Posted on: October 18, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 11:41 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
For the third time in three games, LSU will be facing a quarterback making his first start of the year. But unlike the injury-forced situations at Florida and Tennessee, Auburn will be debuting a new signal-caller by choice.
Gene Chizik announced Tuesday that after leading the previously moribund Auburn offense to 10 second-half points against Florida, redshirt sophomore Cint Moseley would get the call Saturday against the Bayou Bengals. For the season, Moseley has completed 6 of 9 passes for 120 yards.
"We need a spark there," Chizik said of the quarterback position. "He made some throws in the [Florida] game that were good throws. They came at the right time. Putting it all together, giving us the spark we need, we feel he’s earned the opportunity," Chizik added.
Of course, that opportunity is coming on the road against one of the nation's best defenses--not the best way for a new quarterback to get his feet udnerneath him, as the Gators' Jacoby Brissett found out two weeks ago. Moseley at least didn't seem to have any illusions about the size of the task he was facing.
"Maybe it's the best defense I'll probably ever face in my first start. But that's why you come to Auburn, " he said. "I know they're probably going to come right for me. It couldn't get any better."
No doubt that Chizik and Gus Malzahn wish they had an easier opponent for Moseley to test himself against first. But they also must have felt like they didn't have much choice after Barrett Trotter's performance had steadily declined in recent weeks following a bright start. At halftime of the Tigers' Week 3 matchup against Clemson, Trotter was completing 68 percent of his passes for the season for 8.9 yards an attempt, with a 6-to-1 touchdown-to-interception. Since that point, the junior has completed just 45 percent of his passes for 5.3 yards an attempt and more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4).
Moseley was a lightly-regarded recruit coming out of Leroy (Ala.) High School in 2009, but drew positive reviews as the Tigers' scout team QB that fall. He battled Trotter throughout spring and fall camp this year for the starting job, only for Chizik and Malzahn to settle on Trotter some two weeks before the start of the season.
Unfortunately for Moseley -- particularly given the opponent he's about to face -- his offensive line could be in better health. Chizik also announced Tuesday that starting senior guard Jared Cooper has had surgery on his injured ankle and will miss the remainder of the season. The surgery will end Cooper's Auburn career. He will be replaced in the starting lineup by redshirt freshman Chad Slade.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 10:36 am
Edited on: October 18, 2011 2:57 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
At the top, midseason 2011 remains the best of times for the SEC. Alabama and LSU have given the conference not one but two highly viable -- some might even say favored -- candidates for a sixth straight national title. It's not even such bad news that one seems all-but-destined to eliminate the other from the title race when they meet in Tuscaloosa Nov. 5; assuming both clear their final hurdles this week, that game should arrive with more hype, more anticipation, more coverage and more viewers than any regular season college football game since Ohio State and Michigan clashed as undefeateds the final week of 2006. From a national title perspective, the SEC has never mattered more.
But anywhere other than the top, these are the worst times for the SEC in a while. A plague of injuries, inexperience, and ineffective coaching has gutted much of the league's offensive bite and turned what used to be riveting battles amongst the league's wealthier-than-thou middle class into glorified slapfights. Take this past weekend: Auburn, Florida, Mississippi State and South Carolina combined for a total of 49 points across two hideous games; lambs-to-the-slaughter Tennessee and Ole Miss lost to the league's top two by a combined 76 points; and Georgia and Vanderbilt played a game most notable for the screaming match between its coaches afterwards. It was ugliness all the way around--and that's with the conference's worst offense, Kentucky, on a bye.
Alabama vs. LSU should be a classic. And Arkansas, still easily top-10 caliber and as exciting as ever, is blameless. But are the hobbled back-nine of the SEC capable of giving us anything else deserving of that label in 2011's second half?
