Thursday, August 30, 2007

SEC Preview: The Forgotten Team Stays on Top


AU
I know I’m going against the grain when I say Auburn should win the conference this season. But after looking at the facts, I don’t see how so many experts could disagree with my assessment of the season. This Auburn football team has lost three SEC games in the past three seasons (for a three year mark of 21-3). That is one of the most remarkable accomplishments I can think of in such a difficult conference. While many people do not want to give this team respect, the numbers don’t lie. College Football News ranked teams based on the past three years and Auburn finished ranked third, behind only USC and Texas. If you look at the 2007 AP or Coaches poll you will find both USC and Texas in the top five, but you won’t find Auburn until you get down to number eighteen. Amazing!

Like all the other contenders Auburn is very talented. According to Rivals.com, the last recruiting class was ranked seventh in the nation and the three year average is ten. This is by far the deepest most talented team Auburn has ever fielded since I closely started following football back in 1992. For the first time since I can remember Auburn fields not only talented starters but also talented backups for each position. This team is not deep in experience, but very deep in pure talent.

Offense: The offensive side of the ball is the reason why this is the forgotten team. Most folks want to discount this team because there will be four new starters on the offensive line. However, if you look at the facts I don’t see how anyone could make this claim. First, last season Auburn fielded one of the worst offensive lines in recent school history and still managed to win eleven games. Auburn ranked second to last in the entire SEC (behind only Kentucky) in giving up sacks. The new offensive line will feature young players, including at least two freshman starters, but they are so much more talented than what has been there in the past there can really be no comparison.

Another knock on this team is Brandon Cox and the inability to score points a year ago. Many people must not be aware that Cox was injured very early in the season and never recovered. Because Tuberville didn’t want to throw a true freshman into the fire, the coaches stuck with Cox. As a result, Al Borges put the brakes on the offense and turned to more of a power running which really didn’t really suit a team with such a poor offensive line. The truth is I would take Brandon Cox going into his senior year before I’d take any other recent Auburn QB at this point in his career.

Auburn will again be loaded at running back where up to four different guys have the ability to carry the load. While not the most experienced group, the wide receivers are loaded with talent and should step up and make some big plays this season.

Defense: This should be the best defense Auburn has fielded since I’ve been seriously following football since 1992. The group will be much more talented and experienced then they were a year ago. Plus, Will Muschamp will be in his second season and it is already showing as the players actually understand his defense and know their assignments.

Conclusion: The offensive line may struggle early, but they still shouldn’t be as bad as last season. By the time the first big game roles around (FL Sept. 29) this team should be ready to rock and roll. However, one must keep in mind Auburn has one of the toughest schedules in the league. They must play on the road against FL, LSU, Arkansas, and UGA. Despite being ranked so low in the preseason, surely if Auburn can make another run like in 2004 this team would be rewarded with the BCS title game. If Auburn is not able to win every game, they should at least make a BCS game.

Lamar’s pick: I know it is crazy to pick any team to go undefeated through the SEC, but I just don’t see any other way the SEC West winner can end up. One loss may be too many to make it to Atlanta. Auburn makes another 2004 run at 12-0 and 8-0 in the SEC. This time Auburn better get a shot at USC in the title game.

Expert Predictions


The Godfather

SEC East

1. Tennessee 7-1
2. USC 6-2
3. UGA 5-3
4. Florida 4-4
5. Vandy 2-6
6. Kentucky 1-7

SEC West

1. Auburn 8-0
2. LSU 7-1
3. Alabama 4-4
4. Arkansas 3-5
5. Ole Miss 1-7
6. Miss State 0-8


Ernest Faulkner

SEC East

1. Tennessee 6-2
2. UGA 5-3
3. FL 4-4
4. USC 3-5
5. Kentucky 2-6
6. Vandy 2-6

SEC West

1. LSU 7-1
2. Auburn 6-2
3. Alabama 5-3
4. Arkansas 3-5
5. Ole Miss 2-6
6. Miss State 0-8

SI.com

SEC East

1. FL 7-1
2. Tennessee 6-2
3. UGA 4-4
4. USC 3-5
5. Kentucky 2-6
6. Vandy 2-6

SEC West

1. LSU 8-0
2. Arkansas 5-3
3. Auburn 5-3
4. Alabama 4-4
5. Ole Miss 2-6
6. Miss. State 0-8

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

SEC Preview, Part 11: LSU Expectations High as Les Miles Hat


LSU
There is no doubt that LSU has just as much talent as any team in college football. However, they have been saddled with such high expectations that even the New England Patriots would have a difficult time living up to the hype. To be fair, neither Les Miles nor the players asked to be ranked so highly or to be talked about all off season. The truth is this team will be very good, but they have TOO many questions to legitimately be ranked second in the country.

LSU has always done a great job of recruiting top talent to Baton Rouge even when the team has not been very good. Their Rivals.com three year average is eleven. Like the other contenders in the SEC, this team is loaded with talent.

Offense: The offense is the reason why I’m not totality sold on this team. I’m sure they will hang 50 plus on Mississippi State in week one, but I’m not sold on their week in and week out capabilities. My first issue with this team is at QB, where they must replace the first pick in the ENTIRE NFL draft. Sure, they may have lots of talent at QB, but how can anyone replace the first pick in the entire NFL draft? I would say it is a huge plus the new QB has been around for five years, but most of that advantage left with their offensive coordinator. All the players have been forced to learn a new offense that they were only introduced to a few months ago. Combine that with the fact LSU does not have a QB that has ever started an SEC game and there is cause for concern.

My second big question with this offense is the loss of Jimbo Fisher who many consider to be the best in the business. He is credited with forming the LSU offense that won the national championship and several SEC titles. Not only must the players learn this new system, but they must learn a totally different philosophy. The new OC loves to spread the field and throw the ball. LSU has had an offense that would line up and run over people. It will be an interesting transition.

Finally, this offense lost their offensive line coach. Not only must the new coach learn about the capabilities and weakness of his new players, but the new players must adjust to a totality new scheme of offense on top of adjusting to a new a new offensive line coach. This is much easier said than done and I would not be surprised to see some early missed blocking assignments.

There are also many things certain for this offense. The offensive line is very talented and will produce big holes for the running game. The WR is loaded with play makers that will score from every place on the field. This offense has the capabilities of being very good, but it may take some time to adjust.

Defense: Simply put, you will see no better defense in the nation. They will get pressure on the QB, stuff the run, and defend the pass well. I like this group a lot and I don’t see any weakness.

Lamar’s key to a championship

1. Does this team have a solid defense? YES. No doubt, no discussion, they have the very best.

2. Can this team run the football? YES. They have a very talented and experienced line that will block for very good running backs. This team should not have a problem racking up lots of yards on the ground.

