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Around the SEC

SEC Power Rankings: Week 3

KSR’s SEC Power Rankings return this week with some drastic changes from a week ago. Those changes are in part because I took over the role as ranker for this one, but also because of some very notable wins (and losses) across the conference.


1. Alabama (3-0)

Beat Colorado State, 41-23; Previous Week: 1

Alabama is in the top spot in the power rankings for one more week before it drops a couple spots next week after a loss at Vanderbilt.

Kidding.

Kind of.

2. Mississippi State (3-0)

Beat LSU, 37-3; Previous Week: 6

Mississippi State jumped all the way up to No. 2 from No. 6 after blowing out LSU, last week’s No. 2, in Starkville.

Nick Fitzgerald is the real deal and will enter the Heisman race if he has another big game this weekend when the Bulldogs travel to Georgia.

3. Georgia (3-0)

Beat Samford, 42-14; Previous Week: 3

Georgia didn’t do much to improve its stock after beating an FCS team (and failing to cover), but 3-0 is 3-0 and that win at Notre Dame is still one of the SEC’s best out-of-conference performances this season.

4. Vanderbilt (3-0)

Beat Kansas State, 14-7; Previous Rank: 10

Vanderbilt? At fourth? Yep. The ‘Dores saw a huge jump in the rankings after upsetting No. 18 Kansas State for the program’s first win over a ranked non-SEC opponent in 71 years. Vandy is now 3-0 for the first time since 2011 with its sights set on Alabama.

Defensive lineman Nifae Lealao said, “Alabama, you’re next.”

Easy there, bud.

5. Kentucky (3-0)

Beat South Carolina, 23-13; Previous Rank: 12

Another team with a huge jump up the rankings is Kentucky following its win at South Carolina as a touchdown underdog. The Gamecocks crowd was at its best and Carolina’s captains wouldn’t shake hands before the game, but UK dominated from start to finish — if we consider the ‘start’ as being after the Cats allowed a TD on the first play of the game and then turned it over twice.

6. Florida (1-1)

Beat Tennessee, 26-20; Previous Rank: 8

Did you see that Hail Mary? Wow, what a finish.

7. Tennessee (2-1)

Lost to Florida, 20-26; Previous Rank: 7

Did you see that Hail Mary? Wow, how do you let the receiver get behind you? Idiots.

8. Auburn (2-1)

Beat Mercer, 24-10; Previous Rank: 4

Auburn’s only loss was at Clemson, so its resume still looks good; however, the product Auburn has put on the field for three straight weeks, has not.

9. LSU (2-1)

Lost to Mississippi State, 3-37; Previous Rank: 2

LSU’s loss to Mississippi State was its worst to an unranked opponent since 1943. Coach O is now on the hot seat, and that saddens me.

10. South Carolina (2-1)

Lost to Kentucky, 13-23; Previous Rank: 5

The Deebo Samuel injury is a tough one to swallow. You gotta feel for that guy and the team that will move on without its star player.

11. Arkansas (1-1)

No game; Previous Rank: 9

Arkansas had the week off, so it drops two spots for resting. Want to move up? Beat A&M in Jerry World this weekend.

12. Ole Miss (2-1)

Lost to California, 16-27; Previous Rank: 11

Note to all SEC schools: if you’re going to travel across the country to face a second tier Pac-12 team, don’t lose.

But if you do lose, at least look like you’re capable of playing competitive football.

13. Texas A&M (2-1)

Beat Louisiana-Lafayette, 45-21; Previous Rank: 14

Sure, Texas A&M beat Louisiana-Lafayette by 24; but did you know A&M trailed at the half? Throw in the Aggies’ Week 1 disaster and then a close one against Nicholls in Week 2, and it’s the beginning of the end for Kevin Sumlin. Might as well go ahead and fire him if you ask me.

14. Missouri (1-2)

Lost to Purdue, 35-3; Previous Rank: 13

Missouri is an embarrassment to the league. Can we ship it back to the Big 12 until it remembers how to play football?


Suspended Florida Players Reportedly up for Felony Charges

A credit card fraud case could put suspended Florida football players behind bars.

According to The Read Optional, the nine football players who are facing allegations of having misused school funds could be arrested as early as the end of this week on charges of felony grand theft.

Florida head coach Jim McElwain and athletic director Scott Stricklin have yet to provide any specifics on the case, but the report’s sources shed a little more light on the matter.

“The investigation began back in mid-August when seven players were suspended indefinitely from team activities for purchasing electronic items with their school debit cards, selling them for cash, then claiming the cards as stolen.”

The seven players repaid the lost money, but it did not reach the total.  That led the investigation to two more players, star running back Jordan Scarlett and wide receiver Rick Wells.

The other players involved are wide receiver Antonio Callaway, freshman linebacker James Houston, freshman offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort, freshman linebacker Ventrell Miller, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Smith, junior defensive end Keivonnis Davis, and redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones.

With or without the nine players, Florida will take on Kentucky at Kroger Field Saturday night at 7:30.

