Happy Thanksgiving SEC Picks

Home teams in crimson.

Your #1, undefeated, SEC West Champion Alabama Crimson Tide 37, Alabama Polytechnic 15
LSU 30, Arkansas 28
Ole Miss 28, MSU 13
Georgia40, Georgia Tech 34
USC 24, Clemson 14
Florida 51, FSU 24
Wake Forest 24, Vandy 15
Kentucky 24, Tennessee 9

War Turkey! And now, humor.

197 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving SEC Picks”

  1. Georgia Tech’s defense is not that bad, Mac. Georgia struggled to score against Auburn too, for pete’s sake. It’ll be close, though. I agree with you there.

  2. nice pick, mac……i really dont have much hope that the gators will allow another huge bruise on Urbs ego but i’m hoping the game will be closer than that. on the other hand, if i’m going to spend a perfectly good saturday afternoon in a mob at the stadium, i might as well get to see some fireworks.

  3. If Alabama beats Florida, ehh, and my Sooners pummel the Cowboys… well, sorry Mac. The Sooners might just dominate! :)

  4. It is a pleasure to say Happy Thanksgiving to people everywhere. I am especially happy to be back in the US for my first Thanksgiving here in 10 years…

    I want to send a special greeting to those Americans and others who may it find it a bit challenging to celebrate while outside the US.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Oklahoma should be in the BCS…that debacle against Texas aside, they have slapped some teams around…

  6. Florida and Oklahoma in the BCS championship. That’s what’s going down.

    Like I said on the last thread, just in case anyone missed it: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

  7. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

    I don’t have the guts to pick it, but I would not be at all shocked if Georgia Tech pulled the upset.

  8. Happiest Thanksgiving to all. I credit Braves Journal with making me a better and smarter Braves fan (and I repay Mac by constantly ripping him off at Chop-n-Change, about which I feel the teensiest bit guilty). I’ll raise my glass to a productive offseason, and here’s hoping you all get exactly as much of the dark meat as you want.

  9. Gobble gobble! Agreed that the Lions are pretty funny to watch today. Disagree on the Tech game, I think we’ve got a pretty good chance this year. If the option works like it did against Miami, it will be a fun game to watch.

  10. Thanks for all the good wishes. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I’m grateful I don’t feel too sore after the Turkey Bowl this morning…

  11. Much as I loathe the thought of Alabama or Florida winning a title (Auburn ’84), having Oklahoma again exposed as a pretender would bring me great cheer. No, I haven’t gotten over 2004.

  12. Eh, I think Clemson wins that game. They have a tradition of dominating the Gamecocks, even if the Tigers are having a down year.

  13. @7, Texas should be in the Big 12 Championship Game (then perhaps the BCS Championship game should they defeat Missouri)… the last play of the game at Texas Tech aside, they have been the best in the B12 and laid a double digit Loss on OU, 45-35 at a neutral site.

  14. Cary,

    Do you really call that a neutral site? Dallas, Texas. Double digits, a touch down and a field goal. Yeah, they really put it on us.

  15. Ah yes, it appears Oklahoma fans use the same lame excuse Georgia fans do, claiming the game isn’t actually at a neutral site because it’s in the other state. Sorry, if you get half the tickets, it’s a neutral site.

  16. No, I’m actually a Tennessee fan, so I’m neutral in this matter. Your argument is a BS argument designed to let you take extra credit when you win because it’s a “road game” and to let you blame losing on it “not really being a neutral game”, and I ain’t buying it from you or from Georgia fans. If you have half the tickets, it’s a neutral game…period. Whether or not the average Oklahoma fan has to travel farther than the average Texas fan to get to the game is immaterial (and by the way, there are a giant amount of OU alums in Dallas, a fact of which I’m sure you’re aware).

  17. Late season losses matter more. Not fair; just how it is. And Oklahoma took Tech behind the woodshed.

  18. its going to be a wet field in Tallahassee tomorrow and i cant decide if thats good or bad. i guess we’ll see if the Gators track team are good mudders.

  19. Yes, and Tech beat Texas. I can’t understand why that is irrelevant. You have three one-loss teams all of whom beat each other. You have Texas having to root for Oklahoma because if they lose to OSU Tech wins the division.

  20. You mean at least one worthy team could be denied an opportunity to win the “title”? Imagine that.

    Nick,
    I would guess that you’ve never taken the 6- to 7-hour drive from Athens to Jacksonville (and back). It sure felt like an away game every time I did.

  21. i will be in attendance for the tailgating festivities. i am about 50/50 on going to the actual game.

  22. I am a Gator fan, and Jacksonville is hardly a neutral site for Dawg fans. Shoot, I drove from Gainesville to Jacksonville multiple times this summer to go from one job to another. I doubt people are driving from Jacksonville to Athens to get their work on.

    Speaking of which, those days would really suck. I would work the boring night shift monitoring a machine for a subcontracted company for the Florida Department of Transportation, then get in my car and drive an hour and fifteen minutes to Jacksonville to go work 8 to 5 at Best Buy. And the week that my CD player was getting fixed, that sucked! No iPod, no XM, no CDs, and crappy talk radio stations! Shoot, I couldn’t even get Mike and Mike quality stuff, and that’s not saying much…

  23. I don’t know either. I’ve just noticed that losses late in the season always seem to affect the polls more that losses early on. And both of Texas’s and Oklahoma’s losses were relatively close while Tech’s was a blowout. Gotta love the BCS, where these kind of things matter.

    I’m definitely rooting for OK State though. Got my tickets today for the Big 12 title game, and while we will be significant underdogs, (regardless of whoever wins the South) gotta think Mizzou has the best chance against Tech.

