesale coaching changes after six seasons with Urban Meyer.  The offense will look quite different, while the defense replaces most of its starters.  The talent is there and the coaches are excellent.  Overall, the schedule presents a number of potholes that make me think this team in transition needs one year before they compete for the title.  Predicted Finish: 7-5, 4-4
  4. Tennessee – Derek Dooley pulled off a minor miracle getting UT to a bowl game last year.  It’ll take that same type of effort to do it again in 2011.  The Vols have three brutal conference road games and still has to host three Top 25 teams at home on top of that.  With a quarterback that has the keys to the offense for the first time and inexperienced playmakers on the edge, it’s a year too early to expect the Volunteers have a real shot to win the division.  Predicted Finish: 7-5, 3-5
  5. Vanderbilt – I’ve made my affection for James Franklin known.  I think he’ll make Vanderbilt a competitive football program by implementing a dynamic offense and recruiting harder than anyone else in the free world.  This team will show some spark – and win one game they shouldn’t – but ultimately the talent and lack of depth limit the Commodores.  Predicted Finish: 5-7, 2-6
  6. Kentucky – To be fair, I had Kentucky tied with Vanderbilt for the league bottom before they looked like the Magnolia Junior High JV squad last night.  The Wildcats lost their playmakers to the NFL and have to completely retool their offense.  The experienced offensive line will help those guys grow, but this looks like a team that will struggle.  The defense will do their best to keep them in games, but ultimately this is a rebuilding year for Kentucky.  Predicted Finish: 5-7, 1-7

WEST

  1. Alabama – This is a very tough pick, but the Crimson Tide defense is just that good.  The offense will produce enough and hit its rhythm in late October.  The schedule is a big problem, but the tough road games are against teams that have several questions themselves.  They’ll probably drop one of those – and that’s it.  The defense is that good.  Predicted Finish: 11-1, 7-1
  2. Arkansas – As much as we’d like to pick Arkansas to win the division, there are just enough questions about the offense and the schedule to keep us from doing that.  Tyler Wilson should be all-SEC caliber QB, and I expect Ronnie Wingo, Jr. to put up a 1,000 yard season.  Unfortunately for Arkansas, this team has to go to Tuscaloosa early in the season.  While they certainly could win that game, it’s not a game we’re willing to say they will win.  We are willing to say, however, that is the only game they’ll lose.  Predicted Finish:  11-1, 7-1
  3. Mississippi State – The Bulldogs are about to make The Leap.  I think MSU very well may challenge both Alabama and Arkansas for the SEC West title.  In fact, I tend to think they’ll actually beat Alabama in Starkville.  They have talent, experience, and a schedule designed for success not seen at Mississippi State since the last ‘90s.  They have two very difficult road games at Georgia and Arkansas, but everything else looks like a game where MSU will be favored or less than a TD underdog.  Mississippi State is for real.  Someone needs to hire Dan Mullen away from there before he builds a legit contender year in and year out.  Although, it may already be too late.  Predicted Finish:  10-2, 6-2
  4. LSU – No one questions the talent in Baton Rouge.  Everyone questions the coaching and leadership.  Off field distractions, multiple suspensions, and a difficult schedule make LSU the team most likely to be a bust in 2011.  From the outside looking in, it appears Les Miles has a team in chaos.  You simply cannot win a championship like that.  Predicted Finish:  7-5, 5-3
  5. Auburn – The War Eagle Tigers need to rebuild this year.  Both sides of the ball lack key personnel from last year’s BCS championship team.  Gus Malzhan’s offense will score points; they did that before Cam Newton ever saw the field.  Auburn will not be able to produce at the pace from 2010, though.  The schedule is brutal, and they also have to worry about the championship hangover effect.  I don’t see a very fun year on the Plains.  Predicted Finish: 5-7, 2-6
  6. Mississippi – The Rebels have a long, long way to go.  The talent level does not compare to their division rivals, and the coaching staff … well … Arkansas fans know all about the coaching staff.  The Mississippi defense will find it difficult to improve on their ghastly 2010 season, and the offense has only one true playmaker (Brandon Bolden) on which it can rely.  Add to it an SEC schedule filled with difficult road games, and it’s hard to find much reason for optimism in Oxford.  Predicted Finish:  2-10, 0-8

2011 SEC BOWL GAME PREDICTIONS

BCS National Championship Game – Alabama

It’s rare to pick a team to play for it all when that team has an inexperienced pair of QBs like Bama.  It’s an easier decision, though, when the defense is as good as Nick Saban’s group this year.

Sugar Bowl – Arkansas

The Hogs return to New Orleans, upset that they won’t be playing there a week later.  They’ll also be there to prove that they are good enough to be in that game the following week.

Capital One Bowl – Georgia

The Bulldogs may sneak into the BCS, but a loss in the SEC Championship Game will force them to the best of the second-tier games.  It will be a nice reward for Mark Richt and the athletics administration that stood by their man.

Cotton Bowl – Mississippi State

The streets of Dallas will be filled with overalls and cowbells in early January.  Mississippi State will have earned some national respect and a trip to one of the best non-BCS bowl games out there.

