Posts Tagged ‘Miami Hurricanes’

The SEC Is Great

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

Cupcake Time Is Over

This weekend marks the first weekend with really a full slate of SEC Football, the best kind of football pretty much ever. Georgia and South Carolina battled last Saturday to give us a little taste, but now it's on. The SEC race begins in earnest this weekend with four games, and two more interesting non-conference matchups just for kicks.

Indeed, it's the best part of being a southern football fan. Those of us fortunate enough to be in Knoxville for the showdown with the Gates (at least we all hope it's fortunate to be there...) will likely be tailgating before. Not only that, but it's felt absolutely magnificent here in Knoxville this week. PERFECT FOOTBALL WEATHER...

For me, tailgating isn't complete without a TV. First, football I care about so much about is just on Saturdays. I want to see how other teams are doing. Second, it's great for getting attention. Honestly, if you don't have a TV, but the folks next to you brought their 48-inch high-def TV with a satellite dish, you're going to watch it. Great ice-breaker - as if being fans of the same team wasn't already enough. That early game is now an SEC game, which makes it that much better.

And after seeing an SEC game in person, there's more SEC football to watch in high-def. So (hopefully) after a win, you can relax and watch other teams kill each other, knowing you've taken care of business - or that your season is going to be a long one. With the lack of a big national game NOT involving an SEC team, much of my focus will be there...


SEC Football | Gate 21 SEC Games

Mississippi State at Georgia Tech: Mississippi State has a chance to redeem themselves for that loss to Louisiana Tech with a win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta. We'll find out how good the State front seven is against the heavy rushing/triple option offense the Jackets have had success with already - they won at Boston College and nearly won at Virginia Tech last week.

Alabama at Arkansas (RayCom, 12:30): The appetizer for the day. Arkansas starts a death run - after the Tide, it's at Texas, Florida at home, then at Auburn. I want to say the Tide runs away with this thing, but I just have a feeling Arkansas will stick around - keep in mind the Tide haven't won at Arkansas since 2002. Either that or Bammer just runs over them with the run game. This will be the first look at the "new" Casey Dick for pretty much everyone who isn't an Arkansas fan.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="162" caption="Those of us tailgating before the Florida game will most likely be watching Alabama-Arkansas, our first real look at the Razorbacks"][/caption]

Florida at Tennessee (CBS, 3:30): I'm going to wait til tomorrow to really go into my feelings on this game, but I will say this now (and probably again tomorrow): NOBODY expects Tennessee to even keep it close, and that always seems to be to the Vols' advantage. Also, the last two games in Neyland between these two teams have been determined by a whopping 3 points. That's all for now...

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss: Speaking of under-the-radar, this game isn't even on TV. These two teams are probably better than their names suggest they are. It's the first SEC game in Oxford for Houston Nutt, and it's probably a good idea to not lose to Vandy.

The 'Dores have been impressive, and their next three games - trips to the Mississippi schools sandwiching hosting Auburn - are winnable. I can't lie, as much as Vanderbilt going to a bowl is something I wouldn't mind seeing, I am ready to see how Vanderbilt will blow this good start and miss on a bowl for the 75th straight year (actually, it's just been 25 years...)

Wofford at South Carolina: If I was a South Carolina fan, I probably wouldn't even go to this game - there's too much better football on...

Then again, it's a definite win, so Williams-Brice will likely be packed full...

LSU at Auburn (ESPN, 7:45): All you people who claimed Auburn as a shoo-in to win the West, how do you feel now?? I've been on the LSU side of that debate since summer, and I think they'll win this game at Auburn. The thing that makes me a little hesitant is the injury to Darry Beckwith, one of the two Tiger starters returning behind that nasty defensive line. Chris Todd thought Mississippi State was good up front? Uh, he should be having nightmares of the LSU front this week...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="310" caption="Seriously, with the amount of talent surrounding the LSU QB - like Demetrius Byrd - I think I could probably win some games (although not against the Auburn defense)"][/caption]

Of course the LSU QB is the biggest question in this game. That could be interesting thing, seeing as Auburn scored three points last week - and won. I don't care how bad Mississippi State's offense is, Auburn's defense is pretty nasty too. But LSU has an advantage at the WR position, ridiculous talent all over the field, and the best lines in the SEC. Can the QB (Jarrett Lee/Andrew Hatch, I don't even know...) use that?

