As the calendar turns toward Thanksgiving next week, the College Football world faces difficulty heading into the final weeks of 2020.
The SEC postponed Texas A&M-Ole Miss representing another week of delays that affects the outcome of the season. Last week the conference postponed four games, including Alabama-LSU, which they will likely cancel due to unavailable remaining dates.
Kyle Trask and Mac Jones possess similarities across the board. Both are big, strong-armed QBs, both received their chance after an injury in their junior season, and both have lit up the SEC this season.
Both QB’s statistics mirror the 2019 Heisman Trophy and National Champion Joe Burrow through six games.
Mac Jones leads the three in passing yards (2,196 – 39 more than Burrow, 26 more than Trask), passing yards per game (366 – 6 more than Burrow, 3 more than Trask), and yards per attempt (12.4 – .8 more than Burrow and 2.1 more than Trask).
Joe Burrow leads in two categories (completion percentage 79.6 – 1 percent higher than Jones and 9 more than Trask) and passer rating (218.1 – just under 8 points higher than Jones and 21 points higher than Trask). Kyle Trask leads in one (TD (28 – 3 more than Burrow, 12 more than Jones).
Through Six Games
Pass Yds Per Att.
Alabama Dominates the East Division
This week the Crimson Tide receives another opportunity to showcase their dominance against the East Division when they host Kentucky. The Wildcats lost six straight against the Tide, including going winless at Alabama (0-21). Overall, Kentucky’s lost 36 of their last 38 (one tie) meetings against the Tide, with their only win coming in 1997 (40-34 at Kentucky).
Kentucky’s defense could pose a problem to Alabama, as the Wildcats lead the SEC in fewest passing yards per game allowed with 214.0. They have only allowed three passing TD in their last five games after allowing seven in their first two games.
Alabama takes a 29-game win streak against the East into Saturday’s matchup. Under Nick Saban, they are 38-3 against the East, including 6-1 in the SEC Championship Game.
Alabama vs East
Under Nick Saban (Since 2007)
Current Win Streak
>>6-1 in SEC Championship Games
Destined for Showdown?
Both Alabama and Florida head toward a December 19 showdown in the SEC Championship. Here is a breakdown of both teams through six games.
The two opponents last met in the 2016 SEC Championship when Alabama defeated Florida 54-16. Saban’s crew currently holds a six-game win streak over the Gators. This would be the 10th time meeting in the SEC Championship (Alabama leads 5-4).
2020 Season Stats
Yards PG All.
Yards PG Diff.
Florida last won the SEC in 2008 (defeated Alabama 31–20). Alabama last won in 2018 and lead the conference with eight titles (since 1992).
Florida Owns Vanderbilt
The Gators head to Vanderbilt on Saturday, where historically they are dominant. Florida won six straight and 28 of last 29 against Vandy, including their last 14 at Nashville.
Since allowing 17 points in their opener against Texas A&M, the Commodores have allowed 39.8 PPG against their last five opponents. Overall Vanderbilt takes a 10-game SEC losing streak into their matchup with Florida.
Auburn, Tennessee Meet in Rare Matchup
Auburn and Tennessee face off Saturday for just the third time since 2010. The Vols snapped a six-game losing streak against the Tigers with a 30-24 victory at Jordan-Hare in 2018.
Since taking an eight-game winning streak and leading 21-17 at halftime against Georgia, the Vols opponents have outscored them 133-37. After struggling to start the season, Auburn’s offensive revival in their last four games includes rushing for 224 yards per game, totaling just under 474 yards per game while averaging just under 34 PPG.
1st 2 Games
Last 4 Games
Bulldogs Matchup in Athens
Georgia has won two straight and 11 of their last 12 meetings against Mississippi State. Since starting the season 3-0, Georgia has lost to Alabama and Florida to dash their National Championship hopes.
After racking up 632 yards and 44 points in their season-opening win at the defending National Champions, Mississippi State has registered just 263 YPG and 10.8 PPG in losing four of their last five games.
The New York Islanders’ history is one of triumph and darkness. After taking home four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1978-1982, this team has never been able to achieve that feat again.
This past offseason, the Islanders had a long stay in the bubble up in Toronto, and then Edmonton, falling two wins shy of making it back to the finals for the first time since 1984.
While Islander fans and hockey fans await the decision for next season, with a potential start slated for January 1st, fans of every team were ecstatic to see what Adidas went with regarding their design for the reverse retro jerseys. The idea with this was to look back at the history of each team and design a more modern look to classics. This morning they were released, as some were stellar, solid, and mediocre.
