AP Top 10 Preseason … ALL HAIL THE SEC! Part 2

6) Texas A&M

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There is so much stuff going on with this team at that the moment that I do not now know where to begin. First, the signal caller needs to stop being Johnny “So College Bro” Manziel. This discussion is meant for another post, but for now I will say, “No Manziel equals no chance at the West title or even at a major bowl game.” Texas A&M has 6 starters both on offense and defense returning but this could change with a possible Manziel suspension. Their rushing game must pick it up in order for Manziel to have the heat taken off him (even if he plays). They have a strong schedule, but they will be “Roll-Tided” early on and knocked out of BCS chances if Manziel is not playing (Possible game of the year here). Whoever plays quarterback will have good protection again thanks to the depth of the line which is what the SEC is notorious for. Their secondary and defense looks good with some starters returning, but there is just so much in the air right now. You need Manziel, and if I were the coaching staff, I would sit this kid down and tell him he better shape up or the team has to take losses or even wins without him.

7) South Carolina

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I dont…I dont even know where to begin, but i will start in an obvious spot. I started following Clowney around the time I really got into college football and football in general. I remember him being the top prospect and wondering why he would go to South Carolina and not Alabama who had just won their first BCS National Championship or Florida who had Urban Meyer and were equally good. Ever since, this kid has been nothing but a menace. He is frightful and I have always thought of him as one of the best defensive ends even when he entered as a freshman. Now, South Carolina shares a similar schedule with Georgia in regards to having to play three top contending teams. The good thing is that South Carolina’s offense has matured, which means they can hopefully do a lot better this year. The defense has carried South Carolina for the past couple of years (as shown by Clowney’s murderous hit). If South Carolina’s offense puts up 30 points a game, then I would recant my comment about Georgia reaching the SEC Championship from before. The hard thing about this is which quarterback will take the snaps and the hopes of Davis filling in for Lattimore, who is a ‘Niner now, may be a long shot. I want Clowney to win this year so he can leave and start his NFL career, but that’s just me and the other SEC quarterbacks’ hopes.

8) Clemson

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Sorry, no glove … No love!

I will tell you why this team is going to be much better than the Florida State “powerhouses” we have seen in the past couple of years. Firstly, this team is going up against two SEC teams that are ranked in the top ten in two of their four out of conference games. That alone proves this team is willing to take on the best. Second, they quietly finished at 11-2 last year and they hit bad tides a couple years back when they got embarrassed by 70-35 in their bowl game. However, they can score and not many teams are going to be able to shut down their scoring efforts very well. They have defensive problems much like Georgia, and they look like the Mud Dogs defense without Bobby Bouche. There are 7 returning starters on each side, but the offense is more ready to go this year with Tajh Boyd and and Sammy Watkins. The hardest part is going to be the opener against Georgia (offensive powerhouse SEC) and the closer against South Carolina (defensive powerhouse SEC). If, however, this team rises up and beats both of them (even one of them), I can see them going to a major bowl game. Their schedule may be too weak to warrant a BCS national championship game, unless they are unbeaten and win the conference championship. However, I like this team and they can make a good run if the defense can find a rhythm.

9) Louisville

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Around a year ago in October to November, I text my brother telling him that Lousiville was third in the nation when it comes to the defense giving up points and I said their quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was a good player. I humbly stand corrected about this and say he is now an excellent player. Louisville is the underdog of this top 10 and I can see them climbing these polls as all these teams destroy their own seasons. The only way at this point for Louisville to make the Big Dance is to be the only team or one of the last two teams standing undefeated. With their schedule, they could be poised to go undefeated and should with all the talent returning. They have 17 returning starters and most of which are on that stingy defense. Their problem is running the ball and their offensive line. If those two big issues are fixed somehow, then Louisville’s fate is sealed and they can move “forward”. However, they showed they can play with the big boys when the thrashed Florida in the Sugar Bowl. That 33-23 win was not as close as many think. Louisville proved that day they can play with the big boys and teams better recognize. Teddy may end up being the Heisman trophy winner unless Clowney decides to start intercepting the ball and sacking the quarterbacks on every other play. Overall, this team can make a run and I am excited to watch them play. It is clear and simple Louisville and I will make it simple: “Win…Win…Win…Win.” You do this, and you will be in the dance or at least a major bowl game.

10) Florida

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Florida comes back with a lot of questions raised. The team did not perform well in their performance against Louisville, but that team was tough in respect to them. Florida’s secondary is somehow still good even though they have 3 returning starters. The team has to reload and begin figuring out how to pass the ball this year. In addition, the front seven must be addressed before they can step forward but this SEC team (like many) has good depth and they may only need to find the right chemistry to be okay. For the offense, Driskel must begin passing the ball more, means relying on his receivers to get open. For Florida, correcting the pass rush and getting a pass offense is what they lack from moving up further in the ranks, clearly the pattern is in the word pass. They must play Georgia, LSU, and South Carolina . They could also make a run for the title, but it will be a little more difficult as they are the last team in the top ten and would need to be all teams on their schedule.

