Friday, October 30, 2009
A very spooky look at the SEC
By ESPN.com staff ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
In the spirit of Halloween, here’s a different kind of look at the SEC:
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Beware The Swamp, which has been a house of horrors for opposing teams lately.
Haunted House: The official name is Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, but it’s best known as the Swamp. There’s something inherently spooky about any swamp, and Florida’s Swamp is no different. Entire defenses have been known to disappear amid the sweltering heat and ear-splitting noise.
Cursed: The dreaded Chicken Curse has haunted South Carolina ever since the Gamecocks started playing football more than 100 years ago. Legend has it that they’ve been doomed to mediocrity. Only twice in school history have they ever won more than eight games. And in their best season, which saw them start out 9-0 and go to No. 2 in the polls in 1984, they somehow managed to lose to Navy.
Monster Mash: Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is still picking out the cobwebs after being leveled in the pocket by Kentucky defensive end Taylor Wyndham on Sept. 26. The whole scene was scary. Tebow, who on the way down hit his head on the leg of one of his linemen, lay motionless on the turf for what seemed like an eternity before being helped up and taken to the hospital. He suffered a concussion, but came back and played two weeks later against LSU.
Boo (Boo): Alabama sophomore linebacker Dont’a Hightower, one of the most versatile defenders on the Crimson Tide’s team, suffered a season-ending knee injury against Arkansas on Sept. 26. He tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee and underwent reconstructive surgery. He hopes to be back in full by the start of preseason practice next August.
Night of the living dead: Ole Miss is getting good at this second life stuff. The Rebels won their last six games a year ago and look like they might be finding a second life again this season after a disappointing start. They’ve won their last two games in impressive fashion and will try to make it three in a row this weekend at Auburn.
Scary Movie: If you’re looking for one of those slasher movies that makes you sick, Tennessee would probably “volunteer” the last four seconds of its Alabama game. The Vols were on the cusp of pulling off the upset of the season, but Alabama’s Terrence Cody had other plans when he bulled his way through and blocked Daniel Lincoln’s 44-yard field goal attempt as time expired to preserve the Crimson Tide’s 12-10 victory.
Jack-o-lantern: Auburn quarterback Chris Todd could use a light going off in his head, and for that matter, so could the entire Auburn offense after a brutal last three weeks. The Tigers started the season as one of the most balanced offenses in the league. They’ve looked like one of the worst during their three-game losing streak.
Nightmare on Broad Street: It’s been a nightmarish season and a half for Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, who’s really feeling the heat. The Bulldogs have given up 37 or more points in eight of their last 16 games. They desperately need a good defensive performance Saturday against Florida.
Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls: Among those SEC players you wouldn’t want on your bad side and certainly wouldn’t want to meet up with in a dark alley include Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes, Mississippi State defensive end Pernell McPhee, Arkansas defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard, Auburn offensive tackle Lee Ziemba and Kentucky linebacker Micah Johnson.
Favorite costumes: Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain/Darth Vader; Florida quarterback Tim Tebow/Superman (way too easy); LSU running back Trindon Holliday/Speedy Gonzalez; South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier/Happy Gilmore and Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin/Eddie Haskell.