The SEC’s top five “Trap Games”

 

Everybody can look at a team’s schedule and pick out the tough games. But can you recognize the “Trap Games?”  Those are games that may not look difficult on the surface, but when combined with travel, the opponent the previous week, or some other factors, it becomes a game where the favored teams could trip up.

After looking through the SEC schedules, here are my recommendations for the Top five “Trap Games” for 2009. If you have some you think are better, feel free to share them:

 

1. Arkansas at Florida, Oct. 17: The Gators will be coming off a monster game at LSU the week before. If Florida wins the Gators will be 5-0 and still ranked No. 1. But they will also be pretty beat up after a very physical football game. If the game was in Fayetteville it would be extremely dangerous for Florida. But who thought Ole Miss was going to win The Swamp last year?

2. Tennessee at Alabama, Oct. 24: Under normal circumstances this would probably be a comfortable win for the Crimson Tide. But Alabama has the big showdown at Ole Miss on Oct. 10. Then the Tide hosts South Carolina on Oct. 17. Alabama will get a week off on Oct. 31 in order to rest up for the big home game with LSU on Nov. 7. But before that week off they host Tennessee. The Alabama players will be looking forward to that week off after playing eight straight Saturdays. Tennessee will be rested after a week off and Lane Kiffin will probably still be looking for his first big win. What better way to get it than to beat one of your oldest rivals?

3. Georgia at Arkansas, Sept. 19: Georgia will open the season with a difficult game at No. 11 Oklahoma State. Then they come home for what is always a tough game against South Carolina on Sept. 12. Then the Bulldogs have to get on a plane and go to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Hogs’ SEC opener. Arkansas will have had the previous week off to rest up. This is a dangerous game for Georgia.

4. LSU at Georgia, Oct. 3: This is not a trap game in the classic sense because it is a pretty even matchup and Georgia is playing a home. But it is a game where LSU could be clearly looking ahead when they get to Athens. LSU should be 4-0 and ranked in the top seven.   And if Georgia stumbles a little out of the gate, it could be a game that the Bulldogs HAVE to win. Still, a lot of the talk that week in Baton Rouge will be about LSU’s home game with No. 1 Florida the following week. It’s silly to say that LSU will look past Georgia. But when you’re getting ready to play the defending national champs, it can sometimes be hard to keep your focus on the job at hand.

5. Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, Oct. 3:  Vanderbilt knocked off Ole Miss 23-17 last season in Oxford. Vanderbilt returns 18 starters and is expected to be better this season. Ole Miss will go to Nashville the week before they host Alabama, which could be the biggest game in Oxford since Eli Manning’s last home game against LSU in 2003. The Rebels, who aren’t used to playing in such big games, could be easily distracted.

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189 comments Add your comment

Tee Martin

August 12th, 2009
11:05 am

Hey Brew,

My car broke down again. Can you or another Tennessee fan please wire me several hundred dollars again to get it repaired? Make sure its a Tennessee fan who doesn’t have season tickets so that the NCAA cops will gloss over it again and say its okay.

Ramblinwreck1378

August 12th, 2009
11:13 am

It’s funny how SEC4Life’s post, he doesn’t post any losses for Georgia. Every game that he honestly thinks they’ll lose, he puts some garbage description next to the game. Way to go.

chazzo

August 12th, 2009
11:14 am

Great points. It is going to be a very interesting and exciting season. I am counting on lots of close games and upsets. I predict that UGA will lose an obvious big one (LSU or UF) and a less obvious one(Ark, Auburn, Kentucky). Of course, I want to see them win everything. I have also said all along that UGA will surprise some folks this year. I am sticking with a 10-2 prediction.

HH

August 12th, 2009
11:17 am

Georgia will have a lot of close games as long as Willie remains the defensive coordinator. Probably a lot of not-so-close games as well. Hopefully the “problem” of Willie will be solved at the end of the year, and then the focus of attention can turn to another impediment to progress: Bozo.

gatorman

August 12th, 2009
11:19 am

Tony…..think about it. Jawga is the trap game for the Gators. Florida plays at Miss. St. the week before where they always have trouble. Jawga has an open date before the Gators. Then the week after they play a directional school. Jawga will have 2 weeks to prepare and a week off after to heal up. Plus…it’s Florida vs. Jawga!!

Go Gators!

Frozen_Gator

August 12th, 2009
11:20 am

Tide Rising…..With all due respect to the Tide nation (daughters graduated from there)I get a little sick and tired of of all the talk of loss of schollies when on probation. If you were capped at say 75 for the duration I would have some compassion but you never were, there were plenty of scholly players to compete.

