Danielson: No SEC team will go undefeated

New York–Gary Danielson is about to enter his fifth season as an analyst for the SEC game of the week on CBS. I caught up with Gary during a recent trip to New York where we were putting together a preseason show for CBS. I asked him for five good SEC story lines as we approach the start of the 2010 season.

1. Nobody in the SEC will go undefeated: People are saying there is a gap between Florida and Alabama and everybody else. I don’t agree with that. I think the league will be a little more compact this season because the middle has gotten better. Auburn, LSU, Arkansas and Ole Miss will be better. South Carolina will be better. Georgia will be better. Nobody is going to run away from it and everybody in the conference will lose at least one game. I think the SEC will be the only conference in the country where a one-loss team could reach the national championship game.

This could be a year where the SEC looks like the ACC because everybody has 1, 2, or three losses. People will say the whole league is down but just the opposite is true. Except for a couple of teams like Tennessee and Vanderbilt, the whole league is up.

2. Aaron Murray has a very good surrounding cast: I was critical last year when Mark (Georgia coach Mark Richt) didn’t give Murray some reps. I know it would have burned his redshirt year but I thought it was important to get him ready to play this season. I know he had some shoulder problems but I just think it would have helped him to play last year.

That said, he really has a lot of weapons around him what will help him as he grows into the position. He has what may be the best wide receiver in the country (A.J. Green). He has the best kicker (Blair Walsh) and the best punter (Drew Butler). I think with an experienced offensive line they can hide him enough until he gets more comfortable. If Georgia can get past South Carolina (Sept. 11) I think they have a chance to catch fire and make the Florida game (on Oct 30 in Jacksonville) really a high stakes game.

3. Can Florida stick with the spread after Tim Tebow? First of all, Florida has a lot of good football players. When you look at recruiting over a five-year period, which is what I do, Florida has been the best.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of the spread (offense). I know Tim Tebow’s version of the spread works in the SEC. But now you have to look at Florida with John Brantley as quarterback. The SEC is the closest thing to the NFL because of the size and speed of the defensive linemen. And Brantley’s too valuable to take 15-20 hits a game the way Tebow did. So how will this offense work for Brantley?

 I thought the spread peaked when Rich Rodriguez went to Michigan. Texas has dropped it. Alabama has shown that you have to have a tight end and a power rnning game. The big worry I have for Florida is what they will do on third and three.

4. South Carolina’s Stephen Garcia is not that far away from being a good SEC quarterback. His light flickers. I’ve seen that before. When I was doing Big Ten games Brian Griese (of Michigan) was not that well thought of and then all of a sudden the light went on late in his career. I’ve seen glimpses of what Stephen can do. He has the natural, raw ability but he has to earn the trust of Steve Spurrier.

We know that Steve is not the most patient guy in the world when it comes to his quarterbacks. But if you can earn his trust, Steve also understands that quarterbacks don’t play perfectly. He understands that you’ll throw the odd pass every now and then.  If he trusts you and you’re his guy, he’s a good coach to play for. But if he doesn’t trust you Steve tends to look for the other putter in his bag.

5. Why Alabama is picked to repeat despite losing nine starters on defense: First of all, they are loaded on offense: Heisman Trophy winner at tailback with a backup like Trent Ricahrdson. Good offensive line. Solid quarterback. They are loaded everywhere.

Secondly, it’s a little misleading to say they lost that many starters on defense. There were a lot of role players on that defense and a bunch of guys got playing time. (Defensive end) Marcell Dareus wasn’t considered a starter. The backup nose tackle (Josh Chapman) played a lot for Terrence Cody. (Linebacker) Dont’a Hightower comes back. They will miss the mental side of Rolando McClain but I think Hightower will be able to replace him physically.

But the guy they are going to have the toughest time replacing on the defense is (cornerback)  Javier Arenas. He was a smart blitzer. He had a great alter ego from that slot position which is a difficult one to play. He was a great tackler. If they can find a replacement for Arenas they will be fine on defense.

The real challenge for Alabama is that they’ve have gone two straight regular seaons going undefeated. That is so hard to do in this league. Who’s going to block the kick this year? Who is going to engineer the two-minute drive like they did to beat Auburn? It just seems like the clock is ticking against them. You can be the best team in college football and still not win the championship.

BONUS STORY LINE

The addition of Jeremiah Masoli at Ole Miss is a game changer: If he can get comfortable and take advantage of what Houston Nutt likes to do–which is run the ball downhill–he is going to make a difference.

