Thursday, September 01, 2005

A New Beginning

A new beginning...sure, at different points in our lives, we've all wanted one...A fresh start...A clean slate...Anything to help us forget our past, so that we can proceed into the future more successfully and victoriously. Well, it seems that college football programs are no different, except that they can actually make their wishes come true by simply ousting one coach for another that will "get their program going in the right direction." In fact, this seems to be the modus operandi for many of today's major programs. Look in the SEC alone, 7 of the 12 head coaches have been at their respective schools for less than 3 years while only 3 (Fulmer, Nutt, and Tuberville) have been in their current positions for over 5 years. But if simply erasing the past and starting anew was the recipe for winning, then the seemingly revolving door that coaches walk through these days would not exist. For those of us whose team did not employ this logic this season (even though we may have wanted them to) we get a new beginning as well this Labor Day Weekend as all 119 Division 1A teams are still undefeated and "theoretically" still have a chance at the national title--if only for a few more hours. So with a newfound hope and excitement for this year's season, let's see what the opening weekend holds in store for your team...


Alabama 42, MTSU 10. Crimson Tide fans have been waiting for their new season ever since that infamous evening of September 18, 2004 when all of their hopes were lost with one faulty step by Quarterback Brodie Croyle that resulted in a season-ending ACL injury. The time has now come. When the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee St. come to Tuscaloosa Saturday night, the Tide will finally be back at 100% for what seems to the be the 1st time in years. Altough MTSU QB Clint Marks completed an astounding 70% of his passes a year ago for over 2700 yards, he did have 14 interceptions AND he was playing in the Sun Belt Conference. With 9 of 11 starters from the #2 defense in the nation returning for Bama, Marks should get a quick jump on surpassing last year's total of 14 INT's. However, the lack of experience from the offensive line and relatively young back-ups at key offensive skill positions for Alabama could cause one to be anxious about the Tide's scoring productivity in their season opener. Not to worry, though Coach Andy McCollum's team surrendered almost 300 points last season against teams not even worthy of the distinction of being called a "mid-major." Therefore, expect Croyle to revive Mike Shula's offense and Demeco Ryans to the lead the Bama defense in a blowout win.

Tennessee 38, UAB 13. A program that definitely doesn't have a revolving door in it's coaching office is the Tennessee Volunteers...That's because theirs is in the county jail as they've had 20 players arrested in the last 18 months. Anyways, that's for another day...Phillip Fulmer enters his 13th season as the Vols head man boasting a more than impressive record of 11-1 in season openers even if he did do it the All-SEC way of scheduling cupcakes to start off with. This year's opener could be tough, though, simply because of the day on which it is being played. In the storied history of Tennessee Football, the Vols have never won a game played on September 3 (They're 0 for 4). Luckily, Fulmer had the wherewithall to put "U Ain't Bama" in 2005's opening slot. While Watson Brown's club is the pick of many people to win the C-USA, it's only because Louisville moved to the Big East. Expect the Vols to make a big statement this Saturday as they begin their journey that many experts believe could end in Pasadena, no matter who's playing quarterback.

Mississippi St. 9, Murray St. 7. Does that score look familiar? Here's a hint: it was the final score of the game the last time the Bulldogs played a IAA team, except the numbers were reversed. It's a good thing that "Maroon is all that matters" in Starkville because if winning actually mattered, then Sylvester Croom would not be enjoying the 2nd year of his perpetual grace period at Mississippi State. It's hard to remember any coach who has been given the benefit of the doubt as much as ol' Sly just because he kicks off all of his players. Anyways, the Bulldogs will be a much improved team this season, and this will be evident right from the start as they avenge their loss to Maine vicariously through their IAA counterpart. Look for All-SEC tailback Jerious Norwood and quarterback Omar Conner to really thrive in the backfield and Tee Millons to finally have a break-through season in his final year as the MSU offense begins to turn the corner this season. Auburn 24, Georgia Tech 17. For the Auburn Tigers, this season begins just as last year's ended, with Tommy Tuberville's squad looking to make some believers of the rest of the nation. The disrespect shown towards the other school in Alabama last season could be somewhat tied to the Yellow Jackets for 2 reasons. 1) Until last season, Georgia Tech had just as many SEC championships (5) as Auburn even though they left the conference over 40 years ago & 2) it was Georgia Tech who beat Auburn 17-3 during week 2 of the 2003 season in which the Tigers entered with a Top 5 preseason ranking. While the defense remains largely intact ,this task of proving the skeptics wrong yet again is compounded even more as Auburn must replace a 2004 offensive backfield with 3 first round draft picks. However, if anyone has the potential to make Tiger fans forget about Jason Campbell and Co., it's former Mr. Alabama QB Brandon Cox. While Cox has experienced extensive soreness throughout fall camp, don't expect the pain to bother him Saturday night in what could be the weekend's most entertaining game. Expect DE's Quentin Groves and Stanley McClover to slow down Reggie Ball's highly touted offense in this intense season opener as the Tigers earn their 16th consecutive victory.


