Tuesday, July 20, 2010

family conversations, 2010 version, part 1

With SEC Media Days looming, it seems like the perfect time to break out my much-beloved time-honored stopgap: "Family Conversations," or me trading emails with my cousin's husband (cousin-in-law?) Jamie (whose family blog you can find here). Jamie, you'll discern quickly, is an Auburn devotee, though he falls on the "sane, mature" side of fandom (much better than some others). We'll try to update this thread regularly. Please feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section, or argue with me directly by finding me on twitter.

Jamie: Once again God's greatest worldly gift is closing in. Getting down to business:

The SEC is not where it once was. I believe there is a gap between Bama and Florida. Then a world of difference between the next best team in the conference, which would probably go to LSU, which is scary. Of the typical "top 6" in the sec, only 3 deserve top 25 consideration. Arky is everyone's flavor of the month so they will be ranked I imagine. Speaking of Arky, I am not sure yet if I am a believer. They have what it takes offensively but can they get good enough on D? I think they could grab 8-4 with some luck.

In the West I have this:
1) Alabama 11-1 Losing McClain and Arenas will be worth one loss somewhere
2) Auburn 9-3 Very favorable home schedule. If some teams fail to meet expectation it may be better. If new QB doesn't play to expetation, could be worse.
3) Arkansas 8-4 Getting better. If defense is there could easily finish 2nd.
4) LSU 7-5 In 2011 yet another team will be asking the question "Why again did we hire Miles?"
5) Miss St 6-6 Bowling doggies
6) Ole Miss 5-7 McClusterlessed

East: (many out on a limbs here)
Florida 10-2 Good enough to get to Atl but lost alot especially in defense
S Carolina 9-3 Because everyone else in the league is worse
Kentucky 8-4 See above
Georgia 6-6 In my mind UGA is finished. Way too much off the field issues to be focused on football. Seems to me the stunts Richt pulled in 2007 to get his players motivated caused some sort of lack of dicipline that he has not been able to regain.
Tenn 5-7 That program is in a world of hurt currently
Vandy 1-11 ..........................
Bama rolls to another SEC championship and likely another BCS appearance. Offense only gets better and defense will still be very good
will: Count me among the people who aren't quite ready for 2010 to start just yet. I love football (and SEC football the most), but last season was so special, and so many things went right ... I mean, whatever happens this time around can't hope to match it, right?
As for the standings, the "gap" in the SEC is a tad overrated. Florida and Alabama could both be had; it's not too much of a stretch to say someone will beat them this fall. The problem is finding out who can overtake them — for every contender, there's at least one discernable flaw you can't get over.
My standings:
1. Florida. I can't figure who's beating them.
2. Georgia. Yes, the Richt regime is full of cracks. But they still have athletes at every position, and if they upgrade at all on defense ... eh, you're right. They'll probably keep sliding.
3. South Carolina. One caveat: is it possible this is the year of Carolina? I mean, they just won the first national championship for the school in ... like, ever. That's not a positive omen?
4. Tennessee. I'd feel bad for them, but I just don't have it in me.
5. Kentucky. Randall Cobb & Derrick Locke are two of my favorite players in the SEC. Glad they're off our schedule.
6. Vandy. Whatever.
1. Alabama. Remains to be seen what will come of this Dareus mess. Will get better as the year goes on, but may lose early either at Arkansas or South Carolina.
2. Auburn. There was something deeper than pure depth problems on defense last year. Fundamentally, Auburn was bad on defense — out of position frequently and a poor tackling team. More curious considering a relatively successful defensive coach runs the show. Of course ...
3. Arkansas. If they can stop anybody ... I mean, do I even need to say it?
4. LSU. An outstanding post about the '09 Bengal Tigers today at Dr. Saturday. They're a mess. I think Les Miles' destiny is to be the anti-Nick Saban. Nobody can do less with more.
5. 6. Mississippi State/Ole Miss. Whatever twice over.

Jamie: Individual players to watch.

Tim Tebow has to be considered a heisman candi.....wait a minute.

Randall Cobb will have the ball in his hands enough at UK to become a very well known name this year.

Mark Richardson, or Trent Ingram...that dude is a freak whoever his name is.

Darvin Adams was a forgotten soul last year. Didn't make any post season All-SEC team. If he has another year like that he should finish top 5 for SEC offensive player of the year (60 rec. 997 yds 10 tds) More than AJ Green and Julio Jones in all 3 categories. Before the "system" argument comes, Chris Todd attempted 3 more passes than G Mcelroy on 2009 and 6 less than Joe Cox.

Marcel Darius is the Best DL in the League. Maybe the best defensive player period. Stud.
(Note: This, obviously, came before we started hearing about these agent dealings.)
will: You're not going to even bring up Cam Newton's potential impact at Auburn? Fine, I'll do it.

My other favorite player coming back (potentially) is Dont'a Hightower, a physical freak who can play anywhere on the field. Assuming he can come back and play full-speed and with great confidence off the injury, he'll be all-SEC by the end of the year.

And no one's going to mention AJ Green? Or Julio?

Jamie: Follow up Points:
What teams, if any, would you as commissioner like to see added to the league?
will: For history purposes, the obvious answer is Georgia Tech. But it's not clear how much this would mean to the conference in revenue: Tech plays in a 50,000-seat building that rarely sells out (think Vandy, only slightly better). Miami is very similar; curiously, the football program cultivated a thuggish image almost completely inconsistent with the school's academic reputation. But, what the hell? Let's invite Tech, Miami, FSU and take the massive payout to add Memphis! We'll have more scandals than the Dallas Cowboys.

Jamie: Who is the biggest name coach that you could see realistically coaching at Vandy?
will: I'm tempted to say Mike Leach. Really. He's just off the wall enough to motivate Vandy's unique fan base and would make the most of the kids he recruits. Plus, his system is just quirky enough to pull off one or two "shocking" upsets" per year? On the other hand, Vandy's administration is a tad heavy-handed (remember: no athletic department there, have to answer to the president directly). That may not work for a free spirit like Leach.
Just for fun, wouldn't you like to see someone like Tommy Bowden land there? Maybe it'll never happen, but it's fun to dream, right?

My follow-ups:
• You've had a year to see Gus Malzahn on a week-in, week-out basis. Thoughts? And don't hold back.
• Give me three non-Auburn/Bama games you'd like to see this season. Sky's the limit.
• What are your thought on Agent Armageddon? Do we have a chance?

No comments: