Category Archives: South Carolina Gamecocks
When eight games is the sample size used to determine who will represent each division in the SEC Championship game on December 5th, it becomes important to look outside the commonalities in the schedule and see who has the inside track based on different isolated factors.
Today’s factor? Luck of the draw, as the SEC is now in year three of its 6+1+1 model (six versus division opponents, one permanent crossover, one rotating rival among the other six). Whether this is the best way to schedule is a debate for another day, but what is not debatable is that some crossover combinations are stronger than others.
Missouri, for an obvious example, is 4-0 in the regular season the past two years against the West. With those opponents’ combined record at 30-20, the only impressive win was in 2013 at home against Johnny Manziel’s Texas A&M squad. For comparison’s sake, Georgia draws Auburn every year, and the past two years have seen an Auburn team lose in the national championship and one rank in the top 10 all season until a November 15 loss to…Georgia.
Any follower of Georgia football knows why this is worthy discussion, and why I bring it up. Georgia draws two top-5 opponents from the SEC West this year. On a more macro scale, it’s interesting to see the traditional flag-bearers for the East’s crossover opponents. Florida with LSU. Tennessee with “Bama. Georgia with Auburn. With LSU, Alabama, and Auburn on varying degrees of historic runs, it’s no wonder the (perceived, therefore actual) strength of the conference lies in the West.
Who’s got the easiest road to hoe outside of the East this year?
1) Missouri: Mississippi State, at Arkansas: WELL LOOKY THERE! For the third straight year, Mizzou dodges Bama/Auburn/LSU, as well as a very scary Ole Miss team. Could Arkansas be dangerous? Totally. But assuming another offseason suddenly makes Brandon Allen a good quarterback is a tough way to sell me on Arkansas as a contender.
Just warning y’all now, Missouri could pretty easily do it again.
2) *disclaimer: none of the rest of these are what one would consider ‘easy’* Kentucky: Auburn, at Mississippi State: I still think Miss. State is the leader to be in the cellar of the SEC West. Kentucky gets them on the road, and has at least a chance against Auburn. Maybe.
3) South Carolina: LSU, at Texas A&M: With Anthony Jennings possibly sidelined, LSU’s lack of QB play makes beating the Tigers at home possible for the ‘Cocks. And yes, I saw what aTm and Kenny Trill (remember him?) did at SC to open the year last year, but they’re at best middle-of-the-pack in the West.
4) Vanderbilt: at Ole Miss, Texas A&M: Notice a trend? The bottom four in the SEC Championship odds have the four easiest crossover schedules. I ALLUDED TO THIS ABOVE TOO!
Oh, and Vandy won’t win either of these games.
5) Tennessee: Arkansas, at Alabama: You figure they’ve at least got a shot against Arky at home. The third Saturday in October will be a ‘Roll Tide’ weekend for Georgia fans, as Tennessee is the second-most talented team in the East. Still think Missouri is the biggest challenger, though.
6) Florida: Ole Miss, at LSU: Not to spoil anything for our upcoming previews, but I think Ole Miss is a serious contender not only for the West, but for a playoff berth. And Death Valley is Death Valley.
7) Georgia: Alabama, at Auburn: Obviously, the impetus for this post. If you told me Georgia was going to split at worst, I’d buy a ticket to the SEC Championship game today. But…many publications are picking BOTH of these teams for the CFP. That’s rough sailing for a team breaking in a new QB.
Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes. It’s the time of year where every fan, media outlet, and radio host (HEEEYYYYYY PAWWWWWWWLLLLL) starts breaking down why they think the idiots in Vegas are wrong (the idiots in Vegas are more often than not totally NOT wrong). Today, CG Technology posted its odds for each Power 5 team winning conference championships, which is a lot more fun to delve into than national championship odds. For example, Vanderbilt and Kentucky are on the board, though still not at numbers that would pay off my student loans!