[The Read Optional]


WATCH: Pregame Tailgate Lot Fight at South Carolina

WATCH: Pregame Tailgate Lot Fight at South Carolina

Kentucky’s game at South Carolina got ugly prior to the kickoff, and I’m not talking about the contentious coin toss.

In the tailgate lots surrounding Williams-Brice Stadium, a gruesome brawl broke out between fans.  The good news: it does not appear that any Kentucky fans were involved in the melee.

The two heroes of the fight: the guy who took more than ten seconds to remove his shirt and the peacemaker who showed off his best Chip Diller impression.


LOOK: South Carolina students back with another incest joke about Kentucky

LOOK: South Carolina students back with another incest joke about Kentucky

I’m starting to think the only jokes South Carolina students know are incest jokes. After a banner was spotted on South Carolina’s campus yesterday listing Kentucky Bachelor contestants as “sister, niece, and cousin,” another banner went up today with the caption, “What do you call a virgin from UK? An only child”:

A live look at my reaction:

For our sake, I hope the Gamecocks are just as good at football as their student body is at comedy.


Alabama fan worries quarterback from Hawaii is struggling with “language barrier”

Alabama fan worries quarterback from Hawaii is struggling with “language barrier”

Today in “stupid”: an Alabama fan took to a message board to express his concern that Tua Tagovailoa, the Crimson Tide’s backup quarterback from the state of Hawaii, was having problem with his “transition to the states.”

In a post entitled, “Tua – Language Barrier,” the poster said he wanted to address the “elephant in the room,” aka Tua’s apparent communication struggles, presumably which stem from him being from the faraway foreign country of Hawaii:

@BenReiter

Sigh. After reading the last line, part of me was “wandering” if this is fake, but then again, it’s Alabama football fans, so probably not.


KSR’s SEC Power Rankings: Week 2

Week two in the SEC meant plenty of cupcakes, but some teams handled the low hurdle better than others. Here are my power rankings for the league heading into an all-important week three:

1. Alabama (2-0)

Beat Fresno State 41-10; Previous Week: 1

Alabama remains at top with a routine win over Fresno State. Just get used to seeing them at the top.

2. LSU (2-0)

Beat Chattanooga 45-10; Previous Week: 2

I’m keeping LSU at No. 2 after a rout of Chattanooga, but there’s one team nipping at their heels this week. We’ll find out a lot more about Coach O’s squad when they take on Mississippi State in Starkville this weekend.

3. Georgia (2-0)

Beat Notre Dame 20-19; Previous Week: 4

With true freshman QB Jake Fromm making his first start on the road against a ranked Notre Dame team, a loss would have been understandable; however, Fromm and the Dawgs stood tall and got a statement win, bumping them into the top three of this week’s rankings. This catch by Terry Godwin is an early frontrunner for catch of the year:

4. Auburn (1-1)

Lost to Clemson 14-6; Previous Rank: 3

I’m not going to drop Auburn down too far for losing to the defending national champions on the road. Yes, QB Jarrett Stidham got sacked 11 times, but that’s against one of the best defensive lines in the country. Still, in a stacked SEC West, Auburn’s offense has to be better than that.

5. South Carolina (2-0)

Beat Missouri 31-13; Previous Rank: 5

South Carolina was actually the underdog on the road vs. Missouri, but they managed to hold the Tigers, who scored 72 points the week before, to 13. The Gamecocks still have issues, yes, but they’re on the cusp of their best start since 2012, making this weekend’s showdown with Kentucky absolutely huge, on both sides.

6. Mississippi State (2-0)

Beat Louisiana Tech 57-12; Previous Rank: 7

This is where the rankings get tricky. The Bulldogs whooped up on lowly Louisiana Tech, but man, they can put up some points; 106 over their first two games, in fact. We’ll see what they can really do vs. LSU this weekend. In the meantime, I will continue to marvel at how Louisiana Tech went from 2nd and goal to 3rd and 93:

My word. That is just painful to watch.

7. Tennessee (2-0)

Beat Indiana State 42-7; Previous Rank: 9

I refuse to buy stock in the Vols until I see them play Florida this weekend; however, after a 35-point win, I couldn’t justify keeping them below Arkansas, who lost to TCU, and the Gators, who didn’t even play.

8. Florida (0-1)

Game canceled due to Hurricane Irma; Previous Rank: 8

As mentioned, Irma gave the Gators an extra week to prepare for Tennessee. Today, it was confirmed that the game will take place as scheduled in Gainesville on Saturday, setting up one of the best games in a loaded weekend.

9. Arkansas (1-1)

Lost to TCU 28-7; Previous Rank: 6

Arkansas couldn’t get anything going vs. TCU, with quarterback Austin Allen connecting on only nine passes for 138 yards. Their kicker also missed two field goals, one from 19 yards and one from 23 yards. This fan’s face says it all:

10. Vanderbilt (2-0)

Beat Alabama A&M 42-0; Previous Rank: 10

Vandy looked good for the second straight week, shutting out Alabama A&M 42-0. Sure, Alabama A&M is an FCS team, but so is EKU, and we know how Kentucky struggled against them.

