Its pretty safe to say the SEC has been the best conference in football for a while, but with the loss of the almight Tebow is it still relevant? The SEC could be deeper this year than ever before. With Alabama gearing up to defend their title and Florida hungry for revenge this is certain to be another great year for watching SEC football.
The Gators biggest loss is in face Tebow, his rusme is impressive and the offense takes a huge hit
Football is in the air and Dirty South Sports is returning! We can start with the top ten. I’ll break down every team and give my opinion on how they are going to do this season. We can start at the very best place, the beginning.
1 Alabama At this point in the season, it is clear who the best team in the nation is. Mark Ingram looks to make his case for a second Heisman this year, but some are considering his back up just as good or even better than he is. In the tough SEC West, a running game is the first step to establishing dominance and Bama has it. Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram will do the dirty work, and all Senior QB Greg McElroy has to do is sit back and enjoy the ride all the way to Atlanta for another SEC Championship and possible National Title. Prediction: The Tide rolls into the SEC Championship with one loss @ LSU.
2 Ohio State The Big Ten (with 11 soon to be 12 teams) Champions are looking for a little respect. You might think I’m crazy, but the entire state of Ohio (with the exception of Cincinnati) is looking for Ohio State to bring them some sort of sanity in a ludicrous year in sports. With the Indians becoming a baseball punch line and LeBron buying a one way ticket to South Beach, it would be easy for me to kick this state while its down, but I’m not going to do that. Ohio State has arguably the most electric player in the nation at QB with Terrell Prior. Prior could win the Heisman and a National Championship and surprise virtually no one. Ohio State could easily go undefeated. Not only did I just say good things about this state…I didn’t make a Cleveland Browns joke. Prediction: The Buckeyes go 11-1 with an early loss to Miami but make it to the Rose Bowl as Big Ten Champs.
3 Boise State I don’t buy Boise as a real contender, but I do see them having a Heisman candidate in Kellen Moore. He is the real deal and could light Virginia Tech up in the opening game. Boise will win all but one game this year because of their cupcake schedule. I can’t say too many bad things about them because Virginia Tech and Oregon State both show up on their schedule. Prediction: Boise State will go 11-1 with a loss to VT on Labor Day, but still claw their way back and maybe stumble into a BCS Game.
4 Florida Georgia fans rejoice! Tebow is a Bronco and is now of the NCAA world! But does this matter? Florida won with Chris Leak at QB, so I don’t see the Gators missing a beat. My only concern is freshmen skipping practice because of “the way coaches treat them”. Locker room chemistry could be the single most underrated factor, especially in young college kids. If Urban Myers can grab these kids by the collar and get them in line by the time their tough SEC schedule starts it could be another big year in Gainesville. Predictions: Florida goes 10-2 losing to Alabama and Georgia.
5 Texas I don’t feel right about this team. Their schedule isn’t a tough one, but they have two of the toughest games back to back that I’ve seen. They play rival # 7 Oklahoma at a neutral location, and then travel into Husker country and play at #8 Nebraska. Texas could easily lose both these games. I don’t know what I think of this team, but I do know that Mac Brown is arguable the best coach in the nation. Prediction: Texas loses both those games but nothing else and finishes the season at 10-2 and in the Big XII Championship.
6 TCU The Horned Frogs finished last season by losing to Boise State on the national stage of the Fiesta Bowl. I feel like that left a bad taste in a lot of peoples’ mouths. The Horned Frogs are flying under most people’s radars with relative ease. This team will go undefeated. Starting at 6th in the nation and then going undefeated is a formula for stumbling into a national championship unfortunately I don’t this team will not be in the National Title game, but they will not lose a game so they will be the outright bid. Prediction: 12-0 record and a place in the Sugar, Orange, or Fiesta Bowl. How can you not cheer for a team with Frogs on the side of their helmets?
7 Oklahoma Boomer Sooner lost a lot when Sam Bradford went to the NFL, a lot more than people think. During a season riddled with injuries, Oklahoma went 8-5, going 3-3 against top 25 teams. Can we really expect that much better this year? Team chemistry will be improved and timing between starting receivers and their QB will be significantly better, but I don’t see them competing for a BCS Bowl. Prediction: I’m giving them 4 losses with a possible 5th one added late.
