Spring Scrimmage Notes (4/12)

Here’s my notes from scrimmage yesterday. Had a very busy day so sorry about just getting this out. It was a beautiful day at DWS for some football. The main guys who didn’t participate because of injuries I noticed were Ladarius Perkins, Josh Robinson, and Zach Jackson. Quay Evans also was limited and I’m assuming its due to still being banged up.

-nice 15 yard catch by Rojo

-Nice no gain stop by McKinney. Met Milton in the hole

-Chris jones is huge!

-3 yard TD catch off play action for Christian Holmes

-13 yard run by Holloway on speed sweep

-Big physical hit by Chris Hughes, he then rips the ball loose and takes it away. He plays angry

-TFL for Wells on blitz. Got in back field quick

-Milton spins through the line for a nice 7 yard run

-Beni Brown in on 3 straight tackles. Being very active

-running inside been tough for both teams early in scrimmage

-long TD on WR screen by Jeremy Chappelle

-Redmond hearing it from Townsend after that play on the sideline

-tough 10 yard run by Milton

-Nice 20 yard grab over the middle by Malcolm Johnson

-Preston Smith is victimizing Clausell

-40 yard TD catch by Rojo. Great separation. Wide open

-Akins looks good for a walkon RB. Getting more reps due to injuries

-10 yard over the middle grab by Malcolm Johnson. Turning into the norm

-Wells blitzes off edge, sees draw and drops back in the hole to help McKinney on a no gainer stop. Really nice play by Wells

-Great break on the ball by Beni Brown, drops pick 6

-2nd team OL doing a much better job blocking 2nd team DL than the 1rst is w/the 1rst DL

-Holloway doesn’t shy from contact at RB. He isn’t scared

-Chris Hughes w/another really good play. PBU on a bubble screen. Flew over and blew it up

-87 fumbles a rec fighting for more yards. 8 picked it up but didnt have enough gas to score

-Long reception by Michael Carr. Broke some tackles

-nice grab by Carr on ball behind him. Good adjustment

-Holloway really can fly. Gettin a lot of carries

-Another TD reception by Christian Holmes. Dependable Hands. At the goal line they motion him back and forth like an Hback/fb

-1rst group KO return was Rojo and Redmond

-2nd group was Holloway and Cox

-Nice stop on a WR screen to Malcolm Johnson by Cedric Jiles. Came up and made the play

-Milton running tough, just not much room

-Rojo w/a reception on a 12 yard curl route

-2 bad drops for Fred Brown. 2nd one was a TD

-Beni Brown doesn’t drop the pick 6 this time

-Virges playing well. Really hustling and chasing the ball

-the D is audibling back the offense. Got caught showing an edge blitz from 1 side. Offense audibles. D then corner blitzes from other side. Pretty cool stuff

-Nick James has best defense celebrations hands down

-Jameon Lewis fumbles after catch. Couldn’t tell who caused it. Defense recovers. 1rst I’ve seen Jameon put it on the ground

-Richie does really well at getting to the ball even when the play goes a long way from him

-Just noticed Zack Jackson not dressed out

-Yet another big hit by Chris Hughes on pass coverage.

-Another 15 yard catch for Rojo. He and Tyler on the same page

-Tlyer just throws it up in the back of the end zone and Joe Morrow went and got it. Nice to see that

-Seeing some twisting and stunting by the DTs. That’s encouraging

-Nick James and Deandre Ward (walkon) stuff a run play for TFL

-Nice open field tackle after a reception by Justin Cox

-Really nice TFL by PJ Jones on an off tackle play. He came from backside and made the play

-Malcolm went up and got a high pass by Tuler for 25 yarder.

