The SEC East in 2 minutes…

  1. Georgia will not be denied another shot at ‘Bama in the SEC Championship game, and they know they have to pretty much run the table to get the opportunity. And that’s exactly what they will do. With Aaron Murray pulling the trigger and sophomore Todd Gurley steamrolling the ball downhill, look for Uga to be smiling until December.
  2. A Steve Spurrier team always has more answers than questions. They’re ranked #6 pre-season, but I’m concerned about Connor Shaw behind center. He’s talented, but Steve can push a QB a bit hard sometimes. And coming from me, that’s a statement! On the other side of the ball, though, Jadeveon Clowney & Co., are going to cause misery every Saturday. Not much is going to get past the Gamecock defense.
  3. The Florida Gators took everybody by surprise last year posting a 7-1 conference record. This year, though they will begin the season with QB Jeff Driskel as their most accomplished rusher. That’s a scary thought – especially without a proven backup. Tailback Matt Jones continues to recover from a viral infection, and Mike Gillislee is gone. The other backs are unproven. On defense, the early NFL departure of 3 Gator starters didn’t help things either.
  4. Question: Who’s the most popular coach never to win a game? Answer: New Tennessee coach Butch Jones. The folks on Rocky Top are ecstatic about having someone to make them forget the Kiffin-Dooley one-two punch. The talent simply isn’t there for the Vols yet, but look for them to win the ones they should, plus one they shouldn’t.
  5. The biggest question to Vanderbilt’s season right now is how their horrific off-season problems will affect their performance on the field. Just this past week, receiver Chris Boyd was charged as an accessory after the fact in the alleged rape of an unconscious female Vandy student. It will be interesting to see how James Franklin handles the situation, especially as long as police say the investigation is continuing. And let’s make sure and remember the alleged victim here, as her life was changed forever.
  6. Missouri isn’t ready to compete yet.
  7. Kentucky made a great hire in Mark Stoops, but the talent isn’t there. But it’s coming. Guaranteed.

The SEC West in 2 minutes…

1. Alabama is going to win the West. There’s not much that could happen that could sidetrack that. I hate clichés, so I’m not going to say “they don’t rebuild, they reload.” But right now, that’s what they’re doing in Tuscaloosa. You know the names; I won’t bore you.

2. LSU has been the forgotten team this preseason with Bama’s dominance and Johnny Namath, uh I mean Manziel’s misgivings (which I will address in a minute). And I’m sure Les Miles loves it. He’s down there in Baton Rouge devising his diabolical plan to win it all. He can’t do it, because a bad case of graduation-itis struck his defense. But he’ll be good enough to finish second.

3. Over in College Station, things are going in a different direction with Johnny Manziel. Last year, we named him our @secpigskinpicks Player of the Year. Well, player of the year he was; but his high flying off-season shenanigans have soured me on him. Did he sell autographs? It sure looks that way. Will he ever step behind center for A&M again? Probably. A slap on the wrist is a likely scenario since the NCAA’s burden of proof goes way beyond reasonable doubt. And, A&M has hired a fancy law firm with NCAA investigation experience to keep him in an Aggie uniform. But he’s a target now, and we know Saban, the Mad Hatter and all the other SECW coaches have been keying on turning him from unstoppable to merely effective. And “effective” isn’t going to get it done in the SEC.

4. Last year, Mississippi State won their first seven games before a loss to Alabama forced the Bulldogs to implode. Tyler Russell still has plenty of weapons, but don’t look for them to get there this year. I’m seeing about a .500 conference record.

5. Ole Miss: heading in the right direction, but not there yet.

6. Arkansas: nope.

7. Auburn: look for the Tigers to be mainstays on their opponents’ highlight reels.

Whenever I’ve got 2 more minutes, I’ll preview the East. And remember to listen to @secpigskinpicks every Thursday night during football season during @thesportsdrive on 101.3 The Buzz!

The Year of the Snake

I’m not much for cultural things. Dang, I have a hard enough trouble being a football coach, teacher and part-time bouncer at the Beaver Dam Roadside Tavern. But I was watching the TV news just now (since football is over), and I learned that this is Chinese New Year, and it’s the Year of the Snake.

First of all, happy Chinese New Year. I really need to go down to the buffet there in town and give a couple of high fives. Maybe I’ll do that later.

Second of all, this gives me a great time to introduce something new I thought up: “Coach’s Front Seven”. That’s a clever title, ain’t it. From time to time I’ll give you a top 7 list of things. Today, I want to bring you Coach’s Front Seven: Year of the Snake Edition.

The top 7 Snakes in the order that I think of them:

7. Lane Kiffin. The kid’s a loser and a slacker. Those of you who know me know I’m just a fan of SEC football fan in general. But if I were a Tennessee fan, I would make him No. 1.