8 Nebraska ESPN is drinking Nebraska Kool-Aid, but I’m just not buying into this team. They lost 4 games last year and had a hard loss to Texas in the Big XII Championship that didn’t impress me. This team won’t be challenged much, although I did pick them to beat Texas. Predictions: Nebraska loses 3 games and an additional in the Big XII Championship.
9 Iowa The Big Ten could be the most overrated conference this year. I don’t like Iowa as a team, but I do like their schedule. Big games against Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin will wow the voters. I think the surprise loss will be Arizona in week 3. Prediction: Ohio State will win the Big Ten and could be in the National Title, so Iowa could sneak into the Rose Bowl late in the season. They go 10-2.
10 Virginia Tech The Hokies really confuse me. On one hand, they could have the second best one-two punch at running back pair that with one of the best coaches in Frank Beamer, and on the side give them Tyrod Taylor who has been spectacular in big games. But on the other hand Virginia Tech has a history of underachieving. Their two biggest games are going to be played at home or in Washington D.C (Georgia Tech/Boise State), so it’s very possible that VaTech could have an incredible year. I think they’re best team in the ACC which gives them an advantage because of the automatic BCS bid, but I don’t feel confident giving them a great record. Prediction: The Hokies go 10-2 with loses to UNC and at Boston College.
That’s the top ten, but what about the other 15 teams? Here is a quick look at some teams to highlight:
My Dark Horse team: West Virginia – being in an easy conference there is certain privileges one of which is an easy schedule. If the mountaineers go undefeated, don’t be surprised to see them break the top ten especially after beating Pitt and Uconn late in the season.
Fools Gold: Florida State With Bobby Bowden gone, FSU is in the hands of a new coach. Bowden is someone who no one wants to replace and in an improved ACC, FSU could slip to the back of the pack by losing to Oklahoma, Miami, Boston College, North Carolina, and Florida.
Upset Special: Georgia beats Florida – Florida is young again which is good and bad. Some kids will have never been to the World’s Largest Cocktail Party and could easily be overwhelmed. If Washaun Ealey can start running over defensive players instead of parked cars the Bulldogs are in business.
As everyone knows on Tuesday night Joe Derosa threw a ball at a loud mouth Orlando socialite. The incident was quite funny to see following a commercial break especially for the commentors reactions. The play-by-play guy really walks you through it. He gives you Derosa’s background, explains why he brings the ball to the scorers table and even somewhat sides with the official. Mark Jackson complains, “If a player did that there would be a huge outrage.” It literally happened 3 minutes ago and Jackson is pleading for justice. Jackson must be a savant. Because this referee is getting a slap on the wrist.
The Orlando Magic kicked off defending their Eastern Conference title by sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats without too much trouble. The Magic could be the best team in the league, their healthy, young, and they made the right off-season adjustments and could deliver Vince Carter his first ring. The Magic will face off against the winner of the Hawks/Bucks series.
The Hawks started this series with two seamless wins at home and have fallen to the Bucks twice to bring the series back to Atlanta tied at 2-2. The Hawks just cannot win on the road, same problem that has knocked them out of the playoffs for the past two years. Joe Johnson has been leading the team with 21 points and almost 5 assists but needs to play better if he wants to advance to the second round. If these teams play the way they have on the road against Orlando look for a clean sweep by the Magic in the next round.
The Heat were eliminated by the Boston Celtics but the big story in Miami is if Dwayne Wade will stay or not. He is a free agent at the end of the season and is looking to ink a big deal, there isn’t a franchise who wouldn’t want this guy on the floor but not many who will be willing to pay him. This could be the most exciting NBA off-season ever and Wade gets to kick it off early.
The Atlanta Braves lost last night to the Cardinals 5-4 in St. Louis to extend their current losing streak to 7 games and have fallen into last place in the NL East. They’ve been swept by the Mets and now are down two games in a four game series to the Cardinals. The Braves scored four runs last night, that’s the most runs they’ve scored since beating the Phillies 4-3 right before kicking off the losing streak. One thing about baseball is it’s very hard to score runs if you don’t have base runners, Atlanta has 8 players batting .250 or worse. Troy Glaus has been no help and a power hitting first basemen has been a huge hole in this line-up for a long time, but Glaus isn’t letting this slump effect his mentality.
