#20 Croomage: Inquiring minds want to know, how many more times do Sly Croom's Bulldogs have to beat decent teams before we stop being surprised by it? I mean, they went bowling last season for crying out loud. I may make fun of Mississippi State at every available opportunity, but I have to respect what Croom has done with the slow motion train wreck he jumped into the engineer's seat for.
#19 The Tony Franklin Experience: New Auburn Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin is a coaching genius. If you don't believe me, check the guy's website. He'll basically tell you as much himself (along with the fact that his clinics are not the place to "drink beer and chase women". That's what the Dennis Erickson Experience is for, junior). Franklin's Troy State team put up points last season against Georgia, Florida and Arkansas en route to an 8-4 season. Now Franklin's been tapped to retool the Auburn attack which stagnated under Al Borges. Early returns are promising, but it will be interesting to see what happens if the lightning quick attack ever goes stone cold on the road in the S.E.C. Because the only thing worse than punting after holding the ball for five and a half minutes is punting after holding the ball for a half a minute. That will really test Auburn's defense.
#18 Kris Durham: I went back and watched the 2007 Sugar Bowl this weekend and was reminded that Kris Durham has the potential to be a very valuable weapon for this team in 2008. He's already tall and sneaky fast. If he can play more physically and avoid dropped passes, Durham could be a weapon. Somebody is going to have to step up behind MoMass. It might be Mike Moore or Kenneth Harris. It might be A.J. Green or Tavarres King. But my money is on Durham to be seriously in the mix.
#17 Jonathan Crompton: According to my totally anecdotal survey, Tennessee fans seem incredibly jacked about their junior signal caller. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I never thought a first year starter with a 48.7% career completion percentage under the tutelage of a brand new offensive coordinator could be cause for such optimism. Mark Richt and crew get the Vols this season early and coming off a bye week. Methinks we'll learn a little about Mr. Crompton's moxy on October 11th.
#16 South Carolina running onto the field to 2001- A Space Odyssey: It just makes me chuckle every time it happens. As sure as the sun rises in the east, South Carolina will begin this season with eternal optimism and end it with the type of Hindenberg-esque spree that only a lack of quality depth and a brutal conference slate can combine to deliver. The simple truth is that South Carolina still does not have the two-deep to win in the S.E.C. from Halloween on. That won't change this season, which is unfortunate because nothing would make me happier than to see them jump up and bite Tennessee and/or Florida in November.
I'll be back on Thursday with #15 through 11. Until then . . .