SEC’s “okay” season could end in another national title

 

Hope everybody had a Happy New Year. We’re heading towards the home stretch in the bowl season with the BCS championship game set for Thursday night. So what have we learned?

1. The SEC is what everybody thought it was. It became apparent after the first month of the season that the SEC had two great teams (Alabama, Florida), two teams that were pretty good (LSU, Ole Miss) but lacking in several areas, and a bunch of teams that were, by SEC standards, just okay. The bowl season has reflected that.

There have been some good wins (Florida over Cincinnati, Ole Miss over Oklahoma State, Georgia over Texas A&M, Auburn over Northwestern) and some really bad losses (Tennessee getting dominated by Virginia Tech, South Carolina not even showing up against Connecticut, and LSU once again having clock management issues in losing to Penn State). Arkansas, we have to say, was fortunate to beat East Carolina when the Pirates missed three field goals in the final 1:08 and overtime.

But if Alabama beats Texas on Thursday night the SEC will win its fourth straight BCS national championship. That trumps everything else.

 

2. Rich Brooks has done a great job at Kentucky: Kentucky coach Rich Brooks has called an 11 a.m. press conference today to announce his future plans.  I hope he doesn’t retire because he’s one of the truly good guys in coaching. But what he has done at Kentucky has been remarkable. Three years into his run at Kentucky there was tremendous pressure to let Brooks go. But athletics director Mitch Barnhart and President Lee Todd stuck with the former Oregon head coach and Falcons assistant. They have been rewarded with bunch of “firsts” in the school’s history (four straight bowl trips) and some of the biggest moments (UK’s home win over No. 1 LSU in 2007).

If Brooks steps down today, offensive coordinator Joker Phillips takes over as head coach.

 

3.  I’m looking forward to tonight’s the Fiesta Bowl: I lot of people have trashed the TCU-Boise State game because it didn’t create a David vs. Goliath matchup. And I’ll admit I would have rather seen TCU against Florida instead of against coach-less Cincinnati.

 But this has a chance to be a very good game. I like TCU because I think the Horned Frogs are one of the best teams I saw all year. They have the nation’s No. 1 defense (233.25 ypg) and a defensive end (Jerry Hughes) who is simply unblockable. I just don’t think that Boise’s offense, led by QB Kellen Moore, is going to have time to breathe.

Here’s a question: If Texas knocks of No. 1 Alabama on Thursday and TCU destroys Boise tonight, do you think TCU will get some No. 1 votes in the final Associated Press media poll?

 

4. I’m not going to bet against Tim Tebow. On New Year’s Day I heard the experts tell us a million different reasons why the Florida quarterback will not make it in the NFL. I understand all the throwing motion stuff. I understand that the defensive backs are so good and that the passing windows for a quarterback in that league are microscopic. I know all the technical reasons why Tebow is not going to be a professional quarterback. But after watching him play for four years, are you going to bet against this guy?

 

5. Urban Meyer needs to make his plans, at least part of them, public: The Florida coach is going meet with his staff and school officials and decide what role, if any, he should play with the program during his extended leave of absence. While he doesn’t owe the public or the media all of the details of that plan, it would spare him some aggravation to at least share the outline of what he plans to do. According the various published reports, Florida has 20 verbal commitments and the Gators hope to hold that class together until national signing day. In the absence of any specific information, speculation fills the vacuum. Speculation caused this story to get out of control in the first place.

 

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226 comments Add your comment

Jim

January 4th, 2010
9:24 am

David

January 4th, 2010
9:27 am

UGA beat a .500 Texas A&M team. Is that a good win, or should be expected? Granted UGA did not pick their opponent. I think the field should be open to all bowls to get what ever team is available. The bowl match ups would be better.

Ohio State fan

January 4th, 2010
9:29 am

Did you guy watch the Under Armour game? Danged near everyone that made a big play was heading to Gainesville – and they picked up two more recruits during the game, two studs that will probably end up in the NFL.

Keep on fooling yourselves, UF is a runaway freight train . . .

Samuel

January 4th, 2010
9:30 am

I would also call Ole Miss’s performance subpar along with Arkansas. One of the ugliest games in recent memory…12 turnovers total! And a few crucial blown calls from the ACC officiating.

What a disgrace

January 4th, 2010
9:31 am

Tony,

What did you think about Kiffin not shaking Beamer’s hand after the Peach Bowl?

Lindsey

January 4th, 2010
9:31 am

This Dawg fan is glad the Tim Tebow college football era is over!! GO DAWGS!!

EW

January 4th, 2010
9:31 am

TB, I agree about Tebow. I’ve always felt that with him you can throw the normal measuring sticks out the window. Yeah he doesn’t have the precise fundamentals we are used to seeing in an NFL QB, but he didn’t have the makeup a normal NCAA QB has and didn’t play the typical style of QB and that worked out for him ok. The kid’s a winner and he’ll be successful in the NFL wherever they play him.

