#Countdown2Kickoff #Auburn #WarEagle No QB No Chance

auburn qb problemsThe Honeymoon in the Plains is over, and the Gus Malzahn era is at a crossroad. The Auburn Tigers started the season with their quarterback Jeremy Johnson being mentioned as a dark horse Heisman contender but it ended with him being glued to the bench. An offense that was supposed to stretch the field sputtered to an abrupt holt. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong: Johnson lost his confidence, All-American wide out Duke Williams was kicked off the  team, and the running attack failed to live up to its top billing.

Unlike last season, there is no pre season hype and very little is expected of the Tigers, which may be just how Malzhan would prefer it. Historically, the Tigers have always thrived as underdog. Although there is uncertainty abound on the offensive side of the ball, Malzhan certainly is the man to fix it. The quarterback reins have all but been handed to John Franklin II who intends to be  the next JC transfer to lead the Tigers back to ajovon robinson auburn national title game. Similar to the other JC QB predecessors, Cam Newton and Nick Marshall, he has the athleticism and wheels to thrive in Malzhan’s offense. Running backs Roc Thomas and Jovon Robinson, now healthy, had their fare share of growing pains last year, but the experience gained from last year’s struggles may lead to a dynamic encore season. Despite returning an experience offensive line, playmakers must be found to stretch the field and keep defenses honest.

auburn defenseAnother Saban-disciple  Kevin Steele will attempt to make the Tigers defense respectable. Although the Tigers lack depth in the trenches, Byron Cowart, Montravious Adams, and Carl Lawson anchor a very talented d-line ripe with potential to terrorize. Although there will be new faces at each linebacker spot, the secondary will serve as a reliable last line of defense. Led by super sophomores, Carlton Davis who may be the next great shutdown corner and All-SEC safety Stephen Robert the secondary will be the strength of the Tigers defense.

When the pressure was on, the Tigers folded, now with expectations at an all time low will gus malzahnthe Tigers surprise and thrive like they have done in the past? Malzhan learned last season that his job security lives and dies with a quarterback whose a threat to run. Has Malzhan learn from his failures or will he be the next Auburn HC to be given his walking papers? Stay tuned…I know I will. – A. Denmark

 

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

 

 

#Countdown2Kickoff #LSU #Tigers – #BeatBama or Else

leonard fournetteWhile the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrate another national championship, the LSU Tigers yet again are left wonder why not us. Its one thing to lose due to a talent gap, but to fall short year in and year out due to a lack of execution is completely unacceptable. Les Miles two yards and a cloud of dust philosophy simply will not cut it in 2016.

Its no surprise that the Tigers have the talent to contend for a national title, despite the ongoing uncertainty at quarterback, the offense is loaded with NFL Ready talent. Heisman frontrunner Leonard Fournette  led the nation in rushing with 1,953 yards despite missing one game due to the weather and sharing carries with freshman phenom Derrius Guice whose poised to be the next great LSU running back.

Although the Tigers finished last in the SEC  in passing yards  (179 yd per) and yards per malachi dupre and travon duralattempt (5.7 yd per) it certainly was not due to a lack of talent at wideout. Plagued by inconsistency at quarterback wideouts Malachi Dupre & Travon Duval were only able to show us glimpses of the impact their size and speed can cause when defense dare too stack the box.. Despite the speed and talent, the Tiger offense will only be as good as the quarterback under center allows them to be. Quarterback Brandon Harris showed glimpses, but can he finally put it together when it counts most in November or is Purdue transfer Danny Etling the answer?

lsu big nastysDespite the annual NFL exodus on defense the cupboard is far from bare. The defensive line combined for 34 sacks last year and the depth the Tigers boast in the trenches is downright ridiculous. This talented d-line goes three deep and takes a back seat to no one. Opposing offenses will think twice before testing a back seven that is littered with All American candidates. All SEC linebacker Kendall Beckwith and safety Jamal Adams said no to the NFL and returned for their senior seasons to make 2016 a season to remember.

Nine years ago LSU won a national title, what that team lacked in talent it made up for it brandon harriswith leadership and execution. Last season LSU had the talent but lacked the execution. Fournette may be the unquestioned star, but Harris is the key. The key to the Les Mile era. The key to #BEATBAMA. The key to winning a national championship. Will the Tigers be able to put it all together ?  Stay tuned…I know I will.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

 

 

 

#Countdown2Kickoff Here Comes the Boom #SoonerMagic

baker mayfieldAlthough the Oklahoma Sooners fell short of the College Football Playoff title game, the season was far from a disappointment.The Sooners won their first out right Big 12 Conference Championship since 2010 and with Coach Bob Stoops signed through 2022, winning conference titles may be destined to continue.