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Trent Richardson, running back, Alabama. It's easy to forget Richardson's 2011 season actually got off to a slow start, with only 148 yards on a 3.8 per-carry average through the Crimson Tide's first two games. Since then: five games, 764 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 8.2 yards-per-carry, the sort of per-attempt number starting tailbacks for national title contenders achieve only in video games. It's not just the production, either; Richardson has showed off the proverbial total package and then some, flashing breakaway speed, bone-rattling power, and startling elusiveness, sometimes -- as in his Heisman-reel tour de force against Ole Miss -- all on the same play.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tyrann Mathieu, cornerback, LSU. The only serious defensive candidate for the 2011 Heisman, the Honey Badger has stormed onto the national scene on the back of a wave of big plays: the strip-and-fumble-return for touchdown against Oregon, the dazzling interception-and-return-to-the-1 against West Virginia, the sack-strip-and-fumble-return for touchdown against Kentucky. But those game-changing efforts shouldn't obscure what Mathieu does on an every-down basis: namely, lead the nation's No. 4 defense in solo tackles and spearhead the nation's No. 6 secondary in opponent's passer rating.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Les Miles, LSU. Nick Saban obviously deserves commendation as well, but with the ridiculous stockpile of defensive talent in Tuscaloosa and the rock-steady stability of Saban's program, the Tide were never in any danger of not being really, really good. Miles, however, had to navigate a major offseason shakeup of his offensive coaching staff, the Jordan Jefferson barfight brouhaha on the eve of the season (amongst other distractions), and a handful of offensive line injuries to have his team where it is now--atop the AP poll and well on their way to bringing an 8-0 record to Bryant-Denny Stadium.
SURPRISE: Auburn. Few SEC teams have legitimately exceeded expectations in 2011 -- LSU and Vandy are the only other two, frankly -- but none has been as big a shock as the Tigers, who had been predicted by many to sink to fifth (or worse) in the West and general irrelevancy in Year One A.C. (i.e., after Cam). But despite being a Vegas underdog in all four of their SEC games (and scoring 20 points or fewer in their most recent three), a newly-energized defense and timely plays on offense and special teams have Auburn sitting at 3-1 in the league and 5-2 overall. If Miles's and Saban's teams hadn't run so far away from the pack, Gene Chizik would be a hot favorite for SEC Coach of the Year.
DISAPPOINTMENT: Mississippi State. The 0-4 SEC record isn't that bad, honestly; at Auburn, vs. LSU, at Georgia, and vs. South Carolina is a reasonably tough road to hoe. What is that bad is that Dan Mullen's veteran offense has looked so lost, scoring just one offensive touchdown over its last three conference games. This was supposed to be the season Mullen started winning games against the heavier hitters of the SEC, but thanks to his team's offensive struggles, the Bulldogs are now losing games (and in uglier fashion) to the same caliber of team they defeated in 2010.
GAME OF THE YEAR--SO FAR: South Carolina 45, Georgia 42, Sept. 10. Thanks to the lack of offensive fireworks and Alabama and LSU horse-whipping opponents on a weekly basis, candidates for this honor are few and far between, But back in Week 2 the Gamecocks and Bulldogs played a back-and-forth thriller that may still wind up deciding the SEC East. Marcus Lattimore powered for 176 bruising yards, but the player of the game was Gamecock defensive end Melvin Ingram, who scored touchdowns on both defense and special teams and capped his breakout performance by snaring the Dawgs' last-gasp onsides kick.
GAME OF THE YEAR TO COME: Alabama vs. LSU, Nov. 5. Do we even have to spell out why? Consider that the average score to-date between one of these two behemoths and an SEC opponent has been 37-8, and the only thing keeping either one from being heavy, heavy favorites to win the league title is the other. With the pair currently ranked No. 1 and 2 in the BCS standings, it's not an exaggeration to think of this as a BCS championship semifinal.
AND YOUR SEC CHAMPIONS ARE: Alabama out of the West, purely on the basis of getting to host the Game of the Century of the Year, and Georgia out of the East--the Bulldogs have far fewer offensive question marks than the Gamecocks and the easier schedule down the stretch. And as for the SEC Championship Game, well, when the best of this year's West meets the best of this year's East, there's only one outcome worth predicting. We like Alabama to win this year's SEC title and advance to the BCS national championship.
Tags: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Dan Mullen, Florida, Gene Chizik, Georgia, Jerry Hinnen, Jordan Jefferson, Kentucky, Les Miles, LSU, Marcus Lattimore, Melvin Ingram, Michigan, Midseason Report, Midseason Reports, Mississippi State, Nick Saban, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon, SEC, South Carolina, Tennessee, Trent Richardson, Tyrann Mathieu, Vanderbilt, West Virginia
Posted on: October 17, 2011 12:39 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
This week's polls have been released. Here's how the SEC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.