And then you have the Islander ones.
This offseason, Islander fans have felt uneasy. While there is no question that restricted-free agent Mat Barzal will be back with the club prior to the beginning of the 2020-21 season, whenever that begins, money is a major issue for this hockey club right now. A new, fresher looking jersey, could have at the very least taken our mind’s off of this issue.
But that was not the case. The reverse retro jersey the Islanders unleashed resembled their regular home uniforms, just with a darker shade of blue, and a few other minor changes.
But nothing special like we see with the other 30 NHL teams, jerseys that get the fan base excited in a time of uncertainty.
Deep down, what should we have expected? Through the almost fifty years this team has been around, their jerseys have rarely changed. Other teams have had secondary logos, which allows for creative alternates. The Islanders have never had that, and under the leadership of Lou Lamoriello, a classy-old fashioned guy, we should not have expected any glimmer and glam.
Fans calling for the fisherman jersey to come back makes me sick, as besides thinking they look absolutely horrid, this was a jersey that embarrassed the organization from 1995-1997. Over that span the team was a laughing stock finishing last in the division, the Atlantic Division at the time in both seasons. So paying homage to a jersey that exemplified failure would not be doing this franchise any good.
Look, I get the sadness. There was an opportunity here to do some creative things. But at the end of the day, this is a jersey that the team may wear three to five times this season, as it is more of a way for the league to generate money. I, and most fans, care more about the success on the ice. This reverse retro jersey represents winning, paying tribute to a time when the Islanders were a dominant force in the National Hockey League.
And for that reason, let’s accept what happened here, and move on.
Today the Arizona Coyotes have officially renounced the rights to their fourth-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft, Mitchell Miller.
With the National Hockey League trying to take strides in combating racism and social injustices in the sport, the fact that Miller was ever drafted in the first place is an exclamation point on the inept management of the Arizona Coyotes, as well as the leadership group in the NHL.
Back in 2014, Miller, in eighth grade at the time, was convicted in an Ohio courtroom for the bullying of a developmentally disabled African American student. On multiple occasions, Miller called the student the N-word and “brownie” while physically abusing him.
The worst incident came when Miller tricked Meyer-Crothers into licking a candy push-pop that he and a friend wiped in a bathroom urinal, resulting in the need for Hepatitis, HIV, and STD testing, thankfully coming back negative.
In a phone interview for the Arizona Republic, the victim, Meyer-Crothers, had this to say:
He pretended to be my friend and made me do things I didn’t want to do.” “In junior high, I got beat up by him. … Everyone thinks he’s so cool that he gets to go to the NHL, but I don’t see how someone can be cool when you pick on someone and bully someone your entire life.”
As someone who was bullied growing up, there is a zero-tolerance policy in my life for bullying. I feel horrible for this kid and what he had to endure and the fact that Miller was able to get this far in his hockey career, with what happened, will never sit well with me, despite the news that broke today.
To make matters even worse, a month prior to the NHL Draft, the CEO and President of the Arizona Coyotes, Xavier Gutierrez, was named to the NHL’s Executive Inclusion Council, a group focused on fighting racism and creating widespread diversity in the sport.
While the team and the rest of the league knew about Miller’s past, the Coyotes believed that they could be a program that could help Miller become a better person, but as more news was released and this player and his past caught the public eye, the team released this statement earlier today via CBS Sports:
“What we learned does not align with the core values and vision for our organization and leads to our decision to renounce our draft rights.”
Miller, 18, will now head back to the University of North Dakota, as his future in hockey is unknown at this time.
The question now that is circling the heads of hockey executives, players in the league, and fans is does everyone deserve a second chance? Players make mistakes. We see in other sports, particularly in baseball more recently, where players are being exposed for things they said on the web years ago, leading to mandatory classes as well as fines and suspensions. That does not mean their actions are forgotten.
The actions by Miller, at least in my eye, makes him undeserving of a second chance. Actions have consequences. While Miller can be extremely upset that his dream of playing in the NHL may never happen, and quite frankly should not happen, I could not care less.
He knew what he was doing was so morally wrong, but decided to do it anyway. Like I mentioned above, bullying has been a major issue in my life when I was a younger kid. Even with Miller being cut, that does not fix the physical and mental abuse that Meyer-Crothers had to deal with for years while the bullying occurred, not to mention the lingering effects that has on a person’s life.
