Starting 11: Natalie Portman’s Cleavage Wins Weekend

The Derek Dooley era at Tennessee is officially over barring a win at South Carolina.

If Dooley loses to South Carolina, I think Dave Hart will fire him on Sunday night or Monday morning. I’ll write on UT’s candidates in greater detail later this week — Jon Gruden is still target number one — but Dooley will follow Johnny Majors and Phil Fulmer, both of whom were fired in the wake of a road loss at South Carolina.

I was on the sideline with UT during the 2008 South Carolina game

In fact, the similarities between 2008 and 2012 are jarring. In 2008 Tennessee had a great defense and an awful offense under new first year coordinator Dave Clawson. Game after game the Vols failed to produce any offense and ultimately Fulmer’s selection of Clawson cost him his job. The same is likely to be true for Dooley, except it was his selection and promotion of Alabama’s former linebacker coach, Sal Sunseri, that will spell Dooley’s demise.

How bad has it been for the Vols on defense through the first four SEC games?

The Vols are giving up 43.25 points per game, that number would rank 119 of 120 FBS defenses. (Including out of conference games, the Vols are a robust 96th).

So, yeah, this is a historically bad defense.

I’ll write more on Dooley’s departure later this week, but for now, rest assured, Dooley is gone with a loss to South Carolina.

That loss, by the way, would mean that Dooley is 1-12 in his last 13 SEC games. The only win? Vanderbilt in overtime. Want more sobering stats? Phil Fulmer won three SEC games in 2008, the year he was fired. That’s just one less than Dooley has won in nearly three years. Need more? Lane Kiffin won four SEC games in 2009, that’s the same number that Dooley has won in the past 2.5 years.

The most awkward photo of Dooley from Saturday night?

Probably this one featuring the guy on the sideline who was in charge of carrying around his stool.

Final stat?

Despite his record Dooley, with his $5 million buyout, will make $11 million for three years of coaching.

Right now that means Tennessee paid $2.75 million per SEC win.

Just…wow.

1. AJ McCarron or Colin Klein will win the Heisman.  

You can write this in stone.

Klein had a great game against West Virginia, and he’s probably the leader in the Heisman clubhouse right now. But McCarron has higher profile games for the rest of the season. Toss in the SEC title game which could be a 1 vs. 2 game between Bama and Florida and if Bama is 13-0 McCarron will win the award.

If Bama stumbles and Kansas State is 12-0 then Klein gets the award.

2. Bill Snyder has to be the national coach of the year.

Snyder is 73.

The Kansas State over/under on the season was 7.5.

The Wildcats are nearly there already. There are five games left on Kansas State’s schedule and in all of them the Wildcats are likely to be touchdown favorites or more. 

3. Florida better beat Georgia.

Otherwise Georgia, who was destroyed at South Carolina just sixteen days ago, will back its way into the SEC title game again by virtue of its weak schedule.

But here’s an interesting wrinkle — if the Gators don’t beat Georgia, could it actually put them in place to be the highest ranked one-loss team in the BCS title game?

I think so.

Think about this for a minute.

The Gators have already won six SEC games and have three guaranteed wins remaining on their schedule. Then they close on the road at Florida State.

If Florida lost a close game to Georgia, the Gators would fall to number five in the BCS, right? Clearly they’d still have to be ranked above LSU. Then all Florida would need to see happen is for Oregon, Oregon State, Kansas State, and Notre Dame to lose between now and the end of the season. Notre Dame and Oregon State will lose before the season is done and both teams will fall behind Florida. So, really, all that would need to happen is for Oregon and Kansas State to lose. 

Then the Gators, without even advancing to the SEC title game, could play in the BCS title game just like Alabama did last year.

So all is far from lost for the Gators even if they lost to Georgia.   

4. Okay, Natalie Portman won the night in college football.

I was watching this game at a Houston-area sports bar and everyone, guy and girl’s, jaw dropped when she was shown on screen.

She has a fifteen month old baby.

Who, based on this photo, will be breastfeeding until he can walk.

You can see the gif of her on ESPN here.

I never doubted my decision to make Natalie Portman my number one pick in the repopulating the earth fantasy draft, but now I’m even more sure of my choice.

5. Auburn lost to Vanderbilt.

The Tigers are now 1-6, 0-5 in the SEC.

And Gene Chizik is now 7-14 in the SEC without Cam Newton. Without Cam Newton and Gus Malzahn, he’s 0-5 in the SEC. It gets even more alarming. In his coaching career without Gus Malzahn Gene Chizik is now 6-25.

It’s pretty clear now that Auburn is going to be 3-9, 0-8 in the SEC.

It’s also likely that a 3-8 Auburn team will be playing an 11-0 Alabama.

That will be the largest win differential in this series since 1950.

6. Okay, okay, I’m being too tough on you Auburn fans.

Here’s a sexy Bama fan to make y’all feel better.

That’s one lucky football.  

7. Texas A&M is going to be a massive success in the SEC.

My story on A&M will actually be up Tuesday because I’ve got daddy duty this morning and can’t get it finished today without disaster ensuing. In fact, my four year old, who is playing with his two year old brother as I write this, just ran downstairs and said, “Is it okay to put trashcans on top of people’s heads?”

My answer: Only if your coach is Gene Chizik or Derek Dooley.

But suffice it to say that I loved it at A&M. 

Even if the game did kick off near dawn.  

8. Early lead for Halloween sports costume of the year: this couple’s rendition of Bobby Petrino and Jessica Dorrell.

Outstanding.

Tip via Stephanie.

Odds Auburn has already offered Dorrell a job too?

High.

9. If you doubted whether or not Nick Saban has been treating Derek Dooley like a vampire treats his victim, doubt no more.

For those of you who don’t know my theory has been that Saban wants to take enough blood to satisfy his fan base, but not enough blood to kill Dooley’s coaching career. The number he’s settled on? 31. Saban has beaten Dooley by 31 each of the past three seasons.

Think about how hard that is to accomplish absent complete and total domination.

Put another way, does anyone really doubt that Bama could have scored 60 on the Vols Saturday night?

I mean, anyone other than ESPN’s scheduler who chose to put this game in primetime?

10. Oregon sent me an autographed cheerleading calendar.

It arrived just before I left for Texas.

Kelsey loves me!

And y’all too.

11. Here’s my SEC power rankings. Now that we’re over halfway through the season these rankings are starting to firm up. There’s still quite a bit of movement that can come in the bottom half of the group, but the top half seems pretty set.

1. Alabama

2. Florida

3. LSU

4. South Carolina

5. Georgia

6. Mississippi State

7. Texas A&M

8. Ole Miss

9. Arkansas

10. Tennessee

11. Vandy

12. Mizzou

13. Ensworth

14. Auburn

15. Kentucky

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