SEC Championship Game Preview

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

gus-malzahn-a-day-4464595f6dff04b8The coaching carousel continues in the SEC
The SEC had five open head coaching positions at the end of this
year’s regular season. Ole Miss, Arkansas, Florida, Texas A&M, and
Tennessee, representing almost half of the entire SEC conference
teams, were all looking for new blood as of last Sunday. Mississippi
State’s Dan Mullen took the Gator bait, leaving the Bulldogs chief
spot open, but not for long as they quickly hired Penn State’s OC,
Greg Morehead. Ole Miss rewarded their Rebel Alumni, Matt Luke, after
he beat the Bulldogs in the Egg bowl and took the interim off his
name. A&M is finalizing the deal on the poaching of Jimbo Fisher from
Florida State while Tennessee woos Washington State’s, Mike Leach.
Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops, with five years, is now the dean of
the East Division while Bama’s, Nick Saban, doubles Auburn’s Gus
Malzahn west division tenure with 11 years at the helm of the Tide
Speaking of Gus Malzahn, here’s the prediction on his tortured
trail with Auburn. The Tigers took a chance on the Gus Bus five years
ago, two years after Gene Chizik won a national championship with Cam
Newton. Two years later Chizik’s Auburn team won only three games
and he was unceremoniously shown the way out by the Auburn brass. In
comes Gus, and with Chizik’s team, makes it to the national
championship and almost wins it all against Florida State in 2014,
losing 34-31. Since then Gus has averaged nine wins a season, beating
Alabama twice in the Iron Bowl. Despite all the success the clamor
from the Auburn fan base to “Fire Gus” has been a constant thorn in
Malzahn’s side.
Gus would have jumped at the Arkansas job five years ago, but the
inane Razorback hierarchy didn’t think he was worthy, even though in
his first year as a head coach (2012) he led Arkansas State to a 10-
win season and don’t forget he was the offensive coordinator on Gene
Chizik’s national championship Auburn team, thus prompting the Auburn
hire. Arkansas instead hired Bret Bielema who went 29-34 overall and
11-29 in conference, while finishing last in the SEC west division
three out of his five years. Compare that to Malzahn, who’s gone
45-20 overall and 25-15 in conference games, winning the brutal SEC
west division twice, finishing second twice, and #2 in the nation in
his first year (2013).
Gus Malzahn walked on at the Univ. of Arkansas as a wide
receiver before transferring to Henderson State in Arkadelphia
Arkansas. He married in Arkansas and all his kids were born in
Arkansas. Malzahn was an Arkansas coaching legend at Shiloh
Christian and Springdale high school, winning three state
championships combined at both schools which are located about twenty
minutes from Razorback stadium. He carried on his coaching success as
offensive coordinator for Arkansas, Auburn and Tulsa before becoming
head coach at Arkansas State and Auburn. Simply put, Gus Malzahn’s a
helluva coach.
Northwest Arkansas has become a destination with the Walton
funded Crystal Bridges Museum, nationally acclaimed Sam Walton School
of Business and beautiful weather year round with all four seasons in
play. The Athletic Department and the Razorback Foundation have built
facilities that are unrivaled not only in the SEC but in the country,
so just stop all the excuses about it being hard to recruit to
Fayetteville and compete nationally. The Hogs do what they should
have done five years ago and get on the Gus Bus. After the Georgia
game, Gus comes home.
Last week’s Results: Straight 6-3 ATS 8-1
Season Results: Straight 80-18 ATS 52-33-3

#2 Auburn (10-2) vs. #6 Georgia (11-1)
Time / TV: 3:00 CBS
Venue: Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta
Line: Tigers -2.5 / 48
Auburn’s running game has gotten the Tigers to this point but it
is decimated by injuries. Kerryon Johnson suffered a late shoulder
injury that took him out of the Bama game and his back up turned an
ankle on his first play from scrimmage. Georgia is fresher,
healthier, playing in their home state with revenge is on their mind.
Pick: Georgia 27 Auburn 23

#7 Miami (10-1) vs. #1 Clemson (11-1) Time / TV: 7:00 p.m. ABC
Venue: Bof A Stadium, Charlotte
Line: Tigers -9 / 46
This game comes down to who has better athletes. Both Miami HC,
Mark Richt and Clemson HC, Dabo Swinney, are excellent coaches.
Clemson’s blunder on the road against Syracuse doesn’t seem as bad as
Miami’s loss last week to Pittsburg. Miami’s had too many close
shaves this year against inferior teams, the Tigers only narrow
victory was against #2 Auburn.                                                                                                                                                                                           Pick: Clemson 29 Miami 2
#8Ohio State (10-2) vs. #4 Wisconsin (12-0)
Time / TV: (7:00 p.m. FOX
Venue:Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
Line: Buckeyes -6 / 51
Wisconsin’s the only Power 5 conference team without a loss this
year. The Badgers are disrespected and underappreciated but are as
physical as any team in the country. Ohio State got whupped by Iowa
and Oklahoma and Urban Meyer has been too lucky too long.
Pick: Wisconsin 37 Ohio State 20

#11 TCU (10-2) vs #3 Oklahoma (11-1)                                                                                                                                                          Time / TV: 11:30 a.m. FOX
Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington
Line: Sooners -7 / 63.5
This game is not even a game. TCU is undersized and
overmatched…again. Baker Mayfield is an elfin idiot but he wins the
Heisman in our flawed societal valuation of player’s impact. My votes
for Saquon Barkley but I don’t get a vote. Sooners roll.
Pick: Oklahoma 40 TCU 17

The winner of these championships goes to the college football’s
final four, unless Ohio State or TCU wins and then Alabama gets in at
11-1. If Buckeyes and Horned Frogs both win, Urban Meyers gets lucky
again and squeezes in with Bama. The Univ. of Central Florida gets the
“are you kidding me” award because even if they finish undefeated by
beating Memphis in their championship game, they still don’t get in.


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