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Thursday, December 1, 2011

AHSAA Super Six Live: Class 3A Madison Academy vs. Handley

Looks like a great day for high school football in Tuscaloosa.

Madison Academy, from Madison, Ala., represents the north, while Handley, from Roanoke, Ala., represents the south.

By the looks of things, MadAcad should have a speed advantage, but Handley's a lot bigger.

UPDATE 1:36: Handley's Duran Zachary receives the Class 3A State Championship MVP award.

UPDATE 1:30: Final stats: Total yards Handley 268, Madison Academy 324. Rush yards Handley 268, Madison Academy 188. Pass yards Handley 0, Madison Academy 136. Third down conversions Handley 8-14, Madison Academy 3-10. Handley wins it 20-14.

UPDATE 1:28: Olive drops back on the final play, is pressured, throws off his back foot and the pass is caught at the endzone by Kerryon Johnson, but he is out of bounds. Game over. Handley wins the 2011 Class 3A State Championship 20-14. It's the school's first since 1955. Handley didn't lead until they went ahead with under a minute left.

UPDATE 1:27: Screen pass to Kerryon Johnson gets the ball down to the 13. 5 seconds to go, and MadAcad takes its final timeout. One play left here for the Mustangs to try to tie it. They're down 20-14.

UPDATE 1:26: With false start penalty, MadAcad drops back to the Handley 22.

UPDATE 1:26: On 2nd down, Madison Academy completes a long pass to the Handley 17. 1st and 10 now with 18 seconds left in the game.

UPDATE 1:24: Handley squib kicks it to the MadAcad 45, where the 'Stangs will take over, down 20-14 with 41 seconds left.

UPDATE 1:22: TOUCHDOWN TIGERS! What a thriller here today. A fullback belly play over the right guard gives Handley the lead now, 19-14, and it kicks the extra point to go up 20-14. ANOTHER questionable call by Mike Battles of Handley. Why not go for two there to give your team a 7-point lead? 42 seconds remain for MadAcad.

UPDATE 1:21: Aquarius Hunter gets down near the goalline on 2nd and Goal. It's 3rd and Goal now inside the 1-yard line. MadAcad coach Eric Cohu calls a timeout. MadAcad leads 14-13 with 45 seconds left.

UPDATE 1:20: DeJuan Berry takes it for another Handley 1st down. This time it's 1st and Goal at the MadAcad 9.

UPDATE 1:19: 2nd and 8, Aquarius Hunter takes it to the MadAcad 24. On 3rd down, Tigers pick up the 1st down to the MadAcad 19.

UPDATE 1:18: 1st down for Handley on three straight run plays. 2:43 left. Tigers at the MadAcad 30.

UPDATE 1:17: Onside kick is recovered by the Tigers' DeJuan Clark. If Handley wins this one should he get the game ball? 3:31 left. Handley ball, down 14-13.

UPDATE 1:16: Handley will onside kick it here.

UPDATE 1:14: MadAcad stops Handley's two-point conversion attempt. Still 14-13 'Stangs now with 3:53 to go in the game.

UPDATE 1:12: Duran Zachery rumbles up the middle, takes it 25 yards to the endzone for the Handley touchdown. It's 14-13 now. Another scratch-your-head move now by Handley. It uses its second timeout. The Tigers will go for it here.

UPDATE 1:11: Quay Hunter takes it four yards around the right end from the Wildcat to bring up 3rd and 6 for Handley.

UPDATE 1:10: Another questionable move by Handley coach Mike Battles concerning timeouts. He takes one after an incomplete pass on 1st down.

UPDATE 1:07: Olive's pass incomplete to bring up 4th down for MadAcad. The 'Stangs will punt from their own endzone. Handley returns it to the MadAcad 31-yard line.
4:37 left in this one, and the Tigers are still down 14-7.

UPDATE 1:07: MadAcad runs it two straight times for minimal gains. It's 3rd and 8 at the MadAcad 7.

UPDATE 1:04: Handley runs a toss to the left and is stopped just short of the 1st down. MadAcad takes over at its own 5 up 14-7 with 6:11 left in the 4th.

