SDS Mailbag: Best home schedules, top SEC/Big 12 Challenge games and hypothetical SEC/B1G Football Challenge
July will be here soon enough, and that’s the slowest month on the college sports calendar. Once the College World Series ends on June 30 at the latest, there’s nothing in July.
Yes, there are Media Days around the country, but that’s just “talkin’ season.” Fortunately, with each day that passes, we’re also getting closer to Week 0 at the end of August.
But, for now, enjoy the College World Series while you can, because it’ll be over before the end of the month. Let’s see how many more wild walk-off wins Vanderbilt can rack up!
Now, let’s dive into your questions for this week’s Mailbag:
If you could only choose 1 SEC team’s home ticket package to buy for the 2021 season and could only go to those games, what team would you choose?
That’s a really tough question this year. Most of the best nonconference games are being played at neutral sites. The best one on an SEC campus is, in my opinion, Texas at Arkansas. But, I wouldn’t want the Hogs’ home season ticket package this year, because all their best games are on the road.
Seriously, Arkansas’s road slate is brutal. The Razorbacks play Texas A&M at a neutral site, at Georgia, at Ole Miss, at LSU and at Alabama. Yikes.
I’m going to say Auburn for this answer, because the Tigers have home games against Georgia, Ole Miss and Alabama. I’d love to see an Iron Bowl and the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Seeing Matt Corral and the high-powered Ole Miss offense is a nice plus, too.
When Arkansas hosts Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss in 2022, though? That’s a bit more interesting of a season ticket package to me.
The SEC/Big 12 Challenge games for the 2021-22 season have been announced. What’s the best game on the schedule, in your opinion?
There are a ton of interesting matchups on the schedule, which you can see here. The first one that caught my eye is Baylor at Alabama. The defending national champs against the reigning SEC champs? Yes, please.
Even though Baylor lost Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague to the NBA ranks, the Bears still have Adam Flagler, Matthew Mayer and others coming back. And though the Tide lost Herbert Jones and John Petty Jr. (and potentially Josh Primo), there’s still plenty of firepower returning to Tuscaloosa.
That game could be an early Final Four preview. Another game I can’t wait to see is Oklahoma at Auburn. The Sooners hired Porter Moser away from Loyola-Chicago this offseason, so they should have a renewed focus on defense. Meanwhile, Bruce Pearl’s Auburn squads love to run and gun.
The Tigers also have several new pieces coming in and could be one of the better squads in the SEC this season after a 1-year postseason ban last season.
I saw something the other day about a hypothetical SEC/Big Ten Football Challenge. If those games were to be played, what conference do you think would win? Or, how much would the SEC win by?
I believe this is the tweet you’re referring to?
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) June 15, 2021
If those are the matchups we’re going by, I think the SEC easily wins these games:
- Alabama over Ohio State
- Georgia over Iowa
- Texas A&M over Wisconsin
- Kentucky over Rutgers
I also think the SEC wins these matchups, but the scores are closer:
- Florida over Indiana
- Mizzou over Northwestern
- Ole Miss over Minnesota
- Mississippi State over Maryland
- LSU over Penn State
Then, I’ll give the Big Ten wins in the remaining games:
- Michigan over Auburn
- Nebraska over Tennessee
- Purdue over South Carolina
- Michigan State over Arkansas
- Illinois over Vanderbilt
That’s all 4 new SEC coaches falling in this hypothetical challenge. I figure the games would hypothetically be played early in the season, so they need time to figure stuff out.
Still, that’s a dominant 9-5 victory for the SEC in this challenge. Now, I just hope someday something like this actually happens.
Which current SEC men’s basketball coach do you think would make the best NBA coach?
This time of year, there are always several teams with head coach openings, so we’ll see if any guys get pulled from the college ranks. It seems Kentucky’s John Calipari is always mentioned in rumors, but I don’t think he’d be a good NBA coach.
First, he has a bad track record. He coached the then-New Jersey Nets from 1996-99, going 72-112 before getting fired.
He’s made for the college game. He’s one of the best recruiters that college basketball has ever known. That skill goes away in the NBA. Plus, his slight weakness as an X’s and O’s guy showed this past season, when it took him a long time to embrace Dontaie Allen, Davion Mintz and anyone at all who could make a 3-pointer.
The answer to this question is Nate Oats. The Alabama coach runs a system that has been proven to work at the NBA level. He’s a no-nonsense guy who gets the most out of his players and schemes up ways to put them in positions to succeed.
My backup plan if I were an NBA team looking to the SEC for my next head coach would be Arkansas’s Eric Musselman. But, like Calipari, his recruiting skills (via the transfer portal) make him a much better fit in the college ranks, in my opinion.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.