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Clemson QB Deshaun Watson - Photo via Grant Halverson - Getty Images

College Football Playoff Preview: The Clemson Tigers

This time, we go back two years ago with the Clemson Tigers.

Defending ACC Atlantic Division Co-Champs and 11-2 after a Chic-Fil-A Bowl win.  If could ever beat Florida State they could win their ACC division and likely the conference.

It was another rough outing against the Seminoles.  Clemson entered the game ranked eighth  in the nation, 6-0 and playing in Death Valley against redshirt-freshman and eventual Heisman Winner, Jameis Winston. It looked like a hard battle for the young FSU QB, until the game started.

A very lopsided game was the result.  A final of 51-14 for Florida State.  Clemson could not get a shot at the ACC title as Florida State went unbeaten. The Tigers did win the 2013 Orange Bowl against Ohio State that year, 40-35.

In 2014; with no more Tahj Boyd, Clemson had to find a QB.  Without a proven starter, Clemson traveled to Tallahassee.  Sean Maguire started in place of the suspended Jameis Winston.  A boring, low scoring game went to OT and Clemson fell short again 23-17.

Season in a Snapshot

Going in to 2015, Clemson finally had a QB they could rely on in Dashaun Watson.  With star defensive end Vic Beasley gone, the question was defense.  After a stormy 24-22 win over the Fighting Irish, the question was answered.  They were/are good enough.

A few weeks later would come the ultimate test.  Florida State entered with one loss, Clemson again unbeaten, but the Tigers finally break through 23-13, and make it to the ACC championship game.

Facing off against a one loss North Carolina, Clemson survived over the surprisingly offensive minded Tar Heel’s 45-37.  The Tigers were helped by a controversial off-sides call that went their way and they recovered an on-side kick to end the late UNC rally.

Team Strengths

Clemson has a really high powered pass offense. The pass rush is elite.  The passing game creates running opportunities.

Team Weaknesses

The overall defense is average at best.   If you can contain QB Dashaun Watson, you shut down half the offense due to the system.

Playoff Forecast

Even with the best QB and the best spread in the playoffs, Clemson will still have to make stops to win games.  And the late game rally’s by opponents will have to be prevented. If they can, they have a great shot at winning the College Football Playoff.

Well thanks for reading again!

Next up is a preview of the Oklahoma Sooners.

Derrick Henry vs Florida in 2015 SEC Championship game - Dale Zanine - USA Today Sports

College Football Playoff Preview: The Alabama Crimson Tide

Three years ago, Alabama was rolling with back-to-back beat downs of LSU and Manti Teo’s #1 Notre Dame.  With AJ McCarron coming back for his senior season in 2013 and another top recruiting class, it seemed almost a given that this Alabama team would complete the first three-peat in BCS history.

Little did they know, they would run into an Auburn “Team of Destiny, as they edged Alabama on a kick that was just not quite enough.

In the 2014 season, Alabama looked good, until they ran into a red hot Ole Miss, losing 23-17, with Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace putting the game away late.

Alabama would overcome the loss and win their way to the SEC Championship game.  Amari Cooper and the Tide would roll through Mizzou, and play another red hot Ohio State.   Alabama was up 21-3 only to see Ohio State roar back and win 42-35 with Ezekiel Elliot setting bowl records with rushing yards.

2015 Season SnapShot

The year started off with a QB controversy between Cooper Bateman and Jake Coker.  Coker would be the starter for the season opener in Dallas against Wisconsin. The Tide rolled 35-17, but two games later,  Coker couldn’t hold on to the job and Cooper Bateman started against Ole Miss.  After a terrible start, 11/14, 87 yards, a INT, with a QBR of 48.3, Coker came in to try to save the day.

In a crazy game of ups and downs, Alabama would give the ball up 4 times in the 43-37 loss to Ole Miss.  But Jake Coker solidified his role as starter and the Tide has not looked back.

Once again Bama made it to the SEC championship game, and once again Alabama would roll, this time over Florida.  Derek Henry needed multiple briefcases to carry home all of his awards.  Even winning the biggest award FBS has to offer, the Heisman Trophy.

