Monday, December 18, 2006

1st Annual Tongue Twisters Awards!

The Power T's First Annual Tongue Twister Awards!

First, here are the runners-up for the awards. Read all of them aloud for a good time:

Karibi Dede - LB, Auburn

Sam Olajubutu - LB, Arkansas

Kenny Iwebema - DE, Iowa

Ucha Nwaneri - OG, Purdue

Mike Gyetvai - OT, Michigan State

Jack Ikegwvono - CB, Wisconsin

Yemi Babalola - OT, Texas A&M

Ngamuong Suh - DT, Nebraska

Brad Ekwerekwu - WR, Missouri

Xzavie Jackson - DE, Missouri

Vince Oghobaase - DT, Duke

Michael Tauiliili - LB, Duke

Gosder Cherilus - OT, Boston College

Phillip Mbakogu - DE, Cal

Abu Ma'Afala - DE, Cal

Nu'u Tafisi - DE, Cal

Kwame Agyeman - SS, Oregon

Fevaea'i Ahmu - DT, Washington State

Nick Ekbatani - OT, UCLA

Al Afalava - FS, Oregon State

Udeme Udofia - DE, Stanford

Gustav Rydtsedt - DT, Stanford

Emmanuel Awofadeju - LB, Stanford

Malakai Mokofisi - LB, Utah

Soli Lefiti - DE, Utah

Cody Lubojasky - LB, Houston

Jon Hameister-Ries - OG, Tulsa

Omeke Alikor - LB, Rice

Cedric Gagne-Marcoux - C, Central Florida

Tokumbo Abanikanda - LB, S. Miss

Ikaika Alama-Francis - DE, Hawaii

Solomon Elimimian - LB, Hawaii

Brad Kalilimoku - SS, Hawaii

Chindum Ndukwe - S, Notre Dame


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Third Saturday in October

This week is the week where my logic goes out the window. This week is when I turn off my censor when I talk about football. This week is the week where I want everything Alabama, crimson, and bear related to die slow, painful deaths, preferably in public quarters where families watch. It's the Third Fucking Saturday in October, and my alma mater, the Tennessee Volunteers battle (or kill) the spineless, bitching, crying, diaper-pooping Alabama Crimson Tide.

Honestly, though, I don't HATE Alabama's players personally. I hate them because they play for Bammer. I DO hate Bammer fans, also known as brainless douches. (See, the censor is off for Alabama week) Bammer fans are a completely different breed ... literally. Bammer fans are USUALLY a cross between a cousin's mother's brother and a sheep or mule (depending if it's dark outside when they exit the outhouse). Bammer fans think Alabama has more National Titles than their fans have teeth ... combined. Bammer fans THINK Simeon Castille and Ramzee Robinson are the best pair of corners in the SEC!
Dave Ungerer REALLY likes his corners.

See, Bammer fans have some strange quirks, NAY, strange mental handicaps. They think a man who has been dead for 23 years still coaches their team. Paul "Bear" Bryant, who I think was a GREAT coach and a GREAT man, apparently, is calling plays from the coffin.
Great call on 4th down, Coach!

Bammer fans, I hate you. You make up national titles, you now can only hire coaches named Mike, and you tried to make fun of US for our 5-6 season AFTER you went 3-8 in 2000 and 4-9 in 2003. Do you realize we had the SAME amount of wins in 2004 as your Crimson Tide had in 2003 and 2004 ... COMBINED?! Yeah, get a reality check.

Bammer fans, I hate you. I hate you more than I hate Gaytors, more than I hate Munson and his hobnailed dawgs. I hate you with every fiber of my being. Sometimes, when I'm feeling bored, I draw a picture of Bear Bryant's face and then I defecate all over it. Just for fun. Just because I hate bammers.