At this point, the Tigers clearly care more about what's going on in the BCS standings -- where they also rank No. 1, by the slimmest of margins over their Tuscaloosa rivals -- than in the AP or Caoches polls. But since the AP does crown half of the national championship and the Coaches poll is a full third of the BCS formula and the Harris Poll tends to track both traditional polls closely, no one's going to start ignoring the AP or coaches in Baton Rouge (or anywhere else) anytime soon.
As for those polls' treatment of the Tigers this week, it was mostly the same-ol'-same-ol'; LSU is still No. 1 in the media balloting by a relatively comfortable margin, No. 2 in the Coaches behind Oklahoma, and ahead of No. 3 Alabama in that poll by a slim margin. But worth noting this week is that LSU and Alabama have dramatically closed the gap on the Sooners. Despite Oklahoma still commanding the lion's share of first-place votes (31 to LSU's 15 and Alabama's 12), LSU stands only 16 points out of first place, and Alabama only 7 additional points behind LSU. The 23 points separating the top three teams is nearly seven times smaller the margin between the Tide and No. 4 Wisconsin.
In other words: the way LSU and Alabama are annihilating opponents right now, the Sooners had best not put anything less than their best foot forward if they want to stay atop the Coaches.
Aside from the same closing of the gap in the Coaches just described for LSU, it was business-as-usual for the Tide after their 52-7 demolition of Ole Miss. We've said for many weeks that both of the SEC's top dogs deserve to get the nod over the Sooners, since the Tide and Tigers have each been every bit as dominant while playing decisively more difficult schedules than Oklahoma's; it's nice to see the BCS agree.
The Hogs enjoyed a bye week but still moved up a spot in the Coaches, thanks to previous No. 10 Michigan falling from the ranks of the unbeaten. No movement in the AP, though, with teams 1-through-9 all winning. Arkansas remains the second-highest-ranked team with a loss, behind Oregon ... but shouldn't they be ahead of the Ducks? Both teams' only loss came to one of the LSU/Alabama juggernauts, but while the Hogs have defeated two other top-25 teams in Texas A&M and Auburn, Arizona State is the only Duck victory of note. The Hogs should move up.
14/12. SOUTH CAROLINA
The Wolverines' fall results in the Gamecocks moving up a slot in both polls. But we're not sure anyone who watched Carolina survive Mississippi State by the skin of their teeth truly believes the Gamecocks are one of the top 15 teams in the country. Of the seven collective losses suffered by the polls' consensus top 16 teams, Carolina's is the only one that didn't either come 1. to an undefeated team 2. on the road.
With the Tigers' offense still sputtering, the eye test suggests Auburn is ranked about where it deserves to be at 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the SEC. But does that give Gene Chizik's team enough credit for its schedule-to-date? Between handing South Carolina its only loss so far (and in Columbia, no less), beating two other middle-of-the-pack SEC teams, and only losing to two top-10 teams at those team's places, it's not surprising the BCS computers call Auburn the nation's No. 14 team.
24 (tie)/unranked. GEORGIA
The Bulldogs reenter the AP poll at its very bottom, one notch ahead of Penn State. But while we'd like to give the Dawgs credit for losing their two games to a pair of top-15 teams, we think the Coaches have it right in selecting the Nittany Lions instead; PSU has one fewer loss, their win over Iowa is just as impressive as any on UGA's resume so far, and it's not like the Lions' only loss of the season (a 27-11 defeat to Alabama) isn't entirely understandable.
Posted on: October 16, 2011 2:42 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
A handy recap of who (and what) really won and really lost in the SEC's Week 6.
WINNER: Trent Richardson. On a day when the SEC failed mightily to produce anything resembling a classic game -- of the league's five matchups, two were won in overpowering fashion by its resident pair of 500-pound gorillas, and the other three were all varying degrees of "slopfest" -- Richardson nonetheless delivered a classic performance. The career highs in yards (183 yards) and touchdowns (four) were nice, but lots of running backs can amass gaudy numbers. What made Richardson's night special was the fury with which he punished Ole Miss's defenders on his runs between the tackles, and then the startling elusiveness he flashed once he found the open field; this juke is going to be a staple of highlight reels for weeks to come. The statistic that best reflects Richardson's night? The 11.2 yards he averaged across his relatively meager 19 touches.
