Author Archives: tardawg1014

CONFERENCE PREVIEWS COMIN’! (Maybe trying the B1G West)


I just read a season preview about Northwestern. 

Did you know they won 10 games last year?

I’ve been avoiding starting conference previews because I don’t want to write about the B1G West. I’d rather get a haircut from a boat rudder than watch a single possession of that division, the Beth Mowins noon ESPN2 special, but I’m here to serve.

Last year, my respective division winners were: Florida State/any of six teams (technically UNC) for the ACC, Arizona State (lol) and Stanford (HEY!) in the Pac-12, Ohio State and Nebraska in the B1G, Baylor in the XII, and Georgia/Bama in the SEC. Nothing egregious besides Arizona State and only Stanford in the ‘sage call’ category.

Ok, f*** it, let’s get this over with.

Big Ten West

Ugh.

7) Purdue. In the Wake Forest/Kansas/Colorado category of “holy hell we need relegation systems in college football”. The only thing Georgia fans need to know about Purdue: OC Jim Chaney was Drew Brees’ OC at Purdue. THERE’S YOUR HOOK.

6) Minnesota. Man, they were close to being decent under Jerry Kill. Then Jerry Kill retired, and instead of playing the coaching carousel, they named interim Tracy Claeys the successor for no reason. Claeys went 1-4 down the stretch, including the most epic clock management failure in football history. Three shifts with the clock running on 1st and goal from the 1, down 3. Go Gophers!

5) Illinois. I got to the end of this and realized I was a team short. Oops. I feel like karma is now going to bite my Tar Heels…beat Georgia, lose to Illinois. Damnit. (they get both Michigans from the East, FYI.)

4) Northwestern. Wanted to pick them as my darkhorse disclaimer: the whole B1G West is a darkhorse but I can’t do it because they draw road games with Michigan St. and Ohio St. on the other (read: decent) side.

3) Iowa. They outperformed every single metric in the established college football universe en route to the 12-2 season last year. I grew to loathe them, because their most impressive win was a 10-6 shootout over Wisconsin. Stanford styled on them, and all was right in the universe. When I say styled, Iowa fans COMPLAINED TO THE FCC because the Stanford band incorporated cows into their halftime show.

F*** Iowa. I wanted to pick them last.

2) Wisconsin. Victims of the schedule, plain and simple. They get all three contenders from the East, LSU, and the mighty Georgia State Panthers.

  1. Nebraska. I have no idea why the formatting changed. I can’t fix it. Help. Nebraska was my pick last year, they were one of three 5-7 teams to win a bowl game, and…Christ were they the inverse Iowa. They opened with a Hail Mary loss to BYU. Then an OT loss to Miami. One-point loss to Illinois, then by two to Wisconsin. Then two to Northwestern. Then holy shit they lost to Purdue. After reversing karma against Michigan St., they lost to Iowa by 8. Five Big Ten losses by 23 combined points. Tommy Armstrong, Neil Armstrong’s brother, is still there. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. YAY CORN!

Five Games Worth Watchin’

Still having formatting issues. I think we’re going indented from here on out.

  1. Nebraska at Iowa, Nov. 25: Its a tryptophan (spellcheck doesn’t have the turkey ingredient handy) hangover game, so this is fine to watch.
  2. Wisconsin at Michigan State, Sept. 24: One logically assumes Wisconsin is the most talented team in this division, and they’re going to get POUNDED by LSU in Week 1. But if they show a pulse in East Lansing, maybe they can get back to their rightful place atop the West.
  3. Purdue at Indiana, Nov. 26: Look, this won’t be on TV. But three of the last five matchups have featured AT LEAST 90 combined points.
  4. Nebraska at Wisconsin, Oct. 29: IDK. The only two name programs in this shitshow of a division.
  5. Iowa St. at Iowa, Sept. 10: EL ASSICO!!!!  Early enough in the season that it’ll probably be a 3:30 ABC game.

Players worth knowing

Jesus, you’re going to make me do this.

Desmond King, Iowa: Should’ve gone pro. 13 passes broken up, 8 picks, and now gonna get his colleague on the other side of the field exposed.

Corey Clement, Wisky: Remember him? He’s averaging 7 yards per carry for his career, but 2015 was a lost season as he got hurt in a Week 1 loss against Alabama.

Other names I recognize: C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa; Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern. I’m sure there are other dudes that play there.

 

 

SEC East, As Picked by the Esteemed SEC Media, and Why They’re Wrong


You may notice the lack of coverage of SEC Media Days this year. Two reasons: 1) we’re STILL trying to get back into football writing mode; 2) you shouldn’t give a rat’s ass about SEC Media Days. Nick Saban said it best yesterday, when he said (paraphrasing):

You saw our spring game. You know our depth charts. Everything we talk about here, you’ve already written about.