3. Does this team have a proven QB? NO. Just because they have a QB who played well in the Peach Bowl does not mean they have a proven QB. Look at Matt Stafford last season, he was easily the worst QB in the SEC last year but he had a good Peach Bowl. One game does not translate into being a proven QB.

Conclusion: LSU’s defense could easily lead them to an undefeated season. But the biggest questions I have are on the offensive side of the ball. How will this offensive coordinator perform in close games deep in the heart of the SEC schedule? How will the new QB react to SEC game atmosphere? I think LSU has lots of talent and lots of questions.

Lamar’s pick: LSU will have an overall record of 11-1 and an SEC record of 7-1.
Photo Credit: http://www.lsu.edu/highlights/053/images/miles4.jpg

SEC Preview, Part 10: Tennessee Back on Top in 2007


UT
It has been a while since Tennessee has been considered the best team in the east. However, they have their work cut out from them because it will not be an easy road but in the end the Volunteers should make an appearance in the Georgia Dome come December. But keep in mind, it will be close and if they struggle either South Carolina or Georgia could easily take their spot. Tennessee does not have much room for error in what has to be the toughest division in all of football.

The Tennessee program has always recruited well as they did this past year signing the fourth best class in all of college football. According to rivals.com, they have a three year average of ten. However, keep in mind two out of the last three years they have signed the number three and number four classes in the nation.

Offense: David Cutcliffe has lead the Vols out of the SEC crapper and brought them to the top of the division. Look for QB Erik Ainge to have another stellar year after completing 67% of his passes a year ago. To keep the pressure off of Ainge will be a stock of running backs who are capable of going the distance each time they touch the fall. The biggest question mark facing the offense is the wide receiver corp which lost some key players. The Vols must have a big time receiver step up because opposing defenses will be stacking the line.

Defense: The Vols lost several key members of their secondary but they should be easily replaced. One name to watch for this fall is true freshman Eric Berry who is capable of playing any position on the field. The defensive line needs to improve after only recording 17 sacks last season.

Lamar’s key to a championship

1. Does this team have a solid defense? SPLIT DECISION. I believe the defense will get better as time goes by, but the defensive weakness will be tested in the first game of the season against Cal. If Tennessee can execute a decent pass rush and player good pass coverage in the secondary in the first game they will have answered all my doubts about their football team.

2. Can this team run the football? YES. Tennessee always has a tough running game and this season will be no different. They have several players who can start and make big plays.

3. Does this team have a proven QB? YES. Erik Ainge has proven he can play with the best of them after completing 67% of his passes last season. He should have another big year and lead Tennessee to Atlanta.

Conclusion: If the Vols can show improvement on the defensive side of the ball and pick up where they left off on offense they should win the eastern division. However, they are not a dominate football team and could easily lose to both UGA and USC which would cost them a trip to the dome.

Lamar’s pick: Tennessee will go 11-1 overall with a 7-1 record in the SEC. They will win the SEC Eastern Division championship. They will defeat FL, Ole Miss, USC, Arkansas, Vandy, and Kentucky. They will lose to UGA.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

SEC Preview, Part 9: Gamecocks to Atlanta?


USC

I’ve got two very important questions about South Carolina. First, is Uncle Rico’s long lost son Blake Mitchell? Second, will Steve Spurrier kill Blake Mitchell before he graduates? The answer to the first question is definitely yes. Blake was probably conceived during Uncle Rico’s big high school football playoff run in 1982. The answer to the second question is still up in the air, only time will tell.

South Carolina is currently on the rise more so than any other program in the SEC. Steve Superior has won titles where no one else could (Duke, UF) and Columbia will be no different. He has increased the talent level at South Carolina more than any coach in Cock history. Their three year national ranking, according to rivals.com is seventeen, which can be deceiving considering they had a top ten class this past season.

Offense: This unit will be much, much better than they were a year ago. Even if Steve has to kill Mitchell before the season is over he can easily be replaced by one of Superior’s top QB recruits. However, it will be in the Cocks’ best interest to keep him around since he has been in the Superior system for three years. The ground game will be very good and the passing game will be improved despite the loss of WR Rice to the NFL. Trust me, Steve will hit the play action pass off the successful running game and people will be talking BCS bowl.

Defense: The Cocks’ will again field a strong defense. The biggest difference this season is that Steve will not have to solely rely on the defense to win games. They will hold their own and put USC smack in the middle of the SEC East title race.

Lamar’s key to a championship:

1. Does this team have a solid defense? YES. While they won’t be the best in the SEC, they should be improved from last season. Plus, they won’t have to spend as much time on the field as they have in the past.

2. Can this team run the ball? YES. With the return of “Crack Head Boyd” they should be able to chew up chucks of yards. The offensive line should not have a problem run blocking as Steve balanced attacked will keep defenses on their heels.

3. Does this team have a proven QB? YES. if Steve doesn’t leave Blake Mitchell in a Columbia gutter one Friday night. Even if Blake is done away with there are other QB’s on the roster who have game experience.

Conclusion: This is the year South Carolina has been waiting for! The only thing that stands in their way is the pesky Tennessee Volunteers. But you never know, as Steve used to always say, “You can’t spell Citrus Bowl without UT.” If USC can get past UGA in the second game they will be on their way to a special season. If I were UGA I would be very concerned about playing these guys. I wouldn't be surprised if Steve has figured out a way to play offense without an offensive line or play defense with eleven defensive backs. Georgia is another team he has often taken cracks at calling their former coach "Golmer Goff." UGA is the only major eastern team he has yet to defeat and you better believe he has been planning for Willie's defense all summer.

Lamar’s Pick: USC will finish 10-2 overall and 6-2 in the conference. The Cock's will finish in second place in the east because they probably will not find a way to beat the Vols. They will defeat UGA, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Vandy, Arkansas, and Florida. They will lose to LSU and Tennessee.

Photo Credit: deepsouthsportsblog.com

Exclusive: Ernest Faulkner Previews SEC East

SEC East Preview

1. Tennessee 10-2 (6-2 SEC)

Year Two of David Cutcliff’s resurrection of the Volunteer offense will be more high-powered than 2006,where Tennessee was strong against California and Georgia, but struggled against teams like Arkansas and Penn State. Erik Ainge should be one the conference’s best offense performers this season and the Volunteer backfield has been rejuvenated in depth for the firsttime in several seasons. The receiver corps will benew and must develop quickly if Ainge is to guide theair game. An angry California looks to upend Tennesseein Berkley for the opener, and then the Vols face a Florida defense that has lost much of its bite two weeks later. Tennessee’s toughest match-ups will be against an improving Georgia on Oct. 6, Nick Saban and the Tide on Oct. 20 and The Visor and his Gamecocks a week later. Tennessee should be aware of the upset in this stretch.