  24. Aren’t you SEC guys peeing your pants over Kiffin coming to UT? It is going to be a boom or bust pick for the Vols. I don’t think anyone will be waiting at the Tyson-McGee to meet him like Bama fans were for Saban. Kiffin might hire his dad to coach defense, but I doubt it.

    Oh well, I am going to embrace it.

    Go Vols!

  25. The Cotton Bowl is a neutral site for the players, at least. It isn’t neutral going to or from the game, obviously, but that doesn’t much matter.

    Texas’s problem is that one game doesn’t, and shouldn’t, decide anything. Good, even great, teams lose to inferior opponents all the time. College football is just the only major sport where doing so halfway through the season usually means the team can’t come back to win it all.

    After Saturday night the three teams will have played 33 games. If there’s a three way tie, there will be no reason why one game should completely overshadow the other 32.

  26. @25 & 31, Mac, Tech got bent over 65-21. A National Champion should not even lose, but getting bent over should be an automatic disqualification. It’s wholly undignified.

    It’s the same reason why Georgia could not be a serious consideration for last year’s title game after getting bent by the Vols 35-14. If you are going to lose, you need to be competitive to claim with any legitimacy that maybe it could have gone the other way or else you have no right to the title. In short, you should be able to prove you belonged in the game.

    Texas lost on 1) the final play of their game, 2) on the road at Tech. As losses go, that’s quite respectable. And if you watched the game, it was literally a dropped interception a couple plays before from a win. Yes, they lost, but it was about as close as it can be.

    Oklahoma was competitive in their loss to Texas and led for as much of the game, but in the end Texas took them fairly solid, by more than a TD. It’s not like OU had the ball with the chance to win or tie at the end. Sorry.

    Tech was embarrassed. Penn State is a better candidate now. USC is a better candidate now. Utah is a better candidate now, even.

    It should be the character of the loss moreso than the timing. In the Big 12 South round robin, Texas comes out ahead on that score.

  27. Cary, that doesn’t make sense. (And I hope Alex isn’t here, because we don’t want that Georgia thing stirred up again.) Tech is disqualified because they got blown out, but Texas lost to the team that Oklahoma blew out. Losses early in the season cost more — but Texas lost after Oklahoma did. I have no dog in this hunt — I hope they all lose — but frankly the idea that only the Texas-Oklahoma game matters is completely nonsensical to me.

  28. Look, I didn’t say it was a home game for you. Look, as I said before, it doesn’t matter how far you have to travel versus how far Flordia fans have to travel. That only matters for you. It doesn’t mean a thing to the players. Florida stays in a hotel the night before just like Georgia does. If you have half the tickets (which both Oklahoma and Georgia do in these respective games), it is a neutral-site game. If you wanna change it to home-and-home, fine by me. It’s not my tradition you’d be crapping all over, so it wouldn’t really bother me. But as long as it’s in Jacksonville and as long as the stadium is split 50-50, it is a neutral game. How far you had to travel is completely immaterial. Perhaps it’s more of a road game for your fans than it is for Florida fans (same with OU and Texas, although UGA-Florida is definitely worse in this regard because, as mentioned before, there are a ton of OU fans in Dallas…not so much with UGA fans in Jacksonville), but for the teams, which is all that matters really, it does not matter at all. Split down the middle, neutral game. Period. End of story.

  29. Why waste energy on this? No arguments make any sense because they can’t. The system is a shrill, shrieking fraud.

    The BCS and the entire history of Division 1 “championships” are flawed, as long as they have anything to do with voting. Until we have some kind of playoff, it’s all flaming piles of ca-ca.

    And Cary,
    The way it works now…if the Kentucky kicker (or the South Carolina kicker) had made a FG last year vs. UT, that would’ve trumped UGA losing to Tennessee by any score. UGA would’ve played LSU in Atlanta, scores wouldn’t made any difference.

    The only way that we would’ve known if Georgia was as good as LSU or Ohio State last year was if they had actually played them. And I’d have been happy to take my chances with either.

  30. anybody who thinks J-ville can be a nuetral site for Ga. vs. Fl. never spent much time around that town. thats the home turf for some of the loudest, richest, most obnoxious bull-gators that are still out of captivity.

  31. I’d love to see GA/FL returned to a home-and-home, which they did for two years in 1994-5, for economic reasons. When I ran a restaurant in Athens back around then, we would pull in over $20K in revenue on the Thursday-Sunday of any home football game weekend. On away game weekends, it was more like $10K. And this was four miles from downtown Athens, where the ratios are even more skewed. Imagine the scene at my place repeated 150 times over, and you have some clue as to the economic impact of an SEC football game in your backyard, in the restaurant/bar biz alone.

    Nothing against the good people of Jacksonville, or the Gator fans there, but I don’t know anyone there. I still have a lot of friends operating small businesses in Athens though, and believe me, they’d take the money.

  32. Ububba – Or the Vandy kicker.

    Didn’t we lose that Tennessee game by bouncing a kick off the uprights?

  33. Looks like the Braves have 2 open spots left on their 40-Man. Any ideas on who they’ll be looking to add? Signing Free Agents? Couple of Minor Leaguers to protect from Rule 5 draft?

    Oh yeah. War Eagle! (Auburn ’92)

  34. —but frankly the idea that only the Texas-Oklahoma game matters is completely nonsensical to me.

    You are right, Texas played the better schedule, both in-conference and out, and lost their only game on the road by 6 points on the last play of the game (as opposed to 10 on a neutral field (Dallas is closer to Norman, OK than Austin, TX BTW). Texas has the better resume, there is really no argument.

  35. Oh, now Spurrier is going to let Garcia play the whole game in the bowl. Geez. (The official excuse was flu-like symptoms and he missed 2 practices this week.)

  36. Wow, SEC. Way to lay some giant eggs today. Is UF going to be the only SEC winner of the ACC/SEC matchups? Hopefully Vandy pulls it out later….

