The 2017 Daly Dose College Football Preview: The SEC

Southeastern Conference

The rumors of the demise of the baddest conference in college football have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, the league has been a little down the past couple of years, but make no mistake this is where the big dogs run.  Yes, Alabama is stacked every year, but those next level teams are getting better, and even the lowest level teams are as talented as any team in the country. It is no surprise that these are the greatest players in the country. I mean, you get what you pay for, right?

SEC

East

1. Georgia Bulldogs

Predicted finish: 10-2

The Bulldogs regressed significantly in 2016 under new head coach Kirby Smart, but this team has a ton of young talent. The defensive front seven is a force, and the running game should produce results with Nick Chubb, and Sony Michel. If the offensive line can show up, and the wide receivers can actually catch a ball, this team could really accomplish something. And if not? Well, Georgia fans are used to that.

2. Florida Gators

Predicted finish: 9-3

Has anyone gone to the SEC Conference Championship Game more quietly than Gators head coach Jim McElwain? In his first two years on the job McElwain has gone 19-8 and represented the SEC East to decide the conference. Yet in those two games, UF has been outscored 83-31, and McElwain’s record against ranked opponents? Just 3-7. Fortunately, Florida fans are a model of good judgement, and realistic expectations. So none of this will ever be a problem for Coach Mac.

3. Tennessee Volunteers

Predicted finish: 9-3

Last year was a big test for this team. They returned a ton of talent, but went just 9-4, and even lost to Vanderbilt. Numerous injuries, and a porous defense were simply too much to overcome. This season, there will be less talent, but also much lower expectations. And that’s just the way Rocky Top likes it. Just ask Peyton Manning.

4. Kentucky Wildcats

Predicted finish: 7-5

The Wildcats actually found themselves playing in a bowl game last season, as they went 7-6, after adopting a run-heavy offense. UK rushed for nearly 240 yards per game behind Freshman All-American running back Benny Snell, who returns for his sophomore season. You might be tempted to think the Cats could contend in the SEC East with that running game. Well, you might be tempted… if you hadn’t seen the UK defense. If you have seen them, then you know better.

5. Vanderbilt Commodores

Predicted finish: 7-5

They didn’t start very strong, but the commodores finished the 2016 season by beating Ole Miss and Tennessee, to finish 6-6. There’s nothing like a great comeback to make everyone to feel better about your program. And also to help everyone forget the fact that you started the season 4-6, and almost lost to Western Kentucky.

6. South Carolina Gamecocks

Predicted finish: 6-6

You have to give head coach Will Muschamp some credit for the way that he got this group to respond in his first season in Columbia. The Gamecocks somehow won six games, and went to a bowl game, despite having a very depleted roster. This year the roster is a little better, but the schedule is also much more difficult. This team won’t have much depth, so any injuries will be magnified. As will Muschamp’s crazy eyes the first time he loses his temper on one of his players.

7. Missouri Tigers

Predicted finish: 5-7

There will be more scoring in Missouri games this year. The problem for Tigers fans, is that most of it will be done by the opposing team.

 

West

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Predicted finish: 11-1

Head coach Nick Saban lost some significant talent to the NFL, but does it even matter anymore? He just reloads more quality players, and goes back to the College Football Playoff again. There are a few things you can count on in the world. Death, taxes, and Nick Saban getting better recruits than everyone else. Oh, and also…about once a season, his talented recruits will lose a game on the final play of the game.

2. Auburn Tigers

Predicted finish: 10-2

After taking a step back over the past few seasons, this Auburn team could return to being a contender. The Tigers should be loaded on offense with quarterback Jarrett Stidham and running back Kamryn Pettway. And don’t forget that this team almost beat eventual National Champion Clemson last season. Gus Malzahn’s team could be getting ready for something special.  Of course, every time we pick the Tigers to do anything, they make us look bad. And I think they do it on purpose.

3. LSU Tigers

Predicted finish: 9-3

Let me guess, the Tigers are loaded with talent, if they could just find some consistency at quarterback. But this season, senior quarterback Danny Etling is going to be the guy, right? Next, you’ll be telling me that you don’t judge head coach Ed Orgeron for the way he talks. I’m not buying it, is what I’m saying.