Bammer fans, I hate you. I hate you MOST OF ALL because you're too fucking stupid to know that when you got put on probation, IT WAS YOUR FAULT. Do you blame the poor single mother who calls the cops when her home is broken into? Do you blame the passer-by who called the fire department when a building is on fire? NO! But you blame Phillip Fulmer for calling the NCAA on your bullshit. You cheated, plain and simple. Yet, instead of blaming the very institution who committed the crime, you continue to worship the tainted, crimson altar you hold your program on. You blame the messenger. THAT is why I hate Bammers. That, as well as this:
Go fuck yourself, idiot.

(We will return to your normal rants with less vulgarity and less bias after Saturday. Apologies to those who hate foul language.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Players of the Last Week You Haven't Heard of

We've all heard about Troy Smith, Mario Manningham, Erik Ainge, Garrett Wolfe, etc etc etc. Each week, I think I'd like to point out some very productive players who won't garner facetime on ESPN, FSN, houserockbuilt, and others. :)

  • Bryan Cupito - Minnesota QB: Against Penn State, Cupito completed 25 of 36 passes for 347 yards and 2 TDs against an athletic PSU defense. With the Gophers unable to run the ball consistently, Cupito took the offense on his shoulders and carried the team to a very close loss. And Gopher fans, please quit sobbing about the bad call in OT ... you were lucky to get that far.
  • La-Rod Stephens-Howling - Pittsburgh RB: Jesus H. Christ Almighty! I rejoice for your performance, but damn your name all to Hell. If I ever mention you again, La-Rod, you will be known as LaRSH ... yes, that's easier. LaRSH's previous season high in 2006 was 66 yards against the famous Citadel defense. Against the Orange of Syracuse, he busted out for 221 yards on 27 carries. One was 70 yards, but even 151 on 26 is incredible. Good job last week LaRSH.
  • P.J. Hill - Wisconsin RB: Another 200+ performance from an unknown stud RB. Hill had actually shown a lot of skills earlier this season, rushing for over 100 in 4 of 5 games. But against Northwestern, he did whatever he wanted. 35 carries, 249 yards, and a touch. He's a big boy, too, but he's short. 5'11" and 242 yards. During his long run, he was caught from behind (because he's big and slow for a RB), but the defender looked like a lamb hitting the hood of a car.
  • Earl Bennett - Vanderbilt WR: One of my favorite unknown players in the SEC. Bennett had 876 yards receiving last season ... as a freshman(!) ... in the SEC (!!!). Against Ole Miss this past weekend, he had 10 catches for 179 yards. ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY NINE YARDS! Plus, he told this guy to talk to the hand ...

This will become a weekly update and will probably become more streamlined. So, for the 0 of you who frequent this blog, stick with it.

Thoughts at Random Times

The lovefest in Gainesville for Tim Tebow (who will from here on out be known as T_T) is getting a littttttle nuts. Here's a kid who, for the most part, has been equivalent to an NFL 3rd down back ... but in college. Yeah yeah yeah, he threw 2 TD passes against LSU last weekend, but only 1 was REAL. That pansy ass jump pass was a little too dainty for me to consider a real college football touchdown. I would like to add that I think he do well in Urban Cryer's system in years to come, but right now, the obsession is scary.
Yes, this is a fark of Tim Tebow with a cape ... as if he were Superman ... or SuperTim or Super T_T. Maybe this was after his 10th three-yard run of the season.

Texas is widely ranked ahead of Tennessee, which is okay if only people like Verne Lundquist, Tim Brando, and other talking heads vote. However, there are so-called experts who rank Texas ahead of the real UT. Why? Texas beat Oklahoma .............. Tennessee has beaten Cal and Georgia. Eh, I guess you can't expect fair and knowledgable analysis from experts anymore. Maybe they felt sorry for Texas because Bevo is gone ...
Nobody will truly miss you, Bevo. Except maybe this other guy bull behind you ...

It'd be awesome if that beer was the kid's ...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

2006 Kentucky Preview

The Good

Their colors are cool? They used to score a lot? Forgive me, but it's a little difficult to find many things in Kentucky's program to really get pumped up about. They were pummeled by every good SEC team they played, and got lit up on defense by Idaho State. Then again, this is 2006, a season of hope for all men, women, and Kentucky football fans (can they be classified as anything other than an endangered species?).

