Archive for January, 2011

Breaking down the underclassmen

We’ve come to the end of the season and the time when your humble correspondent steps aside for the insanity that is college recruiting in the South. The AJC’s expert, Chip Towers, will get you through the process.

But before we go, here is a little exercise I put together this morning, breaking down the underclassmen who have declared for the draft by conference. It will not surprise you that the SEC (15) and the ACC (10) lead the way. Look at this list and tell me the guys you are really going to miss.

I want to thank you all for another wonderful season. We’ve had our ups and downs but that is what makes it fun and interesting. You are the smartest and most passionate college football fans in the world and I appreciate you. Have fun with this….TB


SEC (15)

Alabama: Marcell Dareus, DE; Julio Jones, WR; Mark Ingram, RB

Arkansas: Ryan Mallett, QB

Auburn: Nick Fairley DT; Cameron Newton, QB; Darvin Adams, WR

Florida: Will Hill, …

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College football 2010: The good and the bad

The SEC has won its fifth straight BCS national championship. Auburn has won its first national title since 1957. And the argument continues: What if  No. 1 Auburn (14-0) played No. 2 TCU (13-0) on Saturday to settle the national title? We’ll never know.

The incredible thing about a college football season is that in July and August, it just feels like it will never start. Then, once it does, it seems to be over in a couple of heartbeats.

I will always remember the 2010 season because it gave us both the good and the bad that is the game of college football in the 21st century.

You know the good. The game, as it is played on the field, has never been better. Every week there was a new, dramatic story line. Every Saturday there was something that made us go “Wow!”:

**–Oct. 2: For about 90 seconds in Baton Rouge, Tennessee had apparently pulled a stunning upset at LSU. But on what appeared to be the last play of the game, Tennessee’s defense had 13 men on the field. LSU got one …

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Early Top Five for 2011: Oklahoma is No 1

New York–Trying to tie up the loose ends of the 2010 season and get home.  Here is my (ridiculously) early Top Five for 2011:

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners return 35 of the top 44 players including quarterback Landry Jones. Two guys I thought would turn pro–wide receiver Ryan Broyles and linebacker Travis Lewis–also return. The schedule becomes easier because the Big 12 no longer has a championship game. This will be the first year of the nine-game Big 12 schedule. Oklahoma has five home conference games and four on the road. A Sept. 17 trip to Florida State could be interesting.

2. Oregon: After losing to Auburn in the BCS championship game, Oregon coach Chip Kelly said “we’ll be back.” And I think the Ducks will. Running back LaMichael James decided to come back for his senior season. Quarterback Darron Thomas did not have a good BCS championship game (two interceptions) but he is only going to get better in Oregon’s offense. I don’t see who in the Pac-10 is going to beat Oregon …

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Why Les Miles decided to stay

 New York–Good morning from New York City, where we got a bunch of snow last night but this morning the sun is out and the main roads are clear. At this point of the journey it’s the little things that make you happy. Maybe I can actually get home to Atlanta tonight.

I apologize for posting this late but I want to touch on a few things as we start to wind down this week. Just to remind everyone of the schedule, I’ll spend the next few days wrapping up the 2010 season and looking ahead a little bit. Then I’ll step aside for the recruiting folks because that will dominate the conversation until signing day.

We’ll come back after signing day and start looking ahead to spring practice, 2011. It will be here quickly.

Here are just a few things I want to share before jumping out into the snow this morning:

1. Les Miles stayed because he listened to his head and not his heart: It was a very smart, very practical decision for Les Miles to stay at LSU and not go to Michigan, his alma …

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Auburn is going to enjoy this. Big Time

Glendale, Ariz.—There was joy. There was relief. There were smiles of happiness. There were tears. There was incredible exhilaration. There was utter exhaustion.

You could see it all on the floor of University of Phoenix Stadium in the aftermath of Auburn’s 22-19 victory Oregon which gave the Tigers their first national championship since 1957.

Ted Roof, who took more than his fair share of criticism as Auburn’s defensive coordinator the past two seasons, had his arms around his two sons as confetti rained down around him. The former Georgia Tech captain could not be happier. For it was his defense that held the mighty Oregon offense to only 19 points, 30 points below its average.