2. Georgia 9-3 (5-3 SEC)

The Bulldogs finished strong in 2006, after stumbling against Kentucky and Vanderbilt, to beat Auburn,Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Georgia will be much improved this season, but there will still be question marks on both sides of the ball. The entire offensive line will be replaced under new line coach Stacey Searels and the front seven on defense looks to be inexperienced as well. Heralded quarterback Matthew Stafford threw twice as many interceptions than touchdowns last season with 13, but a rigorousoff-season training regimen of keg-lifting and spooning should move along the sophomore’s development. The backfield is stout again with an seemingly endless supply of backs and the receiver corps will be helped by the reemergence of Sean Bailey, but success on the field will hinge on the lines. Tennessee, Florida and Auburn will be difficult games, but Alabama and South Carolina could provide upsets if the Dogs get complacent.

3. Florida 8-4 (4-4 SEC)

The Gators had a lot of hype last season and earned their reputation by slapping Ohio State in the national title game. In 2007, the Gators still have the hype, but will have a tougher time earning it. Nine members of a tenacious defense are gone, taking away much of Florida’s bite from 2006. The offense is in pretty good shape, but quarterback Tim Tebow, who was brought in on designed plays last season, will have to run the whole show this year after the departure of four-year starter Chris Leak. Like 2005, this season will test Urban Meyer’s coaching ability and innovative nature as the Gators rebuild and their opponents get stronger. Games with Tennessee, Auburn, LSU and Georgia could break either way and an improved Florida State awaits its first win against Florida since 2003.

4. South Carolina 7-5 (3-5 SEC)

The Ole Ball Coach figures his team can make a run to the Georgia Dome come December. If the Gamecocks could find a reliable quarterback, he might be right. However, Blake Mitchell still looks to be the best option, but his off the field antics have cost South Carolina in the past. Last season, the signal caller lost his starting job after punching a bouncer only to regain it later in the season. This summer, pictures surfaced showing that Mitchell was a maniac, maniac ont he floor at a wedding and dancing like he ever danced before or should since. Just recently, Mitchell was suspended for the season opener with La.-Lafayettebecause he missed summer classes. That gives South Carolina one game with back-up Chris Smelley before heading to Athens next week to face UGA. The receiver corps will have question marks with the loss of SidneyRice, but the running game looks strong with CoryBoyd. South Carolina also faces one of the toughest schedules in the nation, not the time to have a shaky senior quarterback.

5. Kentucky 5-7 (2-6 SEC)

Last season, the Wildcats turned a corner last season with upsets over Georgia and Clemson, but don’t expectit to happen again this season. Kentucky will lean heavily on senior quarterback Andre Woodson and the schedule sets up easy to start, but consecutive games against South Carolina, LSU and Florida will bring Rich Brooks’ team back to Earth. A season finale trioat Vanderbilt, at Georgia and hosting Tennessee won’t help either.

6. Vanderbilt 5-7 (2-6 SEC)

The best SEC team not to go to a bowl last season won’t be able to catch a break this year either. The schedule sets up nice at the beginning of the season,with my predicted upset of Alabama coming in the second week. However when October hits, the Commodores will travel to Auburn, host Georgia and are at South Carolina. Vanderbilt closes the season with a Murder’s Row of Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and defending ACC champ Wake Forest. If the ‘Dores can take the Wildcats, they have a shot at their first bowl berth in 25 years.

About the Author: Ernest Faulkner is a professional writer who is known as being the first sports writer to be an "auteur." Mr. Faulkner operates in secrecy among the shadows of the journalism business hoping to avoid their lunacy. During his time in "the biz" he has worked for some of the top publications in the world. You can contact him at ernest@sectailgate.org.

SEC Preview, Part 8: Can ‘Talladega Matt’ lead UGA to promised land?

UGA
Overview: Since the hiring of Mark Richt, UGA has been at the top of the eastern division. The secret to Richt's success has been a winning offense capable of getting the job done. Plus, a very good defense and solid recruiting have placed Georgia in the league of elite teams in the SEC. In fact, according to rivals.com, over the past three years UGA has an average national ranking of seven in recruiting. There is no doubt this team is loaded with talent.

Offense: For the most part, UGA must replace the entire offensive line. Despite great recruiting classes, the Dawgs are very thin along the line. As a result, they will rely on true freshman and junior college transfers to get the job done. It may take a few weeks to get things together, but eventually this should be a solid group of guys. However, an injury or two could seriously cripple any hopes of a good season.

QB Matthew Stafford is back for his second season in the SEC. He struggled last season after being thrown into the fire. This year Stafford must prove he is not just a paper blue chip player. He must go out and perform week in and week out in the best conference in college football. Stafford has the talent, but he still must find his game.
While he will be more experienced, he will have to deal with a new offensive line as they go through growing pains. He will not have the luxury of the experienced veteran line to protect him from opposing defenses that he had a year ago. To make matters worse, the offensive line coach left for UAB, so not only will the team be replacing the entire offensive line, but also will have to replace one of the top offensive line coaches in the country which will be no small feat.

To add to the transitions taking place on offense, Mark Richt has decided to hand over the reigns of offensive coordinator to Mike Bobo. While Bobo did handle play calling duties in a few games last year, he is an unproven play caller going into the season. It is always unsettling to have a new coordinator, but even worse to have one that has never called plays at any level other than high school. In the end, Bobo must replace one of the top offensive coordinators (Richt) in the SEC which will be no small task. My worst fears were confirmed when the AJC ran a story titled "Even Richt unsure about Bobo's offense."

Defense: The defense has been the strength of the team the past few years. However, this season the Dawgs will have to basically replace the entire defense. There is a ton of talent, but they will be tested early against OK State and USC. The defense should come together and again be one of the better units in the SEC. If not, defensive coordinator Willie may be looking for a new job come the end of the year.

Lamar’s Keys to a championship:
(1) Does this team have a solid defense? YES. While we really don’t know for sure, by the time UGA gets in the thick of the schedule they will be just as good as anyone on the defensive side of the ball

(2) Can this team run the ball? SPLIT DECISION. Running the ball will be the key to beating South Carolina which would put them in the SEC east race. However, with so many questions on offense, this remains a question mark.

(3) Does this team have a prove QB? NO. While Stafford has a huge upside he has not proven that he can play QB week in and week out in the SEC.

Conclusion: Despite severe losses on both side of the ball and some coaching changes on offense, the Dawgs should again be near the top of the east. With the amount of talent on this team they are capable of winning the division and the league any season. This is a testament to the job Mark Richt has done for the program. However, I do not believe UGA will make it to Atlanta this year because of the turmoil the offense is bound to face. The defense will be good, but with the coaching changes, an unproven offensive line, and an unproven QB this will not be the year of the Dawg. On the other hand, if the offense comes together early against South Carolina and Alabama, UGA fans can go ahead and start looking for SEC championship tickets and RV Parking spaces at the Georgia Dome.