The Wildcats have this one guy, you probably haven't heard too much about him, but he's very good. If he played at Florida, Notre Dame, or even Michigan State, he'd be a national talent with future Heisman potential. He's Kentucky's "Little Man," but nothing about him involves Shawn or Marlon Wayans. In 2005, Rafael Little set Kentucky's single season all-purpose yards record, breaking the old mark set by Derek Abney. Little rushed for 1,045 yards (5.3 ypc), caught 46 passes for 449 yards, scored 9 touchdowns, and had 355 yards in punt returns (16.9 average!). Go ahead, get out the calculator. Wait, I'll tell you: 1,982. 1,982 all purpose yards. Surely, with those numbers, he'd merit 1st Team All SEC, right? Bzzt, wrong! He was named 2nd Team All SEC, behind Arkansas's Darren McFadden and Auburn's Kenny Irons. Injustice? Maybe, but why do Irons, McFadden, Darby, et al., get more publicity than Little? He's at Kentucky! Oh, and he was only a sophomore. His junior year will probably lead to more carries and yards on the ground, but his receptions might drop, especially if the wideouts can stay healthy. Even when Little take a breather, the Wildcats just plug in SO Tony Dixon, who runs 4.41 40 yard dash. The Wildcats will depend heavily on the ground attack this season, which could open up the field for Andre Woodson at quarterback.

But wait, there's more! Along with Little in the backfield, Kentucky's offensive line should improve greatly in 2006. They have six returning "big uglies" with major starting experience. They have four seniors penciled in to start, with a 5th coming off the bench. Senior C Matt McCuthchan could very well end up in the NFL after his graduation, and Sophomore LT Aaron Miller has had great success in his single year in Lexington. The leadership on the line should control this offense, and don't expect them to have too many dumb penalties. With this very experienced line and Rafael Little continuing to do his thing, Kentucky, all of a sudden, has a potent attack.

Surprisingly, Kentucky actually has THREE areas of promise for 2006. Their putrid, rancid defense gave up 34 points a game last season, including 39 against an even more awful Indiana team. The lone twinkle of hope is the linebacking crew, which returns their main 3 starters. Top tackler Wesley Woodyard had a great campaign, and could put up even bigger numbers (100 tkl, 2 sacks, 5 tfl, 5 pbu, 1 int). MLB Braxton Kelley is coming off an injury in his freshman year and was limited to 44 tackles last season. JR OLB Joe Schuler could very well start the season backing up FR Micah Johnson, but both of these players will make impacts on the defensive side of the ball. This unit will need to set the tempo early in the season to bring confidence to a terrible defense.

The Bad

Everything else! Well, almost everything, because the defensive backfield was pitiful last year. Kentucky has some major question marks at offensive skill positions. JR QB Andre Woodson played so inconsistent, even the Tennessee offense was overheard laughing. He had solid completion numbers, but he struggled throwing touchdown passes. Getting into the endzone is obviously the most important thing in college football, so he needs to improve there. If he can consistently keep the possessions going for Kentucky, the offense will greatly improve on their 21.7 ppg. Backup Curtis Pulley was also diagnosed with "performus inconsistus," which I think is some fancy doctor mumbo jumbo for being unpredictable.

Kentucky's wideouts should improve this season, but they still are a liability until they can prove otherwise. Little led the Cats in receptions and yards last season, which should never be the case. JR WR Keenan Burton was chronically injured last season and caught 24 balls. If he can stay healthy, he could be a very solid threat at one slot. The Cats typically run a 3 wide receiver set, and the other two slots will be filled by inexperienced juniors. Steve Johnson is a JUCO transfer and needs to learn the playbook, while John Logan is coming off an injury. They both have the potential to be solid and put up some nice numbers. Woodson and the rest of the O will need them to step up.