-Great TD on a corner route by Morrow. Really tight coverage but he went up and made the play

-Wells hems Holloway up for a no gainer on running play

-20 yards over the middle for Malcolm again

-Holloway bounced one outside and gets 12 yards

-Torrey Dale runs to the sideline to make the stop on Holloway

-Nice break on the ball by Richie Brown on a PBU. Richie is really good in pass coverage

-Devon Bell nails a 45 yarder that woulda been good from 55+

-Jameon Lewis w/a good grab but been kept under wraps for the most part today

-15 yard run for Multon right up the gut

-20 yard reception for Malcolm near sideline. Tyler rolled toward him

-Beckwith getting C reps

-Jameon Lewis with a 10 yard rec in traffic

-2 straight nice runs for Holloway for about 10 a piece

-Nick James getting after the QB. Gotta look scary seeing him run at you

On offense there were a few things that you just had to notice. Rojo and Malcolm Johnson had very good days. Those guys are big physical receivers who can make tough grabs and keep the chains moving. The other thing I saw was Joe Morrow. He made 2 big-time grabs in the back of the end zone that only a 6’4 athlete can make. It was very encouraging to see because our offense has lacked that dynamic. We don’t need the world from Morrow next year but if he can be that guy we saw today, we are golden. Also, Holloway at RB looks way more natural than I thought. At first I thought it may be an experiment but I’m doubting that now. Holloway runs hard and doesn’t shy from contact. He runs like a RB and not like a small WR trying to play RB if that makes sense. He may be earning a few touches a game back there. In the goal line, I really like our use of Christian Holmes. He has good hands and is a good blocker so it makes perfect sense.

On defense we saw some more guys step up. I’m not saying Chris Hughes is going to unseat a current starter but he’s making it impossible on the coaches to not play a lot. He plays extremely physical. He doesn’t try to just get the runner down, he tries to punish them. Really like how he plays. PJ Jones looks like our best DT. He’s really stepping it up out there. Saw him on multiple plays turn and run horizontally and get in on the stop outside of the tackle box. Beni Brown had his best showing. Made a bunch of tackles and got the pick 6 too. Physically, he doesn’t look or play like a freshman. Preston Smith is just gone to a new level with his play. If Tyler was able to be hit, he may have had 10 sacks yesterday. Last person I want to mention is Nick James. It really looks like he has turned it up also. Playing very hard and hustling his butt off. It looks like he LOVES playing football. A quick example is the whole DL got in trouble with Turner after a series and had to do 10 up downs. Nick James did 10 up downs the fastest and seemingly effortlessly for such a huge guy. He finished at least 4 reps before everyone else (who did them as if they were about to die) and cracked a sly smile and walked off. James acted like the up downs were easy, fun and didn’t care anything about it while the rest trudged through them.

Follow me on twitter @BeastManSteve

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Recruiting Does Wonders For Special Teams

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In year 5 of Dan Mullen’s tenure we are now at the point where we have a team full of his players. Some fans strictly look at recruiting from a star gazing standpoint. While attending spring practices the last couple years the one thing that really jumps out at me about MSU’s roster is how much better the 2nd team is and how tough the competition is for 2nd team reps at many positions. Just for a quick tidbit, MSU redshirted 2 four star LB’s last year. How often does that happen?

If you will, think back to Mullen’s first few years we had many guys on the special teams who were starters or guys that really didn’t have business ever being on the field. The main special teams units that I stress are the coverage units. I don’t feel like a field goal or extra point attempt add that much to the fatigue of an offensive lineman but 5 kickoffs and 5 punts sure will to your starting LB or SS.

One thing that could really help this year is this depth I’m seeing helping these coverage units.
It’s big for a couple reasons. First and foremost it fatigues your starters and there is nothing worse than a fatigued defense on the field in the fourth quarter. I also have a theory that starters just don’t get that thrilled about special teams reps. Jonathon Banks was a great player but does anyone else remember his attempt to bring down Onterio McCaleb on his kickoff return he took to the house when Auburn was in Starkville? I think a guy who doesn’t yet start, but really wants to get on the field and make an impact is amped to go cover a kickoff or punt and that effort leads to better performance.

I could go on about this but I feel like giving you a list of guys who I’m assuming will not start and have a chance to get on these teams is more effective.

