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Matt's (some)day Morning Musings: Week three - It Just Means... More?

Each week, our Executive Director, Matthew Redding (5’11, 185, 4.78 40-yard dash, $4.99 on Wish, 5.49

on TEMU) sits down with a cup of coffee and ponders life in the world of College Football and beyond.

Ask him anything on Twitter (@TheBarningMan) and he may answer it next week over his breakfast. This

week, he’s thinking about the rude awakening SEC stans are experiencing with this years lackluster showing...




Imagine, if you will, a couple of years ago someone told you Bo Nix would be an elite quarterback who played in a conference that featured multiple teams in the top ten and three of the four best quarterback prospects, and then asked you to guess the conference. Well, you would have probably thought that something finally clicked at Auburn for Nix and he was leading the charge of elite quarterback play with other guys from Alabama, Georgia and LSU close behind, and that the SEC was once again flexing its muscles, right?


Wrong. How crazy would you have called me if I had told you it was the Pac-12 in its final year?


In 2022, Bo Nix LEFT the SEC to improve his draft stock and salvage his career. Usually, it's the other way around, with guys transferring to Alabama or Georgia (or heck, even to Ole Miss) to get their name on the big stage and learn from the best coaches to increase their chances at the NFL.


Lately however, be it NIL deals, transfer portal windows or just bad, boring coaching hires from Midwest schools, there has been an equalizer in college football that took a few years enter its final form, but now we are seeing the fruits of its labors.


After years of dominance... YEARS of multiple NFL first-round draft picks, YEARS of stealing the top talent on the country and YEARS of basically guaranteeing one, maybe even two teams in the college football playoff, it seems it's time to ask the question.


Are the SEC's decades of dominance... Done?


Last week, I wrote about how Texas may have avenged it's 2009 BCS title game loss to Alabama by ending the Saban dynasty. Coincidentally, here we are at week 3 of the college football season talking about the SEC's era coming crashing down as well. No, Nick Saban did not start the SEC's run of dominance. That was Urban Meyer and Florida in 2006. Saban has however forced other schools in the conference to step up their game to keep up with what he built in Tuscaloosa, which has resulted in some talented teams from College Station to Columbia to pop up.


Thanks to all of those teams, it's led to some of the most dramatic football games, intense recruiting sagas, the finest football facilities in the country and year after year of the SEC hilariously clowning the rest of the power-fives in the first round of the NFL Draft. All of this happening, while the chants of "S-E-C! S-E-C!" echo from the Sugar Bowl to the Cotton Bowl and the National Championships in between. It was an era unlike anything we've seen before, but every time the words "it just means more" flashed across the screen, one couldn't help but wonder


When won't it?


Well, hold your breath, because the answer might've been 2023.





Since the start of the season, the SEC has taken center stage with games vs marquee non-conference opponents such as-


- Florida vs Utah

- South Carolina vs North Carolina

- LSU vs FSU

- Alabama vs Texas

- Ole Miss vs Tulane

- Vanderbilt vs Wake Forest

- Auburn vs Cal

- Texas A&M vs Miami

- Arkansas vs BYU

- Missouri vs Kansas State


Of these games, the conference stands at 3-7 overall, with the lone wins being Auburn over Cal, Ole Miss over Tulane and Missouri over Kansas State. Championship contenders like LSU and Bama didn't just lose, they got outclassed by multiple scores before being sent to the locker room with a look their opponents usually have after playing them. Ole Miss and Missouri are the only SEC teams to have wins over ranked opponents.


Georgia hasn't really played anyone of note yet, except South Carolina this past weekend. The stiffer the competition gets, the more moribund the offensive attack looks. If they sleepwalk into Jordan-Hare or Neyland Stadium, then there will be another blow to the SEC's playoff hopes. LSU might be the more complete team in the West, if they could get out of their own way.


Ole Miss and Auburn are currently the only undefeated teams in the SEC West. Now how's that for a headline?


Auburn has an offense that is slowly figuring out its identity with a defense that can hang with anyone. Ole Miss has Lane Kiffin calling plays for the new and improved Jaxon Dart. If either one upsets one of the major power players, it's no longer cannibalization in the best conference, where one ranked team will simply step up. It's cannibalization in maybe the third best conference that is currently on thin ice.


Being someone who enjoys history, I looked back to see if there was a worse opening weekend for the SEC and what the result of the next season was for the conference. going as far back as 2014, I found no weekend as bad as this one, except for smatterings of SEC teams getting taken to the woodshed in their opening games (Florida vs Michigan in 2017, Tennessee vs West Virginia the following year). Sine the past couldn't give me any clarity on what to expect next, I looked ahead.


My thoughts are now this: Enjoy it while it lasts, college football. Nick Saban may retire at the end of the year, but looking at the 247 recruiting rankings, the SEC has 7 of the top ten teams, 12 of the top 25. The conference may have blown its shot at getting two teams in the playoff this year, and who knows if Georgia will barely sneak in at 4, but taking into the account of the numerous four and five stars headed South, it won't be long before they're back.


And they're just going to get better when they add frequent powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma in 2024, right?


Maybe.


For now, all of you who cheered for "conference supremacy" for some reason (being an Auburn fan, I never cared for Alabama or Georgia winning one for the "conference") sit back, relax and get used to being the third best conference in America.


Could be worse, though. At least we're not the Big XII.


MATT'S MONDAY MORNING MAILBAG:

"Who takes over at Michigan State now that Tucker is out?" - Aaron


For those of you who missed it, Mel Tucker is to be fired by the university of Michigan State, sources at the school confirmed. His ousting was for inappropriate behavior. I won't go into the details, you can go read all about it on your own time.


To answer Aaron's question, Michigan State couldn't have asked for a better time to be scouting head coaches. Mike Elko at Duke, Willie Fritz at Tulane and of course Deion Sanders at Colorado will get a few phone calls this offseason, just to name a few.


I'll just go ahead and go on the record saying Sanders will stay in Boulder for another year or two before he explores his options again. He's having fun with what he's built with the Buffaloes, and his son is cooking, so why rush out?


After paying Mel Tucker $95 Million in late 2021 for letting Kenneth Walker III carry the Spartans to the New Years 6, the school will probably want to avoid another dramatic contract to pluck away an already established name like Lane Kiffin or Dan Lanning, my gut tells me that they will want to take a swing an a sexy coordinator who is primed for a power 5 head coaching gig.


Recruiting is a BIG need for whoever the next guy is, because they'll be inheriting the 49th ranked class for 2024 (per 247). QB Noah Kim leads the B1G in passing efficiency, so there's talent to build around.


Offensive juice is needed, and if there isn't any big-time recruits coming in for 2024, it'll take a genius play-caller to keep things interesting while the team is built back up.


Finally, I think the boosters and admins in East Lansing will want someone with B1G experience. The conference is going through some major changes, and someone who knows the territory will be needed to guide the Spartans through new waters that now have ships from the West Coast joining.


When all is said and done, there's only one candidate who checks all the boxes and can possibly restore MSU to the glory days of Mark Dantonio...


Former Michigan State head coach Nick Saban!


...All kidding aside, it's Ohio State OC Brian Hartline.


Boom. Problem solved.


- M




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