Atlanta Falcons Offseason Outlook plus 2014 7-round Mock Draft

First things first, a 4-12 season shows that the Falcons have plenty of holes to fill. They started by maximizing their cap room by “trimming the fat” by cutting cost-efficient salaries and older players who don’t fit the future vision.  The following players have been cut:

CB Asante Samuel, Cap Savings $5.25 million Image

This move should speak for itself. Samuel is still a good player but not worth the $5+ million he’ll count against the cap, seeing as how he has already been replaced by two rookies this season.

LB Stephen Nicholas, Cap Savings $2 million 2014 and $5.5 million in 2015

Nicholas is the highest paid linebacker on the team with the least amount of production, this is a no-brainer.

G Garrett Reynolds, Cap Savings $1.329 million

An under-performing offensive line needs a complete makeover, enough said.

Others that could be cut:

DE Osi Umenyiora, Cap Savings $3.5 million 

I know he just came in this year, but this is a position in need of being upgraded and the birds will need every dollar they can to make the necessary improvements.

S Thomas DeCoud, Cap Savings $3 million in 2014, $4 million in 2015, and  $4.2 million in 2016Image

This move will save a small fortune over the next 3 seasons. It is affordable money if DeCoud’s production was that of his Pro Bowl 2012 season, but the Falcons have little time to wait and see if that returns. They need to use every dollar to see if they can capitalize on a veteran free-agent safety.

RB Jason Snelling, Cap Savings $1.375 million

With three running backs on the roster making more than 1 million against the cap this season, including incumbent starter Steven Jackson and flex back/return man Jaquizz Rodgers, unfortunately Snelling is the odd-man out. Antoine Smith has stepped up as well, making this move less risky.

Free agency is also where the Falcons could make some noise and turn around their fortunes. So here are a few of the options they could pursue:

DE Michael Johnson, Cincinnati

Michael Johnson 

He is a product of the home-town Georgia Tech and could be affordable as a run stuffing defensive end as well as a potential double-digit sack stud. His production in sacks last year was down, hopefully helping the Falcons land him.

FS Jarius Byrd, Buffalo Bills

The Bills now seem as though they will not use the franchise-tag on Byrd. He might be out of the Falcons price-range, but he is the best free safety on the market. If there is a bidding war for his services, it may leave the Falcons looking for another safety in free agency.

FS Antoine Bethea, Indianapolis Colts

antoine bethea

He is a more realistic candidate to be signed by the Falcons, seeing as how he is still an upgrade on DeCoud but he is much more affordable.

OLB Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins

Of course this is assuming that he even hits the market. He is a candidate for a franchise-tag as well as maybe even an extension. He would be expensive, but it all depends on where the Falcons want to spend their focus within free agency and the draft.

C Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns

He would instantly change the whole dynamic of the offensive line. Mack has already made it clear that there is a slim to none chance that he returns to the struggling Browns. The Falcons may be in the market to really upgrade this position  in particular through free agency.

OT Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs

branden albert

The connection of new Falcons Assistant General Manager Scott Pioli being the former General Manager of the Chiefs helps this possibility. He is a former left tackle, right tackle, and also a guard in college. He can bring versatility to the offensive line that it has not seen in a while.

OT Michael Oher, Baltimore Ravens

He does not have any connection, but seems like a good fit at right tackle and would help immensely.

G Willie Colon, New York Jets

He was pursued by new Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice while he was in Chicago, and he fits his scheme. He would also be a cheap addition who could start at right guard.

Others who didn’t make the cut: DE Greg Hardy-will probably be franchised, DE Michael Bennett-too expensive, OT Eugene Monroe-too big of a market, FS Louis Delmas-too many health concerns

And Now for the 7-round Falcons Mock Draft

Round 1 6th overall- DE/OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo 


This is assuming the highly coveted Jadeveon Clowney is off the board, and the Falcons would take the best player available which would be the versatile Mack. He has the NFL measurables and he is a clutch player, bringing in his best performances against top competition.

Round 2 37th overall- OT Antonio Richardson, Tennessee

He is a potential left tackle, but could play on the right side immediately as he develops.

Round 3 68th overall- DT Dominique Easley, Florida

He is a top 15 talent that slipped due to his torn ACL. He will be Babineaux’s replacement on the defensive line.

Round 4 99th overall- TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia

arthur lynch

He provides the ability to help in the passing game and as a blocker. Lynch will be a scheme-friendly pick for the Falcons, and should generate some home-town buzz.

Round 5 135th overall- S Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

He is a tweener at sefety/corner, but his leadership and instincts make him valuable at the next level. He could play behind whoever the Falcons sign in free agency and make his living on special teams for the time being.

Round 5 compensatory- WR/RS Dri Archer, Kent State

He could be the Falcons 4th receiver, and speed demon return specialist. Sometimes it makes sense to take a flier on a guy who could make you look smart, he has gamebreaker potential.