-TE Brandon Hill (6’2 235)
-TE Rufus Warren (6”5 250)
-LB Ferlando Bohanna (6’ 230)
-LB Chris Hughes (6’1 225)
-LB Richie Brown (6’2.5 233)
-LB Beni Brown (6’1 220)
-LB Zach Jackson (6’1 215)
-CB Jamerson Love (5’11 175)
-CB Taveze Calhoun (6’1 175)
-CB Cedric Jiles (5’10 180)
-S Dee Arrington (6’1 215)
-S Kendrick Market (5’10 185)
-S Quadry Antoine (5’9 210)
-S Deonte Evans (5’10 195)
-S Kivon Coman (6’1 200)

Now look at that list and think about it. That’s 15 guys that can run and hit who are really good players. All of them are great athletes. Keep in mind that some WR’s usually get on some coverage teams and I didn’t even include them. Also think about incoming freshman like Chris Jones who could be a monster on a coverage team as a freshman. All in all we’re talking about 20 guys battling for special teams reps who aren’t even starters. Think about how hungry these guys would be to get these reps. When you look at things like this it really puts Mullen’s recruiting in perspective and reminds us that overall he’s done a nice job.

Follow me on twitter @BeastManSteve

**I’ll be attending the football scrimmage today but due to a jammed schedule I probably won’t have time to write it up until later tonight (11pm ish)**

Egg Bowl Move: I’m Not a Fan

By now everyone has heard that the Egg Bowl has moved back to Thanksgiving night. The announcement has lead to fan’s reactions from all sides of the spectrum. The first goal of moving the game back to ESPN had to be creating buzz and so far it’s done just that.

There are many positives I would like to hit on before I tell you why I don’t like it. This game will be a great television draw and will bring great exposure to both programs. A ton of free marketing and brand recognition is achieved with this move. Many fans have very find family memories of watching the game on Thanksgiving and now those can resume.

I would like to clarify that I’m a fan and speak from the fan perspective. I understand why this move makes sense to Stricklin and Bjork. Sometimes the smart move by athletic departments don’t align with the convenience of fans.

Now why I don’t like it:

-This leaves MSU with only 2 SEC Saturday home games. Not only are these Saturday SEC games what fans covet the most, so do recruits. That’s gives us only 2 opportunities to host recruits for visits for SEC games. They could come to Thursday games but with games of their own the next day, its usually not feasible. Many recruits wait until the end of the year before they rev up their visit schedule and we now have 1 Saturday home game in the last 7 weeks of the year.

-The week before we get Arkansas at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. Historically we struggle there mightily. Bielema is bringing smash mouth ball back to Arkansas and we get a short 4 day turnaround after what will be a ver physical road game. Ole Miss comes off a home game with Missouri which is much more favorable in my opinion.

-I just don’t want to do anything on Thanksgiving. I want to enjoy the day off with my family and eat too much Turkey. I want to nap all day in a glorious turkey coma without the nervous anticipation of the Egg Bowl in the back of my mind. It means you have to pack up quickly and travel after thanksgiving lunch. Even though I’m sure that’s what I’ll do, I don’t like it.

The first article I read about this was from The Cristil Method from ForWhomTheCowbellTolls. Great read and different take then mine

http://www.forwhomthecowbelltolls.com/football/2013/4/10/4208928/mississippi-state-ole-miss-bulldogs-rebels-football-egg-bowl-thanksgiving-day-2013

Another article I read from NBC Sports

This coming Thanksgiving, we’ll have yet another football-related item for which to be thankful. In a joint announcement Wednesday, Mississippi State and Ole Miss confirmed speculation that this year’s version of the annual Egg Bowl rivalry game will be played on Thanksgiving in Starkville. The game will kick-off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Nov. 28; it had originally been scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 30.

MSU Spring Practice Report (4/9)

I start off with my notes taken during drills, 7 on 7’s, and then scrimmage. Some thoughts at the end.

