Around the SEC
By TJ Walker on ©October 17th, 2018 @ 1:30pm
South Carolina head coach Frank Martin had an interesting take on the FBI scandal that has taken over college basketball the last 14 months. Martin called it college basketball’s “audit” and believes the sport will be OK.
South Carolina was one of the major players for Zion Williamson and actually enrolled Brian Bowen last season but Bowen never suited up for the Gamecocks before leaving for Australia to play professionally.
South Carolina hasn’t been mentioned throughout the FBI scandal.
Here’s Martin’s statement in its entirety:
“I’m not gonna sit here and act like I don’t know some of the things that go on in the business. It’s my job to know. Every walk of life, every industry needs to be audited every once in awhile, and this is our audit. Whatever is broken will get fix.
Whoever is not playing… I’m not into this argument that, drugs for example. We all want to sit around and talk about ‘Well, you only did this.’ Well, it’s against the law. Don’t do it. Whatever the rules are, if people don’t like them, change them. Work to change the rule. If the rules are in place, they’re in place. We all need to work underneath or abide by those rules.
I’m not into cheating. That’s the verbiage I’ve used and I will continue to use. I’m not into it. I don’t sit at home and whine about the people that do. They’re the ones that’s jeopardizing their schools, their families, their assistants, their careers. That’s their decision to make in life. I choose not to go into that direction.
But this is our audit. Every company needs to be audited every once in awhile and we’re being audited right now. What I hope is, whatever the mistakes that are being made, some of the of the stuff that the public is learning about that some of us have kinda known is going on, that it gets cleaned up. The rest of the business, which operates pretty good, it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be, but there is some stuff that we, myself included even though I knew some stuff, a lot more stuff is coming public now and will continue to become public. It’s unfortunate but we’re being audited. That’s all it is. We have to sit back and deal with the audit, not point fingers or blame and let that stuff kinda take care of itself and put our arms around a beautiful sport that has brought so much joy to so many people for so many years and let’s fix the problems. Build on the good and continue to move forward.”
We’ve heard so much about Brian Bowen over the last 14 months, but after the FBI trials in New York we don’t have any evidence that Bowen himself knew he was being sold to schools.
I asked USC star Maik Kotsar about Bowen and what kind of teammate he was for the Gamecocks last season:
“Brian is a really nice guy. He was practicing with us and he was there to compete. He was out there trying to get better himself and better his teammates. He’s overall a great guy. Of course I feel bad for him but everyone has their own road and everything happens for a reason. He’s playing in Australia in that league right now where that’s great competition over there and I think he’ll get to where he’s supposed to be.”
We had several people go under oath and actually say that Bowen knew nothing of what his dad, Kenny Johnson or anyone with adidas were doing. It does make you feel somewhat bad for Bowen.
To celebrate the Bye Week, Mark Stoops enjoyed a stress-free Saturday.
“It was good to sit back and watch other people,” said the UK head coach. “It was a wild weekend, that’s for sure. But it was good. It was good to sit there and be stress free for a day.”
He saw plenty of football in-between Dad duties for a son’s birthday party, but he didn’t take the time to see where things stood once the dust settled. He has not yet looked at the SEC East standings and he is telling his players to do the same.
“We’re going to be one week at a time. We know that. I’ve said that all year. We’re going to try to go 1-0. We’re going to try to win this week and put ourselves in a position to win this week. We have six one-week seasons left.”
Stoops may not have his eye on them, but it’s an injustice to look away from these beautiful standings.
It’s fun to look down the road and play out the many possible scenarios. While we try to forecast the future that could put Kentucky in Atlanta, Stoops just wants to make sure his team is ready to play against a hungry Vanderbilt team.
“Vandy is a team that’s really well coached. I have a lot of respect for Derek (Mason) and what he does and how he coaches,” Stoops said.
“They’re just looking for that breakthrough. They had a great opportunity to beat Notre Dame and then had a great opportunity against Florida; two very, very good football teams. You see what they’re capable of. Vandy is a good team. They’re hungry. They play hard. We’re going to have to play very good football.”
With Kentucky on the bye week, the BBN needed to be a fan of four schools: Vanderbilt, LSU, Texas A&M, and Alabama. Those schools went a near perfect, 3-1 on Saturday. (thanks, Vandy)
Now, Kentucky is right back in the thick of things in the SEC East. Here’s what these four games on Saturday meant for the Cats.
LSU Defeats Georgia 36-16
If Georgia won or lost, Kentucky was still in the race for the SEC East, but Kentucky’s path became a lot more comfortable with the Bulldogs lost. If Georgia had won, it would have been very likely that Kentucky would have to win out in the SEC to get to Atlanta.
Now, Kentucky can afford to drop a game to Vanderbilt and Missouri and still play for the SEC East title against Georgia on November 3rd.
Ideally, it would be nice for Kentucky to win these next two games especially with Florida lurking in the east with only one-loss. Granted, Kentucky does own the tiebreaker over the Gators, but that won’t matter if Kentucky drops a game and Florida wins out. Not likely with Georgia up next on the schedule, but not out of the realm of possibility.
Florida defeats Vanderbilt 37-27
As I alluded to earlier, Florida is still (somehow) in the hunt for the SEC East. As a one-loss team and with Missouri, South Carolina, and Georgia left on their SEC schedule; there is a legitimate chance Florida could finish as a one-loss SEC team if they beat the Bulldogs next week. Effectively, that would mean Kentucky would have to go perfectly in the SEC to reach Atlanta.
With that said, I’m not confident Florida will win out in the SEC, especially after their performance yesterday in Nashville. The Commodores are no slouch, but Florida put themselves in a position to lose throughout the game, even being down 17 in the first half. If Florida can’t clean up their mistakes, they will have a tough time against their three remaining SEC opponents.