Saban ran AT LEAST 9 players off this year because he signed way too many players on purpose, however we gripe at Ole Miss.

Fla signs 16 because that’s the room they have, Ala runs off minimum of 10 to make room. So when you gripe about lost schollies on probation remember you probably shouldn’t have been able to use them anyway.

Rob

August 12th, 2009
11:24 am

JakeDSname

August 12th, 2009
11:25 am

Gutless Florida schedules Charleston Southern to start off the year. Sorry creepy reptiles. Gutless. Gutless.

Paul Johnson

August 12th, 2009
11:28 am

GT should have the following results this season:

Jax St – W
Clemson – L by field goal in last seconds
Miami – L due to fumbles & interceptions
NC – W in a close one because we’re at home
Miss St – W because they’re the SEC door mat
FL St – L by significant margin (crushed)
VT – L (embarrassed)
VA- W
Vandy – L in 3rd overtime by 6
WF – W
Duke – W
UGA – L as fans file out of stadium in 2nd quarter

Gator Fan

August 12th, 2009
11:29 am

JakeDSname

Elon cancelled their game with us & Agnes Scott wanted too much money. Charleston Southern was the best Foley could do on such short notice.

Go Gator!

Pole Smoker

August 12th, 2009
11:34 am

Paul Johnson set a trap for me that I’ll never forget. Oh what a night!

GO JACKETS!!!!

Got 12?

August 12th, 2009
11:37 am

Frozen,

You’re failing to take into account the full effect of scholarship reductions. Yes, there is the obvious loss of scholarships but it also stifles recruiting. And, as I mentioned before, it keeps the better head coaches from accepting the position. Additionally, our probation included a post-season ban which resulted in reduced revenue.

Do you think it was just coincidence that Bama won the SEC Championship (1999) then, of all a sudden, was dominated by almost every team in the conference for the next six years? Nope, it was the scholarship reductions and other restrictions.

charliedawg

August 12th, 2009
11:38 am

Techies – Both UGA and NATS (that’s North Avenue Trade School) are both rated as Tier 1 schools in the US News Ranking, so I would think that is in the same league, but that’s just me. As for the salary, I think I’m at the midpoint of my career and make 2X that, and I have not shared my earnings with anyone, so call me skeptical of those stats.

So, not only do you suck on the athletic field, you are also losing ground in your sacred cow of academics.

We’ll see you on the Flats with all of the other UGA fans.

Got 12?

August 12th, 2009
11:42 am

Frozen,

And for the record, Saban ran off four players for violating team rules. The high school coach of one of the players confirmed it was the player’s fault and hoped teh player would mature at another program. I can only assume the same for the other three.

The others left the program due to medical reasons or not wanting to sit on the bench.

Tide Rising

August 12th, 2009
12:02 pm

Frozen_Gator,

Not griping about the probation and ensuing scholarship reductions. We got caught and paid the penalties. I am simply pointing out to brew that beating a sanction plagued football team that everyone else is also beating is not that big a deal. That’s all.

As for Saban he oversigned twice on purpose. The first year he signed 31 and people complained. But after academic casualties,, 2 players choosing pro baseball, 2 players being kicked off permanently for felonies, etc. we actually came in 1-2 under the limit. Seems Saban knew what he was doing all along and that the complainers suddenly fell silent.

As for the 9 players who just left 4 of them transferred because they were no longer welcome because they broke team rules. A couple of these players had frequently been suspended for breaking team rules. Of the 5 left 3 or 4 of them I don’t remember which went on medical redshirt because of career ending injuries. 2 were left and they were players who had already graduated and were buried on the depth chart. They transferred because there was no chance of playing time for them and they had already gotten their degrees. Nothing wrong with going somewhere that you can get playing time. Your assertion that they were “ran off” is a little inaccurate and misleading except for the ones who were breaking team rules.

The bottom line is that 3 players had to gray shirt and will enroll in January because there is no room. These players were apprised of the possibility of gray shirting well in advance of committing and they have no problem with that since they would have been redshirted anyway had they been on campus. Also, they would have easily fit into the class except 4 players (Bowman, Lacy, Sentimore, Kirkpatrick) who Bama knew were had a lot of coursework to do before qualifying all ended up qualifying. It was believed that at least 2-3 of these players were so far off that they wouldn’t qualify in time.

