Monday, February 14, 2011
Five SEC heartbreakers
By Chris Low
For every tale of love on Valentine’s Day, there are also hearts breaking.
The SEC has spawned its share of heartbreakers:
1. Cyrus Kouandjio: The country’s No. 1 offensive tackle prospect announced live on ESPNU on national signing day that he would sign with Auburn. The only problem was that he never sent in his signed scholarship papers and began to have second thoughts. So after spending a few days sorting things out, Kouandjio reversed course and signed with Alabama. Auburn not only lost him, but lost him to its archrival.
2. LSU’s passing game: Not that one part of the game is ever the sole reason a team fails to win a national championship, but LSU was a passing game away from being right in the middle of that equation last season. The Tigers finished 107th nationally in passing offense. They managed just 10 touchdown passes all season to go along with 11 interceptions.
3. Derek Dooley: In his first season as Tennessee’s coach, Dooley and his players had to endure the pain of losing two games they thought they’d actually won. In both cases -- against LSU in Baton Rouge and against North Carolina in the Music City Bowl -- the Vols were out on the field celebrating because they thought they’d won. But having 13 defenders on the field cost them against LSU, while a controversial officiating decision cost them against North Carolina.
4. Manny Diaz: Not only did he leave Mississippi State and take his many talents as a defensive coordinator to Texas, but several key in-state prospects that had committed to the Bulldogs backed out and went elsewhere after Diaz vacated Starkville.
5. Urban Meyer: The truth is that Meyer got it right the first time, but simply couldn’t bring himself to walk away when he stepped down prior to the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 2009 season. Meyer either talked himself out of it or was talked out of it and returned for what was an unfulfilling 2010 season for everyone associated with the Florida program. The edge was gone, the same edge that steered the Gators to two national championships in six seasons under Meyer, and there were also lingering health concerns. So this time, he walked away for good.