SEC Week One: East vs. West Matchups Key First Saturday

SEC Week One: East vs. West Matchups Key First Saturday

The SEC College Football season finally is among us. Due to COVID-19, the conference added two additional cross-divisional matchups to reach their 10-game SEC only schedule.

Since Nick Saban’s return to the SEC in 2007, no conference’s resume is as impressive as the SEC, producing nine National Championships. While the West owns eight of those nine, which division holds the advantage in regular season play?

SEC Best Records
Conference Play, Since 2007
DivisionW-LWin Pct.Division TitlesSEC ChampsNational Championships
AlabamaWest89-150.856765
GeorgiaEast73-310.702510
LSUWest72-320.692332
FloridaEast68-360.654411
Texas A&MWest34-300.531000
AuburnWest55-490.529321
South CarolinaEast52-520.5100
MissouriEast30-340.469200
Mississippi St.West46-580.442000
TennesseEast39-650.375100
Ole MissWest35-690.337000
ArkansasWest34-700.327000
KentuckyEast32-720.308000
VanderbiltEast28-760.269000

When Texas A&M and Missouri joined the conference in 2012, the SEC reduced cross-divisional matchups from three to two. Each division member faces their “common rival” every year, while the remaining opponent rotates. The only changes to that formula were Texas A&M, and Missouri switched from playing each other to South Carolina and Arkansas in 2014.

SEC Common Rival
WestEast
AlabamaTennesse
ArkansasMissouri
AuburnGeorgia
LSUFlorida
Ole MissVanderbilt
Mississippi StKentucky
Texas A&MSouth Carolina

Since 2012 the West owns the upper hand, winning 72 of the 110 (.625) regular-season matchups. The West dominance also applies to the SEC Championship, winning seven of eight over that same period. Georgia’s victory over Auburn in 2017 represents the only SEC Championship for the East.

SEC, East vs West
Head to Head, Since 2012
Regular SeasonWinsLossesWin Pct.
East42700.381
West70420.625
Conference ChampionshipWinsLossesWin Pct.
East1>>70.125
West710.875
>>Georgia beat Auburn in 2017

Here are some cross-divisional matchups to watch on Saturday (all times are EST).

#2 Alabama at Missouri, 7:00 PM EST

Alabama: won 26 straight against SEC East opponents – postseason included (last loss 10/9/2010 at South Carolina)

Alabama : at SEC Opponents Since 2011: at Auburn (2-3) at Remainder of SEC (31-1)

Missouri: Missing five players due to COVID-19

Missouri: 4-1 in last five against SEC East (only loss at Alabama in 2018)

All-time series: Alabama 4-2 (won four straight, including 2014 SEC Championship).

WR Jaylen Waddle is ready for a breakout season for the Tide.

#4 Georgia at Arkansas, 4 PM EST 

Georgia: USC transfer JT Daniels and redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis both scheduled to play at QB

Georgia: 11-5 vs. SEC West in regular-season play since 2012 (1-5 in postseason).

Arkansas: lost 19 straight SEC games (last win 10/28/17 at Ole Miss)

Arkansas: lost ten consecutive SEC home games (previous win 11/5/2016 vs. Florida).

All-time Series: Georgia leads 10-4

Highest Win Pct., Since 2012
SEC, Cross Divisional Matchups
Regular SeasonPostseasonOverallWin Pct.
Alabama16-06-022-0>>100
LSU13-32-015-30.882
Texas A&M12-40-012-40.75
Mississippi St.10-60-010-60.625
Georgia11-51-512-100.545
Missouri9-70-29-90.5
Auburn8-81-19-90.5
Ole Miss8-80-08-80.5
Florida7-90-27-110.388
South Caroliina5-110.3135-110.313
Vanderbilt5-110.3135-110.313
Arkansas4-120.254-120.25
Kentucky3-130.1883-130.188
Tennessee2-140.1252-140.125
>>Won 26 straight

#5 Florida at Ole Miss, Noon EST

Florida: Senior QB Kyle Trask: 3,103 passing yards in 2019 (second to Joe Burrow in SEC).

Florida: Scored 400+ points in consecutive seasons (first time since posting four straight 2006-09)

Ole Miss: Lane Kiffin’s return to SEC as head coach in his first year with Rebels (Kiffin was 7-6 with Tennessee in 2009).

Ole Miss: 251.3 Rushing YPG last season (2nd in SEC).