6. Lance Armstrong

5. Manti Te’o. Yes, he and Lance have been done to death, but we have to include them.

4. Bobby Petrino. Me, Chely Sizemore and Professor Sinclair rode ol’ Bobby pretty hard this year on @secpigskin picks, but he deserved every joke we cracked. And Arkansas fans have as much right to hate him and Vol fans have to hate little Lane.

follow @chelysizemore on twitter

3. The Federal government. Work together, Slackers. That’s why we sent you there.

2. The actors on that pcmatic.com commercial. They need to run bleachers until they can act. (Everything can’t be sports related.)

1. Jerry Sandusky. Slacker and Snake of the Century, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Until next time, Give me 20 Slackers,
Coach Billy Jack Hoover
@coachbjh

The Super Bowl in 5 sentences

The Super Bowl is the biggest spectacle in American sports. Heck, it’s probably the biggest dang spectacle in America, period. It’s kind of a shame that the entire production from start to finish can be summed up in 5 sentences, but I’m gonna do it. I’ll run bleachers until dark if I can’t. Here goes:

Super Bowl XLVII
in 5 Sentences

Baltimore made it look easy in the first half. Beyonce is hot. Bar Refaeli kissed a Slacker. The lights went out for 30 minutes. San Francisco decided to make it interesting before losing 34-31 following the worst no-call in sports history.

You might notice that only 2 of the 5 sentences actually mentioned football. That’s because most of the hype before, during and after has to do with the things that happen between plays. It’s kind of a shame, but even an old hard-nosed coach like me can appreciate a diversion now and then. Take Chely Sizemore for instance. She is one fine diversion down there at The Beaver Dam Roadside Tavern.

Follow @chelysizemore on twitter.

And Beyonce, when you read this, you are entitled to anything in The Beaver Dam Roadside Tavern store for half price. Just visit http://www.beaverdamusa.com/swag/.

Until next time,
Give Me 20, Slackers!
Coach Billy Jack Hoover
@coachbillyj

A few other things banned by the NFL

Well, “Sports Illustrated” sure stirred up a hornet’s nest this week when they published the story that Ray Lewis used deer antler spray to help heal his torn triceps muscle. You may not know the story isn’t entirely new. Yahoo! Sports site thepostgame.com first made the connection between Lewis and the sellers of the spray in 2011. If you promise to come back and finish this blog, you can see that story here: http://tinyurl.com/b7l6phk The story doesn’t even mention that Lewis was seen rubbing his helmet on the goalpost to remove the velvet.

Isn’t it convenient that we’ve forgotten that Ray turned state’s evidence in Atlanta 13 years ago to avoid a murder rap? But I digress.

Here are some other things that the NFL bans:

* Helium: if a QB sucks enough before he barks out the signals, his voice can only be heard by the younger players.

* Land mines: “He’s to the 10… the 5…” BOOM! “Oh, the humanity!… And that’s why the Steelers haven’t lost a home game in 3 years. We’ll be back after the grounds crew fills in that nasty crater.”

* Motorcycles. Because you couldn’t ever catch anybody on a motorcycle.

* AK-47′s. Why? See #9. (Have you ever seen an NRA sponsorship in an NFL stadium? That’s why.)

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* Girls. They’re just too delicate. Couldn’t you imagine Brent Musberger going on about it. “She’s the hottest outside linebacker in the NFL.”

* Cheetahs. Also too fast. On the other hand, they fumble too much.

With this knowledge you will not be caught off guard by the next big sports scandal. Until it happens,

Give me 20, Slackers!
Coach Billy Jack Hoover
@coachbillyj

 

Vandy Coach James Franklin: too big for his britches

The first thing I did was look to see if Vanderbilt plays Alabama this fall. They do not; and that’s a good thing for the Commodores.

It’s a good thing because Vandy Coach James Franklin referred to Nick Saban as “Nicky Satan” during a visit to a high school in Georgia. He probably got lots of back slaps down there. Georgia isn’t too fond of the Rolling Tide right now after the SECCG. I just think it’s a total Slacker move for a coach to do that.

This is pretty ironic for James, though. Remember how mad he got when Derek Dooley’s anti-Vandy lockerroom speech hit youtube? After the 2010 Vandy game, Dooley said that UT always beats the hell out of Vandy. That’s pretty much true; and it was said in a victorious locker room. Still, James was livid, and he stayed bent out of shape about it long enough to talk to every reporter in Nashville.

So now that the shoe is on the other foot, we’ll see how the Tide responds when they play Vandy again. I’ll guarantee you this, you won’t hear a big reaction from Saban’s mouth. But you probably won’t see his walk-on 3rd string QB playing in the 4th quarter the next time the Tide plays the ‘Dores.