WonderDawg

January 4th, 2010
9:34 am

I wouldn’t bet against Tebow. He’ll be a good pro QB.

Kirby Smart

January 4th, 2010
9:36 am

The tide Rolls and I say at Bama.

Jax Dawg

January 4th, 2010
9:37 am

Hey Buckeye. 90% of the offensive output from this year will be in the Philippines next year. Freight train?

David

January 4th, 2010
9:38 am

I thought Penn St didn’t have the athletes to play with that “SEC Speed” LSU team Tony? Stop buying into that SEC crap.

PMC

January 4th, 2010
9:41 am

The same experts had throwing motion issues with Phillip Rivers too.

He’s got to be faster no doubt, he can’t wind up and pitch like Byron Leftwich, he needs to model his game after Rothlisburger but the idea he can’t play QB in the NFL if he works his tail off on the areas he needs to work on is hogwash… I think most of the people scouting just like him more in the 2nd round and they feel like someone is going to reach for him in the first and end up having too much money invested in a guy that is going to need some time to acclimate to the league.

Otto

January 4th, 2010
9:43 am

As for point #1 The SEC maybe fighting to be above 500 in the bowls but Okie St. was very close to a BCS game and lost to Ole Miss. LSU played strong and lost a close one. For the most part the upper half of the SEC can play a close game with conf title contenders in the other BCS conferences. Just take a look at the selection process. The SEC played the top nonBCS pick from the Big12, Big 10, and ACC.

The Ghost Of Erskine Russell

January 4th, 2010
9:43 am

About Florida and Alabama being the top of the SEC…

I see a day coming – after a few more years of Florida and Alabama domination – where a parity policy will be installed in the SEC, and maybe all of Division I. I said “Division I” not the politically correct term whatever that is these days.

The NFL has parity through scheduling, salary cap, draft. The SEC parity policy can’t be money, since we don’t pay them (directly and openly anyway). So my idea is ……

Not a SALARY CAP, but a THUG CAP. No SEC team can have any more THUGS than any other SEC team.

Then again, if having a team of THUGS = SEC Champs, what happened in Athens? Hmmm.

Aw, hell. Nevermind.

PMC

January 4th, 2010
9:43 am

The Big 10 played excellent fundamental football last weekend. Very impressed with the efforts of Ohio State and Penn State. They could have found the endzone more but Pryor and Clark matriculated their teams down the field quite well. Clark’s numbers would have been better if the city of Orlando didn’t let them play on that embarassment of a football field.

Jax Dawg

January 4th, 2010
9:44 am

David. Do you really think that slop of a field didn’t negate any speed for either side?

Joe B.

January 4th, 2010
9:48 am

The SEC was simply mediocre this year, and Texas will expose that whenever the national title game is played.

Dostoyevskiy

January 4th, 2010
9:49 am

Just my feelings. Maybe it doesn’t fit here, but I would just like to say that I really like having Tech in the ACC (I’m from another ACC school). They are well-respected academically, and while they have a very good football program, football is not the be-all/end-all for the school. On that note, I respect all of the schools in both the ACC/SEC (there are not too many of us or too many of our children who can learn more than any of the universities can teach). Further, I would like to see UCONN in the ACC. I am not just now jumping on their bandwagon after their big bowl win. I wanted this when the ACC recently expanded. (I also supported the adding of BC). I’ve been on the UCONN campus and it is a very good school with excellent facilities, has a great basketball program, a fantastic football coach (classy with character), and it would extend the ACC media market. Part of my feeling is because I don’t want the ACC to be just a southern conference, but a truly mid-atlantic conference. While I respect FlState, I truly think it would be a good fit for the SEC for many reasons, but I will not enumerate them here. My impression of the “U” is that because of the overall character of school (small, private, good academics, especially medical school), that it fits well w/ACC. I don’t want to give up Clemson either, although its fans have a SEC football mind-set. It is a good school that is historically connected with the ACC. I would also like for SC to be back in the ACC. Just my feelings.

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Publicity Stunt?

January 4th, 2010
9:50 am

Urban Meyer is a fraud. Some advice – If you have a mid-life crisis, do it in private.

heyberto

January 4th, 2010
9:50 am

Regarding the Sugar Bowl, why can’t we get a good matchup there? Last year was an anomoly in that Utah was a quality opponent and beat Bama… but it’s become more of a much bigger and talented team playing an undefeated team that just gets blown away by the SEC team.. UGA v. Hawaii, Florida v. Cinnci. I’d settle for one of the bowls having matchups like this year’s Fiesta Bowl matchup if it keeps BCS conference teams playing each other in the rest of the BCS bowl games. I’m tired of seeing blowouts against inferior teams in the Sugar Bowl.

