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Posts Tagged ‘SEC Football’

Nick Fairley Gets His Belt

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Yes, the prophetic Nick Fairley donned his championship belt when Auburn beat Georgia some weeks ago, but now that the BCS Championship game has come and gone Fairley received a real championship belt for his hard, hard work he put in against the Oregon Ducks. I don’t think Darron Thomas will forget Fairley’s presence anytime soon.
Fairley get his belt >>

The Run Heisman Winners Are Made Out Of

Cam Newton

Now that the dust has settled and Denard Robinson’s early season magic has given way to defenses trying to contain him — successfully, I might add — there’s a new Heisman favorite taking the stage and his name is Cam Newton. To put it mildly, Newton is a runaway train that other SEC defenses, even ones that are supposed to be good, like LSU’s, have little chance of stopping.

The funny thing is, there’s no secret about where the ball’s going when Newton is under center. Sure, he’ll hand the ball off on occasion, as well as attempt a pass once and a while, but his strength is running the ball, and the team on defense knows that, too.

And yet, they still can’t stop him.

Hell, containment doesn’t even look like much of an option when Newton starts doing his thing. Just ask Les Miles and his vaunted defense that allowed Newton to run for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Clearly, when Auburn gets Newton’s highlight reel together for the Heisman voters to see, the following run will be first and center.

Even though there’s four games remaining on Auburn’s schedule — they are currently 8-0 and first in the BCS standings — Newton has already thrown for over 1300 yards (with 13 touchdowns), while rushing for a gaudy 1077 (with 14 touchdowns). When offense coaches discuss balance between the run and the pass, Newton embodies that wish.

Normally, however, the balance comes from the entire offense, not just one player.

All I know is, the Auburn/Alabama game on November 26 is going to be a freaking war.

I Could Watch This Over and Over Again

From the self-serving files comes this latest post, and what we have is Randall Cobb’s game-winning touchdown against the South Carolina Gamecocks. While Kentucky beating a top-10 team is probably newsworthy, as is Randall Cobb, Kentucky’s win probably doesn’t resonate on a national level like it does on a personal one for this writer.

Be that as it may, when your team finally beats a coach after losing 17-straight to them, something needs to be acknowledged, and in this case, it’s Randall Cobb and his oft-maligned quarterback, Michael Hartline. Take that, Spurrier!!! Don’t think we forget you abusing Kentucky in the Swamp all those years.

Oh, nice clock management, too.

For what it’s worth, Hartline enjoyed the moment as much as I did, if not more. A lot more, in fact.

Michael Hartline
Gif courtesy of KSR

Capturing Kentucky’s Effort In One Play

Gators Run Kentucky Over

After losing 24-straight games (now 25) to one team, getting one’s hopes up for a road win in said team’s house is probably asking a little much, but is asking a team to play like they aren’t scared? Apparently. Kentucky went down to Gainesville, after some hype of an upset special, and laid an absolute egg, losing 48-14. Kentucky’s “defense” (I’m hesitant to call it that after their performance against the Gators, perhaps tackling dummies is more appropriate) essentially played dead against a Florida team who had been struggling on the offensive end.

Well, six Trey Burton touchdowns later, and the Mildcats showed they still have a long way to go to compete with the Florida Gators of the world, no matter how much their offense struggles in the previous weeks. There was one play that summed up Kentucky’s efforts quite well, something I’m sure you’ve seen by now, but thanks to 30fps, we’ve got it in animated gif form:

After the jump >>

Alabama/Arkansas: Air Attack Versus Ground Assault

Ryan Mallett, Mark Ingram

Alabama and Arkansas get at it on Saturday in Fayetteville, and on one side, you have Bobby Petrino and his Ryan Mallett-led aerial attack, and on the other, you have Alabama, a team that might have the most explosive running back tandem, maybe ever. Of course, Alabama, with Greg McElroy and Julio Jones, can pass the ball just fine, and Nick Saban isn’t afraid to use it, either.

The Tide isn’t as prolific as Arkansas with the pass, but with Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram on the roster — who looks like he’s right back into Heisman form after missing two games because of knee surgery — heavy reliance on the pass by Alabama would be foolhardy.

Conversely, Arkansas uses the running game to set up their dangerous passing attack, and when you have the nation’s leader in passing yards — Mallett (who also has 9 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions and a QB rating of 186.5) — and three legitimate receiving threats in Greg Childs, Joe Adams, and D.J. Williams, it would be foolish not to throw the ball downfield. Clearly, the Petrino/Mallett marriage is a match made in heaven.

Here’s what we can expect out of both teams. First off, Arkansas:

As for Alabama:

The video starts at the 1:11 mark, but if you want an idea of their passing game, rewind it.