In year one of the Lincoln Riley era, a once anemic offense exploded one big play after the other. Baker Mayfield went from outcast to walk-on to All-American and his Heisman snub may be just fuel the Sooners’ fiery leader needs to duplicate and exceed the success of last season. The Sooners may be a spread offense, but their run game is certainly not for the faint of heart. Samaje ‘Optimus’ Perine shrugs off arm tackles and if defenders dare to try and tackle low, they are liable to be ran over or receive a stiff arm from Perine’s legendary 23 inch biceps. And if body blows by Optimus were not enough Joe Mixon  will have defenders begging for a pass just to get a break from the onslaught of punishment.

Since Sterling Shepard has finally ran out of eligibility, the wide outs will need to step upperine and mixon in order to keep opposing defenses from putting nine in the box. Thirty percent of the Sooners receptions must be replaced and early buzz suggests that talented sophomore Mark Andrews just may be the next great Sooner receiver. Unless the Sooners intend to run a wing-t, playmakers will have to step up and fast because the Houston Cougars and the Ohio State Buckeyes will certainly be ready.

charles walkerOn defense the Sooners have talent but most are largely unproven. The Sooners may have lost 4 1st team BIG 12 players to the NFL but 4 BIG 12 2nd teamers are poised to take their place. Cornerbacks Jordan Thomas and PJ Mbanasor boast both the size and speed to likely play on Sundays. And despite questions at linebacker, an experienced defensive line led by All-American Charles Walker will be terrors in the backfield.we are bringing the Boom

The Sooners came up short last season but it appears Big Game Bob Stoops may be back. With few questions on offense, the Sooners title hopes will rely on DC Mike Stoops and the Sooners defense. Offense may sale ticket but defense still wins championships. Will 2016 be a BOOM or a BUST? Stay tuned…I know I will. – A. Denmark

 

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

 

#Countdown2Kickoff #RockyTop or Rocky Flop?

vols loseLast season Volnation bore witness to the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Tennessee Volunteers were six points away from beating the Oklahoma Sooners and the eventual national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. SIX Points! With 18 returning starters and with an embarrassment of riches on both sides of the ball, the Florida Gators eleven year winning streak may finally be near its end and dreams of winning the SEC East may no longer be just a fair tale told in books.

If title contenders were determined by recruiting classes and future NFL talent, the Vols would be a top five program. Although the Vols certainly pass the eye test, this team’s success will be largely determined by the mush that is in between their ears. Last season, in his first year in a new system Joshua Dobbs made huge strides as a passer throwing for nearly 3,000 yards and only 5 interceptions. But if he intends to be a quarterback and notvol o trio just an athlete who throws the ball his consistency on ‘third and distance’ MUST improve. If Dobbs shows more improvement as a passer a la Vince Young, the Vols backfield of Dobbs, Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara could be one of the best in the country.

The running back tandem of Hurd (1,288 yards 12 TD) and Kamara (698 yards 7 TDs) gave plenty of opposing DC nightmares last season, and since the Vols o-line is both a year wiser and a year stronger on game day highlight reel runs will be a frequent occurrence. Although derek barnettDobbs garnered most of the blame for the offense’s struggles, the wide outs certainly did not do him any favors. Jauan Jennings, Josh Malone, and Preston Williams may pass the eye test but 4 combined touchdowns ain’t gonna cut, I don’t care what size you are.

On defense, the Vols are littered with eventual NFL 1st Rounders, the defensive line led by Derek Barnett (69 Tackles 10 sacks) is so deep and talented that it would even make Urban Meyer and Nick Saban blush. Super Sophs Shy Tuttle and Kahil McKenzie will be terrors collapsing holes, mudding up the middle, and opening up lanes for All American linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (105 tackles 6 sacks) to wreak havoc on all who dares to get in his way.

Coach Butch Jones was awarded with an extension after a dissapointing 9-4 campaign. butch jones jokesFinishing 3rd in the SEC East may be acceptable to some, but average won’t cut in Knoxville. For four years, Vols faithful have heard one excuse after the other, with the level of talent Jones has its time to either put up, shut up, or move on. How will we remember the Vols in 2016, Rocky Top or Rocky Flop? Stay tuned…I know I will . – A. Denmark

 

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Odd Couple: #ColinKaepernick and the #49ers

Kaep ChampWhen Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers first got together, everything was great, they seemed like the perfect couple. Although they never made it to Disney World, after 2 NFC Championships a trip to the Magic Kingdom in January all but seemedbaalke and kaep inevitable. After out dueling Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau Kaepernick seemed destined for greatness and then everything changed. As the losses mounted, dissension between Kaepernick and the 49ers grew and the blame game ensued.