    Also, does anyone else notice how teams seem to shoot themselves in the foot against UF? UGA certainly did, and so did South Carolina. FSU was doing alright, but why not take the points at the end of the half with a fake fieldgoal? 28-12 is a two-posession game with you getting the ball coming out for the 2nd half.

    I dunno. I’m just glad UF is still winning big despite the TOs, the penalties, and piss-poor kickoff coverage. They’re not playing a very smart game, but the talent is winning out.

  37. File under obvious…Tazawa has rejected the Braves offer.

    Link

    Hope everyone had, and is continuing to have, a great holiday.

  38. Mac @ 55,

    Yes, Mac, you were right and I was wrong about that. We were both right that it would be close. :)

    Georgia’s passing game was on all day long. Massaquoi was very impressive. I think the difference in the game ended up being Moreno not breaking out enough. He did do that in the fourth quarter, but Georgia needed more of that, especially in the third.

    Georgia Tech just controlled the offense when they ran to the outsides. Dwyer’s TD run through the middle was cake.

  39. I watched the Kentucky game, and was thus pretty sure that Georgia would have big problems with the option, but that Tech hadn’t seen an offense with Georgia’s weapons this year.

  40. well I know which one, so does a 36-0 game get him fired? I doubt it, but what O-Coor. wants to go there with his track record with assistants?? Aubie Fans, I think Croom is available

  41. Any argument that UT’s non-conference schedule was tougher than OU’s is, well, stupid. The best team UT played was either Arkansas or Rice, neither of which is any good. Both are obviously inferior to Cincinnati and TCU. You’d have to believe the difference between the 90th and 100th best division one teams and the worst D-1 team and a scrub D-I AA team is hugely meaningful to make up the difference. It isn’t.

    As for the conference schedules, they’re essentially the same except UT played Missouri, which isn’t anything special anyway. Outside the head to head games, the toughest in conference game for any of the three teams starts in about 45 minutes. It will make the teams’ schedules as close to a wash as you’ll ever find.

  42. What is hilarious is that Bama fans think it’s ok to call our school a “cow college” and insult our students for living in trailers, but gosh, how DARE Tommy hold up six fingers.

    Congrats on the win, it was well deserved and I wish Bama luck next week.

  43. Mac, trailers are cheap, and that probably really helps the students. I’ve lived in a trailer for most of my life, and I don’t really think a college kid living in one is hilarious at all.

  44. They aren’t off-campus rentals, Rob. They’re official student housing, on campus. From one direction, you drive onto the campus and the first thing you see is… trailers.

  45. Yeah, which probably keeps room and board down. And shoot, I’d rather live in a trailer than a dorm room. I’m in college; I’m not supposed to have money.

    Maybe I’m just outside this rivalry and I’m not looking to make fun of Auburn. I dunno.

  46. If living in trailers lowered room and board enough, I would probably be alright with it. Housing at Tech is 3500 bucks a semester, its insane.

  47. What really gets me is that people will talk about how great Oklahoma is after they give up 41 (or more) points tonight. I have noticed that it is for some reason more impressive to win 40-30 than 20-10.

  48. A school providing its students with on-campus housing in trailers is funny in how truly pathetic it is. Gallows humor if you will.

  49. Florida is going to kill Oklahoma/Texas, it will be a moot point.

    Oh, and it looks like Monte Kiffin will be coming to Knoxville with Lane. This is starting to look like a good hire.

  50. How can a team ruin its title chances with a road win over a team that’s been in the top fifteen all year? Has anyone ever heard of a team dropping in the polls after winning such a game when all the lower ranked team did is beat the worst team in its conference?

    Some of the things this ridiculous system makes people say are just amazing.

  51. I’ve never wanted Oklahoma to win a game in my life, but I was hoping they would win tonight to send everything in a clusterfk because that’s the only way anything is going to change. If enough people get pissed and put pressure on the system to change, that’s the only way it’s going to. It’s probably not going to change, but hey, I can dream.

    On a whole ‘nother note, I really enjoyed watching the Iron Bowl today. The overall psychoticness of both teams fanbases is what makes college football great.

    As a Big 12 fan, there is no doubt in my mind whoever wins between Bama and Florida will beat whichever one of the Big 12 teams by at least two touchdowns.
    I would say Texas would match up the best, but there’s not much difference in personnel between them and Oklahoma.
    Ole Miss could have easily won the Big 12 North (sorry Ethan).

    What’s very amusing to me is that I was watching a tape from 1990 between Colorado and Nebraska and Gary Danielson, then of ESPN was doing the color and said when talking about Colorado already having lost one game and tied once (before they went on to win the Natl Championship, or split to keep Yellow Jacket fans happy) and he said “these types of things will all sort themselves out in a couple of years when we have a playoff system.” Um yeah Gary, that was 1990, I’m still waiting.

  52. My SEC bowl projections remain the same as last week, just different records than expected.

    MNC: Florida 12-1 (could be tougher to win next week if Harvin is out)
    Sugar: Alabama 12-1
    Capital One: Georgia 9-3
    Cotton: Ole Miss 8-4
    Outback: USC 7-5
    Peach: LSU 7-5
    Music City: Kentucky 6-6
    Liberty: Vanderbilt 6-6

  53. Also, I had a shot for everytime Verne Lundquist described the weather in Tuscaloosa as “murky.” I was wasted halfway through the 3rd quarter.

  54. Ole Miss couldn’t beat Wake Forest. I can’t see them beating Missouri. Aside from Alabama, the SEC West was no better than the Big 12 North this year. That being said, Mississippi probably would be the best team in the North at this point in the season, though it helps to not have to play against a quarterback worthy of starting in Division 1 in the entire second half of the season.

    If they get to the Cotton, they’ll play OSU or Tech, which should be a fun little shootout.