The defensive line played like a group of middle school boys getting into a fight. They pushed and shoved, but nothing ever came of it. They lose their two best DL who produced an eye-popping 4 sacks combined last season. The line can only improve, right? They better hope so. The Cats' D produced only 16 sacks, which is less than Baylor, Duke, Stanford, Washington, and probably other bad teams. They desperately need to improve the pressure on opposing passers to have any chance of staying close against the top tier SEC teams. Opponents rushing for a whopping 4.9 yards per carry against the 2005 defensive line, and their lack of pressure contributed to the 243 passing ypg they gave up (including 291 to IDAHO STATE). This unit has some talent, but needs to play to the top of their game to help this team.

The Ugly

How would you feel about a defensive backfield that gave up 243 passing yards per game, intercepted only 4 passes, and lost their two best players? I feel pretty sorry for them, and I hope they have some miracle water in Lexington to help these gentlemen. SR CB Bo Smith returns, and he looks like the leader of the unit. He had 63 tackles, which seems like a ton for a corner. JR FS Roger Williams had a solid 2005 in terms of tackles, but nobody on the roster seems like a lockdown kind of player. They will sorely miss Muhammad Abdullah and Antoine Huffman, so much so that they may allow 260+ yards per game. If this unit doesn't drastically improve, 2006 could be very very daunting for Rich Brooks.

The Schedule

Sep. 2 - @ Louisville (L)
Sep. 9 - Texas State (W)
Sep. 16 - Mississippi (L)
Sep. 23 - @ Florida (L)
Sep. 30 - Central Michigan (W)
Oct. 7 - South Carolina (L)
Oct. 14 - @ LSU (L)
Oct. 28 - @ Mississippi State (L)
Nov. 4 - Georgia (L)
Nov. 11 - Vanderbilt (W)
Nov. 18 - Louisiana-Monroe (W)
Nov. 25 - @ Tennessee (L)

The Best Case Scenario

Kentucky has a slew of toss-up games that will decide their fate this season. Mississippi, Central Michigan, Mississippi State, and South Carolina are all games that should be pretty close and could go either way. "Central Michigan," you ask? Yes, Kentucky is 4-0 all time against the Chippewas, but they haven't played in years (the average margin of victory was only 9.5 ppg). Plus, Ohio beat the Cats in Lexington in 2004. I think Kentucky can beat the two Mississippi schools (who knows if they will?) and CMU. I have a hard hard time finding a victory against Spurrier and the Gamecocks, but the talent gap between the two teams isn't that huge. If Kentucky goes 3-1 in these 4 key games, they should end up 6-6 and bowl eligible. Don't expect them to beat Louisville, Florida, LSU, Georgia, or Tennessee. They have cakewalks against Texas State and ULM.

The Worst Case Scenario

All four of the toss-up games could slip away from them, and even Vandy could, in many imaginations, could pick them off. A 2-9 season would be terribly disappointing, and would end the Rich Brooks tenure in Lexington. The Cats have a ton of questions on the squad, and Brooks has yet to prove himself in the SEC. They haven't gone winless in SEC play this century, but there is a small, tiny chance it happens now.

The Wrap-Up

Kentucky should be greatly improved on the field and in the win column this season. They have experience (16 starters returning) and a more favorable schedule than 2005. Can they scare some teams? Sure! They've covered against Florida the last 4 seasons, but against huge spreads. Before their bye week (8-3 against the spread on these weeks), they get LSU, so watch for a close one here. Besides those 2 sneak attacks, the Cats probably won't come close to any huge upsets. I actually predict Kentucky to underperform this season and finish 4-8 (1-7), and we'll see the end of Rich Brooks on a SEC sideline.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

2006 Mississippi State Preview

The Good

Guess what? This isn't the 90s anymore, and Mississippi State hasn't been very good for five years now. While the offense has regressed the last 3 seasons, the defense has made great strides. The unit loses their best player and sack monster Willie Evans (DE), as well as solid contributors Clarence McDougal (LB) and Kevin Dockery (CB, Honorable Mention SEC Team). In the face of these losses, Mississippi State's defense looks to be even better in 2006. The defensive line returns three starters, all seniors. Their leadership will set the tone for the entire defense, which could lead to an improvement on their 3.7 ypc allowed in 2005. The lone non-starter from 2005 is JR DE Titus Brown, who has a solid freshman campaign at LB, but fell off in 2005 at DE. If he returns to his 2004 form, this defensive line will become a decent force in the SEC.

