Posts Tagged ‘Auburn Tigers’

2009 SEC Football Power Poll: Final Season Ballot

Check out the Full Poll Results at Team Speed Kills!

Final Season Ballot

Well, it’s been a long season and all the games are in the books.  This season, I have been less than dutiful in managing to write anything about the comings and goings of college football, which is highly disappointing for me.  Of late I’ve taken a few weeks off to try and recharge myself both as a person and as a blogger—more on that later.  Either way, since all that really matters in the world of college football is where you end the season, here’s my final ballot the SEC Football Power Poll, serving as a cap to the the 2009 season.

Here they are, my darlins:

Rk. Team Comments
1. Alabama Crimson Tide The last chapter in this book was nothing but ugly, but the 13 wins before that were pretty stellar.  A well earned championship the Alabama Crimson Tide.
2. Florida Gators The Florida Gators finished strong against Cincinnati—bidding Tim Tebow a fond farewell, and possibly Urban Meyer.

Next year, however, looks awfully uncertain, not bad, just really “sketchy.

3. Ole Miss Rebels Up and down, up and down.  The Ole Miss Rebels 2009 season was the roller coaster from hell, but it was fun, and was worth the ticket.

In 2010, the Rebels have holes to fill and maybe the expectations will be a little more reasonable.

4. LSU Tigers What a difference between 2008 and 2009.  The LSU Tigers looked like a top-rate, second-rate program at times, especially on offense.

I have a feeling there will be some changes in the off-season.

5. Auburn Tigers Considering where the Auburn Tigers were this time last year, I call this one a success.

Hats off to Gene Chizik for managing to return a winning record and to avoid being lynched by the Tigers’ fans.

6.(t) Tennessee Volunteers The Tennessee Volunteers improved steadily throughout the season until injuries began exposing just how empty the cupboard was when Lane Kiffin took over.

Call me crazy, but I think the Vols overachieved this season.  Next year, however, will be much more important; setting the stage for years to come.

6.(t) Georgia Bulldogs The Georgia Bulldogs finished with a win, which is probably a good thing for Mark Richt.

The question remains, however, just how much can they reasonably improve by 2010?  I fear not enough to keep the crazies at bay.

8. Arkansas Razorbacks While there were some real bright spots here and there in 2009 for the Arkansas Razorbacks, on the whole I am not so sure that things will be much better next season for the Hogs, until they figure out who they want to be offensively and start playing just a little bit of defense.

Still, they were much better in 2009 than in 2008.

9. South Carolina Gamecocks Once again, the South Carolina Gamecocks suffered their late-season slide. Still, they beat kissing-cousin Clemson before imploding against Connecticut.

So, how many more seasons does the Ole Ball Coach hang around?  I’m thinking not that many.

10. Kentucky Wildcats While the Kentucky Wildcats lost to Clemson in the Music City Bowl, considering where the Cats were when Rich Brooks took over, I call four bowls in a row big time improvement.

As for the future, well, it’s not like Joker Phillips hasn’t already been there and done that.

11. Mississippi State Bulldogs Dan Mullen‘s Mississippi State Bulldogs were light-years better than they were under Sly Croom in 2008.  They just could never catch a break when they needed one.

Next year, however, that should start to change.

12. Vanderbilt Commodores As for the Vanderbilt Commodores, well … umm … the field looked nice this year.

The Rest of the Power Poll

Now that you have wasted your time looking at my ballot, go check out what everybody else is saying over at Team Speed Kills, where the 2009 Football Power Poll round-up is there for all to see.

Now, on to basketball season…

– So it goes…About Lawvol

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2009 SEC Football Power Poll: All-SEC Team: Defensive Backs

2009 SEC Power Poll

All-SEC Team: Defensive Backs

Check out the Complete All-SEC Team at Team Speed Kills!

Well, due to a complete lack of judgment on the part of the SEC Power Poll brain-trust, Gate 21 has been selected to announce the Power Poll All-SEC Team selections at defensive back.   The following positions for the 2009 All-SEC team have already been announced:

The rest of the positions are being announced today and tomorrow across the blogosphere.  In case you miss one, be sure to check in for the most up-to-date announcements over at Team Speed Kills.

The envelope, please…

The 2009 SEC Power Poll All-SEC Selections at Defensive Back are (in order of votes received): Eric Berry (Tennessee), Joe Haden (Florida), Javier Arenas (Alabama) and Mark Barron (Alabama). The reasons behind these should be obvious, but in case they aren’t here’s why these fine athletes are the cream of the crop:

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SEC Power Poll: 2009 All-SEC Football Selections Ballot

Get more information on the SEC Power Poll at Team Speed Kills!

2009 All-SEC Football Selections

Well, I have been really lousy job lately at posting.  This has been due to a variety of things, none of which are of any importance to those of you out there in web-land who actually take the time to read the drivel that I produce.  Be that as it may, the brain-trust of the SEC Power Poll have joined together to, yet again, collectively select an All-SEC Football team for 2009.  Here is my ballot in all of its radiant glory:

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The Long Road Back

No Pass Out Checks | Gate 21

Tennessee FootballLosing is never fun.