Chick-fil-A Bowl – LSU

If South Carolina hadn’t gone to this game last year, they’d probably get the nod.  But Atlanta will welcome a loyal fanbase that will buy lots and lots of tickets.

Outback Bowl – South Carolina

This will be a disappointing ending to a season that started with such high hopes.  Perhaps it will also mark the last game for Steve Spurrier at Carolina.

Gator Bowl – Florida

Seems appropriate, no?  The Gators should enjoy this trip, because it’s the last one they’ll make to the Gator Bowl for quite a while.  This is a team headed in the right direction.

Music City Bowl – Tennessee

Back-to-back trips to Nashville for Tennessee fans may not be a great reward, but simply playing in a bowl game is a huge accomplishment.  Dooley is laying the foundation for a program that will go bowling out of state next season.

Liberty Bowl & BBVA Compass Bowl – Not enough SEC teams will qualify for bowls this year.  Both Vanderbilt and Auburn could make it happen, but right now we just can’t endorse those picks.

Posted in SEC Preview, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Evaluating the SEC East

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 30, 2011

This is the first of our three-part SEC preview.  We’ll look at the SEC West tomorrow then release our overall projections and predictions on Friday. 

The SEC East has got to be wondering what happened.  For years the East dominated the league with Floirda, Georgia and Tennessee annually three of the four best teams in the SEC.  Alabama, LSU, and Arkansas would cycle in and out of elite status, but none of those teams even could hold a candle to the dominance of the SEC East.

The script has flipped, though, and the SEC West is now the premiere division in all of college football.  While I do believe 2010 was a bit of an aberration, the overall talent top to bottom in the East does not match that of the West.  South Carolina and Georgia both look like they are a step ahead of where they were last year, but neither is a lock to win 10 games this year.  Florida could break out because of its talent, but tons of questions remain with a new regime in Gainesville.  Tennessee has the pieces in place offensively but needs marked improvement on defense if they hope to compete for a division title.  Kentucky has settled in as a very steady 7-win team, but they don’t have the horses to compete this season.  Vanderbilt contiues its fight for relevance, and a .500 team this year seems like a longshot.

Overall, it’s easy to see the SEC West has the better talent as a whole.  The SEC East, though, is still the second-best division in college football.  Half of these teams would contend for conference titles in all the other BCS conferences, and the other half would be assured bowl seasons – even Vanderbilt.  Even in weak years, the SEC continues to produce a better quality of football than any other conference.  Whlie the SEC East may be down compared to their Western brethren, the East is loaded with talented players and coaches.

Florida

The Gators said goodbye to Urban Meyer last year while also saying goodbye to seven defensive starters.  In comes Will Muschamp, the former Texas Longhorns coach-in-waiting and SEC veteran, to revamp a Gators program that is just three seasons removed from a national championship.  Muschamp immediately recognized that time is of the essence in Gainesville.  He hired Charlie Weiss and Dan Quinn away from the NFL to coordinate the offense and defense, respectively.

On the field, John Brantley returns at quarterback after a dreadful 2010 as a starter.  Brantley was the number one high school quarterback when he signed with Florida, and I expect he’ll blossom under the tutelage of Weiss.  A solid running game will certainly take some pressure off Brantley, something that Urban Meyer never developed.

Jeff Demps returns for one more year, and he should get more snaps than ever as a traditional running back.  Senior Chris Rainey also returns, and he has blazing top end speed.  The combo of Demps and Rainey could provide the Gators with stability they haven’t seen in years.  The big concern offensively for Gator fans should be the offensive line.  Four starters must be replaced, and in the SEC that is a huge concern. 

Defensively the Gators must rebuild as only four starters return.  The 2010 Gators survived on a solid defense while their offense struggled, but they may not have that luxury this year.  Jelani Jenkins and Jon Bostic bring back the most experience at the linebacker positions.  The defensive line needs a complete overhaul, and the secondary will miss the experience and talent of Janoris Jenkins who was dismissed from the team. 

The schedule is typical Florida: never leaving the state for a non-conference game.  In the SEC, the Gators are fortunate to get both major rivals – Tennessee and Alabama – at home.  September sets up well for Florida with only one road game at Kentucky.  That is a winnable game for Florida, which would allow the Gators to compete for the SEC East title.  On the flip side, Florida has road games at LSU, Auburn, and South Carolina including back-to-back roadies before their Open week. 

Florida may not be much better in 2011 than 2010, but they have the building blocks in place to return to power.  Like most young teams, Florida needs a fast start in order to build some confidence.  You can never count Florida out because of its talent, but I expect they are a year away from competing for a division title.  The Gators close with four of five games in state, setting the stage for the Gators to surge into bowl season and heading back to the top in 2012.

 

Georgia

Familiarity breeds contempt.  That is the only explanation for the sudden and angry turn by many Georgia fans against Mark Richt.  After back-to-back subpar seasons, Richt is coaching for his job this year.  The defense will end up telling the tale of the Georgia Bulldogs this season as they begin Year Two of the transition to a 3-4 scheme.  Offensively Georgia has plenty of talent and an emerging start at quarterback.