Lamar’s Pick: UGA will finish 9-3 with a 5-3 mark in the SEC. They will finish third in the SEC East. Wins will come against Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vandy, and Kentucky. UGA will be see losses against USC, FL, and AU.

UGA is my early pick to win the SEC in 2008.

SEC Preview, Part 7: The Gators will be disappointing


UF


Overview: After slipping into the national championship game last season, the Gators will take a step back in 2007. A team that was able to squeak out enough victories to get the job done last year must replace the entire defense and break in a new QB.

Florida certainly has the talent to make it back to the Atlanta. According to rivals.com, their last three recruiting classes average ranking is six.

Offense: This will be the real strength of this team. However, I will be curious to see how Tebow does as starter who must throw more than one pass a game.

Defense: While they will be talented, the defense must replace several key players. The defense is what made Florida such a dangerous team last season which is exactly why they will struggle this season.

Lamar’s key to a championship:

1. Does this team have a solid defense? SPLIT DECISION. It is too early to tell if this team will have a solid defense. With the loss of so many players it will be difficult. It will be even more difficult if they have to spend a lot of time on the field when the offense struggles or when they score quickly.

2. Can this team run the ball? YES. They have a very good offensive line and should be able to run the ball much more effectively than they did a year ago.

3. Does this team have a proven QB? NO. While Tebow may have all the talent in the world, he has not proven he can be an every down QB.

Conclusion: The lack of experience on defense will be enough to drop FL from the top of the SEC East down toward the bottom. They will lose the games they were able to pull out of a hat a year ago.

Lamar’s Pick: FL will have an overall record of 8-4 with a 4-4 record in the SEC. They will finish fourth in the SEC East. They will defeat Ole Miss, Kentucky, UGA, and Vandy. They will lose to Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, and South Carolina.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Edit: SEC Tailgate Preseason Top 5

SEC Tailgate Preseason Top 5:

1. USC(3) 3,400
2. LSU(1) 3,400
3. Texas 1,800
3. West Virginia 1,800
5. Wisconsin 600

SEC Tailgate Poll Details

Other Polls:

AP Top 5:
1. USC (62) 0-0 1,622
2. LSU (2) 0-0 1,511
3. West Virginia (1) 0-0 1,396
4. Texas 0-0 1,375
5. Michigan 0-0 1,371

USA Today Top 5
1. USC (45) 0-0 1,481
2. LSU (4) 0-0 1,372
3. Florida (9) 0-0 1,278
4. Texas 0-0 1,231
5. Michigan (2) 0-0 1,218

Another Edit: Arrest Update

From Al.com:
"Auburn senior offensive tackle King Dunlap was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant Monday. An Auburn court clerk said the warrant was issued Aug. 22 after Dunlap neglected to pay a speeding ticket."

From CNNSI:
"Arkansas defensive end Marcus Harrison is suspended indefinitely after being arrested late Friday night on a felony drug charge and several misdemeanors."

From CNNSI:
"An LSU football player was arrested Thursday, accused of trying to break into a condo near campus following an argument with the person who lives there, police said."

From ESPN:
"South Carolina safety Emmanuel Cook was arrested on a gun charge and suspended from the university on Friday, making him ineligible to play for the Gamecocks. "

Current Count:

1. FL/UGA: 5 arrests
3. Alabama: 4 arrests
4. LSU: 1 arrest
4. South Carolina: 1 arrest
4. Arkansas: 1 arrest

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Exclusive: Ernest Faulkner Previews SEC West


SEC Overview

By Ernest Faulkner

In an effort to combat sports media lunacy, here is a brief overview of how I think the SEC will finish prior to the championship game and why.

1. LSU 10-2 (7-1 SEC)
The Tigers bring new offensive coordinator Gary Crowton after predecessor Jimbo Fisher guided LSU to a national title, two SEC titles and three Sugar Bowls. Early season stumbles in the new system may cause problems for the Bayou Bengals, especially with the emotionally opener against Virginia Tech. However, LSU has enough talent with quarterback Matt Flynn, wide receiver Early Doucet, defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey among others so that even a crazed, delusional ape could guide this group to a title. Thankfully, the Tigers already have one on the sidelines in a fitted cap and New Kids on the Block headset.

2. Auburn 10-2 (6-2 SEC)
This team will be picked low again because it replaces an offensive line that was among one of the worst in the SEC last season. Mark my words, this will be one of the best teams in the conference and will even challenge for the title. Brandon Cox must stay healthy though because there is no depth at quarterback, a problem evidenced in the Georgia game last season. Fresh talent in the backfield and receiver group will surprise many pundits, but road games at LSU, Florida, Arkansas and Georgia will provide the ultimate gauntlet. It is tough to believe the Tigers can go through that stretch undefeated.

3. Alabama 8-4 (5-3 SEC)
Few coaches have brought as much hype to a program as Nick Saban has to Alabama. The Tide will experience success soon, but make no mistake, this isn’t LSU. With an offense that is talented, Alabama must go from bland to spread under new offensive coordinator Major Applewhite and there will be some bumps in the road. The lack of an experienced defense will also cause some worry this season. For every big win and conference upset, there may lurk a UAB-type defeat like The Nick had before going to the Peach Bowl with the Tigers in 2000. Back-to-back home games with Tennessee and LSU, plus road games with an improving Vanderbilt, Auburn and a neutral game with Florida State and former Saban assistant Jimbo Fisher will provide plenty of challenges.

4. Arkansas 7-5 (3-5 SEC)
Turmoil can wreck a football team, whether it is a Terrell Owens-type player or off-season drama. After 2007, consider the Razorbacks derailed. With the Springdale Debacle, the departure of Frank Broyles and the cyberstalking of head coach Houston Nutt by a tech-savvy fan, there will be too much distraction for Arkansas to make a strong charge back to Atlanta. Darren McFadden will continue to amass yards on the ground and may win the Heisman, but the SEC will be back on to Nutt’s offensive philosophy of RUN and defenses will act accordingly.

5. Ole Miss 4-7 (2-6 SEC)
Coach O. can recruit them, but the question is can he win with them. Supposed QB savior Brent Schaeffer will now catch passes instead of throwing them and the only offensive bright spot is running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The mighty linebackers of last season, headed by Patrick Willis, are gone and expect the defense to give up yardage like a mortgage company dumping employees this fall.

6. Miss. State 2-10 (0-8 SEC)
Sylvester Croom is no slouch as a coach, but I don’t think God, Goldie Hawn, Burt Reynolds or Rick Moranis could lead this team to the promise land in the SEC’s 75th season. Michael Henig will have to stay healthy in the Bulldogs have a shot and anything, but expect them to be coach shopping come December.

Ernest Faulkner is a professional writer who is known as being the first sports writer to be an "auteur." Mr. Faulkner operates in secrecy among the shadows of the journalism business hoping to avoid their lunacy. During his time in "the biz" he has worked for some of the top publications in the world. You can contact him at ernest@sectailgate.org.