Alabama defeats Missouri 39-10
To be honest, the only thing in question about the matchup down in Tuscaloosa was if Alabama’s students would show up to the game. In true Alabama fashion, the students did, leaving no doubt.
Alabama steamrolled Missouri, covering the spread even, which all but eliminates the Missouri Tigers from SEC East contention as they are now 0-3 in conference play (that’s worse than Tennesee). Sure, the Tigers are a team that can still beat anyone in the east on any given day, but that game in Colombia in two weeks isn’t looking as daunting as it once was.
It would take a natural disaster wiping out the rest of the conference for Mizzou to make an appearance in the SEC title game.
Texas A&M Defeats South Carolina 26-23
Kentucky’s last two opponents squared off on Saturday, and you could make the case to cheer for both teams. On the one hand, a South Carolina victory beefs up Kentucky’s win path; on the other, a Texas A&M makes it near impossible for South Carolina to contend for the SEC title game and it makes that loss in Aggieland looks not near as bad.
In the end, Kentucky’s resume would probably be intact no matter who won, but it was the Aggies who took the narrow victory over the Gamecocks. South Carolina is now 2-3 in conference play. Still contending, but don’t expect them to see them in Atlanta.
Tennesee UPSETS Auburn 30-24
Good for you, Tennesee. The Volunteers had the biggest upset in the conference and snapped an 11-game conference losing streak.
Somehow, the Vols have extended their stay in SEC contention, but with Alabama next week then Kentucky, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt after that. Don’t expect the Vols to win much more. At least you’re relevant for one more week, Vol fans.
In all seriousness, this proves that Kentucky won’t waltz in and beat the Vols for that matter. I still would put lots of money on the Cats, but it’s not like they will be squaring off against Murray State on November 10th.
With nearly every game going according to plan for Kentucky, the cats are once again firmly in the Driver’s seat in a three-team heat for the spot in Atlanta. Kentucky will now have the pressure off of their shoulders going into two SEC games before Georiga, as they can theoretically drop one more SEC game outside of Georiga.
Kentucky still needs to take care of business next week against Vanderbilt, just in case Florida beats Georgia on Saturday. If the Bulldogs and the Cats win next week, Kentucky will be okay to drop the game against the Tigers and still play for the SEC East against Georgia the following week.
If Florida and Kentucky win on Saturday, Kentucky will more-than-likely need to win out or bank on a Gators loss to gain their tiebreaker over the Gators.
With three teams in serious contention and Georgia still yet to play Kentucky and Florida, the next six weeks should be entertaining.
Let’s just keep it simple and win every game from here on out, okay? Okay.
Follow me on twitter: @BrentW_KSR
By Nick Roush on ©October 13th, 2018 @ 2:30pm
Things got testy between Florida and Vanderbilt.
Following a vicious Florida hit that resulted in a targeting penalty, Gators’ head coach Dan Mullen got into a shouting match with Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason. Trailing at the time, Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham shared some words with Mason. Something said during the altercation enraged Mullen.
The two sides did the “hold me back” move before it escalated even further. Both benches cleared and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were thrown on each side, forcing Florida’s Vosean Joseph out of the game.
Following a targeting call on the Gators, Florida's Dan Mullen and Vanderbilt's Derek Mason exchanged words. pic.twitter.com/ZhTimyBWdj
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) October 13, 2018
It will be interesting to see if Greg Sankey or Steve Shaw hand down any other punishment following the game. Vanderbilt travels to Lexington next Saturday night to take on the Kentucky Wildcats.
By John Reecer on ©October 13th, 2018 @ 11:30am
The college football season gets another week older, and many eyes will be focused on the SEC. Here is a rundown of the key storylines to watch for around the conference as Kentucky will have its Bye Week.
1. A Must Win for Georgia
In the biggest game of the weekend, No. 2 Georgia will travel to Baton Rouge to play No. 13 LSU. It may not seem like it at first, but this is a must win for Georgia.
LSU has already dropped a game in the SEC, plus they still must play the Crimson Tide and they look unbeatable. Georgia on the other hand plays Florida, Kentucky, and Auburn in three straight games after today’s game.
In a stretch like that anything can happen. I think the Bulldogs are a better team from top to bottom when compared to the Tigers. At this point, I’m not sure Georgia is that much better than Auburn or Florida. If the Bulldogs are serious about winning the SEC East, they must win this game.
Georgia is currently a seven-point favorite and I think that is about right. With this contest being at LSU, the environment should be an incredible scene. However, I just don’t trust Joe Burrow against that Bulldog defense.
I sang his praises last weekend, but after I saw how he performed against Florida I don’t trust Burrow at all against any team that has an elite defense.
When it comes to the Bulldogs, I need to see more from D’Andre Swift. Before the season started he was talked about by many as being the best back in the conference. Now, he isn’t even the best back on his team as Elijah Holyfield has turned in a strong first half of the year.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 28, 2017
Overall, I think Georgia has the best quarterback in this game and I think that will be enough to win a close, physical contest in Death Valley.
2. Florida Is Back
If you have been reading my articles, you know I have been saying that the Florida Gators would be back with a force this season. I even went as far as to say that they would win double their win total from last season.
Safe to say that’s been my best take so far this college football season.
As of right now, the Gators are ranked in the top 15 and already have won more games than they did in 2017. Yes, this Florida team looked terrible at home against Kentucky, but this is a very different squad from that bad loss.
Dan Mullen has made all the difference in the world as he has the Gator defense playing elite and quarterback Feleipe Franks playing much improved. Last season Franks’ TD-INT ratio was 9-8. In just six games that ratio is now 13-4.
"I've never felt the energy in Gainesville like this."
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 2, 2018
After last week’s huge win over LSU, the Gators will travel to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt. I don’t think the Commodores stand a chance here against a team that red-hot. Florida is only favored by 7.5 points which makes no sense. My guarantee of the week is that the Gators cover the spread easily against Vandy.