11. Ole Miss (2-0)

Beat UT-Martin 45-23; Previous Rank: 12

The Rebels’ defense is suspect, but their offense is impressive, with QB Shea Patterson setting a school record for passing yards (489) vs. UT-Martin.

12. Kentucky (2-0)

Beat Eastern Kentucky 27-16; Previous Rank: 11

Kentucky’s first half vs. EKU was abysmal, but they pulled it together in the second half thanks to improved line play and an assertive performance from Stephen Johnson. Again, this weekend’s game vs. South Carolina will tell us a lot.

13. Missouri (1-1)

Lost to South Carolina 31-13; Previous Rank: 13

The buzz around the Tigers died down once they faced a real defense. After putting up 72 points vs. FCS Missouri State, the Tigers managed only 13 vs. South Carolina. In their first two games, they’ve allowed 74 points, prompting Barry Odom to fire defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross. Yikes.

14. Texas A&M (1-1)

Beat Nicholls State 24-14; Previous Rank: 14

After blowing their opener vs. UCLA in spectacular fashion, Texas A&M struggled at home vs. Nicholls State. Again, I think the Aggies are probably better than Missouri and some other teams in the lower tier, but they’ve got to prove it, and a 10-point win over an FCS team don’t impress me much. (And yes, I realize Kentucky only beat EKU by 11.)


Georgia fans turned down thousands of dollars to stay on flight to Notre Dame

Georgia fans turned down thousands of dollars to stay on flight to Notre Dame

Georgia will face Notre Dame for the first time since the 1981 Sugar Bowl tomorrow, and Georgia’s fans are rolling deep to South Bend with no intentions of being late to the weekend.

Delta airlines tested those fans when it overbooked a flight from Athens this morning. The airline offered money to anyone willing to step off and catch a later flight, which still would’ve gotten them to South Bend tonight, but it took $4,000 to find a volunteer.

The entire flight turned down $2,200 and then $2,800…

Then $3,000…

Finally, a woman stepped forward and took the $4,000 bribe to give up her seat.

If this were a trip to a major Kentucky basketball game, how much would it take for you to step off and jump on a later flight? Keep in mind, the next flight was only a couple of hours behind.

I would’ve jumped at one of the early offers because I like free vacations.


KSR’s SEC Power Rankings: Week 1

KSR’s SEC Power Rankings: Week 1

With week one of college football in the books, what did we learn about the SEC? Quite a few things, actually. Let’s jump right into our SEC Power Rankings, starting with the obvious:

1. Alabama (1-0)

24-7 win over Florida State

Bama rolled over No. 3 Florida State, looking every bit as dominant as you imagined. Diehard Alabama fans will find things to nitpick, but the Crimson Tide may not face a real test until LSU on November 4. If you missed it, Damien Harris blocked a punt AND got a touchdown:

Man, that kid’s good.

2. LSU (1-0)

27-0 win over BYU

I’m giving the edge to LSU here over Auburn because not only did they shut out BYU, they held them to negative rushing yardage while rushing for almost 300 yards on their own. That’s ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the ESPN crew’s Ed Orgeron impressions:

3. Auburn (1-0)

41-7 win over Georgia Southern

Auburn had no problems with Georgia Southern at home, racking up 535 yards of offense to Georgia Southern’s 78. They’ll get a bigger test vs. Clemson on Saturday.

4. Georgia (1-0)

31-10 win over Appalachian State

Starting quarterback Jacob Eason went down with a knee injury, and although it doesn’t appear to be too serious, freshman Jake Fromm has been thrust into the spotlight. Fromm looked good vs. App. State, but what will happen when he faces bigger, better foes? Or, when Eason returns?

5. South Carolina (1-0)

35-28 win over NC State

South Carolina backed up all the buzz they got at SEC Media Days with an impressive win over a legit foe. Jake Bentley looks like the real deal, and Kentucky’s trip to Columbia on September 16 looks even more daunting. Muschamp was the Muschamp of old when he tried to fire the company that makes the headsets after they didn’t work in the first half:

6. Arkansas (1-0)

49-7 win over Florida A&M

Arkansas looked dominant vs. Florida A&M, but they’re an FCS team, so it doesn’t tell us much. We’ll find out more against TCU this weekend.

7. Mississippi State (1-0)

49-0 win over Charleston Southern

The Bulldogs had one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the league this week, with 274 yards passing and 281 yards rushing, while holding FCS squad Charleston Southern to 33 total yards. Like Arkansas, it’s hard to tell if the Bulldogs are legit yet given the competition.

8. Florida (0-1)

33-17 loss to Michigan

The Gators lost to Michigan, yes, but when you consider 10 players were out due to suspension, including their top returning running back and wide receiver, a 16-point loss to what is now considered a top 10 squad doesn’t seem so bad.