Aaron Murray was a first team Freshman All-American last year.  He has enough mobility in the pocket to allow plays to develop, which will be even more important in 2011 with the absence of A.J. Green.  The Dawgs return three linemen with experience but have yet again lost Trinton Sturdivant to an ACL injury.  (Sturdivant has become a punch line, but it’s actually a sad story.  As a freshman Sturdivant looked like the second coming of Orlando Pace and Joe Thomas.)  The runningback position remains a concern for Georgia.  Washaun Ealy has left the program, and budding star Caleb King is lost for the year due to injury.  Finding an answer at RB will solve many of the offensive concerns.

Defensively the Bulldogs need to take a big step this year.  Only 3 linebackers have any significant experience and the line has turned over after a solid 2010 campaign.  Bacarri Rambo returns (Isn’t he 27 years-old?) and compares favorably to some of the great safeties in the SEC.  The rest of the secondary needs to raise its game to help shoulder the burden while younger, inexperienced players in the front seven adjust.

The Bulldogs schedule eases after a brutal opening combo of Boise St. and South Carolina.  Fortunately for the Dawgs both of those games are in Georgia.  Three consecutive games away from home – Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Florida (at Jacksonville) – all look like potential wins for Georgia, but one has to worry about the Bulldogs growing road weary in the back half of the season.

Mark Richt is still a very good coach, and Georgia still has a ton of talent on its roster.  Fourteen wins in 2 seasons won’t get it done, though, and Richt knows it.  I expect Georgia to compete for the SEC East title this year.  In fact, I’m tempted to pick the Dawgs to win both their September games against Top 15 teams.  The key to Georgia’s success will be whether or not the defense can make the leap with players that have been in the system but not logged much game time.  Georgia always has solid special teams units, and that should save them in at least one close game this year.

 

Kentucky

Most folks are surprised to learn that Kentucky has been to five consecutive bowl games.  That’s a testament to the steady program built by former coach Rich Brooks and his successor Joker Phillips.  It’s also a statement about the level of talent those two were able to recruit to the basketball-loving campus.  Unfortunately for Wildcat fans this year, a lot of that talent is in the NFL while Phillips and his coaching staff try to coach up a lot of inexperienced players.  New full-time starting quarterback Morgan Newton does not have the advantage of Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb to help bail him out of tough spots.  One positive for Newton is his excellent interception numbers, only throwing four passes to the wrong colored jersey in 119 attempts.  Newton and new starting RB Raymond Sanders have the advantage of playing behind four returning starters on the offensive line.

Defensively Kentucky has always held their own without ever emerging as a team that strikes fear in the hearts of their opponents.  No one is going to confuse the Wildcats with the Crimson Tide, but UK does return 10 starters on defense.  In the SEC it’s hard to overvalue the importance of experience.  It is very important that the defense keeps Kentucky in games while the offense finds its rhythm.

Kentucky should be 3-0 heading into its Lexington showdown with Florida.  That looks like the swing game for the Wildcats season.  Win that one, and it’s not heard to see 7 or 8 wins.  Lose it, and a sub-.500 record and sitting home during bowl season looks more likely.  Kentucky doesn’t leave the Bluegrass State until October, and the non-conference schedule provides 3 absolute wins and one likely win against a rebuilding Louisville.  Unfortunately for Kentucky they face SEC road games at South Carolina, LSU, Georgia, and an improving Vanderbilt team.  Winning just one of those games is no easy task.

I believe Joker Phillips will continue to build Kentucky into a team that competes for SEC East titles.  This year is not that year, though.  A winning record and a sixth consecutive bowl game appear to be solid, attainable goals for a team adjusting to new talent on the offense.  The Wildcat defense holds the keys to a bowl game or breaking their impressive streak.

 

South Carolina

Rarely has the national public expected as much from a South Carolina football team as they do right now.  Coming off their first ever SEC East division title, the Gamecocks look to improve upon their status as “sacrificial lamb” for the eventual SEC West champion.  This year South Carolina has a legitimate chance to run through their division and will contend for a BCS bowl game – perhaps even a national title.

Stephen Garcia is back (He MUST be a Ph. D by now) to lead Steve Spurrier’s offense.  Garcia probably qualifies as the most frustrating quarterback in recent memory.  He shows unbelievable poise and talent at times, and at others he looks like a freshman.  His off field problems are legendary, and it was not certain he would even return this year.  SHead Coach Steve Spurrier says the boy has pulled his life together and become a man.  If that is the case, the offense could be scary.

Marcus Lattimore burst onto the scene as a freshman with a dynamic season carrying the football.  Alshon Jeffery has emerged as one of the premiere receivers in the conference.  An experienced offensive line completes what appears to be the first Spurrier-esque offense since he arrived in Columbia.

If Carolina is going to return to Atlanta, they’ll need that offense to produce while the defense adjusts to a ton of new personnel.  Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is one of the best in the business, and he’ll need to prove it this by overhauling the front seven.  Six starters return, but the front line needs the most help.  Devin Taylor is a playmaker, and Travian Robertson has potential to be an all-league player.   Heralded freshman Jadevon Clowney (the nation’s #1 high school recruit last year) will be counted on to make an impact, as will linebacker Shaq Wilson who missed all of 2010 due to injury.  The secondary has loads of talent, led by Stephon Gilmore at cornerback.  This group needs to play brilliantly while the new starters up front get accustomed to SEC football.  No one questions the talent, especially on the defensive line.  The question is whether or not (or how quickly) they pick up Johnson’s schemes.