The best unit very well could be the Bulldogs' linebackers. Returning MLB Quinton Culberson lead the team in tackles in 2005, and he really anchors the entire squad. With more growth and maturity over the summer, he could very well be the 2006 Demeco Ryans. Culberson isn't huge at 6'0", but has serious bulk at 239 pounds. He very well could turn into an All SEC linebacker. Gabe O'Neal has been in and out of the starting lineup since 2004, but is healthy for 2006 and could have a breakout season. He started the last 5 games, and recorded 34 tackles on the season. I envision 75+ tackles in 2006 with 4 sacks, which would really open things up for Culberson and sophomore Jamar Chaney, who looks to have a nice season as well. Within a very solid defense, the linebackers stand out as the best unit.

The defensive backfield is another unit that lost arguably its best player in Kevin Dockery, who was All SEC Honorable Mention. Even with the loss, they return two starters, including FS Jeramie Johnson, who had 4 interceptions, 7 passes blocked, and 64 tackles in 2005. He, like Culberson, has another offseason of new maturity, growth, and intelligence. He also could very well find himself on the All SEC Team in 2006. At 5'11", he's not a huge safety, so his match-ups will be tough. However, many safeties in the SEC have been undersized and had great seasons. CB David Heard didn't pick off any passes, but was used in blitzing situations and played well against the run (3.5 tackles for loss). Johnson and Heard both provide senior leadership for sophomores Derek Pegues and Keith Fitzhugh (27 combined tackles, 2 combined INTs). Both Pegues and Fitzhugh were highly regarded high school prospects, and should provide solid coverage and run support. Watch for these two gentlemen over the next 3 seasons, as I think they have very high ceilings.

In the end, the defense as a whole, will carry this team to however many wins they can find.

The Bad

Here is a little bit of common sense: if the defense is everything good with 2006 Mississippi State football, then the offense must be bad and ugly. The offense ranked last in yards per game in conference play. They also averaged 9th in ypc in the SEC with one of the best backs in the league (Norwood). The shortcoming can be heavily regarded as a problem on the offensive line. The line returns three starters, two of whom started at different positions last season. JR C Royce Blackledge has plenty of game experience, as well as the only senior on the line, RG Brian Anderson. Anderson is very tall at 6'6", and bulky enough at 307. SO LG Anthony Strauder played well last year at his position, and should really come into his own this season. The two linemen who, on the surface, would look like the weaknesses are actually quite promising. JUCO transfer JD Hamilton is big and was a highly touted player coming into 2006. SO LT Calvin Wilson played 8 games as a freshman and could be a huge force to reckon with. This kid is an absolute monster at 6'5", 356. The line's play may ultimately depend on how well he matures over the summer. If he can play up to his potential as a sophomore, the SEC will need to watch out. However, because he is still maturing and needs more SEC speed experience, the line still looks like a weakness.

Another area for the Bulldogs that looks like a weakness is the receiving corps. The 2005 unit was riddled with injuries to key players throughout the season, so 2006 could see a very improved attack. However, the fact still remains that their leading receiver only had 286 yards and 28 receptions. Will Prosser returns for his senior season, but may not even start. Former QB turned WR Omarr Conner looked like the team's best pass catcher at season's end, so you can pencil him into one slot. He has solid size for a WR at 6'1", 218, and he has some speed with that frame. Still, he had only 9 receptions last season, and some wonder if he can play 12 games in the brutal SEC. Even if he does, can he put up good enough numbers against the defenses of Auburn, LSU, West Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama? The main sparkplug for the passing game will be JUCO transfer Tony Burks. If he lives up to his hype, there should be three solid targets to throw to. Depth could be a problem as well. Joey Sanders is the 4th wideout, and he averaged an impressive 19.6 yards per reception last season. But again, he caught 7 balls, and one has to wonder how well he'll do over 12 games. TE Eric Butler is a junior, and could be poised to have a very solid year. He caught 14 passes last season amongst a depleted corps of receivers. If Conner, Prosser, and Burks have any kind of field stretching ability, pockets will open up in the middle of the field, and with an inexperience quarterback, he will surely be checked down to many times. That being said, the passing game averaged only 139 yards per game last season, and will need to improve instantly for their young quarterback.