Gen Neyland

January 4th, 2010
9:50 am

The Sugar Bowl has become the So-So What Bowl. Nothing against any of the teams playing there but the matchups over the past years could have been better…Tebow played relaxed and looked at peace against the Bearcats. I contend he’s one of the best ever…The field LSU and Penn St played on was terrible. I see nicer cow pastures up here in NE Georgia…A 9-3 ranked beats a 7-5 unranked and we’re surprised..? TCU over Boise…Why Auburn struggled with Northwestern still has me baffled…Did USC East even score..? Win lose or draw, 10 SEC teams bowling is great for the conference…Nebraska made strides in 2009…Good luck to us all in 2010.

The Grinch

January 4th, 2010
9:52 am

If the SEC is just having an “okay” season, please tell me which conference is having a better season? Alabama and Florida will probably end up #1 and #3.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

January 4th, 2010
9:53 am

the South Carolina/Conn game was an embarrassment to the SEC. I see Tebow becoming a fullback in the NFL.

[...] Tony Barnhart on SEC, Kentucky coach Rich Brooks. [...]

CatsFly

January 4th, 2010
9:54 am

The LSU-UNC tip-off game in 2010 in Atlanta should be a closely-contested event. To wit, the news first broke on Twitter over the weekend, as several Tar Heels revealed the developments on the social networking site, and on Sunday ESPN offered further confirmation: all of UNC’s junior defensive stars will return to Chapel Hill for their senior seasons. This includes All-ACC First-Team members LB Quan Sturdivant, CB Kendric Burney and S Deunta Williams, as well as All-ACC Second-Team members LB Bruce Carter and DT Marvin Austin.

he'll bite you if you try that

January 4th, 2010
9:54 am

Auburn got very lucky , Arkansas ditto, Ole Miss ditto, all three deserved to lose.Two solid teams and thats it. The old grey mare ain’t what she use to be. Its like radio, they keep playing lady gaga till the masses like it, and Espn keeps telling the world the sec is the best. The same thing would work for any conference they were to promote them insted. This nation is waiting for the football tellers to tell them where to go. It’s really like that Wendy’s commercial where every one is running to jump in that big black hole.

JB

January 4th, 2010
9:55 am

Georgia is really at a crossroads. They have some super young players, a pretty good OL coming back, a decent running game. Next year the schedule will be their biggest friend. They will have a Rookie red shirt freshman QB with no game experience and a depleted defensive front. I think the offense will be good next year. A. Murray, with no experience, will be as good as or a little better than Cox. Mix in the running game, the line, the receivers, we will be pretty good on offense. The new DC will have a challenge. Kicking game will be the best in the Country.

McDawg

January 4th, 2010
9:55 am

UT & USC embarrassed themseleves and the SEC -poor showing Ole Miss and AK didn’t look much better but at least they won

Mighty SEC

January 4th, 2010
9:56 am

Both Northwestern and East Carolina nearly beat mighty SEC teams if not for their idiot kickers. South Carolina got manhandled by a smaller, slower, less talented UCONN team. Tennessee got demolished by a puny ACC team. Great start to 2010 for the “best conference in football”.

Look at the Bowl Challenge Cup created by ESPN. Every big 6 conference including the Mountain West has won it, except for the SEC. More than ever, the SEC is a 2 team league, Florida and Bama are great, everyone else is just average.

Mountain West 4 bowl wins, SEC 5 bowl wins. Mountain West 5 bowl teams (one plays tonight), SEC 10 bowl teams (one plays Thursday)

leland

January 4th, 2010
9:56 am

Dear Mr. TB–I am really disappointed. I thought with the new year you would expand to six or maybe eight spaces between paragraphs and thereby show even more creativity than usual, and then next year move to ten or twelve spaces. There is still time! Your pal, Leland

Roll Tider

January 4th, 2010
9:57 am

The SEC was mediocre huh? Unlike that Big 12 juggernaut Texas hails from. Ole Miss/UGA were similar seeds from their conference to Okie St./ Tx A&M. We see what happened there. And it is still true that two middle of the pack SEC teams beat the two ACCCG participants.

JB

January 4th, 2010
9:59 am

Clemson and Vandy need to swap conferences.

Mighty SEC

January 4th, 2010
10:04 am

Its also true that a Mountain West team beat a participant in the SEC championship game when Utah smoked Bama last season.

Mountain West 4 bowl wins, SEC 5 bowl wins with double the teams.