Round 6 166th overall- G Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt

The need for help along the line has been noted and here is just another body to use for competition in camp.

Round 7 197th overall- WR L’Damian Washington, Missouri

ldamian washington

If he is still here at this pick, the Falcons should jump all over it. He is a big-body receiver who can make plays in the red zone to help replace Tony Gonzalez.

Round 7 compensatory- CB Ross Cockrell, Duke

Talented corner who is underrated for his smooth transitions in coverage. He will help special teams and be a 4th corner.

Round 7 compensatory- QB Connor Shaw, South Carolina

connor shaw

The Falcons do not seem to be high on Dominique Davis, and that’s why they brought in Sean Renfree in the draft last year. They want to create competition behind Ryan. Shaw would provide that and he is originally from Flowery Branch, where the Falcons practice facility is, thus creating local buzz. He is a proven winner, and has great running ability which is also valuable as a backup in the NFL.

Round 7 compensatory- C Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma

This would be adding another guy to the mix in camp to push Peter Konz.


Why is this Richt’s time?


Most of college football fans know about the success of Georgia Head Football Coach, Mark Richt, but he may be more well-known for what he has not done. Richt is the elder statesman in the SEC, as he has been at UGA since 2001, but Richt’s main critics point to his inability to get to the “big game”, as he rarely has his team in real contention for a national title by season’s end. The famous end to the 2012 SEC Championship game against Alabama, where the Dawgs found themselves just “five yards short” of the National Championship. The others seem to be less haunting, but in 2002 against Florida, the undefeated bulldogs saw Richt bring starting quarterback David Greene off the field to make good on his promise to DJ Shockley. Only, the stage may have been too big at the time for young Shockley he threw a game changing interception which left a blemish on an otherwise great season and the SEC Championship was not enough to propel them to the BCS Championship game.


The good news is, that coming off of a disappointing season, this is where Richt seems to be at his best. He starts the season just out of the spotlight and slowly gets his team to believe over the course of the season. This season the Dawgs will be replacing the face of the program for the last four years in quarterback Aaron Murray. His replacement, who took over for the last two and a half games of the 2013 season, Hutson Mason is a fifth-year senior who has been Aaron Murray’s backup for the past four years, and in that time, he has created a buzz throughout Bulldog nation for his accuracy in practice and his knowledge of the offense.  In recent years, 4 out of the last 6 BCS National Championships have been won by teams win a first year starting quarterbacks. The defense on the other hand, is returning 9 of 11 starters off of a struggling unit from a year ago and under the new defensive coordinator, from the reigning National Championship defense, Jeremy Pruitt is ready to maximize this group’s sterling potential.

hutson mason

So, why is this Richt’s time? It’s simple, he doesn’t have to be in the top two this season, with the new college football playoff going into effect, all you need is to be in the top four. Now, I’m not saying that Richt would be incapable of leading his team to a Championship, but this format plays into his strengths. He usually has his team playing its best football by season’s end and with the new landscape of the SEC, having so many new quarterbacks, leaves the door wide open. Richt is a molder of men and it usually takes the growth of a season, so if there is an early loss, it will not derail this teams goals.

NFL Previw and Predictions

The NFL season is finally here and officially started with the Kickoff Special last night where the Denver Broncos took care of the Baltimore Ravens 49-27.  The main star of that one being a star of old, Peyton Manning throwing for 450+ yards and 7 TDs, showing everyone he has a lot longer left in the league and lot left in him.  Last night was a strong indication that the Broncos are for real this year but it still is only one game and there is a lot of football to be played.

This new season brings about hope for, well most every team, and just a new football season brings joy to everyone no matter how bad their team is.  There will be really good teams, really bad teams, frustratingly average teams and always a surprise team or two.  So what teams will win their division and who will go the playoffs and win the Super Bowl you might be asking?  Well your in luck because I’m going to tell you how it will all go down.

Division Champions

AFC East-New England Patriots

Tom Brady still there and the mastermind Bill Belichick still running things makes this an easy pick for the Patriots to retain their AFC East division crown.  There will be too much offense even without the weapons for the other teams in the division to matchup.  Their defense will be the unsung hero of the season, and their continued dominance of offense will be too much for division foes.

AFC North-Cincinnati Bengals

I am liking what Cincy has got going on.  They will have a formidable offense led by Dalton and A.J. Green and their defense is probably their strongest point actually.  Led by their star DT Geno Atkins and star cornerback Leon Hall, the Bengals defense will look to put the clamps on every one they play.  Matching up with their division opponents is very favorable considering it’s against all teams that aren’t known for their offense.  Cincy will edge out the Ravens and claim the division crown.