Last, with all due respect I get a little sick and tired of people griping about Saban, his oversigning, and his management of the scholly numbers. Frankly, its nobody else’s dam business how he manages the numbers. All anybody else should be concerned about is that Bama, like everyone else, has only 85 players on scholarship by the cutoff date for fall practice. And he does.

ReptilesRule

August 12th, 2009
12:05 pm

Being a champion…Tony, it’s never easy is it?? If it was easy, even Georgia would do it.

CitizenK9

August 12th, 2009
12:07 pm

The rest of the college football nation has serious conference envy when it comes to the SEC. We get the best players, produce the best teams, attract the most fans, have the best rivalries, biggest TV contracts, and on and on. The only SEC team to lose a bowl game last year was Spurrior’s worthless bunch. Have GT fans forgotten the LSU smackdown in their own backyard.? It figures, playing in that patched-together mess of mediocrity- the ACC. Or the beatdowns UGA has given to all the Big Ten teams in bowl games. And tell Okie St, the SEC is 6-3 vs. the Big 12 in recent bowls and we beat them by 21 (favored by 6) in 2007. We don’t have a superiority complex- we are superior. Go Dawgs !

SEC4Life

August 12th, 2009
12:10 pm

@ Ramblinwreck1378 – Check it again ‘Wreck… Weeks 1*, 3, 5 and 8.

CitizenK9

August 12th, 2009
12:10 pm

Has Florida ever produced an undefeated team ?

MyView

August 12th, 2009
12:23 pm

I think it is silly to say LSU will look past UGA because UGA hung 52 on LSU last year in Tiger Stadium. Not to mention what happend the last two times LSU traveled to the state of GA to play the Dawgs. 45-16 and 34-14. I don’t think the Gators will be on the minds of LSU that weekend.

Da dawg pound

August 12th, 2009
12:25 pm

CitizenK9,

Florida has never had an unbeaten team. That’s why their big thing is to go undefeated this year. As good as they are now you have to realize that they’ve only been good for 19 years. For the rest of their history they have always been a joke. You wouldn’t know it if you talk to Florida fans though. They have this delusion that they’ve been good forever and have a history like nd or usc or michigan.

Jefferson

August 12th, 2009
12:25 pm

That UGA 1/4 back floats the ball.

Frozen_Gator

August 12th, 2009
12:33 pm

Tide Rising……..If you want to say that because of probation we didn’t get the quality of athletes in sufficient numbers to compete like an Alabama team should, I agree. As far as numbers go I bet most years on probation you were in the 80’s the same number as most teams carry, that’s alot different 75,75,75 throughout the probation.

As far as Saban’s first year you didn’t have many go pro, so I am led to believe that you graduated close to 25 that year and I buy that. But what about year two and three?

This recruiting practice must be important to the league or the commissioner would not have addressed it and made changes.

Lee Dawg

August 12th, 2009
12:34 pm

This is a “no brainer folks”! Every game is a trap game if you don’t show up! Ask Florida if they were prepared for Ole Miss last year. Ask UGA if they if they were prepared for Tech or Bama. Ask Bama if the were ready for Utah. It can and will happen every week! COME ON FOOTBALL SEASON!

Gatorzone

August 12th, 2009
12:36 pm

Dadawg pound.. What is relevant? The last 30 years or the last 100? Of course Gator fans are proud, 3 National Championships since 1996 in football, plus 2 in basketball. What do you expect? All Gator fans should hang their heads because they were not competitive before I was even born? Get real.

G8R GRAD

August 12th, 2009
12:38 pm

Things that make you go,”Hmmmm.”
Good article, Tony.
Although being a consensus #1 makes every game a “trap game,” doesn’t it?

haberv

August 12th, 2009
12:43 pm

What you guys are missing in this article in regards to the trap game theory is the schedule. Take UT-Bama for example…on paper Bama should roll, but so should’ve UT in this game two years ago. UT has an open date the week before Bama and even a Bama homer should realize that UT’s defense has been top notch for years. Talent isn’t off on D and the Tampa-2 is similar to the aggressive style that Chavez ran. Combine a new offensive system that will improve production plus an 8 consecutive games Bama will be on with a new line (Flucker is having issues also) and new qb and this will be a difficult game, no question.

NW GA Dawg

August 12th, 2009
12:58 pm

Actually I think UT is a bit of a trap game. A much better team than Tenn (LSU) comes to Athens the week before Georgia goes to Knoxville. If Georgia were to be fortunate enough to put a whippin’ on LSU (which I don’t expect–I’d just like a “W”), that could make Knoxville even more treacherous. UT isn’t going to be very good this year; however that didn’t stop them from upsetting the Dawgs the last time Georgia thumped LSU in Athens a week before Rocky Top came to town with 2 frosh QBs (as I recall UT was a 15 pt underdog that day). Big potential trap–especially if UT “struggles” in some of their earlier games which will be expected. Fortunately UGA won’t be UT’s first big SEC home game. That dubious honor falls to Auburn.

