Friday, June 30, 2006
Well I was all excited to put together a Tour De France preview this morning before the start of the race tomorrow. Then this little story broke. For the last month there has apparently been a bust on some doctor in Spain who was giving out the perfomance enhancing drug EPO (double your red blood cells or something like that). Well it had only affected some lesser stars and forced them out of the Tour. Well today your two biggest favorites, Ivan Bassos (finished 2nd last year) and Jan Ullrich (1 win and 5 2nds) have been kicked out of the Tour with a host of other talented riders. By the way, for some reason the whole drug bust is being referred to as Operation Puerto. Which makes it sound like some scheme on Miami Vice or the name Fox News would give to a story involving anything in Puerto Rico.
Basically I don't know how to preview the riders at this point because I can't get a complete list of who has been kicked out. I will tell you though that this gives all of the best Americans a much better chance of winning. Floyd Landis is now one of the three biggest favorites though he lost two Phonak team members to the scandal. George Hincapie, if he's chosen as the leader of the Discovery Team, just lost a lot of competition. Finally Levi Leipheimer who is on Gerolsteiner also has a chance to put the USA back on top.
The one thing I can explain for you is the Prologue tomorrow. Every year the Tour starts the same way. One by one, every rider on the tour leaves the starting gate in one minute intervals and races the clock on a very short course, this type of race/stage is known as a Individual Time Trial. This year's prologue is about 4.5 miles long. If you are watching OLN tomorrow, you probably only want to catch the last 20 riders or so go off. It's one of the most high action events of the tour.
Anyways, I'll provide some general info as the tour goes on and point out days to watch. If anyone has questions I'll be more than happy to try and explain, though I'm pretty sure that without Lance being in the race, no one gives a damn. Well, it's always fun to remember the good old days.
here are some good sites for the Tour:
Podium Cafe: Cycling blog with info you can understand. They have a basic break down of the course in summary format that is great.
TDFBlog: more traditional Tour De France news blog
Cyclocosm: personable/funny blog about the Tour
from the brain of nixforsix at 8:10 AM
Thursday, June 29, 2006
SEC West: Auburn 11-1 (7-1), LSU 9-3 (5-3), bama 8-4 (4-4), Arkansas 6-6 (3-5), Ole Miss 6-6 (3-5), Mississippi State 4-8 (1-7),
SEC East: Tennessee 11-1 (7-1), Florida 9-3 (6-2), Georgia 10-2 (6-2), South Carolina 8-4 (5-3), Kentucky 4-8 (1-7), Vanderbilt 3-9 (0-8)
So we end up with Auburn and Tennessee in the SEC Championship game. 2004 all over again? I sure hope so. This Tennessee team reminds me a lot of the 2004 Auburn team. A year before the team came in with unreal expectations and hit a hard schedule. Both fired or demoted absolutely awful offensive coordinators and replaced them with experienced and great offensive coordinators. With a more favorable schedule they have a chance to make some serious waves and get their name back in the national spotlight. I look at Auburn and their question marks are of the smaller variety. Auburn has two new offensive tackles but one is a junior and one is a senior. Two of the 3 replacements on the defensive line are have tons of experience and are more than capable. And both safeties will be new, but may be covered up by possibly the best cornerback tandem in the SEC. Both teams have most of their tough games at home.
But I see Auburn winning it. I think UT kinda gets to the game using smoke and mirrors and pulling out some lucky wins. By the 13th game of the season Auburn's defense should be rock solid and barring injury the offense should lead the SEC for the third year in a row.
By the way that leaves the SEC East at 25-23 and the West obviously at 23-25, so apparently the East is ever so slightly better than the West in my mind. That's the end of the SEC Schedule a Day preview and I hope you enjoyed it. If you're mad and think I did a bad job, I feel bad that you feel that way. So to make it up to you, I created you the following collage:
from the brain of nixforsix at 5:23 PM
Good Old Vandy. I don't have much to say about the conference games at this point, so this may be short and sweet. Vandy has a transfer quarterback from Arizona under that bogus new rule that allows players to transfer and not sit out a year if they've graduated from the initial institution. Stupid rule if you ask me. They have that receiver returning, don't know about running back or anyone on the defense. Seems like useless info at this point, I'm just hoping I don't contradict myself.
Sept 2 @ Michigan L: If I wasn't a student at Vandy I would definitely make this trip. One of the big problems with being a season ticket holder and having a favorite team is that you really don't have the opportunity to go catch random games. I would love to go to Dallas one year and UT/OU or hit up the midwest and see OSU/MU, or Notre Dame. If Vandy wins this game, I'll give $50 to the general scholarship fund. I don't even know if you can do that, but I'll figure out a way.
Sept 9 @ bama L: Aaah like the gold old days when the Dores and tide played every year. Same old misery returns. Be sure to check out the new upper deck in the endzone.
Sept 16 Arkansas L: Home Sweet Home. Almost. Arky will come in with an attitude after losing at home last year. This year they'll be prepared for their loss to USC and won't let it phase them as much. Also, they will appreciate Vandy D letting them tune up their new offense.
Sept 23 Tennessee State W: I guess they decided they wanted to play another in state school that wasn't as tough a matchup as Middle Tennessee State. So TSU is your answer. From what I can gather in a quick Google search, TSU is an all black school in Nashville. So in my head I envision a team full of guys who look like Cowboy Troy.
Sept 30 Temple W: Do you think this game will be on CBS or ESPN? You know it's a bad think when you're football team gets replaced in the Big East by UConn.
Oct 7 @ Ole Miss L: Speaking of Ole Miss and hot girls, Vandy actually has a decent looking female community despite being a small school. Maybe the med school attracts future hot nurses.
Oct 14 @ Georgia L: Vandy fans visiting Athens should enjoy East/West if it's still open. That's about all I got.
Oct 21 South Carolina L: This is actually a game that Vandy could sneak up and win. It's late enough in the season for the new QB to have the system down and I can completely see USC overlooking this game and planning for the Tennessee game already. Probably won't happen though. I bet Spurrier doesn't have many friends in Nashville, he should refrain from going to Tootsie's after the win.
Oct 28 @ Duke W: They should try and turn this game into a yearly rivalry. It makes sense for both teams. It's a fairly even game that if you win you still get respect somehow. I vow to learn more about both teams and bet on this game later in the year. But my first guess is to chalk one up for the SEC.
Nov 4 Florida L: It's interesting that there are once again matchups in the SEC where both teams will use the option more than a couple times a game. Of course the Gator's option will use different players and a hell of a lot more speed than Vandy's. I'm sure Bobby Johnson has some goal he's looking towards, but why not go ahead and run the triple option. No other big team in the south currently does. Why don't you try and go all out and pull an Air Force. You know you could grab one stud QB a year, who everyone else in the SEC is recruiting as an athlete, but really wants to play QB. Then you don't have to recruit great WRs, just a few good tailbacks, which the South happens to be loaded with. Snag some smart offensive lineman and you got yourself an interesting offense. And when Widenhofer was there they always managed to have a competitive defense.
Nov 11 Kentucky L: It looks like it's Vandy's year to be the worst in the conference.
Nov 18 Tennessee L: I suggest all Commodore fans close their eyes until the game is over and just replay last year's game in your head. You'll be much happier.
3-9 ouch. It may be time to start looking for another conference to play in. You have to measure the money lost by leaving the SEC against the money gained from actually having a winning season and going to a bowl. Think about it.
from the brain of nixforsix at 3:12 PM
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
I'm obviously not nearly as pumped for the draft as I was last year, but I figure I'd go ahead and put my thoughts out there so I can check back in a year or two.
Scenario One: If Bargnani, Aldridge, or Thomas drop to you, take them.
Scenario Two: If anyone offers you a chance to trade a few spots for a decent player or another pick or a pick for next year, do it.
Scenario Three: If one of the above three and Brandon Roy are gone, take Foye or Marcus Williams. I have issues with both but whatever. I won't be pissed.
Here is why I don't take Williams. If one of the 3 prominent big men don't fall to you, then you are better off taking a combo guard who could possibly run the point or Marcus Williams or Rondo. You can then pick up a developmental big man with your 2nd round pick. Then in free agency you can sign people to make do for next year like Nazr Mohammed or Speedy Claxton. I feel more and more like Al Harrington is not going to go for the max so he'll probably just sign elsewhere and we'll get nothing in return. I have no idea why Knight didn't trade him during the year so we could see more of Marvin and JSmoove.
to summarize, I'd like just about anyone considered in the top 8-10 picks other than Shelden Williams, Rudy Gay, or Adam Morrison. Shelden Williams would be a good big off the bench, but that's why we have Zaza. Rudy Gay is not needed, Adam Morrison can't play defense to save his life.
As for former Hawks:
Jason Terry is the exact same player he was with the Hawks. He just has a ton more talent around him and a different role. He still isn't a great ball handler and still makes bad decisions. But here's the deal, now all he has to do is get the ball over half court and lob the ball up to Dirk on the high post. He's always been money from 15-20 feet and been able to drive on occassion. And though he might have improved slightly on defense, you can clearly see that he was torched by Dwyane Wade in the finals.
