SEC questions and answers
Here's our power poll of the SEC, with the questions — and answers — facing each program this week.
1. Alabama (1-0)
How are they going to slow Texas A&M's 6-foot-5 receiving duo of Mike Evans and Ricky Seals-Jones? Forget Johnny Autograph, the Aggies perimeter receivers present the tallest challenge for the Tide this week. Call it a hunch, but we believe Nick Saban will have a plan.
Saturday: at Texas A&M, 3:30 (CBS)
2. LSU (2-0)
Is LSU really this good? It's been hard not to be overwhelmed by the Tigers, especially offensively, considering they stormed a ranked TCU team with 37 points in the opener and flooded UAB with 56 points and a school-record five TD passes from Zach Mettenberger. LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is the front runner for the Broyles Award, given to the nation's best assistant coach.
Saturday: vs. Kent State, 7 (ESPNU)
3. Texas A&M (2-0)
Are we ready for Johnny Cam? CBS will dedicate a full-time camera on Johnny Manziel this Saturday, following the Heisman winner all over the field all afternoon in this week's Game of the Century against Alabama. If Texas A&M had paid him half as much attention this offseason, maybe he would look like such a goofball. Here's another question, just because: How will an Aggies defense that allowed some guy named Timothy "Don't call me Ned" Flanders run for 170 yards be able to slow down T.J. Yeldon? That one does not have an apparent answer, however.
Saturday: vs. Alabama, 3:30 (CBS)
4. Georgia (1-1, 1-0 SEC)
None this week. Enjoy the downtime.
5. Florida (1-1)
Will the offense find a stride, and more importantly, make the most of one of the nation's best defenses? Florida turned the ball over four times inside the Miami 20 in last Saturday's 21-16 loss to the Hurricanes. The Gators defense allowed just 10 first downs; the Gators offense however never was able to take advantage. Back to the drawing board Coach Boom.
6. South Carolina (1-1, 0-1)
Who is that guy in Jadeveon Clowney's uniform? Clowney, who still will be one of the first two players picked in the NFL draft next spring, has a very pedestrian six tackles in two games and all of one sack. Those are not Heisman numbers; those are Heimlich numbers that make us all choke. South Carolina's defense even had had more success with Clowney not on the field Saturday against Georgia. Go figure.
Saturday: vs. Vandy, 7 (ESPN)
7. Ole Miss (2-0, 1-0)
Will this be the most-watched program on the Longhorn Network ever? There's a good chance since the SEC is involved. Also, when the Rebels roll out of Austin smiling and kicking back a couple of Co-Colas to celebrate, who will Texas head coach Mack Brown dismiss next week? Dead coach walking. Here's another extra question: When Texas runs Mack Brown, how much will the deep hats and deeper pockets of Longhorn Nation offer Nick Saban to come save the day in Austin?
Saturday: at Texas, 8 (Longhorn Network)
8. Tennessee (2-0)
Can the Vols keep up in Oregon? Doubtful. The Ducks fly. Quack, quack. And they can bite. (Side note: A hissing momma duck with some babies in tow can be an intimidating sight; alas, she is no match for a 9-iron, however. Long story.) Oregon scores on average more than three points a minutes. Yes, THREE points a minute. That's crazy good.
Saturday: at Oregon, 3:30 (ABC)
9. Auburn (2-0)
When did they start allowing Auburn defenders to tackle again? After a dismal 2012 in which almost every bad defensive mark was reset, the Tigers and new defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson look to be flying to the ball and playing hard. Gang, may we present Robinson Therezie, the Auburn safety who goes by 'Cadillac' and is the unknown defensive breakout star through the first two weeks of the season.
Saturday: vs. Mississippi State, 7 (ESPN2)
10. Arkansas (2-0)
How did the Hogs' 10-point win over Stanford last week not get more pub? What? It was over SAM-ford. No way the Hogs only beat SAM-ford 31-21. No way.
Saturday: vs. Southern Miss, 12:21 (WDSI)
11. Missouri (2-0)
After two weeks, who had the only two unbeaten SEC East teams being Tennessee and Missouri? Yep, we all did right? That said, the Tigers handled Toledo last Saturday every bit as convincingly as Florida did the week before. Not sure if that says more about the Tigers or the Gators.
12. Vandy (1-1, 0-1)
Could Vandy steal one in Columbia? After a heartbreaking loss in the opener, Vandy crushed Austin peay 38-3 last week. Now the Commodores head to Spurrierville to face a Gamecocks team dejected after Saturday's loss at Georgia.