SEC Preview, Part 6: Can the 4 million dollar man take Alabama to Atlanta in '07?


Overview: The hiring of Nick Saban has been the talk of the college football world. If Alabama were given a win for each hour of media coverage they have gotten over the past few months, they could be crowned national champs without ever having to play a game. Fortunately for the rest of the SEC, the Tide actually must win their way to Atlanta.

The last three recruiting classes were ranked 10, 11, and 18 for an average ranking of 13. If this were an ACC team they would probably be in the championship game every other season. However, in a deep conference such as the SEC, Alabama has struggled mightily the past two seasons.

Offense: The offense will be the strength of this football team. The Tide returns an experienced QB in Sarah Jessica Parker Wilson and a talent crop of receivers who can run after the catch. Alabama should not have a problem replacing Darby at running back after he struggled through his senior season. The offensive line should have no problem giving Sarah Jessica Park Wilson time to throw the ball.

Defense: This is a huge question mark going into the season. Alabama fans have to feel uneasy as their defense has always been their trademark. New defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has switched the defensive over to a 3-4 look in the hope of getting more pressure on opposing QBs. The secondary will be the best unit on the defensive side of the ball and must be able to play man coverage if the Tide expects to have an improved pass rush.

In case you are wondering, “Money” is back for his senior season at kicker, but he may have a tough time holding off Mr. Tiffin for the starting job.

Conclusion: All of the hype and off season talk of a division championship will quickly turn to “they should be better next season” and “this is a rebuilding year.” Nick Saban is a good football coach but he just can’t be expected to turn the program around in just a few months.

Lamar’s Pick: Alabama will finish 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the SEC putting them at third place in the SEC West. SEC wins will come at the expensive of Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Ole miss, and Mississippi State. They will lose to Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn. They will also lose an out of conference match up against FSU.
You may also find it interesting that Katrina Aid is going toward football condos in T-Town.

Eastern Motors Training Camp Day 1

7 days until LSU beats Miss. State.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Exclusive: Faulkner Looking for R-E-S-P-E-C-T


I caught up with Ernest Faulkner while he was in the process of remodeling his home. He was kind enough to sit down with us in his personal office and answer a few questions about the upcoming football season. When I caught up with him he was sitting in a hot tub full of hotties out on his deck. Apparently they were there to audition for a screen play he had just finished about a group of guys who go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party.
One of the friend's gets killed in a bathroom at a place called the Peppermint Elephant. Then an older gentlemen named Rob, falls in love with a stripper, then goes on a killing spree until he finds the kingpin who was responsible for the murder. The film is full of gambling, strippers, expensive dinners, and booze. The film even includes a nude shower scene. Only in Las Vegas!

Faulkner certainly didn’t appear to be happy about his phone that never seemed to stop ringing. He seemed annoyed because a woman continued to call him on the phone repeatedly. When I asked who it was he told me that telemarketers were really bad in his area. In fact, when they can’t get you on the cell phone they call the land line and keep calling until someone picks up. They can blitz your phone for as long as three hours. I’m glad I don’t live in the Key West area.

As I entered his home office, I saw many signs of his successful writing career. Directly behind his desk, right next to Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is a framed shirt that says “Laid in Vegas.” I asked him if the two were connected and he refused to answer. He simply told me the square footage of Las Vegas bathrooms are much longer and deeper than normal bathrooms. Ernest told me he could prove it but I decided to take his word for it.

SEC Tailgate: What do you have to say about critics who say you don’t win enough?
Faulkner: They are formidable opponents, we have a tough league. I think Chris is a very good player. The only thing about him is that he can’t remember to make his picks. He probably would have several more championships if he could ever remember to get it done every week.

SEC Tailgate: Should you have more championships due to the fact you are a professional sports writer?
Faulkner: For the love of God I cover local sports! If I could sit around and look at college football on Internet all the time I would probably have several more championships. I know that goes on over at Z Insurance Company. It is just not a luxury I have.

SEC Tailgate: Have you ever thrown a golf club?
Faulkner: Yes, in Auburn about three or four years ago. I was hitting an approach from 100 yards and it didn’t go well. My golf spikes were hurting my feet and I couldn't take it any longer.


SEC Tailgate: How do you prepare for pick'em- is there a stapler you touch each day before making your picks?:
Faulkner: I check point spreads and injuries. I mostly make decisions based on my gut feeling.

SEC Tailgate: Who do you like to win the SEC?
Faulkner: Eastern champ will be Tennessee and the Western champ will be LSU. I look for LSU to win the whole thing.

SEC Tailgate: What about the Heisman Trophy?
Faulkner: McFadden has a chance, but it depends on how well Arkansas does this season.

SEC Tailgate: Who wins UGA/Alabama game?
Faulkner: Too bad ties aren’t possible. I’m personally hoping for an earthquake or tornado. But if there is not a natural disaster I think Alabama will win because their pitiful defense is better than UGA’s pitiful offense.

SEC Tailgate: Will UGA finally beat FL?
Faulker: No.

SEC Tailgate: Best game attended?
Faulkner: 1983 AU Vs. FSU

SEC Tailgate: Worst game ever attended?
Faulkner: 2003 AU Vs. UGA or 2001 AU Vs. AL
photo: acclaimimages.com

New Eastern Motors

SEC Tailgate is doing something special for our loyal readers. For the next 8 days you can come here and see a new Eastern Motors commerical. Trust me, they keep getting better!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Arrest Update: Alabama has fourth arrest of summer


ANOTHER UPDATE:
Saban quiet on Castille's consequences for recent arrest...Is the fourth arrest in the same bar district this summer.

UPDATE: A few months ago Nick Saban took a shot at Mark Richt regarding player discipline. Now he looks like an idiot after he has another player arrested. Click here for the whole story.

Alabama continued to gain ground on both Florida and Georgia as they had another played arrested just this weekend. As of summer 2007, FL and UGA remain tied at five arrests while Alabama moves up to four.

From ESPN.com

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama star cornerback Simeon Castille was arrested early Sunday on a disorderly conduct charge.


Tuscaloosa police spokesman Capt. Greg Kosloff said Castille was arrested in an entertainment district near campus. He was taken to the Tuscaloosa County Jail and released after posting bond. Police declined to release details of the incident.

Through team spokesman Jeff Purinton, coach Nick Saban said he didn't have all the facts of the case on Sunday and would deal with the situation "internally."

SEC Preview, Part 5: Arkansas- WE SUCK AGAIN!!


ARKANSAS
Overview: Arkansas had a huge season last year by winning the SEC West and earning a spot in the Capital One Bowl. The Hogs return the best running back in college football with Darren McFadden.