With Marcus Lattimore going down with an injury today (more on this in a moment) and Tyrann Mathieu having a quiet day by his standards despite the total domination shown by his LSU secondary (1 pass broken up, 1 tackle, nothing in special teams), Richardson is now the SEC's far-and-away most viable Heisman candidate. And if the Ole Miss game is any indication, his campaign might just be getting warmed up.
LOSER: the SEC East. Thanks to the decline of Mississippi State, the East's record vs. the West isn't quite as lopsided as it was last year. But that doesn't mean the top of the division is any stronger than it was last year; based on the evidence of Saturday, it's even worse. South Carolina scored a total of two touchdowns while wheezing their way to a four-point win over a State team in offensive disarray. Georgia collected four turnovers from Vanderbilt and outgained the 'Dores by nearly 100 yards and still came within one Hail Mary off a receiver's hands from losing in Nashville. And Florida gained all of 194 yards against the nation's 105th-ranked defense at Auburn. Sure, the East champion won't have a prayer against LSU or Alabama, but with two of its title contenders having already lost to Gene Chizik's team and the third barely any less convincing-looking, the East champion might not even be any better than fifth-place in the West. Still.
WINNER: Ted Roof. After his Tiger defense was eviscerated for more than 1,150 yards in just two weeks by Mississippi State and Clemson, Roof was the most unpopular person on the Plains this side of Harvey Updyke. But thanks to the rapid maturation of players like sophomore defensive end Corey Lemonier (three tackles-for-loss, two sacks, four QB hurries vs. Florida) and sophomore cornerback Chris Davis (five tackles, one pass breakup), Roof's unit suddenly looks in much better shape than celebrated coordinating counterpart Gus Malzahn's--and was largely responsible for both Auburn's win in South Carolina and over Florida Saturday. The Gators' quarterbacking woes no doubt helped, but short, quick running backs like Chris Rainey have given Roof's defenses fits in the past. In the present, Rainey was bottled up to the tune of just 33 yards on 16 carries.
LOSER: South Carolina's offense. Let's get the obvious out of the way first: if Lattimore's injury keeps him out for any extended length of time, that's a massive, massive blow for the Gamecocks. Players of the big sophomore's ability simply aren't replaceable in midseason (if ever), and Carolina doesn't have much depth behind Lattimore to begin with; his substitute against the Bulldogs was true freshman Brandon Wilds, who entered the game with all of eight career carries.
But there's even more worries for Steve Spurrier past his running back situation. Connor Shaw's explosive performance against Kentucky looked like a mirage after he threw for an average of just 5.5 yards on his 28 attempts, with two interceptions; his banged-up offensive line opened holes for just 2.6 yards a carry, two weeks after Lattimore averaged less than 4 vs. Auburn; and Alshon Jeffery continues to be nearly invisible, collecting the game-winning TD vs. State but just four other receptions for all of 20 yards. If Spurrier can't fix things -- and likely do it without Lattimore -- his team may not win again until the Citadel visits on Nov. 19.
WINNER: Rueben Randle. Is anyone happier about Jarrett Lee's late-career renaissance than LSU's No. 1 receiver? The former five-star struggled to make an impact his first two years in Baton Rouge, but with Lee at the controls Randle has become one of the league's biggest deep threats. After 5 more receptions for 86 yards and a score against Tennessee, Randle is averaging an even 19 yards per reception--the best mark in the SEC for any receiver with more than 20 catches for the year.
LOSERS: Anyone who tuned away from Georgia-Vanderbilt. Though it was too sloppy by half to qualify as a good game, the ending of Bulldogs-Commodores was as wild as any game in the SEC this season. Up 33-28, the Dawgs drove deep into Vandy territory and looked to have the game salted away before Aaron Murray was picked off by Casey Hayward at the Vandy 2 with 2:30 to play. But Jordan Rodgers was only able to drive the 'Dores to their own 25 before being picked off himself with 1:10 left. The Bulldogs weren't able to run out the entire clock, though, and had their punt blocked, almost returned for a game-winning touchdown, and eventually recovered by Vandy at the Bulldog 20 with 7 seconds left. Rodgers' Hail Mary hit a falling Chris Boyd in the hands, but Boyd was unable to bring it in, and one final desperation play fell short ... after which Vandy head coach James Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham nearly sparked a brawl by angrily yelling at each other at midfield.