-Milton got all 1rst team reps due to injuries

-Holloway got RB reps in drills and scrimmage

-Rufus Warren looking good in receiving drills. Smooth routes and good hands

-Milton looked better in pass blocking drills

-Wells is again looking good in pass rushing drills. Just too fast

-Hughes is really coming on in drills. Getting 1rst team reps here and there

-Holmes struggling with pass blocking drills

-Pass blocking is not Malcolm Johnson’s forte

-Dak doing some standing w/out crutches but still throwing from seated stool

-nice pbu by Jameson Love in 7 on 7

-Carr showing good hands in 7 on 7

-nice move shaking the defender and making catch in 1 on 1’s by Fred Brown. Move put the defender on the ground

-WR’s have the drops today

-Nice long TD grab by Holloway

-Holloway w/another nice grab. Really fast

-Malcolm making good grabs and nice routes in 1 on 1

-int by Redmond in 7 on 7

-Morrow makes a decent grab in traffic across the middle

-great leaping grab by Christian Holmes on sideline. Catch of the day

-long TD grab by Rojo

-long TD catch by Malcolm Johnson

-nice grab in traffic across the middle by Holloway. Doesn’t look worried going across the middle

-another long TD for Holloway

-int by Quadry Antoine

-1rst play of scrimmage, rollout and grab by Fred Brown on sideline. Really good catch

-good inside run by Milton. Slashes through the line

-Nick James blew up a running play

-Ryan Brown got some first team reps at DE

-Holloway breaks a long run from RB

-Ricco gets a nice 20 yard grab. Looks better today

-John Harris makes nice tackle on run play for short gainer. He’s looked better today

-Cam Lawrence at practice, hand in cast.

-Holloway w/another good inside run for 20 yards. He darts through the line

-Jameon catches bubble screen. Seeing more of those.

-Brandon Hill with a nice grab but immediately met physically by Bohanna

-really good long run by Milton

-great break by Wells but drops the int

-Eulls looks better at DT

-Jameon again getting a lot of targets

-Ryan Brown w/TFL on off tackle run

-Running game has been much better today w/only Milton, Akins, and Holloway

-Even when dbl teamed, Nick James still gets some push

-Seeing a lot of R Brown and P Smith as first team DE’s

-Jameon Lewis routinely turns 5 yard catches into more yards. Slippery

-20 yard run by Milton

-TR more under C than I’ve seen thus far

-fumbled an exchange on the reverse. We still don’t run trick plays well

-40 yard grab by Jameon Lewis

-Benardrick McKinney stuffs an inside run for no gain

-Nice pbu by Deonte Evans. He’s looked good at safety

-nice hit by Deonte Evans on next play for pbu

-bad drop by Morrow on sideline

-Nice 20 yard catch by Rojo

-int by Jameson Love

-PBU by Nickoe Whitley by way of hit

-Jiles makes a nice PBU by knocking a high pass out of the WR hands

-long TD catch by Jameon Lewis
-Morrow out-muscles Cox for a contended catch and turns into a long gainer

– long TD catch on a post by Fred Brown

-good hands on pbu by Dee Arrington

-bad drop by Rufus Warren on a good throw from Josh Hand

After seeing another practice, there are a few things that are beginning to become the norm. Jameon Lewis has had the best spring of anyone in my opinion. I fully expect him to be a playmaker next year. Fred Brown continues to impress every day. He runs really good routes, has really good hands, and is getting a lot of targets. Brandon Holloway is performing better than I expected. He really surprised me at running back. He darts through the line and he appears to be hard for the defense to see. At WR, he uses his speed nicely on routes to get separation.

On the defense there is also some guys putting together good springs. Ryan Brown jumps out at you and has pushed for 1rst team reps. Kaleb Eulls looks much better at DT than DE in my eyes. He can better use his athleticism on the inside. Nick James has had a nice spring and looks to earn plenty of reps this fall. Everyone wants to know how the Brown’s look at LB and while they look good, it appears that they have lit a fire under Bohanna and Hughes. They are both having very good springs and look like they will not allow freshmen to steal their reps. The biggest advantage Bohanna and Hughes have over the Brown’s is physicality. They play angry.