Carolina should get off to a fast start with five of their first six games at home – the lone roadie in that span is between the hedges at Georgia.  The Gamecocks loaded up on some cupcakes in the early non-conference slate with Clemson looming at the end of the year.  While they leave the state for the bulk of October, South Carolina closes with three straight games at home.

The drawback to this schedule is the difficulty level of their road conference games.  They travel to Athens, Starkville, Knoxville, and Fayetteville this season, and each of those teams has the ability to knock South Carolina off its quest for back-to-back division titles.  They play three of those games on the road, culminating with a trip to Reynolds Razorback Stadium in November.

On paper South Carolina looks like the best team in the SEC East.  They combine an overall friendly schedule with a ton of offensive firepower and a talented (but inexperienced) defense.  Assuming the questions are answered on defense, the overriding concern for me is mental toughness.  Carolina has not shown much of that historically.  Can they handle the expectations?  They never have in the past, so what makes us think they will now?

 

Tennessee

I have a lot of respect for Derek Dooley.  He inherited a program in chaos and turned 2010 into a bowl season that not many expected.  Now Dooley has to pay the piper.  Expectations have been raised, and that means anything less than a bowl game will be viewed as a disappointment.  While I expect the Vols to be a better football team, managing more than six or seven wins could be a challenge. 

Quarterback Tyler Bray has talent (and arrogance) befitting an SEC starter.  What he does not have is a group of receivers with any meaningful experience.  Tennessee’s top 3 receivers from 2010 are gone.  Tremendous talent is on campus, though, and that has fans excited on Rocky Top.  Justin Hunter reeled in seven touchdown passes as a freshman, and classmate Da’Rick Rogers looks the part of an all-SEC receiver. 

The passing game will need to rely on a running game as it gets adjusted, and that could prove to be a problem.  Tauren Poole returns after a 1,000-yard season but the offense as a whole was mediocre running the ball.  Improved line play and the emergence of another threat out of the backfield – perhaps freshman Marlin Lane – are critical to the development of the UT offense.  All starters return on the offensive line after 3 true freshmen saw extended playing time in 2010.  That continuity and experience alone mean Tennessee could improve its win total this year.

Unlike years past, though, the Tennessee defense needs a lot of improvement.  Only 5 starters return from a team that allowed an eye-popping 5.7 yards per play last year.  Four of the Vols returning starters come in the defensive backfield which will need to play air-tight coverage.  An entirely new linebacking corp and only one starter returning up front mean Volunteer fans should expect some growing pains early.

Tennessee has a manageable schedule if their goal is to make another bowl run.  It is not, however, conducive to a legit shot at the SEC East this year.  While Tennessee only has 2 road games before Halloween, those two are at Florida and at Alabama.  In addition to that the Volunteers play the SEC’s other top teams, hosting LSU and traveling to Arkansas.  The non-conference slate includes three rent-a-wins and one tricky game against Cincinnati.  The Bearcats travel to Knoxville, though, which should help Tennessee pick up the win.  Two of their final three games are on the road, which is not the way I’d prefer to end the season.

I definitely think we could all look up in October and say, “Tennessee is leading the SEC East?”.  I have no confidence we’ll do that in November.  The Vols needs to sweep their non-conference slate and defend their home field in conference games against Georgia, South Carolina, LSU, and Vanderbilt.  Splitting those games puts Tennessee on the road to another bowl game.  Sweeping those makes the Volunteers the story of the year in the SEC.

 

Vanderbilt

Listen to me, folks: There is something happening in Nashville.  New head coach James Franklin is a dynamo that will turn Vanderbilt into an annually competitive football team.  He is a recruiting powerhouse, and offensive guru, and an exceedingly likeable personality. 

Unfortunately for Vandy fans, that won’t happen in 2011.

While 19 starters return for the Commodores, it doesn’t help if the returners do not have much talent.  Vandy has been absolutely horrible offensively.  You’d think the forward pass was illegal in the city of Nashville.  Incumbent starting quarterback Larry Smith averaged only 3.9 yards per attempt.  Smith can run the football, but Franklin needs a passer to make his system work.  Jordan Rodgers will get some looks, but according to reports he has not impressed in camp.  With an experienced offensive line, I do expect growth from the QB position (whomever the starter may be) thanks in large part to capable running backs like Warren Norman and Zac Stacy.

Eight starters return on a defense that was simply worn down by the end of 2010.  Vandy has always had talent on that side of the ball, but even the best defenses in football run out of juice when they’re on the field for 2/3 of every game.  Linebacker Chris Marve could start for any team in the league.

Vanderbilt could shoot out to a 3-0 start, including a home upset of Mississippi.  Then reality sets in for Vandy.  They have road trips to South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Wake Forest.  The Dores also get home games against Georgia, Arkansas, and Kentucky in addition to the early home contest against Mississippi.  Sweeping their non-conference games (not an easy task for Vandy this year) and sneaking out 2 more wins to get to .500 would be a good goal.  If they manage a 6-6 record this year, Vandy could very likely get back to a bowl game and set the foundation for a very bright future.


