Late Thanksgiving Thankfulness: Thankful The Florida Gators Only Face Jadeveon Clowney Once More

Thanksgiving has come and gone. It wasn’t even last month at this point. It was days and weeks and months ago. But I’m thankful for something I’d like to add to my list from last year. I’m thankful the Florida Gators only have to face South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney once more. He has to leave after his junior season, right? I present to you the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Fox Force Five: The SEC Coaching Carousel Has Finally Stopped Turning

SEC commentary in five parts, as in there’s one, two, three, four, five of them.

The SEC looked anew in 2012. With two programs – Missouri and Texas A&M (don’t forget, Florida beat them both #smugface) – joining the mix, change had come. When the Aggies overachieved by knocking off No. 1 Alabama and producing a genuine Heisman candidate, we all took notice and realized the future of the Southeastern Conference would be cast in a very different light.

Joker Phillips - Kentucky Wildcats

This offseason doesn’t have the look of conference expansion or realignment for the SEC. The 14 teams that entered 2012 will remain in 2013 and no others will join. Sure, we’ll see a 16-team SEC one day, but that day isn’t immediately ahead of us. While 2012 was about new programs, 2013 will be about new coaches. Four, in fact. Out is a man with a secret exposed, a recent national champion and two that never found success. In are hopes and dreams.

1. Kentucky was the first program to find their new coach and we can hardly classify it as a good hire. That’s not a knock on Mark Stoops (Florida State’s former defensive coordinator who should have been run out of Tallahassee after the fourth quarter against the Gators. Uh, BOOM!). Stoops can be a good head coach one day, and at 45 he has plenty of time to do so, but this is Kentucky. The focus will always be on basketball and while the Wildcats will have a bowl season or two here or there, there isn’t much of a chance to make noise in the competitive SEC East. Stoops will most likely get the same three-year window Joker Phillips got.

2. Speaking of Joker Phillips, the Florida Gators finally have a true wide receivers’ coach. I like this hire and you should too. Phillips’s record at Kentucky was nothing special, but as mentioned above, it was Kentucky. It was no walk in the park to compete with the rest of the SEC. So Phillips goes back to the assistant coach ranks and the Gators should be pleased to have him (which I’m sure they are because otherwise Will Muschamp wouldn’t have added him to the staff). In addition to other responsibilities at times, Phillips has 18 years of experience as a wide receivers’ coach. And, oh yeah, he’ll also be the recruiting coordinator. Florida could do a lot worse. Welcome aboard Joker.

3. Gene Chizik came to Auburn from Iowa State where he compiled a record of 5-19. That’s right, he was 5-19. At Auburn, things got better and he brought the school a national title in 2010. Actually, Cam Newton and Gus Malzahn got the Tigers a championship. Did you know that without Malzahn on his staff, Chizik’s career record is 8-28? That’s bad, but even worse is that he went 2-22 in conference games. All he did with Malzahn was go 30-10 with a 15-9 record in conference play and win that title. So after Auburn fired Chizik, they hired Malzahn.. Good choice.

4. By default, I am a Wisconsin fan. Let’s be clear, my in-laws are Badgers’ fans and they would be my Big Ten team of choice if forced to pick a team from a conference that rarely crosses my radar. But over the past few years, I’ve learned to like Bucky and send good vibes the way of the Badgers. I was never much of a fan of Bret Bielema, but he won 10 or more games four times and three Rose Bowls in a row is three Rose Bowls in a row. Then he left to become the head coach at Arkansas, which I don’t understand. None of us do. Bielema has been outside of the Big Ten for exact two years of his coaching career (as co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State in 2002 and 2003). This should be interesting to say the least. I don’t know if the phrase “good fit” even comes close to touching this one.

5. And finally, we waited and waited and waited to find out who would want to coach the train wreck of a program Tennessee has become. It wasn’t Mike Gundy and it wasn’t Charlie Strong (PHEW!) and it came close to being nobody. The Vols are down and recruiting has become tougher. The SEC (and specifically the SEC East) isn’t what it used to be and this will be an uphill battle. Butch Jones took the job and, for him, it makes sense. Tennessee may have its problems, but it’s a definite step up from Cincinnati. I don’t wish him good luck, because I’m not permitted to. I can only hope they are looking for a new head coach again in Knoxville in a few short years.