All-time Series: Florida leads 12-11-1

QB Kyle Trask hopes to lead Florida to the SEC East title.

 #23 Kentucky at #8 Auburn, Noon EST

Kentucky: QB Terry Wilson returns after missing the entire SEC schedule in 2019 (11 TD, 8 INT, 1,889 pass yds in 2018)

Kentucky: lost 11 straight at SEC West opponents (last win 2009 at Auburn)

Auburn: QB Bo Nix has not thrown an interception in 191 consecutive passes (team record)

Auburn: lost five straight vs. SEC East opponents (includes 2017 SEC Championship)

All-time Series: Auburn leads 26-6-1

Sophomore Bo Nix leads Auburn’s offense.

Vanderbilt at #10 Texas A&M, 7:30 PM EST

Vanderbilt: allowed 30+ points in eight of last 12 SEC road games.

Vanderbilt: 3-11 vs. SEC West opponents since 2012.

Texas A&M: Kellen Mond: 6.2 yards per play, 28 total TD in 2019 (second to Joe Burrow)

Texas A&M: 12-4 vs. East opponents since joining the SEC in 2012 (9-1 in last 10).

All-Time Series: Texas A&M leads 2-0

Does the NFL work with no fans?

Does the NFL work with no fans?

With the largest fan base in all of north American sports. How does the NFL work with no fans? For months fans have wondered how an NFL game would feel without fans. After week one fans where honestly surprised since the first game on Sunday everyone forgot that nobody was in attendance. Sure, it makes a difference for players to be used to feeding off a live crowd, but for the rest of the fans they had a solid experience was more or less the same.

How did it all work so well? It is fairly simple the on-field performance stays the same the players still give it their all. There are not much the players can do to improve the game for the fans than just to play the game at a high level. Credit where it’s due to CBS, FOX and NBC for making a few small adjustments that made fans forget the crowd wasn’t there. Production leaned on tighter shots of players, rather than cutting to fans in the stand. It was so subtle you probably didn’t even notice unless you really combed over the games. The natural camera angle we’re used to see plays cuts out much more of the crowd than the NBA or NHL, where we’re more accustomed to seeing the fans behind the play. Yes, we still miss a little of than fan-fueled flavor, but the experience of seeing a game at home was basically the same.

When compared with simulated crowd noise it felt extremely similar to every single game any fan has seen in the past few years. What could be improved? Just because there’s a lack of fans doesn’t mean the fans at home has to lose their love for the game and their personality. The big thing missing that the NFL needs to get on top of and what they really want to sell the idea of is virtual fans. We have seen this at the draft with simulated cheering, they should accept the full fan experience and make things more contextual.

For instance, the simulated crowd never booed a referee. They cheered big plays on both sides of the ball. This is all pretty silly they can accept that no home fan is going to cheer for an away touchdown, or be silent during a critical pass interference call. It doesn’t matter if the call is right, that zebra is getting booed. It comes with the territory. With that change the NFL should be good in this new unknown time.

Introducing the Playoff Draft!

Introducing the Playoff Draft!

Want to make sports more exciting? Welcome to Playoff Drafts!

COVID brought all sorts of new ideas to sports. It may be the ultimate legacy to a botched public response to a global pandemic- new sports rules. Like? A baseball double header lasting 14 innings. If it goes extra innings? The inning starts with a guy on 2nd base. Everyone gets a DH, like the games are played in Oprah’s studio.

As a sport, baseball was way ahead of its rivals. They made fundamental short term changes to the game in order to have something that looked like a season. Football? Showed its true mentality. “SMASH! RUN!” was the Commissioners reaction grunt to how football would deal with fans and corona.

Two sports thought of a bubble. One thought of one without prostitutes, which may speak to the long run difference of being raised with one parent versus two.  

Wow…

But there was one change I would have liked to have seen be introduced in every sport. And not just this year, but going forward forever. That idea? Playoff drafts.

What’s a playoff draft? I’m not sure it even exists, so I get to totally create this new and brilliant idea. In theory, a playoff draft is a way to make playoff sports more interesting and exciting. How does it work? It goes like this:

Team A beats Team B in the playoffs. Fuck you, Team B, you pieces of shit! After A dispatches B, depending on the sport, Team A can harvest players off of Team B’s roster. How many players? Easy.

NBA? 1 guy. NHL? 2 guys. MLB? 2 guys. NFL? 3 guys.

