89 thoughts on “Open thread”

  1. I’d think there are a lot of people in Tuscaloosa still rather sick right now.

    Thinking about the loss of Mazzone, I got to wondering how much of the effect of Mazzone was Cox himself.

    Bobby took over the Braves for the first time in 1978. The prior year, they had a 4.85 ERA. His first year, it was down to 4.06. 4.18, 3.77, and 3.45 followed. Mazzone was a minor league coach at the time.

    Cox was canned after 1981; in 1982, the ERA was back up to 3.82.

    When the Braves fired Cox, he went to Toronto. Before he arrived north of the border, the Blue Jays had a 3.82 ERA. His first year, it went up fractionally to 3.95, but improved from 10th in the league to 5th. By his last year as a Blue Jay (1985) the team had the best ERA in the AL with a 3.31. Mazzone was still toiling in the Braves minor league system.

    Jimy Williams took over the Jays’ helm in 1986. The ERA went up to 4.07 and 7th in the leage.

    I don’t really know what Cox does to garner these results.

    He has had some really good defensive outfielders, from Barfield to Grissom to Andruw; but he has also had some real clunkers, like Klesko, Lonnie Smith, Barry Bonnell, and Jeff Burroughs. He has had some great middle infielders, like Tony Fernandez, Glen Hubbard, and, at least this year, Rafael Furcal. But he has also punted fielding for an extra bat with guys like Blauser and Treadway.

    During the mid 1990s, his teams often lead the league in pitcher Ks; but his first incantation of the Braves didn’t strike guys out, the Jays didn’t, and the last five years, the club has been near the bottom of the league.

  2. i think you mean incarnation, unless he’s come up with some magical chant his pitchers yelp before every game.

  3. {“I’d think there are a lot of people in Tuscaloosa still rather sick right now.”

    psssh
    whiners
    did you see what travesty in Athens
    and SMitty, duh, being a UT fan is worse than any disease known to man

  4. “It could be worse Bama fans, you could be UT.”

    Us UT fans are living pretty good right now…

    Oh – you meant the one in knoxville.

  5. An interesting pair of notes from Rotoworld:

    The Cubs have little interest in keeping Garciaparra as a shortstop and third baseman Aramis Ramirez isn’t going anywhere. The Dodgers, Orioles, Twins, Diamondbacks and Braves are among the teams that might pursue the 32-year-old.

    The first and obvious thought is, Ugh, they can’t possibly be thinking of signing him. But then, in a lower note on Melvin Mora:

    The acquisition of Mike Lowell or Nomar Garciaparra to play third base, pushing Mora back to the outfield, can’t be completely ruled out, but it’s nothing the Orioles are planning right now. Actually, the Baltimore Sun believes that Garciaparra, if pursued, could be an option at first base.

    Now, that’s intriguing. Playing at first could cut down on his injury risk some. I can’t imagine he’d be any worse than mediocre at first but that’s at least the same as LaRoche or Franco, or better. If he could be signed to an incentive-laden contract with maybe a team option for another year, he might be worth the gamble.

  6. I think Nomar could play some 1B. He could become a late-1990s Mark Loretta-type. Loretta has one of the rarest of distinctions I can recall in that for three years in a row, he played more than 10 games at each IF position, all the time being somewhat productive. Nomar has, or has exhibited in the past, a lot more consistent power than Loretta, so this may be his role.

    I doubt that would happen in Atlanta, but who knows? I would guess that he is more suited for the AL at this juncture, where he could also DH once or twice a week.

  7. Nomar would be good if he could avioid getting hurt out of the batters box, getting hit durring BP, and not play soccer.

  8. I think at this point Nomar’s about an equal risk as Frank Thomas, except with less power and fewer walks. If someone’s talking about signing an injury-prone first baseman who’s gonna get injured somehow or another before the year’s out, why not the Big Hurt?