9. Tennessee (1-0)

42-41 win over Georgia Tech

It’s really hard for me to take the Vols seriously after the motivational trash can, but they did come back to beat a good Georgia Tech team. As Kentucky learned the hard way in the TaxSlayer Bowl, that triple option is no joke. The motivational trash can is:

(more…)


(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Tennessee had a motivational trash can on the sidelines last night and it was perfect

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Tennessee somehow beat Georgia Tech last night, but the real story was a trash can on the Volunteers’ sideline, which became the perfect symbol for the program in Butch Jones’ fifth season.

The trash can — decorated in the Vols’ signature orange and white checkerboard and the motto “HTB” (“Hunt the Ball”) — was meant to motivate the defense to force turnovers. An assistant coach held the trash can in the air when the Vols were on defense, and after forcing a turnover, the Tennessee players came over and dunked the ball into it. It was just as ridiculous as it sounds, and in the long list of Butch Jones’ cheesy gimmicks, by far the worst.

Tennessee may have stolen the win from Georgia Tech, but the Vols gave up 41 points and 655 total yards (535 yards rushing) on 96 plays. As Tennessee struggled, the trash can became an easy target on Twitter:

Again, the Vols got the win, but a trash can? Only Butch Jones would think that’s a good symbol to use for his defense. This is the man that gave us the “brick by brick” metaphor, which Farm Bureau Insurance made into an ad back in 2013:

And who can forget when he told reporters last year that while his seniors may not have won the SEC East, “they’ve won the biggest championship — that’s the championship of life.”

Tv GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

And then, in February, Butch justified his 17th ranked recruiting class by saying the “only five-star that we even concern ourselves with is a five-star heart.”

Lol GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

Really, we should have seen the trash can coming. After all, as our favorite Alabama fan said eight years ago, Neyland Stadium is a garbage truck workers’ convention:

 


Weird, Wacky and Wonderful: college football is back

Weird, Wacky and Wonderful: college football is back

Following a few long months of drought, fans across the country can finally rejoice – college football is back. Although yesterday’s main focus for most of the BBN was obviously the Kentucky-Southern Miss game, there were plenty of other match-ups. But most importantly, there were some… interesting stories. Take a look at a few of the weirdest, wackiest and most wonderful storylines from Saturday football.

The wild fox in Baylor’s stadium

Before Baylor lost to Liberty (yes, you read that correctly), fans had another problem to worry about. Inside McLane Stadium, a wild fox was seen (and video-taped) running through the bleachers. Apparently, this problem is nothing new for the Big 12, as foxes have also been spotted inside multiple Texas Tech games.

The wild animal was not a good luck charm for Baylor, and the 33-point favorites lost to Liberty with a final score of 48-45. But let’s not let the embarrassing loss and the critter distract us from the fact that over 30 Baylor football players have been accused of over 50 acts of rape throughout four years. A fox may be the least of their worries.

Spotted: Cam Newton’s long-lost twin

During Saturday’s game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State, fans couldn’t help but draw comparisons between FSU’s quarterback Deondre Francois and NFL player Cam Newton. But not because of their styles of play – simply because of how they look while wearing a helmet. Seriously, it’s like magic.

Helmet off: no resemblance.

FOX Sports

Helmet on: they could be brothers.

Unfortunately, Francois left the game late in the 4th quarter due to an apparent left knee injury. The severity of the injury is still unknown. Losing their starting quarterback in the opening game of the season would be a devastating loss for the Seminoles. Knee injuries are nothing to mess around with, so here’s to a speedy recovery for Francois.

In other news, Cam Newton actually does have a brother currently playing college football. And where was he last night? Caylin Newton was leading his team to the biggest upset in college football history. The younger Newton, who plays QB for Howard University in Washington, D.C., completed 15 of his 26 passes for 140 yards, ran for 190 yards and had three touchdowns and one interception. Howard closed as a 45.5-point underdog, but Newton and his team came out victorious with a final score of 43-40 over UNLV.

Alabama’s Raekwon Davis rallies after “minor” injury

That is… if you call a gunshot wound “minor.” The defensive lineman was shot in the right leg last Sunday morning in Tuscaloosa, according to local authorities. Still, the sophomore is a key component for the Tide’s defense and found a way to play against Florida State less than a week later. Not only did he play, but he also recorded a sack.

Former Kentucky native and UK target Damien Harris also took the college football world by storm, racking up a blocked punt and an 11-yard TD run in Bama’s 24-7 victory over FSU.

Here’s the touchdown:

And the blocked punt:

In case you missed it…

Louisville is still being Louisville. This doesn’t even fit into “weird, wacky and wonderful.” It’s just gross.

I don’t have anything else to say about this.

As far as the actual UofL football team goes, first-year coach Jeff Brohm and his Purdue Boilermaker squad came this close to knocking off the Cards last night.