Although each side apparently wish to go their separate ways since Kaepernick and the 49ers cannot amicably negotiate a separation the awkwardness of the odd couple continues. The 49ers clearly want to move on and adding either a Bison or another Golden Boy to the quarterback room would only make the situation worst.  Furthermore, since a quarterback got $72 million dollars for seven starts, it makes the thought of Kaepernick taking a pay cut downright absurd.

kaep soloSo what happens now? Kaepernick appears to be content collecting checks but as the NFL Draft draws nearer could 49ers unwillingness to compromise  hurt their team’s future  going forward. If Kaepernick felt like an outsider after being benched, that feeling was only magnified after 49ers All-Pro LB Navorro Bowman suggested an eviction date for the former star was needed before the start of OTAs. Will his departure be breaking news like his arrival to summer workouts? Its no longer a question of if he will but treated, its now only when, 49ers its your move. Stay tuned…I know I will. – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslprtz2)

 

 

 

 

Hey, #LebronJames Just Shut and Play

stephen curryThe Chosen One has been front page news since his days at Saint Vincent-Saint Mary. His talents on the basketball court morphed him from a sports prodigy into an icon overnight. Wherever the King went he drew a hundreds and thousands of fans who just wanted to be witnesses. But after years of being the headliner, the best basketball player on the planet has become an afterthought. The spotlight had dimmed on the Cleveland and ventured out West.

The King and his Cleveland Cavaliers lost more than just the NBA Finals last season, they also lost their swagger. And a team with no swagger gets very little sympathy but only garners the interest of the masses when they screw up or come up short. And despite having the best record in the Eastern Conference, since the Cavs demise seems to be inevitable the team has garnered more criticism than praise. James triple doubles and wins have taken a back seat to 140 character twitter riddles and in-game chatter with the Flash during a timeout with his team down by 21 points.

cavs jamesBesides the decision, James has made very few mistakes on or off the court. But lately, it seems that besides putting the ball in the basket he simply can’t do anything right. His lack of effort on the defensive side of the ball is downright abysmal. James failure to hold himself accountable has caused his teammates to tune him out. And it seems the only people listening are reporters who he frequently showers with subtle disses of his jr and kyrieteammates and excusing his lack of effort by guaranteeing higher levels of effort in the future.

From Frye low-blows to JR chock-gate to Kyrie love triangles the Cavs are a mess. Even though the Cavs are still in first place, it appears that things will only get worst before they get better. Instead of unfollowing folks on twitter and activating ‘zero dark-23’ just shut up and play. What will happen next? Stay tuned…I know I will.

 

 

#AndrewLuck don’t sign on the dotted line

cam n luck.jpegThere was a Pro Bowl Draft yesterday and although the Indianapolis Colts were well represented someone was missing. This year was supposed to be the year of Andrew Luck and after 24 rounds his name was nowhere to be found. After adding weapons via free agency and through the draft Super Bowl 50 was supposed to be Luck’s coronation as the new face of the NFL, not Cam Newton. But one embarrassing loss after the other it became abundantly clear that the Colts were in trouble.  Each time Luck dropped back we were reminded of the Colts idiotic decision to not address an ineffective offensive line that surrendered 353 hits and 123 sacks in three years.

Thanks to Colts GM Ryan Grigson continued oversights Luck was battered and bruised soluck sacked much that it resulted in 8 missed games, a lacerated kidney, and an abdominal tear. But even after Grigson failed to protect the Colts soon to be $100 million dollar asset, his incompetence was awarded with a 3 year extension. Clearly, the Colts have mistakenly presumed that Luck will sign an extension this summer and that my friends is a mistake.

irsay and grigson Besides playing in the weakest division in the NFL there is absolutely no reason for Luck to re-sign with the Colts. His owner Jim Irsay is a druggie, Grigson is the worst GM in the league, and it looks like Chuck Pagano‘s heart just isn’t in it anymore. It doesn’t take a Stanford diploma to realize that a championship window does not exist with the Colts current regime.

Although Luck has continued to take the high road, its time for him to pack his bags and do you feel luck ybecome the biggest free agent in NFL history. If Luck wants to make it to his third contract in one piece he must not sign on the dotted line this summer. This season may not have been the year of Luck but next summer could be THE DECISION,  and he could be asking your favorite team DO YOU FEEL LUCK-Y? Stay tuned…I know I will. – A. Denmark