Predicting The 2012 SEC Football Season Game By Game (If Each Team Played 1,200 Games)

I guess it’s not that weird, but it is different. We here at The Bull Gator started this last season and figured we might as well continue. (We’re still not sure where our inspiration came from, but we’ve seen similar things done elsewhere, so thanks to anyone that may be doing something like this.) This is our way of predicting the 2012 SEC football season. It’s more than just win vs. loss. Instead, it’s how many times a particular team might beat another. Averages, if you will.

Instead of picking Team A over Team B, we tried to determine how many times we thought Team A would beat Team B if they played each other 100 times. While Team A may be heavily favored over Team B, there’s always that chance of an upset and we try to take that into account. Need an example? Here you go:

If the Florida Gators and Bowling Green Falcons played 100 times, you think the Gators would win 75 of those games. You feel the same way for each of the remaining 11 games on Florida’s schedule. That’s 12 matchups and 75 wins per game. 12 multiplied by 75 is 900; 900 divided by 100 (because in reality, the Gators don’t play each team 100 times; they play each team once) is 9. Therefore, based on your win number for each game, you believe Florida will end up with 9 victories in 2012 for a record of 9-3. Yes, you have technically predicted the Gators to win every game, but a 75% chance of winning each time out is far from perfect.

We set two rules for this exercise. One rule is obvious: A single game must have consistent results. If you believe Florida would beat Texas A&M 75 times, then you also believe Texas A&M would beat Florida 25 times. The other was set to force each of us to pick an overall winner: No matchup can be 50-50. You have to go one way or another even if your chosen mark is 51-49. Ultimately, we’re attempting to predict outcomes and there are no longer ties in college football.

Now that the lengthy (although much shorter than last year’s) explanation is over, here are the results. Discuss, agree with, argue against below.

A few notes:

• The highlighted numbers under the SEC East standings are there to show the only place in the entire standings where we disagreed with each other. Although Vanderbilt ends up fourth overall, individually Willy had them fifth behind Missouri.

• The highlighted schools under the SEC West standings are for the two national title contenders. We both ended up with Alabama ahead of LSU in the SEC West standings; however, if you look at just our picks, that’s not necessarily true. I give the edge to Bama in every game they play, while Willy has LSU beating Bama 55-45. The reason the Tide still come out on top for him is because of greater average confidence in their 11 wins than the Tigers’ 12.

• Finally, the highlighted numbers in the individual team schedules show the games we disagreed on from a win-loss standpoint. Last year, we didn’t disagree on a single game! That’s right, not one. This year there were six, four of which involved Tennessee. I’m not proud to say that in all four of those, I have the Vols coming out on top, but that doesn’t change the fact that we both think their probably a 6-6 team.

There you have it, our long-winded way of predicting the SEC in 2012.

Together We’re The SEC, But That Doesn’t Mean We Like Each Other

As fans of the (sometimes) mighty Florida Gators, we like to hang our hat on the fact that the SEC has won the last six national titles. After all, we won two of those six – even if they were numbers one and three and things have been shaky since.

Despite the conference love, there really is no, well, conference love. Doug – of Hey Jenny Slater and @CaptainAnnoying – gives us the reasons we as SEC fans despise the other schools in the SEC. Sure we outwardly take pride in the string of national championships, but deep down inside we’re incensed it’s not us winning those titles year after year.

Georgia Bulldogs Dismiss Isaiah Crowell After Running Back Is Arrested On Weapon Charges

The Georgia Bulldogs have dismissed running back Isaiah Crowell from the team after his arrest on weapon charges. Crowell was arrested early Friday morning and charged with possessing a weapon in a school zone, an altered identification mark, and possession of a concealed weapon. The first two are felony counts while the third is a misdemeanor. Georgia head coach Mark Richt wasted little time dismissing Crowell from the team.

Crowell was with teammates Sheldon Dawson, Quintavius Harrow, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Blake Tibbs when the car he was driving was stopped at a vehicle checkpoint. At the time, a police officer believed she could smell marijuana in the car and asked if a search of the vehicle could be conducted. Crowell consented to the search and while no marijuana was present in the vehicle, a 9-millimeter Luger with the serial number scratched off was found under the driver’s seat. Crowell denied any knowledge of the gun being present in the car.

Crowell had a productive freshman season that was marred by disciplinary problems. He showed the promise and potential expected of one of the nation’s top recruits and finished his first season in Athens, GA with 850 rushing yards and six total touchdowns. Much of the same was expected of Crowell during the 2012 season. He was to lead an impressive stable of backs that will now have to carry the run game without him.