A smart team would select other players to cover for weaknesses. Is your running back average? Steal the better one! Did a star player get hurt? Take the equivalent?

Think back to when the Jets beat anyone in the playoffs. In 2010 Tom Brady would have been a Jet. That’s a big wow factor, no?

The player additions are also a per round total. If your baseball team wins the play in and the wild card? You have 4 new guys on your team.

Forever? No. You get the player back on your team after the postseason.

Do you have to take other players? No, its up to your GM and coach.

You may say “Since we won, why would we take a player from the other team?” The better question is- Why wouldn’t you? What, you think by sharing how you’re coached a guy or two will have the keys to your weaknesses? They just lost to you, so if they couldn’t figure it out then, one player wont break a code in an extra week or two. The only thing he may figure out is that his regular coach sucks.

No, this is about rewarding winning. About adding excitement for the fan. About offering the best product that you possibly can. Plus now you get multi city appeal. Derek Jeter on the 2004 Red Sox? New York will be watching that World Series.

For the players, it’s like a free agency window. You get to check out other teams operations first hand. Players should love that because it will push wages up when they jump ship for teams that they liked.

What if there is an upset? Holy cow is that a game changer! Say The LA Lakers lose in the semi finals. Suddenly you have LeBron James or Anthony Davis coming off of your bench in the next round. That’s sudden interest in an underdog team. And the more LeBron, the more ESPN exists.

What about the guys that they replace? Those guys get put into suspended animation on your roster. New guy gets injured? Fuck off. You’re down one. You have to give the suspended animation list a positive sounding name so it doesn’t sound like a punishment. Call it the “Recent Reserves” list.

The 2020 New York Islanders and their awful power play beat the Capitals. Top 5 bust Michael Dal Colle goes on the Reserves list, add Alexander Ovechkin to your lineup. Power play issues solved, maybe the Islanders beat Tampa Bay and add Braden Point to their team at forward, and Victor Hedman on defense. But Tampa won….bet Josh Bailey wouldn’t be in their top ten players to poach list.

Reunited with Trotz? Power play solved.

Players you take in a playoff draft? They get playoff money shares, a title ring, but their name isn’t added to your team history or on the Stanley Cup. Their stats however are added to their personal history. Say Pete Alonso is taken by the Braves and hits 4 playoff home runs? That’s all Alonso stats, not the Braves.

The Celtics beat the Sixers? Suddenly backing up at point for the Celtics? Ben Simmons! Makes the game more interesting, and the team stronger. This year in the NBA Kawai Leonard would have been picked up by Denver. How would that change their approach in the next round?

Plus, the selection process itself would be super exciting. All sports leagues make a big deal about amateur drafts. Imagine the headlines of a professional draft? It would be interesting to see who would get picked. Sorry, choking ass Clayton Kershaw!

Whomp whomp!

And if you chose a player who was a bum? The second guessing would make a whole new world of sport talk what if’s. “Imagine how it would have turned out if the Yankees took Ichiro, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito in 2001? They win 6 World Series in a row!”

Think about the revenue opportunities available for sports teams. Sport leagues keep making money off of TV ratings. Why would they want to water down a product?

Could players throw games? Absolutely. That makes the selection more exciting- it’s the chance you take as a franchise. Plus, couldn’t a player throw a game in the playoffs anyway, or was John Starks that god awful bad versus Houston?

Reggie Miller was right

This idea is most definitely outside the box, and will insult sports purists. However, if would create dream teams in each sport, and that’s what fans want to see, right? So come on big leagues, time to grow a pair and start the playoff draft!

2020 SEC West Preview: Tide Will Roll Again

2020 SEC West Preview: Tide Will Roll Again

The more things change, the more they stay the same is the motto for another predictable SEC West season. When Horace Greeley uttered the words “Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country” in July of 1865, little did he know the reference would fit Alabama. This year due to COVID changes, the SEC features a 10-game conference only schedule.

Since the creation of the SEC Championship in 1992, Alabama (12), Auburn (7) and LSU (6) have won 25 of the 28 division titles. However, since Nick Saban came to Tuscaloosa in 2007, the SEC West is the standard for College Football, winning eight of the 13 National Championships.

