Georgia head coach Mark Richt, center, is doused by defensive end Ray Drew (47), flanker Chris Conley (31) and free safety Marc Deas (23) after their 45-31 win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Brant Sanderlin)
It was a great New Year's. Unlike last year when the bowls were scattered around New Year's Day, Tuesday was filled with bowl offerings, and three of them — wins by Georgia, South Carolina and Stanford — were highly entertaining games.
Before we get to the standings of the Bowling for Bowl Success extra-ganza, did you realize the 5-at-10's picks are unbeaten in 2013. That's right we offered the following nine picks yesterday and all of them hit. Yes. All of them. If you had played the following nine games — for entertainment purposes only of course — in a parlay you would have gotten a 300-to-1 return on your entertainment investment. That makes our against the spread picks in the bowl season a staggering 30-13 and our overall mark this year an eye-popping 81-34-2. We may have to start wagering something more than entertainment, huh?
Oklahoma State -16.5 over Purdue
Michigan +5.5 over South Carolina
Northwestern -1.5 over Mississippi State and over the 50
Georgia -8 over Nebraska and over the 61
Stanford -5.5 over Wisconsin and under 49
Florida State -14.5 over Northern Illinois
Now for the bowl contest standings and remember if your numbers don't jive with what we have please let us know. (Side note: Only two people — the Mrs. 5-at-10 and Dawg747 picked Georgia Tech to beat USC, and that includes Spy, who is a personal friend of Tech coach Paul Johnson. Dude we are so telling PJ that you picked against him.)
Tiger (3/4/3/20/10) 40
*Mrs. 5-at-10 (5/0/9/12/10) 36
ThatIDoKnow (3/0/3/20/10) 36
TennFlyer (-3/4/3/20/10) 34
Roadrunner (1/4/3/12/10) 30
JVFan (-1/-2/3/20/10) 30
Deboman (1/8/-3/12/10) 28
Joe S. (3/0/3/12/10) 28
SportTalk's Quake (3/0/3/12/10) 28
Onetimer (1/0/-3/20/10) 28
McPell (1/-4/-3/20/10) 24
Player (3/-4/3/12/10) 24
OTWatcher (1/4/-3/12/10) 24
5-at-10 (3/0/-3/12/10) 22
StuckinKent (3/0/-3/12/10) 22
Weena (-1/0/3/20/10) 22
DL560429 (-3/-4/-3/20/10) 20
Junkman (1/0/-3/12/10) 20
Sir Drinks Alot (1/0/-3/12/10) 20 — great board name by the way
Jordan Rules (-1/0/-3/12/10) 18
Addicted to Chalupa (1/4/-3/4/10) 16
*Dawg747 (-1/0/3/4/10) 16
WarEagle (-1/0/3/4/10) 16
Bluto (-1/0/3/12/0) 14
Hookshot (-1/0/3/12/0) 14
Skunk (-1/0/3/12/0) 14
FE to the C (-1/-2/3/12/0) 12
Jay K (1/0/-3/4/10) 12
June Jones (-1/0/-9/12/10) 12
Orangeguy (3/4/-9/4/10) 12
RollTide (1/0/-3/4/10) 12
TommyT (3/0/-3/12/0) 12
BlueOval (-3/-4/3/4/10) 10
Hustler (1/0/-3/12/0) 10
Spy (1/-4/-3/4/10) 8
Sportsfan (1/4/-3/-4/10) 8
Harold (-1/0/3/4/0) 6
Jim T. (-1/0/3/4/0) 6
StrongWilly (1/-4/-3/12/0) 6
Green Acres (1/0/-3/-4/10) 4
Dools (-1/0/-3/4/0) 0
Believer (-3/0/-9/4/0) -8
South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw (14) throws a touchdown pass to wide receiver Ace Sanders during the second half of the Outback Bowl NCAA college football game against Michigan, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. South Carolina won 33-28. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
For the most part the latter half of the bowl season has been played with energy and passion. (Yes, Mississippi State fans have every right to bemoan their team's showing Tuesday, but still.)
Here's what we can glean from the recent spat of SEC bowl activity:
South Carolina: The Fighting Spurriers are trending way up after their emotional, come-from-behind Outback Bowl win over Michigan. Consider what Steve Spurrier's team returns next fall: Dylan Thompson and Connor Shaw are arguably two of the SEC's top six returning QBs (Johnny Football, Jeff Driskel, AJ McCarron and Aaron Murray being the others and Murray still may elect for the draft) and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is the best player in college football. In fact, we're prepared to start the Clowney for Heisman campaign now. (And if you did not see Clowney's leveling hit on Vincent Smith, then here you go. Enjoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-r34-RE0Tk.)