The little man is honest, yet deplorable. The best and worst voice in college football. And absolutely right.

As proof of the uselessness of SEC Media Days, I present this tidbit: the Southern media has correctly picked the SEC champ 3 times in the past 20 years. Sorry, Alabama, you’re doomed.

The SEC East projections were nothing to shout about, but given the above statistic, a fun exercise will be to discuss how they can be absolutely right, or dead wrong.

So…the bottom four is interesting in that Vanderbilt and Kentucky are on the rise, and the fallout from that is dropping three of the division’s last six champs to the cellar. But this is the SEC East. Mizzou won after being picked last in 2013, and 4th in 2014. How can everyone win this/blow this thing?

Tennessee

They win if: They win the close games that they showed the proclivity to…not win last year. They should’ve beaten Oklahoma, Florida, and Arkansas (and only lost at Alabama by 5), return their skill talent, 4 starters on the O-line, and most of a defense which should improve under Bob Shoop (sideways glance toward Daniel Palmer).

They finish last if: Josh Dobbs is still too conservative, injuries blow up the OL, and Shoop does Shoopy things. The schedule is brutal enough– they open SEC play with Florida, at Georgia, at A&M, Bama. Their confidence could be shot after an 0-4 start, making games with the bottom four from the East tough.

They’re gonna be fine, probably.

Florida

They win if: They find a quarterback, a playmaker (in the McIlwain/Kiffin ‘get our best guy the damn ball sense) and their defense remains a Florida defense. They have the inherent advantage of being completely in Tennessee’s head.

They finish last if: Luke Del Rio is no better than Treon Harris, losses of Jonathan Bullard, Vernon Hargreaves, and that dude the Falcons took in the 1st round make the defense take a step back, and their streaks against Kentucky (29) and Tennessee (11) end in succession in September.

Georgia

They win if: Kirby Smart makes a seamless transition on the defensive side of the ball, Jacob Eason makes a seamless transition from high school, and Chubb/Michel make seamless transitions from injury.

They finish last if: Honestly, more feasible than the first two. The 3-4 is an awkward fit in year 1, the secondary’s great numbers from 2015 are based on the crap quality of passing teams they played last year, Chubb and Michel never make it to full speed, and no quarterback establishes himself as even average. Kirby Smart is the next Will Muschamp.

Kentucky (aka the point where you scoff, but in so doing you forget the premise of this exercise)

They win if: They navigate a hellacious road schedule (Florida, Bama, Mizzou, Tennessee) because Drew Barker and Eddie Gran (new hotshot OC) are the truth with everyone else on the offense returning. The defense is good enough to hold people under 30.

They finish last if: The brutal string of 5-7’s wears on the program and they tank. The tough road slate means winnable home games, but South Carolina and Vanderbilt just prove better. The Mississippi State game won’t be on CBS like it was two years ago.

Vanderbilt

They win if: Trump wins the Presidency. Their defense is going to be legitimately good, so the offense just has to be 2014 Missouri good. Winning the home opener vs. South Carolina buoys them forward through the SEC-East heavy first half of the season, as Florida, Kentucky, and Georgia all fall victim.

They finish last if: They Vandy. Their offense is going to be heinous.

Missouri

They win if: See 2014. Charles Harris is the next Sam/Ealy/Golden/those dudes. Drew Lock goes from mediocre to efficient. The young offensive line gels.

They finish last if: The players strike again, the offense maintains the status quo, and Barry Odom is not cut out to be a head coach, SEC or otherwise.

South Carolina

They win if: Coach Boom is who we thought he was six years ago when he went to Florida. He actually learned from his mistakes, and he and Kurt Roper manage to piece together an amazing offense to pair with a defense that goes peak Muschamp-y.

They finish last if: Their punter is one of two featured players in Phil Steele’s spread (check). They open with losses at Vandy and Mississippi State, and can’t hold the fort at home vs. any of A&M, Georgia, Tennessee, or Mizzou. That…all seems pretty plausible.

100 Days: Gus Malzahn Is Going to Get Canned This Year, And Its Not His Fault


Okay, writing these every day in the content deadzone that is June is so hard. Life happens, y’all. Bear with me, we can definitely do 50 if I don’t catch a rhythm.

I have a confession: I really enjoy watching Auburn football under Gus Malzahn. Not even for schadenfreude, as they haven’t been that bad…I just really love their offense when its clicking.

