|TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10TH||All Time Eastern||TV|
|Kansas at Florida||7:00 PM||ESPN|
|Boise State at Kentucky||9:00 PM||ESPN|
|THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12TH|
|Savannah State at Arkansas||8:00 PM|
|FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13TH|
|Southeastern Louisiana at Mississippi St.||8:00 PM|
|SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14TH|
|Tennessee at Wichita St.||2:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Lipscomb at Georgia||4:00 PM|
|Middle Tennessee at Ole Miss||5:00 PM||CSS|
|Kentucky at North Carolina||5:15 PM||ESPN|
|UL-Monroe at LSU||8:00 PM||CST|
|McNeese State at Texas A&M||8:00 PM||FSN|
|Charleston Southern at Alabama||8:30 PM|
|SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15TH|
|Western Michigan at Missouri||7:00 PM||ESPNU|
By Gary Brown
Definition of FAN
1. an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator
2. an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit) <science-fiction fans>
Origin of FAN
Short for fanatic
First Known Use: 1682
Today I spent way too much time looking at a back and forth on Facebook between fans of two college football programs teams that don’t even play each other except in rare circumstances.
One school has won 69.9% of their games since 1992, produced a national title, enjoyed multiple conference championships, eight BCS bowl appearances and had two players win the Heisman Trophy.
The other program has won 55.3% of their games, produced no conference titles and made just one BCS bowl appearance.
A guy who is fan of the second team spent many paragraphs declaring how the program at his school is every bit the equal of the first school. He even went so far as to declare that he would bet his pay check on it…even though he quickly said there was no real way to prove his point.
This whole conversation took place following a comment that did not even include anything about either team A or B.
This entire interaction started for one simple reason. The guy who supports the second team is an honest to goodness fan of his team. That is what fans do…and it is awesome.
It is fandom that allows the fans of one school to believe their team is really better even though they lost to them in the actual game.
It is fandom that allows a guy who went to a certain Big Ten school that lost over the weekend to say his team was sleep walking through their game.
It is fandom that causes the fans of one school to throw toilet paper over some wires where stately oak trees once stood.
There is also a downside to fandom.
It is absurd that one man’s support of his school prompted him to poison those oak trees because he felt his team was slighted somehow.
It is sad that friendships end because of a game.
It is crazy to support a person in a criminal proceeding just because they play for your school. In the most recent example, people who have no idea what happened eagerly trashed a young woman they have never met in support of a guy that does not even know their name.
It is sick to throw eggs at a player’s house, blow up his twitter feed or otherwise harass a college kid because of his play in a game. As a matter of fact, you really are not even a fan.
The games are fun. Be a passionate fan. Root hard for your team.
When the game is over though, think about what my Aunt Jean says, “Remember, this is just a game.”
When your team wins or loses it does not say anything about you as a person at all. How you respond as a fan, well, that does.
By Gary Brown
Now that the conference championship games have been played, here are a few notes to consider from the college football season.
-This past Saturday, and the one before, would not have been as exciting if there was a playoff coming on the heels of the games.
In my opinion, a college football playoff will hurt the regular season and there is a real chance the regular season becomes as insignificant to the fans as college basketball’s is for most people. As the number of teams increases in the playoff, which it will, the regular season will have even less importance.
-Ticket sales for bowl games are down for many reasons. The most important being that the games are simply glorified scrimmages that have no bearing on anything. Think about how many bowl games there have been in the last few years where one team just shows up and goes through the motions of playing the game.
-Expect there to be a push for winning a conference championship to be the gateway into the college football playoffs. Why? SEC envy is in full bloom. There were plenty of national journalists openly rooting for an Ohio State win to lock the SEC out of the title game. If the playoffs were starting this season half the field would be from the state of Alabama.
It will be surprising if the selection committee stays true to the ideal of the four best teams when the push starts. Many members of the committee are athletic directors at schools with a dog in the hunt for the prize that has eluded them during the BCS era.
-Why should coaches not have a say in the national title hunt? Arkansas coach Bret Bielema ranked Ohio State as the number twelve team in the nation. The lowest of any pollster. Bielema also ranked Louisville as the number six team in the nation. That is six spots higher than even Cardinals head coach, Charlie Strong, placed his team. By the way, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini gave his team a vote at number twenty-five. It was the only vote the Cornhuskers received.
-Remember early in the year when the Pac-12 was all the buzz? They also played their conference title game on Saturday. Do you even know who played? Stanford beat Arizona State 38-14.
-Down year for the SEC? Auburn, Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina were all in the BCS top ten.
By Gary Brown
The SEC Championship Game between the Missouri Tigers and the Auburn Tigers will be played Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. central time on CBS.
The game will feature two schools that were both coming of major struggles during the 2012 season, but experienced significant turnarounds during 2013.
Here is a brief look at the game and what will be the keys to success for each team.
How They Got Here
Missouri made their way to the conference title game by going 11-1 during the 2013 season. The only loss for Missouri came to South Carolina in overtime. The biggest win of the season for the Tigers was a 41-26 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs.