  55. David, Mizzou didn’t beat anybody good at all, their best win is Nebraska. Ethan, I know Nebraska beat CU, but they’re not a ‘quality’ win. Mizzou is going to lose the Big 12 championship, and their bowl game, so they will have 5 losses, not a team that should be representing one half of a ‘great’ conference. Ethan, I’m not picking on Mizzou per se, just the way it was this year in the North. They were the best of the North this year. My point is, as great of a year the Big 12 has had, I still think the SEC has just as many good teams. I’ll be looking forward to winning money on whoever wins between Fla and Bama vs whoever wins the Big 12.

  56. I wouldn’t count out Missouri, seeing as the game is essentially a home game for them, and even if the weather is better (it is supposed to be) it will still be cold. (If any conference championship game should be in a dome, it’s that one.) But I would still probably rate Ole Miss ahead of them. Leaving aside that they should have beaten Wake (they got gypped), the Rebels are playing much better now. Oh, and they actually have some good players on defense, putting them ahead of everyone in the Big 12 except maybe Texas.

  57. Here’s a fun question:

    What happens if Texas/Texas Tech/Oklahoma loses the Big 12 Championship game? Do you take one of the other two that didn’t get to play for the Championship? Does USC or Penn State go? Hehe. That’d sure be fun.

  58. I think that the coaches and the miscellaneous Harris Poll people will vote USC second (assuming that USC handles UCLA, which they obviously should). I don’t know if that will be enough to override the computers.

  59. Mac, well we agree to disagree, I will count out Mizzou, they have no business be ranked, let alone in the top 15. It will be in a dome, so weather is not a factor. That’s I guess where my problem is with the Big 12 this year, OU normally has a pretty good D, but they will get lit up by an above average offense, like Oklahoma St.

  60. You’re right that Missouri hasn’t beaten any good teams, but they also haven’t lost to any bad ones. KU isn’t great, but I think they’re better than Wake, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

    I shouldn’t be completely dismissive, as this little exercise probably depends on which Big 12 South teams they’d play. Give them Tech, OU and UT and they wouldn’t win the North. Give them Baylor and A&M and they’d probably be in KC.

  61. Mac, I’m sorry, you are 100% correct, it’s normally in a dome, in Reliant Stadium, I thought for some reason this year it was going to be in the dome where the Rams play, my bad. In any event, Mizzou has no shot and will lose by at least three touchdowns.

  62. The Big 12 is really unbalanced right now. It’s mostly Nebraska’s fault, since they’re the only traditional power in the North and they’ve collapsed. It wasn’t so bad in the first years of the conference, but the South has won four in a row (after it was 4-4 in the first eight years) and should make it five. To be fair, that’s not much different, really, from the SEC East/West divide (10-6 in favor of the East, mostly Florida) but it’s more systemic, because Texas and Oklahoma should be the best teams in the conference on a regular basis.

    The game actually moves around quite a bit, and they’ve tried to alternate between Texas and Missouri in hosting it. But Arrowhead has hosted five times, more than anywhere else. The rest:

    St. Louis Dome 2
    Dallas Cowboys stadia (including next year’s) 2
    Houston Dome 2
    San Antonio Dome 3

    All else being equal, I’d alternate between St. Louis and Houston. However, money talks, and nobody’s come up with an offer like Atlanta did for the SEC.

  63. Mac, that’s why I was in favor of keeping the Big 8. No need for those pesky Texas teams to join the conference. Nothing but trouble. I’m not sure if you would consider CU a ‘traditional power’ but they were pretty good in the 90’s. CU and K-State are the last North teams to win the Big 12 overall, and neither have been very good lately, so it’s hurt the overall depth of the conference.

  64. I don’t think Missouri will have an appreciable advantage in the crowd at KC. Nebraska had about 2/3 up there a few years ago, but NU travels way better than Missouri, and it didn’t make a big difference anyway.

    The no defense in the Big 12 argument is interesting, but I’m really not sure how accurate it is. I don’t think, for example, that OU’s defense is any worse than LSU’s. Is it better than UF’s or Alabama’s? No, but I don’t see another team in the SEC that obviously compares favorably. Auburn’s is probably better, but it’s hard to say since outside of Georgia and Alabama they played a schedule full of some of the worst offensive teams in recent memory.

  65. By “traditional power” I mean a team that’s won multiple MNCs and been a New Year’s Day/BCS type team in multiple eras or for a loooooonnnnngggg time in recent years. I have a pretty narrow definition of traditional powers:

    Alabama
    Florida
    FSU
    Michigan
    Nebraska
    Notre Dame
    Oklahoma
    Ohio State
    Penn State
    Texas
    USC

    I don’t think I left anyone out. Maybe Miami, but to be honest I don’t think of that program as that stature.

  66. It will probably be held semi-permanently in Dallas after Jerry Jones’s new stadium is finished.

  67. david, I’ve been on both sides of the ‘no defenses’ argument vs. great offenses argument and the more I see, the more I think it’s a little of both, but mainly bad defense. Nebraska won 7 games, and CU put up 31 on them, when they hadn’t scored that many against anybody in conference all year. OU has a supposedly above average D but Texas puts up 45 and OkSt puts up 41. Kansas put up 31 and KState put up 35. The Oklahoma defenses of old wouldn’t have allowed that many points. I think the OU offense is a good one, but their defense is below average this year, I think Texas has the best D in conference and I would rank that D nationally as average.

  68. I think the conferences need to get smaller rather than realign. Geography really is the best way to align, but having nine or ten team leagues with a national playoff is what should happen.

  69. They aren’t going to shrink conferences as long as they can make so much money with championship games. I would prefer that the NCAA change the rule so 10-team conferences can have championship games too, and then put pressure on the Big Eleven and the Pac 10 to get with the program. And the BCS should kick the Big Least out.

