Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; July 10

A few thoughts to jump start your Friday morning...

October will see the contenders separate from the pretenders in the Southeastern Conference football race. Here is a breakdown of the October schedule for all 14 SEC teams and who’s likely to go into November with a legitimate shot to make it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.

October 3: at Georgia
October 10: Arkansas
October 17: at Texas A&M
October 24: Louisiana-Monroe

Schedule assessment: Alabama will find out in a hurry how good its run defense is with the Georgia and Arkansas games and the secondary will get its strongest test of the year on the road at A&M. The only laugher on the schedule is Louisiana-Monroe. The others could be white knuckles.

Nightmare scenario: The Bama front seven gets chewed up on consecutive weeks by the Georgia and Arkansas running games then the secondary gets taken to task in Aggie-land for the worst October for an Alabama team since 2003 when Mike Shula was the coach.

Prediction: Alabama takes care of business and goes 4-0.


October 3: at Tennessee
October 10: at Alabama
October 24: Auburn
October 31: Tennessee-Martin

Schedule assessment: The Hogs will find out just how good they are in October starting with back-to-back roadies at Tennessee and Alabama followed up by Auburn in Fayette-Nam.

Nightmare scenario: The Hogs go 0-2 out of the chute in October and have nothing left in the tank for Auburn.

Prediction: A 2-2 October will end any hopes the Hogs have of winning the SEC West.


October 3: San Jose State
October 15: at Kentucky
October 24: at Arkansas
October 31: Ole Miss

Schedule assessment: Strange things happen on Thursday nights so the Tigers better not be looking ahead to Arkansas when they play Kentucky. Auburn might get a real break if Arkansas is still licking its wounds from its Alabama encounter. Ole Miss would be far more dangerous in Oxford.

Nightmare scenario: The Tigers fall victim to the Thursday night jinx and then go down for a second straight game at Arkansas.

Prediction: Auburn survives a couple of close encounters and goes 4-0 for the month.

October 3: Ole Miss
October 10: at Missouri
October 17: at LSU
October 31: Georgia (neutral site Jacksonville)

Schedule assessment: There isn’t a gimme game on the schedule. To even win one game in October, the Gators are going to have to play superb football. A 2-2 October should be considered a real accomplishment.

Nightmare scenario: The Gators play well but lose to Ole Miss and Missouri and that carries over into the final two games for an 0-4 October.

Prediction: 0-4 is realistic; 1-3 is optimistic. If the Gators go 2-2 there should be dancing in the streets of Gainesville. Alas, it will be 0-4.


October 3: Alabama
October 10: at Tennessee
October 17: Missouri
October 31: Florida (neutral site Jacksonville)

Schedule assessment: The Bulldogs catch a real break by getting Alabama and Missouri in Athens but that game in between – the roadie against Tennessee – is going to be a war. Tennessee has had that game circled on the calendar since a 35-32 loss to Georgia in Athens last year. If Georgia can go 4-0, the Bulldogs will be in the hunt to win the SEC East and top 10 nationally.

Nightmare scenario: Georgia gets its doors blown off by Alabama, loses in highly-charged Neyland Stadium the next week and is too battered to offer much resistance against Missouri.

Prediction: Georgia will lose to Alabama and find a way to win the next three.


October 3: Eastern Kentucky
October 15: Auburn
October 24: at Mississippi State
October 31: Tennessee

Schedule assessment: There is a get well game with D1AA Eastern Kentucky to start the month but it is followed by three games in which the Wildcats will be heavy underdogs. Any hopes Kentucky has of turning this into a decent season will hinge on a Thursday night ambush against Auburn in Lexington.

Nightmare scenario: After ensuring this won’t be a winless season, the Wildcats go in the tank three straight games and head into November with a 1-7 record and with Mark Stoops on Countdown to Firing Day’s Dead Man Walking List.

Prediction: Any way you slice it, this is a 1-3 month.


October 3: Eastern Michigan
October 10: at South Carolina
October 17: Florida
October 24: Western Kentucky

Schedule assessment: This is a national contender’s dream October. LSU can mail in its win against Eastern Michigan and that’s followed by a tough, but winnable game against South Carolina in Columbia. Florida and Western Kentucky won’t go down without a fight but those games are in Death Valley.

Nightmare scenario: The Tigers snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against South Carolina and the hangover lasts an entire week resulting in a loss to the Gators.

Prediction: The South Carolina game will be the only close one but LSU will win and go 4-0.


October 3: at Texas A&M
October 10: Troy
October 17: Louisiana Tech
October 24: Kentucky

Schedule assessment: This schedule has 3-1 written all over it. The only serious test will be the roadie to Texas A&M. Dak Prescott will have to have a great game for the Bulldogs to win that one.

Nightmare scenario: Texas A&M exposes a bunch of holes in the Mississippi State defense and the Bulldogs find a way to lose one of the final three games in October.

Prediction: The Bulldogs will make it close in College Station only to lose but they will rebound with three straight wins to close out the month.


October 3: South Carolina
October 10: Florida
October 17: at Georgia
October 24: at Vanderbilt

Schedule assessment: By the time October arrives, Gary Pinkel’s defense will start flexing its muscles and the Tigers will emerge for the third straight year as Eastern Division championship contenders. The Georgia game in Athens is the only one Mizzou will go into as an underdog.

Nightmare scenario: Steve Spurrier springs the upset and it takes the Tigers two more weeks to recover for a 1-3 October.

Prediction: Missouri will go 3-1 for the month and will have a division championship within its sights when November rolls around.


October 3: at Florida
October 10: New Mexico State
October 17: at Memphis
October 24: Texas A&M
October 31: at Auburn

Schedule assessment: The Rebels are the only SEC team with a 5-game October schedule. It starts with two winnable games and then there is a trap game with a non-conference Memphis team that is capable of springing an upset followed by the Aggies and Auburn. Beating Memphis will be critical to finishing the month on a strong note.