Boris Diaw was never going to work with the Hawks as they are currently set up. He had no confidence. It'd be one thing if he showed flashed here and there, but something as simple as rising up and dunking over someone (like he did in the playoffs) never happened with the Hawks. He had trouble just imbounding the ball on out of bounds plays. He was absolutely horrible. Some people just need a change of scenery. Are the Bucks, Knicks, and Bulls idiots for letting Tim Thomas go, or did he finally get his act together in Phoenix.
from the brain of nixforsix at 3:23 PM
Well the Volunteers had one of the worst seasons in recent memory last year. The reasons? Lack of discipline, qb controversy, tough schedule, poor coaching, injuries, the team quitting.... let's just say there were a lot of problems. The #3 ranking was ridiculous from the beginning. However the Volunteers are in a much better position to return to their winning ways this year.
Sep 2 California W: Wow, not the easiest way to start off the season. Luckily for UT their defensive coaching stay in tact and has the home crowd on their side in an attempt to stop Tedford's Call offense. They are also lucky in that Cutcliffe gets to make his return to the OC role against such a mediocre defense. They'll ask Ainge not to turn the ball over early on, which will be a problem for him, and get back to the basics of running the ball and playing defense. If the Vols end up losing this game, the players could respond poorly and it could be another long season. But I think they pull out the win in Neyland Stadium.
Sep 9 Air Force W: Hey! Any of you guys remember how to play defense against the triple option? Somebody better get on Playstation and figure it out before the Falcons get to Knoxville. Even so, the disparity in athletic talent should be enough for UT to get a win. Last season definitely took it's toll on Tennessee recruiting, but we won't see the effects of that for three to four years. They still have a ton of talent from previous classes.
Sep 16 Florida W: It's a good thing these early games are at home. Before UT lost every ounce of confidence they had last season and Riggs got hurt, they were a tough football team that played against some tough opponents. Once they lost to Alabama in a fluke game, things really started to unravel. I think they'll be a slight improvement over the team they were early on last year. Foster should get plenty of carries and that talented receiving corps will have hopefully worked on their hands during the offseason. The defense should be about par for the course, and after a ball control/field position game the Vols should end up on top of the Gators. The Vol Navy rejoices.
Sep 23 Marshall W: This ain't your older brother's Marshall, and even they couldn't beat the likes of Virginia Tech. 4 home games in a row, though against tough competition, is a good way to get Erik Ainge some confidence and maybe more importantly give Ainge the opportunity to instill confidence in his teammates.
Sep 30 @ Memphis W: Yikes, I see why they tried to give up this rivalry. I guess the Tenn. AD didn't expect to be coming off a losing season when he scheduled a twelve game special with no cream puffs. I believe this game used to be played later in the season and was a part of the Memphis, Vandy, Kentucky trio of which UT would always play one game frighteningly close. Well the Vols are on their way back and they need to get back in on recruiting in Memphis. Plus things will be a lot easier without D'Angelo Williams in a Tiger uniform.
Oct 7 @ UGA L: If UT is 5-0 heading into this game there is going to be a lot of hype and pressure on gameday. I think UT meets their first really tough defense and isn't able to answer the challenge. UGA fans in Dalton and the rest of NW Georgia regain their bragging rights. However I think this game will be a lot closer than many UGA fans in the stands will be comfortable with.
Oct 21 bama W: Seriously, if last year wasn't a fluke ending, I've never seen one. Who fumbles the ball through the back of the endzone from the 2 yard line while going in for the winning score. And for the record, 6-3, is not the score from a well fought ball game, it's a sign of incompetence on the offensive side of the ball. UT's offense should be improved, I can't say the same for bama.
Oct 28 @ South Carolina W: Fulmer ought to be shaking is creamsicle colored boots. If he lets Spurrier beat hiim again I think he Mr. Slave to Spurrier's Mr. Garrison. Oh, Jesthuth Chrithst. Honestly, I think USC offense and UT's defense should be pretty evenly matched, with UT's offense having the upper hand against the Gamecock defense.
Nov 4 Louisiana State W: I still don't understand how they won that game last year. Maybe LSU was just too hyped for the game and first half and just gave out during the end of the game. Or maybe Rick Clausen is twice the leader that Ainge will ever be, or more probably Les Myles just isn't a good coach. Either way they won last year. It's a completely different game this year without a 1/10th of the emotion involved. There should be oodles of talent on the field and Jamarcus RUSSELL slinging the ball all over the field. It's completely possible that LSU wins this game, but I think UT has something to prove for the first time in a long time. I think they're probably more focused this offseason and know that they can't just walk out on the field and intimidate teams any more.
Nov 11 @ Arkansas W: Scary game. Long trip, Houston Nutt should be fighting for his job, and both teams will probably have the same game plan. The Hogs should be able to stick with UT the whole game but will need something extraordinary to happen to pull out a win. I see the Volunteers winning on a late interception.
Nov 18 @ Vanderbilt W: Revenge game. No way UT lets this happen two years in a row.
Nov 25 Kentucky W: If they couldn't do it in Lexington last year, they sure as hell are beating UT in Knoxville this year.
11-1 sounds a little too good in retrospect. I may go back and switch the LSU game. In which case the SEC East would go to a 3 way tie in between UT, UF, UGA and if recall correctly BCS standing would determine the represenative. In which case UT would probably make it. Either way, I'm picking Tennessee to win the SEC East and face Auburn in the SEC Championship game. I guess, all in all, I see this season being a lot like 2004.
I wrap up the conference standings tomorrow and take a guess at bowl games after I write up the Vandy preview.
from the brain of nixforsix at 11:26 AM
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Nothing short of an adventurous first year for Spurrier at South Carolina last year. Which brings home a greater point, there were 4 coaches making their debut in the SEC last year compared to none this year (although there are a slew of new coordinators). Technically I guess you'd have to say that Les Myles had the best debut, but I think Spurrier had the biggest impact on his team. If only he could have pulled out that Clemson game he really would have had a hell of a season. QB Blake Mitchell, stud WR Sidney Rice, and talented RB Mike Davis all return to an offense that got better as the season went on last year. They won't have as good of an offensive line this year and the defense should be terrible, but the Gamecocks should have another up and down season.
Aug 31 @ Mississippi State W: Spurrier may not have the talent level or facilities up to his satisfaction yet, but they are still light years ahead of Miss St. Spurrier will be well served though to remind Mitchell that there is no crown on the field in Starkville.
Sep 9 Georgia L: Two years ago I called the Dawgs as like a 6 pt underdog in this game the lock of the century. I was dead wrong. Two fluke plays put Georgia behind early and the rowdy Gamecock crowd kept their team in it until the final few minutes. I expect a similar atmosphere this year, but with UGA having an unsure quarterback, they'll play it close to the vest and give the USC defense very few opportunities to create turnovers.
Sep 16 Wofford W: The Terriers may have given Furman one hell of game last year but they are no match for any SEC school including Vandy.
Sep 23 Florida Atlantic W: Good job by USC schedule makers allowing the team to heal their wounds after their first loss of the season by scheduling a couple of cream puffs. It's opportune way to figure out what you need to work on and practice it for two weeks without much resistance. Plus you have that Thursday game coming up.
Sep 28 Auburn W: As I stated before, I feel like Auburn is going to slip up and lose one game this year and this one makes sense for a few reasons. 1) Thursday game 2) Spurrier has the ability to abuse our young and inexperienced safeties 3) Auburn won in a blowout last year and is likely to overlook USC 4) Auburn players may be a little too high on themselves after a marvelous 4-0 start to the season featuring wins over Wash. St. and LSU.
Oct 7 @ Kentucky W: 9 days to get ready for a week Wildcat team, which gives them a couple of days to celebrate the win and then get back to a full week of practice.
Oct 21 @ Vanderbilt W: Carolina won in a shootout last year, but the Commodores don't have the offensive firepower this year. Plus the off week can't hurt.
Oct 28 Tennessee L: No way no how is Fulmer going to let himself get embarrassed by Spurrier again. I mean at some point you have to step up and have some pride and pull out all of the stops. I think for Fulmer that required actually being a hardass on his team during the offseason. USC's defense should be overmatched in this game.
Nov 4 Arkansas W: After picking up the win in Arkansas last season, the Gamecocks try to make it two in a row in Columbia. I don't think the Hogs are talented or experienced enough to get a win in Williams Bryce. Say what you will about some of their special players, but they weren't a great football team last year and I don't see them making the leap this year.
Nov 11 @ Florida L: Spurrier's reunion against his alma mater was a victorious one last year, this year's trip to the Swamp won't be as pleasant. I think that there are games that Coaches decided that they must win, and therefore spend more time preparing and also getting their players more hyped up for. For Urban Meyer, this has to be one of those games. With full focus, more talent, and the home field advantage you have to imagine he pulls this game out. There might still be some Gator fans crying in the stands though because even though they pulled out the victory, they know who the better coach on the field is.
