A Harem of the Gridiron Goddess Post: ByronVolFan on SEC Preview 2008

July 7, 2008

Gridiron Goddess is happy to welcome back ByronVolFan, our resident Tennessee Volunteer Alum and official SEC previewer!

Your SEC Preview

by ByronVolFan

Hello, once again, from the banks of the Mississippi River and the Bluff City. It is getting to that time of year when the sandstorms of the sports year have us crawling through the wasteland of the summer in search of the Promised Land…there it is…COLLEGE FOOTBALL!!! It’s juuuuust around that next dune, my friend. We will soon make it there…fear not.

This heat has begun to suck from my memory the idea that a cold fall morning calls for getting the grill ready for the BBQ and a strong and spicy bloody mary. I have forgotten how, no matter how crazy the night before may have been, all God-fearing sports fans are up in time for ESPN’s College GameDay. There are very few excuses for missing this and the only REAL excuse you have is that you are en route to an actual SEC game. [This year, I learned, that your roommate will chastise you if you miss GameDay because your fiancé wants to talk on the phone. There is no purgatory big enough for such crimes. We may miss church tomorrowbut Herbie and Corso demand our reverence…even if they malign our beloved alma mater. And, they probably will even as we slam down our red Dixie cups, sloshing our Bloody Marys on the table, and call them every 4-lettered word we have ever heard. In fact, we probably make some up just to let those Yankees know we mean business.

Your Gridiron Goddess says: A commitment to GameDay is no small feat on the West Coast. It starts at 7am out here. And yet, it is my 2nd favorite time of the week. College Football Saturday is my Holy Day.]

Your humble Southern correspondent also learned some other valuable truths this year. Do NOT assume that your team will not make the conference championship unless it is mathematically impossible to do so. I made the mistake of planning the proposal of marriage on the day of the SEC Championship. When I bought the ring and set up all the necessary surprises, I would not have bet that UT would have made the game. However, we did but to watch that game at a surprise party in honor of your new fiancé…was disheartening, at best, for this Volunteer. Thankfully, my soon-to-be bride loves football as much as I, was equally as disheartened, and was distracted by the wedding magazines her friends had brought her. So, up yours, Football gods!!! You tried to ruin my impending marriage by letting her see me lose my mind over Ainge’s “play”, however, I outsmarted you with those wedding magazines…the first, last, and only time those things have ever HELPED a guy in need!!

On to football news…last year, I humbly submit to you, that I I was pretty dead-on. Got the championship game right and was fairly close on most teams, with some notable exceptions. So, gloating aside (as this is a new year and ample opportunity to get my butt handed to me) here’s the “down and dirty” breakdown of the SEC in the 2008 season.

SEC East

Florida (9-3, 5-3). Tebow is the man. I know that I’m supposed to hate him as the Florida QB, but I can’t. However, I’ve heard the same song and dance out of UF about RB’s and D. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see the improvement to win the title here and the rest of the conference is figuring Florida out. Good year, close games…but no Atlanta.

Georgia (11-1, 7-1). The hottest team in football last year–well in the 2nd half of the year at least. Moreno will be in New York at the end of the year and Stafford will prove much better. The Georgia/Florida game will make/break the division…and probably the conference. I’ve got Georgia beating them again as Moreno will just kill the Gator D. A good deal of pundits are worried about the schedule. Really? Their road games are South Carolina, Arizona State, LSU, Kentucky, and Auburn. So, they lose at LSU and play one INCREDIBLE game at Auburn…but where’s the BIG scare here? Other than Richt’s inability to close the deal when highly rated, I just don’t see it. Conference champs and SEC rep to the Sugar Bowl.

Kentucky (5-7, 1-7) Kentucky’s back to their doormat status. Loss of their star athletes and a coach who probably secretly wishes he could run the Full House triple option every game with players with no facemasks…makes for a hard rebuilding process. (Note: It would be cool, however, if someone pulled out that kind of BS consistently…I mean, it works on NCAA Football on PS2!!!)

South Carolina (8-4, 5-3) Spurrier’s QB’s…Spurrier’s QB’s…blah blah blah. First, in the interest of full disclosure, I have them beating Tennessee. This is not biased, but I’m just still not sold on them…never have been. The Ol’ Ball Coach is slipping. The program will never usurp Georgia, Florida, and UT in the East on a consistent basis (and yes, I know that in my 2008 rankings, they are ahead of UT…I’m talking about the program level). New QB, loss of some key players…mid level bowl and more “aw shucks” from Darth Visor himself.