The secondary is just another animal all together. This will sound homerish but they all stand out. At CB there is a stuff 4-way competition between Justin Cox, Will Redmond, Jameson Love, and Cedric Jiles. There isn’t much, if any, separation between the 4. In all honesty, I feel comfortable with any combination of the 4. The one thing I can guarantee you is that the starters will deserve it. No winners by default. At S the only incumbent is Nickoe Whitley and he looks much better and fully healed. Then you have Jay Hughes, Dee Arrington, and Deonte Evans battling it out for the other reps. Kendrick Market is right there as well. In all, there is better depth and competition in the secondary than I can remember in my lifetime.

MSU 2013 Defensive Roster: Position by Position Upgrade or Downgrade?

Today I’ll do the same as yesterday and go through the defense and give each position a grade in relation to last year. At each position, are we upgrading, downgrading, or staying the same? Again, I’m doing some assuming on who the starters may be.

DE Denico Autry (UPGRADE)- Last year as a Juco transfer Denico had to adjust to the speed of the SEC. It definitely took some time but he played his best ball at the end of the year finishing with 4 sacks. This year he will significantly improve those numbers.

DE Preston Smith (UPGRADE)– This is the biggest personnel upgrade on the entire team. Eulls was the starter and got the bulk of the reps and had 0 sacks last year. In limited opportunities, Preston led the team with 4.5 sacks. Looking for a big production increase here.

DT PJ Jones (SAME)- For the sake of argument, I’m putting PJ against Josh Boyd’s DT spot from last year. I think PJ has a really solid year and we see no drop off from Boyd (an NFL draftee) to Jones.

DT Kaleb Eulls (SAME)- For the sake of argument, I’m matching Kaleb against Dewayne Cherrington’s spot from last year. I’m sure many will disagree but their stats are almost identical last year. Eulls had 28 tackles, Cherry had 24, and both had 1 TFL. I think Kaleb has the much higher ceiling but its time for him to produce on the field.

LB Deonte Skinner (SAME)- The reason I say “same” is because his production has been steady for 2 years. He had 69 tackles in ’11 and 62 in ’12. I think there is potential for more production but again, we’ll have to see it.

LB Benardrick McKinney (UPGRADE)- This was an easy one to me. As a freshman he had 102 tackles and received freshman All-American honors. With a year of experience under his belt, I think he gives us more.

LB Matt Wells (UPGRADE)- I think Wells will have a significant spike in production due to new DC Geoff Colin’s scheme. Wells was grossly misused in Wilson’s read and react. He will play much more to his strengths this year, which are attacking and blitzing.

CB Justin Cox (SAME)– For me to rate Justin as “same” taking over for Jonathon Banks tells you how I feel about him. I think scheme will help him make the adjustment easier and he will make the transition seamlessly.

CB Will Redmond (DOWNGRADE)- This one could just as easily be Cedric Jiles but the rating would be the same. I think both guys will be really good players for MSU but they just aren’t Darius Slay right now. They could end up better in the long run but right now it’s a position downgrade.

S Nickoe Whitley (UPGRADE)- Nickoe was coming off of his Achilles injury and he looked a bit bigger last year and played a step slower. This year his conditioning looks great and he looks to have overcome his injury. If Nickoe returns to ’11 form, he will be a big upgrade over himself last year not being 100%,

S Dee Arrington (UPGRADE)- This one could just as easily been Jay Hughes but the rating stays the same. As much as I liked Corey Broomfield, either Arrington or Hughes is a big upgrade at S from last year.

MSU 2013 Offensive Roster: Position by Position Upgrade or Downgrade?

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Right now MSU is in full swing with Spring Practice and the starting positions for 2013 are starting to become a bit clearer. By no means are my roster assumptions set in stone. There are also some guys coming in this summer who have the opportunity to make some noise and potentially crack the starting lineup like Fred Ross. When I do this, I’m using my best guess as to who the offensive starters will be. I’m also basing my position grades of same, upgrade, or downgrade based on who they replaced from last year or if returning starters have much more ceiling to improve. This is a fun debate topic that everyone will have different ideas on.