Nov 18 Middle Tennessee W: MTSU (pronounced mitt-sue) may have the chip on their shoulder and athleticism to hang with Vanderbilt but they will have no such luck against USC. Not the cake walk that Wofford will be, but still another easy win.
Nov 25 @ Clemson L: Tommy Bowden should have his best Clemson team ever by this point and the season. "The other Death Valley" is more of a home field advantage early in the season but it'll still be good enough to get a victory in November as well. Rob Spence finally brought a change in the play calling philosophy to the Tigers and they are a much better team as a result. The defense has steadily improved the last few years as well and will be able to at least slow the Gamecocks down.
8-4 and another bowl trip. We'll see how recruiting goes this year but I still think it will be the 2008 season before you can expect USC to win the SEC East.
from the brain of nixforsix at 3:34 PM
Monday, June 26, 2006
I could be wrong, but can't the downfall of the MSU football program be directly linked to when they started playing "Who let the dogs out?" at their games? And while I'm at it, a big screw you to ABC for making me welcome in 2001 to that song on Dick Clark's New Years Rocking Eve. Ok maybe it had a little something to do with Jackie Sherill forgetting that you couldn't exclusively recruit junior college guys and expect to be a winner. Anyways it's more bad football being put on display in Starkville this year. They really need one major recruit (QB or RB) that grew up a fan to sign with them, because right now they couldn't be further away from an SEC West championship.
Aug 31 South Carolina L: Unfortunately, I think Spurrier hated Jackie Sherill more than MSU itself so I wouldn't expect to see another 50 point walloping inspired by a trampled water boy. But the Gamecocks should be able to grab a season opening win without much trouble. South Carolina doesn't have a wealth of talent on either line, but sadly Miss St. doesn't have a wealth of talent anywhere.
Sept 9 Auburn L: The last four AU/MSU games have been 28-0, 43-14, 45-13, 42-14. So I guess you could either say that the bulldogs showed improvement last year or correctly realize that Auburn went conservative on offense after the turnover debacle that was the Georgia Tech game. It would be a tiny miracle if MSU was able to win this game and would probably have to involve a major injury. This could possibly be the first game I attend at Scott Field so let's hope a miracle doesn't happen.
Sept 16 Tulane W: Wow, Tulane is playing three games against SEC West opponents. They should have just tried to add Ole Miss, bama, and Arky as well. If they did better than MSU they could petition to take place. I get the feeling that Tulane will still show some effects from Katrina though and lose all three games. These are the games that Miss St. has to start continually winning. You knew that a slide was about to happen when they dropped that game to Troy State in a typhoon a few years back. Unless there is another ark like rain, MSU fans should be ringing their cowbells and celebrating their first win of the season.
Sept 23 @ Alabama Birmingham W: This has got to be a scary game for Sylvester Croom. It's a no win situation, unless you take beating the Blazers on the road as a sign of improvement. Blazers lose a senior qb but should be juiced for the opportunity to play an SEC team at home. I think the Bulldogs figure out a way to pull of a win though. Either that or Croom should start looking for a NFL job again.
Sept 30 @ LSU L: The only way this matchup can get any worse is if Miss St. comes into the game 0-4. At 2-2 the coaching staff can at least try to convince that they are capable of an upset. Unfortunately they're not capable of doing something like that on the road.
Oct 7 West Virginia L: Why haven't I heard about this game? Miss St. unfortunately started scheduling fun out of conference opponents at the exact wrong time, starting with Oregon a few years back. After seeing the Mountaineers hang with and eventually beat UGA in the Sugar Bowl last year, you have to believe they be making a successful trip to Starkville. Although you'd have to think the one opportunity MSU would have to shine is against a run oriented opponent who is unfamiliar with and likely to overlook MSU. Could get close but you have to give the edge to WVU.
Oct 14 Jacksonville State W: For those of you that don't know, Jax St is actually in Alabama and not Florida. Other than having some transfers from SEC schools they not very noteworthy. Easy game for Miss State.
Oct 21 @ Georgia L: In recent history UGA has a bad habit of making games like this close than they should before ultimately winning by 14-17 points. I don't even think they are capable of that in this game. Anything under 24 point victory would be an absolute failure, and even that would be mediocre. UGA continues to be the real bulldogs in the SEC for another year.
Oct 28 Kentucky W: You know if they had not of scheduled the West Virginia game, MSU would have a legitimate shot at making bowl game again. That probably won't happen but it's always good to pull out at least one SEC victory a year. It was Ole Miss last year and Kentucky gets the honors this year.
Nov 4 @ bama L: I always wonder what it's like for a guy like Sylvester Croom to go back and coach against a school they played for in the stadium they played in. Granted it's not as big of a deal as Spurrier going back to the Swamp, but you have to feel weird the entire game. I guess some of the bama powers that be have to feel somewhat vindicated in their decision to go with Shula instead of Croom. Although I wonder what the records would be if they had to switch positions.
Nov 18 Arkansas L: I don't know if I've ever watched this matchup, I would guess it's not usually on TV. Arkansas should savor picking up this road win and Miss St. fans will probably be pretty used to losing by this point in the season.
Nov 25 @ Ole Miss L: I think there is going to be a lot of pressure on Orgeron and the Rebels to win this game after the disaster that took place in Starkville last year. I expect Ole Miss to pull out all the stops and make a public display that they are the best program in the state. They need to or else they are passing up on a great opportunity to continue to dominate on the recruiting front.
4-8. Uggh. I don't know what the deal is with Miss St. boosters and what not, but how can they tolerate this. They've actually played in the SEC Championship before and now they are mentioned in the same breath as Kentucky and Vandy, and it's not like they have academic requirements holding them back. They really are an embarrassment to the conference at this point.
from the brain of nixforsix at 2:11 PM
Friday, June 23, 2006
What's up with Ole Miss this year? They presumably have a middle of the pack QB, no other skill players, a rebuilt defensive line that could still be good based on Coach Orgeron, and the best linebacker in the SEC. A feisty but by no means good team. Their best chance in every game is to hope for a low scoring slug fest like they did in the bama game last year.
Since I apparently got two important facts wrong in my LSU preview yesterday, I will be sprinkling this preview with a whole array of lies, rumors, and the occasional fact.
Sept 2 Memphis W: The second oldest rivalry in the South (dating back to the Memphis St era) kicks the season off in Vaught Hemingway stadium. Unfortunately for the Tigers they don't have D'angelo Williams any more, and Coach Orgeron has declared a war on recruiting in Memphis. This should be a slow low scoring game with Ole Miss pulling out the win in the 4th quarter. Chalk a win up for the SEC over Conference USA. As far as proximity, this kinda plays out like the UGA/Tech rivalry in my mind. They are a ton of Ole Miss grads living in the big city of Memphis and they like to talk about their athletic superiority quite often. But the city school Memphis/Tech despite having less overall talent stays competitive. Of course this comparison only applies to about the last 5 years.
Sept 9 @ Missouri L: Hell if I know anything about Missouri. But I do know that the Ole Miss program is at the point where they could do something like lose to Wyoming at home last year. As far as I know Mizzou doesn't have Brad Smith anymore but what the hell chalk one up for the Big 12 over the SEC.
Sept 16 @ Kentucky W: Horse racing seems like something that Ole Miss fans should be more involved in. They already wear bow ties as well as the rest of the traditonal outfit for the Derby. Anyways, the Rebs should feel at home in Commonwealth stadium. Two athletic QB's will scramble around aimlessly waiting for one of their subpar receivers to finally get open. Should be mighty purty.
Sept 23 Wake Forest W: Once again I don't know anything about Wake this year and I don't really care to find out. But let's just say that when these two original members of the Southern Conference the Rebels will celebrate a win in the Grove for a change. After playing three cream puffs to open the season the Deamon Deacons will finally taste defeat. Chalk one up for the schols that laid south and west of the Appalachians over those atlantic schools. Do Sewanne and Washington & Lee still play against each other?
Sept 30 Georgia L: Ole Miss welcomes the Dawgs into Oxford for the first time since 2001. At the time Richt went into the game with a freshman QB and does it again this year and probably pulls out a win again. A couple more sketchy but strong recruiting classes by the O and he may have a contender, but for now they're still outside the big 6 in the SEC. Just so you know, an SEC coach was reportedly turned in by several SEC and other conference coaches. In addition it's rumored that Orgeron will face a slap on the wrist for contacting recruits during the dead period. None of this is surprising though since he contacted Tulane players and inquired into whether or not they wanted to transfer in the aftermath of Katrina. Stand up guy. Anyways, he doesn't have enough recruiting classes under his belt to compete with the UGA's of the world.
Oct 7 Vanderbilt W: For some reason Ole MIss has had trouble with the Commodores over the span of Jay Cutler's career. Well he's gone so hopefully no worries. If you want to rebuild you have to capitalize on opportunities like this.