AFC South-Houston Texans

Texans are the most balanced team in the division, and they certainly have the best defense.  As long as Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and Arian Foster can stay healthy, they will be able to take their division.  They will receive stiff competition from the Colts but it won’t be enough.  They will use their balanced offensive attack and their stingy defense to overmatch their opponents.  They will split with the Colts in the season but that won’t hurt them in winning the division.

AFC West-Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning will look to bring the Super Bowl Trophy back to the Mile High City Picture from
Peyton Manning will look to bring the Super Bowl Trophy back to the Mile High City
Picture from

As we saw last night, they are truly going to be a powerhouse this year.  Peyton looked better than he ever has, gasp!, and there are so many weapons for Peyton to throw too.  I mean he threw 3 of his TD passes to TE Julius Thomas and WR Andre Caldwell.  He didn’t even hit Welker, D. Thomas, or Decker for one until he finally found Welker for his 4th TD pass of the night.  Point being, they are loaded and their offense will be more than good enough to cover up for some holes on defense.  They will be way too much to handle for any of their division opponents.

NFC East-Dallas Cowboys

A surprise pick I would say, but something is telling me to not go with the obvious RGIII led Redskins.  I think Romo has been playing his best lately in his career and it will continue this season.  Only this time he will get some help from his defense.  The Cowboys will look to generate a lot of offense and hope to get a lot of it from their running back Demarco Murray, as long as he can stay healthy.  This division will be highly contested but the Cowboys will edge the Redskins out.

NFC North-Green Bay Packers

This will be another shootout of a division.  The Packers have to get better on defense and Clay Matthews will see to it that that does happen.  QB Aaron Rodgers will see to it that the offense doesn’t slow down one bit and look to continue his dominance in the league.  They will have to beat out other offensive power teams in their division but the Packers are the best overall team and take the division again this year.

NFC South-Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan will look to guide the Falcons to the Super Bowl. Picture from
Matt Ryan will look to guide the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
Picture from

Atlanta is the only sure thing in this division.  Although their offensive line looked soft in the preseason, they should be just fine when the real games get kicked off.  They have too many offensive weapons to not win the division and I think that their defense is an underrated one.  Their offense will carry them to the postseason though and the question will be if their defense can help them out enough in the postseason.  Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Steven Jackson, Tony Gonzalez.  That’s all you need to know to tell you whose going to win the division.

NFC West-San Francisco 49ers

This will be a tough, tough division for any of the teams to win a lot of games within.  The 49ers though have the best offense and best defense in their division, just by a small margin though over the Seahawks.  Kaepernick will be a stud again for them and he’ll get a full season, just think of the numbers he could put up and the excitement he can create.  Their defense will again be stoutly led by future Hall of Famer Patrick Willis.  They will survive their tough division and schedule but benefit from it mightily down the road.

Wild Card

AFC-Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts

Ravens will have enough offense and defense to propel them, their weaker division will help them too.  Flacco will once again make the playoffs and who knows once you get in, anything can happen.  The Colts will be led by their strong QB play of Andrew Luck and a manageable division schedule will benefit the Colts.  They will be improved on defense as well which will help them.

NFC-Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Josh Freeman will look to erase the critics and prove his worth as a franchise QB. Picture from
Josh Freeman will look to erase the critics and prove his worth as a franchise QB.
Picture from

RG III will not be denied a trip to the playoffs, they will fall short of the division to the Cowboys but this team will be a dangerous one.  Their strong defense led by London Fletcher will keep them in games and their explosive play from RGIII will propel their offense.  The Bucs are a sneaky, sleeper pick.  No one is giving them much respect but with their offseason additions and their nice rebound year last year, I just think they will do enough to get there.  Freeman will be much better resulting in their offense being dangerous and their defense will be better to help them edge into the playoffs.

AFC Champion-Denver Broncos

The Broncos will lock up home field advantage again this year and use that to their advantage and not let it go to waste again.  They are the most explosive AFC team and they will have one of the better defenses too.  It won’t be as good as Houston’s defense, but it will be good enough to compliment their offense.  Peyton will have record breaking numbers and look to get his second Super Bowl ring and they just might do it.

NFC Champion-San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers are no doubt the most balanced and strongest NFC team.  They can run, throw, play defense with all the same effectiveness.  They will be too much for anyone that opposes them, but it will not be an easy road.  Kaepernick will get them to the Super Bowl for the second straight season and would look like it could be their year.

Super Bowl Champion-Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning celebrating what he hopes to be another Super Bowl in his future. Picture from
Peyton Manning celebrating what he hopes to be another Super Bowl in his future.
Picture from

I have the Broncos beating the 49ers in the Super Bowl.  I have to go with my early, early pick of the Broncos being the best team.  Peyton and his endless list of weapons will be too much for any opponent.  Kaepernick and the 49ers fall short yet again, but they’ve got a lot of time ahead of them.  The 49ers defense is better but Peyton Manning is well Peyton Manning.  Peyton will get Super Bowl number two and not let his younger brother out do him.  Wouldn’t that be nice, to see Peyton light it up this year and get a second and much deserving Super Bowl ring this late in his career, post neck injury.  After the game John Elway will proclaim to everyone, “This one’s for Peyton.”

