SDS Mailbag: Best bet to beat Alabama, Arch Manning prediction and Chick-fil-A sauce shortage
The SEC Softball Tournament is going on this weekend. The semifinals are today. As of my writing of this on Thursday afternoon, No. 1 seed Florida has already clinched a spot in the semifinals.
Saturday is the final, which will start at 6 p.m. Eastern time and can be seen on ESPN2. Make sure to check out all the action. Several SEC squads should qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
In today’s Mailbag, we’re talking about beating Alabama, Tom Crean’s hot seat, Arch Manning and the Chick-fil-A sauce shortage. Here are your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:
There’s a lot of hype around Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher this year. Is he finally going to beat Nick Saban? Who do you think can beat Alabama this year?
The 2 games that worry me the most on Alabama’s regular-season schedule are at Florida on Sept. 18 and at Texas A&M on Oct. 9. I’d worry about the Ole Miss Rebels on Oct. 2, but the Rebels have to travel to Tuscaloosa. Both the Gators and Aggies are strong squads that can give the Tide a run for their money.
But, I think you need 2 things to beat Alabama this year — an elite defense and continuing stability at quarterback. The Gators and Aggies both enter 2021 with new starting quarterbacks. I think that will hurt them. Yes, Alabama has a new starter, too, but that’s why stability at QB is needed to be an advantage.
I think the biggest threat to Alabama in 2021 will be in the SEC Championship Game, when I predict the Tide will face SEC East champion Georgia. The Bulldogs have JT Daniels coming back to lead the offense. And, under Kirby Smart, the Dawgs always have plenty of talent on defense.
I’m not saying the Bulldogs can beat the Tide. I’m just saying I like that potential meeting in Atlanta to be a tight game if it happens. That’s my pick.
Where do you think Arch Manning ends up?
I’m not a big recruiting guy, so let me preface this by saying I have absolutely no information or insight as to how his recruitment is going. He’s a 5-star prospect, though, and his last name is “Manning,” so you can expect every big-name school to be involved.
His uncles, Peyton and Eli, went to Tennessee and Ole Miss, respectively. His grandpa, Archie, went to Ole Miss. Thus, those schools are in the mix. But, I see Arch forging his own path. So, I’ll give you 3 schools to watch.
Again, with no insider knowledge whatsoever, I think Texas, Clemson and LSU are intriguing schools to watch when it comes to the next Manning. He plays at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans. LSU isn’t that far away. Dabo Swinney has a history of producing talented quarterbacks, so if Tony Elliott remains his offensive coordinator, Clemson is in play. And, I’ve heard he has a good rapport with Steve Sarkisian, so Texas is in play.
Maybe Mizzou will get in the mix, though. Hey, a guy can dream, right?
Is Tom Crean on the hot seat at Georgia after losing all these players to the transfer portal?
This week, KD Johnson and Andrew Garcia entered the NCAA transfer portal, joining key players from last year’s team like Sahvir Wheeler, Toumani Camara and Tye Fagan. But, that seems to be the lay of the land in college basketball these days.
I think Crean is safe for now. His buyout is still huge, and only drops to $3.2 million after next season. That should ensure he’s in Athens all through the 2021-22 campaign.
But, this year will be a huge one for the Dawgs and Crean. Winning cures all. So, if Crean can put together a competitive squad and win some games, he’ll keep the pressure off himself. However, he’s had some incredible talent during his time in Athens and his teams haven’t done much. We’ll see what happens.
Since Chick-fil-A is having a sauce shortage, I’m wondering — if the only way to save the rest of the sauces was to get rid of 1 sauce entirely, what sauce would you get rid of?
I’m on the record as not being a huge fan of the Polynesian sauce. But, that is at least a somewhat unique sauce, and I think enough people like it that I won’t ruin it for everyone else by eliminating it.
Personally, I love the Chick-fil-A sauce and ranch, so those definitely stay. Honey mustard, zesty buffalo and barbecue sauces are all musts with chicken, too. Thus, the answer to your question is the Sriracha sauce. I think it’s a fine sauce, but it just doesn’t need to be on the menu, necessarily.
If the only way to end the sauce shortage was to eliminate one of the current sauces, I would definitely pick the Sriracha sauce. Just give me my Chick-fil-A and ranch sauces, please!
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.