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Those fan reactions terrify me. Remind me not to watch the game on Saturday with any Auburn fans.
I'm sure they are good people, but it doesn't seem like you'd want to be around them in the 4th quarter of a big game.
1 year, 2 months ago on Alabama Fan Starts Online Petition To Play Iron Bowl Overtime
I'm a bit of a contrarian here, but I actually don't even think UK is the favorite to win the SEC. When you look at what Florida is returning, and the fact that Billy Donovan is their coach, all the time I'm leaning more towards the Gators being the top team in the SEC, at least in the preseason. We can say all we want about "greatest recruiting class ever" but that will be proven when they demonstrate that in tough games against the elite of the league next year-and not a moment before. Kentucky should be really good by the time it's over, but with the exception of 2012, when you're dealing with freshman, you're gonna start slow. Don't be shocked to see them lose a few games out of conference, before they get going and finally challenge Florida later in the season. What's a lot more important to me than their incoming recruiting class is how well their returners can develop into the "upperclassmen" leaders that have aided the freshman and made the program successful in the past. If that doesn't happen, Kentucky could easily underperform and lose 7-8 games next season, great recruiting class and all.
But they will NOT be in the NIT. That I feel confident saying.
1 year, 10 months ago on How Much Better Will SEC Hoops Be Next Season? Uh, Probably Not Much
Three ranked teams would be a nice improvement over last year with just one ranked team at the end of the season....If both Kentucky and Florida can live up to top-five expectations, then the top of the league should be really good. I think Tennessee is about right at #17. But even though Trevor Lacy left Alabama, they still have quite a bit coming back from a pretty solid team last season. I think they'll be a fourth tournament team, and in/around the lower reaches of the top 25 much of the year. Vandy improved a lot in the second half of last season and seemingly will return everyone. Kevin Stallings is a quality coach and I would be pretty surprised if they were not the fifth team in the tourney. Ole Miss has Marshall Henderson back, and will dangerous. And you can't count out Mizzou, even with the loss of Phil Pressey. Our guards should be really good, between Earnest Ross, Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson, and Wes Clark. Our frontcourt will probably determine whether we get back to the tournament, and that's going to fall largely on highly rated incoming recruit Johnathan Williams III. And LSU returns almost everyone from a team that won 19 games.
So I can name 8 teams right now that I think have a legitimate chance to make the tourney. All eight won't make it, of course. Missouri, Ole Miss, and LSU are all questionable and probably have something like a 30-40% chance to get in. But I think we'll see 5-6 teams in and some elite teams at the top. I do think the expectations should be pretty high for the conference heading into next year. The Big Ten should still be pretty strong, and the ACC should be much better with Syracuse and Pitt. But after that, the Big 12 looks to be very down, and the Pac-12 probably isn't a serious factor beyond Arizona. I don't think either of the "Big Easts" (the actual Big East or the American Athletic Conference) will have much depth behind 3-4 tournament teams each. So I think the SEC should expect to slide in behind the Big Ten and ACC as the third best conference next season. Anything less would be a huge disappointment.
I can say as a Missouri fan that any talk of a move to the Big Ten (or any other conference) is pretty ridiculous. There were more than a few Mizzou fans who originally wanted to be in the Big Ten, but the thought of uprooting ourselves yet AGAIN is extraordinarily unappealing. We know we can compete in the SEC. One rough season doesn't make that a real concern for anyone but the most fainthearted of our fans. And much more importantly we don't want to become nomads in the conference realignment game. Again, it's not happening. I realize that after last season, few people in the SEC outside of Columbia are enthused about Mizzou....but I'm afraid ya'll are stuck with us for the foreseeable future.
