Category Archives: Football News

Missouri officially accepts bid to join SEC

Just yesterday the Missouri Tigers officially joined the SEC, bringing the number of member institutions to 14.  The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Missouri Student Center.  The excited crowd was busy chanting S-E-C right up until school Chancellor Brady Deaton took the podium.  Other speakers included Mizzou AD Mike Alden, SEC Board President Bernie Machen, and SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.

The new SEC logo, with additions for Texas A&M and Missouri

Missouri will join the SEC, leaving the Big 12, just as Texas A&M did only a month ago.  It appears that in 2012, Mizzou’s first season, that they will be a part of the Eastern Division.  Nevermind that Columbia is the third most westerly school location.  Putting Missouri in the East keeps Alabama and Auburn in the same division and preserves the annual end of the year showdown known as the Iron Bowl.  Plans for future realignment could still be seen later down the road.

I would like to extend a warm welcome to both Missouri and Texas A&M.  Glad to have these two institutions as part of the best conference in college football.  But now gentlemen, you will now need to up your game.  Losing to the likes of Baylor, Kansas St, and Arizona St (Missouri), and getting beaten by Oklahoma by 16 (Texas A&M) might fly in the Big 12 but you will be representing the SEC next season and that will not cut it.

-Jeff

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LSU @ Bama key match up: LSU’s passing attack vs Bama’s secondary

Sr Jarrett Lee has been exactly what LSU needed this season.  When Jordan Jefferson went through his pre-season legal troubles, many (including myself) wrote off Jarrett Lee and LSU’s national title hopes as a whole.  In that post I said, “Lee has a career stat line that has more interceptions than tds and a completion percentage close to 50”.  But for this season Lee has been on fire.  On the year Lee has 13 touchdowns passing (3rd in SEC) compared to only 1 interception (best among SEC starters); as well as a completion percentage of 63.2% (3rd in SEC).  He has a passer rating of 157.4 which is good enough for 13th nationally (2nd in SEC) and has only been sacked 4 times all season.  No one outside of Louisiana thought that Lee would be this good.  If you knew this was coming then either A) you need to take a little trip with me to Vegas, or B) you are a liar.

But lets not also forget that LSU has the winningest and most dangerous backup QB in the entire country, and a head coach that will definitely be putting both of them to use in this game.  Jordan Jefferson in his limited playing time since being back from suspension has only thrown 10 passes, but has completed 6 of them, 2 for touchdowns.  On top of Jefferson’s passing ability, he is a threat to run (111 yards on 26 carries, 2 tds).  The hat will give the Tide defense large doses of both quarterbacks, but do not be surprised if this is the most playing time Jefferson has seen all year (20+ snaps).

Lee has been accurate and done well protecting the football, and Jefferson adds the threat of running with the ball as well as big game experience.  Neither QB shys away from hitting multiple receivers in crucial situations as 8 different receivers have caught touchdown passes this season.

As stated, LSU has no shortage of talented receivers, but the big play maker out wide for the Tigers this season has been Rueben Randle.  Randle has caught 7 of 16 receiving touchdowns and has proven that he can score from anywhere on the field. Of those tds, 4 have come from in the red zone, the other 3 have all been from over 40 yards out.  Randle leads the team in touchdowns but also receptions with 33 and yards with 638, and averages nearly 20 yards a catch, 80 yards a game.  He is also coming off his biggest game of the year two weeks ago vs Auburn; his stat line is an impressive 5 receptions for 106 yards (21.2 avg) and 2 tds.

Other talented wide outs in the Tigers stable include Odell Beckham Jr (27 rec, 334 yds, 2 tds), TE Deangelo Peterson (12 rec, 137 yds, 1td), and last years leading receiver Russell Shepard (9 rec, 116 yds, 2 tds) who had to sit out the first three games due to NCAA rules violations.

Looking to stop this dangerous LSU passing game will be the stout Alabama secondary that ranks 2nd nationally in completion percentage against (48.15%), total passing yards (1085), passing yards per game (135.63), and 1st in passing tds allowed (4).  These stats are even more impressive when you factor in that most teams were forced to throw in second halves of games because they were down by so much.  In only 3 games this season has Bama not been up by 14 at the half, tied with Tennessee, and up by 10 on both Arkansas and Ole Miss.  By the end of the 3rd quarters of those games the Alabama leads had grown to 21 (Tenn), 24 (Ark), and 38 (Miss).  Basically there has not been a game that wasn’t out of hand by the 4th, so teams have been looking to complete passes, they just haven’t.

The veteran defensive backfield is led by first team all-American Sr safety Mark Barron.  Barron is in his third year as a starter and has been one of the best defensive backs in the country in his time at Alabama, racking up first team all-SEC honors for both previous seasons.  If LSU was looking to stay away from Barron, they will not find a much easier battle against Bama’s other safety, Jr Robert Lester.  Lester was himself a first team all-SEC preseason selection.  Head coach Nick Saban likes to mix up his coverages and the safeties could be anywhere on the field for any given play.  Their job descriptions include everything from playing deep coverage, tight man coverage, to gap assignments and blitzes.  The safeties are Saban’s most versatile and therefore unpredictable defensive weapons.  If you have any questions about their play-making abilities, please refer to the pictures provided.

