Category Archives: SEC Football

SEC Power Poll, Week 7

Let’s face reality here:  Alabama is putting together a season for the ages.  (Now that I’ve said that, the Tide will probably lose.)  The rest of the conference?  Pretty much a complete jumble.  Well, except the East basically sucks.

  1. Alabama.  Generally speaking, I’d hate to be a team the pundits claim can give Alabama a fight.
  2. Texas A&M.  Nice week to have a bye.
  3. LSU.  The Tigers have looked pretty good under Coach O.
  4. Ole Miss.  Bert is the Rebels’ Kryptonite.  Go figure.
  5. Auburn.  Another well placed bye week.
  6. Florida.  This week’s king of the dipshits.
  7. Tennessee.  I wonder how many times they played “Rocky Top” last Saturday.
  8. Arkansas.  They’ll always have Mississippi.
  9. Georgia.  Well, Kirby, you go to war with the identity you have, not the identity you might want.
  10. Mississippi State.  Twenty one points in a double overtime game?  Sylvester Croom nods appreciatively.
  11. Missouri.  Drew Locke’s passer rating against Florida?  18.20.  Ouch.
  12. Vanderbilt.  The ‘Dores get the “they may not be good, but they play hard” bounce.
  13. Kentucky.  Suddenly, that Georgia game looks doable.
  14. South Carolina.  Who schedules a bye week before playing Massachusetts?


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One little quirk about Vandy’s defense

Check out the passing game log.  The worst performance of the season by far came against Georgia Tech, despite the Jackets only completing eight passes.  Tech averaged better than thirteen yards per attempt, which means they did a good job of taking advantage of Vanderbilt defending the triple option by going downfield.

Maybe Georgia can do a little exploiting of its own today if the ‘Dores sell out against the run.


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At the risk of flogging the deceased equine one more time…

Scott Rabalais’ last look at the Florida-LSU scheduling debacle makes me want to flesh out a couple of points I made in the quick reaction I posted last night.

… There’s no reason that this Thursday’s solution could not have been reached last Thursday.

Last Thursday, Florida was painting everyone into a corner with a hard hit from Matthew looking like a grim possibility for Gainesville. This after, during talks among the schools and the SEC on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Florida was adamant that the game could be played there last Saturday.

No contingencies were apparently considered, like the ones offered by LSU to play Sunday or Monday in Gainesville, or to move the game to Tiger Stadium on either of those days or Saturday. Florida wanted no part of it — not because it wanted to duck LSU but out of sheer stubbornness, and the SEC didn’t twist a Gator arm.

There are two reasons this situation came to a head.  One, SEC rules allow a single athletic director to cancel a conference game, but requires the approval of both athletic directors to reschedule the meeting.  Two, Greg Sankey took a hands off approach in managing the problems created by Hurricane Matthew and left it up to the athletic directors to solve on their own.

Sankey’s passivity didn’t lead to a mess in Columbia, because Georgia and South Carolina were able to compromise and delay the game a day.  But once Foley held firm on no game being played in Gainesville or anywhere else that weekend, no matter how the weather situation developed, a conflict was inevitable because from that point on, it would take two to tango.

I have no idea what motivated Foley to take the position he did —  I agree that it wasn’t a matter of Florida not wanting to play the game at all — but it really shouldn’t have made a difference.  Foley put himself and the conference in a box and saw his hand eventually forced by the commissioner and the SEC requirement that any team playing in the conference championship game had to complete an eight-game schedule.

If I don’t understand Foley’s motivation, Sankey’s reluctance to get involved until he did was equally puzzling.  It turns out he held the hammer all along; had he played it a week ago, I suspect events would have played out quite differently and with much less rancor.

“We made this decision to play the game in Baton Rouge,” he said. “The conference office asked us to find a solution in working with LSU, yet LSU was never a true partner in our discussions. The Southeastern Conference offered some other solutions, and the LSU administration made it clear that they were unwilling to consider other reasonable options.”

Nice whine, Jeremy.  What’s left unsaid is that some of those other solutions not only required LSU’s cooperation, but other conference schools like Georgia and Texas A&M, as well.  What was in it for them to pitch in and save Foley from the consequences of his decision?

The end result sucks a little for both schools.