Arkansas has done a decent job recruiting the past few years but you must remember that nearly all of the big players from the 2006 class have left for other schools. Rivals.com ranks the last three classes at 31, 26, and 24 for an average ranking of 27.

The biggest problems for Arkansas have occurred off the field. The Hogs have lost several big time football players because they were not happy, the athletic director was forced to retire, the offensive coordinator left for Tulsa, and head coach Nutt continues to be under pressure despite having had a great 2006 season.

Offense: Darren McFadden is the best running back in the SEC since Bo Jackson. He can score from any place on the field and can even get under center and take snaps as a QB. Arkansas has a chance to win any game they play in because of this special player.

The QB position is ugly after losing their 5-star QB of the future to USC. The group of players remaining are inconsistent and incapable of running a college offense. Marcus Monk is one of the better receivers in the SEC who should provide a big target to any QB that can throw the ball down the field which has been a huge problem in the past. The offensive line should be pretty decent despite losing three starters.

Defense: Arkansas lost several players to the NFL that are simply irreplaceable. The defense as a whole should be decent, but a lack of depth could catch up to them.

Conclusion: Too much controversy in the off season will cause the wheels to come off in 2007. Even if the team was able to overlook all the problems around them a lack of passing game and lack of depth on defense will stop Arkansas from achieving what they did last year.

Lamar’s pick: Arkansas will finish 7-5 overall with an SEC record of 3-5. The Hogs will finish fourth in the SEC West.
Photo: viewimages.com

Who is the best in the SEC?

A study done by Phillip Marshall concluded the following:

"Twenty prominent columnist and beat writers, spanning every SEC state, responded to my request to complete a questionnaire on the best of the SEC. They were asked to rank the head coaches 1-12, offensive and defensive coordinators 1-3, to pick the assistant most likely to next become a head coach, the top Heisman Trophy candidate and the player most important to his team's success."

THE HEAD COACHES
12 points were awarded for a first-place vote, 11 for second, etc. First-place votes are in parenthesis.
1. Steve Spurrier (19), South Carolina, 229
2. Urban Meyer (6), Florida, 205
3. Tommy Tuberville (2), Auburn, 187
3. Nick Saban, Alabama, 187
5. Mark Richt, Georgia, 166
6. Phillip Fulmer (2), Tennessee, 161
7. Les Miles, LSU, 115
8. Houston Nutt, Arkansas, 102
9. Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt, 71
10. Rich Brooks, Kentucky, 70
11. Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State, 44
12. Ed Orgeron, Ole Miss, 21

OFFENSIVE COORDINATORS
Three points were awarded for a first-place vote, two for second, one for third. First-place votes are in parenthesis.
1. Steve Spurrier (11), South Carolina, 33
2. Al Borges (4), Auburn, 31
3. David Cutcliffe (2), Tennessee, 28

DEFENSIVE COORDINATORS
1. Bo Pellini (4), LSU, 34
2. Will Muschamp (5), Auburn, 33
3. Charlie Strong/Greg Mattison (7), Florida, 26

ASSISTANT MOST LIKELY TO NEXT BE A HEAD COACH
1. Will Muschamp, Auburn, 8
2. David Cutcliffe, Tennessee, 3
3. Gary Crowton, LSU, 2
3. Tyrone Nix, South Carolina, 2

How AU trains the eagle

SEC Preview, Part 4: Kentucky trying to keep their head above water


KENTUCKY

Overview: Kentucky surprised the football world last season when they won 8 games, including victories over Georgia and Clemson. However, despite what the major media may believe, UK is going to have a very difficult time getting back to a bowl game this season.

The last three recruiting classes were ranked by rivals.com at 54, 36, and 67. Thus, their three year average ranking in recruiting is 52. When you combine poor coaching with poor recruiting it is not difficult to conclude that this team overachieved last year.

Offense: Kentucky is led by big time QB Andre Woodson. He is an excellent NFL prospect standing 6-5 and weighting 230-pounds. His numbers were very impressive in 2006 as he passed for a whopping 3,515 yards, 31 touchdown passes and threw only seven picks. Equally impressive he was able to complete 63% of his passes.

Woodson has a fairly impressive group of receivers, including some big targets. This group of receivers is arguably the deepest in the conference, although I don’t believe they are. Also, there is good SEC talent at the running back position if Rafael Little can stay healthy.

The biggest weakness on the offensive side of the ball is the offensive line. Look for Woodson to be sacked early and often. The weak line will also lessen the chances of a decent running game. However, if a few JUCO transfers can come in and play the O-line could turn out to be pretty decent.

Defense: Kentucky will be armed with the worst defense in the SEC. Their defensive line can be compared to the Iraqi Army trying to stop U.S. Forces from entering Baghdad. It’s just not going to happen. While Rich Brooks brought in a new defensive coordinator it is unlikely to make any difference. They are so small upfront the defense can be run over by virtually any offense in the SEC. “That’s all I have to say about that.”

Conclusion: Despite having a great QB and great group of receivers, this team will struggle because they will lose the battle in the trenches. The only chance this team has of a decent season is if the offensive line can hold long enough for Woodson to get the ball off. However, defense wins championships and this defense is so poor they will not make a bowl game.

Lamar’s pick: Kentucky will have a record of 4-8 and will finish last in the SEC East.

Photo: sportsevents.net

Monday, August 20, 2007

Drunk Bama Fan Kissing Coach Saban

10 days until LSU beats Miss. State!

SEC Preview, Part 3: Vandy looking to avoid the Swirl of SEC crapper


Vanderblit

Overview: Vanderbilt is not the same sorry team that has been pushed around by everyone in the SEC week in and week out for the last twenty years. Coach Bobby Johnson has got this team moving in the right direction and this year could prove to be special for them.

The last three recruiting classes were ranked by Rivals.com at 67, 60, and 87. However, coach Johnson has proven that he has a good eye for talent as the Vanderbilt team continues to improve each season. If everything falls into place this season the Dores’ will be bowling for the first time since 1982.

Offense: This ain’t your daddy’s Vanderbilt offense. In his first year as a starter, QB Chris Nickson passed for over 2,000 yards and led the team in rushing. Wide receiver Earl Bennett is the best pass catcher in the SEC and should have another big season.

Even better for Vandy, the strength of the offense will the offensive line where all five starters return from last season. With such a solid line they should be able to open up holes for the running game in addition to providing solid protection for QB Nickson.

Offensive coordinator Ted Cain is one of the best in the business and should lead one of the most productive offenses in the SEC.

Defense: The Vandy defense has always had problems stopping opposing teams in the fourth quarter and this year will be no different. The defense will show signs of improvement but will still be one of the worst in the conference. Defense does win championships which is the reason why the Dores’ will be fighting for six wins and a bowl game instead of bigger things.

Conclusion: This team has been an underachiever for years. They have always found a way to lose the big games until recently when they defeated Tennessee and Georgia. If they can build on those two games they will be able to go bowling by outscoring other teams.