Oct 14 @ bama L: Last year was a valiant effort and really there chance to capitalize and get a big time win over a ranked opponent. Though bama won't be as good this year, and Ole Miss should actually be better, playing in Tuscaloosa will be the difference. That, and by now the Tide offense should know how to produce some points without Prothro.
Oct 21 @ Arkansas L: Tough back to back road games against hard hitting defensive teams that run the ball. I'm sure some sort of fluke play could give the Reb's the win, but it's not something that I would predict. I can only hope that there will be at least one Patrick Willis/Darren McFadden showdown during the game. Like a more equal or competitive Bo/Boz moment where they meet at the goal line. If you haven't gotten a chance to see Patrick Willis play yet, he's a tackling machine and apparently he played all of last year with several injuries. I don't know what his combine stats will be, but some NFL team will be lucky to have him.
Oct 28 Auburn L: Rough three game stretch. What a welcome home. You've just suffered through two physical games on the road, congrats, now go play Auburn. If memory serves, Auburn hasn't lost in Oxford since....umm....geez I don't know....1992. Chances are that streak will extend another couple of years. 2008 could possibly be a down year for the Tigers and a site of better times in The Grove. As far as the football itself goes, Ole Miss will not be able to move the ball consistantly or defend against the pass.
Nov 4 Northwestern State W: Just what the doctor ordered. And as I found out during the NCAA tournament this year, NWST is located in Louisiana and not Oregon or Washington as I had originally assumed.
Nov 18 @ LSU L: Second straight week against a Louisiana team, vastly different results. I can't imagine a way to predict a Ole Miss win in this game. If LSU's starting QB goes down, that have two highly qualified guys behind him. Maybe if there was a torrential downpour during the game and everybody was just rushing up the middle and trying to get 3 yards every time. I don't think it rains much in November in Baton Rouge though.
Nov 25 Mississippi St W: After laying an egg in the Egg bowl last year (nice), Ole Miss has no choice but to sack up and win this game. They are currently killing MSU in recruiting right now and they can't afford lose momentum on instate recruits. On a side note, I miss this game being played on Thanksgiving Day. I'm sure it sucked for the fans, but this game probably won't be televised for the next 5-10 years. Considering that now the Iron Bowl and UGA/Tech will almost always be played on the same Saturday.
6-6 for Ole Miss which is a huge improvement over last year's 3-8 performance. And I think this is actually a team on the rise. Best case scenario for Ole Miss is that Arkansas completely implodes this year and Nutt is fired, giving them a clear shot as the 4th best team in the SEC West for the next few years.
from the brain of nixforsix at 11:40 AM
Thursday, June 22, 2006
The Bayou Bengals enter this year much like they have the last few years, loaded with talent. Les Myles got a pass on his first season in Baton Rouge by inheriting the afforementioned talent and a pretty easy schedule. Of course he also had to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It no doubt had an effect on the early season games and some would say their entire season. Things should be pretty normal this year and pretty tough.
Sept 2 Louisiana Lafayette W: Ooh La La comes to town but the Ragin Cajuns don't have enough of anything to challenge LSU. This will not be the only game this year in which both Jamarcus Randall and Matt Flynn take snaps from center. The potential QB controversy looms large.
Sept 9 Arizona State W: Unfortunately for LSU this is going to be another tough game with the Sun Devils high powered offense coming to Death Valley. Luckily, LSU has 3 stars returning to their secondary and should be able to slightly muffle the aerial assualt that ASU will abuse other teams with. This probably the week that LSU decides who their go to tailback is going to be. I'm gonna guess it ends up being Ally Broussard. Justin Vincent continually looks more and more like a two game phenomenom.
Sept 16 @ Auburn L: I see Auburn attacking that new interior defensive line for LSU, which also happens to be the strength of the Auburn line with Grubbs and Duckworth being potential All SEC selections and Joe Cope proving himself in the LSU game last year. Unfortunately though, there's no reason to believe this won't be a close game. As usual, expect something ridiculous to happen in this game. I'd be in favor of LSU repeating their 5 interception game from 94.
Sept 23 Tulane W: Tulane really decided to face the big boys this year. I guess they are making a push to replace Miss St. in the SEC or something. If it was basball the Green Wave would have a chance, but no when the ball is made of pigskin or some synthetic fiber.
Sept 30 Mississippi State W: Will this be an easier game than the week before? Probably not, but I don't see LSU having any problems. This is a second straight week where LSU gets to work out the kinks and get ready for their next big showdown.
Oct 7 @ Florida L: Just a tough road game. LSU probably has the QB and WR's to exploit some weaknesses on the Gator defense, but I just see them struggling on the road this year. I'm not sure they can grind it out and run it on people anymore.
Oct 14 Kentucky W: Good chance to restore some pride and heal some wounds. I can't imagine any reason to ever watch this game unless you've placed a hefty wager on LSU to cover what should be around a 24 pt. spread.
Oct 21 Fresno State W: I didn't even know this game was going to be played until about 5 minutes ago. I really like this game. Pat Hill has some serious cajones to keep playing big name teams on the road. Even though they pushed USC to the 4th quarter last year, I don't see them winning in Red Stick. As far as I can tell they have to replace their starters at QB and tailback which usually isn't a good thing when you have to play powerhouses on the road.
Nov 4 @ Tennessee L: As I said earlier, I think LSU is going to struggle on the road. After road losses to Auburn and Florida they should be a little rattled. Neyland Stadium unfortunately is not for the weak hearted. Clocking in at about 10 hours it's a long haul for the fans up to Knoxville and it should be fairly cold around gametime. I think Cutcliffe's offense will be rolling by this point in the season and combined with a decent defense will be too much for the Bayou Bengals. QB controversy could be in full swing by now with the cajuns clamoring for Matt Flynn to get a chance to start.
Nov 11 Alabama W: Well this was a hard fought defensive ballgame last year. And I'd tend to believe it'll be more of the same this year. The real question is whether LSU fans will be kissing in the stands again this year. And if they are, could ESPN possibly catch 2 female students kissing this time around? Although I doubt they will be celbrating an overtime win this year, LSU should get the job done in regulation.
Nov 18 Ole Miss W: Ed Orgeron isn't scared of Death Valley. In fact that's the pet name he gave his ass. LSU fans have been known to rock opponent's busses and shout at coaches and players, it would be in their best interest to take a week off. Coach O though, unfortunately doesn't have any elgibility left, so his players will have to get an upset victory at Tiger Stadium. Don't see it happening. If Eli couldn't pull out the win, I doubt Brent Schaeffer will.
Nov 25 @ Arkansas in Little Rock W: What a break for LSU. They've had quite a bit a trouble in recent years playing in Little Rock, not to mention just Arkansas in general. So just getting to play in Little Rock instead of Fayetteville is a mini victory in and of itself. LSU's defense will suffocate the one dimensional Arkansas attack for a full 60 minutes. LSU's athletes pull out a couple of offensive gems and pull out the win. Corndogs on the house.
They may be 9-3 but LSU still bleauxs. They miss out on the SEC Championship game, giving SEC West representation back to Auburn. I think they've recruited some unbelievable athletes over the past few years I'm just not sure they've gotten a ton of mean SOB's with some weight on them. I dont' see this LSU team having a chip on it's shoulder anymore and I have my doubts that Les Myles is going to inspire it. Not a bad year though and Jamarcus Russell should be a handful as a senior QB in 2007 with an easier schedule.
from the brain of nixforsix at 9:44 AM
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Let's see. Basically the same old Kentucky. They have a few players but nothing much to speak of. Sadly, the biggest splash they could make this year would be changing up their uniforms and getting rid of the blue man group look. Rafael Little is actually a decent running back and I guess you could QB Andre Woodson is dynamic, but that's about it. I would expect the defense to fair better against running teams and to get torched by the pass happy teams of the world.
Sept 2 @ Lousiville L: This one could get really ugly. 59-17 sounds about right. I don't even think it matters if Bryan Brohm has fully recovered from his injury let. You don't just roll into Papa John's Stadium and expect to come out with a win any more. You expect to get embarrassed. What's really surprising is how much the Louisville/UK basketball matchup has dropped of recently. Didn't you think one of these teams would have made the Final Four since Pitino returned to the NCAA?
Sept 9 Texas State W: Call a cream puff if you will, but I admire scheduling the school that was the backdrop for Necessary Roughness. You think Scott Bakula, I mean Paul Blake, returned to his alma mater as a QB coach or Offensive Coordinator? One can only hope. At the very least, Lexingtonians should look for a Sinbad sighting at the game. He's edgy.
Sept 16 Ole Miss L: The Rebs are popping up on the home schedule a year too late for the Wildcats to pick up a win. Good chance for Brent Schaeffer to knock off the rust and put up some stats after a tough two opening games. I imagine the drive from Oxford, MS to Lexington, KY is pretty desolate. Up to Memphis, over to Nashville, and then through God's country.