Here’s the list for the SEC:
There are a few things that jumped off the page at me here. Georgia going off at 5:1 is not one of them, as they again have no excuse not to win the East. The bottom four teams in the conference all hail from Eastern Standard Time, and Tennessee at 8:1 is…well, more on that later.
It speaks to the overall health of the West that Texas A&M, with three years of top-5 recruiting classes, sits at the bottom of the division in terms of odds. They return a top-flight QB and passing game, added John Chavis from LSU to bolster a defense that has a TON of young talent…I’d say I could be missing something here, but the fact is that the division is THAT good. For what it’s worth, I’d take them over Mississippi State in a heartbeat.
Longshots with a shot: Hate to admit it, but a team as defensively sound as Florida at 18-1 is mighty appealing. Assuming that the offense really was THAT bad due to Muschampin’, their offense could get back to ‘remotely competent’ and take the Gators to Atlanta in December. Mizzou at 12:1? Yeah, I’m not saying that’s impossible anymore. Watch Maty Mauk turn into the first Heisman contender since Eric Crouch to hover around 50% completions. aTm at 15:1, as previously mentioned, could be a decent roll of the dice.
OH-VER-RAY-TED: Tennessee at 8:1? Really? On a tic-tac-toe board there is a full spot for a big, orange ‘T’? I doubt it. Same goes for LSU, who will not have the quarterback play or the defense (!!!) to contend in the West.
Now to briefly run through the rankings, ‘Bama/Auburn/Georgia at 1-3 was to be expected, and…damn. Georgia has to play both ‘Bama and Auburn. Given the weakness of the East, however, there is no reason the Dawgs shouldn’t run the table in-division and earn a rematch with one of the schools feeding off UAB’s corpse.
On the next tier: Even though I said LSU was overvalued at 8:1, when I lump them in with Ole Miss and Tennessee, they are not the one that clearly does not belong. Tennessee would be the worst in the West with a bullet. Let’s call it yet another case of bowl bias, bolstered by the fact that they helped Iowa fans run EverBank Field dry of brown liquor. A healthy Ole Miss with a mentally stable QB could be interesting, as well.
Arkansas deserves their own tier at 10:1. Mostly because they’re Arkansas and Bret Bieliema, but also because they’re the biggest wildcard in the league. Andrew and I were big on their breakthrough potential last year, and they broke through, marking the first prognostication in DudeYouCrazy.net history to be correct. They could legitimately go anywhere from 11-1 to 6-6 this year and not surprise me.
Mizzou and MSU at 12:1 is just getting the boring bets out of the way. I don’t know why I possess an irrational hatred towards the other Bulldogs, but I want them to crash HARD.
We’ve already discussed aTm at 15:1 and Florida at 18:1, but yo: South Carolina falling from grace all the way to 25:1?!?! I get it, because their offense returns nothing and their defense was awful, but…damn.
The last two teams in the league are, respectively, the best and worst value picks on the board. Kentucky going off at 75:1 is at least conceivable* (hear me out: hold serve at home vs. Florida and Mizzou and win at SC and you’re 3-0 coming out of September, you get Auburn at home, and Georgia is the only road game where you’ll be a heavy underdog…then just win the SEC Championship game!)
*Conceivable was a strong word, but put on some royal blue glasses there and tell me that 6-2 with that schedule isn’t possible.
On the flip side, you have Vandy. 100:1 does not do this dumpster fire justice. There’s no logic to betting on Vandy.
It’s been a slow couple of weeks for news by SEC standards since we last spoke. I mean hell, I
wrote paraphrased a whole article about imaginary rivalries in the AAC this week. We have some honest-to-goodness news finally, and I’m going to take a hot-takey stance on at least a couple of them.
The big one came from our Georgia Bulldogs, as redshirt freshman QB Jacob Park is leaving for Greyson Lambert-less pastures.
Florida bolstered its STELLAR offense by adding a grad transfer from Fordham. At 6’8 I’m sure he’s very nimble on his feet. He was previously committed to Old Dominion, so either way he was finishing his career playing D-1 ball!