  9. It’s a great day to be an Auburn Tiger.

    ps – I wouldn’t kill myself over a Nomar signing, but the payroll and roster flexibility of a Marte 3B – Betemit SS – Giles 2B – C.Jones 1B infield should be painfully obvious, even though I know it won’t be. We’d have some money to approach a B. Giles type for that power corner OF bat we lacked, or even better, get Bradley on the cheap (hey Sheffield worked out here) and have three legit CF’s starting at the same time. If he’s non-tendered, as is the current rumor, he won’t even cost a player.

    Dreams, I know – but that’s what the offseason is for.

  10. 1) Sheffield and Bradley are different kinds of trouble. Sheffield likes to complain about his treatment by ownership, but he’s generally regarded as a good teammate. Bradley’s pretty much an a-hole to everyone. I say stay the heck away from Bradley.

    2) How is it good to be an Auburn Tiger when you’re still on the outside looking in when it comes to the SEC championship game? Even after that victory, Auburn is still in a worse position than UGA. I don’t know that I’d call that “good.”

  11. Stu, I live and work in Atlanta. The week after Auburn beats Georgia in Athens is particularly sweet, especially after hearing about how Auburn was going to get creamed for the last two weeks. Yep, it’s a great day to be a Tiger.

    mmmm….hedges….

    Re: Bradley, I don’t think “Bradley’s pretty much an a-hole to everyone”. There have been serious incidents with him to be sure, but the dust up with Kent (who seems to have problems with teammates of his own) was due as much to LA’s losing ways, imho.

  12. Stu,
    Any day we(Auburn)beat UGA is a “great” day. Doesn’t matter what the record is as long as we beat UGH(I mean UGA) and Bama.

  13. “It’s a great day to be an Auburn Tiger.”
    “Any day we(Auburn)beat UGA is a “great” day. Doesn’t matter what the record is as long as we beat UGH(I mean UGA) and Bama.”

    Eff y’all too : )
    At least your pathetic Auburn selves will be able to say y’all beat the 2005 SEC champs

  14. Ouch not much love for the Tigers on this board.

    NMS, not sure what you’re talking about but we got beat by the 2005 SEC champs(LSU)

  15. I think a lotta people are sick in Tuscaloosa & Athens. Get well, Mac.

    This UGA loss is the worst one since Baton Rouge in ’03. Too much shoulda-couldas, but the bottom line is that you gotta cover that guy on the 4th & 10. As much as it hurts, Dawg people gotta look at Richt on this one (the stupid extra-point fire drill, not going for the first down on the last FG drive & playing zone on the 4th & 10). Gotta look in the mirror here & give Auburn credit for taking advantage.

    Sure, (except for LSU) the Dogs are in better shape than anyone in the conference, but this one still stings. Let’s see if beating UK will wash it away a little bit.

    And I am disappointed that we won’t be playing Bama in Atlanta.

    FYI – A-Rod wins AL MVP.

  16. Interesting Trivia:

    A-Rod is the 4th player to win MVP at 2 different positions (not counting diff. outfield positions) and the 4th player to win MVP on 2 different teams.

  17. Why would Nomar be such a bad idea? He is said to be considering first base, a hard position to get injured and not that demanding. Hell I say shell him 4mil with incentives and go with it. Franco is going to NYM, and i read on braves.com that Hoffman is being considered, but we would lack a leadoff hitter in free agency, duh,

    Andy Marte
    Kyle Davies
    Kelly Johnson

    for

    Danys Baez
    Joey Gathright
    Julio Lugo

    Problem solved

  18. I heard Peter Gammons on The Dan Patrick Show today saying that Pujols should win the MVP. They(ESPN with or through the Elias Bureau) and said that the Braves team without Jones was better than the Cards team without Pujols and that’s why Pujols should win. And yet they still thought St. Louis was a better team than ATL. By this reasoning, maybe Mike Sweeney should have been the AL MVP. Could you imagine how much worse KC would have been without him(O.K. not much because they were horrible already but you get my point.)