4. Arkansas Razorbacks

Predicted finish: 7-5

Head coach Bret Bielema has done a very good job in Fayetteville, taking over a struggling program, and going to bowl games three years in a row. The biggest knock on Bielema, is that he has been unable to beat Texas A&M. Well, we believe that this is the year he can do just that. The Razorbacks defense has to be better in 2017, and the backfield combo of QB Austin Allen and RB Rawleigh Williams should be enough for Arkansas to slay their dragon. Of course visits to Alabama and LSU, will have them feeling like a better dragon was out there waiting to blast them with hell-fire and brimstone.

5. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Predicted finish: 7-5

We aren’t entirely sure how in the world Dan Mullen has built a legitimate program in Starkville, but he seems to have done it. The Bulldogs have been to a bowl game seven years in a row now, and if the defense can turn things around, this team will be going to an eighth. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is a very good passer, and has a number of weapons at his disposal. You can make a pretty decent case that Mullen is the greatest coach in the history of Mississippi State football. It isn’t that he’s that great. It just kind of tells you the history of this fine institution.

6. Texas A&M Aggies  

Predicted finish: 6-6

The Aggies are out to turn things around in 2017. For the past three seasons, head coach Kevin Sumlin has seen his Aggies start off strong, and then fade down the stretch, and finish 8-5. Well, his job might be on the line this season, so that isn’t going to happen this time. The Aggies are going to stumble both early, and late, and finish 6-6.

7. Ole Miss Rebels

Predicted finish: 4-8

Ole Miss is banned from the postseason, and will be playing for an interim head coach, after the Rebels fired High Freeze. It seems that Freeze was associating with shady boosters, and even calling escort services during his time in Oxford. It’s crazy to think that a coach with limited in-state resources would resort to such things in a football crazy conference. I mean, who saw that coming? Okay, all of you put your hands down.

Did you miss our Daly Dose Pac 12 preview?

Coming up on Saturday: We begin our NFL previews!

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Daly Dose #139 Our Fifty States Tour

This week on the Daly Dose we begin our 50 States Tour!

We make a brief stop in each state across the nation, and look at their greatest athletes, the best moments, and the most disappointing losses. From Alabama and their heated in-state rivalry, to the amazing athletes that the states of CaliforniaFlorida, and Illinois have produced, to some of the most memorable wins and losses in ColoradoIdaho, and Kentucky, we are touring the USA sports world!

We know that Massachussets has had some memorable wins with the Celtics, Red Sox, and Patriots, but what is the worst moment in their sports history? The state of Mississippi has given us some of the greatest athletes in the world, and Maryland has a few sports moments that we will never forget!

Be sure to check out the first installment of our 50 States Tour, as we remember some of the best and worst in sports from across this nation!

Listen here to Daly Dose #139 Our Fifty States Tour!

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Pitino, Louisville interested in Hugh Freeze as “director of prostitution”

Following his resignation from Ole Miss, football coach Hugh Freeze may not have to wait very long to find a new job.

Last week it was announced that Freeze had resigned from his position as head football coach at the University of Mississippi. It seems that school officials had found a number of phone calls to a number associated with an escort services. The encouraged “resignation” was mutual, and the university will not have to fulfill the remainder of Freeze’s contract.

The Rebels promoted assistant head coach Matt Luke the interim head coach effective immediately. Questions swirled following the departure of Freeze as many wondered if he would ever work in the collegiate ranks again. However, it seems that Freeze has already received some interest from another school, albeit an unlikely source.

The Daly Dose has learned that University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has inquired as to whether Freeze might be interested in coming to the Bluegrass State.

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In June, it was announced that several penalties would be brought against the Cardinals by the NCAA. Pitino is also due to serve a five-game suspension, because of sex-scandal allegations that a staff member provided basketball recruits with prostitutes and strippers. Louisville and Pitino plan to appeal the decision.

Pitino spoke to the Daly Dose and was very open about his interest in Freeze. “I realize that this is a sensitive subject, but I think it is safe to say that we have some similar interests as Coach Freeze, and we feel like he could definitely be an asset to our program.”

Does it concern Pitino that Freeze has no experience coaching basketball?

“Some things transcend sports.” Pitino answered. “I’m not looking to bring Hugh Freeze to the University of Louisville to coach a match-up press. This is a man that has a very special set of skills, and they are the type of skills that we can use here to improve our basketball program. We just want Coach Freeze to be Coach Freeze.”