DirtyDawg

August 12th, 2009
1:09 pm

Traps hell, with Georgia’s schedule it’s one tough game after another. We’re not looking for excuses already, but face it, if we beat everybody we play this year they ought to award us the NC trophy without a game – let the #’s two and three play an exhibition.

southgadawg88

August 12th, 2009
1:10 pm

Also let’s be honest the top 5 in the SEC can be elite but the rest of the league is not much better than any also ran from the ACC.Big10 or 12 or Pac10.MSU,Vandy,Kent,SC and ARK are not going to scare many teams no matter what conference they are in.Ten and AUB have a proud history so I expect them to be back soon.There is going to be even more separation between the top of the pack and the bottom feeders this year.

wonz11

August 12th, 2009
1:12 pm

I just moved to Arkansas from Georgia. I get Georgia football. I see why you would call this a trap game Tony, but I think it will be quite clear after watching it that Arkansas is just flat out better than UGA this year. I have plenty of respect for the UGA program, and I guess I would even consider myself a fan. That said, the best you could call this game is catching Arkansas at the wrong time as far as UGA goes. Hogs take it going away, and there is no “trap” to it.

haberv

August 12th, 2009
1:17 pm

UT will be back soon if you look at recruiting alone. Rocht isn’t what changed UGA, it was Garner and as long as Martinez stays there UGA will never be elite as their talent suggests. Tech proved that last year along with Saban. All SEC games are tough and the balance of the conference is improving all of the time. Come on, Ole Miss at preseason #10? USC, Vandy, Kentucky no longer cupcakes either.

Tide Rising

August 12th, 2009
1:18 pm

Frozen Gator,

On the schollies losses we took them spread out over 3 years so we went from 78 to 72 to at 1 pt 64 players. Then we gradually added back players. The cumulative effect keeps you down for 5-6 years because by the time you get to add schollies back in you can only bring in 25 guys at a time. Our senior class this year is the first full senior class not affected by the probation of the early 2000s. That’s how severe it was. Last year we only had 9 seniors because of the probation. Enough of that though. I’m sick of it.

As for the 28 max limit I think its a horrible rule and it should be 30 due to academic attrition alone. Nutt was the only one abusing it and pretty much said so. He signed 37 knowing most wouldn’t qualify because he wanted to build relationships with junior colleges.

The school that pushed the most for it is Auburn and ironically enough they are the ones suffering because of it. They only have 71 scholly players in camp right now due to attrition of all sorts and kids not qualifying during the summer. So now because of this rule they will be screwed for some time to come and will have to hope that of the next couple classes that just about everyone qualifies and that there is very little attrition. Playing with 71 while everyone else has 83-85 is a huge disadvantage.

The reason I think this is a bad idea is because to me its better that Bama oversign and have 3 kids have to grayshirt and wait a semester than it is for Auburn to have 14 open slots that could have gone to kids that need scholarships and would love to living the dream of playing college football. That’s 14 kids that are sitting at home and in most cases come from families that can’t afford to send them to college on their own. I wonder what people think about the flip side of the argument. JMHO of course.

Paul Johnson

August 12th, 2009
1:40 pm

Tide Rising and Frozen Gator, LET IT GO!!!!!!!!! Nobody cares!!!!!!!! Cease and desist!!!!!!!!! Gracious!!!!!

Tide Rising

August 12th, 2009
1:54 pm

Paul Johnson,

Its all good. We’re not even arguing. We’re just talking football and football related issues. Besides, I’ve always enjoyed Frozen_gators posts even if I may respectfully disagree with him on this one.

LambertDawg

August 12th, 2009
2:05 pm

T, its fair to say LSU can fear Georgia, not as much as Florida, but they can still fear GA. its not like LSU has had Georgia’s number or anything…

2004: Ga 41(?)- LSU 14

2005 SEC CG: Ga 34- LSU 14 (GA was underdog)

2008 @ Baton Rouge: Ga 50 something- LSU 30 something

Tebows a Home

August 12th, 2009
2:14 pm

Florida fans are ghey.