  19. James,
    Are you sure you aren’t a Devil Rays fan? They were almost 30 games under with the players you’re suggesting we trade for(and trade our best prospect–Marte– in the process). Also we’ve got players on our roster right now that I’d rather have than any of the guys on this list:
    Gathright(Francouer-Langerhans-Johnson)
    Nice speed though. Untested
    Baez(Farnsworth-if we can resign)
    Lugo(Betemit)
    Career year
    I think we may want to steer clear of any major deals with TB. We got lucky once(Sosa) but don’t want to go to the well too often

  20. Sorry about Bama, Mac, and hope you feel better. I don’t give a crap about SEC football, meaning I have no allegiances to any team and just like watching it because they’re usually good games, but I was rooting for Bama on Saturday ’cause I figured you’d be devastated if they lost. And then Auburn beat UGA. Sometimes it’s good not to care…

    Logic tells me Pujols will win the MVP. Not that he doesn’t deserve it, but…plus I want Andruw to win and nothing good has happened to me this week in the awards departments, so he won’t win. Actually, the only two good sports things to happen to me this week were the Pats winning and the Steelers managing to get every QB but Tommy Maddox (bwahahahaha!) injured. Oh, and the official banning of Sosa and Palmeiro from Baltimore…don’t hold your breath on Andruw.

  21. Guys I know this has been talked about, but what do you think, if the braves at least made a serious run, the chances of Brian Giles coming to Atlanta are.

    For fun i just looked up articles about it and obviously he wants to come here, but far more than anywhere else…

  22. Chuck,
    I’d love to have him too but have heard that several of the “big-spenders” (Yankees among them) are interested in him. He’d probably have to give a significant “sibling” discount for us to sign him(+ we have sign Marcus to an extension–not a problem for me).

  23. I’m from Minnesota and don’t watch that much college football, but I couldn’t believe the Georgia defensive alignment on that last 4th-and-10 against Auburn. On the replay, I saw three LBs dropping into a mid-zone coverage and they clearly didn’t get deep enough fast enough.

    My question, “Why were they dropping into the zone that they should have been standing in in the first place?” Terrible time for the D-coordinator to have a brainlock.

    That Greg Blue hits like a locomotive, but I think he’d have trouble covering my 52-year-old, 6.0 40-speed butt.

  24. In that 4th & 10 situation, I would’ve prefered to see a blitz. Make the QB force a quick pass & be done with it. But I think Georgia was fearful of the screen pass that burned them on several occasions, so they stayed back. Unfortunately for them, Auburn called the exact right play for that coverage.

    Also, Battle missing the tackle after the reception was huge. He makes that tackle & Auburn’s shaky kicker may have a long FG attempt. I won’t even get into the ramifications of the fumble–they’re pretty obvious.

    Auburn made the plays & got the breaks, so that’s the way it is this year. Another great game and a typical one in the strange Georgia-Auburn rivalry.

  25. Is it just me or is SEC coaching terrible? The Ole Ball coach comes in and dominates with no talent. If some of these schools would go outside the confrence and hire a guy with some revolutionary ideas, thye would dominate this league.

    Here is how I rank the SEC Coaches.
    1) Steve Spurier (by a lot!)
    2) Tommy Tuberville
    3) Mark Richt
    4) tie Nutt
    4) tie Fulmer
    6) Shula
    7) Steve Martin (Vandy)
    8) Miles
    9) Urban
    10)Croom
    11)Oregon
    12)Brooks

  26. “Gotta look in the mirror here & give Auburn credit”

    NEVER!

    And Smitty i dont think the SEC is down at all this year, if anything i think these last few weeks just show how tough a conference it is. I think it would be very unlikely (if not impossible) USC or (especailly) Texas to get out of the full year plus championsihp game undfeated.

    “Actually, the only two good sports things to happen to me this week were the Pats winning and the Steelers managing to get every QB but Tommy Maddox (bwahahahaha!) injured.”

    Their 2nd and 3rd best QBs are still healthy but they’re playing WR instead…

  27. Nutt’s had a bad year, but he’s been very good over the course of his time at Arkansas.

    I’d have Johnson higher, because he REALLY does more with less, but I’m probably a bit biased.