Ole Miss 27, Memphis 24. (NOte: Due tO the University Of Mississippi's ObnOxiOus referring tO their new cOach simply as "COach O," every time the Rebels are previewed this seasOn every "O" in the paragraph will be capitalized tO stress hOw ridiculuOus this is.)...The past 2 seasOns the Memphis Tigers have made a ritual Of embarrassing the Rebels early in the seasOn. This has been largely a result Of the exceptiOnal play Of the mOst hyped athlete in Memphis since Penny Hardaway: Heisman hOpeful DeAngelO Williams. While Ole Miss was able tO recOver and gO On to experience a "magical seasOn" in 2003, David Cutcliffe's team never did quite find it's step last seasOn. Enter Ed OrgerOn. The self-prOclaimed wild man has brOught a new spark tO the fOlks in Mississippi this seasOn, even if it dOes invOlve instructing grandmOthers tO gO thrOugh drills in summer bOOster meetings (true stOry). While "O's" style may be questiOnable, the fervOr Rebel fans and players alike have fOr their new man, fOr whatever reasOn, isn't. TherefOre, Ole Miss shOuld be expected tO play this year's Opener w/ an unprecedented zeal. With a questiOnable passing attack tO suppOrt Williams' Overwhelming running game, the Rebels suspect secOndary wOn't suffer tOO much and the JOe Lee Dunn defense Of Memphis shOuld be mOre than generOus tO either RObert Lane Or Michael SpurlOck.

Well folks, that's all I have for this week...Hope I didn't miss any "o's" in that last one...Be sure and post your comments. Some other games to consider are Notre Dame vs Pitt and FSU vs Miami. Both should be excellent. I'll take the latter in both cases. Let me know what you think...

23 Comments:

Blogger Josh Manley said...

Great Blog EXCEPT you didn't even mention the Delta State Fighting Okra's big win over Pittsburg State last week. I guess you didn't read in the Clarion Ledger that the Okra shocked the world last weekend as we opened up the season by knocking off the number one ranked team in D2 football. That's right...we shocked the world. This might be a repeat of the historic 2000 football season when the Okra took home the national championship. The Okra face Texas State this weekend in what will prove to be a formidable challenge for the top ten ranked team. Record-setting quarterback Scott Eyster will have his hands full, but the Statesmen will sneak out of Texas (most likely because not many people will be at the game) with a 10 point win.
Kyle, I am disappointed you didn't even give a shout at to Delta State.

Thursday, September 01, 2005 6:38:00 PM  
Blogger Kyle Manley said...

i'm sorry...i overlooked them even though they probably are the 2nd best team in the state. maybe mississippi state should schedule them instead of murray state to see who's better...

Thursday, September 01, 2005 6:49:00 PM  
Blogger Josh Manley said...

Second best?? Who would you rank higher?

Thursday, September 01, 2005 6:53:00 PM  
Blogger Kyle Manley said...

the rebels

Thursday, September 01, 2005 6:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyle, I don't know too much about football, but I hear that the Memphis Tigers are going to win it all this year...Joni

Thursday, September 01, 2005 8:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Krystle said...

Kyle, you are so tight!! I like how you keep up with sports. Maybe you'll make it to atleast ONE of my games this year.

Thursday, September 01, 2005 8:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick Manley said...