UPDATE 1:03: Handley picks up three yards on 3rd and 6. It's 4th and 3 now for Handley, and you know the Tigers will go for it here, down 14-7 with 6:18 left in the 4th.

UPDATE 1:01: 3rd and 6 coming up for Handley at the MadAcad 8.

UPDATE 1:00: Aquarius Hunter takes it over the right side on 3rd and 4 and picks up the first down to the MadAcad 14.

UPDATE 12:58: Another Handley first down to the MadAcad 25. 9 minutes left to play. MadAcad leads 14-7.

UPDATE 12:57: Handley finally turning it on with the ground game. Quay Hunter picks up another first down to the MadAcad 37.

UPDATE 12:55: Handley picks up a first down on the ground. Now the Tigers are driving. They're at their own 45. Note: MadAcad linebacker Taylor Ziak goes down with injury on the play.

UPDATE 12:52: MadAcad fakes the reverse, Hunter Olive keeps it and runs around left end but steps out short of the 1st down. Handley takes over now, down 14-7 at its own 35.

UPDATE 12:51: Coach Eric Cohu of Madison Academy takes a timeout. They've had success on 4th down today, but we'll see what happens in a moment.

UPDATE 12:50: 3rd and 3 for MadAcad, pass complete to Nick Haas over the left side, but it's out of bounds. 4th and 3 and MadAcad will go for it here.

UPDATE 12:47: We're heading to the 4th quarter. MadAcad leads Handley 14-7. 2nd and 13 coming up for MadAcad at the Handley 43 after a false start penalty on 1st down.

UPDATE 12:45: Play action pass by Hunter Olive complete to Nick Haas to the Handley 40 for another 1st down. 25 seconds left in 3rd.

UPDATE 12:44: MadAcad picks up a first down over its own 40. Driving now, 1:47 left in 3rd quarter. MadAcad up 14-7.

UPDATE 12:41: Another three and out for Handley. Not looking good for the Tigers. They punt again, down 14-7.

UPDATE 12:35: Lead run off left tackle to Kerryon Johnson, spins and takes off for 24 yards for the MadAcad touchdown. It's 14-7 Mustangs with 5:33 left in the 3rd.

UPDATE 12:34: 3rd and 1 now for MadAcad at the Handley 24.

UPDATE 12:33: MadAcad didn't have to go for it after all. An offsides penalty by Handley gives the 'Stangs a 1st down at the Handley 33.

UPDATE 12:31: Kerryon Johnson takes it up the middle. He's just short of the first down, and the chains came out and said so. MadAcad will go for it on 4th and short at the Handley 38. We're still tied at 7 with 7:32 left in the 3rd.

UPDATE 12:30: Hunter Olive pass complete to Marcus Sease to the Handley 40. 3rd and 3.

UPDATE 12:29: Kyle Jackson takes it up the middle on 2nd and 13, bounces to the right side and runs 40 yards to the Handley 47. 1st and 10 for the 'Stangs.

UPDATE 12:27: Not a good start for MadAcad on offense to start the second half, either. False start on Marcus Sease puts the ball at the MadAcad 9. 1st and 15.

UPDATE 12:25: Handley goes three and out. Will punt from its own 45. Good punt sends MadAcad's Kerryon Johnson all the way back to his own 14, where he'll fair catch it.

UPDATE 12:23: The second half is underway. Handley's Aquarius Hunter returns the opening kick outside the Handley 35.

UPDATE 12:08: Time of possession is about as close as you can get. Handley's had it for 12:05. MadAcad's had the ball for 11:55. Both teams have one turnover. They were both inside the final minute of the first half.

UPDATE 12:07: Some halftime statistics: Total Yards Handley 108, MadAcad 142. Rush yards Handley 108, MadAcad 89. Pass yards Handley 0, MadAcad 53.

UPDATE 11:59: Handley downs the ball to take it to the half. We're tied at 7 at halftime. Crazy finish to the first half. You have to question why Handley didn't use any of its timeouts on its potential scoring drive there near the end. Some stats coming soon.