    My list would look like:

    1) Spurrier
    2) Tuberville
    3) Johnson
    4) Nutt
    5) Richt
    6) Miles
    7) Fulmer
    8) Shula
    9) Meyer
    10) Orgeron (give him more than half a season with a talentless roster)
    11) Croom
    12) Brooks

  28. I realize that Alex Rodriguez had a good year, even an MVP-worthy year, but I hate seeing the MVP go to such a nard.

  29. And mark my words: Nomar will be the Dan Kolb of 2006. Someone will be dumb enough to sign him, he will hit .220 while playing in pain “for the good of the team,” and then either go into Operation Shutdown or be left for limited pinch-hitting duty the rest of the way.
    $4 million is WAY too much to pay that guy.

  30. NMS,

    When we lose, we might wanna lose with some class. Auburn won the game fair & square, no sense in whining about it.

    I’m a UGA grad who grew up a half-hour from Auburn (on the Georgia side of the Chattahoochee), so I enjoy beating them more than anyone. But that game was in our grasp & they took it from us.

    We’ll eat some humble pie this week & hopefully come back with our second SEC title in four years. And if that happens, where does everyone rank Richt then?

    But I do agree with you that the SEC isn’t really down this year (maybe at QB), but of course we won’t be able to prove it until Bowl time when we open up our annual can of whoop-ass on other conferences.

  31. But I do agree with you that the SEC isn’t really down this year (maybe at QB), but of course we won’t be able to prove it until Bowl time when we open up our annual can of whoop-ass on other conferences.

    From today’s LA Times:

    Since 2000, in fact, the Pac-10 boasts the best record in BCS bowl games, 6-1, and it hasn’t been a one-trick Trojan pony, as four schools have combined for the six: Washington, Oregon, Oregon State and USC.

    The SEC is 5-1 in BCS games since 2000.

    The SEC is always tough. The Big 10 and Big 12 are always overrated. The Big 12 downright stinks this year.

  32. Stu, I realize that there is NO ARGUMENT WHATSOEVER to defend this behavior, but I don’t mind when Bonds wins it, and I mind when A-Rod wins it. I mean, Ortiz had a great year, and he meant much, much more to his team than A-Rod did, etc.

    But what it comes down to is, Bonds may be an asshole, but A-Rod’s a nard.

  33. The SEC is terrrible this year. LSU is the best team in the league this season and they lost to Tennessee. Texas and USC could beat any SEC team this year.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge SEC fan, but this is a really dwon year in the league. UGA, Florida, Carolina, LSU, Bama, Auburn, and probably Tennessee; are the only tesms going to a bowl and only one, SEC winner, is going to a BCS game (maybe Bama gets in one) We are not even going to fill our bowl tie-ins.

    SEC Rankings
    LSU
    Auburn
    Bama
    Carolina
    Georgia
    Florida
    Tennessee
    Vandy
    Arkansas
    Ole Miss
    Miss St
    Kentucky

    LSU is the head of the class by far. Auburn, Bama have struggled at points of the season. Carolina is the hottest team in the league. UGA is out of the SEC Championship game if they loose this weekend. Florida is getting worse. Tennessee needs some house cleaing done on their coaching staff ASAP! Vandy lost to MTSU! Arkansas is a year away. Ole Miss, Miss St., and Kentucky are terrible and would be dead last in any major confrence.

    The Big Ten has seven teams that could beat anyone in the country on any given day.

    The top three teams in the Pac-10 (USc, UCLA, and Oregon) would finish in the top 5 in the SEC.

    The ACC, is best confrence, has an outside shot of sending 9 teams to bowls. This would make up for the ones the SEC doesn’t get. Miami is arguably the best team in the country. Va Tech is a ligitament top 5 team.