  70. Also, the ACC Championship Game should be held in a more suitable venue — I suggest a high school stadium, or a parking lot — until they can get teams that can fill up the big buildings.

  71. Well, I don’t disagree, really, but you have to add in a couple other things. The least important is that the Big 12 is also full of teams with horrible kickoff coverage. This has a marginal impact on the scores. But more importantly, Big 12 teams just think differently. They play faster and thus run more plays than most other conferences.

    Every single team in the Big 12 except NU and UT has faced significantly more plays than any team in the SEC. Some of the differences are huge. So it’s not just about the ability of the defenses to stop offenses, it’s about clock management, turnovers, time per possession and all the rest of it. If every team in the SEC was snapping the ball with 20 seconds left on the play clock every down like teams in the Big 12 do I’d guess the scores would be much higher.

  72. I’m not saying the CCGs will be nixed, only that they should. There’s less of a need for them when everyone plays each other. If you downsized and went to a four week playoff, my guess is the conferences could recoup more than enough to make up for getting rid of them, but I’ve always thought moneymaking was less a reason for college football’s conservatism than aversion to risk.

  73. Put Notre Dame in there too. Give the conference a bowl tie-in with the Sun Belt so the Domers can start winning one every few years.

  74. Mac #108–Actually you have described the Ivy League. It was a great cheer when UConn (finally)became competent enough to beat Yale….

  75. A tip of my still soggy cap to the gators………just an awesome team. I’ll be more than a little surprised if anyone can handle them. Aside from that expected loss, it was the puny ACC over the mighty SEC 3-1 yesterday. Keep the parking lot jokes comming Mac.

  76. I’m still not sure why People want to trade Flowers. They say catcher is a position of strength, but then what do you call the mess we had last year, and have had in previous years in finding a backup catcher? We all know McCann can’t keep playing as much as he has, what better way to fix that problem than to back him up with a right handed slugger? I have to believe there is a way to have him on the roster to back up McCann and still ply first or something, do he can be more involved. He’s exactly the kind of hitter this team needs and can’t seem to find on the market, yet people want rid of him.

  77. FWIW, the Music City Bowl peeps have changed their tune—it seems they have really soured on UK—and it’s looking like braves14 and Mac might have been right all along in predicting that VU will stay in Nashville for a bowl. It’s just as well, since I really have no desire to travel hundreds of miles to watch this offense. Even though I would.

    Mac,
    That’s the Magnolia League, which many, but not enough, people want to happen. Vanderbilt, Duke, Rice, Stanford, Northwestern, Tulane, Wake Forest, etc.

    david15,
    Vanderbilt’s defense is better than any in the Big XII, too.

  78. Bethany–I agree with you about Flowers’ potential which has actually been evident for a long time. I think that the desire to trade Flowers comes from the fact that he has not been hyped as much as Freeman. Therefore, some may think: Freeman is the guy we really want at 1b and McCann will stay as catcher. Watching Flowers for several seasons leads me to believe that he is for real.

    To be perfectly fair, it is entirely possible that Flowers will not make it in the majors (he is a prospect, after all) and if that is the case, then this is probably the best time to move him as he may be at peak value….

  79. 116–Maybe Emory University can resume serious sports to make the Magnolia League more feasible….

  80. It has nothing to do with a dearth of qualified schools and everything to do with schools being too chicken to leave SEC, ACC, Pac 10, etc. money.

  81. I don’t buy that, Stu. Vandy’s D isn’t terrible (like its offense), but if OU or Texas got to play against MSU, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kentucky in conference play they’d both be top ten in total defense.

    Plus, it helps keep down offensive numbers when your team never has a decent sized lead all year, resulting your second string defenders getting virtually no reps as a unit.

  82. More later when I’m in front of a computer, but having a putrid offense means having a tired defense, which makes it tougher to keep teams from scoring.

  83. From what I’ve gathered from DOB in his blog, it seems like Flowers is McCann’s replacement should he have to go on the DL.

  84. mraver,
    My BlackBerry. Yes, I’m so addicted to Braves Journal that I check (and comment on) it from my phone.

  85. If that’s the case, Nick, then the Braves seem to have more faith in his ability behind the plate than most scouts.

  86. “I’m still not sure why People want to trade Flowers. They say catcher is a position of strength, but then what do you call the mess we had last year, and have had in previous years in finding a backup catcher? We all know McCann can’t keep playing as much as he has, what better way to fix that problem “than to back him up with a right handed slugger? I have to believe there is a way to have him on the roster to back up McCann and still ply first or something, do he can be more involved. He’s exactly the kind of hitter this team needs and can’t seem to find on the market, yet people want rid of him.”

    this is why the first base/catcher platoon is brilliant for 2 offensively powered catchers. take flowers and mccann for example: mccann catches the #1, 2, and 4 starters, with flowers catching the 3 and 5. On the catching “off” day, they play first. then, have a 3rd catcher (completely defensive) for the once every other week spell for catching duties. this would allow each catcher to play 75 games behind the plate and 75 games at first base with about 10-12 complete breaks through the year. does it lower their value? absolutely not. to me, it would increase their value because it allows them to be exposed to multiple positions and keeps them healthy for a longer and more productive career.

  87. But the Braves aren’t going to do that and Flowers simply doesn’t have much value as a 40 games a year player, especially since the Braves also won’t use him to pinch-hit.

  88. “But the Braves aren’t going to do that and Flowers simply doesn’t have much value as a 40 games a year player, especially since the Braves also won’t use him to pinch-hit.”

    i know i’ve been pitching this for a few years (salty and bmac 2 years ago), but why is it such a forbidden strategy? can you remember a time when an organization had 2 offensively talented young catchers and have ever tried to utilize them, rather than trading one of the 2? i cant, and it dumbfounds me that someone wouldnt try this. it makes sense. every team, with a good offensive catcher, goes through what we go through with mccann. either they catch too much and wear down too quickly, or they take their needed breaks and the team suffers the black hole of an offense that is known as “the backup catcher”.
    unless the braves can actually get value out of trading flowers, it would be a waste of talent to not at least discuss the possibility of a 1b/catcher platoon.