Most SEC Championships
Head Coaches, Since 1992
Nick Saban>>LSU, Alabama8
Steve SpurrierFlorida5
Phillip FulmerTennessee3
Urban MeyerFlorida2
Les MilesLSU2
Mark RichtGeorgia2
>>Won 6 National Championships

The division now features a collection of elite coaches vying to grab a piece of that Championship puzzle. Ole Miss welcomes former Tennessee Head Coach Lane Kiffin. The Rebels last finished with a conference record above .500 in 2015 (6-2) and has just five total since 1992.

Kylin Hill hopes to keep new Mississippi State Head Coach Mike Leach in the running for a division title in 2020.

Mississippi State hired Mike Leach in the offseason, hoping to make the Bulldogs relevant. Leach’s squad pins their 2020 hopes on running back Kylin Hill (1,350 rushing yards and 10 TD in 2019) and Stanford graduate transfer K.J. Costello at QB.

Texas A&M finally finds itself in a position to challenge the West for the first time in Jimbo Fisher’s tenure. Kellen Mond leads the offense (28 total TDs in 2019) while the Aggies return ten starters on defense. Fischer’s gang travels to Tuscaloosa and hosts Florida after opening against Vanderbilt.

Kellen Mond leads an experienced and talented group on both side of the ball at Texas A&M.

LSU and Auburn find themselves rebuilding after both knocking off Alabama in 2019. The defending National Champions saw their chances to repeat dwindle when WR Ja’Marr Chase and NT Tyler Shelvin both opted out.

The big bully in the division is still Alabama. Since 2007 the Tide is 89-15 (.865) in conference play. LSU ranks second, a distant 17 wins behind (Georgia ranks second overall with 73 wins). The Tide’s defense will be markedly better than the unit that allowed 25.4 PPG and 368 YPG in conference play (both team highs under Saban). Linebackers Dylan Moses and Joshua McMillon return as does DE LaBryan Ray after missing 2019 with injuries.

QB Mac Jones played well replacing Tua Tagovailoa but must limit the mistakes which cost the Tide their fifth straight trip to the CFB Championship. Jones tore up Auburn’s defense for 45 points (22 more than any other opponent) but gave the Tigers 14 points with two pick-sixes. DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and Najee Harris provide the Tide much of the offensive firepower that averaged over 45 points and 500 YPG in each of the last two seasons.

Alabama Crimson Tide
SEC Games, Since 2011
W-L vs LSU & Auburn14-5
W-L vs Rest of SEC51-2
Home W-L33-3
Road W-L32-4
PPG Diff.22.3
YPG Diff.177.9

The Tide’s dominance in college football’s best conference is glaring. Since 2011, Alabama’s win margin (+22.3) and YPG differential (177.9) is staggering. Another moniker of their dominance is their road record. Subtracting their 2-3 record at Auburn, Saban’s boys are 30-1 away from Tuscaloosa since 2011 (five points if you can name their only loss).

2020 Final Standings Predictions
SEC West
W-L
1. Alabama10-0
2. Texas A&M9-1
3. LSU7-3
4. Ole Miss6-4
5. Auburn5-5
6. Mississippi St.5-5
7. Arkansas2-8

Alabama will regain their division title in 2020, while the Aggies record their best conference finish since joining the SEC.

Five Interesting Notes: NFL Week 2

Five Interesting Notes: NFL Week 2

The second week in the NFL produced a large number of high-scoring, exciting games, while also delivering many significant injuries to key players.

Here are five interesting facts and figures.

Falcons blow 20-point lead at Dallas – Atlanta allows 570 total yards and a 15-point lead with under six minutes remaining. Since 2015 teams are 506-3 when leading by more than 14 points in the final five minutes of regulation (courtesy Mike Sando of The Athletic). Two of those losses involved Dan Quinn’s Falcons.

Cam Netwon leads the Patriots in rushing attempts, but came up short on final play Sunday Night at Seattle.

The Patriots Cam Newton is the first quarterback since 1950 to lead his team in rushing attempts in the first two games of the season (Elias).

Russell Wilson (Seahawks) leads the NFL in TD passes (9), completion percentage (82.5, 52-63), and passer rating (140.0).

Josh Allen (Bills) leads the NFL in passing yards (729) and joins Jim Kelly (1991) as the only QB in team history to throw for 300 yards in each of the Bills’ first two games. 

Joe Burrow’s efforts haven’t prevented the Bengals from starting 0-2 again.

The Jets and Bengals are 0-2 for the 17th and 19th time since the merger. Only the New Orleans Saints with 21 have more.