Posted in SEC Preview, Sports | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

The Football Binge Survival Guide

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 29, 2011

Don't Be This Guy

It’s finally here!  The season kicks off on Thursday, the Hogs play on Saturday, and we have college football all the way to Monday night.  If you have not begun to make preparations, you are far behind the curve.  Much like the games themselves, preparation is the key to success for a college football connoisseur.  Seasoned veterans know this.  For newlyweds just now facing the challenge of football season as a married man or long married men looking to make the leap, it’s a new season and your time to shine.

This is our attempt to help you navigate the world of the football binge.  It is riddled with landmines and pitfalls, but you can do it.  We have done it.  By heeding our advise – based on years of trial and error – you, too, can enjoy the college football season while simultaneously enjoying a happy home life.

I have learned that planning your weekends in advance can lead you to the biggest success.  You need to make sure one weekend of football does not come at the cost of a week of iciness at home with the wife.  In most cases, any man worth his stones can arrange at least one all day binge per month while still not missing any important games on non-binge weekends.  By successfully planning your fall weekends you can definitely enjoy a fulfilling season with tons of football and a happy home life.

There are three principles you must follow if you have any hope of pulling off a successful football season and home life simultaneously:

  • PLAN YOUR SEASON
  • PRESENT YOUR PLAN
  • LIMIT YOUR FAYETTEVILLE GAMES

Following these rules will not guarantee success, but it will certainly increase your odds.  If you are a thoughtless pig all the time, stepping your game up during football season won’t get you too far.  If you have a spouse that acts like your mother, then you have bigger problems – AND this won’t work for you.  However, if you have a good, healthy relationship with your wife this plan will get you to the college football life you want.

PLAN YOUR SEASON

It is easy to identify one big weekend per month that has the best games.  Once we get into conference season, it’s easy to argue that EVERY weekend is big.  I understand that and once lived by that mantra.  As a married man and father, though, it has become much more important to identify THE weekends of September, October, November, and December that require my full attention.  The importance of picking your spots guarantees success both on and off the field during the fall.

Example Schedule for a Razorback Fan

  • September 24 – Hogs at Alabama
  • October 22 – Hogs at Mississippi
  • November 12 – Tennessee at Hogs
  • December 3 – Championship Weekend

September 24 – Hogs at Alabama:  This is a perfect setup.  The game is out of town, so you have the ability to easily catch the Hogs AND all the remaining games that matter that weekend.  There are several big games that weekend (LSU at West Virginia, Oklahoma St. at Texas A&M, and Missouri at Oklahoma to name a few) but the Hogs/Tide will probably feature the two highest ranked teams.  This means a 2:30 CBS kickoff is all but guaranteed, meaning you can easily bookend that with marquee games.  There are also 2 Pac-12 conference games in Arizona that night (Oregon at UA and USC at ASU), meaning a quad-header is on the table.

There is a huge temptation to binge on the first weekend.  While it has become tradition for the BlogHawgs, I definitely discourage the practice by rookies or second-year players.  This is a veteran move only to be attempted by skilled practitioners.

October 22 – Hogs at Ole Miss:  This is a tough call.  The Hogs/Aggies weekend would typically be the choice here, but that presents the always tricky back-to-back binge weekend.  I strongly advise against that.  (More on the Aggies/Hogs later.)  The month of October also includes the Hogs OPEN weekend (not to be confused with a BYE weekend).  I can see your wheels turning.  DO NOT WASTE A BINGE WEEKEND HERE!  That leaves you with three other options, one of which includes a home game.  Always try to avoid a binger on home game weekends in the event you get to go to that game.  So that leaves us with Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.  Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to avoid binging on weekends where your favorite team plays a patsy.

That leaves us with Arkansas at Mississippi.  Clearly, this game sparks passion within the fan base.  That’s a great element to the shared experience of binging on football.  Looking at the rest of the schedule, you’ll see plenty of potentially great games.  That’s Alabama/Tennessee weekend, one of the better SEC rivalry games.  You’ve also got Auburn/LSU and USC/Notre Dame that weekend.  By identifying three other marquee television games that likely will not conflict with the Hogs/Rebels (very likely an early kickoff game) you’ve ensured a very strong Saturday of college football.

November 12 – Vols at Hogs:  You’ll notice we violate one of the main tenets of the plan.  Unfortunately the schedule works against us as fans – but not the Hogs as a team – with three consecutive games in Arkansas during November.  So we have to dig a little deeper to find our binge weekend.  Given all the other elements, Tennessee appears to be the strongest option in this Sophie’s Choice.

The first November weekend is against South Carolina in Fayetteville.  Both teams will almost certainly be inside the Top 20, and that’s Homecoming weekend.  November 19 has the Hogs taking on Mississippi State in Little Rock.  You simply cannot schedule a binge weekend during a Little Rock game.  The following week is Thanksgiving week, which immediately disqualifies the LSU game.  (Most fans have developed traditions around this annual post-Thanksgiving game, further marking this as a terrible weekend to binge.)