The only blemish so far on 2015 is the loss of defensive coordinator Kirby Smart who is leaving next year to become the head coach of Georgia.

Team Strengths

The front 7 on this defense is monstrous.  They can hold up to any offensive line in the country.  The same goes for the Alabama offensive line, which of course helps the run game.  And don’t forget Derek Henry, Heisman winner, Maxwell award winner.  Need anything else?  SEC single season rushing record?

Team Weaknesses

The lack of depth at running back and on the offensive line is a concern heading into the playoffs.  Jake Coker still doesn’t look as good as he looked at Florida State.  On defense, the secondary is still susceptible to a high-speed and up-tempo offense.

Playoff Forcast

The Alabama front seven on defense is the best and deepest in the field.  If they can slow the game down, and force a defensive dual, Alabama should have the CFP locked up.

Well there ya’ll have it.  This is the first of a four-part series.  Next up, the Clemson Tigers!

Have a good day. See yall later.

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NCAA Championship Weekend Preview

What a wild football season.  We were very close to seeing some different names on the field this weekend.

We are a fourth and 25 conversion from seeing Ole Miss in the SEC championship game over Alabama.  We are one third and long stop from seeing Tennessee in the game over Florida.

One shanked field goal would give us Ohio State and two unbeaten teams in the Big Ten Game.  Or even a controversial call going the other way would still result in a battle of un-beaten’s in Lucas Oil stadium.

No matter how they got there, we are still left with some great Conference Championship Games. And here’s a quick guide in what you need to know.

SEC Championship: Alabama vs Florida

What’s On The Line?

For Florida, it’s a birth into a New Year’s Six Bowl and a shot to ruin Alabama’s and the SEC’s New Year’s celebration plans.

For Alabama, it’s to solidify the season and get a shot for the national title game.

Keys To The Game

For Florida, slow down Derek Henry, and limit turnovers.

For Alabama, DO NOT PLAY DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL like you did against Auburn, Tennessee, Arkansas…

Prediction – Alabama wins a surprisingly tight game 24-21

PAC-12 Championship: Stanford vs USC

What’s On The Line?

For both teams, realistically a shot at a New Year’s Six Bowl.

Keys To The Game.

For USC, slow down Kevin Hogan and Heisman candidate Christian McCaffrey.

For Stanford, play smart and execute the game plan. I know it sounds cliche but Stanford cannot assume a 8-4 team will be a bye week.

Prediction – USC will remain as the seasons most under achieving team and only score because of the talent 28-10, Stanford.

Big Ten Championship- Michigan State vs Iowa

What’s On The Line?

As of right now, this is the only game that’s a guaranteed play-in to the College Football Playoffs.

Keys To The Game.

For the Spartans, let Connor Cook tear up Iowa. Let the pass open the run game and we should get ready to watch a blowout.

For Iowa, play TEAM ball. Iowa WILL be losing this game. All that matters though is if they can respond and come up with a game plan to make Sparty pay for using Cook.

Prediction – Iowa will leave without a Big Ten Championship and the better talent will take over.  35-17 Sparty.

ACC Championship- North Carolina vs Clemson

What’s On The Line?

For Clemson this title will mean they are out of the past and finally getting to the big spotlight.

For UNC, however this is a chance to go to the CFP and win a title. Something no other college in the state of North Carolina can say. Although the only realistic chance UNC gets in is if they blow out Clemson

Keys To The Game.

For Clemson is getting those Clemson receivers open and not letting Marquise Williams get the better of them.

For UNC, it’s protecting Williams and making sure DeShaun Watson doesn’t have a career day.

Prediction – UNC and Clemson both struggled with South Carolina, but based on track record of the past two seasons and what talent is out there.  Marquise Williams is way more versatile than Deshaun Watson, but not the better QB.  I have Clemson 28-7.

Hope y’all enjoyed!

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2015: A YEAR OF LEGACY

Photo Via: Marvin Gentry – USA Today Sports

 

Another regular season is in the books and boy was it a fun one to watch unfold.

No, Ole Miss didn’t win the SEC west, but what the Rebels did do is continue a road of progress and signs of potential greatness.