QB Tyler Russell (SAME)- After a solid JR year (2,897 yards 24 td) you have to wonder how much improvement Russell can make. Tyler has the tools to take it to the next level but he needs to prove it on the field. If he does give us an “upgrade” type year we should notice it in the win column.

RB Ladarius Perkins (SAME)- I have LP rated as “same” because he ran for 1,024 yards last year with 8 tds. That is a great year in my mind and I don’t know how much more he can do. I will admit that he could have been an “upgrade” if I had full faith that he would be utilized better as a receiver but that’s not in his control.

WR Robert Johnson (UPGRADE)- This one is simple. With his size, athleticism, and hands there wasn’t a single starting WR last year with his tools and he has looked good this spring. A legitimate NFL talent.

WR Joe Morrow (SAME)- Joe has all the things you can’t teach to be a huge upgrade from anyone we had starting last year but he has to gain that confidence and show it. I’m also not 100% sold that he holds off Michael Carr.

WR Jameon Lewis (UPGRADE)- Another slightly controversial grade. This one is simple to me. We all loved Bumphis but he just isn’t as electric with the ball in his hands. Jameon is getting a ton of targets from Russell in practice and if that continues in the fall, we will see more big plays out of the slot.

TE Malcolm Johnson (SAME)- This one is debatable. My reasoning is that he and Marcus Green’s combined numbers were 28 rec and 8 td. I’m not sold on that Malcolm will get enough targets for his 2013 to be and “upgrade” from the 2012 TE numbers. I think he is a better player than Green but duplicating 8 td catches will be tough and improving on that will be even harder.

LT Blaine Clausell (UPGRADE)- When you look at Blaine’s jump from his Rfr to his Soph year, it was pretty significant, particularly his pass blocking. I think we see more improvement in the pass blocking and a noticeably better run blocking year from him. Not yet All-SEC contender but a better Blaine.

G Gabe Jackson (UPGRADE)- Gabe passed on the NFL last year and returned for his senior year. In spring practice he has looked like a mauler. It’s his last year and the potential money he stands to make drives more improvement. We should see the best we’ve seen of Gabe.

C Dillon Day (UPGRADE)- I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed watching Dillion this spring. He’s taken his game to the next level and he has embraced a leadership role. I think we see Dillion get some All-SEC looks next year if he performs like he’s capable of.

G Justin Malone (DOWNGRADE)- I’m going to first admit that I’m being really tough here. I really like Malone as a player and he has a very high ceiling. I’m basing this of off that you could tell a big difference when Tobias Smith was in the game last year. I think Justin has the potential to blow this grading up and I hope he does. Hopefully he’ll read this, get angry, and make me look like a moron. I’ll welcome it and give him his proper shine.

RT Charles Siddoway (UPGRADE)-  Last year we saw the tough transition from Juco to SEC ball. I think Charles played pretty well. What many don’t know is that he played most of the year with torn tendons in both feet. He showed big time toughness last year and I’m banking on a healthy Siddoway in 2013 playing like he feels which is hopefully much better.

SEC Should Revamp Lower Level Bowl Ties

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One thing that fans of every school in the SEC enjoy are bowl trips. Nothing better than getting together with friends or family and watching your team play a nontraditional game around the holiday season. The game may be the sole reason for the trip but trying new restaurants, the night life, and activities creates excitement within a fan base. The top tier SEC bowls such as the Sugar, Capital 1, Outback, and Chik-Fil-A are all in great towns and give fans truly great experiences. When you look at the bottom 2 SEC bowl tie ins,it leaves more to be desired.

In a new article by John Solomon for Al.com he talk about the Birmingham Bowl losing its lead sponsor, “The decision leaves Birmingham’s 7-year-old bowl without a title sponsor on the eve of negotiations in the coming months for future conference tie-ins. The bowl’s four-year deals with the SEC and Big East expire after the 2013 season.” That announcement leaves the SEC with a possibility of losing a game that they shouldn’t want in the first place. It may be time for the SEC to flex some muscle and get the fans some new venues.