Purdue led 14-10 at halftime, and had it been for a few conversions and balls bounced their way, they were in position to finish out the game on top. Louisville fumbled the ball at the goal line, last touched by Purdue, but was awarded the touchdown on the play. Had the call been correctly ruled a fumble and touchback with Purdue receiving the ball, the momentum would have been too much for the Cardinals to overcome.

Two crucial Purdue interceptions at the end of the game blew any chance of a possible upset. (25-point favorite) Louisville came out on top 35-28.

They may not have won, but it was a massive statement for Brohm to put up a fight like that in his debut.

Jeff Badet impresses at Oklahoma

The former Kentucky player made his debut for the Sooners last night, and he definitely delivered. Badet recorded four catches for 91 yards, making him the second most productive receiver for Oklahoma Saturday night. The senior helped OU easily defeat UTEP 56-7

Although it’s hard to watch Badet thrive somewhere other than Kentucky – especially when we could have used this explosiveness on offense – the BBN is a classy bunch, and I know we wish him nothing but the best.


Did I cover everything? Did you see something else that’s weird, wacky or wonderful? Let me know! College football is back, and I know we couldn’t be happier.

@MaggieDavisKSR


The OTT Podcast: SEC Mascot Mortal Kombat

The OTT Podcast: SEC Mascot Mortal Kombat

To get you ready for college football season, Tyler Thompson and Fake Barney break down the SEC as only they can: a bracket pitting the league’s mascots against each other. Who would win in a fight between an actual tiger and a bulldog? A gator and a wildcat? Tune in to hear their picks. Highlights include:

— Which of the league’s three tigers is the fiercest?

— How Florida made their mascot a complete wuss

— Why Mr. Commodore has no chance even though he’s the only human in the field

— Is it time for The Wildcat to get a new costume?

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Play along with the bracket above, and click through the jump to see who we chose as the winner.

(more…)


You can bet on the first SEC coach to get fired

It’s Christmas time for sports bettors with options aplenty to gamble your hard-earned money across college football.

One of the many gambling options is to wager on the first coach in the Southeastern Conference to get fired, which sounds fun for everyone but the coaches.

Here are the odds from BetOnline.ag:

SEC Coach Odds
Butch Jones, Tennessee +140
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M +140
Gus Malzahn, Auburn +600
Ed Orgeron, LSU +800
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt +1200
Mark Stoops, Kentucky +1200
Barry Odom, Missouri +1200
Bret Bielema, Arkansas +1600
Will Muschamp, South Carolina +2000
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State +2500
Jim McElwain, Florida +4000
Kirby Smart, Georgia +5000
Nick Saban, Alabama +5000

(via @BarrettSallee)


WATCH: Alabama freshman WR makes insane one-handed catch

Jerry Jeudy is entering his freshman season at Alabama and he is already making noise as a potential threat in the passing game behind stud wideout Calvin Ridley.

Today, Jeudy drew even more attention to himself with an insane one-handed catch during Alabama’s practice.

He said on Twitter that he is working on his Odell Beckham Jr.

Good to see Alabama has some young talent on its roster. I was really worrying about Nick Saban’s program down there in Tuscaloosa.


@LSU

LSU has a new tiger mascot and it’s adorable

@LSU

Last October, LSU lost its live tiger mascot, Mike VI, to cancer. This morning, they unveiled his replacement, Mike VII, aka Harvey, a beautiful 11-month old Siberian-Bengal male tiger. Mike VII arrived on campus last week and seems to be settling into his new home just fine:

@LSUpix

@LSUpix

@LSUpix

@LSUpix

Those photos are guaranteed to be better than 98% of the eclipse pics you see today.


Nick Saban couldn’t care less about the solar eclipse

Are you totally over today’s solar eclipse? So is Nick Saban. When asked what his plans were for catching the first eclipse visible in the mainland United States since 1979, Alabama’s head coach said he just plans to watch it on TV.

“We’ll set it up so if the players want to go out there and get some sunglasses and look at it, I guess they can,” Saban told reporters. “That’s not something that I’m really that focused on right now. I watch the Weather Channel every day and they already said what it’s going to look like in every city in America. So what’s going to be significant? If you watch the Weather Channel, you can see what it’s going to be like in Portland, Oregon.”

Saban actually has a lake house in the path of totality in Clayton, Georgia, but Saban being Saban, he’s not bothering to drive out there for something silly like science.

“Clayton, Georgia is the number one place in the country to have 100 percent,” he said. “My house there is probably going to be the only empty house on the lake. I’m gonna watch it on TV.”

Leave it to Saban to be the Debbie Downer.

[ESPN]


Les Miles and Steve Spurrier teaming up to bring SEC Nation to life

Les Miles and Steve Spurrier teaming up to bring SEC Nation to life

Have no fear, college football; Les Miles and Steve Spurrier are back. Sort of.

This morning, the SEC Network announced that Miles will be a guest analyst on SEC Nation the first Saturday of the season at the Advocare Classic, which pits Florida vs. Michigan at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Miles, of course, was the longtime coach at LSU, but was also a player and coach at Michigan, so he’ll have plenty of knowledge to dish out, along with his trademark quips and wit.