  89. Historically, teams in that situation will either trade one (ala Santiago & Alomar in SD) or move one to another position (ala Torre & Simmons in SL). It’s not common (except for the Yankees in the Yogi years, when they had insane amounts of talent) and it’s weird that the Braves have now had two potential stars blocked by McCann.

  90. It’s about comfort, Ryan. Players tend to be more comfortable when they have a clearly defined role of where they’ll be everyday. Even though, in your scenario, they would know where they would play on a day-to-day basis, players want to play one position and stay there. It’s kinda difficult to get comfortable behind the plate when you’re being jerked around between first and catcher. That’s why bench players tend to play a bit better when they get full-time gigs; they simply get more comfortable. That, and you’re assuming that any old Joe can grab a first baseman’s mitt and jump over there. I know it’s the easiest position on the diamond according to Bill James and stuff, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually easy. And when a player is learning a new position, he will lose reps at his current position and in his hitting, which will ultimately make them not as valuable.

  91. I couldn’t be happier with the new UT staff. Lane is utterly unproven, and it’s safe to say I expect Monte to be completely useless on the recruiting front.

  92. UT has also hired Reaves from South carolina. The rumors going around about who will be picked up, it will be fine that Monte doens’t recruit. OF course the name “Monte Kiffin” alone will recruit.

    Monte Kiffin is the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Bucs and is reguarded as one of, if not the best, D coordinator in NFL history.

    I am sure he will have no problem finding a way to stop the spread.

    I was up in the air on hiring Lane Kiffin, but now that the staff is coming together, I am getting pumped!

    Go Vols!

  93. I think this guy is a lot smarter than Callahan and a much better recruiter. I guess Alabama will have to revert to cheating to keep up.

  94. I actually heard that Callahan could be their offensive coordinator. LOL.

    And, yeah, I know I’d be dying to go play for a 69-year-old if I were a high schooler.

  95. High schoolers are well known for their massive respect for nearly septuagenarian NFL coordinators whose last and only head coaching gig was before they were born. I’m also sure that Kiffin’s “speed over size” philosophy will work really well against Alabama’s power running game.

  96. Kiffin’ll get recruits if he wins. That’s all there is too it. Fulmer’s managed to set the bar pretty low lately, too.

    That said, I’m not exactly shakin in my khakis if I’m Urban Meyer.

  97. Well most NFL experts think Monte is one of the best coordinators in NFL history. His units are consistantly top 10 in the league. I am sure if he can stop NFL teams, the Alabama Crimson Tide will be much easier.

    Plus he inherits the best defensive player in the league, Eric Berry

  98. Defensive planning in the NFL is far easier than in the college game for several reasons:

    — The hashmarks, which keep you have having to defend the huge spaces that come up in college.
    — Roster sizes, which limit the situational substitution and specialization.
    — The two-feet-in-bounds rule, which effectively narrows the field.
    — The play clock and no stoppage for first downs, which greatly reduce the number of plays.
    — More and longer breaks during the periods (at the expense of shorter breaks between periods) which allow for regular rest for your players.
    — Less turnover, so you don’t have to break in 4-6 new regulars every year.

    But most importantly, the NFL talent level is so high that a number of things, most particularly the option, that work exceptionally well in college don’t in the NFL. Kiffin hasn’t had to plan against an option since the wishbone was state of the art. Meyer (or if it came up for some reason) Johnson would make mincemeat out of him.

  99. All NFL offenses are essentially the same, and getting more so every year. The personnel may be different, but they all do the same things, basically variations on Bill Walsh with some bits of Coryell and Gibbs mixed in.

  100. Stu-I had been thinking that Kentucky might not go to the MCB since they’d been there the last 2 years. But you had me temporarily convinced it wouldn’t be Vandy when you said you had inside sources before they changed their minds.

  101. When Kiffin is finished making this staff, Myer and Saban won’t be qualified enough to be on it.

    IF the college game is so much more complex than the NFL game, how come Saban and Spurrier failed in the NFL?

  102. Well, I did (and do) have inside sources, but apparently the MCB peeps can’t make up their minds about UK. My understanding is that it doesn’t even have anything to do with the fact that they’ve already been there the past 2 years.

  103. It’s different than the college game. It requires a different set of skills. In those two cases, Saban actually did quite well compared to the coaches the Dolphins had before and after him, but had trouble with player evaulation and drafting. Spurrier attempted to run the same offense he did in college, and it doesn’t work in the pros — see above, on NFL players’ athleticism.

    Moreover, I was referring, quite explicitly, to the job of coordinator and not to head coaches. NFL head coaches have a lot more to worry about than college ones do, particularly when the coaches also are in charge of personnel. “NFL head coach” is probably the most difficult non-playing job in sports.

  104. Why is “NFL head coach” the most difficult non-playing job in sports? I agree, but I’m just wondering why that is. With Spurrier, I always thought it was for two reasons: 1) The Fun-n-Gun doesn’t work in the NFL, and 2) He was a great recruiter in college, and with the help of the incredible amount of talent in Florida, that made him so successful. In the NFL, you don’t really “recruit”. What do you mean that NFL head coaches have a lot more to worry about than college ones do?

  105. Saban failed because after overachieving in year 1 he opted to trade for Daunte Culpepper instead of signing Drew Brees. Had he went with Brees he’d still be in the NFL and probably winning.