Sept. 30 Central Michigan W: They better win cause they don't have many opportunities this year. Why would UK schedule a game against the feisty Chippewas though? I'd say that UK should be about a 3 point favorite in this one, and considering that CMU will have already faced Michigan in Ann Arbor, I doubt they will be intimidated. The only reason I'm giving this game to UK is because they were actually improved last year and played most of their games relatively tight.
Oct. 7 South Carolina L: If I wasn't trying to finish this up before leaving work, I'd go back and look up Spurrier's career stats against UK (maybe for the USC preview). Though I do remember them struggling for a half or so on some mid 90's JP games, I'm guessing he handed out a few shellackings. He'll have less talent, but still get the job done. Expect Blake Mitchell to have over 350 yards passing. Sidney Rice with get a helmet sticker on the late night ESPN Gameday show.
Oct 14 @ Louisiana State L: I don't see UK returning the favor of the Bluegrass miracle from a few years ago. Maybe some Kentucky fans will make the trip, not get hassled too much by the natives in Baton Rouge, and enjoy some good food and scenery. The UK fans that came down to Auburn a few years ago were quite nice. They realized they weren't going to win but still enjoyed following their team around.
Oct 28 @ Mississippi State L: Battle to see who the worst team in the SEC is. Seriously one of these teams needs to start cheating again.
Nov 4 Georgia L: I mean, I guess they could sneak up on Georgia since the game is sandwiched between the Cocktail Party and the Auburn game, but I doubt it. Best case scenario for the Wildcats is keeping it close for 3 quarters before losing by a couple of TD's.
Nov 11 Vanderbilt W: I don't really know on this one. My general knowledge tells me that UK is a really young team and Vandy has guys who used to be in a similar position who are now seasoned and ready to capitalize on an opportunity like this. But then I checked out last years score, and unbeknownst to me, UK beat Vandy last year. So what the hell.
Nov 18 Louisiana Monroe W: Woohooo two wins in a row. Break out the Woodford Reserve.
Nov 25 @ Tennessee L: When I say last year was your chance, I mean it. Prepare for many more losses at the hands of the Volunteers. Probably another good opportunity to break out the Woodford Reserve.
Well, I had to talk myself into giving UK 4 wins and allowing them to go 4-8. If they have to play Louisville every year, I'd really try to find the worst teams in America for the rest of my out of conference games. However this does look to be a young and promising team, and somehow they've won some recruiting battles in the past few years. They're pretty much all instate defensive players, but that's better than nothing. This team was infinitely more entertaining with Jared Lorenzen, now they're just another sucky team.
from the brain of nixforsix at 2:30 PM
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
The first huge drop off in experience and leadership since Richt has started his run. Quentin Moses is really the only returning "star" this year. There may be other great players, but he's the only one universally known around the SEC for being a stud. UGA's schedule never seems to differ too much in difficulty, partly because of the Jacksonville game each year, so they technically avoid two tough road trips in a given year usually. I don't think there is any doubt that UGA has talent, but to win the SEC you have generally need an experienced QB and lines on both side of the ball, and a favorable schedule.
Sept 2 Western Kentucky W: I've had the opportunity to watch the Hilltoppers play in Auburn the last couple of years and they are anything but a force to be reckoned with. It's exciting as a casual fan to see a great matchup the first weekend of the season, but personally I would always open my season like this and play the blockbuster game in week 2. Great chance to give the QB's and RB's some reps and get a feel for who you actually want to use. Unfortunately the secondary won't be tested by WKU's predominatly ground based attack.
Sept 9 @ South Carolina W: I think it's been documented that the Gamecocks usually make this a tight game, as well as Spurrier's psychological advantage over UGA (fans only though). USC should come out fired up in front of a home crowd, but I get the feeling that Tereshinski will be playing at this point and a conservative offense might actually be just what they need to win. As I stated all of last year, Kregg Lumpkin is the best of the tailbacks and should get most of the carries. Plus he should be fully recovered from his knee injury by now and be more of a force. I would only use Danny Ware for power yards and tell Thomas Brown to fetch me some water and be ready if someone gets hurt. Anyway, I see UGA getting burned for a couple of touchdowns but holding steady and winning another nail biter.
Sept 16 Alabama-Birmingham W: It's been typical in recent years for UGA to play games like this too close, but yet they always emmerge with a win. 3-0 goes a long way towards building some confidence.
Sept 23 Colorado W: The Buffaloes playing Arizona St. the week before then travel cross country to take on the dawgs. Not an ideal situation for your fourth game under a new coaching staff. On the plus side, it's possible that CU football players will carry on their recent track record and hit up Topper's after the game. I can't imagine Dan Hawkins is too excited to return to Athens after he got demolished with Boise St. last year. He should theoretically have better athletes and be able to produce a better score, but I'm guessing he'll still pick up an L.
Sept 30 @ Ole Miss W: If UGA overlooks this game it could be a tough one. I don't expect the Rebels to have a ton of offensive production, but I"m guessing their defense will stay decent as long as Coach O is there. Brent Schaeffer has no tools around him, and UGA should at least be able score 21 points. I hate that none of my UGA friends are going to this game as far as I know. The Grove is not the best tailgating around, but it's definitely one of the most interesting. Pretty much the biggest outdoor club/bar in the world is the best way to describe it. There are no cars, every tent is set up 1 inch away from the next one so they have to block off "streets" so you can walk around. Very surreal.
Oct 7 Tennessee W: I was one of those people absolutely shocked when the Vols pulled out the win in Athens two years ago. I had just watched Auburn destroy them in Knoxville the week before and Erik Ainge looked like a deer in the headlights, while at the same time UGA was absolutely killing LSU. In reality, things just unravelled for UT and they lost their composure against possibly the greatest Auburn team ever. Nick Saban for some reason decided to become a stubborn ass and let one brilliant adjustment by Richt, torch him all day long. Why he never decided to switch to a zone is beyond me. Even teams like UAB managed to stay close with UGA that year by forcing them to run the ball and throw underneath. As for 2006, I think UT is going to be improved but I'm not sure about their running game and I just don't see Ainge winning two in a row in Sanford Stadium. Plus I'm still pissed off about that crap TD that Tennessee got at the end of the game last year to cover the spread, which should have been reviewed by the officials, but since the game ended with the play, they didn't bother.
Oct 14 Vanderbilt W: What would happen if the Commodore actually let Steve Martin coach them on the sidelines instead of Bobby Johnson? Would anyone notice? I can't imagine it would have a huge difference on the score of this game.
Oct 21 Mississippi State W: When does UGA have to play LSU or bama again? Enough with the Mississippi teams.
Oct 28 Florida in Jacksonville L: How close are we to seeing an end to neutral site rivalry games. Thankfully the Iron Bowl ended years ago. For those of you who don't know, Legion Field is a dump, and it was a ridiculous advantage for bama. Around 80% of the tickets were split equally between both teams with 20% going to city officials or some BS like that. Which sucked because almost all of the city officials were bama fans. So it was always a bama heavy crowd. I get the feeling that Jacksonville is the same way. I know a ton of Georgia fans go, but when I went there definitely seemed to be a lot more Florida fans walking around. Texas/OU actually seems pretty evenly split. Anyways, the Dawgs always seem to be a disadvantage and find some way to lose this game whether they are the more talented team or not. I see Chris Leak doing whatever it takes to go out on top.
Nov. 4 @ Kentucky W: Another road trip I thoroughly enjoyed. Lexington is a cool little town, the stadium is easy to get to, and the fans weren't of the "shit talking" variety. I don't see an elite team losing there anytime soon though unless a big time injury goes down. And you better be careful with that stuff around horse racing fans. You wouldn't want Matthew Stafford getting euthanized after spraining his ankle.
Nov 11 @ Auburn L: The South's Oldest rivalry which started way back in 1892 back in Piedmont Park. On that day my great uncle Jessie Culver scored the second and final touchdown the winning cause. This was also the day that the War Eagle war cry started. And Auburn fans in Atlanta have savored each win over UGA ever since. I could be wrong, but it seems like if Auburn won this one it would be 6 of the last 8 against Georgia. Not too shabby. This should be a huge CBS game with two top 15 teams slugging it out. I think Auburn's offense will be too balanced for UGA to handle much like it was 2 years ago.
Nov 25 Georgia Tech W: Has anyone enjoyed Reggie Ball's career more than Georgia fans? This would be a huge redemption for him, but what has he ever shown that would lead you to believe that this will be the year. Some QB's just never seem to get better. I kept thinking that Romero Miller would eventually become a better QB at Ole Miss, but it never happened. Though sometimes, people like Jason Campbell finally get all the pieces around them and finally flourish. If it was in Atlanta I'd give Tech a shot, but UGA has to win this one. They won't be willing to go 1-3 against their biggest rivals.