Oregon’s offense had 12 possessions in the game and Auburn’s defense got nine stops: five punts, two interceptions, and what will become two very big plays in Auburn football history: In the second quarter Mike Blanc stuffed Oregon’s LaMichael James in the end zone for a safety. In the third …

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Five reasons Auburn will beat Oregon for the BCS Championship

Scottsdale, Ariz.–We’ve been analyzing this game for 37 days and it all comes down to this: Tonight, No. 1 Auburn (13-0) can win its first BCS  national championship since 1957 and the fifth straight for the SEC by beating No. 2 Oregon here in the desert.  There are a lot of Auburn people out here without tickets because, if it happens, they want to say for the rest of their lives that they were here.

Can Auburn do it? Or does Oregon win the first national championship in its football history?

Five reasons why I’m picking Auburn:

1. Cameron Newton: A lot the best defensive minds in college football (Nick Saban, John Chavis, Ellis Johnson) have tried to come up with a plan to contain the Auburn quarterback and nobody has been able to do it. Newton led the SEC in rushing and when defenses have stacked the box and forced Newton to throw he has done a remarkable job in the second half of the season. In Newton’s last five games he has completed 69.4 percent of his passes for 1,225 …

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Can the SEC continue its run in the BCS?

Happy Friday, everyone. After all the blogs and all the games and all the discussion since mid-July, it’s hard to believe that we are in the final days of the 2010 season. I was going to do Five Burning Questions to get us into the weekend but with the SEC involved in three bowl games in the next four days, I have only two questions for you this morning:

1. After an 0-3 start to bowl season, the SEC is now 3-4 after Arkansas’s loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. How will the SEC finish and can it avoid a losing bowl season?

2. The SEC has won four staight BCS National Championships. Will the run continue Monday night against Oregon in Glendale, Ariz.?

Let’s start with question No. 1: We knew the SEC East was significantly weaker than the SEC West this season but the final numbers were pretty striking. Here are the records of the SEC West teams against the East during the 2010 season:

Alabama, 2-1: (beat Florida, Tennessee; lost to South Carolina).

Arkansas, 3-0: (beat …

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Cam Newton, Terrelle Pryor rulings are completely different

Nobody asked me but:

The Cameron Newton and Terrelle Pryor rulings are completely different: Since Ohio State’s Pryor has already played (and won) the Sugar Bowl and Auburn’s Newton will (probably) play in his last college football game Monday night, I’m going to make this point one last time and call it a day.

I had more than a few people from Big Ten country write and tell me that Pryor should get to play inthe Sugar Bowl because Newton got to play in the SEC championship game and beyond. It’s the same NCAA and fair is fair.

First of all, I thought Pryor played great Tuesday night. There is no question that he still has some maturity issues to work through but he is a marvelous athlete playing the quarterback position.

But, in a nutshell, here is the difference in the two rulings:

Pryor: There was a finding of FACT that he and four other Ohio State players exchanged stuff that was given to him by the school for something of value (like money and tattoos). Money did change …

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Rich Rod is out. Will Michigan go after Les Miles again?

Congratulations to The Ohio State University for beating Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl and posting its first win over an SEC team in a bowl game. It has been duly noted that thanks to the creative enforcement of the NCAA,  Terrelle Pryor and the rest of the Ohio State Five made their contributions to the victory and we salute you for it. College football  looks forward to having each and every one of  you back for the 2011 season, when you will serve your five-game suspension. (Regular readers of this blog may insert their well wishes here.)

Wait a minute Tony, you SEC shill. Isn’t Auburn’s Cameron Newton playing in the national championship game Monday night because of  the same inexplicable NCAA enforcement process?

Nope. I’ll explain on Thusday but today I want to talk about something fun.

And oh my goodness, this has a chance to be fun.

Michigan finally announced Wednesday morning that coach Rich Rodriguez has been fired.

There is no doubt that Michigan’s No. 1 choice is …

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Charlie Weis to Florida. How’s that gonna work?

While we are waiting on Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh to exercise one of his many options and to see who is going to show for Ohio State tonight against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, it seems like a good time to catch up on the Coaching Carousel:

1. Charlie Weis to Florida. How is that gonna work? Weis knows offense and he knows how to make average quarterbacks good and good quarterbacks great. He’s got the rings to prove it. But I have two questions about Will Muschamp’s decision to bring the former Notre Dame head coach to Gainesville as offensive coordinator:

Can Weis work for a 39-year-old head coach whose personality is every bit as strong as his? Weis will be in charge of the offense but the head coach still makes the decision what to do on third down in a tight ball game. Weis has great confidence in his ability and I happen to think that’s a good thing. But Will Muschamp is the boss. Of course they discussed this. But discussing it in theory and doing it in the heat of battle …

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