3. Alabama’s First Test?
I say this with a question mark because I honestly don’t think this will be much of a game. Maybe on paper this looks interesting with a talented quarterback like Drew Lock going against the Crimson Tide defense.
However, this is a Missouri team that just gave up 37 points to South Carolina. Yea, this one should not be close at all. I can see Alabama realistically scoring 60 points on the Tigers at home.
What will be somewhat interesting to watch will be just how many points Missouri will score. In every game this year the Tigers have managed to score at least 29 points. So, I can easily see a score that will be something like 59-28.
I usually take this time in my weekly columns to talk about Tua, but instead this week I’m putting the spotlight on wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. With just 23 catches on the season, Jeudy is second in the SEC in receiving yardage (58), first in yards per catch (24.26), and first receiving touchdowns (8).
— Big Money Rasta ??? (@TrevonPolk2) October 10, 2018
Eight touchdowns on just 23 receptions in the SEC is just mind boggling to think of. If Tua wins the Heisman he will do it in large part thank to the exceptional play of Jeudy.
4. Amber Alert for Auburn’s Offense
What on earth has happened to the Auburn Tigers? And more importantly where has their offense went??
First, they lose a game they should have won against LSU. Then they don’t show up at all last week against a Mississippi State that was in shambles.
This has everything to do with their offensive struggles. Out of 14 SEC team, the Tigers are ranked 11th in total offense which is just so puzzling. Star quarterback Jarrett Stidham has yet to get in a groove yet as the offensive line has not been reliable.
With a team that is this talented, it makes zero sense how they can only accumulate 9 total points against a Mississippi State team that Kentucky dominated.
The good news is that they are playing Tennessee this weekend, so this should be a good time for the offense to gather itself with an easy victory. With Georgia and Alabama still on the schedule, this Auburn team better figure things out fast or they will be looking a very disappointing year.
It’s time for Jarrett Stidham to take control and get this season back on track.
? Amid frustrations, Jarrett Stidham was asked about his leadership style, and positive disposition in the face of struggles:
?? “Everybody’s got a different way of doing that.”
— AUBlog (@AUBlog) October 10, 2018
5. The Aggies Make a Move
Despite losing two games on the season already, Texas A&M has rebounded nicely with a huge win over a vastly improved Kentucky team. Now they find their selves back in the top 24 and near the top of the SEC West.
Even more surprising has been the play of quarterback Kellen Mond who looked liked a complete bust last season. Now with Jimbo Fisher in town Mond finds himself fourth in the conference in passing yards while completing 60% of his passes.
Impressive stat about Kellen Mond:
He faced 3 defenses that rank in the top 11 nationally in scoring. In those games, he averaged 333 yards from scrimmage. #GigEm
— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) October 8, 2018
Kellen Mond throws a LASER to Kendrick Rogers for the @AggieFootball TD!
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 9, 2018
This week Texas A&M gets a favorable matchup on the road against South Carolina. Remember, the Aggies play a very similar style to that of Kentucky and we all saw what the Wildcats did to the Gamecocks.
I believe the spread is only favoring Texas A&M by three points and that seems way too low to me. Despite getting a good win last week over Missouri, South Carolina is still a little overrated in my opinion. This seems like a game that Jimbo wins in his sleep. The Aggies mean business, folks.
The college football season gets another week older, and many eyes will be focused on the SEC. Here is a rundown of the key storylines to watch for around the conference as four of the top five ranked teams in the SEC will be playing on the road.
1. LSU’s Surprising Season Heads to the Swamp
After six weeks into the 2018 college football season one of the biggest stories in the SEC has been the play of the LSU Tigers. During media days in July the Tigers were picked to finish fifth overall…in their division!!
Fast forward to the start of October and Ed Orgeron’s squad is the fifth best overall team in the entire nation according to voting polls. How did this huge leap get made exactly?
It quite simply begins and ends with the play of new quarterback Joe Burrow who has completely changed this football team. Now don’t get me wrong, Burrow isn’t the most talented quarterback in the conference.
However, he is a natural game manager that makes incredibly smart decisions with the football against very talented defenses. And no, being called a “game manager” is not a back-handed compliment. It takes a high amount of IQ to earn that title and that’s what Burrow has.
Loved the way #LSU eased Joe Burrow into the Ole Miss game. Some short, higher percentage throws to start. Then he dropped these two dimes: play action crossing route under pressure, then a fade to Ja'Marr Chase for 6. pic.twitter.com/BvdzKCDP1b
— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) October 1, 2018
So how will Burrow and company perform on the road against a tough Florida team who just had a huge win on the road against Mississippi State?
The spread is currently in favor of LSU by just 2.5 points. Personally, I think that’s yet another ludicrous spread. It seems like we get a stupid spread like this at least once a weekend just because the underdog has home field advantage. Did everyone forget that UK beat the Gators at home earlier this season?
I’m actually high on Florida this season, and I also think that LSU will flame out. However, this is a great matchup for the Tigers. In what will be a competitive, defensive matchup expect running back Nick Brossette to impose his will on a Florida defense that is giving up 171 rushing yards per game.
Expect a fun contest, but the Tigers will pull away in the second half and cover that spread with ease.
2. Kentucky’s Biggest Test Yet
Having fun yet Wildcat fans?
Thanks to amazing offensive line play, a defense that is as good as advertised, and a Heisman-level year so far from Benny Snell Jr. the Wildcats have been the toast of the SEC East thus far.
While everything has been the definition of perfect, now the Wildcats get their biggest test of the season. Today they have to try to win on the road in Aggieland underneath the lights against a Jimbo Fisher-led squad.
