All I Want For Christmas: The perfect gift for every SEC team
Merry Christmas, SEC fans. We’re helping Santa out by making the rounds, giving every program that one special something. Not a Red Ryder BB gun, something even better. Let’s get cracking.
Alabama: The Sorcerer/Philosopher’s Stone
Lot of Tide fans out there who dig Harry Potter? Admittedly, probably not. But if not, they missed the first book of the series (or movie, if you go that way), where Harry tracks down a stone that’s a real-life fountain of youth. Far fetched? So was the success that Nick Saban has had at Bama. With that stone, he’ll keep winning and winning forever.
Arkansas: A series of games in Little Rock
Sure, Arkansas has a tough row to hoe in the SEC West. The competition is top flight, the recruiting is cut-throat. But one thing we’d like to see is the Razorbacks keeping their own traditions alive — like playing in Little Rock. Bret Bielema and the UA staff have indicated this one might end soon (2018, to be precise), but we’ll cook up a nice series of games and keep the Hogs there annually.
Auburn: A move to the SEC East
Well, I did recently call for this, and if you’re a Tigers fan, you recognize that you go from being one among many tough contenders in the West to a possible annual favorite in the East. Mapmakers everywhere love this move too.
LSU: A passing game
LSU lost the potential best weapon in college football for much of the year, as Leonard Fournette has been hurt or half-hurt for almost all of the season. The Tigers were still competitive, because Derrius Guice also is an elite running back, and because they have a tough defense. They also have some weapons at receiver. We’re sending them an actual passing QB, and Matt Canada gets a game plan to help this mystery passer out. The CFP awaits.
Mississippi State: A fortune to pay Dan Mullen
State is the cheapest program in the SEC. It’s a badly kept secret. Between that, sharing the state with Ole Miss, and having to recruit on the basis of lovely, scenic Starkville, Dan Mullen is like a batter who has an 0-2 count when he steps up to bat. For years, it’s looked like a better, higher paying job lures Mullen away. But the guy makes State relevant, even in a down year (ask Texas A&M). We’re giving them enough money to make sure Mullen feels appreciated.
Ole Miss: A “Get out of NCAA Jail Free” Card
Seriously, they just got new coordinators, and have plenty of talented recruits around. Why do we have a sinking feeling that they end up losing scholarships, missing post-season play and replacing Hugh Freeze? Right, it’s that rain cloud of NCAA investigation hanging overhead. Well, let’s take care of that, and let Ole Miss return to interesting football.
Texas A&M: A calendar that replaces November with a second September
A&M has the same script, year in and year out. They start out like a house on fire, scoring at will, making everybody in the West sit up and take notice. Then November arrives, and they start getting scored on constantly, lose track of their momentum, and stumble to a mediocre finish. We’re turning the clock back. After Halloween comes “Second September,” as we’re calling it. When A&M wins the West, you can thank us.
Florida: Steve Spurrier’s playbook
Sure it’s Jimmys and Joes as much as Xs and Os, but the Gators need some swagger back on offense. So we’re digging up Spurrier’s playbook. (Anybody else thinking of Henry Winkler in The Waterboy?) Run a little Emory and Henry, go no-huddle, throw the ball all over the place. Why not? It can’t get much worse offensively.
Georgia: A mentor for Kirby
Being a head coach in the SEC is hard. Kirby Smart found that out the hard way in 2016. You could almost feel most of the SEC thinking, “Not so easy now that you don’t have Alabama’s players.” It also wasn’t so easy without a veteran head coach to help him out. So we’re sending him a veteran guy he can put on his staff to help his acclimate to all the little things. Maybe Monte Kiffin. He can help Kirby until Lane works his way back to the SEC.
Kentucky: Some Alabama recruiting repellant
It’s tough for Kentucky to win in the SEC. Aside from curses or basketball or any of that stuff, Kentucky isn’t a very good state for top high school football talent — which made it that much worse when five-star local recruits like RB Damien Harris or OT Jedrick Wills have chosen to go to Alabama.
Mark Stoops has patched the holes, but we’re giving Kentucky some help in keeping the biggest talents at home. We’re setting up an electroshock fence around the Commonwealth and implanting the chip in the Crimson Tide program. Should be entertaining.
Missouri: A defensive coordinator with a time machine
Yeah, Missouri won a couple of SEC East titles, and they did it without near as much offensive punch as they had in 2016. How? With a gritty, tough defense that seemingly nabbed killer front seven players from under the radar as if they grew them. Unfortunately, while Josh Heupel and a passing game arrived in Columbia, that defense was MIA. Let’s get them some help from the recent past.
South Carolina: The opposite of a redshirt year
Carolina has a bright future under Will Muschamp. The only thing that made this season tough was watching the team literally grow up on the field. The top two QBs and RBs were all freshmen, as was WR Bryan Edwards, and some defenders as well. So we want to give Carolina the opposite of a redshirt — we’re magically giving all those guys some extra experience. Consider it a sneak preview of what 2018 or 2019 will look like for USC.
Tennessee: That top-flight head coach they deserve
We’re going to be brutally honest. There’s good reason to wonder if we haven’t already seen the high water mark of the Butch Jones era. But we remember when UT was one of the best jobs in America. Before a year of Lane Kiffin, a couple years of Derek Dooley, and then Butch ball. So we’re getting wild here. We’re backing up the moving truck and sending Butch Jones off. We’re bringing in the big-name coach the Vols deserve. Jon Gruden maybe, since everybody likes that rumor? Why not? Merry Christmas, Vols fans.
Vanderbilt: Another year of the Zach Attack
No, this isn’t a reference to the fictional band from the TV show Saved by the Bell. We’re talking about Zach Cunningham, who was quietly the best linebacker in the SEC in 2016. Cunningham will almost doubtlessly go pro, and he’s ready. But with Derek Mason building up that Vandy program, we’re giving him the best recruit imaginable — another year of Zach Cunningham.