Vandy: Another team trending way up. Repeat these words — Vandy wins nine games. If James Franklin gets Vandy to a third consecutive bowl game in 2013, he has to be the hottest coaching candidate anywhere, right? Right?
Georgia: The Bulldogs showed some motivation in a nice Capital Bowl win over a feisty Nebraska team. But it's still a little difficult not to be disappointed with this bunch if for no other reason than this Georgia team has as much talent as any team in the country, including Alabama. There are arguably a dozen NFL starters on this Georgia team, and if Aaron Murray elects to go pro, the Bulldogs will be projected as the No. 3 team in the East next year. A 12-2 year is good stuff, but it still kind of feels like a missed chance some way.
Mississippi State: A 7-0 start had Dan Mullen's name on every coaching short list in the country and the Bulldogs as a trendy pick for a potential BCS game. A little more than two months and a 1-5 finish later and it's tough not to think the Bulldogs missed a chance at special things with a talented and heavy load of upperclassmen.
LSU: Wow, it's tough to remember a time when Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger were competing neck-and-neck for the job as Georgia's starting QB, huh? After mass defections from a talented front seven — LSU will lose three NFL ready defensive linemen and stud duck linebacker Kevin Minter — and a dearth of plays from Mettenberger and an over-talented but under-achieving offense makes this seem like a Tigers team about to take a step backward.
NFL Power plays
Heading into the first round of the NFL playoffs, we'll have our final power poll on Thursday.
Today, after seven franchises — or roughly 22 percent of the league — fired their head coaches, let's have an NFL coaches draft. Hey, we love the draft. You know this. So the only thing better than a real draft or a mock draft about a real draft is a mock, pretend draft that we completely make up.
Who's with us?
OK, we'll do it by record of course, and the only folks that are not eligible to be picked are the 25 guys that are currently under contract as NFL head coaches. Remember, this is not who we think will end up coaching at these spots, this is done as if the teams got to pick.
Kansas City: Jon Gruden. It's time for Chucky to get back into the game, and the Chiefs need a ton of help. Chief among KC's wish list is something to energize a pained fan base that even cheered when their own QB got injured.
Philadelphia: Bill Cowher. The only way to replace someone who was an offensive guru that was your franchise's winningest coach of all time is to get a defensive-minded guru with a Super Bowl ring.
Cleveland: Chip Kelly. The Browns have stock-piled a load of talent. So they decide to got after Kelly and hope Brandon Weeden can operate his spread attack.
Arizona: Andy Reid. The Cards are screaming for offensive help and they need some quarterback
Buffalo: Lovie Smith. All dude did was win 10 games with Jay Cutler at quarterback at Chicago and he got run out of town for it.
San Diego: Nick Saban. After taking the job, Saban hits the free agency trail and lands seven of the top 12 "recruits" out there in the offseason.
Chicago: After combing the Yellow pages to see if there are any more Harbaughs out there and weighing heavily whether to go after Ditka — DITKA! — the Bears go after Mike Holmgren.
This and that
— OK, we're about to be done with the day-to-day operations of the college football season. Tear. We need to find some college hoops storylines; who's got any suggestions?
— As our SEC ace David Paschall tells us here, Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/jan/02/dogs-ogletree-announces-for-nfl/ has declared for the NFL draft. Here are the other SEC underclassmen reportedly leaving school early: Arkansas guard Alvin Bailey and running back Knile Davis, Tennessee's trio of Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson (not official, but we all know it's coming), Florida safety Matt Elam, Auburn defensive end Corey Lemonier, former LSU corner Tyrann Mathieu and punter Brad Wing, Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore. There will be several more in the coming days.
— Tonight's pick: Well, we're putting our perfect 2013 record on the line, and again motivation is the key. That said, we think Coach Boom will have the Gators ready and will cover the 13.5.
— Congrats to the Mocs wrestling program for hosting the Southern Scuffle, which is a really great event for the city. If you're a fan of wrestling that does not include turnbuckles, masks and Gordon Solie, swing by McKenzie Arena today for wall-to-wall wrestling.
Bring whatever you like as we get back into the swing of things.
Holiday stories, best Christmas presents, did you see a good movie over the break, feel free to discuss.
As for talking points, here are three:
If you were an NFL owner, who are you going after as your head coach?
Who you got: Russell Wilson or RGIII in the NFC wildcard matchup this weekend?
If you were Jadeveon Clowney, and obviously the No. 1 overall player/NFL prospect in college football, would you look to the courts to get into the NFL now?
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...