UPDATE 11:58: Hunter Olive passes deep downfield to Nicholas Haas. It's complete to set up a 1st and Goal with 5 seconds left, but Haas fumbles. Handley recovers.

UPDATE 11:57: Just the third pass of the day for the Tigers is intercepted by none other than Kerryon Johnson for the Mustangs. He runs it back to the Handley 40. We're at 39 seconds.

UPDATE 11:55: Handley still has all three timeouts left, but we're under 60 seconds and the clock is still ticking.

UPDATE 11:55: Handley has a 1st down to their own 47. The ground and pound game might not enable them to score before the half. We're inside 2 minutes now.

UPDATE 11:53: Hunter Olive drops back to pass, can't find anyone, dances around and is sacked. Handley takes over at their own 29 with 3:14 left in the 2nd quarter. We're still tied at 7.

UPDATE 11:52: MadAcad slant pass incomplete over the left side. Brings up 4th and 7 at the Handley 29. They'll go for it.

UPDATE 11:51: 3rd and 7 for MadAcad at the Handley 29.

UPDATE 11:50: Marcus Sease takes the handoff for MadAcad over the left side, rumbles 39 yards for a 1st down to the Handley 35. It took three Tigers to take him down, by the way.

UPDATE 11:49: Rekick turns out in Handley's favor. Ball bounces inside MadAcad 20. 1st and 10 for the 'Stangs.

UPDATE 11:47: We have a kick catch interference on Handley. The Tigers will punt again.

UPDATE 11:45: It worked earlier, but fullback dive comes up short this time. Handley sends on punt team with 5:30 left in 2nd. We're still tied at 7.

UPDATE 11:45: 3rd and 4 or 5 for Handley near midfield. They need the MadAcad 47 to convert.

UPDATE 11:44: Handley goes deep down field but pass is incomplete. However, a flag was thrown on MadAcad for pass interference. Brings up 1st and 10 for Tigers at own 46.

UPDATE 11:39: MadAcad's Hunter Olive sacked for a 10-yard loss on 3rd and 6. Mustangs will punt. We're still tied 7-7 with 8:30 left in the 2nd.

UPDATE 11:38: Madison Academy's scoring drive on its first possession went 12 plays; Handley's tying drive went 11.

UPDATE 11:36: Handley goes to Duran Zachary up the middle for a 2-yard touchdown run. We're tied at 7 with 10:22 left in the 2nd.

UPDATE 11:34: 3rd and 6 for the Tigers at the MadAcad 8. Toss sweep to the left gives Handley a 1st and Goal at the 2.

UPDATE 11:31: Handley goes to the fullback, bursts through for a huge first down to end first quarter. MadAcad still up 7-0.

UPDATE 11:30: Handley pass incomplete; MadAcad quarterback/safety Hunter Olive jarred the ball loose. Brings up 4th and 4 for Handley with one second left in the first quarter.

UPDATE 11:29: Handley driving down the field at the MadAcad 30. 3rd and 4.

UPDATE 11:26: MadAcad held to three and out; they'll punt. Still up 7-0.

UPDATE 11:23: Handley held to three and out after a critical holding on the Tigers' first drive. Punting back to MadAcad.

UPDATE 11:15: MadAcad got the ball first and marched down the field on a 12-play drive capped off by an 11-yard toss sweep run by freshman Kerryon Johnson. 'Stangs up 7-0.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SEC West 1-2-3 in BCS Standings; Tony Stewart beats Carl Edwards, wins Sprint Cup Championship by Virtue of Tiebreaker

"Upset Saturday" allowed several teams on the outside looking in to move closer to a shot at playing for the BCS Championship Game. The new standings are as follows:

4Oklahoma State10-1
5Virginia Tech10-1
7Boise State9-1
11Kansas State9-2
12South Carolina9-2
14Michigan State9-2
19Penn State9-2
22Notre Dame8-3
23Georgia Tech8-3

In racing news, Tony Stewart closed out the 2011 season by winning Sunday night's rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Carl Edwards, who entered the final race with a four point lead over Stewart, finished 2nd. The final points standings were tied at 2,403, so the points championship went to Tony Stewart in a tiebreaker decided by most wins (Stewart: 5; Edwards 1). Ironically, all five of Stewart's wins came in the final ten races.