I think that must be an axiom.  If not, then it should be.  Still, there are degrees of losing — certain nuances to the old black and white world of one team wins and one team loses.  The Tennessee Volunteers, their coaches, their fans, and yours truly have become increasingly more familiar with the details of these degrees of losing this season.

That is not necessarily a bad thing…

On the one hand they lost two games — against the UCLA Bruins and the Auburn Tigers — which, by most measuring sticks, they should have won.  Each of those contests were marked by an anemic passing game and a defense which was exhausted at the end of the game.

In each of these games, the Vols offense floundered early in the game — spotting their opponent a substantial (though not insurmountable) lead lead, only to rebound too late in the game to have enough time to mount a complete comeback.

That is the darker side of defeat.

Then there was the “moral victory” of a ten-point loss to the Florida Gators.  Most folks had the Vols written off as dead before the opening kickoff — near 30-point underdogs.  Yet, when the final whistle sounded, the men in orange had defended their honor and managed to show the Gators that they would not go quietly.  Though they lost by 10, Tennessee left everything on the field and left Urban Meyer answering questions about why the vaunted Gators had not annihilated the out-manned Volunteers.  It was a loss — no question about it — but it was respectable.  It marked a small step forward.

The reality in that game was, however, that though the Vols were never truly “out of it,” they were likewise never truly in a position to win.  They hung around till the end, but really never had what it took to get the victory.  I suppose that is the sort of loss where you simply say, “well, they gave it their best.

Then there is the Alabama game…

Make no mistake about it, the Alabama Crimson Tide won the game and won it honestly.  Alabama did what they had to do to win…

…but so did the Vols.

Unlike the Florida game, Tennessee was very much in a position to win and, with only a little bit of luck, everyone in Big Orange Country would be smiling right now.  The Vols did not win, but they were there at the end of the game fighting for the chance to bring it home.

This represents an amazing leap forward for this program, for this team, and for this staff.  This shows — clearly in my mind — that with a little time there are very special things to come for the Tennessee Volunteers.  The future looks even brighter than it did after the Vols victory over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Are the Vols “back“?  No.

…but they are getting closer.

– So it goes…About Lawvol


2009 SEC Football Power Poll: Week 6

Check out the Full Poll Results at
Team Speed Kills!

Week 6

Through 11 October 2009

Here’s my ballot for this week in the SEC Power Poll, along with a feeble attempt at explaining why I’m such a moron.  Not a whole lot of ways to separate between some of the teams in the middle of the pack, but at least I thought up some excuses for my decisions.

Here they are, my darlins:

Rk.

Team

Comments

1.

Alabama Crimson Tide

The Alabama Crimson Tide is playing better than anyone in the country right now. Their defense is brutal, their offense effective. Now, if they could just figure out how to defend a kick return. Fortunately for Alabama, Tennessee is actually worse at this the Tide.

Result: ALA 22 • MISS 3

2.

Florida Gators

Florida Gators‘ coach Urban Meyer has proven that he will do anything to win — including risking St. Tim on a QB dive late in the game against LSU.

Still, they are undefeated, that is until they likely meet Alabama in the SEC Championship game, where it’s anybody’s guess.

Result: FLA 13 • LSU 3

3.

LSU Tigers

I was actually impressed with the LSU Tigers’ showing against Florida in some respects.

Their defense — in classic bend but don’t break fashion — held the Gators to only 13 points. Their measly 162 yards and 23:30 time of possession, however, did them in.

Still, they are better than many other SEC squads so, they stay put at number 3.

Result: LSU 3 • FLA 13

4.

South Carolina Gamecocks

The South Carolina Gamecocks should have beaten Kentucky badly. Instead they simply kept from losing.

Still, at 5-1, they are finding ways to win games. Props to Stephen Garcia for his herculean effort to drag the Cocks to victory.

Result: SC 28 • KY 26

5.

Arkansas Razorbacks

The Arkansas Razorbacks are an offensive machine that is a thrill to watch.

Defensively, however, they are weak and cannot rely upon simply outscoring their opponents. Still, great progress thus far, which Florida hopes to blunt … smartly

Result: ARK 44 • AUB 23

6.

Tennessee Volunteers

I cannot decide whether the The Tennessee Volunteers‘ win reflects a huge step forward or simply another bit of small progress paired with Georgia’s complete ineptitude.

Either way, the victory over the Dawgs was huge for the program. It’s hard to believe that Jonathan Crompton — paragon of fail only weeks ago — is now the SEC offensive player of the week. Nice to see that the Blackjack General does know a lot more than the rest of us armchair geniuses

Result: TN 45 • GA 19

7.

Ole Miss Rebels

Defensively, the Ole Miss Rebels did everything they could to beat Alabama, but their offense continues to be wobbly at best.

Apparently, the Wild-Reb offense had been in the White Lightning again.

Result: MISS 3 • ALA 22

8.