Arkansas Hires Former Louisville And Michigan State Head Coach John L. Smith

Less than two weeks after firing Bobby Petrino, the Arkansas Razorbacks have found their new head coach. Former Louisville and Michigan State head coach John L. Smith will hold the same job at Arkansas, but it may be short lived. Smith signed only a 10-month contract with the school, leading many to believe he’s merely a stepping stone to the next long-term hire.

Smith is best known for his time with the Cardinals from 1998-2002. Over five seasons, he went 41-21 with a high-point of 11-2 in 2001. After the 2002 season, Smith left Louisville for Michigan State, paving the way for Petrino to take over as the head coach of the Cardinals. The two worked together numerous times over the years before coming back together at Arkansas in 2009. For the past three seasons, Smith was the Razorbacks special teams coach under Petrino.

In early December, Weber State – where he played quarterback and linebacker from 1968-1970 – hired Smith to be their head coach; little did they know then they’d be hiring a man that would only last a few months. While Petrino found himself without a job, Smith suddenly found himself with another head coaching offer. Smith left Weber State without ever coaching a game – not something that will please many Wildcats fans.

Smith takes over a program that seemed ready to compete for a national title before Petrino wrote a painful end to the book of his life at Arkansas. At 63, it is possible to think Williams could have a number of years ahead of him as the Razorbacks head coach, but with only a 10-month contract, Arkansas may be looking for someone else when the 2012 season comes to an end.

Without the Razorbacks on the schedule in 2012, Florida may never face Smith as a head coach in the SEC.

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Dear Alabama, We Know The Feeling

On Saturday, the Alabama Crimson Tide experienced something the Florida Gators football program is very familiar with. While in the Mal Moore Athletic Facility, a player’s father got his foot caught on a rug causing the crystal football on the top of Alabama’s most recent national championship trophy to fall to the floor and shatter.

The crystal football sits atop the trophy held in place by three small supports. In reality, it just sits there and isn’t connected to the trophy in any way. Florida found this out the hard way in 2008 when Orson Charles – then a recruit – bumped into a table holding one of the Gators trophies. The football fell to the floor experiencing he same fate as Alabama’s.

The trophy is handmade and valued at approximately $30,000. Its breaking wasn’t enough to get Charles to become a Gator; he would go on to commit to Georgia and play for the Bulldogs. No word on exactly which player’s father knocked over Bama’s trophy.

Arkansas Fires Bobby Petrino; Razorback Coach’s Termination Latest Piece Of Scandal

For the past four seasons, Bobby Petrino has worked to put the Arkansas Razorbacks in a position to compete in the SEC West. With an ultimate goal of a national championship, Petrino has dreamed of transforming Arkansas into a national power and at times seemed on the precipice of doing just that. That dream came crashing down on Tuesday night when Petrino was fired for “misleading and manipulative behavior” during the recent scandal involving the April 1 motorcycle accident he and the woman we now know is his mistress were involved in.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long held nothing back when announcing Petrino’s firing and indicated the termination was due to more than just the accident and what occurred after it. Apparently, Petrino had been maintaining a relationship with Jessica Dorrell for a significant period of time and had also given her a substantial amount of money. She had been hired by Petrino on March 28, just a few days before the accident. Add everything together and it resulted in Petrino being removed from the program he had looked to bring into the national spotlight.

Petrino was 34-17 with the Razorbacks, but an impressive 21-5 over his last two seasons. Everything appeared to be headed in the right direction for the Arkansas football program and 2012 was thought to be a season during with the Razorbacks would again compete for an SEC title. They may still do so, but it will be without Petrino anywhere close to the program.

SEC Domination Continues; Alabama Crimson Tide Win Football National Championship

One word could have been switched in that title and the first part would still be correct. In a rematch from earlier in the 2011 college football season, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the LSU Tigers 21-0 to win the national championship. The all-SEC championship game was controversial to some and lacking in offense much like the first matchup, but it declared another national champion (whether you want to call it a “mythical” one or not). That’s six in a row for the Southeastern Conference and while cheering for either team was a tough pill to swallow, there’s a certain amount of SEC pride around these parts.

Congrats to the conference for bringing home another title – even if they did lose their first BCS Championship Game in the process. Bama’s win makes that eight in the 14-year history of the BCS title game for the SEC, while LSU’s loss takes the overall record of our conference of choice to 8-1.