BCS National Championship - Alabama v Texas

My choice for the championship realistically/idealistically:

Well, this is the breakdown from the top 10. This group seems to be heavily strong towards offensive prowess which is a nice change. Overall, Alabama is the more realistic choice here and it makes sense really. Three championships in the past four years. However, ideally I would pin them against the Lousville Cardinals. I love this team and everything they have achieved in the past year. They came from nowhere in the Big East and were probably underestimated by many teams and were expected to lose to Florida. Instead, Louisville came in and decided to K.O. Florida within three quarters and prove who the real team was. I hope it happens again and I hope the best for Bridgewater. This young man does not have the best line nor the best run game and he was able to produce an astounding 3,400 passing yards along with 25 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. Louisville v. Alabama, you heard it here first.

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Go Play Outside Johnny!

Do I like Johnny Manziel? Yes. Do I think he deserved to be suspended and that he clearly needs to start thinking before he acts? Absolutely. Did I know that he would play in every game or merely miss one? Duh. There was no way in hell the NCAA would allow its most marketable asset to miss more than one game and not be on the field against the most anticipated face-off of the 2013 season, Texas A&M vs. Alabama. For those of you who aren’t aware, Johnny Manziel has been suspended for the first half for this Saturday’s game against Rice University. How did it come to this you ask? Let me explain.

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Reports surfaced, along with informants, that Johnny Manziel had signed memorabilia in hotel rooms and had received over $7,500 from brokers. Apparently there was sufficient information and backing to this, but this half game suspension might disprove that theory. On the other hand, it could prove how consistently inconsistent the NCAA is in their rulings and how ridiculous they will continue to look. The NCAA is that kid in the corner of the room with a dunce cap on his head. The half-game suspension was handed down because the NCAA claims Manziel did not take the proper steps to prevent this from happening. Texas A&M’s lawyers claim they accepted the penalty because they wanted to get Johnny back on the field.

UNCLE NATE!!!!

UNCLE NATE!!!!

Now, don’t get me wrong College Football is arguably my favorite sport, but its governing body needs a few slaps to the head. Let’s touch on some past head-scratchers:

  1. USC – Gets a three year bowl ban and loss of a ton of scholarships because Reggie Bush’s parents accepted some free stuff, Reggie was already in the NFL at this point for a couple of years, so let’s punish a school and the players that now have 0 to do with Reggie Bush?
  2. Penn State – Loss of  10 scholarships per year, a large amount of money ($60 million), loss of all victories from 1998-2011, basically attempting to destroy a program because of something that one man did an the reluctance of a few others to take extra steps, but let’s penalize the incoming athletes and the people replacing these other individuals, instead of the individuals.
  3. Miami – Reportedly a booster, Devin Shapiro, paid former and current Miami players, but the NCAA had to stop its investigation, to investigate its own employees and whether or not unethical practices had taken place. Miami is still waiting on a ruling regarding their case after nearly three months, Miami could reach the ACC Championship game and have it stripped away from it the day before. Ridiculous.

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College athletes have been accepting forms of payments since god knows when. In the late 80s with the SMU “Death Penalty” there were funds being provided under the table (BTW watch the “30 for 30” on this scandal). It has been over 25 years since that and athletes are still accepting payments, compensation and gifts. This will always be an issue, even if the NCAA allows players to be paid, other versions of this issue will arise. There are reports coming out now that these autograph brokers have “client lists” dating back to 2004 (YIKES!).  Johnny Manziel was trying to cash in on “Johnny Football” just like the the NCAA has. Yes, he is held to a higher standard and should hold himself in such as well now that he is a Heisman winner, but only time will tell if he makes smarter decisions.

-Anthony

Leave Johnny Alone!

LEAVE JOHNNY ALONE!!!

LEAVE JOHNNY ALONE!!!

Johnny Manziel a.k.a Johnny Football has been the talk of the NCAA since last season’s performance, which led to him becoming the first ever Freshman to win the Heisman. Most of the news about Manziel since then has been worrisome relating to his off the field activities. Since last year it has been public knowledge that Manziel likes to have a good time and will definitely enjoy the sweet life of a college quarterback. Throughout this off season Manziel has been criticized and closely watched by the media waiting to pounce on his next move. Johnny Football has not let us down one beat. He has been photographed, Twitter snapped and even caught napping at the wrong time. It is my opinion that we are watching Johnny Football too close as if his life is a reality show.

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Now things have taken a turn for the worst as the NCAA is investigating Manziel for profiting off of signed memorabilia. Jay Bilas from ESPN, who is known for challenging the NCAA’s sanctions and actions taken into improper benefit cases, brought up an interesting point this morning; he said that last week Texas A&M made $20,000 of Manziel by auctioning him off for a day, but they will turn around and punish him for selling a few autographs. Listen, I know he broke the rules and that he should punished accordingly, but it is my belief that the rules should be altered. Let these kids make money, but put a cap on it or something along those lines.

Back to Johnny now. I think we are keeping too close of an eye on a 20 year old kid who is trying to live a normal college life. Yes, many say that he should act responsibly because he is supposed to be a role model, but a 20 year old isn’t necessarily going to think that way. Walk a mile in his shoes before you start telling him how to act, Mark May (College Football Analyst from ESPN). Maybe he should watch what he does a little more closely, but maybe the media should get off his back for one day and stop watching every move he makes or every drink he takes. Let the kid develop on and off the football field and when he makes or doesn’t make the NFL then criticize him and judge him based on his “adult” actions.

FREE JOHNNY!

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-Anthony