Daly Dose #95 Overreacting to the NFL

This week on the Daly Dose Sports Podcast, Clint is joined by NFL writer Dillon Brooks to discuss what we have seen so far in the first two weeks of the season. Are the Denver Broncos a dirty team? What is wrong with the Seattle Seahawks offense? And will the Cleveland Browns ever win again?

The Major League Baseball season is winding down, and while we are excited for the postseason, there is one very important reason to feel sad that the regular season is coming to an end.

And while we aren’t even a month into the college football season there are already some big name programs that are falling by the wayside. Which teams can already start looking forward to next year?

Plus we count down the Top 5 most consistently overrated college football programs!

Listen here: Episode#95 Overreacting to the NFL

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Daly Dose #93 The 2016 NFL Preview

This week on the Daly Dose Sports Podcast we are taking a look ahead at the 2016 NFL season!

Clint is joined by longtime friend of the show- Larry from Centennial, and they break down some of the top storylines, preview the top contenders in each division, and even make their picks as to which teams will be going to Super Bowl 51.

Plus, Clint recaps some of the top college football stories and is even joined by a two-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player!

And you have to stick around for the Daly Dose Top 5 worst NFL uniforms of all time!

You do not want to miss Episode 93!

Listen here: Episode #93 The 2016 NFL Preview

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Here are a few of our nominations for worst NFL uniforms!

The Daly Dose College Football Preview: The Southeastern Conference 

This is it.

The big one.

That land where college football is a religion, and the teams are loaded with future NFL stars.

The SEC has won 8 of the last 10 national championships, and if you aren’t sure which conference is the best…the fans will remind you.

Sure, most of those fans didn’t actually attend these places of higher learning. But don’t worry about that. Just be impressed that they can actually spell “S-E-C”.

East

1. Tennessee Volunteers

Predicted finish: 10-2   

This is it. This is the season that head coach Butch Jones has been building for, and the year that Vols fans have been waiting for. The offense should be potent under QB Josh Dobbs. The defense should be improved. This is your year, UT. Don’t blow it.

2. Georgia Bulldogs   

Predicted finish: 9-3   

Georgia ran off former head coach and nice guy Mark Richt, primarily because in 15 seasons he won 74% of his games, but went just 5-10 against arch-rival Florida. But would Bulldog fans be happy if they lost more games overall, had jerk for a coach, but beat Florida? Well yeah, obviously.

3. Florida Gators

Predicted finish: 9-3

The Gators got back to winning last year, going 10-4 and making it to the SEC Championship.  And then we saw a number of UF players get arrested in the off-season. Head coach Jim McElwain wanted to get Florida back to where they were under Urban Meyer. And he seems to be on his way.

4. South Carolina Gamecocks

Predicted finish: 7-5   

South Carolina goes from Steve Spurrier to Will Muschamp. I’ve seen Steve Spurrier. I’ve watched Steve Spurrier. You, Will Muschamp, are no Steve Spurrier.

5. Missouri Tigers

Predicted finish: 5-7

Coming off of a disappointing season, the Tigers will look to improve behind a stout defense. But with a young QB and an inexperienced offensive line, Mizzou could be in for another long year. At least they have a quiet, peaceful campus to go home to.

6. Vanderbilt Commodores

Predicted finish: 5-7

The Dores have a solid defense, and least season QB Kyle Shurmur and RB Ralph Webb were at least productive enough to beat Missouri and Kentucky. Oh, I know that isn’t much, but this is Vandy we are talking about.

7. Kentucky Wildcats

Predicted finish: 4-8   

The Wildcats had a pretty loaded roster and eight home games in 2015, and managed just a 5-7 record. A more challenging schedule, and less talent, will leave Kentucky fans wondering for the millionth time “Why couldn’t we get Bob Stoops instead of Mark?”

West

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Predicted finish: 11-1   

Nick Saban just keeps plugging in new talent and winning year after year, despite not getting stellar play from his quarterbacks. But at some point, that deal he made with the Devil has to run out, doesn’t it?

2. LSU Tigers

Predicted finish: 10-2   

LSU has the talent and experience to contend for an SEC and maybe even national title. But a nasty schedule could keep them from reaching those lofty goals. Oh, and also…Les Miles.