10-2 Not bad for a rebuilding year. Worst case scenario is probably 9-3. I just don't think you can go through that many big games with an untested QB and not lose a couple. Pretty much the scenario Auburn was in last year. We had a lot of pieces and a QB in Brandon Cox who was older, but really hadn't been thrown into the fire. So he gets overwhelmed against Tech in the opener, struggles a little bit against LSU, and then really struggles after a break and comes out rusty against Wisconsin in a bowl game. Not a bad year, just not a championship year.
from the brain of nixforsix at 3:39 PM
Monday, June 19, 2006
After a surprising year (good and bad) Urban Meyer attempts to revolutionize the SEC again with his spread offense, excessive finger pointing, and refusal to wear jean shorts like most Gator fans. Whatever, Florida is still Florida, which means they have a ton of athletes thanks to the amazing foresight to place their campus in prime recruiting territory.
Sept 2 Southern Miss W: Unfortunately the Golden Eagles don't have Brett Favre any more. Though they came one uncalled pass intereference away from beating bama in Tuscaloosa last year. I don't know jack about them, but they aren't winning in the Swamp.
Sept 9 Central Florida W: George O'Leary may have just landed a big contract, and UCF may have given teams like South Carolina a little trouble last year, but they are still probably the 5th best team in the state of Florida. Back in the Spurrier days you could count on the Gators to put up at least 50, now a days I'd think low 40's is about right. And I got just a hunch that the Golden Knights aren't ready to match that kind of offensive display.
Sept 16 @ Tennessee L: After two weeks of knocking off the rust, Florida finally faces their first real challenge. Urban Meyer was 1-3 outside the state of Florida last year (lost at bama, LSU, USC, won at UK) and I don't see him fairing much better this year. UT still has a defense, and they don't really have a choice but to improve on offense with David Cutcliffe back in control. This has really got to be tough on Chris Leak. Let's just say that he chose to go to UT instead of Florida and everything happened about the same which is highly unlikely. So he's a senior and he gets David Cutcliffe to come in and tailor the offense for his senior year. That's right, the guy who made sure that the Mannings became top picks in the NFL and somehow turned Tee Martin into a national champion. Or he could be in his current predicament of having to run the option with a wide receiver and what not. He may not actually be tall enough to be a NFL star, but he should have at least dominated in college. Of course that's what happens when you put your future in the hands of the Zooker.
Sept 23 Kentucky W: Life must be starting to get pretty rough in Lexington now that they hardly even have the basketball season to look forward to. I don't see why team like this don't embrace the cheating ways of Hal Mumme and others. The Wildcats aren't cheating anymore, and it will show on the field. The third easy win of the season will help Florida get over the fact that Phat Phil just beat them.
Sept 30 bama W: Revenge game. Of course bama really came out of this game worse off than Florida, with Prothro's injury effectively ending their season. On the plus side, this game was solely responsibile for Brodie Croyle getting drafted in the 3rd round. Urban Meyer will surely want to avenge his "welcome to the SEC" moment from last year. And if I remember correctly bama won on their last trip down to the swamp in 1999? Anyways, bama doesn't have the same level of D this year, and the Florida D should be able to stack the box.
Oct 7 LSU W: Second week at home and the chance to really get the season turned around and on the right track. Les Myles got blessed with a ridiculously easy road schedule last year, no such luck in year 2. Look for the Gator D to grab a few turnovers and be able to move the ball on a less experienced and talented LSU defense than we've see the last few years. Also welcome back to the top 10.
Oct 14 @ Auburn L: The last time the Gators came to Auburn they had Rex "at least the scout team stopped us a few times" Grossman, Jabar the thief Gaffney, and Darth Visor and a #1 ranking. They still left with a loss and were a direct cause of me rushing the field and getting tackled into a speaker by a police officer who then decided to let me go since there were 5 thousand other people rushing the field all around me. This time around, it could turn into an offensive showdown. Unless I had a little too much Southern Comfort before a game, I don't recall Auburn playing against a spread offense in recent memory, and I'm not sure that Muschamp has too much experience with it either. On the other side of the ball, Al Borges is easily the best offensive coordinator in the SEC and maybe the nation and well Charlie Strong has never scared me. I think Auburn gets the last score at home though.
Oct 28 World's Largest Cocktail Party W: Damn you Michael Adams, I'll call this game whatever I want. Joe T3 almost beat the Gators last year, and I'm betting he gets another chance this year. UGA has to slip up and win this game occasionally right? Maybe not. I originally had this as a UGA win but the fact the UF gets an off week (though UGA is playing MSU at home which is basically an off week), the young secondary, and recent history of this game, just won't allow me to pick the dawgs. Which is a shame because Auburn always beats UGA after they win against Florida.
Nov 4 @ Vanderbilt W: Road games at Vandy are great, or at least the ones I've been to. The stadium was just about 50/50 Auburn/Vandy, I love hitting up Tootsie's, Legends and Rippys downtown, and it's not even hard to get a hotel or a parking spot 20 yards from the stadium. And you know for a fact that your team is going to emmerge with another conference win.
Nov 11 South Carolina W: Uhhh, l'd hate to think what would happen if Florida lost this game. How lucky was Zook that Spurrier wasn't coaching in the SEC while he was there? He would have had an even shorter tenure as coach. Seriously though, I don't see how Florida loses this one. Their might be some fans who are still conflicted about this matchup, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't extend to any of the players and coaches.
Nov 18 Western Carolina W: ho freaking hum
Nov 25 @ Florida State L: Originally had this one as a Florida win, but there's no reason to let schemes and what not cloud a decision. Florida isn't going to win 3 in a row in the series and especially with two of those coming on the road. It's not the same old FSU, but they still have some pride.
Now seems like a good place to point out that specifics only get in the way of preseason picks. I have no idea who's going to get injured or what coaching changes are going to work out. So you have to go with general thoughts. On a week to week basis you can look at how individual units match up and coaching philosophies. But for now I'm sticking to my petty biases and theories.
I'll have to look at UT's season first, but two SEC losses and losing the head to head with UT probably keeps them out of the SEC Championship game. 9-3 ain't bad though, with a shot to get 10 in a decent bowl game.
from the brain of nixforsix at 12:30 PM
Friday, June 16, 2006
Well, I'm biased on this one, but I'm going to try and be fair. Honestly, if Brandon Cox gets injured this year, Auburn football won't be a source of joy for me this fall, cause there's not much talent behind him at the moment. Normally I would worry about a new defensive coordinator but since Will Muschamp is only one year removed from LSU, I have a feeling he's got a handle on things, it's just a matter of the players getting used to his scheme.
Sept 2 Washington State W: Season opening losses against USC and GT in 3 of the last 4 years make me a little gun shy about this game. Also, despite having an experienced secondary, a team coming into Jordan Hare and looking to throw at will scares me a bit. But somehow someway, I gotta figure Auburn wins by at least a touchdown in a night game at home. Unlike last year against Tech we won't have a new quarterback and tailback overwhelmed by the magesty of it all. But I no means expect a blowout.
Sept 9 @ Mississippi State W: Remember when the SEC West didn't have any easy games? Not any more. The last few games against the Bulldogs, I've been amazed at far behind they are athletically. They are only a small step up from the Lousiaina directional schools at this point. Jackie Sherrill may have cheated, but at least they were competitive. I fully expect to say the same thing about Orgeron in about 5-6 years.
Sept 16 LSU W: Like 2004, this game basically sets up the rest of the year. Tuberville has won all three home meetings against LSU and is 4-3 against them overall. Personally I think LSU is going to take a small step back from last year, and Auburn is going to take one forward, given the 5 missed FG game in Baton Rouge last year, I'm taking Auburn to win. However this has quietly become one of the most intense and best fought rivalries in football and it should be another close game. And by the way, LSU fans smell lick corn dogs.
Sept 23 Buffalo W: One of my favorite teams to bet against because they routinely get blown out and they were the setting for the first season of Fraternity Life on MTV. However, Auburn probably won't be a good bet on this day. The Tigers will be resting their starters because of the bull shit that is...
Sept 28 @ South Carolina (Thursday Night) L: I don't like anything about this game. What are we the Big East? Theoretically Auburn will at the very least by a top 10 team The other big games that weekend are Florida/bama and maybe UGA/Ole Miss. So chances are that at the very least you could have played on ESPN on a Saturday night and gotten just as much exposure, without pissing off your own fans. Idiots. Anyways, Auburn had way too easy of a time with USC last year b/c Mitchell was hurt, so I think we overlook them a little bit, plus Spurrier owns Tuberville. So much so, that everything Auburn does as a program is based on what Spurrier was able to accomplish at Florida to some degree. Interesting fact, Brandon Cox was most likely going to Florida until Spurrier took the job with the Redskins during the middle of recruiting. bama had Franchione at the time and was running the option, so we Cox fell right into our laps. So if Darth Visor ends up losing this game, it's his own fault.
I don't necessarily think Auburn will lose this game, but I have the feeling they will lose one, and this game makes the most sense. It could be LSU, UGA, or WSU at home or bama and Ole Miss on the road, but USC seems like the type of game Tuberville would lose.