Can you say domination? The SEC can

USC upset No.4 Oregon Saturday with a 38-35 win on the
road. But the upsets didn't stop there, Iowa State beat No. 2
Oklahoma State Friday, setting up Saturdays' chaotic mess. Aside
from Oregon losing to USC, NC State beat No. 7 Clemson, and
No. 22 Baylor beat No. 5 Oklahoma. (Photo by
Steve Dykes / Getty Images)

Wow, what an exciting weekend in college football. The schools that "had no chance," from Iowa State to USC, proved all doubters wrong, winning on the big stage (in several locations) in what's come to be known as "Upset Saturday" in college football. But on a good note for the SEC, the losses leave yet another mark on an historic resume for the conference. Check this out:

LSU, Alabama, and Arkansas are likely to hold the first three spots in the BCS, respectively. This is the first time since 1971 that the top three teams have been from one conference. However, this marks the first time the big three have been from the same division in the history of college football.

The new and updated BCS rankings, updated to reflect the losses of those ranked near the top, will be released tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN's weekly BCS Countdown Show presented by Vizio.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tucker's Pick 'Em 2011: College Football Previews and Score Predictions for Week 12, Plus Alabama High School Playoff Games of the Week

Lane Kiffin and USC quarterback Matt Barkley look
to upset Oregon  Saturday in the Tucker's Pick 'Em
Game of the Week for Week 12. (AP Photo / Jack Dempsey)
Alabama took care of business at Mississippi State last weekend, but Auburn and Troy fell to Georgia and North Texas, respectively. This week the Tide and Tigers both face teams from the FCS as they prepare for the Iron Bowl next Saturday in Auburn.  Troy plays the winless Florida Atlantic Owls as the Trojans look to put win No. 3 up on the board for the 2011 season.

In high school football, it's Week 3 of the playoffs in the state of Alabama, which means it's the quarterfinals Friday night. It's do or die on the high school gridiron, and for the rest of the season I'll bring you the game of the week in each classification!

Here goes Week 12:


High School AHSAA State Playoffs Games of the Week; Quarterfinals (6-1 last week; 70-14 this season)

Hoover (11-1) at Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (12-0)
Fri., Nov. 18, 2011 at 7 PM: Roy Johnson, Jr. Stadium
The Hoover Bucs held off a Bob Jones rally last week in Madison to beat the Patriots 26-17 and set up this match against another group of Patriots this week in Tuscaloosa.   Hoover is 3-0 all-time in games played against Hillcrest, but they've never played in Tuscaloosa.

Bucs advance to the semifinals:

Hoover 34, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 21. (ACTUAL SCORE: HOOVER 21, HILLCREST 14)

Hueytown (12-0) at Saint Paul’s (11-1), Mobile
Fri., Nov. 18, 2011 at 7 PM: E.E. Delaney Field
The Hueytown Golden Gophers, who average 44.7 points per game this season, travel south to Mobile for this 5A quarterfinal tilt against the Saint Paul's Saints. This one should be a dandy; Saint Paul's is 3-3 all-time in home quarterfinal contests, while Hueytown is 1-1 on the road in the third round.

Who wins the first-ever meeting between the Gophers and the Saints?

Hueytown 30, Saint Paul's 24. (ACTUAL SCORE: HUEYTOWN 39, SAINT PAUL'S 13)

Jackson (12-0) at Bibb County (12-0), Centreville
Fri., Nov. 18, 2011 at 7 PM: Choctaw Stadium 
Both offenses in this one are scoring more than 44 points a game (Jackson 44.7 and Bibb County 45.4) as they get set to square off in Centreville.  But the edge here must go to the visiting Jackson Aggies.  Their defense only gives up 9.3 points a game compared to the Bibb County Choctaw's 13.7, and they've actually played an away game in the third round before (granted, it was in 1994, when the Aggies knocked off Smiths Station 27-18).