“I think as an entire group, the numbers aren’t indicative of what’s going on,” Glaus said. “I’m not saying we should be hitting .380 as a group, but we’ve been hitting the ball better than what the numbers say”. They have had some bad breaks, hitting the ball hard but right at players can’t win you games like this. They can’t find a lead off hitter ,Nate McLouth is hitting a pathetic .149, with Yunel Escobar hitting .192. The Braves can still scratch out two wins in this series and split with the Cardinals then get some confidence back with upcoming series against Houston and Washington.
Some good that has come this year has been Martin Prado who’s hitting .367 and has been a solid bat in the #2 spot, Jason Heyward is a powerful presence in the middle of the line up and has led the Braves in both home runs (4) and RBI’s (16) but no one has been able to hit with runners in scoring position.
“We’re going to talk to him,” manager Bobby Cox said. “He’s taking way too many pitches for strikes. [As a result] he’s getting one pitch to swing at right now.” Vetren Chipper Jones also added this advice for Heyward “Miller made some pretty tough pitches on him. It’s his first time through the league. Crunch time, you throw a sidearm lefty out there with a good slider, and you know, he located a good fastball on the outside corner. It’s not like it was right down the middle. It was located. Mac [Brian McCann] or Nate [McLouth] or any other left-hander would have a tough time with that guy.”
The good thing is their staying positive for the most part which is really what you have to do this early. Lets all remember though this is April baseball and its a long season, but losing streaks make it seem even longer.
For the first time in its 75 year history the NFL draft was held at primetime on a Thursday night, this new time placement and dividing the rounds into three separate days lifted the ratings for the NFL and ESPN 30% from last year, also up 30% was the use of hair spray for Mel Kiper Jr. ESPN gets the job done, I thought their presentation was very good with the wonderful awkward moments that all live television brings. My favorite character was John Gruden who not only interrupted Steve Young and received a dirty look from the former 49ers QB but let out a curse word during filming, thanks Chucky. In other news a total of 12 Dirty South players were drafted in the first round with another 13 in the second round. But how did your team draft? Here’s a breakdown of the best and worst from the 75th NFL Draft.
Best Pick: Ndamukong Suh Detroit Lions
This could be the most NFL ready player in the draft. He has size, speed, and incredible upper body strength. Don’t look for him to make too much of a splash on stat sheets in his first year but Suh is a presences on the line that no one will want to run at.
Worst Pick: Tim Tebow Denver Broncos
I said it once and I’ll say it again, way too early for Tebow to go, not only that but the Broncos traded up to get him, no one at Denver did their homework on this pick. Tebow could be a good NFL player but not anytime soon.
Dirty South Teams:
1st Round. Sean Weatherspoon OLB Missouri. Weatherspoon brings a unique mix of speed and size that could replace Mike Peterson in the starting line-up. Look for this kid to turn heads at mini camp and be starting before the Falcon’s bye week.
2nd Round. (No pick)
3rd Round. Corey Peterson DT Kentucky/Mike Johnson OG Alabama. Solid, safe picks. Two powerful SEC players, Dimitroff did his homework and didn’t take any chances here nothing special but still good picks.
First Round Grade: A-
Overall Grade: B+
1st Round. No Pick
2nd Round. Jimmy Clausen QB Notre Dame. Possibly the most NFL ready QB ran a pro style offense at Notre Dame and is the only QB to have played a lot under center during college. His attitude and collegiate record are the only two things that concern me
3rd Round. Brandon LeFell WR LSU/Armanti Edwards WR App State. Two athletic guys who can learn from veteran Steve Smith, LeFell or Edwards could both fit in the slot position and be able to out run linebackers at the NFL level, good picks to improve a very youthful offence in Carolina
First Round Grade: F-
Overall Grade: B+
New Orleans Saints-
1st Round. Patrick Robinson CB Florida State. Robinson turned heads during his workout and brings great speed to an already great Saints defense, he won’t be starting this year but look for him to cause a stir in the Saints defensive depth charts
2nd Round. Charles Brown OT Southern Cal. Not a great player here, but plenty of potential to go around. Look for Sean Peyton to view this guy as a project. Brown’s work esthetic will take him far but not into a high spot on the depth chart just yet.