Until next time, Give me 20, Slackers
Coach Billy Jack
@coachbillyj

The Pro Bowl: Bad football at its best

I watched most of that dang Pro Bowl. Sometimes bad football is better than no football.

Not this time.

I realize these guys get paid multi-millions, and they don’t want to hurt themselves (and apparently each other) during an All-Star game, but that was ridiculous. I’ve seen harder hits at Ryan’s when two people lunged for the last drumstick. A Harlem Globetrotters game has more drama. I almost switched over to see if The Biggest Loser was on.

Since the NFL apparently wouldn’t spring for flags, at least year maybe they’ll make it 2-hand touch below the waist. Maybe the cheerleaders can play for a drive — add a little Powder Puff angle to it. At least it would be somewhat watchable. Maybe we’ll be able to tweet directly to the Mannings during the game. Heck, maybe we can tweet directly to them during plays!

Three hours and a blue million yards later, it was mercifully over without even one concussion. I guess that is a bit of good news.

And no one was even talking about the commercials.

Til next time, give Me 20 Slackers,
@coachbillyj

And here are 10 more big sports lies

It’s hard not to lump Manti Te’o and Lance Armstrong in the same category of liars, even though they are only connected in the fact that their stories broke at the same time. Te’o needs to be taken out back and paddled for just being a plain idiot (though I don’t know who would do it). We may never know how much he lied to drive his personal stock up, but we do know that he did to some degree. As for Lance, we have a saying in Catfish County that “the truth ain’t in that boy.” He’s incurable. Everyone suspected it for years. He just stated the obvious to Oprah earlier in the week.

Which begs the question: Why Oprah? That’s probably like Manti’s girlfriend. We won’t ever know how that arrangement got made.

In the spirit of wild stories, here are my top 10 Big Lie headlines we may or may not ever see…

10. Nick Saban and the Papa John’s Pizza guy are twins who were separated at birth. You can’t deny they look alike.

9. The Honey Badger was the lead singer of a gospel group before he got into trouble.

8. Les Miles drives an El Camino with Astro Turf in the bed.

7. Brent Musberger and Katherine Webb were wed last Friday night in a small ceremony in Vegas.

6. A.J. McCarron searches twitter to find “Miss Right.”

5. New Tennessee football coach Butch Jones is the grandson of Frank Sutton, who played Sgt. Carter on “Gomer Pyle.”

4. Jon Gruden has announced he will coach any other SEC team besides Tennessee for $58.95 a year.

3. Johnny Manziel was more excited to win the @SECPigskinPicks Slobber Knocker Player of the Year than he was to win the Heisman. (That one may be true, actually.)

2. Brent Musberger wants to learn more about that twitter thingy.

1. Steve Spurrier has belonged to The Hair Club for Men since he was at Georgia Tech.

Til next time, this is Coach Billy Jack Hoover telling you not to be a Slacker, or you’ll have to give me 20.

ESPN recruiting list proves onces again it’s not the Common Sense Network

ESPN has done it again.

In their latest RecruitingNation Class Rankings, they have 5 SEC teams in the top 10. That’s not surprising, given the crazy number of beasts that our conference schools are getting.

What’s ridiculous, and transparent, is the other teams they always place up there regardless. Why don’t you tell me the non-SEC teams in the top 5?

If you said Kiffin’s LA Chokers, you would be right. And of course, the Golden Domers. And what would a top-5 list be without the good ol’ Buckeyes? If you said “more accurate” you would be right, but I digress. (You get Honorable Mention if you said the Big Blue, who came in at #6).

So ESPN’s top 5 is Florida, USC, Notre Dame, Alabama and Ohio State. Here’s the rub, though.

USC has 16 commitments, Notre Dame has 22 and Ohio State has 19. That’s relevant because Texas A&M, with 33, is ranked 7th and Georgia, with 30, is ranked 10th. Yes, the quality is a factor. And every Tom, Dick and Harry runs a ranking service, and none of them is worth a hill of beans in my opinion.

But I ask you: would you rather have USC’s 16 recruits or Texas A&M’s 33 regardless of who they are?

In something that actually is a shock, Vanderbilt makes the list at 17th. James Franklin is going to end up moving across the river to coach the Titans if Vandy doesn’t lock him down tight.

Other SEC schools and their ranking are Auburn, 12; South Carolina, 16; Ole Miss, 21; Mississippi State, 29; Tennessee, 30; and Missouri, 36. In fairness, I’m not sure how Auburn landed 12th with only a dozen commitments.

Besides Auburn, every single SEC school has more commitments than #2 USC. As always, though, the proof is on the field. And wouldn’t these other schools and ESPN be happy if this were the national rankings?

Until next time, Slackers, this is Coach Billy Jack Hoover.

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