The SEC Coaching Carousel: Familiar Faces in New Places

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Mike Slive, the godfather of SEC football.

Since the SEC coaching carousel has stopped spinning, we thought it would be appropriate to welcome some (sort of) familiar faces into their new Southeastern Conference home.

Pig Sooie
Arkansas: Bret Bielema- The former Wisconsin head coach spent seven years watching Badger fans at Camp Randall Stadium jump around.  Bielema helped Wisconsin become a perennial BCS contender by beating up on the Big Ten. Former Arkansas head coach John L. Smith did little to make Arkansas seem like an attractive destination, but consistent winning will help coach Bielema get more Razorbacks in the hog pen. As documented by Sports Illustrated, the new Grand Poobah of Pig football has been accused of being a bit of a jerk when he gets a big lead.

War Damn Malzahn
Auburn: Gus Malzahn- What a kick in Gene Chizik’s ass this hire had to be. After watching Chizik flounder in two seasons without Cam Newton, Auburn decided to give Gus Malzahn the keys to the War Eagle mobile. In 2010, Gus Malzahn was the offensive coordinator for Gene Chizik when the Tigers rode on Cam Newton’s back all the way to the top of college football and captured the national championship.

Much to Auburn’s chagrin, “Chiz” has completely totaled the War Eagle car since then, prompting Auburn to take away the keys. Hiring Malzahn should prove to be a wise choice for Tiger nation, but anything is better than that prick Bobby Petrino landing another SEC gig. More on Bob-O next week.

From A Joker To A Stoop
mark_stoopsKentucky
: Mark Stoops- The younger brother of Bob and Mike finally gets his opportunity to be a head coach as the Stoops family tree branches to the SEC. Unfortunately for coach Stoops, he takes over a Kentucky program that is unquestionably a basketball school. However, when Kentucky Wildcat fans are not encouraging coach John Calipari to take full advantage of the one year rule to win a championship in college basketball, they are delusional enough to expect Kentucky football to compete in a bowl game on a yearly basis. Good luck, coach Stoops. You are going to need it.

The Ghost of Phillip Fulmer
butch_jonesTennessee: Butch Jones- Butch Jones says goodbye to the Big East, and hello to the Southeastern Conference. Jones will be the third football coach to attempt to scare away the ghost of Phillip Fulmer. We are certainly not Tennessee fans, but it has been fun watching the Volunteers continue to fall after being so impatient with coach Fulmer. Tennessee has the passing game to compete with anybody in the country, but the Vols’ suspect defense and lack of a running game has prevented them from being a factor in the SEC for the last several years.

Will Butch Jones have any better luck in Knoxville than Derrick Dooley or Lane Kiffin? Consider this: Butch Jones never won the outright Big East title at Cincinnati with talent that Brian Kelly recruited. He now finds himself in the best college football conference in America, in the SEC East coaching against three potential top ten teams moving forward. The rocky road is likely to continue in good ole’ Rocky Top.

Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary (November 18 – 20, 2011)

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Georgia looks to end the 2011 season where it began

The third Saturday in November brings an opportunity for redemption for the Georgia Bulldogs. The Dawgs host the Kentucky Wildcats with a birth in the SEC Championship game hanging in the balance for Georgia. The Bulldogs have  everything to gain with a win, but plenty to lose if they overlook the Wildcats. Sanford Stadium will be packed for Georgia’s final home game of 2011, as the Bulldogs look to punch their ticket back to the Georgia Dome.

Elsewhere in the Southeastern Conference, the regular season is beginning to wind down. Teams such as LSU and Alabama are looking to bring the SEC a sixth straight BCS National Championship, while teams like Vanderbilt are trying to get bowl eligible. The Commodores travel to Neyland stadium to face their in-state rival Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee is 4-6 on the season, and in last place in the SEC East in year two under Derrick Dooley.  While the son of the Georgia coaching legend deserves more time to turn things around, the final two games of the Vols’ regular season could go a long way in determining how much longer Dooley Jr. gets.