A lot of people are upset that the No. 13 team in the country is not favored against an unranked team, but just look at those circumstances I listed out above. I’m not surprised in the least that Kentucky is not favored.
But that does not mean they will lose this ballgame. A look at the stats tells a story that most everyone knows: The Aggies and the Wildcats are both great at running the ball and at stopping the run.
National Rush Defense Rankings
6. Texas A&M (85)
8. Auburn (92)
16t. LSU (103)
22. Arkansas (105)
24. Georgia (108)
26. Kentucky (111)
31. Mississippi State (120)
43. Alabama (126)
— Around the SEC (@AroundTheSEC) October 1, 2018
Snell and Trayveon Williams are the two best running backs in the SEC at the moment so expect some awesome performances from each. However, something has to give between these two similar ball clubs.
For Kentucky to win this game, Josh Allen and the rest of the defense must stack the box and make Kellen Mond beat them with his arm. To no surprise, that’s what the Aggies will do to the Wildcats on defense as well.
Terry Wilson is your equalizer, folks. If he outplays Mond the Wildcats will win. But that’s just too unpredictable for me because Wilson has not earned my trust as a passer just yet. Out of all the games this week, this is the one that I’m staying away from picking.
3. Can Mississippi State Save Its Season?
Without a doubt, the biggest disappointment in college football this season has been the Mississippi State Bulldogs and it’s not even close. They have already lost two SEC games…BEFORE they have played a single game against the SEC West.
I was so, so high on the Bulldogs before the season, and wow that is my coldest take yet. It’s obvious that this team as a whole misses Dan Mullen more than I thought they would. Plus, Nick Fitzgerald absolutely stinks right now.
I always thought Nick Fitzgerald could turn out to be a bad fit for Joe Moorhead's offense.
— Patrick Magee (@Patrick_Magee) September 30, 2018
— Jason DiRienzo (@allpurposescout) October 6, 2018
To make things even worse, the No. 8 Auburn Tigers are coming to Starkville today, and I’m officially jumping ship on the Bulldogs. Fitzgerald has incredibly low confidence (and completion percentage) right now and this is not the team to play at the moment.
I don’t care that this is another highly ranked SEC team playing on the road, and I don’t care what the spread is. Auburn is still out for revenge after narrowly losing to LSU at home. The Tigers will cover here in a defensive battle. Dark days in Starkville have arrived.
4. A Critical SEC East Battle
In one of the most underrated games of the day, Missouri will travel to South Carolina in a very important SEC East bout. This matchup stands as a crossroads for both programs.
Missouri has only lost to Georgia thus far in conference play which means that there is a crazy way that they could actually make the SEC Championship game considering that Georgia still has to play LSU and Auburn.
South Carolina on the other hand has already lost two SEC games so they can’t afford another defeat if they want to have a successful season. Plus, I just really think the Gamecocks are overrated this season, so they need to win every home game they have.
In what will be a competitive matchup, I’m actually pretty confident that Missouri will win this game and cover that one-point spread. These teams are pretty evenly matched, but I think the difference will be that Drew Lock will play better than Jake Bentley will.
— Joe (@JDec89) October 4, 2018
Don’t forget, Missouri is coming off a bye week, plus they played Georgia much, much closer than that final score indicates.
I have a funny feeling about the Tigers and Lock right now. Their season really is just getting started and they are truly the wildcard team in the East after Georgia, UK, and Florida. This game will prove if they are for real or not.
5. The Tua Hype Train Heads to Arkansas
If you aren’t already on the Tua Tagovailoa hype train this season….then what exactly are you doing with your life? I’m going to list some of Tua’s stats so far this year and I swear they are all completely true.
- On third down, he has just three incompletions total. Yupp. That’s it.
- His passer efficiency rating is 238.32. The previous NCAA record is 196.9 set by Baker Mayfield.
- His percentage of passes that are touchdowns is 15.9%. The NCAA record is 11.6%.
- Last season Alabama averaged eight yards per pass attempt. This season Tua averages 13.2 yards per pass attempt which is good for second in the county.
- He still has zero (0) interceptions on the season.
- He has not thrown a single pass in a fourth quarter yet this season.
- I’ve talked about him so much this year that I can actually spell his name correctly on first try.
I don’t care what season anyone else is having, Tua is a clear-cut favorite for the Heisman trophy. In fact, I can’t remember a year in which we are this far into a college football season and someone has this kind of death grip on the award.
So does Arkansas have a chance this week at home? No, of course not. As long as this guy is at quarterback for this insanely talented team, I quite honestly don’t think anyone stands a chance. Its officially Saban’s and Tua’s world now. We are all just living in it.
The college football season gets another week older, and many eyes will be focused on the SEC. Here is a rundown of the key storylines to watch for around the conference as Kentucky faces off with South Carolina in a huge conference showdown.
1. How Will Kentucky Handle Success?
Well Wildcat fans, it finally happened. For the first time since Andre’ Woodson was slinging that ‘ole pigskin around the Kentucky Wildcats have finally made a significant impression on college football.
After last weekend’s amazing beat down of Mississippi State, the No. 17 Wildcats are now ranked in the top 25 for the first time in over a decade. It’s been a long, long time coming but fans around the Bluegrass now have a football program they can be truly proud of.
The only question left to be answered now that Kentucky has finally arrived is just how long will the honeymoon last? Well the first opportunity to answer that question will be tonight when the Gamecocks come to Lexington.
South Carolina comes into the matchup looking for their first big victory of the season thus far as defeating Coastal Carolina and Vanderbilt isn’t impressing anyone. Also, a loss for the Gamecocks almost guarantees that they will not be making the SEC Championship game as it would be their second conference loss in September.
Best believe that Will Muschamp and company will pull out all the stops to get a big road win. However, I don’t see it happening. To be frank, I’ve been on record saying that Jake Bentley is an overrated quarterback and I think it will show tonight.