Blindog

January 4th, 2010
10:04 am

Steve Spurrier needs to retire,he is embarrassing himself and the SEC, and could someone please teach Les Miles how to manage a clock! THE SEC RULES!!!!

he'll bite you if you try that

January 4th, 2010
10:05 am

true that two middle of the pack SEC teams beat the two ACCCG participants. Both State Rival games, and the two ACCCG participants both looking past their Sec opponent. lots of crazy stuff happens in rival games . Those were two fine examples. CMR still voted Tech into the top ten the next week. even he understands that.

Roll Tider

January 4th, 2010
10:06 am

Might SEC: “Mountain West 4 bowl wins”

Wow. They won the Las Vegas, New Mexico, San Diego Credit Union, and Armed Forces bowls.

Next.

Law Dawg

January 4th, 2010
10:07 am

Enter your comments here

JB

January 4th, 2010
10:08 am

Carolina will be pretty good next year if Steve can motivate this team. Lot’s of starters returning, but they mailed in that Bowl Game. I think Steve gives it one more year, then if this bunch can’t win 9 or 10 games, he’s off to Florida to golf, and who could blame him.

CatsFly

January 4th, 2010
10:09 am

I don’t believe the Clemson STUDENTS would like for their school to move to the SEC. I would like to see a poll among the students.

Ahem

January 4th, 2010
10:10 am

“after watching him play for four years, are you going to bet against this guy?” — Yes Tony, I am going to bet against this guy. Keep your head buried up his — and see where he is this time next year.

GreggJ

January 4th, 2010
10:12 am

Tebow will make a good tight end for some NFL team but that is it-either that or he will get beat to death by all the Ray Lewis in the NFL. Also how does FL gets all those recruits?

he'll bite you if you try that

January 4th, 2010
10:13 am

it is a fact that the 85 scholarship rule is working. Alabama cannot offer 200 players a year only to renig after it too late for the players to regroup. The field will level off more and more and thats that.

Roll Tider

January 4th, 2010
10:13 am

It’s also true that the SEC put 10 out of its 12 teams in bowl games this year. Is it really surprising that one of the best teams in a smaller conference (ECU) would match up well with the 8th or 9th rated SEC team (Arky)? And seeing how poorly South Carolina played, the ACC should be THOROUGHLY embarassed that they smoked the ACC runner-up (who then struggled to beat the 6th SEC team). The VT-UT game was a total mismatch, and simply shows how badly VT undarachieved midseason. They are, IMHO, the most talented team in the ACC… and it isn’t that close.

Law Dawg

January 4th, 2010
10:14 am

After watching Kiffen not shaking Beamer’s hand, and reading Kiffen’s quote today about not regretting anything that happened this year (despite 6 NCAA violations and an investigation to go along with armed robbery and shoplifting arrests), I think we’ve learned that he is dangerous, arrogant, and in denial. It’s “scorched earth” and to-hell-with-the-consequences!!

some guy

January 4th, 2010
10:15 am

the acc had 10 teams in bowls last year. i bet you were writing off acc bowl losses as a product of the number of teams instead of trashing the conference eh?

Edugator

January 4th, 2010
10:15 am

As a Gator, I loved seeing the Bearcats spanked and Tim get that many total yards (533 yds.)but I would have much rather seen a competitive game than this Sugar Bowl. The game was over at the half. The only questions were how many points the Gators were going to score and how long Tim was going to play.

Jimbo

January 4th, 2010
10:18 am

Tony, everyone keeps tauting, especially you, that the SEC is the best conference. I’m sorry, but even your analysis puts that into question. How can you make the statement that the SEC winning the championship validates that the CONFERENCE is best? Shouldn’t you look at the entire conference results and not just the best two teams? I don’t think anyone is doubting that Florida and Alabama are national contenders, but seriously, is there another team in the SEC that even belongs in the top 10? LSU looked ok but lost to Penn State and a number of the SEC wins were very unconvincing and quite lucky in fact. The conference as a whole could easily be below .500. The only premier win this bowl season has been Florida, which was expected. If Alabama loses I just don’t see how you can crown the SEC as the best league THIS YEAR (I’m not debating previous years or historical perspective so please keep my comments in context).

Frank Lane

January 4th, 2010
10:18 am

Tony,

Go back and look at the SEC bowl games from the point of view of the FIFE FACTOR, Remember that three things shoot yourself in the foot, 1) turnover, 2) a penalty that kills an offensive drive, and 3) a penalty that sustains a defensive drive. So the FIFE score is the number of plays you can run before shooting yourself in the foot. The higher the number the better.

Some of these games were a direct result of the FIFE FACTOR.

Jimbo

January 4th, 2010
10:19 am

Other than Florida and Alabama is there another SEC team that belongs in the top 15?

Jimbo

January 4th, 2010
10:19 am

Other than Florida and Alabama is there another SEC team that belongs in the top 20?