Auburn Tigers

Well, the party is over for Gene Chizik and the Auburn Tigers, courtesy of the Razorbacks. Auburn has a solid core, but needs to learn how to play defense — which no one (including the Vols) really require them to do previously.

That whole tackling thing, that is important.

Result: AUB 23 • ARK 44

9.

Kentucky Wildcats

The Kentucky Wildcats were weaving through the season like a bourbon soaked drunk — in and out of competence and suck.

Now, with quarterback Mike Hartline gone for the season, it’s looking like the it’s looking like the hangover will stay, and the Cats’ fans will have to start getting ready for basketball season.

Result: KY 26 • SC 28

10.

Georgia Bulldogs

I can honestly say that I have never seen a Georgia Bulldogs team with less spark than they showed in Knoxville. It’s looking like a long season for Dawgs with, Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech to come.

I imagine the fire under Richt’s backside is for real now.

Result: GA 19 • TN 45

11.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

One of these days, the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Dan Mullen are going to manage to win one of these things. They keep putting up valiant efforts, but keep coming up short.

While their record hardly reflects a departure from their legendary suck of 2008, they are a far better team and continue to improve..

Result: MSU 24 • HOU 31

12.

Vanderbilt Commodores

The Vanderbilt Commodores losing to Army. Man, what to say?

In the words of the Late General Anthony General McAuliffe (in response to a German demand for surrender during the Battle of the Bulge) “NUTS!

Result: VU 13 • Army 16

Yes, I know, rank incompetence on my part…

The Rest of the Power Poll

Now that you have wasted your time looking at my ballot, go check out what everybody else is saying over at Team Speed Kills, where the round-up will appear later this week.

Also—further confirming that the standards of the Power Poll have slipped—I will be joining in the “Team Speed Kills Now! ” podcast tonight at 9:00 ET to discuss the state of the SEC at mid-season.  I know you simply cannot wait to hear my brilliance unleashed.  I’ll be posting an embedded player and link to the podcast later today.

Onward and upward …

– So it goes…About Lawvol

2009 CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot: Week 7

Here’s my ballot for this week’s CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 hosted by — as you might imagine — CBS Sports.

Week 7

Through 11 October 2009

Glory be!  Yes, I have succumbed to my inner instincts and have made a change at the very top of my ballot this week.  As for the rest of the changes in the world of college football represented in my BlogPoll Top 25 ballot for this week, hopefully most are fairly obvious.  Either way, here’s my ballot:

My Ballot for the Week

Rank Team Delta
1 Alabama 2
2 Florida 1
3 Texas 1
4 Southern Cal 2
5 Boise State
6 LSU 2
7 TCU
8 Ohio State
9 Penn State
10 Iowa
11 Virginia Tech
12 Miami (Florida) 1
13 Cincinnati 1
14 Kansas 2
15 Notre Dame
16 Oklahoma 1
17 Oklahoma State 1
18 Nebraska 2
19 South Carolina NR
20 Mississippi 8
21 Oregon 1
22 Pittsburgh 1
23 Georgia Tech NR
24 Houston NR
25 Auburn 6
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: Wisconsin (#21), Missouri (#24), Georgia (#25).

Explanations after the jump…

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Giving Your All, the Rough and Tumble Way

No Pass Out Checks | Gate 21

It’s been a bumpy couple of weeks for the Tennessee Volunteers and their fans, on that there is little room for debate.

First, the Vols lost to Florida in a “moral victory” which amounts to losing gallantly.  The Vols then went on to beat a scrappy Ohio Bobcats team in less than runaway style, but as I said at the time: “a win is a win.”  Then, this past weekend, the men in orange were bested by the Auburn Tigers and Gus Malzahn’s semi-deranged (but highly effective) form of offense.  Finally, Lane Kiffin gave Brandon Warren his walking papers as a result of what Kiffin described as “conduct detrimental to our team.”

For my part, I have had little to offer on these issues due to my ridiculously overloaded schedule.  Trust me when I say that it was not for lack of desire or lack of observations that I have been so quiet.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) I now have a little time to pontificate, so here we go…

Auburn and “Johnnie Cochran” Offense

Gus Malzahn is either a genius or a madman depending on whether you are a fan of the Tigers or are their opponent.  His offensive sets are as entropy-filled and outlandish as they are effective.  One of the keys to its function is to make an opposing defense deal with the constant distraction of the seemingly endless arsenal of quasi-trick plays that it includes.  This bevy of distractions vying for the attention of opposing defenses, reminds me of pretty much every argument ever made to a jury by Johnnie Cochranfocusing on the distraction rather than the fact.

Still, there is a lot of fact to Malzahn’s ability to mask his plays and to run unconventional sets regularly and successfully.  I personally cannot remember seeing a game which featured as many reverses and double-reverses as the Tennessee — Auburn contest.  I know that I have never seen a true pooch punt (seemingly taken right out of General Neyland’s own playbook from the 1930s) in person.  To Malzahn’s credit, he has taken a lackluster unit that barely produced anything other than narcolepsy in 2008 and transformed them into a machine which scores tons of points and gives defenses fits.

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