They’ve got a great defensive front seven–really a legit SEC front. Houston’s always found a running game and so if he also has a running/passing quarterback it is definitely a game changer. Is it a game changer to win the Western Division? No but they could impact who does win the division.

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287 comments Add your comment

The Important Components

August 31st, 2010
2:30 pm

I’d like to suggest some RELEVANT information in all the otherwise meaningless chest thumping here.

1) There is no National Championship in college football and there never has been. The NCAA neither awards nor recognizes a National Champion. They do in every other sport but not in football. We have a pageant winner……but not a champion. We do however have an SEC Champion and to me that’s what is important because it’s actually awarded by it’s sanctioning body and based on all teams playing under the same rules, circumstances, and competition level.

2) In all prognostications you have to look at who has the resources. All the schools in the SEC (save maybe Vandy, MSU, Kentucky, & Ole Miss and even they can get it done from time to time) have the financial resources to win at the highest level. Florida, Georgia, & LSU have the best situation recruiting wise. Florida has more kids to choose from than anybody, even having Miami, FSU, South FL, Central Florida, & Florida Atlantic in state. Georgia is probably the best talent state in the country behind FL, Cal, & Texas and other than Tech, they are the only show in state. LSU IS the only show in the state and they typically have the opportunity to recruit Texas. Alabama & Auburn are in pretty good shape as they are adjacent to Florida & Georgia, as well as talent heavy Mississippi. Arkansas, TN, & South Carolina have to work a little harder, but they have the financial resources if committed to win.

3) The SEC has more good coaches now than ever. Meyer & Saban have obviously both won their divisions the last two seasons. Spurrier is a proven winner. I think Dooley was a good hire for UT. Houston Nutt keeps on winning and I think Auburn fans are pretty happy with their season last year given the circumstances. Petrino’s a jerk, but the guy knows how to score some points. Richt is a good coach…his biggest failure was being blinded by friendship. Martinez was a huge liability and they should be back in the championship soon with a quality Defensive Coordinator.

4) SEC fans of any team would do well to understand that there are 6-7 other teams in your conference with as much money as you, who can recruit with you, and want to win as bad as you. Which is again why I say that the SEC Championship is the gold standard. You win that and you’ve done something.

Good luck to everyone and may your team have success in 2010.

G8R GRAD

August 31st, 2010
2:51 pm

Also in the “For What It’s Worth” category, Herbstiet’s 2010 SEC predictions:

Likely to disappoint: Arkansas
Biggest Sleeper: Georgia
SECCG: Florida over Auburn
BCS National Championship Game: Ohio State over Oklahoma

WTF? ! !
UF wins the SEC and doesn’t go?
Mark my words, this is going to be a backlash year against the SEC.

G8R GRAD

August 31st, 2010
2:59 pm

What, we get Boise State in the Sugar Bowl? ! !

Gen Neyland

August 31st, 2010
3:09 pm

Tide Rising : I’ll tell you what luck was : Luck was having a banged up UT kicker (quads) attempt a FG that was beyond the scope and imagination for Linclon that day, heck, maybe any day. Luck was UT not having a replacement kicker available that could elevate and kick the distance required…That was luck.

Lou Holtz aka the Spitting Cobra

August 31st, 2010
3:10 pm

Could be G8R GRAD since Boise State is going to beat Virginia Tech soundly on Monday.

ratherBgambling

August 31st, 2010
3:15 pm

“That said, he really has a lot of weapons around him what will help him as he grows into the position. He has what may be the best wide receiver in the country (A.J. Green). He has the best kicker (Blair Walsh) and the best punter (Drew Butler).”

I’m glad to hear Dawg fans are counting on the kickers to help Aaron Murray.

Aubie

August 31st, 2010
3:21 pm

And, Gen. Neyland, let’s not forget the Tide escaping Auburn by the skin of their teeth!

Weegle, Weegle!

G8R GRAD

August 31st, 2010
3:24 pm

Lou:

How strange that you are so much more easily understood in writing than as Dr. Lou!

And if you are correct, sir, it may very well be a repeat of the 2008 Sugar Bowl’s results (disheartened SEC team getting beaten by a non-BCS team).

