It is the week of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, a week in which the prevailing narrative seems to hold that the Georgia Bulldogs can seize control of the SEC East race with a win. Busy, busy. Gotta stay focused. Gotta get a good week of preparation. Gotta stop reading Buck Belue's Blog first thing in the morning. Makes me forget to use subjects in my sentences. Bad habit. Gotta work on that. But if abstaining from proper sentence construction beats Florida, then every past participle in the English language can just go to Hell. Anyway, lots to do. Including:
Hate Florida. I think we've been over this particular patch of ground before, but it bears repeating. Kyle hates Auburn, which as he'll admit is largely a result of the unique time, place and manner of his birth and fandom. Having come of age as a Bulldog football fan in south Georgia in the 1990's, I intensely dislike Auburn, but I really, really hate Florida. This is the game which I most look forward to during the season, and which crushes me most intensely when we lose. I'm generally pretty level-headed even in defeat, but the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is the one contest per season that puts me in danger of impersonating Michael Douglas in Falling Down when it goes poorly. If we win Saturday Mark Richt could plow his shiny red Ford F-150 through a crowd of nuns* on Sunday while blaring Sister Hazel's Greatest Hits** with the windows down for all I care. I'd still chip in twenty bucks for his bail.
Be thankful for Todd Grantham. Again. I'm not going to rehash the whole James Franklin mess. Though I'm more and more convinced that Franklin's basicly Lane Kiffin without a famous daddy, and would like to remind him that he can show up to all the high school football games he wants in Vanderbilt University helicoptors, he'll still be the coach at Vandy, which ain't a selling point. The difference of course is that had Kiffin hung around long enough to go 7-5 in the SEC for years at a time he would have been fired in Knoxville. If Franklin does it the Commodores will erect a statue for him. But I digress.
The reason I'm thankful for Todd Grantham is that I watched the Texas Tech/Oklahoma game this weekend. I couldn't sleep Saturday night due to some sort of head cold/monkey pox hybrid, and as a result may have been the only person on the east coast to stay up to watch Texas Tech repeatedly go up top to abuse Oklahoma's secondary. In case you missed it Oklahoma's secondary is physically talented, but unable to hold up against an accurate passer throwing downfield against man coverage. The Sooners' secondary is coached by Willie Martinez. But I'm sure that's just a coincidence, and Tommy Tuberville had no part in the offensive gameplan his staff put in place.
3. Continue to be thankful that we don't play LSU this season. No honey badger? No problem. No Ware? Who cares? At this point LSU is employing a collection of athletic talent which stops for neither time, tide or taxes. While Alabama looked a little unfocused against Tennessee Saturday night, perhaps owing to an upcoming bye week and a recently completed series of drubbings of teams both good and bad, LSU looked the part of a consensus #1 against Auburn. Get this: Jarrett Lee currently sports a robust 13:1 touchdown to interception ratio. 13 touchdown passes. 1 interception. I do not understand this, and I don't intend to even try. I think it involves a sound running game, a solid offensive line, and Les Miles being a warlock.
4. Find Houston Nutt a job. After watching The Great Giggity gack one up against Arkansas, I stopped for a moment to contemplate what a cold, lonely place an SEC without Houston Nutt would be. It wwould be sad, gray. Like Gainesville, Florida only without the melanoma. But when you lash out at a reporter who predicted you'd lose 49-10 by saying, in essence,"Hah! We only lost 29-24 after going up by 17!", you're toast.
5. See if Bill Snyder's interested in Nutt's spot in Oxford. For those just tuning in, Kansas State is undefeated and Oklahoma is not. If you're looking for a man to take your rag-tag collection of JUCO recruits and disciplinary/academic castoffs from other schools and turn them into a bowl contender, Snyder's pretty much your guy. Really, who else is going to take the Ole Miss job? Kirby Smart? Mike Leach? Charlie Strong? The Ole Miss job simply isn't a very good one. Especially not with the SEC's recent scholarship restrictions. It was hard enough to cobble together 25 SEC-caliber football players when the Rebels could sign 35 a year. With a hard limit of 25, Mississippi State no longer a pushover, and LSU and Alabama siphoning off the Magnolia State prospects they really want, it's a fool's errand. Snyder may not be a fool, but at least he's used to dealing with the odds.
6. Await "the Clemsoning." After taking a blowtorch to North Carolina, Clemson remains undefeated and in contention for a spot in the BCS Title Game. With remaining games at Georgia Tech, N.C. State and South Carolina and a home affair with Wake Forest, the schedule doesn't set up that badly for them. If Clemson were Alabama I would confidently predict they'll be undefeated going into the ACC Championship Game (they still play that, right? Anybody know?). But they're not. They're a young team counting on young players at key positions, and they will lay at least one egg down the stretch. My guess is that it comes against N.C.State or Wake, because that would be the most Clemsony way of screwing this up. But I wouldn't call you crazy if you said they'll figure out a way to lose in Columbia to close the season.
What am I forgetting? Let me know in the comments. Until later. . .
*For those scoring at home, that's a sin.
** Again, if you're playing the home game this is also a sin, perhaps more egregious than the first. Because Mark Richt likes driving in his truck. And Sister Hazel sucks.