Georgia at Arizona State (ABC, 8:00): I was so upset the Georgia Bulldogs pulled out the win in Columbia, but they made the plays they had to for the W. I really do want them to fail at everything. A win in Tempe would make up for "The Fluke" (what I'm calling the UCLA loss from now on), and I haven't been impressed with Arizona State any - not last year and didn't think they'd be that good this year. Then they lose to UNLV. Georgia's the better team and they should win - but of course I want them to fail - miserably.


IN CASE OF BLOWOUTS:

Here's proof that everyone's going to be watching the SEC games this weekend. The rest are just not so pretty that I'm not giving them their own little bits.

Tonight's game (West Virginia at Colorado (8:00, ESPN)) is fairly interesting. How bad would it be if the second best team in the JV League (giving USF the benefit of the doubt of course) went out and lost to the fourth-best team...in the Big 12 North? Maybe it will prove what many talking heads have already been saying - that the Big 12 is this year's runner-up in terms of conference strength.

The ACC could very well be determined this weekend, as there's Virginia Tech at Lawvol's Tar Heels and Wake Forest at Florida State. I can't lie, I'm on the Seminole bandwagon, so if they lose to Wake they pretty much won't win the ACC. Not that Wake's bad because they aren't, but this a game the Noles need to win.

Another game with an ACC team features Miami at Texas A&M, and it's another measuring stick for the Canes program. They need this game. Florida State and Miami need to get back up to respectability, to quell the stupid Gator success (or maybe Tennessee should do it themselves...)

Elsewhere, there's Notre Dame at Michigan State (I hope the Irish fail at everything, too), Boise State at Oregon, and don't sleep on Troy as they play Ohio State (who doesn't get bolded anymore til they actually win a big non-conference game).

Enjoy your SEC football this weekend, folks.


Images Courtesy of: Danny Johnston / AP (Daylife)Chris Graythen / Getty Images (Daylife)

2008 BlogPoll Ballot: Week 2

Here's my ballot for this week's College Football BlogPoll which, as always, is hosted by MGOBlog.

Week 2

"Adjustments" in the Works

I have no business trying to rank all of the teams in the country, and this week's ballot makes that obvious.  More on this week's changes after the ballot.

My Ballot for the Week

Rank
Team Delta
1
Georgia
--
2
Southern Cal
1
3
Ohio State
1
4
LSU
--
5
Missouri
1
6
Florida
1
7
Oklahoma
--
8
Auburn
--
9
Kansas
--
10
Wisconsin
1
11
Penn State
1
12
Texas
1
13
Alabama
1
14
Oregon
--
15
Wake Forest
--
16
Arizona State
1
17
Texas Tech
9
18
Utah
1
19
East Carolina
7
20
Colorado
2
21
Fresno State
1
22
Brigham Young
1
23
South Florida
--
24
California
2
25
Illinois
1

Dropped Out: West Virginia (#16), Clemson (#20), Bowling Green (#24), Tennessee (#25).

Comments,  Explanations, and Excuses

The high-points of the week's changes after the jump:

Southern Cal (2) & Ohio State (3):

This flip-flop is guaranteed to raise the ire of Ohio State fans (including my spouse), especially since the Buckeyes won their game and Southern California did not play.  That said, the Buckeyes did not look good against the University of Ohio this past weekend, and but for a muffed punt by Ohio they have a decent chance of losing the game.  Furthermore, the continuing questions surrounding Beanie Wells cause me to drop the Buckeyes one slot.

Mizzou (5) & Florida (6):

After watching the Gators play Miami, I am beginning to have some serious questions about the Gator offense.  Their offensive line looked horrible against a seriously inexperienced Hurricanes defense.  This was especially true at the left side A and B gaps.  Though the Gators came back to beat Miami handily, a lot of that was due to Miami's mistakes.  In the end the Gators looked beatable.

Wisconsin (10) • Penn State (11) • Texas Tech (17) • Colorado (20):

This is where I show my idiocy.  All of these changes are the result of my making "adjustments" based upon oversights in my Week 1 ballot.  I simply no longer felt that my rankings for these teams were accurate, thus I adjusted each of these according to what I perceive to be their appropriate ranking.  Thus, I suppose this renders my Week 1 ballot meaningless -- or at least erroneous.  I figured, however, that it was better to remedy this problem through an honest adjustment than to try and pull some sort of BCS-esque calculation which no one could understand in an attempt and rationalize my changes.  I also figured I should do this earlier rather than later.  Thus, I suppose I am officially -- and in print -- admitting that I was wrong last week.  As if that was anything new.

Mea Culpa...