In other parts of the country, teams are jockeying for position in the Bowl Championship Series standings. #4 Oregon hosts USC in Eugene, and Chip Kelly’s Ducks will be looking to win with style as they audition for the role of the best one loss team in college football. If Oklahoma State or LSU loses before bowl season, the best one loss team is likely to claim a spot in the national championship game.

Speaking of Oklahoma State, The Cowboys travel to Iowa State tonight to take on the Cyclones. The chances of a Cowboy loss tonight are slim at best, but stranger things have happened in college football. (Note: I have just learned of the tragic plane crash involving Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke, and his assistant Miranda Serna. My condolences to all affected by this terrible loss.)

As for the other team in Oklahoma, The Sooners visit Baylor on Saturday night. The game is Robert Griffin III’s best chance to get back in the Heisman race. “RG3″ has been spectacular this season. However, he does not have enough help to beat the Oklahoma Sooners. Boomer Sooner will eat the Bears.

As for the pro game, The Atlanta Falcons are coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to their NFC South rival New Orleans Saints. Atlanta is just 1-2 against their division this season. In order to repeat as the NFC South champion the Falcons need to own their division down the stretch. Cue the “Rise up” video.



This week the Falcons host Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans. Atlanta is currently fourth in the NFL against the run, but that stat is misleading given the success that opposing teams have had through the air against the Dirty Birds. Atlanta faces an elite running back for the next two weeks. (Adrian Peterson next week) It is critical that the run defense lives up to their ranking, because it will be tested in the next few outings.

Other Sunday grid iron offerings include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trying to beat the streak as they face the Packers at Lambeau Field. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers may be public enemy #1 for what he has done to Atlanta lately, but it is hard not to admire the astonishing numbers he is putting up this season. Green Bay is 9-0 and a strong candidate to repeat as super bowl champions.

Picks– College Football

USC travels to Eugene, Oregon to face the quack attack. The Ducks will pound the Trojans into submission. This one will be closer than the final score indicates. Oregon 38, USC 21

Arkansas beats Mississippi State, setting up a showdown with LSU next week. Arkansas 34, Mississippi State 13

Tennessee desperately needs to win at home to salvage some sort of pride in a season gone horribly wrong. The Volunteers are 0-6 in conference play. Conversely, things are looking up for the Commodores since Jordan Rodgers became the starter. Vanderbilt wins because they really want to go bowling. Vanderbilt 21, Tennessee 17

Oklahoma goes bear hunting at Baylor Saturday night. Robert Griffin is very talented and may have a future on Sundays. However, Baylor is giving up 36 points per game on defense. Oklahoma 64, Baylor 28

Georgia will clinch the SEC East with a win at home against Kentucky. The Wildcats have been tame, and Kentucky will need to find a quarterback in the off-season to be competitive in the SEC going forward. The Dawgs will win big and complete their road to redemption. Georgia 42, Kentucky 10

NFL Picks

The 5-4 Atlanta Falcons host the 5-4 Tennessee Titans in a rare 4:15 Georgia Dome kickoff.  Falling to 5-5 in front of a loud Atlanta crowd would be disastrous for the Dirty Birds. Falcons win to stay in the thick of the crowded NFC playoff race. Atlanta 28, Tennessee 17 

Tampa Bay Travels to Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is playing quarterback better than anyone else I have ever seen right now.  The Packers will take their win streak to double digits. Let the quest for perfection begin. Green Bay 31, Tampa Bay 21

The Redskins and Cowboys renew their rivalry this week. “America’s team” is struggling to live up to high preseason expectations as they sit at 5-4. Tony Romo has to find a way to come up big if the Boys’ are going to make a playoff run. Cowboys beat the Redskins. Washington needs an actual quarterback. Dallas 35, Washington 17

The Giants face the Eagles Sunday Night. G-Men win. Giants 27, Eagles 20

Finally, Kansas City travels to New England on Monday night. Tom Brady’s bunch wins. New England 35, Kansas City 14

Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary (November 4 – 6, 2011)

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The "Mad Hatter" looks to stay on top Saturday night.

With the World Series wrapping up last week, and the National Basketball Association embroiled in a lockout, the eyes of the sports world are firmly fixed on the gridiron for the first weekend of November. College football is expecting an epic tidal wave when LSU and Alabama clash in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night. As for Georgia, the Dawgs have a proverbial cheap date for homecoming, as they host the Aggies between the hedges.

