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Around the SEC: Aggies turmoil, Vols’ flop, predictions

Texas A&M’s fans getting unruly, but could cause togetherness, the Volunteer mess and this week’s predictions.



As if blowing a 34-point lead in one half (most of it one quarter, the last) against UCLA on Sunday night, now Texas Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin is having to deal with nuts.

On Thursday Sumlin’s wife Charlene put a picture of a note received at their home on Twitter (warning: the note contains an explicit word that can’t be edited out):

Her response was slightly higher in class than what many of us would have responded with, I’m sure.

Texas A&M officials also went on Twitter to condemn the letter.

The really sad part is this may be the tip of iceberg for Sumlin if he doesn’t win.

But the bad part for the rest of the SEC is things like this have turned the Aggies into a unified, focus group from the fans down to the water boys and they have a history of being very, very dangerous when that happens.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

When a win doesn’t always help you

Butch Jones, who makes more sideline coaching mistakes in an average game than most SEC coaches make in a career, managed to get an overtime win Monday night, but no one in Knoxville is pleased.

Dan Wolken maybe summed it best in USA Today on Thursday:

At some point in the next 24 hours, Tennessee coach Butch Jones is going to realize that the nation’s lasting image of his program from Monday night wasn’t the grit to hang in the game or the timely turnovers his team created or even a stifled two-point conversion in the second overtime that allowed them to beat Georgia Tech.

It was a trash can.

And if the pattern from Jones’ four-plus seasons at Tennessee is any indication, it will displease him that the hokey motivational gimmick the Vols placed prominently on their sideline became the butt of jokes and Twitter memes, especially after a dramatic 42-41 victory.

But we know by now Jones is unlikely to let this go. Instead of ignoring the noise or commanding the conversation, Jones probably will double down and explain to the media how well it worked, turning a nothing story into a narrative that again exposes his notoriously thin skin.

Yes, Jones is under fire from all sides after winning a game in overtime.

“It’s all in how you tell the narrative,” Jones said after the Vols allowed 535 rushing yards and 655 total on 96 plays. “Maybe our program has great character and grit.”

Wolken pointed out what many have felt for a couple of years now:

“Indeed, judging Jones’ tenure indeed depends on which narrative you believe — and nothing that happened Monday night indicates that will change anytime soon.

Going down one path will tell you that he has brought Tennessee back to relevance after the administrative malpractice of handing the program to Derek Dooley, that he has improved the product every single season and that he has leveraged the program’s brand in recruiting as well as anybody could have.


The other path, however, would reveal that he is neither an elite coach nor a great fit at Tennessee, a combination that reveals itself both on the field (the Vols underachieved last season, despite going 9-4) and off it by routinely patronizing one of the best fan bases in college football (Champions of Life, anyone?).”

Tennessee football is like a train wreck you see coming, but you simply can’t look away.

Florida will only play 11 games … again this year

The Gators better hope they don’t get seriously into the College Football Playoff discussion or another 11-game season is going to cost them sooner or later.

Hurricane Irma’s expected impact on central Florida has forced the Gators’ game against Northern Colorado to be cancelled and it won’t be made up.

Apparently nobody else has an open date that weekend.

This is the second year for Florida to have to cancel a game.

While no one is questioning the necessity of cancelling the game (although it probably could have been played on Thursday … let’s face it Northern Colorado wouldn’t fare any worse), this is the second straight year hurricanes have wreaked havoc with Florida’s schedule.

But playing just 11 games could affect Florida’s postseason chances. They could end up with eight wins instead of nine … that could be the difference between playing on New Year’s Day and the week before.

SEC Week 2 Predictions:

Eastern Kentucky @ Kentucky, 11 a.m. Take the Wildcats in an easy win.

Tennessee-Martin @ Ole Miss, 11 a.m. It won’t be an overwhelming crowd, but the Rebels should hang 50 on the board … and the defense will give up 20.

Fresno State @ Alabama, 2:30 p.m. Really? You shouldn’t even ask.

Indiana State @ Tennessee, 3 p.m. This one will be considerably easier than Georgia Tech, but the Vols should win easily.

Alabama A&M @ Vanderbilt, 3 p.m. Yawn. Vandy goes to 2-0.

Auburn @ Clemson, 6 p.m. Best game of the night in the league. The Tigers will win. Seriously, you have to do that one. It is usually close and don’t be surprised if Auburn gets an upset, but you have to take Clemson.

South Carolina @ Missouri, 6 p.m. There may be over 100 points scored in this one. South Carolina has a very, very slight edge but a Missouri upset wouldn’t shock me.

Nicholls @ Texas A&M, 6 p.m. The Aggies may not quit scoring in a win that will be easy.

Chattanooga @ LSU, 6:30 p.m. This one may put you sound asleep if you try to watch it. It should be over by the end of the first quarter.

Georgia @ Notre Dame, 6:30 p.m. The most number of people will watch this game. It’s on broadcast television and it’s the Irish. But the Bulldogs will win because Notre Dame is in internal chaos right now.


Mississippi State @ Louisiana Tech, 6:30 p.m. This will be the least-watched game of the week. In 2008, a loss in Ruston started Sylvester Croom’s downhill slide. That won’t happen this year.