If that’s not enough to make you tune in from 9 a.m. to noon on September 2, Steve Freaking Spurrier will also make an appearance. Honestly, I’m not sure the set can contain the two, nor will I be able to contain my excitement should they start telling stories.

The turf on the field at AT&T Stadium is obviously fake, but will that stop Miles from trying it out?

 


If SEC Football Coaches were Game of Thrones Characters…

If SEC Football Coaches were Game of Thrones Characters…

Football is coming, and when you think about it, Game of Thrones and the SEC are pretty similar; both revolve around turf wars, brutality, and a never-ending race for first second place. Which Game of Thrones characters do the league’s coaches most resemble? I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this today, so here goes.

** WARNING: This post includes spoilers for the entire series up until now (Season 7, Episode 3). If you’re not there yet and don’t want to be spoiled, STOP READING. You have been warned. **

 

Nick Saban: Cersei Lannister

Like Cersei, Saban is currently on the throne in the SEC and seems to have the upper hand on his enemies. Also like Cersei, Saban rarely shows emotion and is ruthless in battle. While both excel at defense (Cersei isn’t afraid to use wildfire), they allow others to orchestrate their offense. Cersei lets her brother/lover Jamie handle the ground forces and Euron Greyjoy the naval fleet, similar to how Saban allowed Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian to run his offense last year. Kiffin may be gone now, but he’s definitely college football’s Euron Greyjoy.


Jim McElwain: Daenerys Targaryen

Comparing Jim McElwain to Khaleesi may seem like a stretch when you look at the two, but stay with me. Like Daenerys, McElwain came out of obscurity to rule the East/Essos. While both have very talented squads, their inexperience shows on the big stage. Florida got trounced by Alabama in the SEC Championship game last year, and although Khaleesi’s got three dragons, her forces just took a major hit. Additionally, as McElwain proved at SEC Media Days when asked about the shark humping picture, neither have a sense of humor.

Speaking of, both love to ride animals. (JUST KIDDING JIM)


Kirby Smart: Jon Snow

It took six seasons for Jon Snow to become King of the North, and it feels like it took that long for Georgia to get rid of Mark Richt and hire Kirby Smart. The Saban pupil didn’t have the greatest first year in Athens, but like Snow, he’s proven to be a great recruiter. The media picked Georgia to win the East, just as many are picking Snow to be one of the last standing in the ultimate battle for the throne.


Mark Stoops: Sansa Stark

Both redheads have gone through a lot over the past few seasons, but both have survived. In fact, with Sansa holding down the fort at Winterfell and Stoops coming off his best year yet, things are looking up for the fiery duo, who are emerging from the shadows of their more famous siblings. Unfortunately, both have to deal with a creeper lurking in the shadows in Littlefinger/Bobby Petrino.


Dan Mullen: The Hound

Like the Hound, Mullen’s practically been to hell and back in his nine years in Starkville. Last season, he had to replace practically his entire squad — including Dak Prescott — but managed to get his team to its seventh straight bowl game. Neither will win any beauty pageants, but both Mullen and the Hound have the resiliency it takes to survive…although the Riverlands are a lot nicer than Starkville.


Gus Malzahn: Arya Stark

Both are the “little sisters” in their realms but could prove to be major players this season. Outside of Hot Pie and Ed Sheeran, no one really knows what Arya’s been up to lately, but she’s sneaky dangerous and is gunning for Cersei, just as Malzahn is gunning for Saban.


Bret Bielema: The Mountain

Both have a lot of — yeah, I got nothing other than they’re both big.


Hugh Freeze: Joffrey Baratheon

Both Freeze and Joffrey are out of the picture now due to their own stupidity. Joffrey was poisoned for his cruelty, while Freeze was fired after Ole Miss found out he was calling an escort service from his university-issued cell phone…which, actually sounds like something Joffrey would do as well.


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Ranking Kentucky Football’s 2017 Road Trips

Ranking Kentucky Football’s 2017 Road Trips

Kentucky has five away games on the schedule this season; which qualifies as the best road trip? With a month until the season opener in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, odds are you may be asking yourself that same question. As someone who loves football road trips and this great region we call the South, I’m here to help. I ranked the five road games based on five factors on a scale of 1-5 (1 being worst, 5 being best):

  • Proximity to Lexington
  • Winnability
  • Stadium/tailgating scene
  • Food/drink scene
  • Intangibles (the one thing that makes that place unique to any other)

Here are the candidates:

  • Southern Miss (September 2, Hattiesburg, Mississippi)
  • South Carolina (September 16, Columbia, South Carolina)
  • Mississippi State (October 21, Starkville, Mississippi)
  • Vanderbilt (November 11, Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Georgia (November 18, Athens, Georgia)

Let’s break them down one by one.

