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Y'all Play Nice: The SEC Staple, Thanksgiving
Chizik's Last Stand?
Chizik's Last Stand?
College Football News
Posted Nov 22, 2012


Every week, CFN's Doc Harper and Russ Mitchell break down the SEC games you need to watch, the SEC questions you want answered, and of course, the SEC Power Rankings. All things SEC from two different SEC writers, with two different SEC points of view. One of 'em always right. Now y'all play nice.

READ ALSO: Mitchell: Illinois to the SEC?

Russ Mitchell is the lead SEC Columnist for CFN. Follow him @russmitchellcfb
Doc Harper covers the SEC for CFN. Follow him @doc_harper


3 SEC QUESTIONS THAT NAG MORE THAN YOUR EX

(i) Who had the best performance in Week 12

Russ Mitchell:

We could go with Ole Miss, the program, with another solid performance this time on the road in Death Valley, leading the highly favored Tigers in the fourth quarter...‘cept they lost. Or we could go with State QB Tyler Russell, who was 19 of 32 for 274 yards and four touchdowns in beating Arkansas...’cept the Hogs pass defense is one of the worst in the nation. But is there really any doubt...Vanderbilt simply embarrassed in-state rival Tennessee 41-18. DB Andre Hal had five tackles (four solo) and two interceptions in sending Derek Dooley packing. Vandy is going bowling in back to back years, and head coach James Franklin has five conference wins for 2012...one more than Dooley had in three years with the Vols.

Doc Harper:

James Franklin. Not the quarterback that lost to Syracuse. I mean Franklin, head coach at Vanderbilt. His team didn’t simply embarrass their in-state rivals from Knoxville, they ended the Derek Dooley era, won seven regular season games for the first time since 1982, and Franklin opened his post-game press conference by mocking Dooley’s infamous post-victory celebration from last season, declaring, “The one thing Vanderbilt always does…”. That’s a solid day’s work. Bravo. By the way, for schools in the coaching market, Franklin has won 11 more college football games than Jon Gruden.

(ii) & (iii) What is the SEC thankful for this year?

Mike Slive:
Mitchell: - For expansion, the subsequent broadcasting contract renegotiations, and very plump bonuses.
Harper - For Ohio State’s postseason ban. We don’t need any undefeated, slow Big 10 teams screwing up the SEC’s chance of playing in the BCS title game. (RM Note: Cheaters!)

Johnny Football:
Mitchell: - For being touched by God.
Harper - For a great offensive line that lets him run around like a four-year-old through furniture.

John L.:
Mitchell: - For the TV contract that’s waiting John L. after another entertaining year...off the field, anyway.
Harper - For that $850k Arkansas paid him this year. He really needed that $850k.

Les Miles:
Mitchell: - For his frickin’ seniors (yes, this is too easy).
Harper - For his seniors. They are not flops. In fact, you should put your arms around them and give them a big kiss on the mouth – if you’re a girl.

Nick Saban:
Mitchell: - For ESPN's billion dollar investment in the SEC.
Harper - For Baylor and Stanford knowing their “roles” in The Process.

Derek Dooley:
Mitchell: - For the pain to end.
Harper - For hefty buyouts.

Mark Richt:
Mitchell: - For his first signature SEC win since 2007.
Harper - For a top 5 ranking and shot at the BCS title game, which should be enough for a reprieve from Mitchell calling for his firing…for a while, at least.

Will Muschamp:
Mitchell: - For finally remembering to run the ball. Run the ball, coach...Pease...
Harper - For the tough part of the schedule coming early when the team was healthy.

Steve Spurrier:
Mitchell: - For the service of Marcus Lattimore. May he return to full health and have a long, productive professional career. No more playing for free.
Harper - For Dabo talking so much garbage. It makes it that much more fun to beat Clemson every year.

Bobby Petrino:
Mitchell: - For being an excellent coach. If you’re going to be an all around jerk, you better be a genius at your job. Petrino is, and he should be any AD’s first, and last, phone call.
Harper - For second (third, fourth, whatever) chances. The holidays are about forgiveness, after all, right?

Jadeveon Clowney:
Mitchell: - For Marcus Lattimore. Get out as soon as you can, kid. Same to you, Sam Montgomery (this year), and any other guaranteed first round draft choice.
Harper - For pocket quarterbacks.

Gene Chizik:
Mitchell: - For his $7.5 mln buyout.
Harper - For 2010. 2010 was so great. Does everyone else at Auburn remember 2010? 2010.

CBS:
Mitchell: - For the SEC.
Harper - For four straight weeks of great games. Any chance LSU can revert back to their Auburn performance for the Arkansas game on Friday?

ESPN:
Mitchell: - For the SEC.
Harper - For all the opportunities to promote bowl games during rivalry weekend.


IN FOCUS: Which SEC Coach/Player is in the Thanksgiving Week Spotlight?