Only a pansy would not choose a winner in the Georgia/Boise State game...but I agree with the rest of your picks and like the UT/UAB commentary

Friday, September 02, 2005 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

an opening day masterpiece

Friday, September 02, 2005 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous J. Robert Batson said...

Well, first off, I agree with all the picks you made. But I also agree with Nick. You took the easy way out in not picking the only game involving two top 25 times. I also have to question even mentioning UAB or Mississippi State in this week's blog--it just seems unnecessary to me. However, my main criticism is that you failed to mention the two men who will be the best players on the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night--Calvin Johnson and Eric Henderson. Auburn hasn't faced a better WR than Johnson since they played USC two years ago to open the season, and Henderson puts more fear into opposing tackles than Groves and McClover ever thought about. We'll see how great they are when they have to play more than 10 downs a game. But, like I said, I agree with all your picks.

Friday, September 02, 2005 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Ben W said...

Kyle, I do agree with your picks (this week) and this is a pretty cool site, so keep it up...

p.s. you should have your own Top 25 Poll

Friday, September 02, 2005 6:59:00 PM  
Anonymous J Payne said...

Kyle,
What about the mighty Choctaws of Mississippi College. They too have a new coach, but I didn't see his picture on the page?
Nice page though. I am a little disappointed with no mention of the real Bulldogs.

Saturday, September 03, 2005 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great opening blog, but I agree that you missed some games, most importantly the game where the undefeated Vanderbilt Commodores beat Wake Forest, setting up a HUGE SEC battle next week when the undefeated Vanderbilt Commodores visit Fayettville.

Monday, September 05, 2005 6:34:00 AM  
Blogger Lenwood Brooks said...

Kyle,

You need to drop the O capitilization. It looks terrible.

Monday, September 05, 2005 4:02:00 PM  
Blogger Kyle Manley said...

it doesn't look near as bad as all of the "O, the coach" stickers driving around Mississippi

Monday, September 05, 2005 9:00:00 PM  
Blogger Josh Manley said...

Mason Lowe was the person that posted the blog about the Vanderbilt Commodores. He has not stopped talking about them all weekend. I hate to report that Delta State came out on the losing end this weekend. They have fallen to 1-1. Kyle, I think you should have also included the FSU-Miami game. You really did pick some bad games to predict...oh, start a top 15 poll.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005 8:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I blame W the president for starting the annoying one letter bullsh!t.

S, the teacher

and anyone refering to the "undefeated Vanderbilt commodores" is the ma$on.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyle,
I agree strongly with Josh in that we need to see some Fighting Okra in here. Why leave the best team out?
Elisa

Tuesday, September 06, 2005 4:15:00 PM  
Anonymous nick said...

You better be a man this weekend and pick a winner between Texas and Ohio State and N.D. and Michigan...also, the rebels looked real good this past weekend against memphis's second string...it has got to get old to know you will still be the only team from the west to not make the ATL again...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005 7:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick Manley said...

One more thing...one has to be narcissitic to have a blog

Wednesday, September 07, 2005 8:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Edward Sanders said...

Horrible MSU coverage!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005 8:15:00 PM  
Blogger Josh Manley said...

Nice weekend pimp/wimp picks. After including your failed picks for the ND-Pitt/FSU-Miami games, I noticed you came out 4-3 on your picks last week. Not a great start for the predictions, but a decent start for the blog.

Thursday, September 08, 2005 7:08:00 AM  
Anonymous sean said...

It’s a well written blog, but shouldn’t it be called junior college picks? Not a single positive mention of the Big 12.

Thursday, September 08, 2005 7:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Ralph said...

Kyle
I have to agree with the others - step up to the plate and predict ND- Michigan and Texas -Ohio State. I would also encourage you to find one DIA or DII game of the week. Who knows - the Okra may qualify one week. Finally, I disagree with your wimp pick. Give the guy a break - 85 yards when the starting QB goes down the third play- you lose your big play receiver two days before the game due to season ending knee injury - the passing game is now non-existent- 11 men stopping one - 85 yards is a pretty good day. Still a great blog that I look forward to reading every Friday.

Thursday, September 08, 2005 2:21:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

[prefs.setac_phrase]