Southern Miss (September 2, Hattiesburg, Mississippi)

Proximity to Lexington: 1

Hattiesburg is 634 miles from Lexington, which, according to Google Maps, is a 9 hour 38 minute drive through Nashville and Birmingham on I-65 S and I-59 S. That’s a LONG drive. Flights aren’t great either. As you might expect, there’s no nonstop from Bluegrass Airport to Hattieburg-Laurel Regional Airport, so the best you can do is a $400-$550 series of connecting flights with a minimum travel time of almost seven hours. Woof.

Winnability: 5

Of all five games, this is the most winnable, despite the fact that Southern Miss beat the Cats in Lexington last year. As Freddie Maggard has dutifully warned you, Southern Miss still has star RB Ito Smith, but after being humiliated in last season’s opener, I expect the Cats to go down to Hattiesburg and take care of business.

Stadium/tailgating scene: 2

M.M. Roberts Stadium, aka “The Rock,” seats 36,000 and was renovated in 2008 to enclose the south end zone and add luxury suites. I have never been, but it looks like a nice stadium for a school of Southern Miss’ size; in fact, from pictures, it looks way nicer than Vanderbilt Stadium. That being said, it’s nowhere near the three other stadiums on the list, so I’ll give it a 2.

Food/drink scene: 2

Again, haven’t been to Hattiesburg yet, but Google suggests it has some decent restaurants and watering holes. Crescent City Grill, Keg & Barrel, and Cotton Blues seem to be popular spots. Yet, other than Starkville, Hattiesburg pales in comparison to the rest of the towns on this list.

Intangibles: 3

The one thing Hattiesburg has going for it? It’s less than two hours from New Orleans, an hour and a half from Gulfport/other Mississippi coastal towns, and three hours from Gulf Shores and Pensacola. Given that the game falls on Labor Day weekend, you can definitely make a trip out of it via one of those destinations. Personally, I would go for New Orleans, especially since the UK Alumni Association down there is chartering a bus to take fans to and from Hattiesburg the game. Yes, food and drinks are allowed.

Total score for Southern Miss: 13/25


South Carolina (September 2, Columbia, South Carolina)

Proximity to Lexington: 3

Columbia is 433 miles from Lexington, or a 6 hour 37 minute drive via Google Maps. That’s not bad, especially since that route takes you through Asheville, one of the coolest towns in the Southeast.

Winnability: 2

Kentucky has beaten South Carolina three years in a row, but the Gamecocks have some buzz thanks to sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley, who threw for 1,420 yards, nine touchdowns, and four interceptions in seven starts last year. While Vandy, South Carolina, and Mississippi State all feel like they’re on the same level to me, we know this game will take place under the lights, which means Williams-Brice Stadium will be at its loudest.

Stadium/tailgating scene: 4

As mentioned, the atmosphere at Williams-Brice Stadium will be at its best for a night game vs. a team that’s beaten the Gamecocks three years straight. Brace yourself. “Sandstorm” is coming.

Food/drink scene: 3

Columbia’s a fine town. It’s nowhere near as fun as Nashville or Athens, but it’s better than Hattiesburg and Starkville (anything is better than Starkville). Like all South Carolinians, people in Columbia love to eat and drink to excess, so if you go, good times will be had.

Intangibles: 2

Columbia’s best asset? It’s two hours from Charleston, one of the best cities in the country. If you can, do yourself a favor and make it a long weekend, spending Sunday and Monday in the Holy City. Go one step further and enjoy a low country boil during sunset on one of the islands.

Total score for South Carolina: 14/25


Mississippi State (October 21, Starkville, Mississippi)

Proximity to Lexington: 2

Starkville is 497 miles, or 7 hours 55 minutes from Lexington. I am not exaggerating when I say it’s in the middle of nowhere.

Winnability: 3

Mississippi State was picked to finish second to last in the SEC West ahead of Ole Miss, which has flown off the rails. The Bulldogs aren’t great, but they’ve got cowbell and the chance to catch Kentucky looking ahead to Tennessee the next week.

Stadium/tailgating scene: 3

By far the nicest thing in Starkville is Davis Wade Stadium, which seats 61,000 and is coming off a $75 million expansion/renovation in 2014. There’s nothing else to do in Starkville than go to the game, so it will be packed, and almost every fan will have a cowbell. As Nick Roush learned the hard way back in 2015, the worst thing you can do is forget earplugs.

Food/drink scene: 1

I went to Starkville for UK’s basketball game back in 2015 and wanted to give the much-maligned city a fair shake, but was disappointed to see it’s just as lame as everyone says it is. A few buildings have nice wrought-iron balconies to make you think it’s like New Orleans or Oxford, but then you look around and realize it couldn’t be more different.

Intangibles: 1

You can drive an hour south and tour Scooba, the location of Last Chance U‘s East Mississippi Community College? I got nothing.

Total score for Starkville: 10/25


Vanderbilt (November 11, Nashville, Tennessee)

Proximity to Lexington: 5

As I know all too well, Nashville is an easy three hour drive (215 miles) from Lexington, just enough time to catch up on the radio show and one of KSR’s many fine podcasts.

