Shane: Contenders and Pretenders

By Shane from Centerpoint

With the 2009 football season quickly approaching, I’ve decided to start a new tradition. I’m going to open my crystal ball and see what lies ahead for some of the more popular members of the Southeastern Conference. I’ll cover teams, coaches, players, or anything else that pertains to college football in the SEC.

I’ll begin with Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt, who’s received so much love from the media that he’s almost forgotten why he got run out of Arkansas. This guy is a real piece of work. At some point during the year, when Nutt chokes away another game he’s supposed to win, Rebel fans will start to realize that Houston is just another pretender.

There is one other thing that intrigues me about the University of Mississippi: quarterback Jevan Snead. Snead had his moments in the sun last year, but he also displayed a propensity at times to throw interceptions by forcing the ball into coverage. For now Snead remains in limbo with me, although he has plenty of time to prove he is truly a contender.

Mark Richt needs another SEC crown to return to form. He came into the league and took the championship by storm – twice. Yet, his team never seemed to get considered for a shot at the national title. However, I definitely expect Coach Richt to have his Bulldogs ready to contend for the league title this year. He has always been a contender – in my opinion anyway.

Can Bob Petrino take Arkansas to the top? He had some great teams while at Louisville, but this is the SEC. In spite of what Razorback fans believe, their school is a known pretender. Actually, I think they’ve got the right man in place to take them to the next level. The only roadblock standing in Coach Petrino’s way is the fact that he plays in a conference chock–full of contenders.

With only 75 players on scholarship, does new Auburn head coach Gene Chizik have a fair chance to put his team in contention to represent the SEC West in Atlanta? Truthfully, the rebuilding process at Auburn will take time and patience. Surprisingly, it appears that former head coach Tommy Tuberville left the program in shambles.

Forget pretending and contending for a moment – the word that best depicts the performance of Florida’s Tim Tebow to date is “excellence”. The only question left unanswered by Tebow is whether he can finish 2009 strong and go down as one of the greatest players in the history of college football.

Speaking of Florida and pretending – all this talk about the Gators losing their headman to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is beginning to make me wonder if it could be true. Would Urban Meyer tell recruits that he would stay at Florida for 4-5 more years, knowing that he would be leaving at the end of the season? I guarantee you he would!

For as long I can remember Mississippi State has been one of the one of the weakest teams in the SEC. In terms of losing in ugly fashion, the Bulldogs have been creative. Can Dan Mullen, Urban Meyer’s former offensive coordinator at Florida, create enough momentum and score enough points to allow Mississippi State to win a few games in 2009? I doubt it.

Finally, does the SEC have a solid shot at repeating as the national champion for a third year running? The answer is yes. There are three teams from the conference who are strong enough to win it all: The Alabama Crimson Tide, the LSU Fighting Tigers and, of course, the Florida Gators. All are “big time” contenders. Each team has everything in place to make a run for the national crown. In my opinion, this is Alabama’s year to shine.

Well, that about wraps it up for my 2009 pre-season insight. By the way, there is only one way to find out if I’m right or wrong – play the games. As always, regardless of whether the outcome matches my predictions, it’s definitely going to be interesting to see the end result.

Are you ready for some football?
—Shane writes a weekly column for the Call News and the Capstone Report.

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12 Comments

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  1. 2
    zionhippy2

    LSU AND THE GATORS ARE THE ONLY TEAMS THAT HAS CHANCE TO WIN THE BCS CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR. UAT WILL FINISH 4TH IN THE WEST.

  2. 3
    AUROX

    Latest word from the frontline…..Auburn will be in serious contention for the SEC West if (big if, admittedly) Todd’s shoulder holds up. The coaches have liked what they’ve seen so far.

  3. 4
    Bengal Tiger

    Not to nitpick –
    Actually it would be the fourth year in a row for an SEC BCS championship.

    And I do agree that football cannot come soon enough!

  4. 5
    trenojojo

    Arkanasas a pretender? I don’t think so shinola boy!

    Here is the way things shake out all you rednecks:

    1. Urban’s team is loaded but one dimensional, they could get their arrogant a$$es handed to them after they dismantle cream puff Kiffy.

    2. The stinky dogpile of Shane in Athens GA will sputter, spit, and spuge all over themselves while the old jalopy of G-Tech takes over the fruity peach state.

    3. Mississippi yeah who cares, it is the rotten magnolia after all.

    4. The barn is so thin that all of the war chickens have to smear dog shane all over themselves to keep the mexicans in the plant away.