So that brings us back to Tennessee.  For the non-NWA Hog fan, this presents a difficult back-to-back roadie.  Heading out of town in back-to-back weekends creates a potential hostile environment at home.  That close to the holidays it’s not worth the risk.  Finally, the Tennessee/Arkansas weekend provides a great slate of games nationally.  Take a look at these matchups:

  • Alabama at Mississippi St.
  • Oregon at Stanford
  • Miami (FL) at Florida St.
  • Nebraska at Penn St.
  • Auburn at Georgia
  • TCU at Boise St.
  • Florida at South Carolina

That is a tour de force of college football action.  Regardless of the kickoff time for Arkansas/Tennessee, you will be treated to a full slate of meaningful games that weekend.  For someone who loves the game it’s hard to justify missing this weekend of televised games.

December 3 – Championship Game Weekend:  In addition to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta (where you may actually be if things go right), all other BCS conference championship games are that weekend.  This includes the inaugural championship games of the Big 10 and Pac-12.  It goes without saying that this is a weekend designated for college football.

PRESENT YOUR PLAN

It’s been said that communication is the key to a happy marriage.  Never more is that true than during the football season.  Remember – your wife knows you love it.  You are not fooling anyone.  Confront the season directly. Let her know that you’ve thought about the season and have developed a plan.  This has multiple benefits, but there are a few key ones to note:

  • It lets your wife know that you care about her schedule.  Planning = Love
  • A clearly researched and presented proposal is not easy to summarily reject.
  • A schedule allows your wife to make contingency plans on those weekends.  That is far better than dropping the bomb on Thursday of Binge Week, catching her off guard and increasing the likelihood of arguments.
  • Most importantly, this let’s your wife know you want to spend quality time at home with the family.

Planning is huge, communication is even bigger.  Sharing your plan early makes life much easier at home.  It’s best to remember that you’re not in college anymore.  Doing that allows you to act like you’re in college at least one Saturday per month during the season.

LIMIT THE GAMES YOU ATTEND

This is the most difficult principle for some to observe.  If you live in NWA and plan to attend all the games at Reynolds Razorback Stadium, you can apply these same principles to make sure you get to The Hill as often as you want.  Otherwise you may want to go ahead and skip this section.

For non-NWA fans the travel to and from Fayetteville takes up a ton of time which may require sacrificing binging with your buddies.  By following these principles you can guarantee at least 2 trips to RRS each season.  It takes discipline, but you will see a noticeable uptick in your enjoyment of the college football season.

For me it’s only worth the time and effort to attend an SEC game.  I understand the value of playing some soft teams early in order to work out the kinks for the football team.  But please don’t expect me to attend.

Evaluate the home conference slate.  Then select one game per month that you deem to be worthy of attending.  There will always be one October game.  You’ll then have to choose between September and November.  In even numbered years, Alabama always heads to Fayetteville in September.  That’s a n0-brainer.  In November of odd-numbered years you generally get South Carolina in addition to one of the rotating SEC East teams.  I usually like to catch an SEC East team outside of South Carolina, but that’s not always possible.

Pick your two games, and put them on your schedule.  By building those into your binge schedule, you can limit your back-t0-back football weekends to no more than 1 per season.  This is critical.  The more often you’re gone (whether at the game or at the bar), the more frustrated your wife will become.  Eliminating back-to-back weekends like that makes life much easier.

OTHER TIPS

Up Your Game – Your behavior during the week affects your ability to enjoy binge football weekends.  Be attentive.  Volunteer to go to the grocery story.  Pick up or drop off your kid(s) when you don’t have to do it.  Take care of dinner occasionally.  Mow the yard and take out the trash without being asked.  Upping your game at home makes it much easier to enjoy your games on the weekend, especially if you’re already a high-performer in the offseason.

Treat Binge Week like Game Week – If your team has a big game coming up, do you want to hear about your starting quarterback out partying during the week?  Of course not.  You shouldn’t either.  During the lead up to your binge weekend (or travel weekend), stay home as much as possible.  Avoid the Thursday Temptation.   Those games are often not very compelling, and you can just as easily watch it at home.  Treat Game Week like a pro so you can play like a champion.

Take Your Wife to a Game – Treating a game like a family trip has tremendous upside.  It almost certainly increases the number of games you get to attend.  It also gets you credit for quality time with the wife while still enjoying football.  That’s a helluva combo.  Even better, take your wife (and kids if they’re old enough) to Dallas for the Southwest Classic.  It’s a mini-family vacation, it involves football, and – as mentioned – you get credit for quality time while enjoying football.  Win-win

Schedule Family Time for the Open Weekend – Last year I took my wife out of town on the Hogs only open weekend.  It was one of the smartest things I’ve done in married life.  I still enjoyed parts of the games that weekend (like the Tenn-LSU final seconds and most of the Oregon-Stanford game), but most importantly I devoted that weekend to time with my wife.  It’s an oasis in the college football desert for football widows.  Honor that, and you’ll have a strong second half.