Tebows a Homo

August 12th, 2009
2:14 pm

Enter your comments here

Poor Arkansas

August 12th, 2009
2:22 pm

Arkansas doesn’t stand a chance against the rest of the SEC. As a Hog fan, I just hope all those other teams go easy on them and don’t mess them up too much. This team won’t pose a threat to anyone. I just hope they can beat Missouri State, as it could be their only win of the season. I’m not even sure why they are in the SEC, especially with a coach like Petrino, who couldn’t win in the NFL. If you can’t win the Super Bowl in your first season as a head coach in the NFL, especially when you lose your key offensive threat because he was having dogfiths in his house. You have to use that to pull your team together, to become something special. He failed, however, and now we’re stuck with him. Poor us.

Please, SEC fans, tell your coaches to not even suit their starters up. The Arkansas game is the perfect opportunity to rest your star players and get the younger kids some experience. Heck, go ahead and suit up some recruits so they can get the “genuine” experience. They’ll really appreciate it.

Artie

August 12th, 2009
2:29 pm

Mark it down now…the ‘Pokes ABSOLUTELY CRUSH the ‘dawgs!!!

jessica

August 12th, 2009
2:41 pm

go dawgs!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous

August 12th, 2009
2:48 pm

Wouldn’t you hate to have your team’s mascot nicknamed the “‘Pokes?!!!”

David G.

August 12th, 2009
2:51 pm

Hey T, learn how to spell. Or did you go to GA which speaks volumes.

Tide Rising

August 12th, 2009
3:02 pm

Who are the “pokes”? Artie didn’t say.

ThaMan

August 12th, 2009
3:12 pm

Denver Dog – there’s some dust under the Coke machine and one of the mops fell off of the rack out back. Could you take care of that for us please? Thanks. The Engineering Department.

Trap Games « The Blog Hawgs

August 12th, 2009
3:36 pm

[...] on August 12, 2009 Tony Barnhardt, aka Mr. College Football, has his list of the SEC’s top five trap games of the season.  The Hogs are involved in two of those games.  While I don’t see UF being [...]

Jacket Girl

August 12th, 2009
4:01 pm

Denver Dog,

What is eductation?

Wood Hughes

August 12th, 2009
4:29 pm

Nope, not UT as Bama’s trap game. After an extremely tough and emotional 3 point upset win against Ole Miss at Oxford, Spurrier will come in and show his evil genius in the REAL trap game for the Tide the week BEFORE the Ugly Orange Hillbillies come in to litter Tide Town.

Tide4u2c

August 12th, 2009
4:40 pm

Yeah why all the hate toward Saban? O.K You are not a Bama fan nobody is asking you to be either.But for real why all the Saban hate especially if you are not an Auburn fan or Tennessee fan?Auburn fans have been the kings of Saban/Bama slander since Saban arrived so don’t believe all the false rumors they’ve been spewing. Is it because of the media? Come on you people you know how the media can be.

I am not a fan of your team but that does’nt mean I hate your coach. I actually have respect for most of the SEC coaches and think it is good for the SEC to have such great coaches.Even if you did’nt like how Saban came to Alabama so what,many other coaches have denied they were leaving a team and then did and yet not nearly the hate directed at them coaches.

I say mainly because of the media, people hear stuff over and over and I guess it effects them.In Saban’s defense, Saban was focused on getting his team into the playoffs at Miami at the time he made his statement, he wanted his team focused to win, it would’nt have been fair to the players if he had said yes I am interested in the Alabama job,etc.Even LSU fans should be over it by now, Saban did’nt leave them for Bama and Saban had said before he left LSU that a NFL head coach was his dream job – a point the media left out.

I believe Saban regretted leaving LSU for the NFL once he got a taste of being a NFL head coach, it was not what Saban thought it would be and he missed college football.Yet he could not come back to LSU and Bama needed a coach.We seen what he did to turn around LSU, we knew how he was a recruiting machine, we knew about how he does’nt let his assistants talk to the media and that if a reporter does’nt ask a good question or asks hypothetical question he does’nt like it.

Maybe it really has nothing to do with Saban and people just hate Alabama because of what Alabama represents in college football.Come to think about we’ve had a bullseye on our back for along time way before Saban.

TigerHou

August 12th, 2009
5:25 pm

Someone above on this page said the SEC is overrated. Well, not only do you have to win the conference championship to get the BCSCG or a BCS bowl, them you take on another highly ranked.

I’m trying to remember who has won the BCS trophy this decade. Oh yeah, it was 2 lousy SEC teams. Both Florida and LSU have 2 a piece. Crappy conferance and WAY overrated.