So there you have it, the NFL predictions in it’s entirety.  It should be another great season and I am glad it is already here.  I’m ready to kick back and take it all in.  Let us know what you think about the season right here and how you see it all playing out.  I wish your team well!

ACC Week 2 Picks and Preview

Boyd and Watkins will again dominate this week. Picture from
Boyd and Watkins will again dominate this week.
Picture from

Hey guys! Week 2 in the ACC is about to begin and I know I’m excited about it!  After a really good showing in week 1, the ACC will be looking to continue it’s early season dominance.  Let’s take a look at all the games and I’ll let you know how each one will play out.

Wake Forest at Boston College

This is the lone ACC Conference game of the week and it features two teams that not many people know a lot about.  Wake Forest should be average this year while BC is just not going to be any good.  It is conference play so who knows what could happen but Wake should have no problems moving the ball with their offense.  Wake Forest wins 31 -17.

12 Florida at Miami

Another SEC/ACC matchup and a hated rivalry at that.  They don’t play that much anymore nor will they in the future so for bragging rights, this one means a lot.  Florida will bring their hard nosed rushing offense and challenge Miami’s defense that way and use that ground game to open up the pass.  Miami will use their stud Duke Johnson any way they can to generate offense but it won’t be enough.  Gators win 27-17.

Middle Tennessee at North Carolina

Seemingly an over-matched game to the untrained eye but to the experts such as I, you can see clearly this will be a closer one than expected.  North Carolina will ride the arm of the QB Bryn Renner to victory in this one, but a late drive by the Blue Raiders will scare the Tar Heels as they will narrowly escape with a victory by sealing it with a turnover.  Tar Heels win 28-24.

South Carolina State at 4 Clemson

I know the FCS made a good showing in week 1 but no amount of “Clemson being Clemson” will make this an upset.  Boyd will continue building on his already impressive numbers and make me look smart yet again for picking him as the ACC MVP.  Clemson wins big 55-7.

Western Carolina at Virginia Tech

The Hokies have been known to have their share of early season slip ups in the past “ahem, East Carolina and James Madison”, but not this time.  They did some things to be encouraged about against the top team in the country and will build on those things to roll over this FCS weak opponent.  Hokies win big 41-13.

2 Oregon at Virginia

The most awesome uniforms take the field against the Cavaliers and one can’t wait to see what they run out this week.  Oregon’s offense is beyond explosive and that will continue this weekend.  Virginia had a good win against a tough BYU team but no amount of confidence will trip up the Ducks.  I mean Oregon’s uniforms already gives them 2 to 3 touchdowns before they even step on the field.  Oregon and their awesome uniforms smash Virginia 56-21.

Old Dominion at Maryland

A new FBS opponent in Old Dominion will take on the mighty Terrapins.  Maryland looked really good in their first game and showed they do have some sort of offense after all.  Their QB C.J. Brown was flawless in their first game and they will ride that into this one.  Terrapins manhandle Old Dominion 38-17.

Duke QB Anthony Boone looks to lead Duke to a 2-0 start. Picture from
Duke QB Anthony Boone looks to lead Duke to a 2-0 start.
Picture from

Duke at Memphis

Ooo Duke and Memphis, this will be an interesting one no doubt.  Duke was solid in their first game and Memphis is playing their first game of the year.  I think Duke being in a groove after playing one game will be the difference in this one as Memphis is trying to shake off the first game jitters and rust.  Duke wins 27-21.

Syracuse at 19 Northwestern

The Cuse and Northwestern will clash and the Wildcats mean business this season.  Syracuse looked good in their first game against Penn State, even with being over-matched.  Northwestern though looked much better in their win over Cal.  Northwestern is a sleeper in the Big Ten and will show why again this weekend.  Wildcats win easily 34-21.

Richmond at NC State

Another FCS opponent looking to do the unthinkable.  Although Richmond is a more formidable FCS opponent, just can’t go with an FCS team winning ever in a game.  NC State will continue to play solid on both sides of the ball and win easily.  Wolfpack win 45-17.

Bye: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh

There’s your game picks and preview of each game getting you ready for this weekend of ACC action.  I have the ACC going 7-4 this weekend which is a nice way to follow up an impressive week one.  Again, there are some games where they are just over-matched but most games are very winnable for the teams.  The ACC will look good again and prove it’s out of conference worth more this weekend.  Let me know what you think will take place in the ACC this week and how you feel about my picks.