3rd Round. Jimmy Graham TE Miami. Graham is a brilliant mix of size and speed and this late in the draft is a good sleeper pick for the Saints. Being behind Shockey will help him learn the mental side of the NFL game and I see him becoming a dynamic TE in future years.
First Round Grade: B+
Overall Grade: B-
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-
First Round. Gerald McCoy DT Oklahoma. At 295 lbs McCoy has deceptive speed to go along with his massive frame. Tampa Bay hasn’t solved the defensive problem yet but is making the right adjustments to take them back to the glory days when TB’s defense ruled.
2nd Round. Brian Price DT UCLA. Price won’t get many sacks this year but will cause a few disruptions in the backfield. Tampa Bay has made it obvious where they’re focusing on during this rebuilding phase and are on the right track.
3rd Round. Myron Lewis CB Vanderbilt. The third defensive player taken by Tampa Bay was their most important, in a pass happy NFL you much have a good coverage backs. Lewis will take a couple of years to mature into a top NFL defensive back but look for players like Ronde Barber to take him under their wing and show him a thing or two.
First Round Grade: A+
Overall Grade: A+
1st Round. Jared Odrick DT Penn State. Miami traded down and picked a solid pass defender with the 28th pick. Odrick has shown he can pass and run block when he played in an athletic Penn State offense, the only issue is he didn’t face too much defense in the Big Ten. He’ll make it or break it during the pre season.
2nd Round. Koa Misi OLB Utah. Misi has been working on transitioning from DE to OLB and will have to learn how to read a play at the NFL level. Not a stellar pick but not too bad either.
3rd Round. John Jerry OG Mississippi. Big body without too much razzle dazzle but he’ll do fine in the NFL. Needs to get quicker if he wants to stop a NFL defense player.
First Round Grade: C
Overall Grade: C-
1st Round. Tyson Alualu DT California. Good comfortable pick, didn’t take any chances got a solid player with above average speed at his position. Speed is everything when you have to penetrate an NFL sized offensive line and get to the QB, like many rookies don’t look for him to be getting too many sacks but he will cause the running backs to think twice before running his way.
2nd Round. Traded
3rd Round. D’Anthony Smith DT Louisiana Tech. Smith is weak for his size but moves well; his athleticism gained him some attention but needs to hit the weight room if he wants to keep a job at this level.
First Round Grade: B
Overall Grade: B
1st Round. Derrick Morgan DE Georgia Tech. Experts are saying Morgan is the best DE in the 2010 class and put under Jeff Fisher will be beastly. He has the ability to chase down running backs as well and disrupt the passing game. Great pick especially at number 16.
2nd Round. No Pick
3rd Round. Damian Williams WR USC. Experts are all agreeing in Williams’s ability to run a route and understand an NFL offense, once he becomes comfortable with his surrounding look for him to make big strides throughout the season. Another great pick for the Titans
First Round Grade: A+
Overall Grade: A
That sums up Dirty South’s Draft Review. Congratulations to all the players taken in the NFL Draft and I look forward to watching all of them in years to come.
Tim Tebow in the first round? Really? The Broncos elected to pay Tebow first round money which is the real reason they won this prestigous award. Tebow is a heck of a player, don’t get me wrong, but not it the first round. Experts had him falling into the late second and possibly early third round but Denver bulled right through those predictions and picked him 35th overall. If Denver is looking for a quarterback how did they miss Clausen and McCoy? Tebow was maybe the 5th best QB in this draft. Denver obviously has other plans in mind when it comes to Tebow’s ability but even Jerry Jones or Al Davis wouldn’t of made this pick so early. Tebow is a steal later in the draft and a thief this early. Good for Timmy, congrats on the big ol’ first round paycheck and good luck the rest of your career.