As for the Choctaws, this is the first quarterfinal game they've ever hosted:

Jackson 40, Bibb County 20. (ACTUAL SCORE: JACKSON 49, BIBB COUNTY 28)

Handley (12-0) at Washington County (10-2), Chatom 
Fri., Nov. 18, 2011 at 7 PM: Jordan Wilcox Stadium 
Handley makes the 272-mile trek northeast to Washington County for the first-ever meeting between the Tigers and the Bulldogs.  The visiting Tigers are undefeated and looking to move to 13-0, and if history means anything, they'll do so Friday night in Chatom.  Handley is 31-22 all-time in playoff appearances, while Washington County is a less-than-impressive 14-19. In third round games, the Tigers are 4-4, while the Bulldogs are 1-2.

Tigers move on:

Handley 34, Washington County 17. (ACTUAL SCORE: HANDLEY 26, WASHINGTON COUNTY 7)

Elba (12-0) at Flomaton (11-1)
Fri., Nov. 18, 2011 at 7 PM: Hurricane Field
The fact that this game takes place at Hurricane Field is certainly fitting; this one could be the best game of the week in all classifications.  Elba averages 53 points a game, while Flomaton is putting up 43.2 points per contest this season. Both defenses are stellar as well; the visiting Tigers give up 11.9 points a game, while the home-standing Hurricanes allow just 9.8 points per contest. Hurricane Field has never been host to a quarterfinal game, but it picked a good one here.

Hold on, spectators!

Elba 36, Flomaton 33. (ACTUAL SCORE: ELBA 33 FLOMATON 23)

Maplesville (12-0) at Linden (11-1)
Fri., Nov. 18, 2011 at 7 PM: Linden Field
The Maplesville Red Devils and Linden Patriots might have something to say about that 2A game that I just called a thriller.  The Red Devils enter this one averaging 46.8 points per game while giving up just 6.2, while the Patriots put up 42.3 points a game and allow just 5.7.  Linden's one loss this season is deceiving; the Patriots fell at 5A Gulf Shores in Week 7 of the regular season 20-14.

To make this match-up even more appealing, Maplesville and Linden have met 6 times in the past. The series record? 3-3, including a 45-13 win for Linden in last year's quarterfinal round:

Linden 24, Maplesville 21. (ACTUAL SCORE:  LINDEN 21, MAPLESVILLE 7)

College (8-4 last week; 95-24 this season)


Kentucky (4-6, 1-5) at No. 14 Georgia (8-2, 6-1)
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 11 AM: SEC NETWORK
The struggling Wildcats travel south to play the 'Dawgs between the hedges Saturday, and a victory by the home team will capture the SEC East Division Championship for Georgia. The Bulldogs have either won or shared five Eastern Division titles since the league started its current divisional format in 1992, but they haven't been to the SEC Championship Game since 2007.

It has turned into such a charming 2011 season for Mark Richt, head coach of the 'Dawgs, who started out this season on the hot seat:

Georgia 38, Kentucky 12.

No. 16 Nebraska (8-2, 4-2) at No. 18 Michigan (8-2, 4-2)
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 11 AM: ESPN
Nebraska travels to Ann Arbor Saturday for the first time since 1962, but the Cornhuskers have met Michigan's Wolverines seven times in this rivalry's history.  The "Black Shirts," as Nebraska's defensive unit is infamously known, face stiff competition for this meeting; they'll be up against Denard Robinson and the fast-paced Wolverine offense in this Big Ten Conference Legends Division showdown.

But Michigan's defense isn't bad, either. The Wolverines allow just 15.5 points per game, good for 2nd in the Big Ten and 5th in the nation.

Go Blue:

Michigan 27, Nebraska 24.

Samford (6-4, 4-4) at No. 24 Auburn (6-4, 4-3)
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 12 PM: PPV/ESPN3.COM
Former Auburn Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Pat Sullivan returns to the Plains for Homecoming Saturday, but he'll be on the opposite sideline from the one he stood on between 1969-1971 — as head coach.  Sullivan, who took over at the small Birmingham college in 2006, will be honored for his collegiate achievements prior to kickoff along with several of his teammates from his Heisman season at Auburn.