Believe it or not, only one other team has allowed less points in conference play than Kentucky has so far and that’s LSU. This Wildcat defense is elite whether you like it or not. Kentucky will win this game tonight and I think they will do so with some anger.
Kentucky DE Josh Allen may have had his best game from 2018 thus far, aside from Florida a couple weekends ago. The one thing he’s improved on from 2017 is the ability to produce a higher level lean and tilt from the waist down, which allows him to carry speed through corners. pic.twitter.com/CJTzJwUNDc
— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) September 26, 2018
This is the wrong time for a team to come to Lexington to play a football game. I’ve been slow to believe the hype, but I’m all in now. These cats are dangerous.
2. The Dan Mullen Bowl
Well this will be awkward.
Dan Mullen will lead his Florida Gators into Starkville in a prime time matchup against his old Mississippi State team. Is it too bold to say that the thing I’m looking forward to most today is if the Bulldog faithful will welcome back Mullen with open arms or with boos?
it's easy to find people in Starkville who will loudly boo Dan Mullen. yet for the Mullens, there will always be the dog groomer, massage therapist and kindergarten teacher.
on the complicated breakup that includes an apparent miscommunication re the exit https://t.co/xRbKT8E257
— Will Sammon (@WillSammon) September 27, 2018
Either way, I think that will be more interesting than the game at hand. Somehow, the spread on this matchup is just seven points which I think is ludicrous.
Yes, I know that Dan Mullen knows his old team well. However, I don’t think that will be enough to overcome the discrepancy in talent that exists between these two teams. Don’t forget that Starkville is an insanely frustrating place for teams to play at. Those cowbells are going to get to Feleipe Franks for sure.
Despite a terrible loss to Kentucky, I think that the Bulldogs will bounce back in a big way and easily cover the spread in this one.
3. LSU on Upset Alert?
In a day with very, very little chances at big upsets I think that LSU is the one SEC team that should be worrying right now.
Every. Single. Season. There is a team that seemingly comes out of nowhere and dominates the month of September. However, by the end of October that team has already flamed out. In my opinion, I think LSU is destined to become that team this year.
The only question I have is when will they start their downward spiral? Personally, I think we will see a high-powered Ole Miss offense keep this game somewhat close into the second half.
The Rebels without a doubt have the best wide receiver group in the entire country and their Hawaiian quarterback Jordan Ta’amu is the real deal folks. This will be strength on strength as Ole Miss’s lethal passing game will be matched up with the LSU defense which is one of the best in the nation.
— Demetric D. Warren (@DemetricDWarren) September 22, 2018
Every weekend I select one game to completely stay away from predicting and this week its LSU vs. Ole Miss. The Tigers have the much more talented team and they are at home, so they should obviously win. However, I just have a weird feeling that Ta’amu is going to make some amazing passes. Keep your eyes tuned in on this game because it should be a wild one.
4. The Aggies Look to Make a Statement
Texas A&M is off to quite the weird start this season. Out of all the teams from the SEC, the Aggies are the one squad that I just don’t have a good feel for yet.
On one hand they are 2-2 on the season and they have only scored 23 points in conference play. On the other hand, their losses are to the two best teams in the nation by a combined 24 points which isn’t all that bad.
This week will not reveal anything about the Aggies that we don’t already know. They face off against the Arkansas Razorbacks who have easily been the worst team in the conference so far which means they should cruise to an easy victory.
The road doesn’t get any easier for Texas A&M as they still have four ranked squads left on their schedule. The Aggies badly need to blow this sad excuse of an SEC team out of the water for morale’s sake.
Outside of Benny Snell Jr., running back Trayveon Williams has been the most impressive halfback so far in the conference thanks to his blistering speed. So far Fisher has gotten the most out of him and quarterback Kellen Mond.
Of the top 25 FBS running backs in 2018 with the most rush attempts, @PennStateFball's Miles Sanders leads all with 27% of his rush attempts going for 10+ yards. The next best is @AggiesFootbaIl running back Trayveon Williams at 21%.
— SportSourceAnalytics (@SportSourceA) September 24, 2018
Now that we know they can play with the likes of Clemson, I need to see the Aggies take care of business and blowout a bad team. I trust ole Jimbo to do just that.
5. A lack of Marquee Matchups
As indicated by the title of this column, there just isn’t any big team matchups this weekend in the SEC. All six ranked teams in the conference are playing at home against unranked opponents.
The best squad that any of these six teams will face is either South Carolina or Ole Miss, and that should speak for itself.
However, do not fret for there is still plenty to watch this weekend. Yes, Alabama is about to annihilate Louisiana but don’t act like you aren’t going to turn that on to watch Tua Tagovailoa absolutely shred a Sun Belt defense.
…well that was FAST.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 22, 2018
If that does not fit your fancy you could watch Georgia destroy Tennessee at home. And who knows, Southern Miss might be able to keep it close with Auburn heading into halftime (probably not, but hey I’m trying here).
From top to bottom, this will be one of the quieter weekends in the SEC. But the beautiful thing about college football is that you must always expect the unexpected. You never really know when utter chaos will unleash itself upon this wacky, crazy sport.
Terrible news out of Baton Rouge. LSU Basketball player Wayde Sims was killed early this morning in a shooting near the Southern University campus. The shooting reportedly took place around 12:25 a.m. Sims was transported to a local hospital, where he died from a gunshot wound.
Sims, a Baton Rouge native, was a junior for Tigers. Last year, he averaged 5.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. He was the 2014-15 Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year. His father, Wayne, also played for LSU from 1987-91 under Dale Brown.
“We are all devastated,” LSU coach Will Wade said via statement. “We need your prayers for Wayde, for his family, for all of us. We are heartbroken.”