On my radio show, The BS Sports Show, I let my opinions be known:
The Coyotes made the right move by renouncing their rights of Miller, but this organization is still not out of the woods and will need to do many things to fix their image, if fixable at this point.
This past Sunday, the Braves became the latest Atlanta sports team to blow a big lead. The Braves blowing a 3-1 series lead in the NLCS to the Dodgers was bad, but it is still not as inconceivable as the Falcons meltdown back on February 5, 2017. As we all know by now, the Falcons blew a 28-3 third quarter lead in Super Bowl LI to the New England Patriots. Give New England tremendous credit for scoring the game’s last 31 points, but Super Bowl LI was a game the Patriots never should have had a chance to come back in.
Instead of recapping the entire game, let’s just fast forward to the Falcons’ chances to seal the Super Bowl. After New England scored a touchdown late in the third quarter to make it 28-9, Atlanta recovered the onside kick. Starting on the Patriots’ 41-yard line, the Falcons not only failed to pick up a first down, but also knocked themselves out of field goal range thanks to a Jake Matthews holding penalty. But Atlanta was still in good shape. The Falcons punted the ball back to the Patriots to start the fourth quarter leading by 19.
New England proceeded to move the ball down the hash marks field to get a field goal. The Patriots made it a two-score game at 28-12, but they took 5:03 off the clock in the process. New England was a dink and dunk offense who had trouble with Atlanta’s pass rush, thus they needed long drives to score. The Patriots’ previous 75-yard touchdown drive took 6:19 off the clock.
So, with 9:44 left, the Falcons got the ball back up 16. Likely at this point in the game, Atlanta only loses if they turn the ball over. Lo and behold, that is exactly what the Falcons did. Give credit where credit is due, Atlanta was smart to run the ball on first and second down, but the third down play-call was and still is beyond unacceptable.
On 3rd & 1 from his own 36-yard line, Matt Ryan for some reason dropped back to pass. Even if Ryan throws an incompletion, Atlanta could have punted and pinned the Patriots deep down 16 with a little over eight minutes remaining. An incompletion or completion never came as Ryan was stripped by Dont’a Hightower.
( photo credit: usatoday.com )
Why did Atlanta pass in the first place and not run it? They had both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who the last time I checked, are both very capable at converting a 3rd & 1. A first down in that spot probably ices the game assuming Atlanta chews more clock. Even if New England stuffs the run on 3rd & 1, the clock continues to wind as Atlanta punts. Instead, New England now had a short field and the Falcons’ defense began to tire.
Against a tiring pass rush, Tom Brady took his team into the endzone with 5:50 left. For the first time all night, Brady had hit his rhythm. Thankfully for Atlanta, they were still up 28-20 and getting the ball back.
What happened on this drive will haunt the city of Atlanta for years upon years. On 2nd & 8 from the Patriots’ 49-yard line, Ryan found Julio Jones for a remarkable 27-yard tiptoe catch on the sideline. With an eight-point lead, Atlanta had a 1st & 10 from the Patriots’ 22-yard line with 4:40 remaining. Jones’ sensational catch should have iced the game.
If you are Dan Quinn, you need to understand the importance of melting the clock and most imperatively coming away with at least a field goal. Brady has gotten hot, my defense is tired, and I need to make this a two-score game. This all should have gone through Quinn’s mind but probably did not. Let’s not forget about offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s offense, who was moving quickly and not killing clock.
Instead, the Falcons only ran it once. On second down after a -1-yard run, Ryan again inexplicably dropped back to pass. The good news, he did not get stripped. The bad news, he took a -12-yard sack. Atlanta was still in field goal range on the New England 35-yard line, but a 40-yard field goal was now 53 yards. Not great, but not the end of the world. On third down, everything seemed to go as planned. Ryan completed a 9-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu to shorten the field goal attempt. Once again, Jake Matthews took a killer holding penalty to negate the gain. After an incompletion on 3rd & 33, Atlanta was forced to punt it back to Brady with only an eight-point lead.
( photo credit: usatoday.com )
The play calling by the Falcons in these five plays borders insanity and are rightfully called the five downs to forget. I can forgive them for the fumble, but when you have a chance to seal a Super Bowl against Tom Brady, you need to get it done. The Falcons, by losing 23 yards in four plays, gave the Patriots yet another chance to come back they never should have had. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to come away with a field goal here. Brady was in rhythm to the point where he was not going to be stopped. Quinn needed to understand that his defense, who had been on the field for 76 plays at that point, was gassed and had nothing left in the tank. They were not going to stop Brady again. Conversely, Shanahan’s offense had only run 42 plays at this juncture.
