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The Non-QB SEC Heisman Candidate Nobody Is Talking About (Yet)

As a Georgia fan, I am fully on board with Todd Gurley for Heisman. Hell, the watering hole closest to my humble domicile has sold over 1000 of these stylish things:

Get yours at the Ivy in Buckhead. Tell them I sent you and get me free drinks.

Get yours at the Ivy in Buckhead. Tell them I sent you and get me free drinks.

Having said that, I don’t think Gurley’s Heisman campaign is a realistic one. Although Georgia will lean heavily on TG3 in close games (such as South Carolina), he is simply not going to get the carries to win the bronze statue.

Meanwhile, there is a guy in Tuscaloosa whose campaign has yet to start. I guess I’ll start it.

Amari Cooper has been the best player in the country thus far, and it isn’t even close.


Through four games, Cooper has amassed a ridiculous 43 catches for 655 yards and 5 TD’s. The rest of Alabama’s team has 688 yards on 49 catches (including one for four yards by Georgia blast from the past Ty Flournoy-Smith). Some might say that these numbers are due to taper off with more attention paid to Cooper, but I disagree. With Alabama’s offensive identity in the running game, throwing to number 9 against 7, 8, and 9 man fronts should continue to be easy.

Some might say that Alabama will find more balance in the passing game. Again, I disagree. Stud TE O.J. Howard has two catches through 4 games, much to the chagrin of most of my Alabama friends. DeAndrew White and Christion Jones are weapons, but Lane Kiffin tends to get the ball into the hands of his best playmaker at the expense of others (seems like a Kiffin thing to do).

Let’s play the extrapolation game that Andrew Hall plays so well on this site.

Time Games Receptions Yards TD
Current 4 43 655 5
This pace 13 139 2292 17
SEC Play 1 10 201 3
SEC pace 9 90 1809 24

Since Y2K, only three top-five finishers in Heisman voting have been receivers: Justin Blackmon, Michael Crabtree, and Larry Fitzgerald.All of those numbers will be nearly impossible to continue to put up, but JESUS CHRIST LOOK AT THOSE NUMBERS! Given Kiffin’s history, they’re likely not susceptible to a major downward trend. In 2011, Robert Woods hauled in 111 passes for 1292 yards for Kiffin’s USC Trojans. The next year, he took a backseat to Marquise Lee, who amassed 1721 on 118 catches. Last year provided more balance between Woods and Nelson Agholor (56 and 57 catches, respectively), but recall that Kiffin was fired in the middle of the season.

Player Year Finish Receptions Yards TD
Blackmon 2010 5th 111 1782 20
Crabtree 2008 5th 134 1962 22
Fitzgerald 2003 2nd 92 1672 22

Those numbers are all ridiculous, but Cooper’s current YPC exceeds all of them.

And let’s not act like program visibility won’t be a factor. No offense to Oklahoma State (10-2), Texas Tech (8-4), and Pitt (8-4), but they don’t have the visibility that Alabama does, and will likely continue to, enjoy. As Heisman voters have rebelled against ‘system’ quarterbacks who put up video game numbers, they may give credence to a WR putting up video game numbers in a pro-style system.

With all of that being said, let me be the first to introduce you to the SEC’s most viable Heisman candidate for 2014, Amari Cooper.

The DudeYouCrazy Viewing Guide, Week 2

Labor Day weekend is nice because you essentially get five (six if you include Georgia State/Abilene Christian this year) days of FBS football in some way, shape or form, which is almost overkill. Because the Tuesday and Wednesday after? TORTURE. Its not quite the 231 days that preceded last Wednesday after the Auburn/Florida State game, but its a struggle. We had a taste, now we want more. This is how heroin addictions get started.

Thirsty Thursday

Arizona at UT-San Antonio, 8pm, FS1. This game has intrigue to me for three reasons:
1) Arizona has a chance to be a decent football team and darkhorse in the Pac-12 South.
2) Thursday night road games are where claims such as 1 go to die.
3) Larry Coker- still a corpse that coaches football.

This game really doesn’t intrigue me at all.

Friday Fiesta?

Pitt at Boston College, 8pm, ESPN: Two teams who will win 5-7 games and play in pre-Christmas bowls. If you haven’t seen Pitt WR Tyler Boyd yet, then maybe it tickles your fancy.

Washington State at Nevada, 10:30, ESPN: Man, the standard is so much lower for Thu/Fri games. This one should at least feature a LOT of points (O/U is set at 65.5, I’m banging the over) and the world’s favorite coach.

Yes, Mike Leach acknowledged that Craig James did, in fact, kill 5 hookers.

Yes, Mike Leach acknowledged that Craig James did, in fact, kill 5 hookers.

Saturday: The Noon Swoon

Lord, this is a pitiful slate. There are three SEC games, with #2 Alabama hosting FAU and Tennessee hosting Arkansas State, somehow both on the SEC Network. #24 Missouri travels to Toledo (that is not a typo) and is the ESPN game for noon (also not a typo). What a world.