  34. I like the ACC (Wahoowa!) but Duke is one of the worst teams in Division 1, easily worse than the bad SEC teams. *shudder*

  35. Alex, I sympathize, except I have conniption fits when either Bonds or PayRod wins the MVP. I can’t stand either one of them, and as far as I know, PayRod isn’t even the cheater that Bonds (allegedly…although I don’t believe there’s anything “alleged” about it) is. A cheater and a Yankee. I just can’t win!

    You know, I really don’t have a college football team. Going to a Division III school where the football team is routinely laughed at, there’s no allegiances there. I’m kind of following Notre Dame this year, now that Charlie Weis is coaching, and of course the Terps, being from Maryland, but I just don’t care like you guys do.

  36. I like the ACC (Wahoowa!) but Duke is one of the worst teams in Division 1, easily worse than the bad SEC teams. *shudder*

    A Pac-10 talking point. We don’t have a Duke or Kentucky or Indiana or Baylor. All the Pac 10 teams have had strong teams at some point in the recent past. No conference gimmes.

    The Big Ten has seven teams that could beat anyone in the country on any given day.

    Now this may be a little much. I’ll give you Penn State, Ohio State. Michigan, ok. Wisconsin maybe. Who are the other three? Some from the Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern group I guess. That’s not a strong group. The Big 10 is ok this year, nothing special.

    The ACC, is best confrence,

    I agree with this. The ACC is brutal. Like a North Carolina or a Maryland would be the second best team in the Big 12.

    LSU is the head of the class by far.

    I’m not even sure how good LSU is. ASU had them beat but for a miracle fourth and long pass and ASU is a middle of the road Pac 10 team. We’ll see come bowl season I guess.

  37. ASU was also playing at home against an LSU team that was fleeing hurricane devastation. Not a very fair comparison at that point in the season.

  38. Pac 10? Let’s play some head-to-head bowl games & see who’s better. The SEC doesn’t often tangle with the Pac 10, in fact the all-time bowl record is 8-5-2 in the SEC’s favor, but that includes really old Rose Bowls.

    And please, take that Big 10 talk back north. We play the Big 10 a lot in bowl games and most of them were in the past 20 years. You’d think you wouldn’t bring attention to SEC matchups because in head-to-head Bowl matchups with the SEC, you’ll need a decade of wins to catch up. Right now, you’re rocking a .373 Bowl clip vs the SEC, so settle down.

  39. per Rotoworld . . .

    “ESPN Radio 1000 is reporting that the Cubs are close to acquiring Juan Pierre from the Marlins for a pair of minor leaguers.

    No Corey Patterson? We hope the Cubs wouldn’t give up Felix Pie for one year of Pierre. Parting with pitching prospects, say Rich Hill along with Sean Marshall or Renyel Pinto, would be preferable. Nov. 14 – 7:27 pm et”

    Does this mean that they have given up on Furcal?
    How interesting…

  40. i can’t believe i saw houston nutt being praised here. he’s awful. listening to him talk football is like overhearing the guys in paint stained overalls at denny’s at 2 in the morning talk football. he’s a complete gomer.

  41. and, the only things the SEC is the best at are:

    1. historical racism
    2. institutionalized recruiting violations.

  42. Being a good football coach and an idiot are not necessarily mutually exclusive. At least in college. The most important part of a college football coach’s job, by far, is recruiting. The game management doesn’t come into play that much.

    I feel like I’ve said that before, for some reason. Hmm.

  43. “When we lose, we might wanna lose with some class. Auburn won the game fair & square, no sense in whining about it. ”

    Agreed. I was mostly just kidding and giving him a hard time, and im 100% in agreement w/ you that that game was ours to win and we didnt get the job done.

  44. Nutt wins at Arkansas. If you can get a guy to come to north west Arkansas to play football, you have to be doing something right.