It'll be a bittersweet homecoming for the 61-year old; in 26 games against the Tigers, Samford is 0-25-1:

Auburn 43, Samford 13.

Georgia Southern (9-1, 7-1) at No. 3 Alabama (9-1, 6-1)
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 1 PM: PPV/ESPN3.COM
Alabama hosts the FCS's No. 3 team Saturday for the last home game of the 2011 season, looking for a big win to set up next Saturday's Iron Bowl in Auburn.  The Georgia Southern Eagles spent six weeks atop the FCS polls earlier this season before suffering their only loss of the year at Appalachian State. Yes, that's the same App State that knocked off Michigan a few years ago in the "Big House." Do you smell upset?

I don't:

Alabama 45, Georgia Southern 6.

Southern Methodist (6-4, 4-2) at No. 11 Houston (10-0, 6-0) 
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 2:30 PM: FSN 
ESPN's College Gameday makes its first trip to the University of Houston campus Saturday to showcase one of the nation's three remaining undefeated teams, the Houston Cougars.  The 'Cougs have one of the best passing attacks in the nation, led by senior Case Keenum.

The quarterback has broken several records during his long tenure at the Texas school, and this season he has the Cougars averaging 54.7 points per game (first in the nation).

Houston coach Kevin Sumlin is 3-0 all-time against SMU, including a 38-15 win over the Mustangs last season:

Houston 44, SMU 27.

Mississippi State (5-5, 1-5) at No. 6 Arkansas (9-1, 5-1)
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 2:30 PM: CBS
Arkansas leaves its Fayetteville campus to play host to Mississippi State in Little Rock Saturday, with the 'Hogs still 'technically' alive for a shot at the BCS National Championship Game.  Arkansas is looking to complete its first undefeated season at home since the 1999 season, but Mississippi State will hope to play spoiler in this one.  I foresee a struggle for the Razorbacks, but they're not ranked No. 6 for no reason.

Bobby Petrino, believe it or not, boasts the highest career November winning percentage among SEC coaches (.793):

Arkansas 33, Mississippi State 21.

No. 7 Clemson (9-1, 6-1) at North Carolina State (5-5, 2-4)
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 2:30 PM: ABC
This series dates all the way back to 1899, when the Clemson Tigers, playing in just the 16th game in the school's history, shutout the Wolfpack 24-0 in a game played in Rock Hill, SC. This Saturday's game should be a lot closer, however, if recent history means anything.

Nine of the last 14 meetings between the Tigers and the Wolfpack have been decided by eight points or less, including last year's 14-13 Clemson win in Death Valley:

Clemson 31, North Carolina State 24.

No. 21 Penn State (8-2, 5-1) at Ohio State (6-4, 3-3)
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 2:30 PM: ESPN/ABC
The Penn State child abuse sex scandal continues to evolve this week, and the school's football program has undoubtedly had its focus stripped as the Nittany Lions travel west to Columbus to face the Buckeyes.  Ohio State has struggled with off the field issues of its own all season, but no illegal jersey sales or any other actions the university has been accused of could measure up to what went down in Happy Valley during Jerry Sandusky's time as a coach there.

A season that started out promising for Penn State has been turned upside down:

Ohio State 20, Penn State 15.

Florida Atlantic (0-9, 0-6) at Troy (2-7, 1-4)
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 2:30 PM: TROY ISP SPORTS NETWORK
The Trojans dropped their homecoming game to North Texas last week 38-33, but they stay home this Saturday to host winless FAU within the confines of Veterans' Memorial Stadium. The only time FAU beat the Trojans was at Troy in the final game of the 2007 regular season, when the Owls knocked off the Trojans 38-32 to earn a berth in the New Orleans Bowl as the Sun Belt Champ.

Not this time:

Troy 31, Florida Atlantic 20.