Tennessee (8-4, 5-3) Bias Alert! Gonna be an ugly year. I’m sorry, Amy, but I just don’t see us going back to the Coast and leaving with a victory against UCLA. , I wouldn’t put money on that game if I were you. New OC and QB and the same inept banana hammock calling the defense. However, we’ll be better than expectations. Crompton is mean as a snake at QB. I like him a lot and the new OC could really take us to the “next level”. Also, I wouldn’t be super fan if I didn’t point this out…there was another time that we lost a superstar QB, had a new QB coming in a great OL, experienced RB’s and WR core, and a ready-made-tough-as-nails D…that was in 1998. It’s a stretch, I know…and I’m not predicting it! Back to reality, close games but coaching and inconsistent play at QB will eat us alive.

[Your Gridiron Goddess says: UCLA is going to STINK up the joint this year my friend. They barely have a QB that can even WALK right now But they do have Norm Chow, grrrrr..]

Vanderbilt (4-8, 2-6). The only good thing about Vanderbilt being so bad is, as I’ve spent more time in Nashville for work and personal, the Vandy fans make me laugh. There’s always next year. Personal highlight of my Vandy picks…beating Ole Miss!

SEC West

Alabama (8-4, 4-4). But wait, didn’t Saban walk on water and bring sight to the blind and cure cancer and find Jimmy Hoffa and figure out what Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” was about? No. Good QB…but inconsistent QB…will lead you to the Liberty Bowl every time. Just ask South Carolina and Miss. State. Wilson’s got the talent and the fire in his gut, but damn, that boy looks stupid sometimes. That, and a ridiculous schedule this year makes it tough for me to find a much better path.

Arkansas (5-7, 2-6). I have to admit, that when I got to Arkansas on my picks sheet, I couldn’t believe that they, by default, had this many wins. The latest stop on the Petrino Boat to Nowhere is pretty bare. Casey Dick? Really…a Petrino-style QB? I’m just not seeing it. Thank God for Western Illinois!

Auburn (9-3, 6-2). Year in/year out the toughest team to call but this seems to be about right given the schedule and the fact that, apparently, I’m drinking the Georgia Kool-Aid this year. The only interesting call I’m making here is that Alabama beats Auburn in the Iron Bowl. They’re just due for it and I smell something like that brewing in the last month of this year. Incidentally, the month of November will be ridiculous in SEC football. Jobs will be secured and lost in those four weeks.

LSU (11-1, 7-1) SOMEHOW, once again, LSU benefits from a ridiculously great schedule. They’ll lose to either Auburn or Florida on the road (my money’s on Auburn) and they’ll have to play South Carolina on the road (yawn). The rest of the games are at home (or neutral site against Arkansas…yawn). I mean, I don’t care who’s at QB, they’re still loaded and all of those drunk Cajuns (not a term of derision!) provide an incredible home field advantage. Still great on D and have great skill players and one BIG OL.

Ole Miss (5-7, 1-7). As has been noted, I’ve never been impressed with Houston Nutt. I always thought he was overrated as a coach. All I’ve heard is “Snead will save the day for the Rebs”. Ok, but Snead is not Tebow…who else do you have? Riiiiiight, that’s what I thought. Not convinced, here, that this is the year that Houston Nutt sends the Rebs to Atlanta (the only SEC West team never to have done so…tee hee hee!).

Mississippi State (8-4, 5-3). Bias Alert! WOW! Ok, so I should have sent my beloved Bulldogs bowling last year. 8 wins though? Byron, are you crazy? Yes. Sure, they lost some people, but they’re stacked behind them. A coach like Croom seizes momentum in his program and uses it to get his guys back in the game. I’m betting on a one game improvement? “8 wins Byron?”. Yes, remember, that if Arkansas didn’t have one of the greatest RB tandems in football history last year, State would have crushed the mighty Arkansas. They only lost by 2 touchdowns…which for MSU standards vs. a Heisman candidate…pretty dern good! This year, there’s no Heisman in Fayetteville and State has a chance to beat up on the new guy, Bobby Petrino.

Championship Game: Georgia vs. LSU…Georgia gets revenge on LSU and heads to the Sugar Bowl.

On a side note, for those of you that like your football to be fun and crazy…pay attention to New Mexico State. Hal Mumme, disgraced former coach at Kentucky who makes Mike Leach look like a run-first coach, and Joe Lee Dunn have teamed up down there. Dunn is notorious for having some of the most odd-ball defensive formations imaginable. Ever seen 2 down linemen on D? He’ll show it to you. That combined with Mumme’s 158 passes/game, it’ll be funny to watch.

So, that’s the preview from south of the Mason-Dixon line. I’m not even going to pretend to forecast the nation this year. There’s just too many variables and changes this year that it’s going to be a toss-up year. Good luck to your teams. If you’re a Big 10 fan, can’t wait to see OSU be overrated and shown up in the post-season. HA!

(Your Gridiron Goddess says: Sept 13 is the day the Buckeyes dream of another trip to the BCS Championship game dies)

Good luck everyone and continue to check out The Gridiron Goddess for all of your football needs!

One comment

  1. […] is back for the fourth year in a row with his SEC Football […]

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