Alabama (13):

I dropped the Alabama Crimson Tide one spot not because I am a cussedly bitter homer, but because their win over Tulane (paired with Clemson's performance against what should have been a woefully out-manned Citadel team) was not as impressive as I had expected in light of the Tide's guns-blazing debut in the Georgia Dome against the Tigers.  This is a semi-adjustment, but really is less due to my pure ineptitude, and more attributable to the Tide looking much less impressive this week than last.

BYU (22):

I dropped Brigham Young due to their poor showing against the Washington Huskies.  I am not saying that the hotly-debated celebration penalty at the end of regulation ultimately had any impact on the outcome of the game (especially since Washington would still have had to win the game in overtime), but I am saying that BYU should have taken care of business a little better, thereby making the whole celebration penalty moot.

Out of the Money -- Tennessee • Clemson • Bowling Green • West Virginia:

I dropped the Tennessee Volunteers and the Clemson Tigers from this week's poll because I simply could not justify their remaining with California (24) looking more and more impressive and Illinois (23) bouncing back from its loss to a tough Mizzou (5) team.  I hope the Vols return in the near future, but they are going to have to earn it.

As for Bowling Green, they dropped for much the same reason -- their strength of schedule simply doesn't compare to those of California and Illinois.  That doesn't mean I think they are weak, but indicates that I simply can't compare them equally at this point to the new teams in the poll

I never personally thought that West Virginia was very good to begin with, but I ranked them based upon the fact that I figured they would still be a strong contender due to their Big East schedule.  ECU (19) proved that to be wrong, and single-handedly bumped WVU from the poll while earning a well-deserved debut in my poll for this year at No. 19.

The Rest of the BlogPoll

Having taken the time to consider my feeble attempt at ranking the powers in college football, feel free to try and convince me that I am wrong -- which is part of the way the BlogPoll is supposed to work.  I promise that I will consider all comments.

As for the rest of the BlogPoll, well, you can check out how other bloggers voted, how your team fared across the blogosphere, and view the weekly results each Wednesday over at MGOBlog.

Hopefully, the BlogPoll Powers won't have me listed as "Dropped Out" next week...

-- Go Figure …Email lawvol


Big Orange Roundtable: UAB Week

Big Orange Roundtable

Big Orange Roundtable: Week 10

It was supposed to be my turn to host the continuing Roundtable over at my old site (The View From The Hill), but obviously I'm no longer there. Nevertheless, I'm sticking to my repsonsibility and I'm just running it from my not-so-new place here at Gate 21.

I'll try not to complain about not having a bad week - with "mighty" UAB coming up after a bye week...after a loss to a middling Pac-10 team...on national TV... - and just do my job: ask some questions, answer them, and hope the rest of the Roundtable members remember (I have faith they will).

Alright, here's my trio of questions...

(1) So we're all still pissed off from losing to a UCLA team we would without a doubt beat at worst eight times out of 10, and now a pretty bad UAB team comes to Knoxville before the epic showdown with Florida and the rest of the SEC gauntlet - the deep breath before the plunge, if you will. What I simply want to know is what do YOU want to see from the Vols this Saturday?

First and foremost, nobody gets hurt. We're an untimely injury at a couple of different positions away from being in some hot water before getting into the SEC. We're gonna need to be as healthy as possible to avoid disaster.

Offensively, I just want to see better execution. For example, how about we give the ball to Arian Foster and Montario Hardesty oh, say, about 40+ times, or until we're up comfortably? Don't even use the G-Gun - save it for Florida. I wouldn't care how "vanilla" the playcalling is - Tennessee should be able to just run over, through, and around UAB (For a brief look at UAB, click here and scroll down...to the very bottom)

For Jonathan Crompton, just give Tennessee fans some hope that you're gonna be able to get it done...as in not one-hopping balls to wide-open receivers and pretending to be throwing to Yao Ming.

Defensively, some adjustments in case UAB starts moving the ball against the Vols (they shouldn't). UAB shouldn't score double-digits on offense and a shutout would be nice. Like Crompton, just give the fans some hope that stopping the Gates is possible.

All this said, I expect a boring game where we play around with the Blazers for a little while before finally pulling away. We hardly blow any non-Sun Belt people away anymore, and though UAB lost to a Sun Belt team last week, we'll probably "take it easy" on them.

(2) Flashback to Saturday night in Gainesville: up 23-3, Florida gets a good punt return by Brandon James inside the Miami 20. With 1:56 left, Urban Meyer sends Tim Tebow back in, and, after a screen pass, a throw into the endzone, and a lost-yardage run, Florida kicks a sand-in-the-face field goal with :25 left, prompting a death stare from Cane coach Randy Shannon and eventually a "handshake" at midfield after the game. Thoughts?