3. Ole Miss Rebels   

Predicted finish: 9-3   

The Rebels went 10-3 a year ago, and they have the talent and recruits to contend again this year. If they can get past Florida State in the opener, Ole Miss could be in the hunt for some impressive accomplishments that will be forcibly vacated in the very near future.

4. Auburn Tigers

Predicted finish: 8-4   

The Tigers were preseason favorites to contend for a National Championship last year, but instead struggled, going just 7-6. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Auburn has always struggled when they have high expectations.  No wonder Cam Newton went there.

5. Texas A&M Aggies  

Predicted finish: 7-5

A&M lost reliable punter Drew Kaser which could be a bit of a problem, because they signed OU transfer QB Trevor Knight. So we know they are going to need to replace Kaser, because they are going to be punting. A lot.

6. Arkansas Razorbacks   

Predicted finish: 6-6   

The Razorbacks are going to be rebuilding their offensive line and breaking in a new quarterback.  That doesn’t sound like a good combination to us. Like Bret Bielema in a China shop.

7. Mississippi Bulldogs

Predicted finish: 5-7

Dan Mullen has to try to find a way to replace Dak Prescott. That won’t prove to be an easy task, but the Bulldogs should still have enough talent to get a bowl berth. If that means anything.

Did you miss our Daly Dose Pac 12 Preview?

Be sure to stop by on Thursday for our Daly Dose College Football Top 10!

Daly Dose #80 The Legacy of Muhammad Ali

This week on the Daly Dose Sports Podcast, Clint talks a little about some of the problems facing a few of the top college football programs in the country, and who stands to benefit the most from it all.

The NBA Finals have been nearly unwatchable so far. Why have the Cleveland Cavaliers been so bad and can the Golden State Warriors keep up their current pace? And what does this series mean to LeBron James?

Then he sits down with former world-class boxer Frankie Sanchez to discuss the life and legacy of boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

Finally, we count down the Top 5 defining moments of Ali’s incredible career.

You don’t want to miss Episode #80!

Listen here: Episode 80

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The Daly Dose Sports College Football Bottom 5 Power Rankings!

Oh sure, it is easy to pick who the great teams are.

Anyone can do that.

But it takes a special eye to pick out the truly horrible teams.

And now you probably need to make sure that your favorite team didn’t make the list.

Bottom 5

Team/Record Last game/Next game Outlook
1. Wyoming Cowboys 0-5

Last week: 1

Last game: Lost @Appalachian State 31-13

Next game: Sat. vs. Air Force

I can’t figure out why the Cowboys have been so bad this season, losing their five games by an average of two touchdowns, but I’m pretty sure playing in cowboy boots hasn’t helped.
2. Kansas Jayhawks 0-4

Last week: 2

Last game: Lost @ Iowa State 38-13

Next game: Sat. @ #3 Baylor

The Jayhawks have allowed 41 points to South Dakota State and 55 points to Memphis. So I guess we are going to see if the third digit on the Kansas scoreboard works this week against Baylor aren’t we?
3. New Mexico State Aggies 0-4

Last week: 3

Last game: Lost vs. New Mexico 38-29

Next game: Sat. @ #14 Ole Miss

Unlike some of the teams on this list the Aggies have actually been close in a few games, losing by two to Georgia State and by three to UTEP. And that counts for something doesn’t it? Well…no. Actually…it doesn’t count for anything.
4. North Texas Mean Green 0-4

Last week: 4

Last game: Lost @Southern Miss 49-14

Next game: Sat. vs. Portland State

With losses to SMU and Rice it would seem that while the University of North Texas football team might indeed be green. They are, in truth not all that mean.
5. Texas Longhorns 1-4

Last week: 5

Last game: Lost @TCU 50-7

Next game: Sat. vs. #10 Oklahoma

So apparently Bevo XIV the 2,100 longhorn steer that serves as the mascot for Texas is sickly and will not make the trip to Norman for the Red River Shootout on Saturday. He obviously saw the TCU game.

Check out Episode 45 of the Daly Dose Sports Podcast!

This week on the Daly Dose Sports Podcast Clint gives you the good, the bad, and the ugly from Week 4 of the NFL, the biggest disappointments in MLB this season, and the weekend’s winners and losers from college football. Plus with all of the missed kicks in the NFL we decided it would be fun to count down the Top 5 NFL kicking blunders of all time! Check out Episode 45!