  106. Mostly? Nobody’s ever put a limit on what NFL coaches are allowed to do, while college coaches have a lot of limits. It’s an arms race, where the arms are “time”. If Bill Belichick is willing to work 90 hours a week, and you have to beat him, you have to work 90 hours a week. Also, head coaches take on a larger responsibility than they do in college. As you mention, recruiting is a big part of the head coach’s job, to the degree that the job of head coach in college is almost more the equivalent of being a general manager in the NFL. Coordinators are more responsible for the Xs and Os.

  107. I’m loving the Falcons’ defensive line. Not a great number of tackles recorded, but highly disruptive nonetheless. LT is finding out how hard it is to run when neither your tight end nor your fullback can block.

  108. Norv Turner is the biggest idiot I believe I’ve ever seen “Ok, I’ve got a young QB and the best running back in the league. I think I’ll make this into a passing team, and get rid of the best blocking fullback in the league in the process.” How does this man keep getting hired?

    Also, I’m loving the whole Falcons team this year, I couldn’t have imagined how good they would be playing and how fun they would be to watch.

  109. Stu, bad offenses can lead to tired defenses, but they don’t always, and if they’re ball control offenses they don’t even have to be very good to keep the defense fresh. What certainly does lead to tired defenses is facing more plays, which Big 12 teams do by a large margin. The Big 12 is like Nolan Richardson to the SEC’s Pete Carril. It’s just a much faster paced game, which is the main reason why a team like OU can give up almost exactly the same amount of yards per play as Vanderbilt and still average four more points per game allowed.

    So it’s just not easy to compare those defenses. Vanderbilt’s might be better, I don’t know, and you don’t either. The fact that OU is basically averaging as many points scored in the first quarter as Vanderbilt is the entire game sort of makes it obvious the defenses have played in vastly different contexts (it also makes the argument irrelevant, since OU would name its score against Vanderbilt or virtually any other SEC defense).

    The interesting argument to me is which style is actually better. I’d say teams like Vandy are playing about how they should be, but that UF would be undefeated right now if it extended the game by playing as fast as possible.

  110. So, the Falcons were actually a 4 point dog today to the 4-7 (coming into the game) Chargers today. Do they get respect yet?

  111. Nobody’s paying attention to them because they’re in a tough division and 3rd place. It’s going to be an interesting finish to the season.

  112. As a Redskins fan, just a note on Spurrier. He clearly was an idiot for trying to run a college offense in the NFL, especially with less-than-mediocre ex-Florida QBs who couldn’t get the ball down the field. Spurrier managed to get Patrick Ramsey nearly killed by not worrying about, uh, blocking. On the other hand, to be fair to Spurrier, he never had a GM here to get him players, as apparently he expected. Dan Snyder doesn’t believe in that sort of nonsense. I actually think Spurrier might have succeeded given enough time (and willingness) to adapt to the NFL and someone to actually bring in players. But, in general, NFL coaches have less control than college coaches and I think that frustrates guys from college. It’s also easier to mold 18/19 year olds who are often poor and are often desparate to make the NFL than guys in their 20s/30s who have made a lot of money. And, as Mac alluded to, they are, I think, surprised at just how good the talent is in the NFL and why things that worked in college don’t work in the pros.

  113. Well, in college, if your star quarterback gets arrested for dog fighting you just suspend him for the first quarter of the season opener against a division 2 school and then magically the charges will disappear.

    Also, Stu has some work to do, its already 11am EST and he doesn’t have 3 times more posts than the next closest commenter.

  114. If I can return to the Tyler Flowers theme from earlier in the thread, I have to think that he has surpassed Freddie Freeman in terms of prospect status. This is true even if he moves to first base. Flowers has great discipline and power. We do not even know yet if Freeman will be able to hit in Hi-A.

    Plus, as someone pointed out, Flowers is right handed.

    I think the “enthusiasm” regarding trading Flowers was a response to the idea that he could replace Escobar in a deal for Peavy. In much the same way that the AFL Flowers is worth more than the Low-A Freeman, our major league starting shortstop is more valuable than our AA slugger.

  115. Yeah, I’m a little disappointed in Stu.

    It seems that it’s just a totally different set of responsibilities for NFL head coaches compared to college coaches. I’ve kinda thought that the biggest thing is what Marc alluded to: control. College coaches oversee the roster and the development of his players more so than an NFL head coach. And whereas established NFL players kinda do their own thing, college players are bit more moldable.

  116. AFL numbers are basically irrelevant. Hitter’ number, especially.

    Scouts have a LOT of questions about Flowers defensively, and his ability to hit for average at the big-league level is not a foregone conclusion. He has enough power and plate discipline to still be a productive hitter if he can average .270, but we’re not talking about Ryan Howard here.

    We’ll see how Flowers does next year, but he’s just so huge that its hard to imagine him running the bases effectively 3 years from now, let alone sticking behind the plate.

  117. From my untrained perspective, the biggest difference between college and professional ball is that in the pros, your players are… professionals. In college, they’re college kids. As anyone who’s dealt with both types of people, professionals require far different types of instructions and motivations than college kids do. The latter are simply less mature, and if you treat them otherwise, you won’t get good results.

  118. I think Charlie Weiss is another big example of how different the college and pro coaching responsibilities are.

    Weiss was undeniably a successful professional coach (not head coach, but that’s OK.) The apparent reason for his success was his affinity for the X’s and O’s. When he got hired at ND he announced that he would be putting his team at a schematic advantage in every game. What he didn’t realize was that every player in the NFL has been coached up and is talented enough that they can learn and execute those complex systems. Not surprisingly it turns out that’s not the case in college.

    When Weiss was winning he was doing it with upperclassmen who had NFL talent. They were experienced and talented enough to absorb his concepts. The difference between a college freshman and an NFL rookie is so vast but Weiss evidently didn’t take that into account and he didn’t spend the time needed to coach up the fundamentals.