No. 1 LSU (10-0, 6-0) at Ole Miss (2-8, 0-6)
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 6 PM: ESPN
The Bengal Tigers travel to Oxford Saturday for what has recently become known as "The Magnolia Bowl." It's the fourth straight year the two schools will play for The Magnolia Bowl, which was a joint creation by the two schools' student governments.

Ole Miss was already hurting on offense this season, and it doesn't help that the Rebels' starting quarterback and leading rusher will be suspended for Saturday's contest:

LSU 41, Ole Miss 8.

Vanderbilt (5-5, 2-5) at Tennessee (4-6, 0-6)
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 6 PM: ESPNU
Vanderbilt has looked impressive this season under first-year head coach James Franklin, but Saturday the Commodores travel to Knoxville to face the Tennessee Volunteers, who are looking for their first SEC win this season.

If they're going to beat anyone, it should be Vandy. The Vols have won 27 of their last 28 games against the Commodores, and they've won 16 of their last 17 over the 'Dores in Knoxville since 1977.

I'm counting on UT coach Derek Dooley to get the job done at home under the lights:

Tennessee 24, Vanderbilt 21.

Virginia (7-3, 4-2) at No. 25 Florida State (7-3, 5-2)
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM: ESPN2
The Jefferson-Eppes Trophy links Virginia and Florida State through Virginia's founding father and U.S. President Thomas Jefferson and his grandson, Francis Eppes VII. Eppes was the three-time mayor of Tallahassee and long-time president of the Board of Education of the Seminary West of the Suwanee —the institutional forerunner of Florida State University. The trophy was first presented in 1995 when the Cavaliers handed FSU's Seminoles — who were ranked No. 2 at the time — their first ACC defeat (33-28), but the 'Noles have hoisted the trophy after 11 of the 12 meetings since then.

To add to that, FSU has never lost to Virginia in Tallahassee (8-0):

Florida State 31, Virginia 17.

  USC (8-2, 5-2) at No. 4 Oregon (9-1, 7-0) 
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011 at 7 PM: ABC
The USC Trojans, led by coach Lane Kiffin, aren't eligible for postseason play this season due to NCAA disciplinary actions, but none of those rulings have anything to do with their game Saturday night at Oregon. LaMichael James leads the Ducks' fast, high-scoring offense, but Kiffin told's Whitney Blaine that his Trojans won't focus only on James.

"It's about their scheme," said the USC coach. "If you start worrying about the players and who is where and everything you'll have no chance of lining up because they play so fast. You've got to get lined up based off their scheme and where they're at and then play your assignments regardless of who has the ball."

USC will provide an exciting matchup early, but I don't see the Trojans derailing the Duck Train.

As a result of Boise State's loss to TCU last week, Oregon now owns the longest home winning streak in the FBS at 21 games:

Oregon 43, USC 26.

Tucker Sargent is a senior at Troy University in his home state of Alabama. "Tucker's Pick 'Em" started in 2009 on Facebook, with 10 games of interest being picked each week. Opinions are not meant to offend anyone. Follow Tucker on Twitter     here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

College World Series: South Carolina Wins Second Straight Baseball Championship

Ronald Martinez / Getty Images
South Carolina beat Florida 5-2 Tuesday night in Game 2 of the best-of-three College World Series Finals in Omaha to clinch its second straight national championship.

After winning Game 1 in 11 innings Monday night, the Gamecocks needed only 9 Tuesday.

South Carolina (55-14) got to work in the third inning, taking a 3-0 lead that they would not relinquish.

Trey Wingo's sacrifice fly gave South Carolina a 1-0 lead before more costly Florida fielding errors allowed Evan Marzilli and Jackie Bradley, Jr. to cross the plate for the defending national champions later in the inning to give the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead.

Florida (53-19) looked as if it might make a comeback in the next inning after Mike Zunino's single home run to left field, but the Gators would be unable to erase the deficit.

Peter Mooney's insurance home run in the sixth gave South Carolina a 4-1 lead and all but erased any hope for a Florida comeback.

Josh Adams' RBI single in the eighth made it 4-2, but the Gamecocks would increase their lead to three again later in the inning off Wingo's RBI single.