All Atlanta had to do was run the ball straight ahead three straight times. What are the benefits of this? You kill the clock, force New England to call timeouts, and oh yeah, you go up two scores assuming Matt Bryant makes the field goal. Even if the Patriots call all three timeouts, the Falcons still would have been up 31-20 with about 4:20 left.
The ensuing touchdown the Patriots scored to tie the game would not have mattered had Atlanta been competent and ran the ball to stay in field goal range. Unless New England recovered the onside kick, the Atlanta Falcons would have won Super Bowl LI 31-28.
Instead, the game went into overtime and you knew if the Patriots got the ball first Brady was going to put it in the endzone. Sure enough, New England won the coin toss and got the ball to start the first overtime in Super Bowl history. Against the gassed Atlanta defense, Brady took his team right down the field for the win 34-28 as James White scored the winning touchdown on a two-yard run.
( photo credit: twincities.com )
It is never going to go away. The stigma of 28-3 will never escape the Falcons and the city of Atlanta unless the franchise wins a Super Bowl. Matt Ryan, Dan Quinn, and Kyle Shanahan will forever have this stain on their careers. A stain that could have been easily avoided by Atlanta running the ball to kill the clock, therefore also killing New England’s chances of completing an impossible comeback.
While the Big Ten and Pac-12 start their seasons this weekend, the SEC finds themselves at the halfway point of their 10-game conference-only schedule.
The SEC East is up for grabs as everyone in the division suffered at least one loss. Will Georgia and Florida regain their footing, or will Kentucky and South Carolina rise from the ashes to challenge the division title?
Here are some critical matchups for Week Five in the SEC.
Auburn (2-2) at Ole Miss (1-3), Noon, EST
The Rebels offense was the SEC’s talk after running up 647 yards and 48 points against Alabama. However, Matt Corral’s nosedive against Arkansas (6 INT) in a 33-21 loss put a damper on Oxford’s offensive party.
Auburn has problems of their own, coming off their first loss against South Carolina since 1933 (won 8 previous games Gamecocks). If not for a favorable ruling on a fumble against the Razorbacks, Auburn would be reeling.
What a win would mean for Auburn – with two losses already, the Tigers need to gain momentum hosting LSU next week.
What a win would mean for Ole Miss – some legitimacy to what’s become an offensive circus in the Rebels first four games.
Auburn – ran for over 200 yards against Arkansas (259) and South Carolina (209), after totaling only 130 yards in first two games.
Ole Miss – defense allowing 579.5 total yards per game (2nd to last in nation) and 47.0 PPG (last in the nation).
Series – Auburn’s won four straight and 22 of last 27 overall, including three straight and nine of last 11 at Ole Miss.
1st 3 Games
Ole Miss PPG
Kentucky (2-2) at Missouri (1-2), 4:00 PM EST
Both teams are coming off wins. The Tigers rallied against LSU (stopped the defending champions on four straight plays at the 1-yd line). Kentucky’s defense has straightened up after allowing 783 yards and 71 points in their first two losses. The Wildcats held Mississippi State and Tennessee to under 300 yards each, while allowing just nine total points.
What a Kentucky win would mean: The Wildcats can create a chance for themselves in the East as they prepare to host Georgia next week.
What a Missouri win would mean: A second straight upset at home would put fate in their own hands as they travel to Florida and host Georgia the next two weeks.
Kentucky – lead SEC in rushing (206 Rush YPG)
Missouri – last time hosting Kentucky, the Tigers blew a 14-3 lead in final five minutes with Kentucky connecting on the GW score on the final play of the game
First 2 Games
Last 2 Games
Tennessee (2-2) at #2 Alabama (4-0), 3:30 PM EST
After seeing their eight-game win streak snapped at Georgia, the Vols laid an egg against Kentucky at home, losing 34-7.
Meanwhile, the Tide keep on rolling towards another College Football Playoff appearance. Alabama punished #3 Georgia in the second half, scoring the final 24 points in a 41-24 victory over the Bulldogs on Saturday.
Alabama totaled 325 yards (85 rushing yards) on their final six drives as Nick Saban improved to 22-0 against former assistants and 3-0 against Kirby Smart.
