Yet another glorious weekend of college football commences this Saturday, and Front Porch Football could not be more excited. This week’s guest picker is Ben McDougald from Anderson, SC. Ben is the younger, much better looking brother of Max, and is a student at Clemson. But don’t get any ideas, Ben loves SEC football almost as much as we do. Good luck Ben, and we wish all of you a fun, relaxing, exciting weekend full of Southern College Football!
Yet another glorious weekend of college football commences this Saturday, and Front Porch Football could not be more pumped. This week’s guest picker is Andrew Koontz from Cheraw, SC. Most of you know Koontz, but if you don’t let’s just say he is a Duke-cheering, fried chicken-eating, bucket-drinking, mountain-loving, Terrier who loves talking SEC football. Good luck Koontz, and we wish all of you a fun, relaxing, exciting weekend full of Southern College Football!
No video this week. Brendan (the editor and producer of all of our videos) has a ton of papers due this week, so you’re stuck with me. This week, I will talk about four programs: Florida, LSU, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Sorry everyone else, but there isn’t much to say. Bama is Bama. A&M is about to commence on its annual Bataan Death March. Georgia is almost Bama-good. Kentucky keeps finding ways to win. Missouri is awful. Ole Miss is essentially garbage – Arkansas is as well. Auburn is going to give both Georgia and Alabama a run for its money. Vanderbilt turns out to not really be that good, and I basically forgot Mississippi State existed until I realized I hadn’t mentioned one team.
Image from USA Today
The sad thing is that I really really really thought the Gators were going to lose last week to LSU, but I caved and picked them anyway because I just felt ridiculous picking a team that lost to Troy. I knew that Florida was not good enough to beat LSU for one reason and one reason only – the Gators are not good at winning ugly. They’re good at winning lucky, and good at making the one play they need to make to win the game. But when push comes to shove, the Gators have a quarterback situation that is completely perplexing (all of these guys have a ton of talent, on paper), an offensive line that is mediocre at best, and and an offense that is stagnant at the worst possible times. On the other hand, LSU is built to win ugly. They have enough speed on defense to suffocate a mediocre run offense and pressure a struggling quarterback.
Florida gave up five sacks to LSU, and got their quarterback hit numerous times throughout the game. They are now 12th in the SEC in total offense, 12th in passing offense, and 12th in points per game. They really aren’t that impressive running the ball either. The Gators defense is holding up its end of the bargain, but the offense and the play calling are not. Their best player on offense (Kadarius Toney) got six carries. Florida has not won a game under Jim McElwain in which they were trailing by more than two touchdowns. So basically put up two touchdowns on Florida, and they can’t win. In closing, Florida stinks, yet, sadly, I could still see them finding a way to win the East. They get an AB (After.Bama) A&M at home this week then a bye before Georgia. As good as Georgia looks, Florida and Georgia fans know how unpredictable that game is. Then they have to find a way to win on the road against South Carolina and Missouri. Who knows…
Image from Gridiron Now
I don’t know really what to say. Losing to Troy was just pathetic. But I did say a few weeks ago that I would wait to pass judgement on the Tigers until after the Florida game. This game meant so much to both programs, and LSU really needed a win to salvage their season (and Coach O’s career). Here’s what we know. We know that LSU is not good.Statistically they rank smack dab in the middle in most categories offensively, and they struggle to force turnovers on defense. But this is basically Coach Orgeron’s first year as head coach, and it is Matt Canada’s first year calling plays as offensive coordinator. There was a lot of turnover within the coaching staff and on the roster – thanks to the NFL Draft – so I think it is unfair to label this program as a complete disaster. People forget that Nick Saban lost to UL-Monroe in his first season at Alabama, and that Kirby Smart almost lost to Nicholls State, and did lose to Vandy in his first season at Georgia.
What I’m trying to say is give LSU until the end of the season before giving the Tigers the death penalty. If they can finish 7-5 or 8-4 with one of those wins at Florida, then I say the program isn’t lost, and Coach O deserves a few more years to prove himself. Also, look at the recruiting class the Tigers have a shot at pulling in this February. Currently, the Tigers have six top 350 prospects committed. Of those six, five are on the defensive side of the ball. LSU is also still in the running (and considered the favorites) for two top instate wide receivers – five star Terrace Marshall (Louisiana’s top prospect) and four star Lawrence Keys III, (Louisiana’s sixth ranked prospect). Further, LSU is widely considered the favorite to pull Patrick Surtain, Jr. out of the state of Florida. Surtain is the top ranked cornerback prospect in the country, and the fourth ranked prospect overall. LSU wasn’t going to beat Alabama and contend for an SEC Title this year anyway. Don’t screw up this recruting class over a somewhat meaningless loss to Troy.
The Volunteers are screwed. Plain and simple. Let’s just recap what has happened thus far. The Vols are horrific in almost every statistical category, there are reports that Butch Jones is losing in the locker room, and a fight broke out during the bye week, in which starting offensive tackle Trey Smith was sent to the hospital and starting defensive end Darrell Taylor was suspended indefinitely. My bold prediction is that if South Carolina beats Tennessee this Saturday in Knoxville, Butch Jones is fired this time next week. I feel bad writing that, because you never want to wish that on anybody, but things are not looking good for Tennessee. I predicted at the beginning of the season that the Vols would go 6-6. That prediction was based on a win against South Carolina. Lose this weekend, and I think it is very possible the Vols don’t make a bowl.
Selfishly, and again this is awful to say, but as a Gamecock fan, South Carolina could benefit with some turmoil on Rocky Top recruiting-wise. Both Dorian Gerald (top JUCO defensive end prospect) and Jaycee Horn (four star cornerback prospect) are still strongly considering South Carolina even though they are currently committed to Tennessee (prospects committing to a school and then still looking elsewhere is a whole other topic that I don’t even want to get into right now). If everything collapses in Knoxville, this highly rated recruiting class could disintegrate.
The Gamecock’s finally beat the crap out of a team that they should have. The defense scored three times, the offense scored three times, as well, and the best part was they did it in front of some key prospects who were visiting Willy B for the game. Yes, Kentucky and A&M still sting, but if the Gamecocks can take care of business up in Knoxville this weekend, I promise I won’t bring up those games again. That is a big if, though. South Carolina is still in that part of the rebuilding phase where they win games in impressive fashion (Arkansas by 26 and NC State’s one loss looks pretty good), only to still disappoint the next week. I truly believe South Carolina is a better team than Tennessee, yet I still predicted at the beginning of the season that the Gamecocks would lose this game. This is a big one. Bentley needs to pull everything together, and play the type of game he is capable of. The run game needs to take advantage of the worst rushing defense in the SEC. The defense needs to hound a very immobile quarterback like they did against Arkansas (a much better offense). And the Gamecock’s need to build on the momentum gained with the Arkansas win. With a win heading into a bye week, South Carolina could be poised for an eight win season.