Three & Out appears every Sunday and Wednesday in 2010 to give you three SEC thoughts, news and notes. In today's edition, we take a look at the Saban Bowl, Arkansas’ chances without Greg Childs and a mess leftover from the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
If any LSU coaches, players and fans have been paying attention to the critics the last few days, they have to feel a little disrespected. The national attention is now targeted on the Iron Bowl; and specifically if Alabama can jump the non-AQ teams and represent the SEC as a one-loss team in the BCS National Championship Game, provided it can beat Auburn.
Hello? McFly? Anyone home???
With three ranked teams still on the schedule (and possibly a fourth if it wins the West), Alabama still has a lot of work to do to even make that a possibility. It starts with the SEC’s best defense this weekend, when the Crimson Tide goes to Red Stick to take on an LSU team that still maintains an outside shot of winning the SEC West.
LSU still has the same problem that it has had all season – no quarterback. Despite that, Les Miles insists that he’s sticking with the two-quarterback system with Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson. We all know that when you have two quarterbacks, you really have none; but the rotation has worked for the most part thanks to stellar defense and special teams play from the Tigers.
Defense and special teams are exactly why the Tigers should carry quiet confidence into this game. The game is at home and Alabama’s offense hasn’t been record-setting this year (as some thought they would). If Saban Bowl IV becomes a field position game, LSU has the upper hand with kick returner Patrick Peterson, and punters Derek Helton and Josh Jasper – who would have been the MVP’s of the Auburn game had LSU sprung the upset.
Will the Tigers be able to spring the upset? Maybe, and maybe not. But it’s far from a “sure thing” that Alabama will be able to stroll into Death Valley and cruise to a win, as some seem to be suggesting.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
With the calendar now reading “November” and four teams eliminated from SEC East contention, things just got serious in Columbia. South Carolina holds a one-game lead on Florida, with a matchup between the two looming next weekend. But before the two teams square off in Gainesville for the SEC East crown, the Gamecocks get a big-time test at home with the Arkansas Razorbacks coming to town this weekend for a Saturday night tilt at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The big story in this game will be the absence of Arkansas All-SEC wide receiver Greg Childs, who is out for the remainder of the regular season with a knee injury. The junior was Arkansas’ leading receiver this season, hauling in 46 passes for 659 yards and six touchdowns.
Surprisingly, the Gamecocks have been atrocious this season stopping the pass, ranking last in the SEC in pass defense (260 yards per game). Arkansas is deep at wide receiver, so guys like Joe Adams, Jarius Wright and Cobi Hamilton will have to pick up the slack in Childs’ absence. If they can’t, it might be the difference in the game.
Even though they’re in first place by one game, this is not a must-win game for the Gamecocks. They could drop the game to Arkansas, beat Florida next weekend and still claim the SEC East by virtue of the head-to-head win over the Gators. But a victory over a solid SEC opponent like Arkansas would work wonders for their confidence before heading into Gainesville for the de facto SEC East championship game.
By now you’ve probably heard about the incident that took place during the waning seconds of Georgia’s overtime loss to Florida last weekend, when Bulldog defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was caught on camera giving the “choke” signal several times to Gator kicker Chas Henry. Grantham’s actions were WAY over the line for a college football coach, or a coach at any level of football.
Does trash talking happen in football? Yes, all the time. But usually it’s from player to player, and not from an opposing coach. College coaches are role models whether they like it or not, and that includes coaches on opposite sidelines. Don’t forget that college football is the same sport that tried to organize full-team handshakes before the opening kickoff of every game last season to promote sportsmanship. A coach taunting an opposing player is about as unsportsmanlike as it gets.
So what should Grantham’s punishment be? Georgia head coach Mark Richt didn’t seem to worry about it too much during Tuesday’s press conference.
“People do things they probably wish they didn’t do,” said Richt. “I don’t think he’s necessarily proud of it. We’re just going to learn from it and move on.”
Is that all that should come of this? Absolutely not. This is not the type of behavior that is acceptable in the SEC. This is the same conference that publicly admonished former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin for breathing wrong. At the very least, Grantham should be subject to the same punishment – if not more.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and teammates of Mississippi State defensive end Nick Bell, who passed away Tuesday after a two-month battle with cancer. Bell played in four games for the Bulldogs this season, including starts vs. Auburn and Georgia. The Mississippi State athletic department has set up a memorial fund for the Bell family through the Bulldog Club. More details are available on the Mississippi State athletics website or by calling (662) 325-3074.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee
Don't forget to check out “Y'all Play Nice” from CFN's Russ Mitchell and Brian Harbach every Thursday during the season.
2010 Three & Out Archive
Three & Out – November 3, 2010
Three & Out – October 31, 2010
Three & Out – October 27, 2010
Three & Out – October 24, 2010
Three & Out – October 20, 2010
Three & Out – October 17, 2010
Three & Out – October 13, 2010
Three & Out – October 10, 2010
Three & Out – October 6, 2010
Three & Out – October 3, 2010
Three & Out – September 29, 2010
Three & Out – September 26, 2010
Three & Out – September 22, 2010
Three & Out – September 19, 2010
Three & Out – September 15, 2010
Three & Out – September 12, 2010
Three & Out – September 8, 2010
Three & Out – September 5, 2010
Three & Out – September 1, 2010
Three & Out – August 25, 2010
Three & Out – August 18, 2010
Three & Out – August 11, 2010
Three & Out – August 4, 2010
Three & Out – July 28, 2010
Three & Out – July 21, 2010
Three & Out – July 14, 2010
Three & Out – July 7, 2010
Three & Out – June 30, 2010
Three & Out – April 21, 2010
Three & Out – April 14, 2010
Three & Out – April 11, 2010
Three & Out – April 8, 2010
Three & Out – April 5, 2010
Three & Out – March 31, 2010
Three & Out – March 28, 2010
Three & Out – March 24, 2010
Three & Out – March 21, 2010
Three & Out – March 18, 2010
Three & Out – March 15, 2010
Three & Out – March 11, 2010
Three & Out – March 5, 2010
Three & Out – March 2, 2010
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