South Carolina pitcher Michael Roth, called the team's anchor by several teammates, struck out 6 Gators in 7.2 innings in the championship-clinching win.

"We battled, that's all I can say," said Roth. "We’re just a bunch of Average Joes. We love each other and love the game."

For much more from Tucker Sargent, Sportswriter Profile here or follow him on Twitter below.

Monday, June 27, 2011

College World Series Scores: South Carolina Beats Florida 2-1 in Game One of Finals

The South Carolina baseball team is one win away from its second straight national championship.

Back-to-back throwing errors by Florida allowed Christian Walker to score in the top of the 11th to break a 1-1 tie and give defending national champion South Carolina the go-ahead run in a 2-1 win over the Gators Monday night in game one of the best-of-three College World Series Finals.

Game two between the Southeastern Conference rivals is Tuesday night.

The defenses shined in the first two innings, but in the third, Florida (53-18) chalked up the first run of the evening.

After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Tyler Thompson scored on a sacrifice fly by Cody Dent to give the Gators a 1-0 advantage.

The bats remained cold due to near picture-perfect pitching by both staffs until the eighth inning, when South Carolina (53-14) finally found some magic of its own.

With two outs, Scott Wingo's RBI single to center tied the score at one. The hit also sent Gator starting pitcher Hudson Randall, who struck out six Gamecocks in eight innings, to the Florida dugout.

The Gators would load the bases in the bottom of the ninth with one out, but a double play by South Carolina sent the game to extra innings.

In the bottom of the 11th, Walker stole second, then advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Another throwing error by the center fielder allowed Walker to score.

Game two from Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park starts Tuesday night at 8 ET on ESPN.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

South Carolina Baseball Beats Virginia 3-2, Advance to CWS Finals to Face UF

South Carolina's Adrian Morales, right, is tagged out at home plate by Virginia catcher John Hicks, in the fourth inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball game in Omaha, Neb., Friday, June 24, 2011. South Carolina's Peter Mooney flied out in the play and Morales was tagged out at home for the double play. (AP Photo/Eric Francis)
Virginia's comeback effort came up short Friday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha as defending national champion South Carolina beat the Cavaliers 3-2 in 13 innings to eliminate them from the College World Series and set up an all-SEC CWS Finals next week. Florida advanced to the finals with a 6-4 win over Vanderbilt Friday afternoon.

With runners at first and second, South Carolina's Adam Matthews reached home in the 13th inning on a throwing error by Virginia pitcher Cody Winiarski to break a 2-2 tie and lift the Gamecocks over the Cavaliers in a game that lasted more than 4.5 hours.

Virginia (56-12) started the scoring in the second inning when Kenny Swab's sacrifice ground-out sent Steven Proscia home to give one-seeded Virginia the 1-0 lead.

Playing with an unknown illness, Virginia pitcher Danny Hultzen struck out eight of his first nine batters before leaving the game after three innings.

Freshman Kyle Crockett, undefeated on the season, relieved Hultzen and struck out his first batter.

But South Carolina (53-14) wasted no time taking advantage of the young pitcher soon after.

Christian Walker doubled on the next at bat, then Jackie Bradley, Jr. hit an infield single to put South Carolina runners on first and second.

Crockett hit Adrian Morales later in the inning to load the bases before Brady Thomas sent Walker and Bradley, Jr. home on a deep double to left-center to give the Gamecocks a 2-1 lead heading into the fifth.

The Gamecocks held their lead until the eighth, when the Cavaliers mounted their comeback.

Virginia's John Hicks reached on a fielding error by Gamecock shortstop Peter Mooney that allowed Chris Taylor to score, tying the game at 2.

With the bases loaded and one out for the Gamecocks in the bottom of the eighth, Cavalier closer Branden Kline, who threw 107 pitches on the night, struck out Bradley, Jr. and Morales to send the game to the ninth still tied.

The Cavaliers loaded the bases in the 10th, 12th, and 13th innings but were unable to produce any runs.

The first game of the 2011 CWS best-of-three finals starts Monday night at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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