Dre Kirkpatrick and DeQuan Menzie will have the duties on the outside for the Tide.  Both are capable corners that excel at man coverage, but also play well as part of a zone.  Both are physical players and they will be looking to disrupt the LSU receivers at the line of scrimmage.  LSU’s receivers will have to be just as physical to get a clean release if they want to be able to find soft spots in the Alabama defense before the pass rush finds the quarterback.

As good as the Alabama defensive backfield has been, the main priority in Tuscaloosa is and always will be stopping the run.  Many plays will see one or both safeties up near the line of scrimmage.  Look for LSU to try deep throws early and often, especially off of play action to try and open the field up and keep those safeties in coverage.  Odds are that at some point the hat will get Randle loose at least once, and the Tigers will capitalize.  Edge to Louisiana State.

-Jeff

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LSU @ Bama key matchup: Bama’s rushing attack vs. LSU’s front 7

#1

#2

You cannot understate the importance of this weeks game between LSU and Alabama, especially here in the South.  Not only is it #1 vs #2, but the winner of this game has gone on to play for the SEC championship 4 out of the last 6 years.  No doubt both teams will be ready with both teams coming off of bye weeks.  This will be an epic game, and the key match ups will help determine the outcome.  This will be the first in a short series on those key match ups.  First up, Bama’s rushing attack vs. LSU’s front seven.

Leading the Tide’s rushing attack is Heisman Trophy candidate Trent Richardson.  Currently, Richardson is ranked 8th nationally (1st in SEC) in total yards (989), ranked 3rd nationally (1st in SEC) in touchdowns (17), and averages 6.6 yards a carry.  The combination of power, speed, and elusiveness that Richardson brings is seldom seen.  The first tackler rarely gets him to the ground, and he is always falling forward for that extra yard or two.

Things will not get much easier for the LSU D when Richardson needs a breather.  Second string runner Eddie Lacy is a load himself and is ranked 3rd nationally in average yards per carry (8.0).  Overall the Bama running game is quite formidable.  They have two quality running backs that have the strength to run inside and the quickness to get to the edge.

Also, the big boys in the trenches love clearing the way for whoever is in the backfield.  The line is led by three year starter, senior center William Vlachos.  Joining him are guards Chance Warmack (Jr) and Anthony Steen (So), and tackles Barrett Jones (Jr) and D.J. Fluker (So).  Together they make for one of the nations top run blocking units. Bama is ranked 14th nationally in rushing yards per game with 229.3.  That number gets them a #1 ranking in the SEC.  Other rushing stats that Alabama ranks first in the SEC are yards (1834), touchdowns (27), and yards per carry (5.8).

Obviously the LSU defense has their work cut out for themselves, but Les Miles knows what he is up against as he himself recruited Trent Richardson out of high school.  Oh, and that LSU defense of his is ranked 3rd nationally in rushing defense. LSU runs a 4-3 with undersized but speedy players.  It seems to be doing the trick this season, as a unit LSU only allows a 2.5 yard per carry average, good enough for 4th nationally (2nd in SEC) and has only given up 5 rushing touchdowns through 8 games, 6th nationally (2nd in SEC).

LSU’s front four, are constantly substituting to keep players fresh.  They use as many as ten D lineman in any game, with minimal drop in talent from 1-10.  This strategy should do well against the larger Bama O line.  Fresh players with differing styles will keep Bama’s line off-balance and could cause some confusion up front, and you cannot understate the importance of being fresh in the fourth quarter in a game such as this.  The front four’s main job will be to penetrate into the backfield and keep Bama’s big lineman off the linebackers so they can flow to holes and stop the ball carrier.

LSU’s linebacking corps is also more of a speed and agility group then most SEC defensive units.  Led by senior weak-side (Will) linebacker Ryan Baker, the backers (with help from a secondary that also comes up to stop the run) have done a remarkable job this season.  Coming into the year the LB position was the biggest question on the team, but has held its own.  The strength of the team is its secondary and it helps free up the linebackers to focus on stopping the run.

There will be many key match ups or games-within-the-game in this one, but this match up will go a long way in proving who will prevail.  If Bama’s line can continue to open up holes for Richardson and Lacy then it will be a long day for the LSU front 7, but if they can rise to the challenge then it will be tough for Alabama to emerge the victor.  Edge to Alabama.

-Jeff

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3 Days of Hype

We here at the Dweller are not oblivious to what is going on this weekend.  That’s right, it’s Kentucky vs. Ole Miss Week!  Ok, ok. . . . it’s Tennessee-Martin at Mississippi State Week!?  Fine, I’ll get serious. . . the only game that anyone cares about this weekend and a game with more hype than many in recent memory (outside of possibly the Florida/Alabama SEC Championships of ’08 and ’09), is this weekends #1 vs. #2 matchup in Tuscaloosa.  In anticipation of the matchup, we’re going to give you what we’re calling 3 Days of Hype.