In the pros, the Falcons are coming off of a bye-week as they travel to Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have not won a game as they have been unable to strike it rich at home, or anywhere else, without franchise quarterback Peyton Manning. Indianapolis would gladly settle for hunting the Dirty Birds, but the Falcons get Julio Jones back this week as they prepare to make a playoff push. It should be an easy weekend for both Dawgs and Falcons alike.

The most important game of the weekend for Georgia football fans will not directly involve the Dawgs or the Falcons. As painful as it is to cheer for Bobby Petrino, it has never been more appropriate. Bob-O and his Razorbacks host the South Carolina Gamecocks in that other Saturday night top ten match-up. If Arkansas can win, Georgia will be in first place atop the SEC East all by themselves with just two conference games to play. No matter which team is victorious, I hope there is a camera man constantly trained on Petrino and Steve Spurrier to catch all the red faced, yelling, and visor throwing goodness that is sure to ensue in this pivotal match-up.



Now for the Saturday Night Main Event–LSU and Alabama finally meet in a #1 vs #2 showdown that the college football world has been waiting for. Both of these teams have been destroying the competition thus far this season. LSU’s closest game was a 13 point win over Oregon. The margin was 20 until the Ducks scored a touchdown with 13 seconds left. The tide has also been rolling as well. with their slimmest margin of victory coming in week two with a 16 point victory against Penn State.

While Trent Richardson is the best offensive player on the field, the Tigers will be up to the task of keeping the Alabama tailback in check. Jarret Lee has made Tiger fans forget his early struggles at LSU, as he has thrown just one interception this year. However, that stat could be a jinx if the senior quarterback is not careful on Saturday night.

Still, I’m going with the visiting Tigers to pull off the upset. LSU currently sits as a five point underdog, but they are a little more well balanced on offense than Alabama. Jordan Jefferson can provide a good duel threat option under center if the Tide swallows Jarret Lee. Alabama and LSU seem to be a notch above everyone else at this point. It is a shame for college football fans that these two juggernauts only get one shot at each other.

Picks–College Football

Georgia will be without any of their usual options at running back for Homecoming against New Mexico State. Even so, The Dawgs will smoke the Aggies. (pun intended). Georgia 42, New Mexico State 13

Vanderbilt heads to the Swamp where the Gators are desperately looking for something to eat. Jordan Rodgers is fun to watch at quarterback, and no amount of Florida suffering is enough. Poor Will Muschamp– I wonder if he is beginning to long to be back with the Longhorns?  Sadly, the Gators will get a much needed win. Florida 24, Vanderbilt 17

The #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys host the #14 Kansas State Wildcats. Oklahoma skinned the Cats last week. The Cowboys will pick up where the Sooners left off. Oklahoma State 48, Kansas State 27

The Razorbacks host the Gamecocks in a contest that is potentially as important to the Georgia Bulldogs as it is to either team playing in the game. Arkansas wins, somewhat soothing the Dawgs’ wound from the four plays of doom. Arkansas 28, South Carolina 24

The “Game of the Century” emanates live from Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Saturday night. The time for talk is over. The Tigers win in a battle that is likely to be remembered as the college football game of the year even after the bowls are over. LSU 24, Alabama 21

NFL quick picks

Falcons win on the road at Indianapolis. Atlanta 31, Colts 10

The Giants and Patriots get it on in a Superbowl XLII rematch. Behold– David Tyree’s catch from that game.



New England 28, New York 17

Denver got a glimpse of how far Tim Tebow has to go in his development as a quarterback against Detroit last week. Tebow is very likeable but that won’t help him bounce back against the Bengals. Oakland 34, Denver 14


The Sunday night game is the best NFL game of the week on paper as the Ravens play on the road at Pittsburgh. The game caps off two great nights of football.  Pittsburgh 24, Baltimore 20

Finally, Philadelphia hosts the Monday night game. The Eagles beat the Bears to even their record on the year.  Philadelphia 31, Chicago 21

Enjoy the weekend. GO DAWGS AND HOGS!