  45. david15, you forgot:

    3) turning out NFL players
    4) beating up on other conferences
    5) attendance and fan passion
    6) money earned for the NCAA

  46. If the SEC is having a down year, it isn’t much of one. Tennessee and Florida are having down years (and one hopes that with the overhyped Meyers there for a while Florida and SC will swap places in the SEC hierarchy), and there’s no big, badass, undefeated team (mainly b/c UT beat LSU). UGA, LSU, Auburn, and even Alabama (at least prior to prothro and their Center getting hurt) could win any other conference in the nation (though I suppose none would be the favorite against USC).

    The ACC is overrated. They have Miami and FSU(which clearly ain’t all that) and then a bunch of mediocre teams that beat up on each other led by VaTech and Boston College (both of which are [or have been] way overrated).

    The PAC-10 (and I’ll grudgingly exclude USC from this) is also way overrated. UCLA, Cal, or Oregon wouldn’t finish in the top two of either SEC division in any year.

    And for the record, as to the UT=Texas comment, without Tennesse there would be no Texas.

  47. David, with you on Houston Nutt. The guy is a nut.

    I’m from Minnesota and we played Arkansas in one of the lower rung bowl games a few years back and beat the Razorbacks. Watching the game, I thought Nutt was a walking billboard for finding a cure for mental illness.

    One reason I don’t watch much football anymore is that almost all the coaches are complete a-holes. They act like straitjacket candidates.

    I was really pleased watching Richt and Tuberville the other night. I don’t know what they’re like in real life, but they seemed like gentlemen on the sidelines.

  48. what has nutt won at arkansas? The answer is one cotton bowl and one independence bowl. In seven years. The only thing Nutt has succeeded at is lowering expectations in Fayetteville.

    The SEC isn’t any more tradition rich than the other major conferences. They’re mostly about the same, though slightly better than both the Big Ten and the Pac Ten. But for every Alabama there’s a USC or an Oklahoma, for every Georgia a Texas and for every Tennessee a Nebraska.

    As for my being an idiot, is there even an argument to be made either of those things are untrue? The SEC was the last major conference to integrate. Hell, did any of the schools even have black students before 1960?

    As for dirty recruiting, that’s well known too. I regard Tennessee as being the dirtiest program in the country, mostly because Fulmer is a hypocrite as well. Alabama, though it’s the only program I have any respect for in the SEC, has had very recent problems as well. So has Kentucky. As has MSU. Georgia had huge problems in basketball.

    These things aren’t even disputable.

  49. Wait, Tennessee is the dirtiest program in the country, but you respect Alabama? WFT?! In the interests of peace and civility on this board we probably shouldn’t go there, but still . . .
    Yes, Fulmer is fat. Yes, our players have gotten in a lot of trouble in the last year or so for mostly little things (drunk in public, getting drunk and fighting, alcohol violations, discharging a firearm into the air for no reason, etc., you know little things that we all did in college). But no one’s ever accused us of buying players (at least no one with any evidence to back it up). Look, I’m sorry Logan Young cheated, I really am, but Phil was right to turn him in. Richt, Spurrier, Nutt, and other coaches all agreed that Phil was right to do it. That doesn’t make UT dirty. Look if UT was that dirty somebody from Alabama would have proven it by now.

  50. I respect Alabama historically. As in, while they still probably overstate their contributions to the game of football (what with all the fake national titles they claim) they have won a lot and have a case for being one of the top three or four programs in the country, historically. However, yes, they cheated, and big time.

    Fulmer isn’t without accusations himself, and I’d guess if you took a poll nationwide on dirtiest programs UT would be very close to the top because of it. Also, they just admitted to basketball violations involving boosters a couple weeks ago.

    Add that with this:

    “But during the last 16 months, players frequently have fallen through. Tennessee football players have been in at least 20 incidents involving shoplifting, assault, gun charges, motor vehicle citations, disturbing the peace and failing a drug test.”

    and clean is the last thing I’d call that program.

  51. That was only one booster with regard to a player who didn’t come to UT after we fired Michael Jordan’s caddy (whose watch it came under). Wasn’t bribery or benefits, if I recall, seems like he just mentioned Tennessee to the kid and asked if he was going to go there. Tennessee self-investigated and self-reported it, and it is exceedingly minor. They disassociated the booster as well.