ACC Makes Good First Impression

Well the first weekend of college football is in the books and upon review of the ACC, it was an overall good first impression.  They weren’t undefeated by no means but the conference as a whole produced a 10-4 record for the weekend and that includes one ACC conference game.  No ACC team lost in upset fashion and the ones that did lose were just over-matched by their opponent.  All the ACC victories were ones that certainly help the strength of a conference that desperately needs it.

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd led his Tigers to an impressive win over SEC power Georgia. Picture from
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd led his Tigers to an impressive win over SEC power Georgia.
Picture from

In the ACC’s biggest win this weekend, 8 Clemson defeated 5 Georgia 38-35 to really put them in great position to make a run at a national title.  Clemson’s offense was clicking but what was most impressive was the defense’s ability to handle the SEC caliber offensive and defensive lines throughout the entirety of the game.  My pick as Tajh Boyd as ACC MVP certainly looking good right now after finishing 18-30 for 270 yards and 3 TDs, and running for 42 yards and 2 TDs.

11 Florida State continued ACC dominance over new ACC member Pitt in a 41-13 rout.  The star is no doubt my predicted newcomer of the year Jameis Winston who was 25-27 for 356 yards and 4 TDs, he also ran for 2 yards and a TD.  His talent is unquestioned, although a weak opponent, a great first road win for him and the Noles.

Maryland, Miami, Georgia Tech, NC State, Wake Forest, and Duke more than did enough to take care of business this past weekend.  All these teams playing inferior opponents and all looked very good getting the job done, most so was Georgia Tech, my ACC Coastal sleeper pick, who won convincingly 70-0 over FCS opponent Elon.  Even though an FCS opponent, they dominated them with their triple-option attack and did not let up all game.  Not giving up any TDs looks good too.

Close wins over opponents were Boston College and Virginia squeaking out their opponents.  BC was against Villanova so there’s concern there but better than 7 teams this past weekend who lost to FCS opponents.  Virginia was over BYU which was a nice win for the Cavaliers and gets their season off on the right foot which is what they desperately need.

The losses included Pitt, Syracuse, North Carolina and Virgina Tech.  In fairness to these schools, all of them were over-matched in their games.  All teams showed as much as they could and had some bright spots but not enough to put them over the top.  The Cuse lost to Penn State 23-17, VT lost to 1 Bama 35-10, NC lost to 6 South Carolina 27-10 and Pitt lost to 11 FSU 41-13.

So in the end, I would say the ACC was very impressive in their opening weekend of college football.  The Clemson win highlighting the weekend of course and other top power FSU showing that they may have enough to challenge the Tigers in the Atlantic Division.  This past weekend showed the strength of the ACC from top to bottom.  It looks like it could be a good year in the ACC, but we’ll wait and see how it plays out because it is only one week.  Week 2 is ahead and we’ll see how it goes.  ACC Week 2 preview and picks coming soon and I’ll let you know how each team stacks up this weekend.  Let us know how you feel about the ACC in their first weekend of football.

SEC Football Preview

aaron murray2013

Keeping with the football spirit, here is the breakdown of the best of the best and greatest conference in college football history.  This is our annual SEC prediction which will show the picks for the championship as well as individual awards which will excite even the most cynical of fans.  These picks are as good as money, and you can say that you “heard it here first!”

Eastern Division Champion- Georgia Bulldogs 

With 10 of 11 starters returning on offense, the main question marks are on the defense. With how the defense disappointed last season, there could be a chance that even though there were major losses on the defensive side of the ball, the team could rank higher in total defense than last year’s squad. The main thing everyone will be watching will be quarterback Aaron Murray who needs to raise his big game poise for his team to take the next step.

Western Division Champion- Alabama Crimson Tide

I almost do not even need to write anything about our defending champions. It feels like this team is set up so perfectly to win 4 out of 5 National Championships this season. They are one of the best program dynasties that we have ever seen, and possibly the greatest. If they can get past Texas A&M and LSU, they could run the table yet again.

SEC Dark Horse- South Carolina Gamecocks

This team has the best player in the conference in Jadeveon Clowney, and a solid overall team. The Dual quarterback play has always scared me, but has become the way Steve Spurrier likes to run things. Dylan Thompson and Connor Shaw both have starter potential and the confidence to get it done. Mike Davis is a solid replacement for Marcus Lattimore, and this should fuel them to big places and potentially a BCS bowl game.

Eastern Division Surprise Team- Tennessee Volunteers

This team returns 4 out of 5 offensive lineman and the top two rushers from last season in Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane. Justin Worley is stepping in at QB and they have 8 starters returning on defense, this is enough for new head coach Butch Jones to work with. They will look more like the Tennessee teams of the past.