Nightmare scenario: The Rebels take Florida lightly and lose, then two weeks later Memphis squeezes them at the Liberty Bowl and they don’t recover for a 1-4 October.

Prediction: The Rebels will go 3-2. Anything better will require more than a few breaks.


October 3: at Missouri
October 10: LSU
October 17: Vanderbilt October 31: at Texas A&M

Schedule assessment: After a tough September schedule things won’t get much easier for Steve Spurrie and the Gamecocks. Other than the Vanderbilt game, the Gamecocks probably won’t be favored in any of the four games.

Nightmare scenario: Depth is a problem and after getting battered and bruised by Mizzou and LSU, the Gamecocks lose to Vandy and complete the month at 0-4 in College Station.

Prediction: It’s going to be a tough month for the Head Ball Coach. A 1-3 is likely. A 2-2 should be cause for celebration.


October 3: Arkansas
October 10: Georgia
October 24: at Alabama
October 31: at Kentucky

Schedule assessment: Nobody in the SEC has a tougher three-game stretch in October than the Vols, who could play very well and still go 0-3 before a get well game with Kentucky on October 31. The Georgia game is prime for an upset.

Nightmare scenario: The Vols are so beaten up by the time they travel to Lexington they can’t put up any resistance.

Prediction: Reality says the Vols go 1-3, but their season could turn around if they ambush Georgia at Neyland.


October 3: Mississippi State
October 17: Alabama
October 24: at Ole Miss
October 31: South Carolina

Schedule assessment: The Aggies get three of four at Kyle Field so it’s a very favorable schedule. The only game in which the Aggies will be underdogs is Alabama.

Nightmare scenario: Dak Prescott does such a number on the Aggie defense that the hangover lasts the rest of the month and they go 1-3 or 0-4.

Prediction: It’s a second straight 3-1 month for the Aggies.


October 3: at Middle Tennessee
October 17: at South Carolina
October 24: Missouri
October 31: at Houston

Schedule assessment: Why schedule Middle Tennessee on the road? Dumb move because the Raiders are good enough to beat Vandy in Murfreesboro. The other three games on the October agenda will not be kind to the Commodores.

Nightmare scenario: Vandy loses to MTSU and goes 0-4.

Prediction: Vandy goes 1-3 and fans who got comfy going bowling for three straight years under James Franklin will be calling for Derek Mason’s head on a platter.


Florida 27, Georgia 0; November 10, 1984

The play everyone remembers is the 96-yard touchdown pass from Kerwin Bell to Ricky Nattiel that made it 24-0 but that was just icing on the cake. Florida’s defense came up with one of the great goal line stands in UF history, holding the Bulldogs out of the end zone four straight plays in final seconds of the third quarter when Georgia was threatening to stage one of those miracle comebacks. On first down from the two, several Gators stuffed Andre Smith at the one. On second down, Mark Korff met Cleveland Gary going over the top to force a fumble that was given to Georgia a half yard away. On third down, Alonzo Johnson blew in from the edge and stopped Tony Mangram in his tracks back at the three, then on fourth down Georgia tried Smith on a toss sweep to the right side but Roger Sibbald made the first contact at the two and Korff and Johnson cleaned things up to give the Gators the football. On third and eight from the four, Bell, a redshirt walk-on from Mayo, dropped into the end zone with perfect protection and launched a bomb to Nattiel, who caught the ball at the UF 44 and then sprinted the last 56 yards for the fork that signaled Georgia was done. Within two minutes Bulldog fans were clogging the exits at the Gator Bowl. Florida’s win ended Georgia’s hopes of a fourth straight SEC title. Florida won the 1984 SEC title on the field, but had it stripped after the season by a vote of the SEC presidents that was spearheaded by Roy Kramer and Vince Dooley. The Gators never gave back the SEC championship trophy and players still wear those championship rings proudly.


Serena Williams is in the Wimbledon finals again and she’ll probably win. Again. When she hangs up her racquet will that be the death knell for tennis in America? There isn’t anyone of star caliber on the horizon on the women’s side and men’s tennis has been all but dead for years.

Kenny “Snake” Stabler died of colon cancer Thursday. He was 69. Maybe no NFL player ever squeezed more fun into 69 years than Stabler, who never lost his love for the Alabama Gulf Coast, fast boats and cold beer.

Roger Goodell says a decision on Tom Brady’s appeal of a 4-game suspension for Deflate-Gate will come as early as next week. Goodell can’t let Brady off without some sort of suspension, but figure it will be cut in half.

ESPN has canned Keith Olberman. It should have happened long ago.

Braxton Miller’s shoulder is healthy and so is his ego. Miller says, “I know I am the best athlete in college football.”

Just a week after signing a Dallas Mavericks offer sheet, DeAndre Jordan reversed course and re-upped with the Los Angeles Lakers. Richard Lapchick of UCF’s highly regarded Institute for Diversity and Ethics in sport calls Jordan’s decision “Unethical.”

Jameis Winston’s request to have a civil suit trial brought on by alleged rape victim Erica Kinsman moved to Tallahassee has been denied in US District Court. The trial will proceed in state court in Orlando.


A three-part question: (1) Is professional tennis still relevant to you; (2) Would you watch it if there were any Americans other than Serena Williams competing at the top; and (3) will you even bother to watch the Wimbledon finals this weekend?


Norah Jones benefits from a very good musical gene pool. Her mom is American concert producer Sue Jones and her dad is Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar. She’s won nine Grammy Awards in 15 years including one in 2004 for her “Feels Like Home” album which earned her the award for best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Fightin Gators Top Stories