A weekly look at SEC football
1. Bo Wallace could be an SEC First Teamer in ’14
This is usually where I write something about Ole Miss’ matchup with the weekend’s opponent, but the Rebels are playing Troy and I think I’ll pass.
Instead, I’d like to call attention to the fact that Ole Miss’ very own Bo Wallace could very well be the Southeastern Conference’s first-team quarterback in 2014. This may come as a surprise, but after an analysis of the conference’s quarterback situation for next year, it makes sense.
Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, Georgia’s Aaron Murray, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, Mississippi State’s Tyler Russell, Missouri’s James Franklin, South Carolina’s Connor Shaw and Vanderbilt’s Austyn Carta-Samuels are all seniors this year. Johnny Manziel is more than likely leaving two years early for the NFL. And the returning quarterbacks at Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee aren’t on Wallace’s level.
The one dark-horse challenger to Wallace for the distinction is Missouri’s Maty Mauk, who’s been sensational in place of an injured James Franklin. But if Wallace finishes out the year with more strong performances, I think he’ll be the SEC’s first-team quarterback in 2014.
2. #WeBelieve … not so much
Last year, Mississippi State, then 7-0 entering its matchup with Alabama, launched a campaign called #WeBelieve in support of the Bulldogs’ chances of knocking off the Crimson Tide.
Mississippi State then went on to get destroyed by Alabama, 38-7, and then lost four of its five last games. This year, the Bulldogs hold a measly record of 4-5 headed into their matchup — and guaranteed loss — to the top-ranked Crimson Tide.
Personally, I see a correlation between the timing of the #WeBelieve campaign and the Bulldogs’ subsequent struggles. The moral of the story: Don’t mess with or get cute with Nick Saban. He’ll ruin you and enjoy doing so.
3. Will Muschamp’s hot seat heating up
Will Muschamp’s hot seat in Gainesville is so hot right now that it’s burning his ass.
Muschamp’s Gators are fresh off a loss, at home no less, to Vanderbilt — the team’s most recent defeat in a four-game losing streak. Furthermore, Florida, 4-5, must win two of its last three games against South Carolina, Georgia Southern and Florida State to go bowling. I just don’t see that happening.
So, unless Muschamp gets a bit of a reprieve for the bevy of season-ending injuries the Gators have suffered this year, I’d be somewhat shocked if Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley doesn’t decide to part ways with Muschamp.
4. James Franklin should leave Vandy
Unlike Muschamp, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin has job security for days.
Since Franklin was hired in 2010, he’s completely turned around a culture of losing that’s been a mainstay of the Vanderbilt football program. He’s attracted top-notch talent — smart guys who can also ball — and beaten up on teams in the SEC that have far more resources than the ‘Dores. Vanderbilt, currently 5-4, could run the table to a second-consecutive 8-4 regular season finish. No doubt, Franklin has been impressive.
But if I were in Franklin’s shoes, I’d move on. Franklin has achieved unprecedented success at Vanderbilt — perhaps unsustainable success — and even then fan support has been lacking. I think Franklin has hit the proverbial ceiling in Nashville, and it’s time to cash out with jobs such as USC or maybe even Florida attainable.
5. Paul’s Week 12 SEC Picks
Alabama vs. Mississippi State: #WeBelieve that Mississippi State has no chance in hell of beating Alabama on Saturday. The Crimson Tide keeps on rolling with a convincing 45-7 victory over the Bulldogs.
Auburn vs. Georgia: Awkward alert: Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall faces the school where he played defensive back as a freshman. Marshall won’t be welcomed back by Mark Richt as he guides the Tigers to a 35-31 win over the Bulldogs.
Florida vs. South Carolina: No offense, but Florida has no offense. Steve Spurrier and his ‘Cocks lay the smack down on the Gators 35-10, keeping South Carolina’s hopes of winning the SEC East alive.
Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt: This game should only be watched after consuming copious amounts of your preferred adult beverage because it’s sure to be a snooze fest. Nonetheless, I’m picking the ‘Dores 38-10 over the SEC’s resident cellar dweller.
Ole Miss vs. Troy: Dr. Bo Wallace better feed Donte Moncrief and Laquon Treadwell early on because I doubt they’ll be playing much in the second half. The Rebels blow out Troy 56-14, setting up a huge matchup with Missouri next weekend.
– Paul Katool