Not a bad bit of drama for a game the few people who were watching potentially turned off once Georgia went up 33-21 early in the fourth quarter.
LOSERS: Gamblers who took South Carolina to cover the 3.5 points against Mississippi State. The Gamecocks' voluntary safety on the final play of the game -- reducing a four-point margin to two and flipping the result of the game against the spread -- cost worldwide bettors as much as $30 million, according to one report. We're skeptical the numbers for your run-of-the-mill SEC game run quite that high, but we'd still advise Spurrier not to walk down any dark alleys this week.
WINNERS: Hearts belonging to fans of Alabama and LSU. While fans in Columbia and Auburn and Athens and Starkville have all had their turns reaching for the blood pressure medication (Auburn's more than once), those in Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge haven't had to worry. After winning their two games Saturday by a combined 90-14 score, the Tide and Tigers have now won their eight total SEC games by an average score of 37-8. The closest call? LSU's 19-6 "escape" at Mississippi State, which at the time was viewed as a disappointment for the Bulldogs.
Now, we're wondering if maybe they ought to put up a plaque to commemorate the achievement.
Tags: Aaron Murray, Alabama, Alshon Jeffery, Arkansas, Auburn, Brandon Wilds, Casey Hayward, Chris Boyd, Chris Davis, Chris Rainey, Clemson, Connor Shaw, Corey Lemonier, Florida, Gene Chizik, Georgia, Gus Malzahn, Harvey Updyke, James Franklin, James Franklin the Vanderbilt coach not the Missouri quarterback, Jarrett Lee, Jerry Hinnen, Jordan Rodgers, Kentucky, LSU, Marcus Lattimore, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Ruden Randle, SEC, South Carolina, Steve Spurrier, Ted Roof, Tennessee, The Citadel, Todd Grantham, Trent Richardson, Tyrann Mathieu, Vanderbilt, Winners and Losers
Posted on: October 15, 2011 11:07 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
AUBURN WON: The high-flying, high-scoring fireworks of 2010 faded even further into the Tigers' collective memory after another stuttering offensive performance, but precious few on the Plains will care: Gene Chizik's Tiger cubs are 5-2 and 2-1 in the SEC. Backup quarterback Clint Moseley came off the bench to lead a key second-half touchdown drive, and thanks to a string of muffed punts the Tigers finished with a 3-0 advantage in turnover margin.WHY AUBURN WON: In a matchup where both offenses needed all the help they could get, Florida gave Auburn's far more than Auburn gave Florida. The Gators' first muffed punt -- one Will Muschamp hotly contended had been a result of catch interference on the tigers' part -- set up a 25-yard Barrett Trotter touchdown pass, the only TD for either team the entire first half. And with Auburn leading 14-6 late in the fourth quarter, another muff set up Cody Parkey's game-icing 42-yard field goal.
In-between those two poles, the Florida offense moved the ball at least as effectively as Auburn and maybe better. (Which is not to say either team moved it well; the teams combined for just 474 yards of offense and at one point had 12 total punts to 15 total first downs.) But two red-zone possessions for Florida ended in just 3 points -- one of them a turnover on downs in the fourth quarter when backup QB Jeff Driskel overthrew an open receiver on 4th-and-3 -- while Auburn's one ended in a 14-yard Onterio McCalebb touchdown to open the fourth quarter.
With the Gator offense never looking capable of mounting a large-scale comeback under either Driskel or Jacoby Brissett, that Auburn got both more opportunities and took better advantage of them was always going to result in one outcome.
WHEN AUBURN WON: Parkey had missed a pair of 40-plus-yard field goals already, but Chizik elected to let him try the game-clincher from 42 even after a false start penalty ... and with just 42 seconds left for the hapless Gators to work with after a hypothetical punt. But Parkey made that decision look good, hitting the kick and deciding the game.