Baseball? Sure, Let’s Get It Out of the Way
The SEC definitely proved its might in baseball in last week’s Super Regionals and this week’s MLB Draft. (Remember, we still have the defending champs in at least one sport!)
LSU, Florida, Arkansas, and aforementioned-defending-champ Vanderbilt will be heading to Omaha for the College World Series, and seven SEC players were drafted in the first round. This includes each of the top two, and four of the top eight. Making that number even MORE impressive is the fact that high school players are eligible for the draft and made up half the picks.
And Now, the Heavier Stuff- the Good
Mississippi State is doing something that every high school in America should do– required financial literacy for its athletes. The classes are being developed by financial superman Dave Ramsey, and this is just awesome.
On the other hand, our students are EXTRAORDINARILY prepared for the real world by our schools…
The Heavier Stuff- the Bad
Nick Saban is on his annual siege for bending the rules in his favor, and today we get to point and laugh at the Pandora’s Box little Nicky opened.
Saban’s argument can be summed up in the following way: he wants to see uniform rules amongst the Power Five conferences, following the NFL model.
So if those players were not allowed to play in the SEC they’d be playing someplace else. What I’m most concerned about, I just think that we should have the same rules in the SEC as all the other Big 5 schools have because now we’re not just talking about the SEC. We’re talking about having a playoff — no different than the NFL. One division in the NFL doesn’t have different rules, different salary caps, different anything because the league knows that parity is the best competitive balance that you can create.
So when we pass rules that other people that we have to compete against — and if that is really what’s best for the young people that we’re dealing with here, the student-athletes that we’re dealing with – then it should be best for everyone, or otherwise we shouldn’t do it. So I’m hopeful that some kind of way we’ll be able to get the Big 5 together — under the NCAA’s supervision — to try to create rules that we all see in the best interest of student-athletes, which I think we need to be thinking about here: Why do we do this? It is to benefit the student-athletes, to promote opportunities for the student-athletes.
This is in response to another great measure taken by the SEC: not allowing domestic abusers to transfer to its schools. Obviously, Saban was burned by former Georgia DT Jonathan Taylor on this rule. And he mad.
But let’s dig into what I put in bold face in that quote: Nick, do you REALLY want equality among the Power Five? Do you want…
– Revenue Sharing: that $31 million per school sure would be a nice coup for the ACC, Big XII, and Pac-12, who are lagging behind the SEC and Big 10 Networks.
– Uniform Academic Standards: This is more school-by-school than a conference matter, but does Alabama want to be on a level academic playing field with the likes of Stanford, Vanderbilt, Duke, and Cal? Methinks not. I’m sure his JuCo transfers would love that.
– (This one is admittedly a stretch, one posited by Buck Sanders on Inside Carolina)- Spending Caps: Last I checked, the NFL operates under a salary cap. Seven of the top 20 and nine of the top 30 spenders in college football last year were SEC schools– should we make that uniform as well?
My biggest beef here is Saban’s continued insistence that he’s doing what’s right for the game. And he’s using the SEC’s rules to not allow graduate transfers with academic issues (see: Everett Golson) and now domestic abusers to do so. Last year, it was an attempt to eliminate the no-huddle that his defenses have struggled, at times, to defend.
Your self-serving isn’t fooling anyone, Nick.
Satellite Camps Be Damned: SEC Still ‘Crootin Strong
It’s like when they used to play those Florida v. USA high school all star games. Pure, unadulterated, SEC dominance (or as the cynic suggests, pandering to the most invested fanbases).
So maybe Jim Harbaugh invading SEC country with his ghastly whiteness isn’t such a big deal.*
*’jim harbaugh shirtless’ is now a thing that is on my Google search history.
Finally, Au Revoir, Mike Slive
Mike Slive’s retirement became official on June 1, and let’s take a second to appreciate the best conference commissioner of all time. Greg Sankey is in position to do great things with the league going forward, but Slive made the SEC the envy of all other conferences, made shrewd additions to the league, and of course secured its financial future with the SEC Network.
Enjoy that retirement, Mike.