Watch Other Games at Home – Look, your wife expects you to want to watch your favorite team if they’re on television.  She’s no dummy.  For games not on your binge schedule, let your wife know what time the game starts and tell her you’d like to watch at home.  That way you get the joy of watching your game while still spending time with your family, tackling necessary chores around the house.

Host Friends and Spouses for a Game – Odds are that your wife likes to host people at your home.  Pick one of your non-binge weekends and have people over to your house.  Make sure your buddies bring their wives and kids.  Create a family friendly environment, too.  That’s very important.  Go ahead a enjoy a cold one while watching the game, but also take time to interact with your kid(s) while enjoying the game.  (This is a great activity for road games you expect your team to win.)

Planning.  Preparation.  Execution.  Create a gameplan Coach Petrino could appreciate, and you can have a BCS-level season even if your team doesn’t.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

One Pheauxne Call

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 26, 2011

Last night we told you that LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson was on the verge of arrest.  Turns out we were right.  Jefferson and teammate Joshua Johns – a linebacker for the Tigers – have been arrested and charged with second-degree battery.  This is a felony offense, despite the fact Jefferson only connected on 4 of 16 punches (ZING!).

LSU has suspended both Jefferson and Johns indefinitely.  Backup quarterback and former starter Jarret Lee will presumably start for LSU next Saturday against #3 Oregon.  As always, we are remiss to not point out there was a serious crime committed here.  One of the victims reportedly has multiple broken vertebrae and faces significant medical rehabilitation.

The man who was kicked suffered “extreme physical pain and unconsciousness,” the warrant says.

The warrant says the basis for the arrests of Jefferson and Johns includes “physical evidence of the attack and subsequent identification of the accused by an eye witness to the attack.”

Second-degree battery is a felony offense that carries a maximum five-year prison sentence upon conviction.

From a purely football perspective, this has serious implications on a team looking to compete for a BCS berth and the national title.  Jefferson has been wildly erratic throughout his career, but as a junior with several starts under his belt the expectation has been that Jefferson would emerge as a true team leader. No one expected that he’d be more likely to lead at least one teammate to the gray bar motel.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

One More Week

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 26, 2011

How did this happen?  We are inside of one week until the college football season kicks off.  The first weekend of the CFB season extends to Labor Day night, meaning we only have 2 days to recover before the NFL season begins with a whale of game featuring New Orleans at Green Bay.  Buckle up, folks.  We’re about to jump on a rocket ride for the next 20+ weeks heading through the BCS and NFL playoffs.  In no time we’ll look back in December and say, “Doesn’t it feel like football season just started?”

For our readers, our goals is to keep you entertained and informed heading into the season.

Next week you can expect an SEC preview followed by a thorough breakdown of the Razorbacks.  Next week also marks the return of the BK v. AB college football pick ’em.  We’re adding a new wrinkle to our tout service this year with both college and professional football.  More on that next week, but I think you’ll enjoy it.

If you have tips, ideas, or thoughts about the upcoming season that you’d like to see BlogHawgs cover, please email us at bloghawgs@gmail.com.

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Geaux to Jail

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 25, 2011

BlogHawgs.com has a Louisiana source tonight that suggest LSU Tiger quarterback Jordan Jefferson has a real problem on his hands regarding a bar brawl last week.  This source tells us an arrest could be coming for the “star” quarterback.  (By “star” quarterback, I am of course referring to the opposing defense’s best player on the field.)  Numerous news reports place Jefferson and other LSU football players at a Baton Rouge night spot – Shady’s Bar – last Friday night when a fight broke out in the Shady’s parking lot.  The events that led to the fight remain unclear thanks to disputed accounts, but no one appears to be willing to deny that Jefferson was a part of the altercation.

Investigators reportedly have met with Jefferson in the past 36 hours collecting evidence that includes a DNA sample.  According to our source in Louisiana, things do not look good for Jefferson.  Despite all the speculation, it is important to note that Jefferson – nor anybody else – has been arrested or charged with a crime…yet.

Of particular note from ESPN.com’s story today, staff at Shady’s Bar profess that one of the victims – Andrew Lowery – “threw the first punch” in the melee outside the bar.

Two employees of the bar where LSU quarterback Jordan Jeffersonand three teammates are accused of injuring four people in a parking lot brawl said Thursday that one of the victims “threw the first punch” shortly after he had been escorted outside by staff.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Shady’s Bar general manager John Peak and door manager Jordan Neldare offer versions of the bar fight that differ from details in a police report released Thursday. Neldare said he was outside and witnessed the fight firsthand but had not yet been interviewed by police.

Neldare said he ran to (a) co-worker and corralled him away from the brawl, back toward the bar entrance, where he then noticed Jefferson, standing by himself and looking upset while the fight was still taking place.

“I’m not saying (Jefferson) wasn’t in the fight. I’m not saying he was, but I did see him standing alone while stuff was still going on,” Neldare said.

We cannot confirm nor deny at this point whether or not Neldare and his unnamed coworker have yet received LSU season football tickets.

The #4 Tigers take on the #3 Oregon Ducks next Saturday.

UPDATE I (10:04 PM): As if this weren’t bad enough, LSU must now face Oregon without multi-talented WR Russell Shepard.  The junior has been ruled ineligible for next Saturday’s tilt in Dallas thanks to an unrelated NCAA matter.