Sims’ teammate Aaron Epps posted this tribute on social media early this morning:
— Aaron Epps (@AaronEpps21) September 28, 2018
The Kentucky Basketball Twitter account sent out this message of condolence a few minutes ago:
Our hearts go out to Wayde Sims, his family and friends, and everyone in the @LSUBasketball family. The SEC is family and one of our family members is hurting today. #BBN, please keep Wayde and the Tigers in your thoughts and prayers.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) September 28, 2018
What an awful story. Our thoughts go out to the LSU community.
UPDATE: John Calipari just sent out his condolences as well.
Saying a prayer this morning for Wayde and the @LSUBasketball family. Very tough news to hear we've lost a young man just getting started. My condolences to his family, friends and teammates. https://t.co/K2yvrqfpbB
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) September 28, 2018
By John Reecer on ©September 22nd, 2018 @ 11:30am
The college football season gets another week older, and many eyes will be focused on the SEC. Here is a rundown of the key storylines to watch for around the conference as Kentucky faces off with Mississippi State in a huge conference showdown.
1. Saban vs. Jimbo
In this weekend’s only ranked SEC conference matchup the No. 22 Aggies of Texas A&M will travel to Tuscaloosa to play the dominating No. 1 Crimson Tide.
All the headlines so far have been focused on this being the first time Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban will face each other as head coaches in the SEC. It’s important because in just a few years, Jimbo will have the Aggies as a major force in college football.
Only time will tell if Fisher can overtake Saban as the best coach in the country, but unfortunately for Texas A&M that day is for sure not going to be today.
Look, Alabama with Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback is a literal cheat code. If he plays a full, healthy game against the Aggies than this will not even be close. His quarterback rating is off the charts so far. He is easily the Heisman Trophy leader heading into week 4. I mean…..JUST LOOK AT THIS STAT:
Tua Tagovailoa is now 13-for-13 passing on 3rd down for 298 yards and 6 touchdowns. pic.twitter.com/imaY87i7lc
— Ryan C. Fowler (@RyanCFowler) September 16, 2018
Texas A&M does have a good offense, so they may score a few times, but don’t worry at all about Alabama covering that 27-point spread. They will do that with ease. Roll Tide at least for another week.
2. Kentucky’s Bid for a Program-Changing Win
Buckle your seat belts and hold on to your loved one’s folks, because I think that this will be the best SEC game of the day.
First off, let’s talk about the No. 14 Mississippi State Bulldogs. I really think they are as good as advertised. Their run game is absurdly good, and their defense may be even better. Besides Alabama and Georgia, this is the most balanced team in the SEC.
If quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is accurate, this may get out of hand quickly. However, that doesn’t happen too often.
This is the definition of a trap game for MSU. I think are more talented than the Wildcats but that doesn’t mean they are guaranteed a victory. Remember, this is their first true SEC road game and those can always be tricky.
But it’s not just that. After the Wildcats finally found a way to defeat Florida after 30-plus years, this team has an ever-so-slight feeling of destiny to it. Terry Wilson is really starting to find his footing at QB, the defense has been lights out through three weeks, and Benny Snell has Heisman Trophy hype.
“@benny_snell for Heisman.”
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 21, 2018
The spread for this game literally does not matter because I have no idea how this will shake out. If things go *just* right for UK, then I really think that they can pull off this upset.
Let’s not underestimate this game. Beating Florida was a season-changing victory for the Wildcats. But a win over Mississippi State would be a program-changing one. It would mean that Kentucky should be on its way to a potential 9 or 10-win year before bowl season which would change so many perceptions around this team.
This is the kind of game that changes programs. I’m staying away from picking this game, but I have quite the weird feeling about this one.
3. Another SEC East Road Test for Georgia
In their first SEC road contest against South Carolina, Georgia absolutely destroyed the Gamecocks just as I predicted they would. Now they travel to Missouri where they will demolish the Tigers.
Yupp. I’m already calling this one dead on arrival. Like with the UK-MSU game, I don’t care at all what the spread is here. The Bulldogs are going to cover it and make Drew Lock and company look bad.
I think the Tigers have decent offense talent, but I don’t see them slowing down Georgia’s incredibly efficient offense when Jake Fromm is playing the way he is now.
Tua Tagovailoa in 2018: 36-for-50, 72.0%, 12.9 YPA, 8 TD, 0 INT
Jake Fromm in 2018: 37-for-46, 80.4%, 10.4 YPA, 6 TD, 1 INT
Neither has attempted a pass in the fourth quarter of their first three games.
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) September 18, 2018
Not only does Missouri not have the firepower on defense, but I just don’t trust Lock in this game at all. He has been getting a lot of NFL hype over the last year and that’s great for him. I just don’t see it. To be frank, I think he is inaccurate and I do not trust him.
Give me Fromm all day, every day over Lock. The Bulldogs are still the only true “great” team in the East now, and they are going to let the entire country know that today.
4. Upset Alert in Nashville
Since I’m feeling a bit lucky right now (this should go well) I’m picking Vanderbilt over South Carolina in Nashville. Look, I promise I’m not crazy here. Hear me out.
I think the Gamecocks are straight-up the better team, but they just don’t look the part right now. Their game last week got cancelled so the last thing on their minds is that embarrassing beatdown from Georgia.
This is going to matter tomorrow when it’s a close game at halftime. Before the season started, I predicted this would be Derek Mason’s last year at Vanderbilt and I’m proud to say that I think I will be wrong about this.
After seeing the effort they gave against a very good Notre Dame squad last week I think its obvious Mason has his motivated on another level right now. Plus, they had a preposterous amount of bad luck against the Fighting Irish which completely changed the game for them.
— Allan Sareini (@alsareini) September 15, 2018
Also, the Commodores have a hard-nosed defense and a talented senior quarterback in Shurmur that plays his guts out. This may be somewhat bold, but I think Mason gets his biggest win of his career today against an overrated South Carolina squad.