On ABC, you get a chance to see #4 Oklahoma, as they travel to Tulsa. And beyond that, in no particular order, #20 K-State in a conference game at Iowa State on FS1, Penn State/Akron on ESPN2, and #23 Clemson’s lack of a run defense against South Carolina State on your local ACC Network affiliate.

3:30- The Football Gods Give Us One

I’d be kinda pissed if I lived on the West Coast and this was a nooner for me, but #14 USC travels to Palo Alto to take on perpetually immovable object #13 Stanford on ABC. USC ran 102 plays in their week 1 win over Fresno State, and Stanford always ruins hurry-up extraordinaire Oregon’s season. CONSIDER ME COMPELLED.

Beyond that, its uglier than the noons. Kentucky will have a competitive game at Ohio on the Collegiate ESPN network, Florida debuts against EMU at 4 on the SEC, and #15 Ole Miss and Vandy come at you from LP Field at 4:30 on ESPN.

Saturday Saturday Saaaaaturday, Saturday Saturday Saaaaaturday, Saturday Saturday Saaaaaturday Night’s Alright

#7 Michigan State at #3 Oregon. 6:30pm. FOX. Be there or be square.

Reeling #21 South Carolina hosts possible-best-team-in-North-Carolina East Carolina on ESPNU at 7 in a game where ECU QB Shane Carden is out to throw the ball more than Kenny Trill’s 60 attempts.

The #5 Barners get a tune-up against San Jose State at 7 on ESPN2. We get to see round 2 of senor Trill as Lamar visits #9 Texas A&M on the SEC Network at 7. Texas gets to try to hold BYU under 500 rushing yards at the same time on FS1. What I’m saying is this: you should have your rotational trigger finger ready to go by now, its week 2.

At 7:30, our favorite game that has no bearing on any titles at all takes place, as #16 Notre Dame hosts Michigan on NBC. So, that’s 6 games to keep an eye on. For #7, how about Virginia Tech at #8 Ohio State on ESPN at 8?

Let’s rank them in order of what you should have on your ‘favorites’ list to flip through:
1) FOX. Sparty/Ducks.
2) NBC, I guess, for you purists out there.
3) ESPNU, because S.C. could seriously be 0-2 with Georgia on deck.
4) ABC. Nobody likes seeing Urban Meyer win anything, even if it means Frank Beamer wins instead.
5-7) Up to you, man. I don’t own you.

Enjoy the games, folks!

Georgia Fans–Let’s Talk About the “Elephant” In The Room

My Fellow Georgia fans, we need to talk.

A new football season begins in a mere (67) days. Most of the us as Georgia fans would agree that there’s a lot to look forward to, including an offense that has the potential to be one of the most potent in years, a (mostly) promising new defense, and a renewed belief in the power of the Red and Black.

But with so much ahead of us, I’m afraid there might be a bit of a distraction that is making us look back, perhaps a more than we should. A bit of Bulldog Baggage that might need to be dispatched with.

Not that clinging to past glories as well as goof-ups a little too tightly has ever been a problem for us, right, my fellow ‘Dawgs?

For years, our conference rivals and regional foes have mocked us for fixating on a certain running back from Wrightsville and a miracle play at the Cocktail Party that secured our National Title bid. That happened over 30 years ago. Then there’s those of us who endured Georgia Football in the the ‘90s. These were the days of “Play Away Ray” Goff and the painfully unfulfilled potential of the Donnan years. Sometimes it seems that this lost generation of Georgia fans still carries that weight on their psyche, often deep down still unsure that we could ever be among the College Football elite. Even now. (Ask people who were in Athens in the ‘90s and they’ll likely tell you that back then dreaming big was a 8-4 season and a Carquest Bowl appearance.)

One way or the other, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve frequently been guilty of a collective preoccupation with the past, whether remembering it too fondly or too bitterly.

But now, there’s one thing hanging over our collective heads, although this time it is a single night not so long ago. It had moments of ecstasy only to end in agony.  And I think it’s time address it once and for all and move on. It’s that proverbial Elephant in the Room. Or perhaps the “Elephant” that we faced on the field on that first day of December last year.

Of course I’m referring to the 2012 SEC Title Game…the true National Championship Game.

I don’t need to rehash the details too much. But everyone knows what that game meant to us. Everyone agrees that it was an important moment not only considering the stakes (a shot at a national title, which would’ve been poetic considering it would’ve been against Notre Dame, just like the last one) but also that it made us believe–finally–that we deserved to be there.

It was also a loss that cut deeper than anything I’ve ever seen. And the effects are still lingering. There are still stories out there about it despite that it was over 6 months ago. Check out any YouTube video of the game and you’ll likely find fresh comments still rolling in. From fans on all sides, too.

The fascination as well as the devastation that still remains is understandable, for both players and fans.  I completely understand when Mike Bobo recently told the players that they were probably “never gonna get over it” and had to just “learn to live with it”. I get why Aaron Murray eventually stopped watching the last play video while Chris Conley has watched it repeatedly in an effort to process it all.