“Russell Shepard has run afoul of some NCAA regulations,” Miles said. “I can only tell you that the things that were done there were innocent. They were issues of protocol, but they’re serious enough for him to have been ruled ineligible. We’ll seek reinstatement and hope that goes well. I can tell you the issue was a nondescript interview with an NCAA person about a series of issues. It was there that he answered honestly. The violation was Russell ran afoul of protocol.”

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Hogs the Auburn of 2011?

Posted by Adam Butler on August 9, 2011

(Without a scandal involving allegations of proposed pay-for-play arrangement involving an unwitting Tyler Wilson, I hope.)

Brett McMurphy is pundit #3,112 this offseason to pose the question.

We are reaching jinx territory, here. There is no way the SEC allows Arkansas to beat Bama AND LSU on the road, right?

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BCS … Killing College Football

Posted by Brett Kincaid on June 7, 2011

We have spent thousands of words discussing, debating and defending, debunking the BCS system of determining a national champion.  What we have not done much of, though, is highlighting all the other flaws of this indefensible system.  New Year’s Day – once the cherry on top to the college football season – has become just another game day.  With all the major bowl games moved to maximize the television audience, the Rose Bowl has always maintained its place.  The last to cave to game sponsorship, the Grandaddy of Them All has finally caved in the most offensive way.

The Rose Bowl game will be played on January 2, 2012.

I may be done with college football.  It tried to kill me last year, and it has now shown a Jason Voorhees-like determination to kill me this year.  I will happily follow the Hogs, go to some games, and probably pay more attention than I want to.  But it’s hard to get excited about a system I don’t trust, respect, or honor.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , | 8 Comments »

Hogs Officially in BCS Hunt

Posted by Brett Kincaid on November 23, 2010

Perhaps the BCS has done this in years past, but I do not recall seeing it.  They announced the teams that were officially in consideration for BCS games heading into the last 2 weeks of play.  The Cartel also announced that one spot is reserved for a non-AQ team but did not rule out the possibility of 2 teams making the Grown Ups Table this year.  How kind…

There are three at-large spots available now (since 1 has already been taken by a non-AQ team).  Looking at the list, the Hogs have a great chance with a win on Saturday — assuming Auburn wins out.

 

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BCS Remains Under Attack

Posted by Brett Kincaid on November 5, 2010

The AP has joined the chorus of voices this week poking fun at the BCS.  Today they released a compilation of the 12 biggest “messes” the BCS has created.  It’s a great list.  Unfortunately nowhere in the list is the “Creation of the BCS”.  I guess that’s just a given.

I think I have officially joined the “Death to the BCS” crowd.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Sports & Politics: What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by Brett Kincaid on November 4, 2010

Watch out, BCS!  The Utah gubmint is comin’ after ya!

That’s right.  The only state that still allows for hanging and firing squad executions of its death row inmates has taken aim at the Bowl Championship Series.  Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has been in touch with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding antitrust violations of the BCS.  Specifically, they aim to prove that the rules are written to allow major conferences to control the flow of money, excluding schools that compete at the same level.  Just like politics, in sports (and everywhere else really) it all comes down to the money.

General Shurtleff had one comment in this article that really turned my head.  He said:

“They are doing their due diligence,” Shurtleff said in a telephone interview Thursday, a day after the meeting. “They had done their homework.”

It seems that the DOJ has been looking into this for some time.  Sen. Hatch (R – UT) sent a letter to the DOJ asking that they investigate after the Utah Utes went undefeated in 2008 and were shut out of the BCS Championship Game.  The Utes ended the season at 13-0, capping the year by steamrolling mighty Alabama in the BCS Sugar Bowl.  Boise State has twice gone unbeaten and been shut out of the major bowls.  Two other times the Broncos have be invited to the “big kids table”, winning two BCS Fiesta Bowls in the process.

But I digress… The reason that quote caught my attention is because the President announced his wish for a college football playoff on more than one occasion.  Not much has been said of that since the economic meltdown hit its stride, but I do think that is important.  Even a weakened President still has pretty good stroke in DC.  The Dems still control the Senate, and the House Republicans are crazy enough to investigate anything.  This could actually happen.

We obviously spend a lot of time discussing college football on this blog.  Last year there seemed to be far less momentum for a playoff than this year.  With an unusual year and no clearly dominant teams (maybe Oregon and Auburn, but nothing like recent history), a non-AQ school definitely stands a chance to go to the BCS title game.  In fact, some computer geeks seem to think TCU could cinch its spot in Glendale, AZ by winning on the road at Utah this week.

If the President is looking to get his mojo back, leading the charge to ditch the BCS in favor of a playoff will play pretty well.  Clearly, folks are more concerned about getting the economy on track than football.  BUT — In this economic climate, Americans are pretty sensitive to “rich folks” like the BCS hoarding all the money and intentionally keeping it from folks who work just as hard as they do.  This debate has the potential to be a parable for the nation at large.

Of course, if it goes like Tuesday’s elections the BCS will win and increase its profits at the same time.

 

Posted in Commentary, Sports | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

 
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