There is 1 other bowl game that has SEC ties that I think the SEC should get rid of and that’s the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. These 2 bowls (Indy and B’Ham) aren’t great draws and simply don’t get a fan base excited to travel. I’m sure many disagree that the bowl game is first and foremost a reward for the players. While I agree with that in spirit, the bowls are driven by money and fans buying the tickets and traveling are what supply that money. I think the SEC needs to better reward its fans.

According to John Pennington, “The SEC’s current bowl contracts all expire after the 2013 season and new many new questions will be answered at that time.” What that tells me is that the SEC has 1 year to prepare to flex its muscle and make better moves. That is plenty of time for back channel negotiations to take place and better sponsorship dollars get lined up for what may be considered a lesser bowl now, but add an SEC team and the profile immediately skyrockets even if it’s a 9th or 10th SEC tie in.

Before I go in to which new bowls that I would like to be added, I would like to say that I fully support the Liberty Bowl staying as 1 of the lower bowls. First, the location is pretty close for most SEC schools making it a doable trip for the average income fan. Second is that Memphis is a pretty cool town. There is plenty of really good food and Beale Street is a pretty cool place for fans to congregate before and after the games.

Let’s take a look at some bowls that I think would be much better for the fans and the conference if they were to replace the Birmingham and Independence Bowls.

1) R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl- This one to me is a no brainer and that is why I list it first. It currently has CUSA vs Sun Belt ties. The CUSA is in disarray and should be easy to get rid of if the SEC wants in. I love the matchup between 1 of the top Sun Belt schools and a lower level SEC school because we are from the same region and have a certain familiarity with one another. New Orleans is an awesome town to visit and would be an easy sell to any SEC fan base. It would also lead to a SEC takeover of New Orleans of sorts with the Sugar Bowl being played about a week later.

2)Beef O’Brady Bowl- This is another one that seems to make sense. It’s located in St. Petersburg, Florida. That means there are odds for good weather and its and great trip for the fans because there is so much to do in the St. Petersburg/Tampa area. They currently have a CUSA vs. Big East matchup. The SEC has already had Big East matchups like in the B’Ham bowl, so why not keep the matchup but improve the venue by 100?

3) Valero Alamo Bowl- This one has a certain level of intrigue to me. After adding Texas A&M and getting into the Texas market, a bowl in Texas seems to make sense as Solomon said in his article. San Antonio is a long way from most SEC schools so location is a concern for the average income fan. This bowl does have nice prestige and payouts already though. Perhaps the most intriguing thing to me is the current Big 12 vs. Pac 12 matchup. The SEC currently has 0 bowl matchups with the Pac 12 unless it’s in a BCS game. I think that could potentially be a cool thing and could be a good home for either a SEC West squad or a well traveling East squad like UGA.

4) GoDaddy.com Bowl- I’m sure many are reading this thinking I have lost it. The current matchup is MAC vs. Sun Belt and I don’t really think it matters which one got tossed in favor for the SEC but I’d like to see the Sun Belt stay. The biggest issue is that Ladd Peebles is a dump with terrible parking. The part that makes me like this idea as perhaps the last SEC tie in is because it’s in Mobile. A very underrated town with great restaurants and seafood, plus Daulphin Street is a great place for fans to go before or after the game. The close proximity to Gulf Shores may also attract families to get a condo on the beach for the weekend and catch the game. A lot of possibilities here. I have been to a Mobile Bowl before (2005 USM vs. Ohio) and it was actually a blast.

5) Belk Bowl– This last pick is my wildcard. This game is in Charlotte, North Carolina and currently has an ACC vs. Big East matchup. It’s already a nice bowl with good sponsors and payout. North Carolina isn’t too far for most SEC fans. I think anyone who has ever been to Charlotte can tell you at length that it is a really cool city. I think it’s a great trip for the fans and regardless of what current tie in would be kept we would get a very good nontraditional matchup. Adding a game like this could also push the SEC footprint that much closer to the North East.

Current SEC bowls http://www.secdigitalnetwork.com/tabid/473/article/130607/SEC-Bowl-Tie-Ins.aspx

List of all bowls http://www.fbschedules.com/ncaa/college-football-bowl-schedule.php