The Ugly

Gather the student body for tryouts, because the Bulldogs need some serious help at quarterback and running back. Mississippi State's two most glaring weaknesses are at possibly the two most important positions. They lost 2005's starting running back, Jerious Norwood, who ran for over 1,100 yards and 8 total touchdowns in 2005. The backup, Brandon Thornton, racked up a whopping 225 yards. The very faint light at the end of the long tunnel is Thornton averaged 4.8 yards per carry. I doubt he can maintain the average throughout the long season. Even with Norwood, the Bulldogs rushed very poorly against the better teams in the conference (81 @ Auburn, 49 v. UGA, 56 v. LSU, 109 @ Florida, 26 v. Bama). The best part? Thornton, even with his experience, might not start. True freshman Anthony Dixon is a heralded recruit who has nice size and speed. Keep your eyes on him, because by 2009, he could have two 1,000 yard seasons in Starkville. Courtney Jones, another solid recruit, is penciled in as the 3rd string back, and with a backfield chocked full of inexperience, he may get a solid number of carries. The group has a lot of potential in the long term, but 2006 will be a very tough learning experience for the tailbacks.

The biggest weakness the 2--6 Bulldogs will have to overcome is quarterback play. The position was inconsistent and shaky in 2005, and I'm not sure how much better it will be this fall. Omarr Conner moved to wide receiver, even after he posted far better numbers than 2006's scheduled starter, Mike Henig. Conner wasn't amazing as it was, completing 51.5% of his passes with a 8:5 TD-INT ratio. Henig was a redshirt freshman in 2005 and completed only 44.4% of his passes, with a poor 2:5 ratio. However, Henig is the man in 2006, which should worry Bulldog fans. I truly would not be surprised if we see redshirt freshman Tray Rutland at some point in 2006. New offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey was the running backs coach at Tennessee, so I'm not sure how well he can teach young quarterbacks.

The Schedule

Aug. 31 - South Carolina (L)
Sep. 9 - Auburn (L)
Sep. 16 - Tulane (W)
Sep. 23 - @ UAB (L)
Sep. 30 - @ LSU (L)
Oct. 7 - West Virginia (L)
Oct. 14 - Jacksonville St. (W)
Oct. 21 - @ Georgia (L)
Oct. 28 - Kentucky (W)
Nov. 4 - @ Alabama (L)
Nov. 18 - Arkansas (L)
Nov. 25 - @ Mississippi (L)

The Best Case Scenario

Mississippi State will probably have a better team on the field in 2006 than in 2005. However, their schedule is brutal in terms of where the games are played. I cannot see the Bulldogs beating Auburn, LSU, WVU, Georgia, Alabama, or Arkansas. If they can find an upset at home against South Carolina, another @ UAB, and win the Egg Bowl, Croom's squad will find themselves at 5-7, just 1 game away from a bowl. However, they will be dogs in all of the games I just listed, so winning all 3 would be a feat in itself. If Miss State finishes 5-7 with a 3-5 record in the SEC, Croom might get a lifetime extension. It will be a miracle.

The Worst Case Scenario

I researched as hard as possible, and can only find two sure fire wins for the Dogs: Tulane and Jacksonville State. Kentucky at home should turn into a victory, but the Wildcats have more talent than the Bulldogs, so who knows? UAB is right there in talent with State, and the game is in Birmingham. Auburn, LSU, WVU, Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas should all sniff or cement themselves in the top 20, and Mississippi State has little chance in those games. It could get ugly after the UAB game if they lose. However, go ahead and write in victories against Tulane and Jax State. The rest? You could see 2-10 overall with no wins in the SEC (0-8).