According to my TimeHop, this is about the time where, in the past couple of years, Georgia has started to make the news in the offseason. This has not been a good thing as it has led to heavy personnel loss, and it is refreshing to *knocks on wood* not have surprise attrition in 2015. #In SchottenheimerWeTrust, I guess.
Anyhow, the big news of the week is Nick Saban
caught a fish bigger than him whined about the Big Ten and their satellite camps, intruding on the SEC’s fertile recruiting ground. The goal of the league’s coaches is to have them banned by 2016, and Mike Slive/Greg Sankey are on record as saying that the SEC will allow them if other conferences continue to do so. The golf potential for Steve Spurrier in California, a return of Bret Bieliema to Wisconsin, and the prospect of Les Miles yukking it up somewhere in the Northeast all make this an exciting prospect for me.
On the heels of the Everett Golson rule, CAN WE PLEASE GET OUR LEAGUE BACK ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD WITH THE REST OF THE COUNTRY?!?
Meanwhile, ESPN in an attention-grabbing headline says the SEC West hasn’t lost its luster. (Or bluster.) No s**t.
Finally, you know college football is at least on the horizon when you start getting over/unders. 5 Dimes, God bless ’em, was first to the party. Following is the divisions ranked by their projected line.
South Carolina 7
Vanderbilt 3 (lol it’s funny but it’s not)
Ole Miss 8.5
Texas A&M 7.5
Mississippi State 7
Let’s just say there are some juicy potential bets in there.
From that: would a 5th place division finish put Les Miles on the hot seat? I think I agree with SBN’s Ian Boyd when he says it would definitely get much warmer.
There’s a major reason I’m glad I don’t write about sports professionally, even though I got an undergraduate degree in doing exactly that: I loathe fabricating news. The offseason in college football is all about that.
(So and so) was taking snaps with the first team offense today! Did he really unseat (established all-SEC veteran)?
Is (insert 5-star recruit) a secret commit?
Fortunately, if you sporadically send news as it comes along, you sacrifice page views but actually put out a decent snapshot of your subject matter! As such, here is the first SECual Healing.
Big and Georgia-relevant news out of T-Town, as former UGA DT Jonathan Taylor was arrested on his second felony sexual assault charge. The story has become Nick Saban’s nonchalance in stating he was ‘giving Taylor a second chance’. I’m not touching this one, as there are no circumstances in which a man should lay a hand on a woman.
Rising sophomore RB Tyren Jones was booted for marijuana possession, which will hurt the Tide a lot more than Taylor’s absence. The sophomore was the logical ‘next in line’ after the T.J. Yeldon/Kenyan Drake/Derrick Henry triumvirate departs.
Hey, at least Alabama has a more stringent weed policy than Auburn.
Staying in the SEC West, a must-read on new Texas A&M DC John Chavis, who bolted from LSU. Three major themes of note here:
1) The acrimony in the fallout of his departure from Baton Rouge, typical of any SEC-to-SEC coaching move;
2) A paradigm shift in the minds of defensive coordinators. Chavis felt that his defense had to be world-class to compete for the CFP, and left to coach opposite a hurry-up no-huddle offense at A&M. Historically, the overwhelming thought has been that that ruins a DC’s rep. In addition to Chavis’ move, Auburn hired Will Muschamp and (shameless UNC plug here because duh), Gene Chizik is the new DC in Chapel Hill. Three good opportunities to test this new theory.
3) Piggybacking on number 2, Chavis knew he could become the scapegoat with another underachieving D. But the talent he loses to early entry every year is insane. He lost 6 starters TO EARLY ENTRY ALONE prior to the 2014 season, and DT Ego Ferguson made 7 in last year’s draft.
The Rebels shored up their linebacking corps by moving DE C.J. Johnson to a new position. The nation’s #1 scoring defense (speaking of HUNH offenses and their counterparts) looks to keep leveraging the depth from that one recruiting class that still makes no sense.
A big shoutout to our editor-in-chief, who is now father to a beautiful baby girl.