Lamar’s pick: I’m going out an a ledge and predict that Vandy will go 6-6 putting them in a bowl game for the first time since 1982, thus pulling them out of the SEC crapper. They will finish second to last in the SEC East.
Photo: vandymania.com

Sunday, August 19, 2007

SEC Preview, Part 2: The SEC Crapper- Ole Miss


Ole Miss

Overview: Coach O is on the hot seat this year and is in great need of a bowl game. It wouldn’t be impossible to enter post season play with their favorable schedule.

Unlike their cross-state rivals Ole Miss has not had a problem convincing talent to play in Oxford. Rivals rated their last three classes at 27, 16, and 30. However, the Rebels need to come up with a more consistent offense and a defense that can stop the run if they are going bowling this season.

Offense: Last season all the talk was about 5-star QB Brent Schaeffer, but after struggling behind center he will be moving to wide receiver. The bad news is that there is still no one to play QB, which is a must after Schaeffer only completed 47% of his passes a year ago. The good news on offense is that the Rebels have a few decent running backs that should be running behind a good offensive line.

Defense: Holy crap, what in the hell are we going to do? This is probably what the Ole Miss coaching staff has been saying to themselves the past couple of weeks. The defense was supposed to step up this season but with zero starting linebackers back and a weak secondary, the Rebs may be running for cover on defense. The only positive news is that the defensive line may not get blown off the ball as much as last season.

Conclusion: If the Rebs can pull an upset over Vanderbilt or Missouri they could make a bowl game. But with so many questions on defensive and a total joke at QB, this team will probably take down the goal posts when they beat Miss. State at the end of the season.

Lamar’s pick: Final record will be 5-7 and they will finish second to last in the SEC West.


Photo: Gallerysouth.com

George W. Bush saying War Eagle!!

All Georgia fans support your QB


If I were a UGA fan I would have to own this shirt! There is no better way to show support for your QB than to own a shirt with him lifting a keg over his head. This is sure to be a hit at all tailgate parties in Athens this fall.

SEC Preview, Part 1: The SEC Crapper- Miss. State


Each season there are always a few teams in the SEC who have no chance at a winning season. This SEC preview begins with the teams who will be excited to appear on JP Sports at 11:30 CT. As a result, these teams will receive the least coverage because they are a huge waste of time.

Mississippi State:

Overview: The Bulldogs will once again be the worst team in the SEC. Another three or four win season should be enough to put this cellar dweller in the market for a new head coach come November.

One of the biggest problems facing MSU is the fact no one wants to play there. It really doesn’t matter who is holding the clip board if each recruiting class looks more like an ACC team. The last three recruiting classes have been ranked 39th, 44th, and 33rd nationally.

Offense: There is no doubt Miss. State will once again have the worst offense in the SEC. For starters, they cannot seem to find a solid QB. If Michael Henig can stay healthy there might be a chance they may find the end zone a few more times than last season but not enough to show significant improvement.

Defense: Only 1 starter returns to a defensive line that often got pushed around late in games. The good news is All-American JUCO transfer Jessie Bowman will come in and make a difference right away. Look for announcers to call his name early and often. The good news on defense is there should be decent depth at linebacker. The Bulldogs need this group to step up if they are going to get out of the SEC crapper.

Conclusion: It will be impossible for coach Croom to win more than three or four games this season. The SEC may lose some respect points when the Dogs travel to West Virginia on Oct. 20th. The very best case scenario would be a five win season, but would require wins over Kentucky and Ole Miss.

Lamar’s Pick: 3-9 record and a last place finish in the SEC West.
Photo: MSNBC.com

Saturday, August 18, 2007

SEC Tailgate is hard at work


The next two weeks are going to be huge and I just wanted to let you all know what we are doing and where we are going. Starting next week I will be rolling out the SEC preview. Each team will get analysis and a predicted finish. It has taken me this long to think the whole conference through and I’m still not 100% settled on an SEC East champ. There have been rumors about an SEC preview by EF, but there has been no final word.

In addition, I will include the predictions of the “professional college football writers” to see if I’m smarter than they are. Finally, keep an eye out for our final interviews with former champions. I don’t want to ruin anything, but EF has the hunger of a real killer this season. He is mad as hell and isn’t going to take losing any longer.

2007 SEC West College Football Preview

Sunday, August 12, 2007

College Pick'em Champions

2008: Lamar Echols (1st place out of 21)
2007: Chris Zorn (1st place out of 21)
2006: Jeremy Buchanan (1st place out of 11)
2005: Lamar Echols (1st place out of 14)
2004: Jeremy Buchanan (1st place out of 7)
2003: Chris Zorn (1st place out of 10)
2002: Lamar Echols (1st place out of 13)
2001: William Faulkner (1st plact out of 3)

Friday, August 10, 2007

John Daly Updates in Comments


Due to John Daly's great first round, we have decided to make a day out of round two. Me and some buddies are tailgating here in New York watching the second round.
To show our support for John Daly, SEC Tailgate will bring you live updates throughout the day.
Click on comments for updates on John Daly's second round!
Photo: John Daly.com

SNL - United Way

Thursday, August 9, 2007

John Daly has lead at PGA Championship: Updated

Update: We just learned that John Daly was the first day leader without even playing a practice round before starting the tournament. Check the comments on this post for further updates.
Today SEC alum John Daly went to the clubhouse with the lead in the last major of the year. This may be a big surprise to the lazy folks in the golf community who dismiss Big John as a redneck who can't play golf. However, us here at SEC Tailgate stand firmly behind our golfing hero!!!




"John Daly's in pretty good shape at sweltering Southern Hills. While sucking on cigs and pounding diet sodas, the two-time major winner turned in a 3-under 67 to take the clubhouse lead at the PGA Championship"


Photo: Memphis Flyer.com

Exclusive: Rob may enter 2007 SEC Tailgate pick'em league!

Rumors are running rapidly across the internet that Robert Madray may enter the 2007 college pick’em league sponsored by SEC Tailgate. Nothing could be confirmed immediately, but a source considered close to the situation said that “he [Robert Madray] is in the process of testing the waters.” The source went on to say “this is a real grassroots movement, there are many excited about the possibility. But who knows if it will become a reality.”

In addition, a former employee of Mr. Madray did disclose to SEC Tailgate that Rob had begun preparations to enter the league. In fact, the former employee said to look out for a “major announcement from Blythe Island in the next few weeks. On the other hand, there are many reasons to doubt he will enter the 2007 pick’em league.

For starters, his ability to use the internet may be a major obstacle. Many believe his internet skills to be “virtually nonexistent.” Also, ESPN requires each player to submit picks weekly and many league members doubt Rob’s prolonged commitment to such a vigorous activity. Only time will tell if “Mad Dog Madray” will enter the race to be number one, keeping his fans on the edge of their seat.

