SDS Mailbag: Best SEC cities, Alabama’s potential losses, Horns down and SEC hoops coaches under pressure
We’ve got a busy week in the SDS Mailbag! From best places to live, to the Horns Down drama to potential Alabama losses, there are a wide variety of questions this week!
So, without further ado, let’s dive into your questions for the Mailbag:
I saw recently that Fayetteville, Arkansas, was ranked No. 4 on a “Best places to live in the U.S.” list. What SEC city would you most want to live in?
Well, I lived in Columbia, Missouri, for 4 years for college. It wasn’t an SEC city back then (as the Tigers were still in the Big 12 until the year after I graduated), but I loved it and had a great 4 years there. I will argue with anyone who hates on CoMo, as it is a very underrated city.
But, taking my personal bias out of it, I’d probably have to go with Nashville. That’s the right answer here, right? It has a thriving music scene, great bars and restaurants and is an actual big city. Even if Vanderbilt isn’t a great football school at the moment and has the worst stadium in the SEC, that’s still my choice.
I’m sure Fayetteville is a beautiful place to live, but I’ve never been there, so I can’t weigh in on it accurately. I also really enjoy Knoxville and Athens, so they’d be high on my list of top SEC cities to live in, too.
Side note: I think it would be fun for SEC Media Days to rotate between the SEC cities each year. That would allow media members to get a feel for each SEC town, which can only lead to better work being produced. I know I’d enjoy it!
What game, if any, is Alabama most likely to lose this year? Will it be an early-season game where they aren’t quite at full speed yet with several new contributors on offense? Or a late-season game where another team is simply better than the Tide?
I’m seeing a concerning amount of buzz saying Alabama is on upset alert in Week 1 against Miami if QB D’Eriq King is healthy. That’s crazy to me. Maybe if the Hurricanes could borrow several players from the Dolphins for that game, they’d have a chance.
No, I’m looking at 2 other early SEC road games instead. Obviously, going to Florida in Week 3 won’t be easy. The folks at The Swamp will make life miserable for the Crimson Tide. But, Florida is also going through a quarterback change. Emory Jones is taking over for Kyle Trask at Florida while Bryce Young is taking over for Mac Jones at Alabama.
I think Alabama’s defense is much better than Florida’s, so I’ll still give the Tide the edge in that game. That leaves us with an Oct. 9 trip to Texas A&M as the best bet for an Alabama loss.
The Aggies are a Playoff-caliber team. Yes, they are also going through a QB change this offseason, but by Oct. 9, both the Tide and Aggies should be settled with their new offenses. I think the Aggies have an elite defense under Mike Elko, so that could be the deciding factor in the game.
I’m not sure I’d bet heavily on the Tide losing any particular game this year, but if I had to make a wager, I’d go with that trip to Texas A&M as the most likely candidate.
Now that we know who is staying in the NBA Draft and who is coming back to school, and also know where most of the big-time transfers are going, which SEC men’s basketball coach is under the most pressure this coming season?
The 2 Martins are definitely on the hot seat — Frank at South Carolina and Cuonzo at Mizzou. Both had disappointing finishes to the 2020-21 season and need to bounce back in a big way in 2021-22. The problem? Both teams have been hit hard by graduations, players going to the NBA Draft and the transfer portal.
If either Martin has a rough year, they could end up getting fired. But, my pick for coach on the hottest seat in the SEC is actually Tom Crean at Georgia.
KD Johnson, Sahvir Wheeler, Toumani Camara and others all left. Crean is bringing in a lackluster recruiting class (No. 12 in the SEC, No. 60 in the nation, per the 247Sports composite rankings). He also didn’t make many major additions in the transfer portal. Aaron Cook from Gonzaga is a nice piece, as is Jabri Abdur-Rahim from Virginia.
It’s looking like Georgia could once again finish near the bottom of the SEC standings. If that does happen, some in Athens will start calling for a change.
How stupid is Texas for continuing to get so upset about this “Horns Down” thing? Is it ridiculous that the Big 12 is actually going to make it a penalty for opposing teams to do the gesture?
It is the stupidest thing in college football right now, in my opinion. Texas and the rest of the Big 12 teams are like siblings. Because Texas gets so mad about “Horns Down,” it just makes the rest of the Big 12 teams want to do it more.
If the Longhorns acted like it was no big deal and didn’t whine to the Big 12 about it, it would probably go away. But because they act all offended by “Horns Down,” it continues to have life.
I wish the Big 12 would tell Texas to grow up, but the Big 12 is and always will be all about Texas. It has caused plenty of tension in the past, so it should come as no surprise that the league continues to prioritize a team that hasn’t really been relevant since 2009.
Sorry, there’s my Texas rant. Longhorns, if you want “Horns Down” to go away, ignore it. That’s really all it will take.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.