    To his credit, he realized that mistake midway through the 2007 season and tried to correct it. He just doesn’t appear to be well equipped for that sort of coaching.

  119. Weis is a perfect example of a coach more suited to the NFL.

    This idea that Monte Kiffin’s success as an NFL coordinator will automatically translate to the collegiate level is nearly as absurd as Vol fans that think Lane Kiffin is going to get elite Southern California athletes to come to Knoxville, Tennessee.

  120. What I don’t get is the argument that, because Monte Kiffin has been successful in the NFL, he’s particularly unlikely to succeed with college kids. He’s a good coach. If he can exhibit some personal flexibility, that should translate. If he can’t, it likely won’t. But I don’t know Monte Kiffin.

  121. As a Tennessee fan, I’m not entirely sold on Kiffin, either. He’s not the worst choice we could’ve made (Mike Leach, though everybody seemed to want him, would’ve been a complete disaster IMO), but he definitely wasn’t my top choice, either. So any Tennessee fan predicting SEC supremacy within two years is being at least a little bit naive. However, so are all you Alabama fans (and whoever else is joining in) who are wishfully all but predicting the collapse of the program.

    First of all, Lane Kiffin is not a lifetime NFL coach. He was one of USC’s top assistants just a few years ago. His experience is more college-based than NFL-based. If not for his ill-fated (and likely ill-advised) stint in Oakland, nobody would be thinking of him that way, and based on how that went, I think his skills might be better suited for the college game, anyway. And as far as the recruiting goes, Tennessee is already a national recruiter, and I think you might be surprised at the number of recruits we get out of Southern California. Will all of them want to come? Of course not. But he’ll get some of them. Fulmer was getting some of them and he started with no real built-in advantage out there.

    Now, as far as Monte Kiffin goes, is it a sure-thing, done-deal that he will be successful? Absolutely not, and anyone who thinks so is, again, being a bit naive. But a couple things here:

    1)The Bill Callahan of the SEC? Really? Bill Callahan went into Nebraska, with a power option system, and attempted to change them into a West Coast offense team overnight. And he pissed all over the tradition while he was doing it. He stopped giving out black shirts, for instance, which had been a long-standing Nebraska tradition. If you look at our personnel, the Tampa 2 or Cover 2 or whatever iteration he plans on using isn’t really too big of a stretch for our current personnel. And there’s no reason to think he and Lane will just strip all the tradition out of the program, is there? The Bill Callahan of the SEC is a big stretch.

    2)Speed over size won’t work? The most successful SEC defenses (and college defenses period) over the last 10 years at least have all been built on speed over size. LSU’s defense since Saban up until last year was the fastest defense I’ve ever seen, and among the nation’s best. Tennessee’s defense in the late 90s and early this decade was built on speed. Alabama’s defense in ’92 was built on speed. Speed works. I do not see a defense on par with those that I mentioned in the SEC this year. Perhaps that’s why Alabama’s power running game has worked so well.

    And also, to just assume that one of the most successful defensive coordinators in football history will not do well is also being a bit naive, don’t you think? He has coached in college before. And even if he hadn’t, don’t you think that we should wait and see before already proclaiming him a failure? And I’m pretty sure that he’s not gonna be in charge of recruiting, either. It’ll be Lane and his recruiting cooradinator (and that won’t be Monte). If we were hiring Monte Kiffin as head coach, you would probably be right, but we’re not.

    I’m intrigued by this hire, and we’ll just have to see how it goes, but predicting blanket success or blanket failure at this point is going way, way overboard.

  122. I’d like to declare December 1st as Stu Appreciation Day!

    If I’m trying to catch the gist of a thread that has contiued over several calendar days, I usually look for Stu’s name. I know I’ll soon be on track.

  123. Mraver – I know it’s a smaller sample size and a very short season, but I think one gains perspective if they compare Flowers’ numbers to the league. Plus, his peripherals project well for him. Hard to tell if the guy will stay in shape or develop physical limitations. That is, I think he is going to be pretty good.

    Now, if the Braves do end up trading the guy, it is important to remember 1) he is no sure thing (read – “prospect”), 2) he is blocked at this current position, and 3) we would be trading him at his highest value to date.

  124. STU! STU! STU!

    Here’s to Stu and his cogent and well-reasoned posts. May they be numerous and lengthy forevermore.

  125. Never you, AAR. Never.

    Kevin, Smitty, and Coop: Thanks! I’m blushing. And crying.

    Incidentally, though, Coop, which of my posts have you found cogent and well-reasoned? I’d like to duplicate those, too.

  126. I’m thinking Monte Kiffin won’t be that great of a recruiter.

    I’m also more than a little disappointed that my efforts to hijack those same multiple-day-spanning threads are going unappreciated. If not for me you guys would undoubtedly fall beneath the weight and constant pressure that apparently is Stu’s logic and cognition.

  127. Parish-

    You can compare him to whatever you want, but every year, there are players who absolutely tear up the AFL and amount to nothing.

  128. Jake Golic was the latest kid to be named to the Army All-American game. He is an ND commit.

    http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=883735

    Here are his credentials: He is a 2-star TE. Although he is not ranked nationally by Rivals as a TE, he is ranked as the #7 overall recruit in the talent-rich state of Connecticut. In fact, he is the second overall rated 2-star in the entire state.

    He is not the lowest rated recruit ND has this year, there is a kicker rated below him (although they also have a kicker commit rated above him).

    Lastly, he boasts a bench max as high as 220 lbs. This, gentlemen, is an Army All-American.

  129. That’s a double whammy for undeserved high school All-American status, because not only is he a Notre Dame commit, he’s also the son of Mike Golic.

  130. He probably doesn’t even deserve the second of the two stars, but that ND commitment catapulted him out of the 1 star range and into the stratosphere.

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