Western Division Surprise Team- Auburn Tigers

NCAA Football: Auburn-Spring Game

With the Gus Bus coming to town, this team can actually use the talent that new head coach Gus Malzahn actually recruited. He will be able to maximize their early potential, and I think he will build this program back to a championship level. Nick Marshall has transferred in to become a quarterback in this offense, and as a former defensive back at UGA it shows his athleticism.

Conference Champion- Georgia Bulldogs

SEC championship 2013

This probably shocked most of you, but this seems to be too perfect of a storm for Alabama to repeat, and you have to like this offense that returns everyone. The defense will be ready by this time in the season to contain the Tide enough for Murray and the offense to finish the drill.

Individual Awards:

Conference MVP- UGA QB Aaron Murray

If the Bulldogs are to win the championship, then Murray will have to be at this level and thrive. He has all of the tools and weapons to get it done.

Offensive Player of the Year- UGA RB Todd Gurley

Gurley is potentially the best running back in the nation, and his hard-nosed running could coax any deficiencies in the defense this season.

Defensive Player of the Year- South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney

jadeveon clowney2013

Possibly the best player in the nation, but Clowney is never satisfied, so he will stay hungrier than ever this season.

Coach of the Year- Tennessee HC Butch Jones

NCAA Football: Tennessee-Spring Game

The job of turning around the Volunteers is no easy one, especially with no SEC experience under his belt. He will take this team back to the rocky top.

Newcomer of the Year- Auburn QB Nick Marshall

This JUCO transfer played quarterback in high school and when he went to UGA they made him a defensive back and now he gets to play his desired position with the Tigers. He could have all the talent that Malzahn needs to make this unit go.

Full Conference Predicted Standings

This is how I see this conference playing out this season, with some usual suspects leading the way. There are 10 total bowl teams in this conference, by my calculation.

SEC Eastern Projected finish                                                 SEC Western Projected finish

1. Georgia  11-1 (7-1)                                                                   1. Alabama  11-1 (7-1)

2. South Carolina  10-2 (-2)                                                        2. LSU 10-2 (6-2)

3. Tennessee   8-4 (5-3)                                                                3. Texas A&M 10-2 (6-2)

4. Florida  9-3 (5-3)                                                                        4. Auburn  8-4 (4-4)

5. Vanderbilt 7-5 (3-5)                                                                  5. Mississippi 7-5 (4-4)

6. Kentucky 4-8 (1-7)                                                                    6. Arkansas 5-7 (1-7)

7. Missouri 4-8 (0-8)                                                                      7. Mississippi State 4-8 (1-7)

NCAA Football: Florida-Spring Practicejohnny manziel

ACC College Football Preview

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd
Picture from

That’s right everyone, football is back and no other way to kick it off with a conference preview to get you excited for this year.  This will be the annual ACC prediction for this fall with everything from conference champion right down to the individual awards predicted.  Whatever you see, go ahead and mark it down because it’s going to happen.  Well let’s go ahead and dive into it…

Atlantic Division Champion- Clemson Tigers

The Clemson Tigers will take the Atlantic Division, but not by a landslide by no means.  They will experience stiff competition from their division rival Seminoles, but they get to play them at home this year, probably at night, which will swing heavily into their favor.  They have the most explosive offense in the ACC and a defense that showed some late season improvement which is encouraging going into this season.  This is it, led by Senior QB Tajh Boyd and Junior WR Sammy Watkins, this is their year to do it big and leave their mark on the last year of the BCS.  If they can get out of their own way and beat who they are supposed too and earn some tough, much needed wins against rivals Georgia and South Carolina, they could very well be in position for that chance at a national championship.  I see Clemson doing it and atleast winning the ACC, but don’t be shocked if this time in November you look up and they are in prime position for a National Championship appearance.

Coastal Division Champion- Miami Hurricanes

Last year’s real division winner, but due to self-imposed sanctions removing them from postseason play, the Miami Hurricanes did not represent the Coastal division in the ACC championship game.  This year, as long as there are no more sanctions imposed or self-imposed, Miami should make their first trip to an ACC championship game since it has joined the league.  That’s right it has yet to make a trip, man how far “The U” has fallen.  This year should be redemption though, led by Senior QB Stephen Morris and rising star RB Duke Johnson, their offense should continue putting up points.  A solid, experienced offensive line will be their biggest asset on their offense to open up holes for Johnson.  Their defense is the weak link but will see improvement, I mean as porous as it was, it has too.  Their schedule is a pretty favorable one that should have them in first in the Coastal by the end of the season.  Not going to be a classic Miami type season but look for Miami to have a solid enough year to win the division.