Mitchell:

Dan Mullen, Head Coach, State: Mullen got the SEC West monkey off his back this season by beating both Auburn and Arkansas, but that rings a little hollow given the struggles of those two programs. Mullen hardly capitalized on some of his earlier success in Starkville, particularly in recruiting (if Franklin can grab a top 15 class in Nashville, why can’t you, Mullen?). Now here comes a resurgent Ole Miss program you’re going to have to recruit against, with the dynamic kind of offense everyone thought you were bringing to State...the kind the kids want to play in. Not only would a loss on Saturday give Hugh Freeze and the Rebs a step up on the recruiting front, you’d also be giving them an extra 15 practices, as they’d be bowl eligible.

Harper:

Gene Chizik, Head Coach, Auburn: He hasn’t officially been fired yet, so he theoretically still has a shot to keep his job. Unfortunately, if the only way he can keep it is to beat Alabama, well, that’s sort of like Hercules having to go through the 12 trials. Hercules completed them, but Gene Chizik is no Hercules. Chizik has failed his first seven SEC trials this year, so why think he could pull off the most difficult of them all? But this is his shot, apparently.


SEC POWER RANKINGS

Mitchell

1 Alabama – Mercy
2 Georgia – Remember...Bama gets this Schedule of Love next year. Scary
2 LSU – Les the only guy I know that can fix the Fiscal Cliff
2 Florida – Have looked nothing like the team of the 1st half, & it’s not Driskel’s injury
2 A&M – Leave the bush leagues in the Big 12, TAMU (Driskel XPs)
7 South Carolina – 7-7 vs. Wofford in the fourth quarter, at home or on the moon, bad
7 State – Ole Miss is better than Arkansas
7 Vanderbilt – Enjoy every last minute you have with Franklin
7 Ole Miss – Your game to lose; regardless, a good season
10 Missouri – Worst loss of the season last week; far worse than Bama. Soul crunching
11 Arkansas – It's almost over
14 Tennessee – No heart last weekend
14 Kentucky – Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run. Run
14 Auburn – Two winless teams in SEC play. Who could have called that? Who? :)

Harper

1 Alabama – I guess they still have to go here
2 Georgia – Just kept hanging around, and now they’re #3
3 Florida – Haven’t beaten Seminoles since Tebow, which seems like a lifetime ago
4 LSU – What can Les do to top last week’s press conference?
5 A&M – I know you want to pad Manziel’s Heisman stats, but don’t forget to win
6 South Carolina – Just going to pretend last week didn’t happen
7 State – Don’t get too confident. It was just Arkansas
8 Vanderbilt – All gravy at this point
9 Ole Miss – Need Egg Bowl victory to become bowl eligible. Should be plenty hungry
10 Missouri – Will they have anything left after blowing it against Syracuse?
11 Arkansas – Mitchell has a couple more days to gloat about predicting the John L disaster
12 Tennessee – Even without a coach, can’t lose to Kentucky again. Right?
13 Kentucky – If nothing else, give Joker credit for ending the streak. Can he make it 2 in a row?
14 Auburn – Wonder if Chizik will wear some national title gear during the game, ala Petrino’s Sugar Bowl cap with the neck brace?


THREE GAMES TO DVR

Mitchell:

1)Florida vs. Florida State, Saturday, 3:30 PM ET I ABC. State’s defense is moderately overrated given its ACC schedule, but as its ranked 1 in the nation, its still one of the sport’s best. Meanwhile, the Gators have looked at best pedestrian in the second half of the season, and that was WITH a healthy Jeff Driskel. Florida has forgotten what made it great in the first half of the season, passing for about 40% of its offensive plays in and since the loss to UGA. If they do the same thing in this game, they get crushed. Run, Pease...
Pick: Florida State 21, Florida 17

2) South Carolina vs. Clemson, Saturday, 7:00 PM ET I ESPN. Sigh. SC still can’t get its wide receivers involved. Without a legitimate running game, Clemson with room to spare...
Pick: Clemson 35, South Carolina 21

3) LSU vs. Arkansas, Friday, 2:30 PM ET I CBS. If you lose, you’re a clown. If you win, you’re eccentric. Course, you’re also a winner...
Pick: LSU 35, Arkansas 14

Harper:

1)Florida vs. Florida State, Saturday, 3:30 PM ET I ABC. It’s great that this is once again a top 10 matchup. The Gators have to win and hope USC upsets Notre Dame for a shot to likely play the SEC title game winner in Miami, and the Seminoles have an opportunity that they haven’t just feasted on a soft ACC schedule most of the year...
Pick: Florida State 24, Florida 17

2) South Carolina vs. Clemson, Saturday, 7:00 PM ET I ESPN. Just a couple of highly-ranked programs that hate each other. That’s all you need to know...
Pick: South Carolina 35, Clemson 34

3) LSU vs. Arkansas, Friday, 2:30 PM ET I CBS. If nothing else, it’s our last chance to get a John L. Smith soundbyte from a halftime interview. You have to tune in for that... Pick: LSU 38, Arkansas 17


Russ Mitchell is the lead SEC Columnist for CFN. Follow him @russmitchellcfb
Doc Harper covers the SEC for CFN. Follow him @doc_harper


READ ALSO: Mitchell: Illinois to the SEC?