WHAT AUBURN WON: The Tigers were projected to take a massive step backwards this season and have, in many ways; the defense has spent whole games getting shredded, the offense whole games going nowhere. But with Gus Malzahn's attack carrying the team early in the year and Ted Roof's defense doing so against South Carolina and Florida, the team has somehow emerged at 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the SEC ... and both their losses have come at top-10 teams on the road. The Tigers aren't what they were, but they haven't gone away, either.
WHAT FLORIDA LOST: Muschamp wasn't happy with his team's efforts against Alabama or LSU, but there was only so much the Gators could realistically do with John Brantley out. Auburn, though, showed Florida a passing game scarcely any better than their own--only for the Gators' special teams, running game, and red zone defense to give their freshmen quarterbacks so little help that the aerial draw didn't matter. Now the Gators have all-but officially dropped out of the East race, and even a winning regular season isn't guaranteed. The shine on that 4-0 start is officially off.
Posted on: October 12, 2011 2:14 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Running down everything you need to know from the current news in the SEC, courtesy of our CBSSports.com RapidReporters (and others).
AUBURN. Despite a miserable 6-for-19, 81-yard, 2-INT performance against Arkansas, Tiger quarterback Barrett Trotter will still be the starter in Saturday's showdown with Florida. "He's our quarterback today; he'll be our quarterback Saturday," Gene Chizik said. Many Tiger fans have been clamoring for a greater role for true freshman Kiehl Frazier, but Chizik reiterated that Frazier would remain a "changeup."
For their part, both offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and Frazier himself agreed that the freshman isn't ready to take on the full-time quarterbacking responsibility. Auburn will have to face Florida without starting senior guard Jared Cooper, out with an ankle injury. He'll likely be replaced by redshirt freshman Chad Slade.
FLORIDA. Meanwhile, Auburn's Saturday opponents have their own worries at quarterback with John Brantley out. But freshman backup Jeff Driskel has returned from his ankle injury and split reps during Tuesday's practice with fellow freshman (and starter vs. LSU) Jacoby Brissett. Though the two are now locked in close competition to be the starter at Auburn, Will Muschamp said he doesn't plan on keeping his decision a secret once it's made ... though he has also hinted at leaning in either Brissett's or Driskel's direction.
Despite reports suggesting his Gator career was over, sophomore linebacker Dee Finley has not yet made a final decision on whether to transfer out of the program or not, Muschamp said.
VANDERBILT. More QB drama: for the first time this season, the Commodore depth chart at quarterback has an "or" between starter Larry Smith and backup Jordan Rodgers, younger brother of Aaron Rodgers. Head coach James Franklin said the team would "kind of have a competition" at the position and whichever quarterback performs better in practice this week would get the nod against Georgia. Rodgers came on in relief of Smith vs. Alabama and completed 11 of 18 passes, but with two interceptions.
LSU. The No. 1 Bayou Bengals' Nov. 5 trip to Alabama is already being marked on many college football fans' calendars as the Game of the Year--including LSU's, who chanted "We Want 'Bama" at the end of their team's beatdown of Florida. But don't tell that to Les Miles. "I hear the talk," he said. "But I promise you that talk doesn't exist in our building. That's fan chat or a media buzz. That buzz doesn't take place in our building."
With Miles stressing ball security, LSU has now gone three games without a turnover. At +11, the Tigers rank fourth in the nation in turnover margin. With the Auburn game a week from Saturday set for a 2:30 CT kickoff (on CBS), LSU will go an entire season without playing an SEC night game for the first time since 1935.
ELSEWHERE: The already-struggling Tennessee running game could be without starting tailback Tauren Poole, day-to-day with a hamstring injury ... new/old starting quarterback Matt Simms is happy to return to the starter's role against LSU, the team he nearly defeated last season ... Arkansas's bye week comes at a good time for quarterback Tyler Wilson, who needs the extra time to recover his lost voice ...
Don't expect to beat Alabama on the Tide's mistakes: they're committing the second-fewest penalties in the nation and AJ McCarron hasn't thrown an interception in 127 pass attempts ... Good news and bad news on the injury front for Georgia, who should see inside linebacker Alec Ogletree back on the field as scheduled come the Bulldogs' Oct. 29 meeting with Florida, but will miss receiver Malcolm Mitchell for this week's trip to Vanderbilt ...