I hope to see some interesting answers for this one (or at least better than mine). Some say he had no other choice. Other use the "BCS Beauty Pageant" argument as if beating Miami 26-3 instead of 23-3 will make that much more of a difference in determining Florida's postseason fate. Yet others say it was for the south Florida/Miami-area recruits who were in attendance - yeah not sure that is workin' for ya, Urban. And finally some say he did it for the betting Gators (the kick covered the spread).

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="203" caption="Miami coach Randy Shannon clearly wanted to slug Urban Meyer for that late field goal...he should have"][/caption]

I'll say two things about this: first, say what you want but Urban ran it up on Tennessee last year, though fortunately I was out of the Swamp when he was doing it. That doesn't really sit well with me and I'm sure our coaches and players remember. I'm not a fan of running it up unnecessarily. Now if you're scoring with your backups that's one thing, but when you put your starters in up 20 and try to score, that's egotistical and annoying.

Secondly, this will backfire on him soon enough - it has to. Someone really important to the Gates will get hurt and people will unleash on him a la Mike Shula with Tyrone Prothro in 2005 (though hopefully nothing that awful happens to anybody).

(3) And finally, a question that I'm not sure has been so directly asked in the course of the Roundtable, but one that needs answering: the "woo" in Rocky Top...do you "woo" and why do/don't you "woo"?

I pretty much never "woo" simply because I just don't like it. Me "woo"ing is like an eclipse - it's just not something I do. As for why, I just don't like the addition. It takes away from the beautiful song that is Rocky Top. It seems too sorority girl-ish, though I'm all about the sorority girls...well, uh, some of them. I have no idea how or when it started, but whoever thought it was cool probably wasn't.

I will say this about the "woo": fans from other SEC schools hate the song, and if the "woo" was originally meant to be even more annoying, then it was good idea. But I sincerely doubt that's the case...

As the Roundtable goes, as the other Vol blogs respond to my lousy questions, check back and I'll have them linked: - Third Saturday in Blogtober - SESB - YMSWWC - MoonDog Sports - NEW MEMBER!! Curveballs for Jesus - Losers With Socks


Images Courtesy of: AP / John Raoux

Who Says There’s No Preseason…

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

Week Two Preview

...in college football? If you thought last weekend was a relatively boring slate of games, this second weekend might just have it beat. At least last week the mere fact that college football was back was enough. This week? Er, not so much.

Nevertheless, football is football. The last game pretty much the entire nation watched was the UCLA upset, so any other games/upsets will be good for the healing process for us Tennessee fans - or maybe just me (everyone else seems to wallowing in the sea of negativity). It of course it also means this suddenly longer "short" week will of course be over.

As I did last week, I'll of course go through all of the SEC teams' games since it's the best conference in the nation (no thanks to the Vols though) and the only one that matters. I'll even pick out some possible upsets and talk about the national games that deserve attention - if I can find any, that is of course. Enjoy...


SEC Football | Gate 21 SEC Games

South Carolina at Vanderbilt (tonight ESPN): Yes, I thought Vanderbilt would lose to Miami-Ohio and I was wrong. Chris Nickson impressed as a starter, scoring three times and rushing for 166 yards. But this South Carolina, one of the SEC's top defenses.

The rotating Carolina QB soap opera now visits Nashville, as Chris Smelley takes over for Tommy Beecher. I was not really impressed with the Gamecocks against NC State and I don't think saying Vandy is better than NC State is a stretch. Vandy has typically had decent defenses under Bobby Johnson, and Smelley will have to be careful because the Commodore secondary is the defense's strength. Expect a low-scoring defense-fest - and a close game.

Southern Miss at Auburn: The debut of the "Spread Eagle" offense didn't exactly blow anybody away last week in Auburn's 34-0 rout of ULM. QBs Chris Todd and Kodi Burns (who left that game with a pretty severe cut on his leg) combined for a whopping 85 yards passing, but the Tigers ran for 321 yards and scored TDs on defense and on a punt return.

USM has Damion Fletcher - 222 yards against UL Lafayette last week - and freshman QB Austin Davis (269 total yards), but they'll have to play better defense to keep it close. The Golden Eagles gave up six yards/carry last week to the Cajuns, which makes me hesitant to like their chances, though they have a history of playing SEC teams tough.

Central Michigan at Georgia: Central Michigan won't win, but I'm interested to see how the best-QB-you've-never-heard-of Dan Lefevour handles UGA's defense. The Chippewas were bad on defense last year, so UGA will blow them out, but hopefully for their sake they won't have anymore of these.