5. Florida plays Tennessee….Cool? I guess?
Remember when this game used to be really fun and meaningful? Yea, those were the good ole days of the SEC East. We all know Florida hasn’t been the same since Tebow left and Tennessee hasn’t been truly relevant since the Fulmer days.
Despite both teams being at 2-1, neither program has gotten off to the start they wanted. Tennessee was straight up embarrassed by West Virginia and we all know what happened to Florida (haha).
But seriously despite this being an unwatchable game quality-wise it will be incredibly important for both teams. Florida still has the talent to win 8 or 9 games (seriously) so they can’t afford to lose this one. The Volunteers need to take advantage of Florida while the Gators aren’t that great yet because Tennessee just doesn’t have a lot of talent.
And that’s the best I can do in hyping this game up. Both offenses are still terrible so there won’t be a lot of points either way. It’s going to be ugly, unattractive, and just hard to watch. You know it’s bad when you are comparing your own bad quarterback to another team’s bad quarterback:
Dan Mullen compares Jarrett Guarantano to Feleipe Franks during SEC Teleconference: He’s probably similar to Feleipe. Talented young player, good arm, deceiving good with his legs. He’s growing in the system and he’s learning and he has a bright future.
— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) September 19, 2018
This matchup being in Knoxville does make things interesting, but Florida should win this one. Surely they won’t lose to Kentucky and Florida in the first four weeks of the season…..right???
In the spirit of KSR Kindness Day, I owe you an apology. As you know, I’ve been very cruel to you over the years. Most recently, I was told to stop making fun of you while filling in on The Paul Finebaum Show. Trashing SEC campuses is against the network’s policy, apparently. Who knew?
Before that, you were the butt of many jokes. For instance, I called you the asshole of America on Twitter. I once referred to your sororities as cattle. I also wrote the following description of your university in a game preview of Mississippi State:
Founded in 1878 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi, today Mississippi State University is best known for producing Dak Prescott, the current starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys; and for the prominent smell of cow manure steaming from the bottoms of boots, the mud-flaps of trucks, and on the used condoms around campus.
Oh yeah… I’m also sorry for saying Mississippi State’s school motto is Couldn’t Afford Ole Miss. I completely made that up. Mississippi State’s motto is actually Learning, Service, Research. Just wanted to clear that up.
Needless to say, I was way out of line for my past statements regarding Starkville, a city I’ve visited many times. Will I go back? Unlikely. Actually, no; I will not go back. But that doesn’t give me the right to trash your community online and on air, which I have done far too often.
So, please, accept my apology. I was out of line and there is no excuse for my actions. I’m sure there are many people who consider Starkville a lovely place in the Golden Triangle region of Mississippi. It’s a city with so much to offer; from the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library to the Cullis & Gladys Wade Clock Museum to the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum to some other stuff that’s probably cool. It’s also home to my favorite coffeeshop in America, Strange Brew Coffeehouse, and, until recently, my favorite spot for a good cinnamon roll, Marti’s Bakery. You’re going to miss that place.
Moving forward, I hope we can come together and put our contentious past behind us. I want to live a life of being on great terms with Starkville and I hope you feel the same way about me, too. It’s unfortunate it took a kindness holiday for me to extend this apology, but it’s better than never and I’m truly sorry for my actions. You didn’t deserve the slander. You’re a good city. You’ve got good people.
You may not be for me, Starkville, but, hey, at least you’re not Knoxville. That place is trash. I wouldn’t even breathe the oxygen in that sh*t hole of a city if I needed it to survive.
By Nick Roush on ©September 17th, 2018 @ 7:30pm
Just like the Kentucky basketball team, the Kentucky football team is turning into everyone’s Super Bowl.
Last year South Carolina used the blackout gimmick against UK to rally their fans, only to fall short. This year Florida honored the 25th anniversary of their 1993 SEC Championship team when Kentucky came to town, but left The Swamp disappointed. When Texas A&M hosts UK for the first time as a member of the SEC, the Aggies will honor the 1998 Big XII Champions with throwback uniforms.
A&M’s uniforms have remained the same over the years. The only change is the technology of the clothing. Adidas uses the new stuff, but will make it look like the old mesh that was popular in the 90s.
Mark Stoops’ first matchup against his mentor just got a little more interesting.
By Jay Winkler on ©September 15th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
It only took three weeks of college football for the play of the year to emerge.
The SEC’s own Arkansas Razorbacks are currently getting outplayed by the North Texas Mean Green. That’s right folks, don’t be fooled by the respectable looking eagle logos on the helmets, this team’s actual mascot is the Mean Green.
Nevertheless, UNT absolutely got one over on the Pig Sooie faithful today. A typical punt that should’ve pinned North Texas near their own ten yard line wound up with their returner in the end zone.
?? FAKE FAIR CATCH ??
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 15, 2018
Too bad UK doesn’t take on Arkansas this season. I’m sure Lynn Bowden could pull off a similar stunt.
The college football season gets another week older, and many eyes will be focused on the SEC. Here is a rundown of the key storylines to watch for around the conference as Kentucky will faceoff with Murray State in Lexington.
1. Will Jarrett Stidham Prove His Worth?
In the biggest SEC game of the year so far, No. 12 LSU travels to Auburn to take on the No. 7 Tigers. It will be a contest with huge SEC West implications so let’s get right down to the matchups.
Without a doubt, how Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham will play against such a tough LSU defense will determine who wins this game. In a weak quarterback class, I believe that Stidham has the best chance to be a consistent starting quarterback in the NFL.
And I’m not the only one who is starting to take notice.
Auburn's Jarrett Stidham is flashing potential—and NFL scouts are taking notice.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 14, 2018
However, despite the hype behind Stidham’s arm, he might just face a wakeup call against an incredibly stout LSU defense led by linebacker Devin White and cornerback Greedy Williams.
