SDS Mailbag: Predicting SEC QB battle winners, sports movies that deserve sequels and March Madness
As we enter another week with forced isolation and no sports, it’s important that we take the COVID-19 threat seriously. The sooner we can get past this outbreak, the sooner our loved ones’ lives won’t be in jeopardy, the sooner we can go back to bars and restaurants and the sooner we can get back to watching sports.
For now, though, I hope you’re staying safe and taking all necessary precautions to slow the pandemic. Perhaps this week’s Mailbag will provide you with some entertainment during these difficult times!
Here are this week’s Mailbag questions:
Predict the winners of this year’s SEC QB battles. Seems like Alabama, Mizzou, Arkansas, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt are all somewhat open.
Indeed, there are several intriguing battles to watch across the SEC heading into the 2020 season. With no spring practices and an uncertain timetable for returning to the field this summer, I’m going to lean more on experience when projecting starters.
Freshmen will be hurt the most by no spring practices, so it’s tough to predict those guys coming in and winning the starting job on such short notice. Here’s who I think will win the battles you mentioned above:
- Alabama: Mac Jones — Yes, there will be a ton of hype around Bryce Young, but I think Jones will get the starting job, at least early in the season. That might change if the offense struggles, but Nick Saban likes experience at the QB position.
- Arkansas: Feleipe Franks — KJ Jefferson will be the biggest challenger for this job, but Sam Pittman didn’t bring Franks over from Florida to sit on the bench. Look for him to get the nod in Week 1.
- Mizzou: Shawn Robinson — I think this would have been a tighter battle if Connor Bazelak hadn’t torn his ACL at the end of the 2019 season. Robinson should be the winner and Mizzou’s first starter under new coach Eliah Drinkwitz.
- Ole Miss: John Rhys Plumlee — Plumlee will battle with Matt Corral for the starting job this fall, and I do think first-year coach Lane Kiffin will use both at certain times. Still, Plumlee proved he is one of the best runners in the SEC last year, so I think he’ll be the starter in Week 1.
- Tennessee: Jarrett Guarantano — Fans are going crazy for freshman Harrison Bailey. Brian Maurer got some starts last year, too, but I predict Guarantano plays well enough this summer to land the Week 1 start.
- Vanderbilt: Ken Seals — So far this offseason, the Commodores have lost Deuce Wallace, Allan Walters and Mo Hasan to the transfer portal. There aren’t many quarterbacks left in Nashville. I guess I’ll go with Seals, a freshman from Texas, for this job.
Hopefully, these teams can get back on the field in a couple of months so we can start to see these battles in action.
Since “Space Jam 2” is reportedly in the works, which other famous sports movies deserve sequels?
Good question, but that’s a tough one to answer since a lot of great sports movies would be impossible to make sequels for. Like, you couldn’t exactly do a continuation of the “Remember the Titans” storyline or “Hoosiers.”
However, I like the idea of certain sports comedies getting sequels. How about “Waterboy 2,” where perhaps Bobby Boucher plays in the NFL? Or maybe a “Semi-Pro 2” where Jackie Moon and the Flint Tropics become and NBA expansion team shortly after getting turned down in the NBA-ABA merger? I’d watch those movies.
Also, in times like these, we need several more “Air Bud” movies.
What jobs would Saturday Down South writers do if you couldn’t write about sports?
That’s a very pertinent question for these strange times we live in. I think I’ve sort of addressed this before, but I’d probably stay in the writing business in some shape or form. Maybe I’d cover a different beat as a journalist, like business or politics. However, I’d much rather be a travel writer or a novelist, so I’d give those a shot if sports were permanently canceled (what a scary thought).
I asked some of the other guys on staff what they’d do if they couldn’t write about sports, and here are their answers:
- Connor O’Gara, senior national columnist: Personal trainer
- Mike Bratton, news editor: Audio editor (TV shows, movies, podcasts)
- Dustin Schutte, Saturday Tradition editor: BBQ pitmaster
Let’s hope sports come back soon so we can continue writing about them instead of trying our hands at any of these other careers!
We’re supposed to be in the middle of the Sweet 16/Elite 8 weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Which SEC teams do you think would have made it to this point of March Madness if the tourney wasn’t canceled?
In ESPN expert Joe Lunardi’s final bracketology before everything was canceled, he had 4 SEC teams in the field of 68 — Kentucky, Auburn, LSU and Florida. Unfortunately for LSU and Florida, they fell in the dangerous 8/9 seed line, meaning they’d have to beat No. 1 seeds to advance to the Sweet 16.
I do think Kentucky would have made it this far, as the Wildcats would have theoretically had to get by No. 15 North Dakota State and either No. 7 Providence or No. 10 Arizona State. No, those games wouldn’t have been easy, but with the way Kentucky played in the second half of the SEC season, I think they would have made it to the Sweet 16.
I also think Auburn would have advanced. The Tigers were matched up with No. 12 Liberty in Round 1 and would have likely had to make it through No. 4 seed Wisconsin in the second round. That game would have been all about style. If the Badgers slowed things down, Auburn would be in trouble. However, I think Auburn’s experience from last year’s Final Four run would have helped tremendously and they’d still be alive this weekend.
Unfortunately, that’s all speculation and we’ll never know how those teams would have actually fared this postseason.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.