Here’s the problem: it did not click last year. Now-departed-again DC Will Muschamp didn’t make a defense that equaled the sum of its parts. And with Auburn being Auburn, wunderkind Gus Malzahn finds himself squarely on the preemptive hotseat.

A preemptive hotseat, you ask? Well, consider the following:

  • He set the bar WAY too high in both of his Auburn tenures. Cam Newton destroying shit when you’re offensive coordinator is the boon of all boons. (In the boons, no less.) DB-turned-QB Nick Marshall was a little more surprising, but a 4.4 speed QB in a spread option tends to cause problems.
  • He couldn’t have set the bar without throwing the cosmic karma of the universe out of alignment in November of 2013. The $#&*(^%*#$ing ‘Prayer at Jordan-Hare’ and the ‘Kick Six’ happened in the span of 15 days on a calendar. As Shutdown Fullcast put it, “Auburn took out the most subprime mortgage on luck and its come to roost.” That doesn’t even account for the LaQuon Treadwell goal line broken leg the next year.

You set the bar too high, and 8-5 ain’t gonna get it done. ESPECIALLY on the Plains. ESPECIALLY!!! when Alabama is still cranking out nattys.

(Pssssstttt. 8-5 ain’t gonna happen this year. Here’s why)

2016 schedule

My friends, THAT is grotesque.

On one hand, they open with five straight home games! BUUUUUTTTTTT Clemson and LSU are sure losses. Texas A&M is a toss-up. And would it really shock you if Arkansas State pulled an upset? It wouldn’t shock me coming off a 44-17 week 1 drubbing.

The rest of October? Who knows what Mississippi State is going to be, but they’ve not been an easy out for quite some time. And it’ll be (insert QB here)’s first road game. Then, Arkansas. Burly, fun Arkansas. And a trip to Ole Miss.

Is Gus gone if they’re 2-6 (0-5)? Almost certainly. 4-4 (2-3), which seems likely at best? That’s where it gets tricky. And more fun.

I’ll give them Vandy and Alabama A&M in November. Maybe Jacob Eason isn’t Jesus and they spring an upset in Athens. They’re still not beating Alabama.

Does 7-5 with a loss to Alabama save Gus’ job? And better yet, isn’t it pretty easy to squint and see 4-8 as a more likely outcome?

Yeah. This is gonna be fun.

100 Days of SEC Dominance: Ex-SEC Footballers Dominate The Bachelorette


This is more Andrew’s domain than it is mine, but we’ve got another former SEC athlete on this season of ABC’s The Bachelorette, a program which finds true love* for dopes looking for their 15 minutes of fame.

*- I think like, 10% of the couples have actually stayed together. Even that seems high.

Former Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers, brother of Aaron is (according to my girlfriend) the favorite to win now that some guy named Chad has been booted.

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/cxwgg

I have…no analysis, but I think Rodgers would likely supplant Jesse Palmer as first team all-Bachelorette QB. Doesn’t this event (do they play football in an NFL stadium every season?) seem to be catered specifically to his skillset?

Rodgers already belongs in elite company. His mere presence on the show puts him up there with SEC legend Josh Murray and former Florida Gator Jesse Palmer, who got to be THE bachelor back in 2004. As you’ll recall, Murray also has a famous (more locally) brother, listed his profession as a ‘former pro athlete’, and BRODOMINATED the competition to Andi’s heart.

What’s the point of this post? In 12 seasons of The Bachelorette, the SEC is responsible for:

  • one guy who curried enough favor to become the bachelor in the subsequent season, now he is on Good Morning America and many a prominent college football telecast.
  • one guy who parlayed his Bachelorette success into an E! reality show called Famously Single where he joins Pauly D, Willis McGahee (?) and a bunch of celebrity ex’s to figure out why they can’t find love. Yeah, this is a real thing.  And it is the most Murray of things.
  • the leader in the clubhouse this season!

The test next season? BRET BIELIEMA FOR THE BACHELOR! Let’s see how far we can take this thing.

 

100 Days of SEC Dominance: OH MY


Uncle Verne is leaving us after the 2016 season.

I’m conflicted on this. While I certainly won’t miss his missed calls or worthless reactive platitudes, I just…love the guy. He’s Uncle F***ing Verne. He was the voice of Happy Gilmore. He’s given us hundreds of memorable calls, to the point that the soundtrack of any SEC fan’s fandom could be narrated by none other.

Seriously, try to picture some of these games without him.

Hit the comments and share the best Verne calls or gaffes.

Let’s look back at some of my recent favorites in the meantime:

Self-explanatory:

There’s never a reason not to watch the kick six:

Before my time, but legendary:

LOL.❤ you, Verne.

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