ACC Dark Horse- Florida State Seminoles

The reigning Conference Champion, FSU will be looking to defend their title and has more than enough weapons and experience to do so.  They return all their offense except their starter at QB which may or may not be a good thing, as far as talent goes.  His experience will be missed though for sure.  Stepping in is freshman Jameis Winston who could be a star very soon in this league.  There are experienced, very good pieces around him on offense to help him along.  The Seminoles’ strongest unit is ofcourse it’s defense which will reload and look to be the main reason it will pull through games this season.  They lose K Dustin Hopkins, but no worries, they will be more than fine at that position with K Robert Aguayo who nailed a 58 yarder in their spring game.  They pose the only threat to Clemson and rightfully so, although the big game is in Clemson, this team has all the pieces to defend their title.  Watch out for the Noles, if they get past Clemson, they would win the ACC and could be a dark horse for a National Championship appearance.

Atlantic Division Surprise Team- N.C. State Wolfpack

In the Atlantic Clemson and FSU are head and shoulders above everyone else, but if there was a surprise team, it would be those pesky N.C. State Wolfpack.  Just ask Clemson and FSU who has been the biggest thorn in their sides, I’m sure they would say these guys.  First year head coach Dave Doeren looks to continue his coaching career success here after being at Northern Illinois for the past two seasons.  Using his ‘Run ‘n Gun’ type offense to put up lots of points, N.C. State will be sure to be in every game along with solid play from their defense as usual.  With an early home game against Clemson, this would be a perfect time for a signature win.  Other than Clemson and FSU, the rest of their schedule is very winnable, so look out for the Wolfpack to make some serious noise this season.

Coastal Division Surprise Team- Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech QB Vad Lee Picture from
Georgia Tech QB Vad Lee
Picture from

The Wramblin’ Wreck got a chance to really surprise this year, and if it weren’t for FSU, I might even say a dark horse for the conference.  They are in the position that their schedule could either be really daunting for them or very easy for them.  I’ m saying it will be quite manageable for them.  Their biggest improvement needs to be on defense and going back to the 4-3 should help that because they never really had success in the 3-4.  Led by LB Jeremiah Attaochu, this defense will be hungry to redeem itself.  Their offense will be led by new QB Vad Lee, who has probably the best tools of any QB Paul Johnson has had to work with in his offense.  Their offense will keep them relevant in every game and could very well be on their way to a quiet, surprising successful season in the ACC.  Better hope that’s how it is or you can feel the seat under Paul Johnson getting ever so hotter.

Two New ACC Teams- Pittsburgh Panthers and Syracuse Orange

Well the ACC has officially gotten bigger everyone.  This year 2 former Big East (now AAC) members have defected.  Pittsburgh will be apart of the Coastal Division and Syracuse apart of the Atlantic Division.  I expect two rough starts for these two but the good thing about the ACC, who knows what can happen, but look for both of these to be around the middle of the pack at best just for the reason of transitioning to what I feel is a tougher conference than what they were apart of.  Either way Pitt, Syracuse, welcome to the ACC and good luck on your new journey in a new conference.

Conference Champion- Clemson Tigers

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney Picture from
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney
Picture from

Too much talent and to much of a fiery, good coach to not win the conference.  Yabo-Dabo-Doo and his Tigers will take home the ACC Championship this year.  If they are able to atleast win the big one against FSU, the rest of their ACC schedule is very manageable so long they don’t trip up themselves.  If they make it to the big game, no one in the Coastal Division is even close to Clemson, it would be a landslide, once again showing that the true two best teams in the conference are in the same division.  No matter how it’s done, if they do it, they would have certainly earned it, a tip of the cap to Clemson when they capture the Conference Championship this season.


Individual Player Awards:

Conference MVP- Clemson QB Tajh Boyd

If Clemson is going fulfill their expectations this season by winning the Conference and possibly more, he has to be the MVP, simple as that.

Offensive Player of the Year- Clemson WR Sammy Watkins

The former freshman phenom is more focused than ever and is determined to be great again.  He’s too explosive to not be the OPY and his big season could mean big things for Clemson and his NFL future, so no more motivation needed.

Defensive Player of the Year- FSU CB Lamarcus Joyner

Pound for pound the hardest hitter in the ACC and maybe even the hardest hitter in the game, this play making corner will be all over the field for the FSU defense and be the leader of a unit that could very well be top 10 again this season.

Coach of the Year- Miami HC Al Golden

Leading Miami to their first Conference Championship game since their ACC inception and first Conference Championship in their history has to warrant him a Coach of the Year.

Newcomer of the Year- FSU QB Jameis Winston

FSU QB Freshman QB Jameis Winston Picture from
FSU QB Freshman QB Jameis Winston
Picture from

The future star that will be the face of FSU football very soon, if he gets settled in the ACC early, it could be a very good year for the Noles.  Maybe so good it leaves Clemson fans very disappointed.


Full Conference Predicted Standings

Now a quick look at how I see the entire ACC playing out this season, a very interesting but more competitive conference it will be this year.

