For those of you scoring at home, a mere 30 days now stand between you and the kickoff of the 2008 college football season. There is much to cover between now and then: team previews, fall practice updates, Stephen Garcia's as yet uncommitted misdemeanors, and Eric Berry actually flying around Knoxville jumping over buildings while wearing a hideous orange cape. The list goes on and on. But before we get into all of that, I wanted to continue with the list of things I'm looking forward to this season in the S.E.C., which includes,
#10 Powe. Jerrell Powe. In case you missed it, the onetime can't miss defensive tackle who Ole Miss has been trying to get qualified for seventeen three and a half years has finally gotten the all clear to play in the S.E.C. How long has Jerrell Powe been on the road to Oxford? John Vaught was his recruiting coach. I think he and Archie Manning roomed together on their respective official visits.
Hyperbole? Sure. But make no mistake, Powe's slow motion entrance into the Grove can't help but increase expectations. The fact that he'll be suiting up for the most gig-gigity crazy hombre in the SEC West during a year in which Ole Miss fans expect change (and lots of it) only makes the whole thing more interesting. As do the questions about whether Powe will be in shape to play his first actual football game since 1971 2005.
#9 An explanation from Urban Meyer. So, let me get this straight, Coach. Your squad last year featured the greatest player of our era, and still lost four games? Including a bowl loss to Llyod "Lame Duck Walking" Carr and Chad "Duck and Cover" Henne? Exactly how completely slathered in surplus Eastern Bloc radioactive Ukranian suckage were the other 21 starters on your team?
Again, a bit of hyperbole on my part. Florida is indeed going to be very good this season. But it's the S.E.C. A lot of teams will be very good. Including the Auburn, L.S.U. and Georgia squads that made Timmy Ballgame cry last season. The good news for Timmy? This will be the first year since 2005 in which the Gators won't lose to Auburn, as the kids from Tommy Tuberville's School of Remedial Sociology rotate off the schedule in favor of early season matchups against Arkansas and Ole Miss. Merry Christmas, Gator Nation. Mike Slive will accept your thanks in unmarked, nonsequenced 10's, 20's and 50's.
#8 Cocktail Thursday. As longtime readers of this blog and MaconDawg's Blawg know, I am a big fan of the themed pregame libation. Last year I tried to kick it up a notch, and I've spent the past couple of weeks working on ideas for this year's pigskin potables. By the by, does anybody know of a drink that makes use of Krispy Kreme Donuts? The Tennessee game is going to be here before I know it.
#7 Varsity Chili Dogs. This should be basically self-explanatory. The fact that this item is not in the top five is evidence either of a) the restraint I'm trying to exercise since the last time my cholesterol was checked or b) a level of denial only rivaled by the colleague who informed me the other day that Nick Saban has really found a permanent home in Tuscaloosa.
#6 Reshad Jones. Quite possibly the most physically gifted athlete out there every time he steps on the playing field. With two years in Willie Martinez's defense and one year of playing time, the sophomore safety will be as good as he wants to be. Jones saw action in all 13 games last season, and really seemed to pick it up in the second half, totalling 57 tackles and 2 interceptions. Those 57 tackles by the way were 4 more than Rennie Curran accumulated, 8 more than Kelin Johnson, and 13 ahead of C.J. Byrd. Surprising, huh?