The Wrap-Up

With so many questions on an already poor offense, I just can't seem to find an improvement in record for Sylvester Croom's third campaign. Their defense will keep them in games against mid-level opponents, and they may even scare Alabama and South Carolina. I think 3-8 (1-7) is a pretty fair prediction for this team. If Henig and the running back unit progress into good talents, watch for a very improved team. Also, watch for good bets on Mississippi State to cover against South Carolina, Alabama, and Tulane.

Friday, July 14, 2006

2006 Vanderbilt Preview

The Good

When you lose your All-SEC and first round draft choice starting quarterback, it's hard to find as many good things as you normally would. A good quarterback can turn good wide receivers into great ones. A good quarterback can keep a defense honest, making your running game look far better than it ever was meant to be. Jay Cutler's exit definitely leaves the Commodores in a transition period, but the cupboards aren't bare.

Vandy will field the best wide receiver in the conference not named Sidney Rice. Earl Bennett's freshman year has created a large buzz about his future with Vanderbilt and in the NFL. At 6'1" 202, Bennett has adequate size and was a 1st Team SEC player as a true freshman. Logic and history would tell you that Bennett has a very high ceiling and the sky is the limit. WR Marlon White missed some time last season with various injuries, but should really shine with the attention focused on Bennett. White is 6'4" 205, so his height will really cause problems for opposition. This duo looks to be dangerous, but the entire corps isn't very deep and if either Bennett or White miss considerable time, the offense will be in even more trouble.

Another positive area for the Dores is their offensive line. They return three starters in LG Josh Eames, Brian Stamper, and Chris Williams, as well as an SEC Freshman Team player at RG in Mac Pyle. This starting unit has size to match the lines at the SEC top tier programs (290, 320, 310, 305, 315). They should really be able to provide more than adequate time to break in a new starting quarterback, as well as hold their own in the trenches for an inconsistent running attack. If the line plays as I suspect they will, the loss of Cutler won't be as apparent.

The Bad

At a program like Vanderbilt, the sad truth is that the bad typically outnumbers the good. In 2005, a 5-6 team in Nashville has more good than bad. 2006 probably won't be as kind.

While most experts would automatically group the uncertainty at quarterback as "ugly," I don't see it as pessimisticly. Sophomore Chris Nickson only threw three passes last season, but let's not forget he was Mr. Football in 2003 in Alabama, a state all about football. Nickson is mobile, too, so watch for him to make some plays out of nothing. Even backup MacKenzi Adams has some upside that makes the redshirt freshman a viable option if Nickson underperforms or is injured. Of course, the unit has little experience, which makes this position a huge question mark. Nickson and Co. will rely heavily on the experienced offensive line, and if somehow the Dores come across a solid to good running game, the new QB could flourish. Regardless of these things, they will still have to make throws against teams that have the best talent in the country, and Vandy should be playing from behind the majority of the time. 2006 could be a tough learning year for Nickson, but watch for him to make strides in the last third of the season.

The running attack will probably make or break the Commodores' offense in 2006. There is a lot of promise in JR Cassen Jackson-Garrison, as he averaged 5.6 yards per carry last season. He also showed the ability to bust off long runs, which would really help Nickson at QB. Behind Jackson-Garrison is Jeff Jennings, who has also shown some ability, but only averaged 3.6 yards per carry. He tore his ACL against Kentucky and received no reps in the spring. If he bounces back and returns to his form, he will fill in very admirably for CJ-G. However, the backs should have benefitted from Cutler's stardom in 2005, but they were very inconsistent. Vandy had some nice games on the ground (237, 209, 150, 146), but they came against Richmond, Mississippi, Georgia, and Wake, respectively. They also had four TERRIBLE games on the ground, all against perennially strong SEC teams (v. LSU - 25 yds, @ SC - 41 yds, @ UF - 58 yds, @ UT - 49 yds). This unit will need to play well enough to keep defenses honest, and if they can create problems out of the backfield in terms of receptions, the Vanderbilt offense could be solid again.

