SDS Mailbag: Next national champion from the SEC, Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss and the best quarantine sports rewatch
It’s almost here. We’re almost to June, and June means the return of football-related activities!
It’s quite possible that this year will have more interest in voluntary summer workouts than any year before and any year to come. We are that hungry for football in our lives.
Here’s hoping there are no major setbacks or snafus and we can safely proceed to the 2020 regular season this fall. Let’s keep this positive momentum going!
Here are your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:
Since 2000, 4 SEC programs have won national titles — Alabama (5), LSU (3), Florida (2) and Auburn (1). Which team do you think will be the next team to join that group of champions?
That’s a great question. Right now, the smart money (pun intended) would probably be on Georgia. Kirby Smart got the Bulldogs to the 2017 title game before the infamous second-half collapse against Tua Tagovailoa and the Crimson Tide cost the Dawgs their first title since 1980.
Smart recruits at an elite level and should remain in the hunt for the SEC East title on a yearly basis moving forward, even with Florida re-emerging as a powerhouse and Tennessee trending up. In fact, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Bulldogs make the College Football Playoff this year.
Other teams to watch, in my opinion, are Texas A&M (as coach Jimbo Fisher has a title this century), Tennessee and, as a long-shot wildcard, Ole Miss.
Speaking of Ole Miss…
How long will it take Lane Kiffin to turn Ole Miss into a contender?
While I think the Rebels can surprise a couple of teams this year (Baylor in Week 1 and Auburn in Week 3 stand out as possibilities), there’s a difference between “surprising teams” and being “a contender.” It will take some time for Kiffin to make the Rebels and SEC West threat again.
His recruiting is off to a slow start. As of Thursday evening, Ole Miss had the No. 72 2021 class in the nation and the No. 13 class in the SEC, per 247Sports. That, as we say in the business, is not great.
There’s still plenty of time for the Rebels to bring in some top talent, and Kiffin should do just that over the coming months. But it will take at least 3 years, in my opinion, for him to be able to get Ole Miss to the level of Alabama, LSU and Auburn.
I do like the hire a lot, though, so we’ll see if Kiffin can build some momentum in Oxford in Year 1.
Which re-aired “classic” game have you most enjoyed watching during the live sports dead period?
Every sports network has been digging into their archives these past couple of months to re-air old games, and I’ve actually enjoyed it quite a bit. However, as is the case for seemingly most people, I feel there is a shelf life for this. It has been fun to relive some of my favorite moments as a sports fan, but now I’m fully ready to get back to watching new games where I don’t already know the outcome.
As for your question, I’ll give you 2 games I’ve enjoyed immensely. The first is the 2005 NCAA Tournament Elite 8 game between Illinois and Arizona. With a trip to the Final Four on the line, Illinois trailed the Wildcats by 15 points with 4 minutes left and still down by 8 with a minute remaining. Then, they came storming back to force overtime, eventually winning 90-89.
I still remember watching that game at my friend Josh’s house. All of us went absolutely crazy when Deron Williams hit a 3 to tie the game at 80. Unbelievable.
But that wasn’t even the best comeback of my sports fandom. That comes courtesy of the St. Louis Cardinals, who were down to their final strike in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series twice, but battled back to win and force a Game 7 (which they won).
This moment still gives me chills every time I see it, so you’d better believe I watched every minute of it when ESPN re-aired it last week:
I just saw that game again last week and yet, when I watched the video above, I still got chills. Best game ever.
Summer cookout elimination: You have to get rid of 1 meat — burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, ribs. What do you pick and why?
To me, burgers and hot dogs are absolute musts at summer cookouts. They’re easy to grill and you can do a ton with them in terms of toppings. So, that leaves wings and ribs as the 2 I’m considering for elimination.
And, if I have to get rid of 1, I’d probably eliminate the wings. They’re much tougher to eat while holding a beer. I’d rather eliminate them for summer cookouts and move them to the main spot in my Super Bowl party in February where they belong.
Ribs are tricky, too, though, because if you mess them up, they’re horrible. If you do them right, they’re the star of the cookout. I’ll assume our hypothetical cookout host knows what he or she is doing with the ribs.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.