SEC Football Tonight Hot Topics #Vanderbilt #Boyd #Manziel #Mizzou #TAMU #Honeybadger

SEC Football Tonight Hot Topics #Vanderbilt #Boyd #Manziel #Mizzou #TAMU #Honeybadger
August 19, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Matt hopes Tyrann Mathieu, now with the Cardinals, can keep it together.

(USA Today Sports Images)

Rape case could sink Vandy’s season 

As I wrote last week, Vandy’s ongoing off-field issues are really going to test the team’s mettle this season.  I’m thinking that the Commodores could have a nervous locker room right now, with some guys wondering what's going to happen next.  I’m not implying that there are going to be more arrests (like the arrest of star wide receiver Chris Boyd Friday on a felony count of accessory after the fact) but then again the Nashville Police Department hasn’t ruled that out.  

If nothing else, I’d be nervous about being called upon to answer questions about the case, a case that involves friends and former teammates.  Vandy can claim that its sole focus is on its season opener against the Ole Miss Rebels, but I can’t believe that.  

So how well they are able to compartmentalize may determine what happens with this team.  Otherwise this case has the potential to sink their season. 


On-field ramifications of Boyd arrest 

Like I said on SEC Football Tonight last week, Boyd and Jordan Matthews might be the best receiving duo in the Southeastern Conference. But if they lost one of them, it could be an issue.  

Well now that has happened.  

After those guys you have an unproven depth chart.  Senior Jonathan Krause will really need to step up. And while Krause is steady, at 5-foot-11 and 192 pounds, he is not the same talent as the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Boyd.  Maybe watch for freshmen Carlos Burse, DeAndre Woods or Jordan Cunningham to step up.  The Commodores need at least one of them to do that.  


Texas A&M needs to be proactive in the Manziel case 

I think as this story continues to unfold in the days and weeks ahead, it will be important for the Aggies to be able to answer the following questions:  Have they been proactive?  Have they done everything within their power?  Have they interviewed Johnny Manziel and asked him point-blank, ‘Did you receive money in exchange for all these autographs that you signed?’ 

If Texas A&M has done all this I think it could make the argument to the NCAA that it did its due diligence and even if information comes out later that reveals that Manziel took money, Texas A&M can say ‘How could we have known when you as the NCAA didn't know.’


LT Jake Matthews might be Aggies true “star” 

While Johnny Football might be the celebrity in College Station, the real star player for the Aggies, at least as far as the NFL is concerned, might be Texas A&M left tackle Jake Matthews.  

He might be the No. 1 player taken in the Draft next spring and certainly the top offensive lineman off the board.  Now while many are calling it “The Year of the quarterback in the SEC” they might also call it “The Year of the Offensive Lineman.”  Four SEC offensive linemen are currently projected as first-round picks. 

Overall Rank Position Rank Player Team Projected Round
2 1 OT Jake Matthews TAMU 1st
7 3 OT Cyrus Kouandijo Alabama 1st
15 2 OG Gabe Jackson Mississippi State 1st
22 5 OT Antonio Richardson Tennessee


41 4 OG Anthony Steen Alabama 2nd
61 9 OT Cedric Ogbuehi TAMU 2nd


Mizzou will try again with QB James Franklin 

The Missouri Tigers are basically hoping that 2013 will be a do over after last year's disappointing introduction to the SEC.  

Remember the question last year was... will Missouri's spread offense work in the SEC and can James Franklin survive the beating?  The Tigers offense went from 12th in the nation playing in the Big 12 in 2011 to 96th in the nation playing in the SEC in 2012.  

Franklin has shown that he can be effective if you can keep him in the game.  I think the Tigers are banking on the return of running back Henry Josey to take some of the pressure off Franklin and hoping the offensive line stays healthy.  Last season's preseason projected starting five managed only 23 out of a possible 60 starts.


Arkansas RB Alex Collins my preseason pick for SEC’s top freshman 

I believe that Arkansas freshman running back Alex Collins is going to get every opportunity to prove his No. 1 ranking.  The five-star out of Plantation (FL) High School was 247 Sports’ top-ranked running back when he signed with the Razorbacks in February, and he steps into a situation where the position is wide open in Fayetteville.  

He also joins a program with new head coach Bret Bielema, whose history at Wisconsin is about winning with a dominant ground game.  Sounds like the perfect scenario to me and why I've chosen Alex Collins to be my No. 1 impact freshman in the SEC this season.


Hoping things work out for Honey Badger in NFL but too early to tell 

The fact that Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said Tyrann Mathieu has been the most dynamic player in training camp and that a scout said that he was pound-for-pound the best player on the roster comes as no surprise.  We know that Mathieu is an incredibly gifted athlete.  

The question is, can he avoid the same troubles that derailed his career at LSU.  

Training camp is very structured so it’s no real surprise he’s been able to walk the straight and narrow so far.  The bigger question will come when training camp is over, when Mathieu has locked down his spot in the lineup and success has arrived… when he has a lot more free time on his hand and a lot of money in his pocket.  

How will he handle that?  That is the question.  I hope this turns into a feel-good story.  I am certainly a strong proponent of second chances.  The NFL is giving him that and will pay him well if he can do it.

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