Amidst the higher-profile stories breaking in Columbia Tuesday, Andrew Clifford and Dylan Thompson are battling to be this week's backup quarterback against Mississippi State. Steve Spurrier said picking one or the other could be a game-time decision ... Ole Miss will stick with Randall Mackey as the starter at quarterback against Alabama Saturday, but there's no set backup there, either ... But at least the Gamecocks and Rebels have a starter. Dan Mullen has said he won't name Mississippi State's until kickoff, if then. Chris Relf is attempting to fend off a challenge from Tyler Russell, who sparked the offense to three second-half touchdowns against UAB.
Tags: Aaron Rodgers, AJ McCarron, Alabama, Alec Ogletree, Andrew Clifford, Arkansas, Auburn, Barrett Trotter, Chad Slade, Chris Relf, Dan Mullen, Dee Finley, Dylan Thompson, Florida, Gene Chizik, Georgia, Gus Malzahn, Jacoby Brissett, James Franklin, James Franklin the Vanderbilt coach not the Missouri quarterback, Jared Cooper, Jeff Driskel, Jerry Hinnen, John Brantley, Jordan Rodgers, Kiehl Frazier, Larry Smith, Les Miles, LSU, Malcolm Mitchell, Matt Simms, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Randall Mackey, SEC, South Carolina, Steve Spurrier, Tauren Poole, Tennessee, Tyler Russell, Tyler Wilson, Vanderbilt, Will Muschamp
Posted on: October 10, 2011 5:55 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
The latest college football polls are out and now it's time to rip them to shreds. Senior college basketball writer Gary Parrish has been calling out voters in the major hoops polls for thinking a little bit too far outside of the box when it comes to their AP ballots every week.
With the football season starting, I thought I'd steal take the baton on the idea from my colleague and keep all of the writers across the country who vote honest. I've come to know a good number of these people through time and twitter but relationships do not matter, bad votes do.
AP Poll Coaches Poll Harris Poll
(Details of AP ballots courtesy of PollSpeak.com)
Poll reactions: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC
Rodney Dangerfield "No respect" team of the week: Kansas State
You would think that the coaches (or sports information directors) that vote in the Coaches Poll would appreciate what Bill Snyder has done at Kansas State this year. The Wildcats are undefeated so far this season with wins at Miami and against Baylor and Missouri. They don't have much of a passing game (115th in the country) but do have a good ground game, even without the services of former former five-star running back Bryce Brown. Not sure then why the coaches have Kansas State 18th then, one spot below where they are underrated in the AP Poll. They're below South Carolina and Nebraska, both of whom are one-loss teams that have more issues. This is the ultimate "don't get no respect" program but Snyder has them playing hard and playing tough this season.
First of all, no one expected Auburn to be sitting 3rd in the SEC West with only two total loses approaching the halfway mark in the season. They're one of only two teams to play three teams that are currently ranked in the top 25. They are, however, not supposed to be one of them. The Tigers are just barely in the top 25, ranked 24th in the AP Poll and unranked in the Coaches. Once again, some kudos for the latter for keeping them out. Gene Chizik's group has gotten lucky in most of their wins - they're 80th in total offense and 105th in total defense - and really only the South Carolina one is notable. That's why it's funny to see Jon Wilner put them 12th and Andy Staples to rank them 17th. Too high gentlemen, act more like Brett McMurphy who has Auburn unranked.
A trio of voters from California (CSN Bay Area/CBSSports.com's Ray Ratto, San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner, LA Daily News' Scott Wolf) are an interesting voting block. Some would call them progressive, others would call them extreme and just about everybody else will call them crazy given their fluctuations in their ballots each week. All three are consistently in Pollspeak's group of "extreme voters" so we'll highlight the most baffling decision(s) out of each.
Three in a row for Wolf! He pulls into the lead in the race to the top/bottom of the California Craziness derby. Wisconsin is 8th, lowest on any ballot in the country, while West Virginia is right behind them ranked 9th, highest on any ballot. Florida is still a top 15 team according to Wolf, despite quarterbacks that were born in the 1990's who have barely taken any snaps. Undefeated Illinois is 22nd, behind two-loss Notre Dame, while Auburn is 17th. Undefeated Kansas State is 24th (see above) and SMU is on the ballot at 25th. Yeah...