Oct 7 Arkansas W: Auburn for the last few years has traditionally played better after the pressure is off. After losing to South Carolina, and dropping back into the #15 range they should feel at home. Arkansas picks the wrong weak to show up on the plains and suffers a loss. I could talk schemes here, but what's the point. Arkansas has some nice players here and there but they don't have the consistancy from position to position or the depth to win a game like this on the road.
Oct 14 Florida W: Even though it was a tough game during the Spurrier years, I really miss not playing Florida every year. No one would ever win a national championship but I wish the big 6 in the SEC could play each other every year. It sure as hell would be fun to watch. Anyways, Urban's flukey offense goes on the road to face Muschamp's aggresive D. It's hard for me to judge this game right now, because I can only base it on Florida from last year. But they still have a QB who is not a scrambler and they don't have a running back. The inappropriately heralded defense from last year should be about the same. Rumor has it that this will be an ESPN night game and I like Auburn. I remember seeing Chris Leak as freshman and wondering if he'd be at Florida long enough for this game, now I'm not even scared. Square peg round hole.
Oct 21 TulaneW: Unlike the Buffalo game, I'll probably drive down for this one. Maybe the Green Wave will have a future NFL QB again. Otherwise, this game will produce nothing of note.
Oct 28 @ Ole Miss W: Another scary game to me. Although thankfully, this may be a Lincoln Financial game and take the crowd completely out of it. Ole Miss' defense should be stout this year and Schaeffer should have settled in. I see it being uncomfortably close for 3 quarters then Auburn pulling out a 10-14 pt win.
Nov 4 Arkansas State W: Good chance to skip tailgating and walk around campus before the game. Plenty of leg room at the game as well which is always nice.
Nov 11 Georgia W: Undecided QB race, undecided starter at RB, all new secondary, two year losing streak, on the road. Sorry to my dawg friends, but another year of misery for you. But you know you're welcome at my tailgate, I'll help you find tickets, and show you a great place to park. Two years ago Borges attacked Thomas Davis and embarassed him, Greg Blue looked like an idiot this year, what overhyped UGA safety is Auburn going to abuse this year? And in case you're wondering David Pollack's motor still hasn't stopped, and history hasn't changed he did play pee wee football with David Greene.
Nov 18 @ Tuscaloosa W: What can I say? Until bama proves other wise, Auburn is the more dominant program right now. And until they beat us in Tuscaloosa, how can I not pick Auburn to win at Tommy Tuberville Field at Bryant Denny Stadium. But to be more specific, did you see the 2005 Iron Bowl? But it's the Iron Bowl, and despite past successes, it is a road game. Auburn wins by a touchdown, 5 straight wins, grown men openly weep all across Alabama. Some in joy many more in sadness.
11-1? Seems like a homer pick at first glance I guess. Last year I had them going 10-1 and splitting the LSU/UGA road games. I was right on that account but completely didn't see the Tech loss coming. Worse case scenario they drop two home games between LSU, Florida, and UGA, and lose one of the road games and end up 9-3. Which would definitely be a disappointment. But in general, there is enough experience returning, great coaching, and a favorable schedule. Sets up rather nice.
Get your jean shorts and tube tops ready for the Florida preview on Monday.
from the brain of nixforsix at 11:52 AM
Thursday, June 15, 2006
From Chad Ford's blog:
"Here in Treviso, we've now had two sources, one close to Williams and one close to the Hawks, confirm that Hawks GM Billy Knight indeed asked Williams to shut down his workouts in return for the Hawks' selection."
What are the upside projections on Shelden Williams? A healthy version of Alan Henderson? A less backstabbing Carlos Boozer? I only have a few rules for judging players athletic abilities, and looking exactly like Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars isn't on the positive side.
If you have a top 5 pick, the thought "he'll never be an all star" shouldn't cross your mind. In reality it's true, but you should at least be able to convince yourself that at some point he could be an all star.
from the brain of nixforsix at 5:37 PM
To be honest, most people out there don't have any clue what this team will do. Unless you went to every spring practice and got to know Guz Malzahn's offense and also saw Mitch Mustain play and can project whether or not he'll be able to beat out Casey Dick. The defense should be slightly better with a bunch of starters returning and it being defensive coordinator Reggie Herring's second year. But really their whole year comes down to how they handle this new offense, did they get a Hugh Nall or an Al Borges. For those of you that know Auburn, Hugh Nall may have been the most inept offensive coordinator I've ever seen, and lead directly to Auburn's abysmal 2003 season. Al Borges on the other hand is God in a Hawaiin shirt. I have a feeling that ole Gus will be somewhere in the middle.
Sept 2 Southern California L: If they were returning the whole coaching staff and had a experienced quarterback I'd give them a shot to upset the Trojans. Which would be similar to the scare of a lifetime that Matt Jones gave the Longhorns two years ago. But it's not going to happen this time. Best case scenario would be for Arkansas to pound the ball up the middle with McFadden the whole game and take the occasional shot at a long ball to Monk. Aim for a low scoring game where a fluke play is the deciding factor. Talent disparity will be clearly evident by the 4th quarter though. What pisses me off however, is that Pac 10 fans will try and use this game as some sort of symbol that West Cost football teh shiznit.
Sept 9 Utah State W: Let's just say that if Arkansas doesn't win this game, Houston Nutt should put his resume up on Yahoo Jobs.
Sept 16 @ Vanderbilt W: This was a bad, bad, bad loss for the Razorbacks last year. Losing to Vandy at home is by all means unacceptable, and following their thrashing to USC pretty much set up the tone for their season. Luckily, Nashville is like playing Vandy at home. Arkansas actually gets to try out their new offensive plan against mediocre competition and McFadden probably reannounces his presence with a 170 yard game.
Sept 23 bama L: Shula went from being an offensive coordinator in the pros to being a head coach in the SEC and seemed overwhelmed for a the first couple of season. Malzahn is trying to make the transition from high school ball to the SEC. Theoretically he has the steadying hand of Nutt to fall back on, but his experience isn't exactly with a spread offense. These two teams have played it close the last few years but I just see bama pulling it out. Though I'm not the least bit confident in this decision.
Oct 7 @ Auburn L: Arkansas has played Auburn surprising well over the last 5 years, and having a weak off will certainly help. Although Auburn plays USC on a Thursday the week before so they will have a 9 day break as well. If Arkansas decides to run the ball they could use their lineman and quality backs to attack a smallish Auburn defense. But eventually talent takes over and the home crowd pushese Auburn on to victory.
Oct 14 Southeast Missouri State W: Wasn't even aware that this was a college. From my elementary understanding of geography, this should be a bit of a regional matchup. Either way, Arkansas wins.
Oct 21 Ole Miss W: It's a damn good thing that this game is in Fayetteville. Ole Miss will be much improved this year but I don't see them winning much on the road, and they should have lost in Tuscaloosa the weak before. Also the Arkansas offense should begin to take shape by this point.
Oct 28 Lousiana Monroe (played in Little Rock): W This is the type of game you should play in Little Rock. Extremely easy game, that the students don't mind missing, plus you're not going to sell many tickets for this game in Fayetteville. So you make the most of your attendance and make it easier for the bulk of your fanbase to see the game. Kudos.
Nov 4 @ South Carolina L: The Razorbacks should perform better against this USC than the one they met in the opener. However that's a long trip, and USC was too much for them to handle last year. It's getting late in the season and I have a feeling that the Mitchel/Rice connection will be grooving pretty well by now. Of course if the Cocks have just beaten UT at home, it could be a let down game that causes it to stay close way too late in the game.
Nov 11 Tennessee L: Here is Arkansas and Houston Nutt's shot for a saving grace game. Though UT should be improved this year, I wouldn't expect them to be dominant. The Vols also will have played bama the weak before. But once again, I just don't see it happening. It could, I'm just not going to predict it in June.
Nov 18 @ Mississippi State W: Thank god for the door mat cellar dwellar bulldogs of Starkville. Now that Jerious Norwood is with the Falcons I think that leaves MSU with exactly zero offensive weapons. Quick story, in the wonderful mountain towne that is Helen, GA, a whole city designed to look like a swiss villa but came out like a section of Six Flags, there is a liquor store called Helen's Cellar. I don't care who you are, that's funny.
Nov 25 LSU (in Little Rock) L: Maybe the biggest scheduling blunder in the history of the SEC. What the hell are they thinking? I think they have some sort of contract where they have to play a certain amount of games in Little Rock, but how the hell do you not choose Ole Miss? They are essentially giving up an opportunity to knock off one of the SEC heavyweights by forfeiting their home field advantage. Unless the athletic department did this on purpose so they could fire Nutt I see absolutely no explanation.