As for Saturday’s game, can either team take away what the other wants to do on offense? Can Bama stop Ryan Mallett from throwing the ball all over the field? Can Arkansas stop Bama’s two dynamic running backs and get their offense back on the field? That’ll be the real trick, because the Tide have questions in their secondary. As for Arkansas, they’ve done well against the rush so far this season, but then again, they haven’t been up against one as powerful as Alabama’s either.

Saturday will be a true test for the Razorbacks, obviously, but if they commit too much to stopping the run, McElroy and Jones will make them pay for it.

Other areas of interest are the fans. Both teams are pretty damn awesome supporters. Observe:

Got to get them started early.

And then there’s the “Ryan Mallett for Heisman” ditty we featured earlier this week, made, of course, by Arkansas fans:

Pure, unadulterated fan brilliance.

With that in mind, who wins? Arkansas gets a nod for being at home, but then again, Alabama is road-tested, battle-tested and test-tested (just to cover all “tested” bases), so it’s hard to see them wilting in the face of a loud opposing crowd. My pick:

Alabama 27
Arkansas 24

Guesses such as final scores are subject to change at any moment and without notification.

As A Heisman Candidate, Ryan Mallett is Untouchable

Ryan Mallett

One of the many college football traditions is for schools to promote certain players for the Heisman Trophy. Whether it’s a Joey Heisman ad in New York City, or a DVD of highlights sent to the Heisman committee, there are various ways to pump a potential candidate up. Thanks the Internet/YouTube/Twitter era of society, fans are getting in on the action with some creative ideas.

Once such fan campaign is brewing for Ryan Mallett, quarterback for the Arkansas Razorbacks, and boy, it doesn’t disappoint — as long as you like MC Hammer:

My snarky side wants to make lots of fun of this video, but then again, there’s another side that actually appreciates the effort. Whatever the case, one thing’s for sure, when it comes to fan love, you can’t touch Ryan Mallett.

Not sure which was worse: my weak pun or the video. I’m going with the pun. At least the video makes creative use of a horrible MC Hammer song.

Of course, if the Razorbacks beat Alabama this upcoming Saturday, “Mallett for Heisman” won’t be just an Arkansas fan’s dream anymore.

Video H/t courtesy of KSR.

Mark Ingram To Play Against Duke

Mark Ingram

When the Alabama Crimson Tide travel to play the Duke Blue Devils this weekend, it will be with a full team. Word is, last season’s Heisman trophy winner, Mark Ingram, will take the field for the first time this season, after recovering from recent knee surgery. Yes, that’s right: Alabama’s workhorse running back had knee surgery a couple of weeks ago and is still going to play. This season.

Balls, son. Balls.

Nick Saban addressed the return of his stud running back at his weekly press conference and he sounds quite confident Ingram will be ready to roll:

The important quote follows:

“Mark is doing extremely well, hadn’t had any issues or problems has done quite a bit in practice”

While Duke’s chances probably weren’t that good before the news of Ingram’s return broke, I’d say they’re even worse now. But hey, does Saban get credit for going on the road to play a team that has been historically terrible, but under David Cutcliffe’s tutelage, has improved over the last few seasons? Or is this a case of Alabama scheduling out-of-conference cream puffs? It should be noted that in the first two games of the season, the Blue Devils have put 89 combined points on the board.

Granted, they haven’t played a defense as talented as Alabama’s, but you never know. Maybe Sean Renfree has the game of his lifetime and puts a ton of pressure on the Crimson Tide to score. Unfortunately for Renfree, Bama defensive end Marcell Dareus is also returning to the field after serving a two-game suspension. Ingram or no, the fact that Dareus will be on the field can’t be good news for the Blue Devils.

Nick Saban Blocks NFL Scouts

Nick Saban

After going off on what he perceives as modern-day pimps at the SEC Media Day, Nick Saban is taking some steps to protect his players from exposure to that side of the football world. The Alabama Crimson Tide coach has blocked NFL scouts from attending Alabama’s practices in a move many see as payback the NFL’s apparent lack of action against what Saban perceives as unscrupulous player agents.

Saban isn’t the only SEC coach to block NFL scouts either. Urban Meyer is following Alabama’s lead, although, there’s some ambiguity involved.

While these reactions are understandable, if not a little misguided — “amateur” players who cross the agent line know their actions can cause a lot of trouble for their teams — it’s reminiscent of Col. Strelnikov’s quote in Red Dawn:

If a fox stole your chickens… Would you slaughter your pig because he saw the fox? No. You would hunt the fox.”

Apparently, identifying agents and their runners is a little harder than recognizing, and denying entrance to, official NFL scouts.