Tide Rising

August 31st, 2010
3:26 pm

General Neyland,

Injuries are part of the game. Every team has them. Also, one of the kicks was a 50 yarder. 50 yarders are by no means guaranteed to be good. There is no luck about that. But while we’re also talking about luck we can talk about Julio Jones being mugged in the end zone by the db and no penalty being called on what was obvious pass interference. Now THAT was luck. We could both go on all day long but you get the point

dawgpaw

August 31st, 2010
3:42 pm

Danielsons a moron, but I think he’s probably right. Auburn has the potential as well as Florida. Thats about it. I would love to see the Dawgs do it, but the world would come to an end and it wouldn’t matter any more anyway.

Tide T

August 31st, 2010
4:31 pm

I’ve talked to my people in Tuscaloosa and they tell me this bama team has more talent than last year’s team! There’s no team in the SEC that should come close to beating this bunch. Bama-Ohio State in the BCS title game—mark it down! Bama wins another title.

Jay

August 31st, 2010
4:44 pm

Georgia will not lose a game in 2010, 14-0.

How?
1_ Defense
2_Special teams
3_Running game
4_Win turnover battle

Bob

August 31st, 2010
4:45 pm

Too funny. The same guy, suing a bunch of fake names, acting li9ke an Alabama fan, bashing Georgia and Richt. Bloggin to himself for 3 pages.

Bob

August 31st, 2010
5:01 pm

tIDE & tIDE rISING-

We got it, you think Nick Saban’s amazing, you write about him every day hundreds of posts. Got it. We’ll see if you’re right, or not.

MIke Price's Tour Guide

August 31st, 2010
5:18 pm

I cannot believe what I just witnessed. I was watching a sports show that was previewing the Crimson Tide. It is scary how good this team is going to be. Twenty-two NFL draft choices are starting for them (24 if you count kickers; better make that 25 if you count long snappers). Probably 18 are first rounders. In any event, WOW! If this teams fails to score less than 49 points in any game and if it ever gives up more than 7 I’ll be shocked. This team is that good. Be afraid, college football, be very afraid. Nick Saban’s main decision will be deciding when to put in the 3d and 4th stringers. It’ll probably be his biggest decision since deciding whether he should leave Michigan State knowing that he couldn’t compete with that inevitable juggernaut Michigan program. But I digress.

JMac12203

August 31st, 2010
5:35 pm

Jay, all I can say is HARDY HAR HAR. You win the prize for the funniest, most delusional post of the day.

T3

August 31st, 2010
5:48 pm

BREAKING NEWS AT ESPN

NCAA hs DENIED Masoli’s petition to play in 2010.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

ROTFLMAO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hereby CHANGE my previosu SEC prediction.

Ole Miss now replaces LSU as my predcition
to finish DEAD LAST in the SEC-West.

Somebody better call the local Emergency Room in Oxford.

Nutt may be in there !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

NCAA

August 31st, 2010
5:53 pm

masoli’s waiver request has been denied meaning he won’t be eligible to play until 2011. making all of the masoli talk a moot point.

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Beast from the East

August 31st, 2010
6:20 pm

The NCAA finally got something right. First, the kind has a history of trouble. Second, the rule about allowing the transfer was not designed to let a kid walk away from being kicked off of one team and immediately go play for another. It was for kids interested in continuing their education at another university that offered something the first one did not.
As I said this morning, Masoli should not be allowed to play college football. His eligibility is up. Let him go play in the arena league and try to make it in the NFL. Or let him go back to his life of crime.

Nesbitt for Heisman

August 31st, 2010
6:35 pm

`
Tech has a good chance to jump from eleven
to fourteen wins this year.

Nesbitt is
. . . . . . . . COOLEST in the CLUTCH !

17 of 20

August 31st, 2010
6:53 pm

Georgia has a good chance to win 7 games this year with their Tiny Tim quarterback.

jumbeauxtiger

August 31st, 2010
7:42 pm

I agree with you Beast. Finally some sense from the NCAA.

Does anyone have any idea what the Rebs’ chances of overturning the decision would be? Just curious.

Nesbitt for Heisman

August 31st, 2010
8:03 pm

Look here mens, it’s me Josh Nesbitt. I just been trying to get my name out there cause the onliest way that Heisman commity will ever consider a secont-rate QB from a fothe-rate school is if we fludd dees here messich bords wif all kinds a stuff about me. Sorry if yous gettin sick of seeing my name and stuff but coach jonson says I gotta do it. No wat i’m sayin? Peece out.