So that brings the Arkansas season to 6-6. Which is an improvement over last year sadly. Phil Steele apparently has Arkansas finishing #13 in the nation and 2nd in the West. Which is theoretically possible, but there is no proven reason to believe that. Let's say that othern than SoCal, they somehow manage to win every home game including Little Rock, which would be quite incredible for them to beat UT, bama, and LSU at home, and that's giving them a win against Ole Miss. They have to go on the road to Auburn, South Carolina, Vandy, and Miss State. So let's say they lose the Auburn and USC games, which would put them at 9-3. I guess it's possible if you think LSU is going to collapse this year, UT will still be mediocre, and bama is beatable. But it's still an absolutely best case scenario and not a most likely. Their goal should probably be to finish at least 3rd in the West and make a bowl game. You gotta take baby steps. "...baby steps get on the elevator... baby steps get on the elevator... Ah, I'm on the elevator. " They went 4-7 last year and I'm sure they will show improvement, but it's a gradual rise to the top for most teams unless you're suddenly loaded with seniors. Last August I called them a "sleeping giant", that term will probably be more accurate for the 2007 season.
from the brain of nixforsix at 9:24 AM
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Starting today, each weekday I'm going to go through the SEC Schedules in alphabetical order and predict their wins and losses. Which should turn into my full predictions for the SEC standings as long as I don't make a mistake. First up, bama.
Sept 2. Hawaii W: Now a lot of bama's season depends on the recent losses or possible losses the team has suffered. Keyes and Robinson are gone, Simpson should be back, and I get the impression that DJ Hall is gone while Brown will be back on the team, of couse the last two are still just rumors. Anyway the Fightin Rainbows don't pack much punch on the road and aren't "man enough" to stack the box and force bama to throw.
Sept 9th Vandy W: I'll be honest, I don't know jack about Vandy this year, except they don't have Cutler anymore. They could continue there upward trend, but I can't in good conscience predict them to win in Jordan Hare West.
Sept 16th Lousiana-Monroe W: Just a brutal front end of the schedule. Actually, bama's schedule is weak this year, and it's a damn smart decision. That's exactly what you should do when you know you're going to have a new QB.
Sept 23rd @ Arkansas W: My first thought was to chalk this up as a bama loss. However I typically under rate bama's abilities. Both teams will have less than stellar qb's and good running games. Arkansas has the more experienced defense and is playing at home, but theoretically they will have already lost to SoCal at this point and possibly at Vandy the week before. So against my better judgement, I'm giving the nod to bama.
Sept 30th @ Florida L: Second straight week on the road, revenge game for UF, etc etc. I can't think of a single advantage bama has in this game. Maybe bama Dline over the UF o-line? It may not be a blowout but I see Urban's boys grabbing this game.
Oct 7th Duke W: Would this be a closer matchup in basketball? Seriously great job of scheduling for what otherwise would have been a rebuilding year. Helps you maintain some recruiting momentum.
Oct 14th Ole Miss W: Ole Miss should be much improved with the shot to add some offensive production to what was actually a pretty stout defense last year. But they aren't winning a big game on the road just yet. Couple more years of questionable Orgeron recruiting and they probably will though.
Oct 21st @ Tennessee L: Congrats to bama for capitalizing on an opportunity last year. But that's the worst UT football team you're going to see for awhile. The Vols grind out the win in another ugly defensive (or lack of offense) ball game.
Oct 28th Florida International W: ho hum
Nov. 4th Mississippi State W: Good chance to take an early lead and rest your starters for a second straight week before the big finale.
Nov. 11th @ LSU L: It seems as though the uga/Auburn game will be the CBS game on the 11th, so this should be a night game in Baton Rouge. LSU could stumble some because of a extremely tough road schedule this year, but I still they think they have enough talent to take the tide at home. Plus, how much faith can you have in John Jacob Jingleheimer Wilson in winning in Death Valley, especially after suffering a road loss in Knoxville a few weeks earlier.
Nov. 18th Auburn L: What do you expect me to say? Auburn has won 4 in a row, has more players returning, and could have a lot more on the line at this point. But you know eventually bama is going to win one in Tuscaloosa. 2008 is probably the more realistic opportunity for that. But as usual this should end up being a pretty close game. I actually wouldn't be surprised if it came down to a field goal or a TD in the last two minutes.
So where does that leave us? 8-4 with me again predicting that bama loses to the big 4 on schedule. The difference this year being that 3 of those games are on the road. Last year they demolished Florida, squeaked by on a miracle past UT, and loss to LSU in a tight game, and were embarassed by Auburn. We'll have to see how the rest of the SEC shakes out, but that would probably put them back in the Cotton Bowl again.
I don't see how their offense doesn't take a step back. If DJ Hall and Keith Brown both end up playing that's a different matter and they could actually be improved. However the defense lost a lot experience, and even if they hadn't, they wouldn't be as good as they were last year. Darby probably ends up in the top 3 in the SEC in yardage depending on how he Irons and Mcfadden fare with injuries.
from the brain of nixforsix at 2:07 PM
- here's my quick thoughts on JJ Reddick. What an idiot. Unless you have an expired license or tag, it's probably not a good idea to pull a u-turn to avoid a traffic stop. How about, going through like there is no problem, and hoping to get by on your fame. When you pull the u-turn you piss the cop off and give him no choice but to arrest you. And shouldn't athletes have a better shot at side of the road coordination tests that the average drunk?
- cool of the Hawks season ticket holder meeting.
- The Braves are in serious trouble and Bobby has gone with his standard loyalty long enough. Honestly, I know people would be sad to see them go because of their personalities, but it's probably time to replace Langerhans and Giles. No one will be sad to Laroche go however. Put Betemit at 2nd, bring up the Thorman kid to play 1B, and trade whatever you can of Giles and Langerhans or LaRoche for a good bat in LF. Chuck James reenter the rotation, send Sosa to the pen, keep Ray as the closer, I think once Reitsma come back from the "DL" you could use him as a one or two out guy in the 6th or 7th innnings.
Also, I don't care if we're facing a RHP or LHP, McCann should always hit 5th. The lineup last Saturday of Betemit, Renteria, Chipper, Andruw, McCann, Francoeur was a great sight.
- I know I'm not the first one to mention this, but just imagine if the best athletes from the NBA, NFL, and MLB had chosen to play soccer for the US instead of their sports. I'm pretty sure Corey Maggette could do everything that Jan Koller can.
from the brain of nixforsix at 11:09 AM
Monday, June 05, 2006
So that's an incredibly short look at Andrea Bargnani. Basically all you can tell is that he's not a big white stiff. Instead he's a European 7 footer that is more athletic than Dirk but not nearly as strong. There are some other videos of him on youtube that show off his shot a little more. Of course you could probably make a 30 second highlight reel of Adam Morrison that's equally impressive, but he's not 7 feet tall either. I wouldn't be pissed off if the Hawks ended up with him.
If you care about the NBA draft at all you need to check out the Hoopshype.com rumors section. It's a daily blog with upwards of about 70 links a day. It's quite insane. You should also check out their list of what players are working out for what teams before the draft.
Here is a look at the Hawks offseason questions by Hoopsworld.com. There are a lot of different opinions in the article but they hit on the basic needs and free agents available. One deserves mentioning, Zaza Pachulia is not a legit center. He is a good PF who can spend some time at the 5, but is not big enough to defensively control the paint.
Chad Ford says "[Patrick] O'Bryant likely will be the first guy of that group taken off the board. Given his size, athleticism and skills around the basket, he could go as high as Atlanta at No. 5 and the Wolves at No. 6. His backstop is the Hornets at No. 11."
A few days back he had this to say "Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks could also be in the Samuel Dalembert running this summer. They seriously considered making him an offer last summer but were fearful the Sixers would match. Sixers GM Billy King told me on Tuesday it was unlikely he'd be willing to trade Allen Iverson to Atlanta, but Dalembert might be another story. Al Harrington, via sign and trade, could be the bait. "
The Kings hired Eric Musselman, a guy I wanted the Hawks to sign last year. From my outside view, I still think the Hawks should fire Woodson and hire Adelman. But from interviews and reports I've seen, the players seemed to really like Woodson by the end of the year. Maybe he's just been experiencing some growing pains. But I still don't think he understands that with the ultra athletic roster he has, he should playing at a break neck pace.
As for the Hawks and the draft, personally I would take Aldridge or Bargnani if they are still available. I really doubt that Thomas would be available, but even so, I'm not sure he's needed by the Hawks. He needs to be a bit taller. If those two are gone I would consider dropping a few spots where it makes more sense to take Marcus Williams or Rajon Rondo. Personally I like Rondo. He's everything the Hawks need right now. He can drive, run the floor, pass, doesn't commit turnovers, and can lock down quick point guards. Plus he's going to lead the league in steals for the next five years, which is good if you want to play an uptempo game. The obvious knock against him is that he has no jumpshot whatsoever and can't hit a free throw. But do the Hawks really need a sharpshooter at point? Aren't we looking for someone who can drive and kick it out to Johnson or Williams to drain the open jumper. Plus, I got just a little too tired of watching the Bobcats beat the Hawks last year because we didn't have anyone quick enough to guard Raymond Felton.
The ideal scenario is to bring in Sam Cassell, Speedy Claxton, Mike James, etc, and let them run the team while Rondo develops. And hopefully you get a big guy in a sign and trade for Harrington. Dalembert would be perfect for this team.
from the brain of nixforsix at 9:36 AM