What were you thinking? Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Ron, I feel for you. You probably have to watch Memphis Tigers football closely and have to do so more often than anyone. That's rough but you still have to vote in the AP Poll. You didn't turn in a ballot this week, causing some angst back in the office for those that coordinate and release the thing we have to rip to shreds every Monday on CBSSports.com. Remember, every vote counts and, unlike the state of Florida, we know how to count them. Thanks! (P.S. if you want me to email a reminder, I'll do so!)
Our tech team at CBSSports.com is pretty awesome and came up with this neat tool to take a look at team and region bias in the AP Poll. Check it out below, it's a fun thing to play around with.
Tags: ACC, Andy Staples, AP Poll, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Bill Snyder, Brett McMurphy, Bryan Fischer, Bryce Brown, Coaches Poll, Florida, Gene Chizik, Harris Poll, Illinois, Jon Wilner, Kansas State, Memphis, Miami, Missouri, Nebraska, Non-BCS, Notre Dame, Pac-12, Poll Attacks, Ray Ratto, Ron Higgins, Scott Wolf, SEC, SMU, South Carolina, The Poll Attacks, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:40 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
This week's polls have been released. Here's how the SEC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.
No movement for LSU this week despite -- or, in the case of the AP, because of -- the dominant win over Florida. And barring something unforeseen this week against Tennessee, that won't likely change next week, either; the Tigers continue to enjoy a relatively comfortable lead at No. 1 in the AP, but in the Coaches are still closer to being passed by No. 3 Alabama (10 points behind, 11 first-place votes to LSU's 15) than they are to passing Oklahoma (25 points clear, 32 first-place votes).
As we've written multiple times in this space, we're still of the belief that Alabama's overwhelming domination of a top-10 team like Arkansas and road victories top-25-caliber teams like Florida (pre-Brantley injury, anyway) and Penn State should have them a step ahead of Oklahoma--and in the mix for No. 1. But in a week where the Sooners and Bayou Bengals beat Texas and those same Gators by a combined 68 points, no one in Tuscaloosa can be surprised the Tide stayed where they were in last week's polls.
The Razorbacks defeated Auburn by 24 points the week after Auburn defeated South Carolina in South Carolina. The Gamecocks may be a different team with Connor Shaw at the helm rather than Stephen Garcia (may be; it was just Kentucky, after all), but for now, that's a comprehensive argument for Arkansas wearing the "third-best team in the SEC mantle." And maybe even the "best team with a loss" mantle; only Oregon is ranked higher.
15/13. South Carolina
Auburn's loss freed up the Gamecocks from the head-to-head loss ceiling; Shaw's performance likely reassued voters that they deserved the nod over similar one-loss teams like West Virginia or Nebraska. The result is that the Gamecocks are once again a consensus top-15 team. But should they be? Losing to Auburn at home isn't nearly the same as losing to LSU (in WVU's case) or Wisconsin (in Nebraska's). Until Shaw proves himself against more worthy competition, the Coaches' ranking of No. 13 strikes us as being on the high side.
The Tigers hang on in the AP despite the debacle in Fayetteville, with the Coaches substantially less forgiving, placing the Tigers fourth in the "Also Receiving Votes" category. The split decision feels about right for Gene Chizik's squad, with their resume boasting both strong selling points (the win at Carolina, both losses coming on the road at top-10 teams) and big drawbacks (the lopsided nature of the losses, the skin-of-the-teeth wins over Utah State and Mississippi State).
The Gators dropped out of both polls this week after getting drubbed by LSU. Though still at "No. 26" in each, Florida's fortunate to even be that close; their home win over Tennessee isn't as impressive now that Georgia beat the Vols just as convincingly in Knoxville, their other three wins are all against horrible teams, and the Gators couldn't stay within four touchdowns of either LSU or Alabama.
The result is that the SEC's much-lauded collection of eight ranked teams in the preseason has already been halved in the Coaches poll and nearly so in the AP. Fortunately, Georgia's return could be imminent if the Bulldogs can handle Vanderbilt this week.