Beast from the East

August 31st, 2010
8:26 pm

jubeauxtiger,
When have you ever heard of the NCAA backpedaling on a decision they (good or bad)? I think he’s done playball college ball….and rightfully so. I don’t wish Ole Miss any ill will, as I actually like Nutt. But this was really a poor decision to get involved in the process to begin with. It does not look good to the rest of the nation.

Ga Rules

August 31st, 2010
10:18 pm

Georgia wins 9 games, Richt saves his job—bank on it!

WSP Dawg!

August 31st, 2010
11:12 pm

Tony,
Because Danielson comes across as slightly nerdy, and has traditionally covered Big 10 games, people haven’t given him the chance he deserves and are always longing for Blackledge. However, I genuinely believe Gary Danielson is the most knowledgeable analyst in college football, and I appreciate you sharing his insight. He always seems to be right on and never misses the smallest nuance in any given play. Folks are missing out on some incredibly deep information if they don’t listen to his analysis.

ugaclassof2004

August 31st, 2010
11:36 pm

Tide Rising,

The offense definitely did not carry the team in the National Title game. The Tide benefited from 5 turnovers in that game, 4 INT’s and 1 fumble that was returned for a TD. McElroy was hurt in that game only throwing for 58 yards. Ingram was good for you guys, but if Colt McCoy stays in that game, that score is a LOT lower and a LOT closer.

Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me:

http://espn.go.com/ncf/boxscore?gameId=300070333

Tide Rising

September 1st, 2010
12:04 am

ugaclass2004,

Bama benefited from 5 turnovers? Are you on crack? A fumble was returned for a td by Bama. Is this guy possibly this stupid? Please show me where a Bama player returned a pass for a td.

Tide Rising

September 1st, 2010
12:06 am

otay, i forgot about dareus. But comeone, we whupped that azz.

The Old Man

September 1st, 2010
12:15 am

Last!!!!! Cannot wait for CFB to start!! Tired of reading most of you and your ill informed/rah-rah opinions – although it has helped get me through the summer. Mr. CFB has forgotten more about college football than most of you will ever know- even though he is a Georgia homer. The Florida spread offense will look more like 2006 and from what I recall they did pretty good that year (with help from Michigan) All of you hoping for some of these young fellas to get hurt are bad sportsmen and probably never played organized sports. The First!!!!!!!!! thing is beyond stupid- please stop this immediately. Where did that start and what does it have to do with CFB? The Old Man has spoken. Good luck to all of you and your teams. Good luck Coach Curry and Go Georgia State Panthers!

LOL...

September 1st, 2010
6:07 am

“Yeah, Gary and I love to sit around and eat Vienna sausages and talk about the SEC”

TampaGator

September 1st, 2010
6:36 am

Barnhart….

I will tell you what the Gators will do in 3rd and 3 situations

….they will have more than one option (other than Tebow just running the ball)….which will make the Gators a much more dangerous on offense this year. Moody and Gillislee are excellent inside power runners. Brantley can throw the ball to Rainey from the slot and Hines from the hybrid TE position. They can also throw the ball to Gerald Christian coming out of the H-Back/FB position. And Trey Burton at 6′2 and 230 is actually a more athletic runner from the QB position…and Jordan Reed is the same kind of power runner from the QB as Tebow….so the Gators will just choose one of the above options. Teams can’t just line up to stop Tebow in short yardage situations anymore…which makes Florida better on offense I think.

Fannie

September 1st, 2010
8:05 am

UGA has Richt…even with a loaded offensive team that spells a couple of losses.

Make that 4-5 losses, including a no-name bowl game. Richt is a 2nd rate coach who has had his best days. Dawgtard fans may not be satisfied with this, but as long as the big bucks keep flowing into his pocket, Richt is.

Tide Rising

September 1st, 2010
8:58 am

Who allowed a woman in here? As usual… they’re idiots when it comes to football.

Crimson Truth

September 2nd, 2010
9:58 am

Vikes, Richt has coached in the SEC for 10 years. His average record is 9 wins and 2.7 losses. He has finished 1st in his division 4 times (40%), won the conference title 2 times (20%), and won a national title 0 times. Saban has coached in the SEC 9 years. His average record is 9 wins and 2.6 losses. He has finished 1st in his division 5 times (56%), won the conference title 3 times (33%), and won the national title 2 times (22%). Who is more successful? Let’s get it on!!!!

Helmet Head Riding on the Short Bus

September 2nd, 2010
10:19 pm

Crimson Truth ..Preach On Preach On!….Richt is 10 and 10 in his last 20 Eastern Divison Games…I think he an Miles are on the same pace…..