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Sallee: End of the Year Accountability
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray
CFN SEC Columnist Barrett Sallee looks back at the good, bad and ugly of 2011.
By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee
Many readers respond via e-mail and Twitter to columns and blogs demanding accountability. I get the same phrases peppering my inbox all the time. “If you're wrong, I expect an immediate apology,” “How can you think that Team A will lose to Team B? It's just not possible,” and my personal favorite, “you're just showing your bias,” appear in my inbox every week. Well if you sent an e-mail like that this year (or just thought about it), this column is for you. It's time to step up to the plate and examine the good, the bad and the ugly predictions and prognostications I made during 2011.
In my Spring Lessons Learned column, I wrote that, considering the way Georgia’s schedule shaped up, the quarterback issues at South Carolina and the offensive ineptitude displayed by Florida, the SEC East was there for the taking for the Bulldogs. All they did was win 10 straight games, represent the SEC East in the Georgia Dome and hold LSU without a first down in the first half of the SEC Championship Game. Good job, me.
Mississippi State’s Demise
In our Five Bold Predictions feature, I wrote that Mississippi State’s 9-4 season in 2010 didn’t prove anything and that the Bulldogs would barely make a bowl game in 2011. What happened? Dan Mullen played musical quarterbacks all season and had to beat Ole Miss on the final weekend of the season to become bowl eligible. You would be shocked at the amount of feedback I received from Bulldog Nation demanding accountability. Funny how not many of those folks have followed up.
In my official SEC Prediction column, I mentioned the possible three-way SEC West tie that everybody was freaking out about in November, and wrote that Arkansas deserved the modest hype it was receiving. The Hogs finished the regular season in the top 10 for the second straight season and that doomsday three-way tie scenario was 60 minutes away from happening.
Showdown in Dallas?
In my Top Five SEC Out-Of-Conference Games column in June, I stated that the Oregon/LSU game at Jerry World would be a slugfest, and that Oregon “wouldn’t slug back.” Final score: LSU 40 - Oregon 27...and it wasn’t even that close. LSU pushed Oregon around in the season opener, and set the tone for a magical season that will culminate in the BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans.
Florida Is Back
After Florida started the season 4-0, I wrote for my “weekly thought” that the Gators were “the class of the SEC East” and “were poised to make a legitimate run at the division title.” Immediately following that piece of journalistic excellence, Florida got blown out at home by Alabama, went 0-for-October and lost six of its next eight games. I don’t think all of that was my fault; but yeah, maybe it was. Yikes.
Franklin Ranked WAY too low
In my ranking of the SEC’s head coaches, I always put new coaches at the bottom. I figure that, since typically these coaches haven’t proved their worth in the country’s most dominant league, that they shouldn’t be given the benefit of the doubt until they earn it. James Franklin earned it. The first-year Vanderbilt head coach guided the Commodores to a 6-6 record, a Liberty Bowl berth and a swagger that has been missing in Nashville for...well...ever.
Battle For The Boot? Not Much Of A Battle
Not only did I predict the Arkansas/LSU game to be close, I thought that the Razorbacks would WIN 30-27. Final score, LSU 41 - Arkansas 17. Arkansas is good, but the gap between the Hogs and the top two teams in the SEC is the size of the Grand Canyon. LSU and Alabama both proved that against the Razorbacks in 2011.
In my SEC West Spring Storylines, I wrote that Trent Richardson would be the biggest question facing the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2011. Richardson - the same guy that went to New York as a Heisman finalist - was a question mark, because he hadn’t carried the load as a feature running back in the SEC. As it turns out, he handled it just fine, and led the Tide to its second national title appearance in three seasons. That’s just a bad job on my part.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee
2011 Regular Season Column Archive
End Of The Year Accountability - December 25, 2011
Malzahn’s Big Move - December 13, 2011
Ranking The SEC Bowls - December 10, 2011
Mathieu For Heisman - December 5, 2011
SEC Championship Game Live Thoughts - December 3, 2011
South Carolina’s Historic Season - November 28, 2011
Arkansas Needs Some Help - November 21, 2011
For Alabama, Style Matters - November 14, 2011
Missouri To The SEC Is A Good Thing - November 7, 2011
Justice For Auburn and Cam Newton - October 12, 2011
Time For The Frazier Era At Auburn - October 10, 2011
Welcome Back Georgia To The SEC Chase - October 3, 2011
Florida Is The Class Of The East - September 26, 2011
Houston Nutt’s Big Problems - September 19, 2011
South Carolina Is Legit - September 12, 2011
It’s Over For Mark Richt - September 5, 2011
Click here for the 2011 Three & Out Archive
Click Here for the 2011 offseason column archive