Episode 45

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The Daly Dose Sports SEC College Football Preview

This is it. The big one. The Southeastern Conference- the greatest conference in college football. No conference in the country dominates quite like the SEC and no fan base in the country takes itself quite so seriously. I mean, this is a conference that actually chants “SEC! SEC!” when their conference teams beat teams from other (lesser) conferences.

I realize that many of the SEC fans might not take too kindly to a Daly Dose type preview just as they wouldn’t take too kindly to someone bringing up the fact that they haven’t won the National Championship for two years in a row now.

But I am not even going to bring that up.

And neither should you.

SEC

Team Predicted finish Outlook
East

Missouri Tigers

9-3 You might say I’m crazy picking Missouri to win the SEC East but I notice you didn’t say anything when I picked them to win the East for the past two years, did you? Can I prove that I picked them? Can you prove that I didn’t?
Georgia Bulldogs 9-3 Georgia has the most talent in the division but they will most likely lose a game or two to a team that no one saw coming. Well…except for Bulldog fans who are pretty much convinced that they are going to lose every week no matter the opponent.
Tennessee Volunteers 8-4 The Volunteers return a significant amount of talent and expectations are high in Knoxville. But high expectations are not always met in Knoxville, are they Mr. Manning?
Florida Gators 7-5 The Gators pulled the plug on the Will Muschamp experiment and have hired former Colorado State head coach Jim McIlwain. Florida should be in good hands eventually. As long as they don’t schedule Air Force.
South Carolina Gamecocks 6-6 Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks started off hot last year at 3-1 before losing five of their final eight. It could signal the beginning of the end for the legendary coach as they will most likely struggle again this season. Or maybe he just wants to remind the local fans of how things used to be before he got there.
Kentucky Wildcats 4-8 Under head coach Mark Stoops the Wildcats have really started to bring in some big time recruits and the tide in football is slowly turning. Of course they aren’t the elite players that the basketball program gets but the fact is that John Calipari still pays better.
Vanderbilt Commodores 4-8 Vanderbilt has a quiet reputation of having some of the most attractive coeds in the stands on game day. And it’s a good thing because you aren’t going to want to watch what their team is doing out on the playing field.
West

Auburn Tigers

11-1 The Tigers allowed 27 points per game in 2014 so head coach Gus Malzahn went and got former Florida head coach Will Muschamp to revive the defense. Muschamp has a history of building aggressive, dominant defenses. But I’m telling you- do not let Muschamp near that offense. I saw what he did at Florida and he will screw it up. I don’t care if you bring back Cam Newton and Bo Jackson, it will be broken. You hear me Gus-Gus? I’m not joking.
Alabama Crimson Tide 10-2 With all of their losses to the NFL the Crimson Tide might actually struggle a little this season. But I know how crazy their fan base is, so I am a little afraid to say that they might lose a couple of games here. Wait, what am I worried about? There are no pictures in this article. They won’t know what I’m even talking about.
Ole Miss Rebels 9-3 The Rebels still have a ton of talent returning and if things break right they could contend for the SEC West. Of course they did lose three year starting quarterback Bo Wallace. So they won’t have as many costly interceptions. And that should help.
LSU Tigers 8-4 For head coach Les Miles this season will come down to what his quarterback does. The Tigers always seem to have better players than anyone else they just can’t seem to find quarterbacks. I mean this is a program that actually won with JaMarcus Russell. Or despite him. Whatever.
Arkansas Razorbacks 6-6 The Razorbacks are going to be a very tough team. The problem for them is that they just have such a difficult schedule. Head coach Bret Beliema has done a great job of assembling a physical and efficient team down in Fayetteville. So ignore for a second that he looks like an adult version of Butthead and just enjoy the ride.
Texas A&M Aggies 6-6 Tired of his defensive struggles head coach Kevin Sumlin went and got LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis. And it wasn’t cheap. Chavis will cost the Aggies $1.7 million dollars per season. Big deal. Johnny Manziel’s parents can pay for him.
Mississippi State Bulldogs 6-6 Sure the Bulldogs return super stud QB Dak Prescott but with the loss of so many starters and playing in such a tough division it looks like Mississippi State could be back at the bottom again. Sometimes it’s nice to have things get back to normal.

Did you miss the Pac 12 Preview?

Don’t forget to tune in to the Daly Dose Sports Podcast this week for out College Football Preview episode!