1 year, 10 months ago on Sources: The Big Ten Did Expansion “Homework” On Vanderbilt, Kansas & Oklahoma
I certainly don't mind my team playing a couple of cupcakes. We are guaranteed 4 quality home games in the SEC as it is, and every year we play a major conference team, along with one solid mid-major. At least one of those two games will be at home, so there's usually a minimum of 5 really good home games. That's enough to keep most fans interested. So here is how Mizzou schedules generally....one FCS cupcake, one FBS cupcake, one major conference school, and one difficult mid-major (usually one of the top teams from the Mountain West or MAC.) That seems about right for me, and when you combine that with a very tough conference schedule, a 7 or 8 win season feels pretty legitimate.
I'll use basketball as an example....Just about everyone has about half of their non-conference games against total cupcakes that there's no way they'll lose to. Another quarter will be against tough mid-majors. The final quarter will be against premier opponents. That seems about right to me. What I'm saying, is if you have only 4 cupcakes out of conference, then that's just dumb. Ticket sales go down, and you put yourself in a position where your final record is a total fraud, where you might go 4-0 out of conference and only win 1 or 2 SEC games. But it's just as ridiculous to come up with a non-conference schedule involving three or four top 25 teams. That's called recklessly exposing your program to an extent that no responsible schedule maker would. So for your average program, I think the right strategy is two challenging opponents (whether major conference or good mid-majors) and two cupcakes if you play in a tough league. If you really think your team will be in consideration for the playoff, then schedule more aggressively than what I just stated. Different programs have different goals, and should have the freedom to schedule accordingly. 9 conference games just doesn't allow that to any measurable extent. That's why I'm opposed.
1 year, 10 months ago on SEC Schedule Debate: What Does “Strength Of Schedule” Mean?
I think 8 conference games is about perfect. Part of the fun from a fan's perspective is playing new/random teams every year, and if there are only 2-3 non-conference games that's going to be seriously reduced. I really doubt teams will stop scheduling at least 1 FCS cupcake a year (if not FCS, then a team from the very dregs of the FBS), and most schools will also play a second relatively easy game against a team from the Sun Belt/MAC/Conference USA. For everyone but the Alabamas and LSUs of the world, that makes since. If you're searching for 6 or 8 wins it simply doesn't make sense to have 10 or 11 tough teams on the schedule. If you think you're going to qualify for the 4 team playoff and you're worried about SOS, then schedule 4 tough teams out of conference. Play Notre Dame or Louisville or Texas instead of whatever Sun Belt team you have on the schedule now. And let everyone else who just wants to get to bowl game schedule how they need to.
Also, if you expand the schedule to 9 games, you're at most going to get 1 non-conference game against a major opponent, if even that. So the Georgias, Floridas and South Carolinas of the world will be playing their rival and two cupcakes most every year. Same for Mizzou whenever Kansas decides to play us again. Which means there's no chance to play a random/fun game against a team from the Pac-12, ACC or the Big 12 if teams want to, and I'm not sure that's what anyone wants.
In defense of Mizzou....
Our spring game, for some reason totally unknown to me, was basically as hidden from public view as much as possible. It was almost as if the university did not want people to show up. There was almost 0 promotion and you had to dig fairly deep on the athletic site to even find out the date/time of the game. They just made no attempt to create any "buzz" about the game. So I'm guessing that some people that would have normally shown up didn't even know when the game was going to be. This may have something to do with the fact that half of our stadium is essentially closed off due to renovations. So even if the place had been filled to capacity there's no way that more than about 35000 could have shown up. Just not an ideal set of circumstances overall.
Mizzou's stadium when renovated will be very much in the middle of the SEC with a capacity of about 76000. We'll always be behind Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, and Florida in attendance....but we'll be in the same neighborhood as Arkansas, South Carolina, and Auburn. And well ahead of Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Vandy. Even when we had the 70,000 person stadium it was hard to say we were the ones bringing the averages down, with Kentucky, Vanderbilt (about half the size of the old Faurot Field), and Ole Miss all lower than that. Just sayin'.
1 year, 10 months ago on Final SEC Spring Game Attendance Numbers Are Out