I am McLOVIN

8 days until Super Bad hits your town!

Important Alabama Fan Interview

22 days until LSU takes on Miss. State

Monday, August 6, 2007

2007 SEC East Football Preview

Exclusive: Jeremy looking to make history with third championship


Looking down from the 37th floor, Jeremy Buchanan sits back in his executive leather chair and gazes out of his office window. He knows that Zorn Insurance holds accounts with every building he can see. Even the very small buildings between the sky scrapers, these are the accounts that mean the most to Jeremy.
It is Friday afternoon and he cannot decide if he should start a pot of coffee and do some more research for the upcoming college pick’em season or if he should call it a day and head to the golf course.

On the other side of the door a secretary works frantically to finish up paper work that Mr. Buchanan demanded be completed before the weekend. The secretary told SEC Tailgate that “every day is like def com 3 around here with Jeremy, some days he will work 12 or 15 hours. Sometimes he sleeps here too!” She will soon learn this is just another day at the Zorn Insurance Dublin Division.

Insurance is not the only thing Dublin Dawg works hard at, he is one of the best pick’em players in league history. He is only the second person in the history of the league to win two championships. This year he will be looking to make it a third. (Note: Carten is lazy, I wonder if we will read this.)

Mr. Buchanan is an avid football fan and even has season tickets to Georgia football games. Jeremy has been attending the games regularly ever since he lived in the dorms where he showered with other men on a regular basis. While we forgot to ask him what type of flip flop he preferred to wear in the UGA dorm showers, we did ask him about the upcoming football season.


SEC Tailgate: Why have you been more successful at pick’em than Chirs?
Dublin Dawg: He has been occupied with woman troubles and has not been able to think properly. But I’ve got to watch out this season.

SEC Tailgate: Have you ever thrown a golf club on a golf course out of anger?
Dublin Dawg: Only at Chris. If you look closely, you can see an imprint of my 8-iron on his left hip. Some confuse it with the "mark of the beast", but I know better.

SEC Tailgate: Where is the best place to meet women in Dublin?
Dublin Dawg: Definitely the Department of Labor. They may have some extra mouths to feed, but that unemployment check is guaranteed money in the bank!

SEC Tailgate: How do you prepare for pick'em- is there a stapler you touch each day before making your picks?
Dublin Dawg: Pick'em is a milestone each year that requires several weeks of pigskin concentration, personal reflection, and most importantly, fasting. The fasting ends on opening day with a case of Bud Light and a bag of Lime Tostitos.

SEC Tailgate: Who do you like to win the SEC?
Dublin Dawg: I like Tennessee in the East and LSU in the West.

SEC Tailgate: Who do you like to win the national championship?
Dublin Dawg: LSU. I'd like to see the SEC take it 2 years in a row


SEC Tailgate: What about the Heisman Trophy?
Dublin Dawg: I'm thinking David Booty because USC has somewhat of a streak for the past few years. Darren McFadden could be a strong candidate again this year, but I really think Arkansas' slightly better than average season last year was a fluke.


SEC Tailgate: How do you feel about Carten being a professional sports writer but not winning the league since 2001?
Dublin Dawg: Carten may not be the best pick'em player, but cut the guy some slack.


SEC Tailgate: Who wins UGA/Alabama game?
Dublin Dawg: This match up is way too early in the season. UGA will have to have their game face on in Tuscaloosa. Too early to call.

SEC Tailgate: Will UGA finally beat FL?
Dublin Dawg: I feel lucky.
SEC Tailgate: What is the best game you ever attended?
Dublin Dawg: UGA upsets UT in Knoxville with a minute left (2001.)
SEC Tailgate: What is the worst game you ever attended?
Dublin Dawg: UGA is almost upset by Mississippi State in Athens (2006.) Mississippi who???
Photo Credit: Zorn Insurance

Spurrier says he will leave S.C. if school doesn't change


Spurrier signed a contract extension, which included a raise of nearly a half-million dollars, that ties him to South Carolina through 2012. However, he said if things didn't change on admissions he will have to go somewhere else.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Exclusive: SEC Tailgate talks with 2003 pick'em champ Chris Zorn- Edited


Chris Zorn has been an SEC season ticket holder for several years now. In fact, his ticket status goes back to his days as a student at UGA. Georgia football runs deep in his blood as his mom used to cheer on Vince Dooley and Hershel Walker. Now he is ready for the 2007 season to get started.

Z-Money is the CEO of one of the most successful small businesses in Georgia. Chris transfers his business knowledge over to the football field where he is a top finisher in college pick’em each season. He took time out of his demanding schedule to speak with us. Mr. Zorn was not shy about his true feelings. For starters, this season he feels good about three teams: West Virginia, LSU, and USC.

SEC Tailgate: Are you excited about this upcoming season of college football?

Z-Money: I’ve been very upset with the way pick’em has gone lately. Unfortunately we have people winning these days who know nothing about college football. It is a joke. They get lucky because they don’t know anything about the sport. Have you ever heard the saying sometimes what you don’t know won’t hurt ya?

I can tell you one thing; the people who keep up with the sport are going to take the title back. But you know what’s funny; people who are sports writers can’t even win the league. My prediction 27 days before the season is that Chris Zorn or Lamar Echols will take home title because they are the only ones who know their ass for a hole in the ground. Buchanan has no idea what he’s doing. He doesn’t make informed decisions, one week he’ll pick Arkansas State to beat Alabama then the next week he’s picking Central Florida to beat Tennessee in Knoxville. He will not win again.

SEC Tailgate: Who do you like in the SEC this season?
Z-Money: I like Florida to win the east and LSU to win the west. The champion will be LSU.
SEC Tailgate: Who do you think will win the national championship?
Z Money: LSU will have chance as long as they don’t lose any games late in the season. If they stumble then USC will win because they don’t play an SEC schedule. But USC does have to play CAL, UCLA, and OR on the road so it will not be all that easy.

SEC Tailgate: Who will win the Heisman Trophy?
Z-Money: One of the West Virginia guys, either Slaton or White.

SEC Tailgate: How do you feel about Carten being a professional sports writer but not winning the league since 2001?
Z-Money: It is pathetic; his job is to know sports. If I worked 40 hours a week in sports I’d be a three time winner.

SEC Tailgate: Who wins UGA/Alabama game?
Z-Money: UGA by a touchdown in close game

SEC Tailgate: Will UGA finally beat FL?
Z-Money: Tough call, UGA will probably stumble again. They have let me down one too many times in Jacksonville.
SEC Tailgate: What is the best game you ever attended?
Z-Money: UGA Vs. Tennessee in 2000 or UGA Vs. Auburn in 2002.
SEC Tailgate: What is the worst game you ever attended?
Z-Money: UGA Vs. AU 2001
Photo Credit: Rebecca Brannon