    I’d like to see someone clean house a bit at UT, but Fulmer’s probably not the one to do it and his buyout is way too high to pay. The past year has been an anomaly in terms of legal problems, but he can’t let it keep getting worse (or stay the same).

  52. I assume this is just me, but I think Fulmer looks a lot like Fred Thompson.
    I’m kinda lonely being the only Clemson fan on this board. Pulling for them is a little like pulling for the Braves every year (in the sense that they have always let me down, except that ONE time!! – but Clemson doesn’t bother to win a division title every year).

  53. I had this same conversation with a Penn State guy at a sports bar in LA last week: Being sanctimonious about big-time college football is as pointless as getting mad at the weather.

    Running a successful program is all about getting talent & making money, folks. Root for your team, but if you get caught cheating, pay the piper. There’s not a major program in the country that doesn’t bent or break the rules to some degree.

    Also, I don’t get the significance of the Jim Crow Era-related comments. They may be true, but who cares? They’re not really germane to any conversation here. Herman Talmadge never coached the Dogs & George Wallace never coached the Tide.

  54. David,

    Houston Nutt has won an SEC West title. He never has great talent, but gets more out of his players than any coach in the country. If he was at Florida, they would have won two-three titles.

    Name one Tennessee major recruiting violation under Fulmer? The basketball thing is a misunderstanding and won’t even effect the program.

    Most big name schools have problems with athletes doing things they aren’t supost to. Fulmer has kicked quite a few off the team in the last few years as well.
    Brandon Johnson last years starting saftey-gone
    James Banks- 2003 leading reciever-gone
    The list goes on and on.
    Some of the players that have been arested, have not been proven guilty of anything. It is not a crime to get arested.

  55. Arkansas was Matt Jones last year, as was clearly evidenced by their loss to Vandy. ;)

    I do wish Vandy had beaten Kentucky so the game on Saturday would mean a bit more, but (sigh) it will probably be tough enough already.

  56. Yeha, Vandy was looking past Kentucky. It bit them in the ass. I think if they had won they would have beaten Tennessee, but now CLausen will lead the Vols to a 17-14 win.

  57. People are talking about the history of the SEC. It isn’t like these problems have been resolved in the conference. When was the first black head coach hired in the SEC?

    It’s important because a lot of the successes the SEC claims happened at a time where it was completely segregated, and venomously so. It’s a huge black eye on college football, in particular the SEC.

    For example, Alabama’s history is excellent almost completely because of the Bear Bryant tenure. How could that be discussed without acknowledging he didn’t have a black player before 1970?

    Since integration only Alabama has multiple national championships in the SEC. Not that the other schools won a lot before integration either, but come on, it’s impossible to talk about the history of football in the South without discussin racism.

  58. Smitty, I disagree about Nutt. For one, he’s had a few guys as talented as anyone in the SEC. Cedric Cobbs’s career was a joke compared to his talent, and Matt Jones was, to me, the most talented football player in the SEC last year. He’s actually won two SEC West titles, both in years where the SEC West was like the last two years’ Big 12 North. The program has regressed a great deal over the last three seasons, and that’s the greatest indictment on him

    As for Tennessee, Mac’s statement reflects my feelings on it. Nothing’s been proven, but a lot has been alleged. It would be unfair if the players behaved themselves after they were allegedly bought.

  59. Not to change the subject (meaning “to change the subject”), but that MNF game was pretty exciting. And I’m sorry, but Andy Reid should NOT have put Donovan McNabb back in the game. Any idiot could see he was seriously hurting, and then he got hit again. I felt this way last year when Belichick left Tom Brady in for 3 quarters in a completely meaningless season finale against the 49ers. It’s just ASKING for trouble, and trouble is what he got.

    But wow, talk about a timely interception. I hate both teams, but I loved that game.