The Auburn Tigers got to the SEC title game by also going 11-1 during the season. The only loss for the Tigers was a 35-21 setback to LSU in a game played in a downpour. The biggest win of the season came when Auburn beat then number one Alabama by returning a field goal 100 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the game.
Who to Watch
For Missouri it all starts with their QB James Franklin. He completes 66.9% of his passes and has tossed sixteen touchdowns this year and only four picks. Henry Josey paces the running game with an average of 79.2 yards per game. The Missouri Tigers have a trio of receivers that are tall and dynamic.
On defense Missouri is led by defensive end Michael Sam. He leads the SEC in quarterback sacks with 10.5 and plays with a very high motor. At the other end of the line Kony Ealy is also capable of making big plays.
When Auburn has the football keep an eye on Tre Mason who has 1,317 rushing yards this season. He is not the biggest back in the conference, but has great leg strength. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has 922 rushing yards and 1627 passing yards in 2013. The Tigers do not throw the ball often, but when they do you better know where Sammie Coates is. He averages 23.7 yards per catch.
The guy to watch for Auburn on defense is Dee Ford. He is a very disruptive player from his defensive end position and is finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, which recognizes the best defensive end in college football. Freshman Gabe Wright is also an impact player on the defensive front. In the secondary Robenson Therezie is a playmaker for Auburn.
What to Expect
While Missouri has been very balanced on offense, expect to see them use their trio of tall wide receivers to create mismatches against the smaller Auburn secondary that has struggled this season. The three starters for Missouri are all 6’4” or better.
On defense Missouri features one of the best defensive lines in the SEC and expect to see the box loaded up to try and shut down the Auburn running game. The Missouri defense has created a turnover in 42 straight games now.
Auburn is anything but balanced. The Tigers will run the football and for the season they have rushed for 1,746 more yards than they have totaled passing. Auburn will throw when they have to, but it will only be when the other team has shown they can handle the running attack.
On defense expect to see Auburn to create up-field pressure in an effort to disrupt plays before they can develop. Also expect to see the Tigers blitz on passing downs to protect a secondary that has been vulnerable to big plays. The goal is to force an early decision by the quarterback.
Auburn wins if….
They can run the football for more than 200 yards and complete 60% or better of their pass attempts.
The secondary can avoid giving up big plays to Missouri’s passing game.
Missouri wins if…
Their defensive front plays sound gap defensive technique and forces Auburn to pass.
The secondary is disciplined and does not have breakdowns when Marshall is rolling out.
Their offense can keep the Auburn defense guessing.
How do you not pick a team like Auburn? Gus Malzahn’s team believes they can win any game after the shocking wins over Georgia and Alabama. How do you not pick Missouri? The lone loss for Gary Pinkel’s team came in OT to South Carolina without starting QB James Franklin on the field.
This game should be entertaining and competitive. The advantage will go to Auburn as they will have more consistent success on offense with their power running game. Malzahn will become the SEC coach of the year with his team winning the SEC title in 2013.
Final Score: Auburn 38 Missouri 28
By Gary Brown
Forget awards like the Heisman, Outland or the Bednarik. These only answer the question of who is a really good football player. Ignore talk about SEC and the national coach of the year honors. These only tell us which guy may spend the most time watching film.
Here is the real question: Who is the most interesting person in SEC football?
Here are some nominees.
Gus Malzahn-There have been some big wins for the first year Auburn head coach this season. How does he celebrate when his team pulls off the biggest of wins? He takes the family to Waffle House. Malzahn has been given status as on offensive genius, but somehow he manages to maintain his “one of us” demeanor.
AJ McCarron-The Alabama quarterback will play in the NFL and if nothing else, enjoy a good living in his home state just because of the success he has had on the football field. What makes him interesting is his girlfriend Katherine Webb. She has had plenty of opportunity to be pursued by people with much more money and success than McCarron, yet there she is faithfully heading out to Alabama games with his mom to cheer her man on. Why? We won’t even address his tattoo assortment.
Johnny Manziel-The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from Texas A&M had a better summer than Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. Combined. He was hanging with rappers, playing on the beach and still finding time to sign thousands of autographs for free.
Steve Spurrier-The South Carolina head football coach is the master of the one liner. He looks like he would be a blast to hang around for a day or play a round of golf with. He would make fun of your tee shots and laugh when you three putt. Afterwards you can see him pulling on his big grill apron and firing up the grill to bbq the steaks himself.
James Franklin-If you were with the Vanderbilt coach all day you would probably spend a little time watching girls, discussing the economic policy of Germany during World War II and enjoying a dinner that combined the upscale with common elements. He may be the leagues true Renaissance Man.
Below are the most recent recruiting rankings from Rivals and Scout.
Rivals SEC Recruiting Rankings
|Rank||School||Commitments||Five Star||Four Star||Three Star|
Scout SEC Recruiting Rankings
|National Rank||School||Commitments||Five Stars||Four Stars||Three Stars|