Big 12: Mythical Big 12-SEC challenge

No. 10 Tennessee vs. No. 10 A&M in SEC-Big 12 Challenge

June, 29, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Texas A&M (Big 12 No. 10) vs. Tennessee (SEC No. 10)

Texas A&M's record against the SEC: 0-2
Tennessee's record against the Big 12: 2-3
Previous series: Tennessee leads, 2-0
Most recent meeting: Tennessee, 38-7, in 2005 Cotton Bowl.
Distance between them (according to How Far Is It): 805 miles
Where they should play: Jackson, Miss. (379 miles from College Station, 438 miles from Knoxville)

Who wins: Tennessee

Why: Both these teams are in the unexpected position at the bottom of the conference after years of recent success. Even though Mike Sherman has an edge in coaching experience, the Volunteers simply have better players.

Tennessee preseason All-America strong safety Eric Berry should be able to snuff out whatever Jerrod Johnson and Jeff Fuller would try to produce, and the rest of the Tennessee defense would be able to shut down what the Aggies were trying to do offensively.

Lane Kiffin isn't sure about his quarterback, but it probably wouldn't matter that much against Texas A&M's developing defense. Look for Tennessee's Bryce Brown to outduel Christine Michael in a battle of heralded running backs. And Brown would have reinforcements like Montario Hardesty, Tauren Poole and Toney Williams to be able to dictate the pace of the game and help the Volunteers grind out a victory over the Aggies.

Tuesday: Baylor (Big 12 No. 9) vs. Auburn (SEC No. 9)

The count: SEC, 3-0.

Mythical Big 12-SEC challenge: No. 11 KSU vs. No. 11 Vandy

June, 26, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Kansas State (Big 12 No. 11) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC No. 11)

Kansas State's record against the SEC: 1-1
Vanderbilt's record against the Big 12: 0-0
Previous series: Vanderbilt leads, 1-0
Most recent meeting: Vanderbilt, 26-14, in a 1984 game in Nashville.

Distance between them (according to How Far Is It): 576 miles
Where they should play: Pottersville, Mo. (295 miles from Nashville, 305 from Manhattan)

Who wins: Vanderbilt

Why: The Commodores appear to have more experience coming back with nine starters offensively and defensively. And underrated coach Bobby Johnson has the kind of back seven on defense that could give whoever plays quarterback for Kansas State fits. With top players like cornerback Myron Lewis and linebackers Chris Marve and Patrick Benoist, the Commodores likely could keep Brandon Banks bottled up, too.

I would also give a slight advantage to the Commodores at quarterback. Bill Snyder will be starting a player with little game experience when he finally makes his decision later this summer. The Commodores could lean on Larry Smith, who led them to their bowl victory last season, or senior Mackenzi Adams, who started nine games last season.

The coaching acumen of Snyder would keep the Wildcats close in this one, but the Commodores have too much experience and too many defensive playmakers.

Monday: Texas A&M (Big 12 No. 10) vs. Tennessee (SEC No. 10)

The count: SEC, 2-0.