Ole Miss at Wake Forest (ABC 3:30): Houston Nutt's debut against Memphis State last week went well and the Rebs scored 41 points. Wake Forest is not Memphis State, and after Clemson's laid-egg, might be the ACC's best team - which of course isn't saying much.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="325" caption="Dexter McCluster had 125 total yards and a rushing TD in Ole Miss 41-24 win over Memphis"][/caption]

That said Wake Forest is the better team and beat Ole Miss last year, and I think they do this year as well. Under Jim Grobe Wake has a knack for not beating themselves, so Ole Miss will have to play solid football to get out of Winston-Salem with a W. I'll be watching this game to see how good both these teams are - and it's one of the weekend's better games.

Norfolk State at Kentucky/Southeastern Louisiana at Mississippi State: Snooze games of the week, though I also picked against the Cats last week and they proved my foolish self wrong.

Louisiana-Monroe vs. Arkansas (Little Rock): This would be a snooze game, except for the fact Arkansas squeaked by Western Illinois last week and ULM did beat Alabama last year...

Tulane at Alabama: As much as I want my dislike for Alabama to find a glimmer of hope that says Tulane will have a chance to pull off an upset, I just can't find anything. That still doesn't mean I don't want Bammer to lose (how funny would that be??)

Miami (FL) at Florida: On paper Florida should beat the Canes pretty soundly and they will, but I still want to see this game. Apparently this is a bigger rivalry than at least I thought, and of course there's always a chance Florida actually loses, which I of course would thoroughly enjoy. I might just watch to see how healthy Percy Harvin actually is (he's slated to start), but then again GameDay will be there so the Tebow/Urban love-fest will be EVERYWHERE.

Also, I'm not hoping for any major injuries because that's just cruel, but I wouldn't at all mind to see the Gators a little nicked-up when they visit Knoxville in two weeks. We need whatever help we can get - though many Vol fans already have penciled in an 'L' on the schedule.

Troy at LSU: This game has been postponed - most likely to November 15 - due to the effects of Hurricane Gustav. The Tigers host North Texas next week before the trip to Auburn.


AROUND THE NATION

UPSET ALERT: I would like to point out here that I did in fact call Utah beating Michigan and I'm going to go ahead and take credit for calling East Carolina's upset on Virginia Tech because I all but straight-up said it. Anyways, potential upsets and other notable games for this week..

BYU has their first test, at Washington. The Cougars have a very good offense and just a couple of bumps to get over (including trips to Utah at TCU) to be in the "this year's Boise State" conversation.

Cincinnati has a chance for a respect-earning win for the Big East after the (JV) league won as many games against I-A opponents as my intramural flag team last week (we could give Syracuse a run for their money). Louisville (Kentucky), Syracuse (Northwestern), Pittsburgh (Bowling Green), and Rutgers (Fresno State) stunk it up. OU did what Tennessee should have done and opened up with Chattanooga, and they're probably going to destroy the Bearcats by 3+ TDs.

UAB plays Florida Atlantic, so we'll see how bad the Blazers are for next week. Texas A&M lost to Arkansas State last week and I'm gonna say they'll also lose New Mexico this week. Texas plays a tricky little game at UTEP, but the Miners got smoked by Buffalo (no, not the Bills) last Thursday.

Again, if you're one of the Pac-10 types, you can watch Cal at Washington State or Stanford at Arizona State, and if you just love ACC football for some insanely weird reason, Boston College plays at Georgia Tech (or you could say you want to watch it because you love the option offense...).

Oregon State at Penn State sounds good, but the Lions should beat the Beavers, who lost to Stanford last Thursday. If you like loads of offense, there's Texas Tech at Nevada. If you just wanna see some of the underrated talent from the state of Florida, USF-UCF can quench your thirst.

For the Vol fans who already changed their minds and want David Cutcliffe back (you know who you are, don't deny it), Duke hosts Northwestern, who the Devils actually beat last year.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="315" caption="T.J. Lee's blocked punt return for the go-ahead TD against VT last week was one of the best early-season moments"][/caption]

And finally, East Carolina, one of the biggest stories from last week, hosts West Virginia. Can the Pirates do it again? I say why not?

For all but a handful of teams, it's more or less the second week of preseason games. The games get exponentially better the next two weeks -- I promise


Images Courtesy of: • Nikki Boertman / Commercial AppealStreeter Lecka / Getty Images (Daylife)
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