The Ugly

Vandy's 2005 defense allowed 29 points per game and only produced 14 sacks. This past offseason, they lost 3 of their 4 top tacklers, including 1st Team All SEC Moses Osemwegie (118 tkls, 6.5 tfl, 3 sacks, 2 INT in 2005) at linebacker. Jonathan Goff and Kevin Joyce will be relied upon for leadership and big time plays, which they seem poised to deliver. Josh Allen, who hasn't received much mention in preseason mags, might be the best CB on the team. He made up for his small frame (5'9") by adding 15 pounds to put him close to 200. Allen made 7 starts last season as a redshirt freshman, so look for him to lead this secondary.

While Goff, Joyce, and Allen will undoubtedly do well, this is still a team that allowed 4.5 yards per carry. Expect the running games of Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama to run wild on their porous defense. Their pass D allowed 224 yards in the air per game, their worst since 2001. The whole unit will be more experienced in general, but I don't think they have a marquee player that will scare opposition. I would imagine they allow more than last year's 29, and with a new quarterback and a questionable running game, Vandy will be very very tired on this side of the ball.

The Schedule

Sep. 2 - @ Michigan (L)
Sep. 9 - @ Alabama (L)
Sep. 16 - Arkansas (L)
Sep. 23 - Tennessee St. (W)
Sep. 30 - Temple (W)
Oct. 7 - @ Mississippi (L)
Oct. 14 - @ Georgia (L)
Oct. 21 - South Carolina (L)
Oct. 28 - @ Duke (W)
Nov. 4 - Florida (L)
Nov. 11 - @ Kentucky (L)
Nov. 18 - Tennessee (L)

The Best Case Scenario

Vanderbilt lost their best player on offense and on defense, and they play a tougher schedule. Of the projected 9 losses above, only 2 can be considered winnable (@ Miss, @ Kentucky). Mississippi looks to be stronger than last year, but Vandy could sneak up on them. The same situation applies with Kentucky. Both Ole Miss and the Wildcats have more talent than the Commodores, but in the SEC, the bottom tiered teams can easily sneak a win out in the others' stadiums. That being said, the absolute best case scenario for Vanderbilt would be a 5-6 record with 2 wins in SEC play.

The Worst Case Scenario

Nobody knows exactly how well the offense will play after the loss of a 1st Team All SEC QB. Because of this, a loss at Duke could be in the future for the Commodores. Vanderbilt has a little more talent than the Blue Devils, but they must travel to North Carolina. Remember, this is a team that lost at home to Middle Tennessee State last season WITH Jay Cutler. I have a really hard time finding a loss at home this season against Tennessee State or Temple (regardless of the MTSU loss last season). In that light, Vanderbilt's worst case scenario is a 2-10 finish with NO WINS in SEC play.

The Wrap-Up

Officially, I believe Vanderbilt will end up 3-9 (0-8) in 2006. They have too many questions at the skill positions on offense, to the point that the improved defense won't be able to keep them in many games. Expect the big dogs in the SEC to plow right through the Commodores without much trouble. You will be able to tell a lot about which scenario Vanderbilt will drift towards after their opener at Michigan. There is no chance they win, but if they look competitive for even a half, you could see 5 wins for this team. Look for good bets on Vandy to cover against Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Tennessee.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


So, my dream job is to talk or write about sports for a living. To get paid for something so fun and expressive would be wildly entertaining and fulfilling for me. I will post my articles that I write throughout the season in my blog. My 12 team SEC preview will be showcased at starting tomorrow, I believe. This will be my personal hub for discussing college football in great detail. And no, I won't have your typical predictions where Florida wins the SEC East, or Ohio State and Notre Dame go undefeated. I will shortly post my 2006 Vanderbilt preview, after it is displayed at