I have to say I get it on a personal level….I mean, it’s not like I haven’t found myself watching the last 1 minute and 51 seconds of that game over and over while listening to Steely Dan’s classic song “Deacon Blues”  refer to the Crimson Tide as the “winners in the world”… (with the protagonist of the song professing to want a name when he loses…)

OK, maybe that’s just me. In fact I’m sure it is. (You don’t need to tell me how weird and nerdy that reference is, not to mention it making me sound very old–I already know!)

But there’s a difference between the players, coaches, and fans here. The players and coaches lived this game in a way we never will. They have the right to deal with things in their own way. But as for us fans, well….I think we have an obligation to put it all in proper perspective before the 2013 season starts.

In other words, Bulldog Nation, it’s time for some Tough Love.

This I will consider my final word on it all:

–We played our hearts out. We matched what was thrown at us. They just got one more lucky break than we did. Plain and simple. It could’ve easily gone the other way. Even the usually overconfident Nick Saban probably needed a drink after this one, saying that the last quarter gave him “a heart attack”.

–There was complete respect on both sides of the football, which unless it’s Bowl Season is often hard to come by in the SEC. Even now, whenever I meet a ‘Bama fan I  get nothing but warm regard, and always give it right back. That this still happens as though the game was last Saturday shows that this was a truly one for the ages. We should remember to feel privileged to have been a part of it.

— The “Spike the Ball” talk has to stop. Right now. And for good. So there might have been a way stop the clock in so doing, and we might’ve had another shot at glory. But just because we might have stopped the clock does not guarantee that the next play might not have been tipped and ruined, too. It doesn’t guarantee that a turnover might not have happened. And as likely as it would’ve been, it does NOT guarantee that we would’ve gone to the title and steamrolled Notre Dame. OK, in all honesty we probably would’ve, but that’s not the point. The point is not to assume that altering one call would’ve meant everything else would’ve stayed the same. Change one thing and who knows what kind of butterfly effect it might have precipitated. The truth is we’ll never know what might have happened. Ever.

–And that is OK. It has to be.

–We almost got there. This would’ve been inconceivable three years ago. Or five years ago. Lord knows it would’ve been a pipe dream 15 years ago! The best thing that came of this is that we can now believe that we are capable of great things, that we deserve to be on the National Stage, and that we will continue to be a contender. Even when it we started showing up at SEC title games on a regular basis in the last few years, a genuine shot at a national title seemed as likely my winning The Voice. Now I believe we can make it to the ultimate College Football contest (though I don’t hold out hope for my making team Blake or team Adam any time soon…) and believing is an essential part of the journey.

So Georgia fans, I feel your pain. And your joy. Seriously, I do. But it’s all in the way that you interpret it. I see this game as the ultimate motivation, a harbinger of good things to come, a prelude for what might well be a magical season. But all the same in the past. This is one way to look at it.

Or we could just fuss and fume about firing coaches, Spiking Balls, and bemoaning how it will be another 32 years before we have prayer for another National Title. Doesn’t sound like much fun to me.

The choice is yours, my fellow fans….make it the right one!

Next week…..Who are the most loyal fans in the SEC? The answer may surprise you!

–Jennifer Rohner, Chief Cultural Correspondent


100 Days of SEC Domination: Day 85 – Athlon Sports Gets It, 3 SEC Teams in Top-5

Athlon Sports, the world-wide leader in Athloning, has released its preseason top-25 poll.

The top five features three teams from the Southeastern Conference:

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Oregon

4. Georgia

5. South Carolina


Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.


Other notables: Texas A&M (8), LSU (12), Florida (13).


That’s all I got/


100 Days of SEC Domination: Day 86 – The SEC is Talented

ESPN recent released its list of the “10 Most Talented College Football Teams.”  This is the exact kind of crap that I read during the offseason, as if talent would ever come into play in a football game…Oh wait.

In any event, three SEC teams made the list.  No other conference placed three teams in the top-10.  But you already knew that, didn’t you?

The picture of speed.

The picture of speed.

And, to make matters even more delightfully SEC-ish, all three teams finished in the top-5:

  • Alabama – ranked first: This comes as no shock for college football’s current king of the mountain. The Tide do not have any glaring holes, a result of how well coach Nick Saban and his staff have recruited and developed players.
  • LSU – ranked second: LSU fans might seem spoiled, trying intermittently to run their title-winning coach out of town. But when you delve into the level of talent that arrives and departs on a yearly basis, it makes sense why there would be some unrest and crankiness with last season’s Chick-fil-A Bowl appearance (let alone a loss).
  • Georgia – ranked fifth: This is another sometimes-restless SEC fan base, because the Bulldogs are always close to the top — and they were never closer than in 2012, just a few yards from a national title shot — but are not quite at that elite level.




That’s all I got/



For the rest of the SEC Domination Countdown, go here.

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