Winnability: 4

Vandy has quietly built itself back up under Derek Mason, and may be the second best of Kentucky’s five road opponents, but their game atmosphere sucks. Add in the 20,000+ Kentucky fans that will take over crumbling Vanderbilt Stadium and you’ve got the recipe for a road win.

Stadium/tailgating scene: 1

Vanderbilt Stadium needs to be torn down. I’m not being a hater here; Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams said the same thing last year. The 40,000-seat stadium is so bad the school is contemplating building a new stadium off campus to share with a potential Major League Soccer team. That’s a horrible idea on Vandy’s part, but the situation is so dire they’re considering it. Regardless, Kentucky fans will pack the concrete horseshoe of sadness on November 11, if for no other reason than Nashville.

Food/drink scene: 5

You don’t come to Nashville to watch the Vandy game, you come to Nashville to watch the Vandy game and party. For more, consult my flowcharts from March, which are already out of date, a testament to the ridiculous rate at which this city is growing. It really is hard to keep up.

That being said, it was a tough call between Music City and Athens for this category. Nashville is the best party town in the South, but Athens might be the best college town in the South. I couldn’t decide, so I let hot chicken be the tiebreaker because it is that good.

Intangibles: 5

Kentucky plays Vandy on Saturday and the Bengals play the Titans at Nissan Stadium on Sunday. Other than SEC Tournament, you couldn’t script a better weekend for a Bluegrass invasion.

Total score for Nashville: 20/25


Georgia (November 18, Athens, Georgia)

Proximity to Lexington: 4

There are two routes to Athens from Lexington; I suggest taking the one that goes through the western tip of North Carolina so you can avoid Atlanta traffic. Thank me later.

Winnability: 1

Georgia is really, really good; according to the SEC media, they’re Kentucky’s toughest opponent this season. The Cats played the Dawgs close in Lexington last year, but coming off a road trip to Nashville in a rowdy environment, they may be due for a hangover.

Stadium/tailgating scene: 5

Georgia does everything well when it comes to atmosphere. With a capacity of 92,746, Sanford Stadium is big and beautiful, and the grounds surrounding it are packed with fun-loving, friendly fans who won’t hesitate to invite you to their tailgate. Seeing a game between the hedges is an SEC bucket list trip.

Food/drink scene: 4

I went back and forth on whether or not to put Nashville or Athens at the top in this category. Nashville won because of hot chicken, but it was a tough call. Some of my favorite bars and restaurants are in Athens: Trappeze Pub, Last Resort, The National. I hear amazing things about 5 & 10 as well, and can’t wait to try it. Athens is right there with Oxford in my pantheon of favorite college towns in the SEC, which is why both Roush and I will be making the trip in November.

Intangibles: 4

Atlanta is an hour and a half away (although on game day, double that), but Athens is so cool I wouldn’t bother.

Total score for Athens: 18/25


Final Results

The best UK Football road trip to make this fall, per my calculations…

1. at Vanderbilt (November 11, Nashville, Tennessee) 20/25
2. at Georgia (November 18, Athens, Georgia) 18/25
3. at South Carolina (September 16, Columbia, South Carolina) 14/25
4. at Southern Miss (September 2, Hattiesburg, Mississippi) 13/25
5. at Mississippi State (October 21, Starkville, Mississippi) 10/25

If you start saving now, you might be able to afford a hotel downtown!


Ole Miss didn’t think this tweet through

Ole Miss didn’t think this tweet through

Maybe “price” wasn’t the right word to use here in this tweet from the Ole Miss football program, which is currently in a ton of trouble with the NCAA for a long list of alleged violations.

Someone within the social media department will probably get a phone call from the boss soon, if not already.

With Ole Miss on Kentucky’s 2017 football schedule as the big SEC West opponent, we’re rooting for all of the trouble and distractions that come the Rebels’ way. Anything to make that game a little easier on the Wildcats.


Rich People Problems: Former Alabama star loses $150K earring in lake, hires dive team to find it

Rich People Problems: Former Alabama star loses $150K earring in lake, hires dive team to find it

Julio Jones found himself in a situation that you and I will likely never encounter.

The former Alabama and current Atlanta wide receiver lost an earring valued at $150,000 while jet skiing over the weekend. The earring sank to the bottom of Lake Lanier when Jones took a fall from his jet ski; and unfortunately for Jones, the spot where he lost the jewelry was about 65 feet deep.

So what did Jones do?

He did what only a person with $150,000 earrings can afford: He hired a dive team.

Unfortunately for Jones (again), the mission was an impossible one as the divers were tasked with searching for a small diamond beneath fallen trees and debris in pitch black waters. One of the divers told WXIA-TV in Atlanta“It’s down in crevasses and nooks and crannies… It’s impossible — absolutely impossible.”

Jones doesn’t seem too bothered by the loss. “It’s materialistic stuff,” he said. “You can always get that kind of stuff back.”

I have one question: Why would anyone wear $150K jewelry while on the water in the first place?

I say he got what he was asked for. Learn how lakes work.