The pain, more of it than was required, does get spread around. Florida loses two home games: LSU and its scheduled game Nov. 19 against Presbyterian. LSU plays an 11-game schedule for the second straight season (last year’s home opener with McNeese State was wiped out by weather) by canceling its scheduled Nov. 19 game with South Alabama and has to travel to Florida in 2017 as a makeup for this year.

That, of course, is in addition to the money being paid to the cupcakes as a result of their games being cancelled.  “More of it than was required” is exactly right.

It’s certainly no way to run a railroad.  I expect the conference to try to come up with a new set of protocols to deal with potential bad weather situations in the future, but good luck with that.  How many athletic directors are willing to cede that kind of control to Greg Sankey?


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I came for the hurricane, but all I got was this lousy road game.

By now, you’ve heard the Florida-LSU impasse has been broken, with the schools agreeing to swap home games this season and next.  It seems like a sensible solution, but the road getting there was anything but, based on some of the quotes and observations I’ve seen tonight.

So, in the end, Foley and Alleva were engaged in an epic pissing match that Foley’s mismanagement created that ended when Sankey made a threat that could have been put out there for public consumption before last weekend, which might have gone a long way towards getting Foley’s head out of his ass proactively.  Well played, Commish.

And Foley backed down, not for the good of the conference, but because the SECCG threat carries more weight against Florida this season than LSU, given the relative strength of the two divisions.  How he didn’t see that coming in the first place escapes me.

It’s not like Alleva’s done himself a lot of favors, though, when you look at how LSU’s 2017 schedule now shapes up.

There’s actually a fifth road game, at Mississippi State, plus a neutral site game against BYU to add to the mix.  That’s some gauntlet.

By the way, do Gator season ticket holders get a refund?

The SEC really covered itself in glory on this one.


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Understatement of the day

Dan Wolken, on the SEC’s impasse over the unscheduled Florida-LSU game:

It’s quite apparent now that in circumstances where arms need to be twisted in the SEC, commissioner Greg Sankey does not command the same level of deference as Slive.

‘Ya think?

How likely is it he’ll reach that level before November 19th?


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“We fully expect him to play for us on Saturday.”

This may be something worth keeping an eye on for next Saturday.

Fortunately for Vanderbilt, its most consistent offensive weapon should suit up against Georgia this weekend.

Junior running back Ralph Webb is expected to play after suffering an apparent ankle injury a loss to Kentucky last weekend, Commodores coach Derek Mason said Wednesday during the SEC coaches teleconference.

Georgia fans can tell you something about nagging apparent ankle injuries, Vandy.  There’s a big difference between suiting up and being your old self.

To say that Webb is the linchpin of Vanderbilt’s offense may be an understatement.  So far this season, he’s generated 682 yards rushing and scored five touchdowns on the ground. Both put him among the top running backs in the conference.  The rest of the team combined has less than 200 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.


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Gaming out Greg Sankey’s very bad day

Bill C. has the statistical deets.

This scenario is pretty easy to lay out.

Florida wins out in conference play, beating Missouri and South Carolina at home, Arkansas on the road, and Georgia in Jacksonville.

Meanwhile, Tennessee loses one more time, either to Alabama, Kentucky, or Missouri at home or South Carolina or Vanderbilt on the road.

  • Florida’s win probability in these games, per S&P+: South Carolina 92%, Missouri 82%, vs. Georgia 77%, at Arkansas 63%.
  • Tennessee’s win probability in its remaining games: Kentucky 90%, at Vanderbilt 89%, at South Carolina 83%, Missouri 77%, Alabama 26%.

There are nine relevant games here, which produces 512 different combinations of wins and losses. Of these 512, five give us exactly four Florida wins and four Tennessee wins.

  • Florida wins out, Tennessee beats everybody but Bama: 13.9%
  • Florida wins out, Tennessee beats everybody but Missouri: 1.5%
  • Florida wins out, Tennessee beats everybody but South Carolina: 1.0%
  • Florida wins out, Tennessee beats everybody but Vanderbilt: 0.6%
  • Florida wins out, Tennessee beats everybody but Kentucky: 0.5%

ARMAGEDDON ODDS: 17.5%, approximately the current odds of Donald Trump winning the presidential election (speaking of Armageddon …).

Yeah, well, if you compare it to the odds that Georgia would barely squeak by Nicholls, 17.5% looks pretty stout.

Should Georgia lose the Cocktail Party, I’m gonna be enormously miffed if Bert screws this whole thing up.


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