Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thoughts of the SEC as Week 4 approaches

AUBURN'S HURTIN: It used to tickle me last year that Brandon Cox was regarded as a good quarterback and Kenny Irons was seen as just an okay running back in the wake of Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams' departures to the NFL. Now that Irons has went on to greener pastures in pros as well, Cox is being exposed as an overrated stickpin. And Tommy Tuberville is feeling all alone, as he looks around him and sees no blue-chippers. Ole Tubby is on a island. Has it escaped anyone's mind that Tubby has avoided the criticism that Lloyd Carr received from losing to App State in Week 1, even though Tubby should be 0-3 right now, instead of 1-2? Last week against Mississippi State, Tuberville finally realized that the problem is under center, not the defense, although it could be better. Without a superb O-line, Cox just is not mobile enough to hang in the pocket as Armageddon ensues around him. Tuberville may have hit the panic button too late though; backup quarterback Codie Burns may be more agile but cant' possible right the ship before it runs into at least three more icebergs (Alabama, Arkansas, LSU) along the way. Oh, not to mention this Saturday's game against pass-first New Mexico State. Oh, and believe the hype: Ole Tubby's job is on the line.

FLORIDA AINT GOING AWAY: To LSU fans, the "Florida problem" started as a nagging issue two weeks ago, morphed into a concern after week 2, then became an outright issue last week as they throttled Tennessee 59-20. That's right, Tennessee lost by 39 points. Tim Tebow is nothing short of Superman, and the Second Coming rolled up into one for Florida fans. And he figures to only gain confidence in his passing skills as time goes on. In Florida, we're witnessing something that comes along only about every 20 years: A bonafide superstar college athlete. Not even Reggie Bush, as hyped a collegiate as we've seen in the last decade, is fawned over like Tebow. LSU will have to play disciplined football to win it, regardless of the fact that it's in Death Valley.

'BAMA IS BACK: Ole St. Nick(or, um, Satan, as we call him in these parts) lives in Tuscaloosa and is bringing back memories of a certain houndstooth-crowned one. Nick Saban has quickly transformed the Alabama football into a powerhouse program. Last weekend's last-seconds come-from-behind victory at Arkansas was the coronation. SEC, forewarned: 'Bama's back. Key play in the game: Darren McFadden rides the bench as his team clings to a 5 point lead inside of 3 minutes left in the game. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt would go on to say that his star running back had a "mild concussion," but it's a major coaching error to leave him out of the ballgame when he had been so effective and could have easily been a huge decoy on a playaction (the safety definitely would have stepped up) without taking a hit, or a fake handoff-bootleg or something. Either way, this is Coaching 101.

IN ARKSANSAS, IT'S 2006: The Razorbacks are playing like they won't be intimidated by three straight losses to end last season and last week's last-seconds defeat to the Crimson Tide. Arkansas will continue to ride uber-star Darren McFadden, and you know? He will deliver.And powerful McFadden and fleet-footed Felix Jones are the best running back duo in the nation (since Ronnie Brown and 'Lac Williams at Auburn) and just need a little more solid quarterback play and imaginative playcalling by the coaches to run the table in the SEC. Can they beat LSU? If this game were played early in the second, possibly in weeks 2 or 3 I'd say yes, but with possible national title hopes on the line for LSU I don't see them losing focus that late in the season.

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