  60. Changing the subject to anything involving Roy Williams is ok. I have an almost unhealthy love for the man.

  61. It might actually be easier to tell that McNabb wasn’t right on TV than it would be in person, in the excitement of the game. I was going to say that the backups are pretty lousy, but McMahon looked good on that final drive and the Eagles would have won if Brown (an SEC guy!) had caught the ball.

  62. I still don’t see how a civics lesson on Southern politics & culture relates to what happens on the field.

    And using “national championships” as a basis for any conversation on NCAA football is less than persuasive. Head-to-head competition is the only way you can determine who’s better, and there’s nothing in the history of human competition more bogus than Division 1 College Football “National Championships.” It’s the only title in American sports (pro or college) that’s awarded, not entirely earned.

    As long as voters have anything to do with it (and a real playoff is avoided), a spelling bee champion is more definitively determined.

  63. A lot of the “down years” are due to the difficulty of the SEC, if you aren’t at the top of your game it is going to VERY hard to escape with only two or three conf losses. SO while these teams (UT, Fla, esp.) are having a worse year it wouldn’t be as obviously worse if they were in a diff conf. Its dog eat dog, no pun intended.

    Hasn’t ARk had a bunch of gun arrests the last few years as a whole? thats kind of disturbing.
    I dont think Nutt isa bad coach (and i do think ARk is one of the harder jobs in the conf) but he has let the program slip the last few years

  64. It’s impossible to just use head to head. For one, college football is a regional sport. It isn’t as much anymore, but it always has been. With that being the case, there aren’t enough inter-sectional matchups to go by. Is the Big 12 better this year than the Big 10 because Texas beat Ohio St. and Iowa St. dominated Iowa?

    Even still, the sec doesn’t have the best bowl record of any conference in history. It has the most wins, mostly because it’s been around forever and has 50 more games to its credit. All the conferences are pretty much the same with their bowl records. None are below 45% and none above 53% winning percentage.

    If we stick to this year, there’s no conference clearly better and none clearly worse than the others. The Big Ten and SEC are deeper than the other conferences, but the others are stronger at the top. The Big 12 is really down this year, but it’s still not clear it’s any worse than the Big 10.

    Historically, Alabama is the only school in the SEC that even belongs in a conversation with either Oklahoma or Nebraska. And the same can be said for Texas as well, just to a lesser extent.

  65. Regional schmegional. Head-to-head and a playoff is the only real way to determine anything in any sport. As long as voters have anything to do with it, “mythical national championship” will remain mythical.

    Therefore, as long as we have these silly bowls, let’s use them for something useful–determining the best conferences.

    Eg.-Is the SEC better than the Big 10? How does a 31 (SEC) to 16 (Big 10) bowl record strike you? I’m not talking about one early season game here between Vandy & Northwestern or a made-for-TV tilt between LSU and OSU. This is a pattern of results mostly collected in the last 15-20 years. These are the best teams of one conference playing season finales against the best teams of another conference.

    Again, as an example, Georgia didn’t just beat Wisconsin in its bowl game last year, they’re 6-0 all-time in bowl games vs. Big 10 teams. When the Big 10 beats them it’ll be the first time.

    The only Big 10 team with a winning bowl record vs. the SEC is Michigan. So from the results, I’ll concede that perhaps they can play in our conference.

  66. Overall, UT has been particularly good vs. the Big 10 in bowl games. But, personally, I enjoyed that ’86 Sugar Bowl where UT smacked Miami.

  67. penn state has a winning bowl record against the sec.

    anyway, being that the bowls where the sec matches up against the big ten are all played in sec land, i’d expect them to have an edge in those games. my god, i’m defending the big ten. i hate the big ten. it’s a conference that never wins anything but always acts like it’s god’s gift to football.

  68. I stand corrected: Since it joined the Big 10, Penn State is exactly 3-2 vs the SEC in Bowl Games (wins vs. UT, UK & Aub; losses to UF & Aub).

    Funny, I still don’t think of Penn St. as a Big 10 team, kinda like I don’t consider South Carolina or Arkansas to be SEC teams (or whatever the ACC has become).

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