LSU and Alabama come into this weekend being two of the most dominant SEC teams that I can remember in my lifetime.  Fans of other teams can get mad at that statement all they want but it’s the truth.  Alabama, for example, has won every matchup this season by at least 16 points, while LSU has won all of their matchups by no less than 13 points.  LSU beat defending National Champion Auburn 45-10 two weeks ago while Alabama beat the current #7 team in the nation Arkansas by 24 points.

Tyrann Mathieu and the LSU secondary will look to swing momentum

While some will argue that the league is in a down year (and they are right, to a point), there is no denying the dominance that both of these teams have shown through the season’s first eight games.  Both teams feature defenses with multiple players who will start in the NFL next year and offenses that are efficient and meticulous.  While LSU may have the edge at wide receiver, Alabama has the edge at runningback and while LSU may have the most talented secondary in the country, Alabama puts possibly the nation’s most talented linebacker group on the field each week.

One of the game's big questions is whether LSU can slow down Heisman contender Trent Richardson

People can try all they want to break down this matchup (and we will also over the next couple of days) but the fact of the matter is that no one really knows which way this game is going to go.  If Trent Richardson ran for 2 touchdowns and the Tide won by 10 points, no one would really be all that surprised.  If Tyrann Mathieu and the LSU secondary returned two pick-sixes and won by 10 points, no one would be surprised, either.  What I can say for certain, though, is that this game has the makings of one of the most epic games the SEC has ever seen, so get your mind right.

3 Georgia running backs suspended for this weeks game vs. New Mexico St

Georgia will have to do without Isiah Crowell this week

Bad news out of Athens for all the bulldog fans out there.  Three running backs have been suspended by head coach Mark Richt for the match up this weekend, including starter and lead rusher Isiah Crowell.  According to Richt, Crowell, as well as Carlton Thomas and Ken Malcome have been suspended for violating team rules. The bulldogs were already thin at tail back after Richard Samuel IV had surgery to stabilize his ankle that was injured in the final play against Florida.  He will be out for at least four weeks.  There are two full backs listed on the depth chart, but neither Bruce Figgins nor Alexander Ogletree have carried the ball even once this season.

Brandon Harton could be leaned on heavily this week

Redshirt sophomore Brandon Harton, whose only action this season has been limited to eleven carries is next up on the depth chart at tail back.  However, he is no guarantee to start, as Richt stated that “everybody else who resembles a running back will be competing” for the starting role.  That is not a very resounding endorsement from your coach and it looks like Georgia could be scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to running the ball this week.

Whoever ends up carrying the rock, the bulk of the offense will no doubt be through the air, and Aaron Murray’s arm.  This should sit just fine with UGA fans as Murray has a passer rating of 142.9 on the season and a completion percentage just over 60% at home.  Look for him to build on his impressive start here against the Aggies.

-Jeff

First look at this years BCS rankings: LSU #1

Mr Garrison and Les Miles are clearly stoked

Yesterday the Bowl Championship Series released their first rankings for the 2011 season and the Tigers from LSU top the list.  No big surprise here as LSU is also #1 in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls.  Through 7 games they are undefeated including impressive wins over Oregon, West Virginia, and Florida.

Bama, Oklahoma, OK St, and Boise St round out the top 5.  Other SEC teams making appearances are Arkansas (9), South Carolina (14), Auburn (20), and future SEC school Texas A&M (17).

The difference between LSU and Alabama right now in the BCS computers is 0.0003.  I do not know exactly what that means but I know that is a very small number.  I have never gotten along with computers and have disagreed with the computers’ champion in many seasons.  Hopefully that will not be the case this year.  #1 LSU and #2 Alabama are set to play in Tuscaloosa in 2 weeks, and #3 Oklahoma will play #4 Oklahoma State in Stillwater in the final week of the season.  Assuming that these teams do not lose before or after these games there will be a clear-cut #1 vs. #2 match-up.  If not then Boise could sneak into the championship game.

-Jeff

Auburn’s In the Clear; An Alabama Fan’s Take

A begrudging acknowledgement of Auburn’s clearance by the NCAA, from an Alabama fan:

In the clear, FOR NOW

If you haven’t already heard, Auburn University has been cleared by the NCAA of any wrong doing in the Cam Newton recruitment case.  This bombshell comes as a serious blow to Alabama fans across the state and the nation in general who have devoted the past year and a half, or so, of their lives to spewing out conspiracy theories.  I may or may not have been one of                                                                                                                  these people.

At this point, I am willing to admit that Auburn really is “God’s team” and this truly is a “God thing”.  There is absolutely no other way to explain it.  Down on the Plains, the fambly is celebrating, as they should.  Whoever was in charge of buying Cam obviously used cash and was smart about it, so props to them.

To all of us who have talked about this for the past year and used any variation of the phrase “well, it ain’t gonna count anyway”, we better get used to having it rubbed in our faces.  By my count, Auburn’s now closed the gap from 13-1 to 13-2 and it’s gonna stay that way for now, so let them have their moment.  We’re just gonna have to shut up and take it for a while.   Don’t forget, it’s only a matter of time before they start talking about Trent Richardson’s choice in vehicles as much as we talked about Cam’s bagman, so we’ll have plenty more time to argue.

-Sadler