Saturday: at South Carolina, 7 (ESPN)
13. Mississippi State (1-1)
Is Mississippi State's offense ready to keep pace against an Auburn defense that has not allowed a TD in 19 possessions? The Bulldogs offense showed that there is miles of difference between Oklahoma State (three points in a season-opening loss) and Alcorn State (51 points last week).
Saturday: at Auburn, 7 (ESPN2)
14. Kentucky (1-1)
Would there be more people at the game Saturday if Louisville and Kentucky were playing hoops? If they had each in a 70,000-seat arena, we say yes, there would be more for the Cards-Cats on the hardwood.
Saturday: vs. Louisville, noon (ESPN)
The first weekend is in the books. Let's try to decipher the lessons we gleaned.
• Chip Kelly's offense looked very good early and predictable late. So it goes — and as we suggested, Mike Vick will be a valuable fantasy commodity as long as he stays healthy.
• The NFL is a numbers game. Not unlike golf it's not how — it's how many. It's not how you win, it's how many wins you get. Ask the Titans or Seattle or even the Patriots if they feel guilty about benefitting from an opponent's poor performance or from catching a break late.
• We're legitimately worried about your Atlanta Falcons. More on this as the season rolls, but the questions outweigh the answers this morning.
• We had a friendly discussion with Quake and the Gang on SportTalk about the league's quarterbacks. Dr. B is high on Colin Kaepernick, and his week one showing belied Dr. B's confidence (he is a doctor — Dr. B, not Kaepernick). So in an effort to reaffirm our case that there Kaepernick is at best No. 10 among quarterbacks in the league, let's look at the draft board if the league was completely reshuffled and had a re-draft:
1) Aaron Rodgers
2) Tom Brady
3) Peyton Manning
4) Andrew Luck
5) Drew Brees
6) Eli Manning
7) Matt Ryan
8) Russell Wilson
9) Joe Flacco
10) Ben Roethlisberger
11) Cam Newton
12) RG III
Which two names would you take off that list and replace with the man who resembles Humpty Hump from Digital Underground? The Humpty Dance is your chance to do the Hump...
Talk to us baby.
The governing body of NASCAR put its foot on the accelerator and stomped Michael Waltrip Racing for what was deemed as manipulating the outcome of Saturday's race.
Here's the back story: Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers pulled some late-race hijinks that robbed Ryan Newman a potential win at Richmond — a win that would have placed him in the Chase. Bowyer and Vickers did what they did to help MWR teammate Martin Truex Jr. get into the Chase.
NASCAR booted Truex from the Chase and gave that spot to Newman. It also docked the MWR teams 50 points apeice and fined MWR $300,000 and suspended the team's general manager indefinitely.
Kudos to NASCAR for taking a stand.
"We penalize to not have this happen again," NASCAR president Mike Helton told reporters. "It's a message from the league saying 'You can't do this.'"
And he's right. There have been a slew of things that have happened in NASCAR's history that you could say, "Well, that's one of them racin' deals." There's also the old-school thought process that in NASCAR, if you "ain't cheatin' you ain't trying."
Somewhere there's the balance of this decision, which seems to be the fair one.
This and that
— SI is planning on releasing part an investigative story on Oklahoma State claiming a slew of violations on several fronts. A host of these allegedly happened during the Les Miles tenure.
— The Braves won 5-2 with one big inning, excellent starting pitching and Kimbrel in the end. It's a formula that as worked all year, but man is that offense erratic. They scored five runs in one inning — heck they got all five of their hits in that inning too. Could they tell us which inning they are going to pick so we could make sure we miss the rest.
— Tim Tebow has been offered a job by the L.A. arena league team. And with Jacksonville without Blaine Gabbert (we've said it thousand times, is there a worse QB name than Blaine? Think about it this way, if there is a movie with a character named Blaine, it's played by James Spader or Andrew McCarthy — those are not QB-level actors), shoudl the Jaguars make a play for Tebow?
— UTC beat ace John Frierson tell us here that after the Russ Huesman 'injury' fabrication that the Mocs athletic department must balance transparency and protecting the student-athletes. OK.
Weigh on any and all of the above. If you need a talking point, well here but three:
In light of Oklahoma State taking its turn in the crosshairs of a national investigative story — and the following NCAA probe — which school would be your guess to be the next to be the subject of a big scandal?
Looking at Chip Kelly's early success and with the push to the spread-option consuming all levels, who will be the next coach that some NFL team tries to lure to the show and flip the script?
TV guide posted it's top 10 greatest catch phrases and another 50 from various decades of TV history. Here's Johnny from Ed McMahon was No. 1 (We did not know that. See what we did there Spy?) The story is here but before you click, what was the first catch phrase you thought of and where did it rank? Before you go there, their list has several flaws. E-gads.
Release the hounds.
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 ...