Atlantic Division                                             Coastal Division

1. Clemson                    12-1 (8-0)                   1. Miami                              9-4 (6-2)

2. Florida State           10-2 (6-2)                    2. Georgia Tech                 8-4 (5-3)

3. N.C. State                  8-4 (4-4)                      3. Virginia Tech                8-4 (5-3)

4. Maryland                 7-5 (4-4)                       4. North Carolina           7-5 (4-4)

5. Wake Forest             6-6 (3-5)                      5. Pittsburgh                     6-6 (3-5)

6. Syracuse                    4-8 (2-6)                      6. Virginia                          3-9 (1-7)

7. Boston                        3-9 (0-8)                      7. Duke                                3-9 (0-8)

So there you have it, the entire ACC football preview, getting you excited isn’t it?  I know it’s getting me excited.  I can’t wait for football season and all that it holds.  Who do you think will win the ACC?  Who do you think will be the MVP?  What about the surprise teams?  Hope you enjoyed reading about the upcoming ACC season.  Let us know what you think right here, we are very interested in hearing your opinions on the upcoming ACC season.

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Fighting For a Spot


Donald Russell, former Georgia State running back, is fighting for a roster spot on the Atlanta Falcons.

The former Panther stud back is now playing for the home town NFL franchise. He is listed as the 6th running back on the Falcons roster behind tailbacks Steven Jackson, JaQuizz Rodgers, Jason Snelling, Antone Smith, and fullback Bradie Ewing. The Falcons recently made the move to sign Steven Jackson, and it looks like the only potential playing time at tailback will come between him and JaQuizz Rogers as well as Jason Snelling, the others will be splitting time on special teams.

This would be big for Georgia State if Russell could make the hometown team, because there has been recent success for GSU players making NFL rosters. Russell has the type of potential to create a very recognizable brand for Panther football. The program is making the jump this year into Division 1 and entering the Sun Belt Conference, with Georgia Southern soon to follow.

National Collegiate Tailgating Championship

This year we here at the Deep South Sports Blog will be attending the National Collegiate Tailgating Championship in Atlanta, Ga at the Georgia Dome. We are going to be watching and anticipating who will win the National Championship this year. We will also be writing an article recognizing the Champions as they would have out-tailgated the nation.

This event is one where anyone is eligible to win the National Championship, from Mercer to Alabama, everyone has a shot at the Championship. The NCTC consists of : BBQ, Food, Drinks (includes mixology and Home Brew), Clothing, Jewelry, Collectibles/Memorabilia, Transportation, Equipment, DIY, Pets, Games, Junior Games, Family Division, and Fan Cave Division.

The best strategy would be for you and your team to enter as many events to compete in as possible.  Here’s a link to the website :


UGA Fans should realize what they have in QB Aaron Murray

aaron murray

Murray is the man, and he’s back for a final round.

This season should be a year for the record books as Fifth-Year Senior UGA QB Aaron Murray returns for another crack at an SEC Championship, and as it goes, a National Championship. He is on pace to break every school and SEC passing record by the end of October. Murray is beloved by some and taken for granted by others. He has been tagged as “the guy who can’t win the big one,” yet when he lost the biggest game of his career, the SEC Championship against Alabama for a trip to Miami, he was praised the most.

Murray has been  punching bag for the Bulldog faithful for the past few seasons to shoulder the blame in losses along with Head Coach Mark Richt and Offensive Coordinator and play caller Mike Bobo. He definitely deserves some of the blame, as any competant quarterback should, but he has been thrown around as the butt of many jokes that resemble the former GT QB great, Reggie Ball.


That’s right…Reggie Ball, the dunce of so many jokes that when he finished his career UGA actually retired his jersey. He is famous for the throw-the-ball-away-on-fourth-down stunt that was the perfect ending to the 2004 UGA-GT game.

Murray is cut from that elite mold of quarterback, in which the failure is from not winning it all, not a silly incompletion or misread of the stadium scoreboard.


Aaron Murray never says the wrong thing at the podium, he acknowledges his defeats, he does not gloat with his triumphs, and most of all, he never gives the other team bulletin-board material, as many others do. He is what Georgia needs for that next step and he’s coming back to do it for you Bulldog Nation, so how about hopping on and enjoying the ride this season as he gets his entire offensive line back for the first time in his career and the Dawgs return 10 starters on the offensive side alone.


He is coming back to win a championship, and doing so he will become the son of Bulldog Nation that can be the best to play his position, and arguably the best Bulldog ever. He is the only one to have 3 seasons of passing for 3,000 yards, not only in school history, but in SEC history. He finished last season with the second highest QB rating in the country and was the most efficient in UGA history, he’ll break Danny Wuerfful’s touchdown record this season before September is over. He also has NEVER lost to Georgia Tech or Auburn and he actually has a winning record against Florida. So for his finale, don’t you think he NEEDS all of Bulldog nation behind him?