    5. The Hog’s will get up a head of steam and smoke the rest of league with the big man at the helm.

    6. LSU………..Has Beens!

    And last of all for all you George Wallace voting igno’s: Just remember, The BEAR was an Arkansas man and we are not going to give you anymore of our talent.

    So Long Scumbags!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    Go HOGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. 6
    The BAMMER From St. Clair

    YO, PEOPLE! Just a few thoughts…”GATORZZ;” those who post regularly on this site KNOW that I DISAGREE with a lot of the ATTEMPTS that ol’ Shane makes at journalism, but I DO AGREE with him in this case. I said some months ago that IF Notre Dame wants Meyer they have the resources to make it happen. NEVER say “never.” “ZIONHIPPY2,” you’re “one toke over the line” when you say that ‘Bama will finish fourth in the West. “AUROX,” you’re a barner and I UNDERSTAND your choice to be optimistic about Auburn’s chances in the upcoming season but the lack of quality depth offensively & defensively SHOWS. Be of good cheer; y’all WILL make some noise at some point in the weeks leading up to the Iron Bowl and SHOULD go bowling. “BENGAL TIGER,” YOU ARE ON THE MONEY about the season. IT NEVER starts soon enough! Finally, “TRENOJOJO,” y’all have a coach that IS VERY CAPABLE of putting an offensive squad with a scheme on the field that can score points and give you a chance but I DON’T feel that all of the pieces of the puzzle are there YET. Another good recruiting class may do the trick AND make sure there are some DEFENSIVE GUYS in the mix next time. DEFENSE wins championships. That’s why Auburn will finish ahead of y’all in the West AND why THE TIDE WILL WIN THE WEST. Also, y’all only HAVE YOURSELVES to blame about letting THE BEAR out of Arkansas way back when that happened. GREAT show of interest.

  6. 8
    Auburn is a joke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian

    I actually agree with almost everyting Shane said.

    Wow……

    The “almost” is about LSU….I dont see them going all the way. Les is not capable IMO. He is a superb recruiter. But a loose cannon as a coach. He does some really strange things sometimes.

  7. 9
    AUROX

    St. Clair…..I appreciated the words of encouragement……now here’s a few more. Do any of you remember 1993, and the years prededing up to it?? Here’s a refresher…..1991, Auburn finishes 5-6. 1992, Auburn finishes 5-5-1, and our in-state rival had just won the National Championship. Could things get any worse?? Makes 2008 look like a fairy tale. 1993 rolls around, with a new coach (sound familiar), and Auburn goes on to win 20 games straight.
    For those of you who stab at predicting Auburn’s upcoming year by simply adding or maybe subtracting one win from the previous years record, beware. History and Vegas proves that’s not a very scientific method. Auburn has averaged 8-9 wins every year for nearly 15-20 years. Don’t put too much stock in a skewed stat like last years 5-7. I’m not saying Auburn will make it to Atlanta, but wouldn’t be surprised. I do believe a 9 win team will make it their from the West, and most likely lose to Florida. Damn, I’m ready for some football.

  8. 10
    CrimsonBrother

    Shane, excellent column!!!

    Well, Well, Well, it’s finally happened!!!

    The BIG BARNER of all time (BOBBY LOWDER) was finally put out to tha COW PASTURE!!!!

    Bobby Lowders stock (COLONIAL) closed at 41 cents Thursday and today it’s worth ZERO.

    All of the 401k’s at Colonial are also down the TUBES.

    Now they have to figure out where he has most of his (or their) money stashed. Because we all know the criminal and civil trials are on the way.

    And Bobby Lowder left (MAY) before the ship (colonial) sunk all the way. Just like Buster Brown (Terry Bowden) did at the COW COLLEGE!!!!!!

    Now there’s two GREAT COW COLLEGE mans!!!!!!! LOL LOL

    Bobby Lowder are you going to take that Scrushy defense (I see nothing, I hear nothing)!!!!!!!!!!! lol lol lol lol

    Lowder, you should of thought about your decent Colonial employees instead of GREED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ROLL TIDE BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    21 SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

  9. 11
    Auburn is a joke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian

    The biggest problem I see is the roster. Like it or not people 76 scolarship players on an 85 man roster (and thats giving nearly every walkon a scholly), is not good. That is a travesty in recruiting evaluation. Tubbs should have bee run out of town for that alone. I , nor anyone else that pulls for Auburn short of the BOT had any idea the attritian would be this bad. Then across the state Bama is haveing to fire players. What does this mean ? They will have about three times the depth we do.

    NOT GOOD……

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