— d money 313 (@airdeemoney30) September 12, 2018
Despite being the underdog and being the road team, I really think LSU has a shot in this game. I believe that Auburn is straight up the better team. However, LSU matches up well with them. Auburn loves to run the ball and LSU’s defense specializes in stopping the run.
No matter who wins, I foresee this being a close contest. Stay away from betting on this one.
2. Ole Miss Tries for Another Upset Bid of Alabama
The Rebels have a strong recent history of giving the Crimson Tide absolute headaches as an underdog and this could be another year in which that happens.
Alabama's regular season record since 2014:
vs. Ole Miss: 2-2
vs. all other teams: 48-1 pic.twitter.com/RJScGyWXai
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 13, 2018
Ole Miss has what might be the strongest wide receiving core in the nation led by future NFL star A.J. Brown. Considering that Alabama’s secondary is still incredibly young, this is a real matchup advantage for the Rebels.
That and the fact that Ole Miss will be playing at home are giving many people confidence that this huge upset may just happen.
However, that will not be the case. Remember, a huge reason why those past upsets happened was because the Rebels had a defense that could consistently hold back the Crimson Tide.
That is not the case this season. Plus, Alabama has its most talented quarterback in Nick Saban’s time in Tuscaloosa. The spread is currently at 21 points for Alabama and it should be higher. Alabama will for sure cover and comfortably beat a surprisingly good Ole Miss team.
3. Vanderbilt’s Tough Task
Derek Mason has the Commodores at 2-0 after defeating two lesser opponents. This week they get a whole other monster when they take on the mighty Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Before I go any further with the post, I do have a disclaimer alert. I have been a huge Notre Dame football fan for most of my life so there may or may not be some bias here for the Irish.
Anyways, yea I don’t think Vanderbilt stands a chance here. They just don’t have the talent level that the future 2019 National Champion Notre Dame Fighting Irish has. Not everyone can that be perfect and amazing. That’s just too bad.
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) September 15, 2018
And oh yea, Kyle Shurmur is having a nice year for the Commodores (167.7 quarterback rating). He will keep Vanderbilt in this game for a little while.
4. Can Purdue Slow Down Missouri’s Offense?
Missouri has had a fantastic start to their season and it has everything to do with their offense….and the fact that they haven’t played anyone.
However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Tigers have come out and performed excellently in 2018. In two games they have scored a total of 91 points which speaks for itself.
Quarterback Drew Lock has looked nothing short of amazing so far. He is the biggest reason why Missouri is on such a hot streak right now. Through two games he has 687 passing yards, 8 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Drew Lock’s stat line tonight is absurd. He did it all in pretty much 2 1/2 quarters of football.
33/45 for 398 yards & 4 TDs
5 carries for 51 yards & 1 TD
Destroy Purdue, at Purdue next week and the bandwagon will start filling up fast. #Mizzou
— Andrew Carter (@Andrew__Carter) September 9, 2018
We will get a pretty good challenge this week against Purdue from the Big 10. This is a weird matchup, mostly because the Boilermakers are a good football team that just had a terrible start to its season.
This will be a high scoring, fun-to-watch game so tune into this one. Purdue has an insanely creative head coach in Jeff Brohm so expect fireworks early. If for some reason Missouri doesn’t come ready to play, they will fall to a sneakily talented football team.
5. Kentucky Looks to Make a Statement at Home
It’s an amazing time to be a Kentucky football fan to say the least. This week should carry on the amazing feeling that so many people in the Bluegrass have towards the Wildcats now.
Murray State comes to town in what should be a reasonably easy victory for Kentucky and Mark Stoops. That would put the Wildcats at 3-0 to start the season and who knows the might be ranked in the top 25 next week (I doubt it).
Kentucky will win on Saturday, but I’m looking for them to make a huge statement in this contest. Plus, they will really need all the momentum they can muster when Mississippi State comes to Lexington next weekend.
After getting some amazing Heisman Trophy talk this week, I’m also looking forward to Benny Snell to have a huge game on the ground in this one. I want to see an absolute beatdown take place today and that will happen if Snell gets what he wants.
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 11, 2018
UK’s game against Murray State may not seem like much of a storyline, but after their win over Florida the rest of the SEC has officially been out on notice. Kentucky controls their own fate for now, so they should be a storyline to watch every weekend. It would be quite story if they make a magical run.
Week three in the SEC will be dominated by two huge matchups: No. 12 LSU at No. 7 Auburn and No. 1 Alabama at Ole Miss. Also of interest: Vanderbilt at Notre Dame and Missouri at Purdue. Is Derek Mason’s squad legit or will they get embarrassed in front of Touchdown Jesus? I can’t wait to find out.
Here’s the schedule along with the latest point spreads from VegasInsider.com so you can plan your Saturday.
|Noon||Middle Tennessee State||#3 Georgia (-33)||ESPN News|
|Noon*||Murray State||Kentucky||SEC Network Alternate|
|Noon||UTEP||Tennessee (-31)||SEC Network|
|2:30 PM||Vanderbilt||#8 Notre Dame (-14)||NBC|
|3:30 PM||#12 LSU||#7 Auburn (-10.5)||CBS|
|4:00 PM||Colorado State||Florida (-20)||SEC Network|
|4:00 PM||North Texas||Arkansas (-7)||SEC Network|
|7:00 PM||#1 Alabama (-21.5)||Ole Miss||ESPN|
|7:30 PM||Louisiana||#16 Mississippi State (-33)||ESPN 2|
|7:30 PM||Missouri (-6)||Purdue||BTN|
|7:30 PM||UL Monroe||Texas A&M (-27)||SEC Network|
*No spread available
Let’s hear your picks in the comments.