Winning a second consecutive Egg Bowl and a great probability of a New Years Six Bowl is quite an accomplishment.

Morale regarding athletics is at an all time high with the fan base.

From the moment you walk into the Vaught until the moment you go home, you can honestly say Hotty Toddy Nation is nationally relevant. From the day Eli Manning left campus after the 2003 season to 2012, Ole Miss couldn’t say that.

The football program has transformed itself into a hot spot in the last 4 years, pulling in recruits generations before me would have never thought possible.

Nkemdiche,Treadwell, and Tunsil will be suiting up for what is most likely their last games as Rebels in the upcoming bowl game, right now projected to be the Sugar Bowl.

Do not expect the Rebels to go away lightly next season. Ole Miss has an array of highly touted prospects  on board to sign in February.

Don’t believe me? Just check the rankings. According to ESPN, Ole Miss at the moment has the Number 5 recruiting class in the country for 2016.

Ole Miss will forever be grateful for the impact of the 2013 recruiting class. Gone were the days of being complacent, and started the days of striving for greatness.

Sure one class doesn’t make a team, but in this case, it was the x factor. Beating the Crimson Tide in consecutive years is a feat that many Rebels will remember for a life time.

But the journey isn’t over. In fact, it is really just starting the next phase. Happy Holidays and here is to hoping for a “sweet” bowl game January 1st in New Orleans.

Hotty Toddy!

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EGGBOWL 2015: Tailgating at Starkville – A Primer for Ole Miss Fans

So you want to see Ole Miss play in Starkville this year do ya?  Are you sure?  Is it really that important?

Fine.  I won’t stop you, but here are five things you need to know before you make the trek to the “Town that fun forgot.”

fresh as hail

1.  Bring your own food and drinks

SEC football tailgates are nationally known for having ridiculous spreads of food, drink and hospitality.  Mississippi State does not fit in that mold.  Here you will find mostly spreads of hoop cheese and crackers (made on campus) and at a really fancy tent you might find stuffed deer meat or subway catering.

I would recommend you bring your own food and nice bottle of liquor or wine.  Otherwise you will be stuck drinking cheap lite beer if you are lucky enough to find a bulldog willing to share.

milk cow msu

2.  Don’t dress up too much

One thing I can say about MSU fans, is they are not pretentious.  Comfort over fashion is the rule here and this late in the year with possible freezing temps and precipitation, expect to see more camouflage hunting gear than team colors.

If you wear slacks and or a sports jacket or a scarf you will be a dead give away that you are not “from around here.”  You might as well wear a #10 Chad Kelly jersey with a target on the back of your head.

bitch im a dawg

3.  Bring ear plugs

Mississippi State has worked hard over the last 10-15 years to upgrade their gameday experience.  Ole Miss fans may find their pre-game festivities very familiar.  That is because they have actually carbon copied the Ole Miss pre-game.

They built a miniature version of The Grove and called it the Junction.  They have the players walk through a crowd of fans just like the Walk of Champions (They call it the Bulldog Walk).  They even have a fairly new cheer called Maroon and White that ends with a hint of profanity, just like our own Hotty Toddy cheer.

But the one thing State has that no one would envy is the fan’s tradition of ringing cow bells.  How this got started or why it is continued is a head shaking wonder.

Just understand it is annoying , so be prepared.

cowbell girl

4.  Have a few deer hunting stories

Don’t be afraid to interact with the natives.  If you are dressed comfortably or maybe you have a few friends that are MSU fans, feel free to have a seat with the dogs and enjoy the day.

Make them feel comfortable by talking about deer hunting or what you planted in the winter garden.  Even if you don’t do either of those things, you will be more easily accepted.

Talking about business or stock options is another dead give away you are a Ole Miss fan.

stingray bull

5.  Get out of town as fast as possible after you win (or lose) in Starkville.

The MSU fan base is very unpredictable.  They are as likely to bail before halftime as they are willing to stand in the middle of the street after the game and swat at people with their cowbell like a country boy battle sword.

No matter the outcome, my best advice is to just have your things gathered up and ready to bolt to the car right after the game.

You can enjoy gloating from a distance for the next 365 days until the next Battle of the Golden Egg.

msu mad