If the first few weeks of this "offseason" are any indication, things are going to get quite interesting in the SEC, which already looks wildly different than it did a year ago.
If you're a Tennessee fan, it's been a tough few weeks for you. If you're an Auburn fan, every week is a tough week for you, but someone finally put a bandage on your gash. If you're an Arkansas fan, you probably don't know where you are, how you lost your pants, or why Petrino had to be fired in the first place.
Vanderbilt kept the coach they love so dearly and Kentucky found out that there's nowhere to go but up, however, the rest of the SEC's schools that were facing coaching changes haven't had as much success. Arkansas had to go to a middle-of-the-road B1G Ten team to find their next coach, we all know what happened to Auburn, and Tennessee's coaching search was so public and sad that it ended with John Jancek as their defensive coordinator and Willie Martinez as defensive backs coach. LOLWUT?
Most of the time you can expect the SEC to upgrade during this time of year. A bad coach is usually replaced with a good one, the fan base of that school gets excited, and it resets the clock on "wait 'til next year." I'm not saying Butch Jones was a terrible hire at Tennessee, but wow, did that fan base HATE it. The only way they could've reacted worse was if Jon Gruden introduced Jones at the presser and said "I LOVE THIS GUY." Auburn and Arkansas had better, but still very "meh," reactions to their hires as well.
The truth that no one's talking about right now is that there are three scenarios going on in the SEC. There are the elite teams (UGA, Florida, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M) that are the talk of the town, there are the teams that are the wallflowers, and there are the teams that are battling it out to see who won't be the last one asked to the dance (Kentucky, UT, Auburn, Arkansas). If you want to know how incredible all of this is, if Vanderbilt (a wallflower) played any of the ones in the ugly contest, they'd probably be favored in each game...VANDERBILT.
After the classic match in the Dome between UGA and Alabama, the SEC East is finally on par with the SEC West in that there are about three elite teams in the division, and for the time being, just those three will be the ones that have a true chance of being asked to the dance in Atlanta.
Now, let's get you some Dawgly links:
The most important thing the University of Georgia and its coaches do (yes, it even trumps winning games) is help young men and women receive their degrees. So, a big congrats to the 39 student athletes that received their degrees last Saturday.
Most Georgia fans that I've spoken to have remarked that they're afraid UGA will not want to play in the Capital One Bowl against Nebraska, and therefore, it will lead to a loss. Well, The Good Senator brings us this post that talks about how Mark Richt is doing everything he can not to let that happen.
When I read this post by Bernie about the trouble Aaron Murray's having in moving on from the Alabama game, all I could think was, "and I thought I had it bad."
Finally, one last note on the Capital One Bowl. Mike Bianchi brings us this piece which basically states that UGA fans shouldn't be upset at COB Officials for putting us in Orlando. It turns out, the SEC was the one that made them take us. Interesting...
Enjoy your weekend, everyone.