Last Six Quarters
Turnover on Downs
What a Win Would Mean For Tennessee – end their two-game losing streak and shock, everyone.
What a Win Would Mean For Alabama – mark their 29th straight victory over an SEC East opponent and move them closer to another SEC West title.
Tennessee – Since leading Georgia 21-17 at halftime in Week Three, the Vols 19 offensive possessions resulted in eight punts, seven turnovers, two turnovers on downs, three defensive TD, and one offensive TD.
Alabama – John Metchie III and Jaylen Waddle recorded TD receptions of 40 and 91 yards against Georgia. The Crimson Tide registered 47 TD from scrimmage 30-yards or longer since the start of the 2018 season.
Other Alabama offensive streaks
scored 35 or more points in 16 straight games overall (new CFB record) and 14 consecutive SEC games
Najee Harris – Scored at least one TD in 11 straight games, totaling 1,272 rushing yards and 23 rushing TD over that span
Series – Alabama won 13 straight against Tennessee
South Carolina (2-2) at LSU (1-2), 7:00 PM EST
The Gamecocks ended a historic streak against Auburn, defeating them for the first time since joining the SEC in 1992. Carolina forced Bo Nix into three INT (forced 8 TO in their last three games), winning their second straight, 30-22. Kevin Harris ranks fourth in the SEC in yards from scrimmage (495) and second in rushing TD (6).
The defending National Champions will try to get back on track after losing to Missouri. The Tigers failed to tally the winning TD after a penalty placed the ball on the one-yard line, unable to score on their four tries.
What a Win Would Mean For South Carolina – give them three straight wins heading into a showdown against #7 Texas A&M in Columbia.
What a Win Would Mean For LSU – save further embarrassment after bad losses to Mississippi State and Missouri.
South Carolina’s Tough Stretch
2020 Schedule, Games 3-6
Streak Entering Game
10/17/2020 vs Auburn
Lost 8 straight
10/24/2020 at LSU
Lost 6 straight
10/31/2020 vs Texas A&M
Lost 6 straight
South Carolina – looking to win three straight SEC games for the first time since 2017.
LSU – rank last in the SEC and second to last in the nation in Passing YPG allowed (380.7).
Series – LSU has won six straight and are 18-1-1 in their last 20 games against South Carolina. This game marks the first time since the Gamecocks only win against LSU in 1994 that the Tigers are not ranked entering their matchup.
As the days turn darker, so make the minds of many NFL fans. Week Six in the NFL saw further separation from the phonies to phenomenal as the season nears the halfway point.
Saying goodbye to Week Six and hello to Week Seven brings us another entry into Five Interesting Stats. (*courtesy of NFL.com research).
Big Ben Owns Browns – Ben Roethlisberger improved to 13-0 at home in his career against Cleveland. Roethlisberger’s 22 TD in those 13 games featured winning 11 of them by double-digits.
Career at home vs Cleveland
Steelers Double-Digit Wins
Jimmy Doesn’t Lose Twice in a Row – After a poor performance against the Dolphins in Week Five, Jimmy Garappolo and San Francisco rebounded against the Rams. Garappolo threw for 268 yards and three TD passes in the Niners 24-16 victory. In his career, Garappolo improved to 6-0 with a 72 percent completion percentage and 16 TD in the ensuing game following a loss.
Career following a loss
The Lock of the Broncos – *In Denver’s 18-12 victory over Bill Belichick’s Patriots in New England, QB Drew Lock threw two INTs. Lock joined Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner (11/18/01) as the only QB to throw multiple INT and win a road game against Belichick’s Patriots.
Opposing QB with multiple INT
Won at NE in Belichick Era
Drew Lock, DEN
Kurt Warner, STL
Seahawks Undefeated – Russell Wilson and Seattle did not play in Week Six, as they place their perfect record on the line against Arizona this Sunday. Despite starting 5-0, the Seahawks allow the most yards ( and own the smallest point differential of any previous team to start 5-0.
Most Yards Allowed
Teams to Start 5-0 Since Merger
2020 Seattle Seahawks
2018 Kansas City Chiefs
2013 Denver Broncos
2011 Green Bay Packers
Oh, Henry! – Titans RB Derrick Henry continued his exceptional season, running for 212 yards and two TD in the Titans 42-36 OT win against Houston. In his last eight games (postseason included), Henry has 1,176 yards rushing and ten rushing TD. Sunday’s game marked the second straight game Henry rushed for over 200 yards against Houston over that span.