I Have The Power

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

1)Georgia (1-0): Did everyone enjoy the Duck hunt in Atlanta? The Georgia faithful sure did. UGA dismantled Oregon 49-3. Could have been a lot worse. After week 1 Georgia is the best team in the country.

The defending national champions looked as if they could repeat. I am not going to say it but #13 looked like the best QB in the country last weekend. Yeah, I did say it.

2) Alabama (1-0): Alabama beat Utah State 55-0. Good solid opening day win for Alabama. Alabama and Georgia are the class of the country now.

The Tide is preparing to issue a beatdown to the Texas Longhorns on Saturday in Austin, Texas.

3) Florida (1-0): Yes, Florida goes right here after week one. The Gators playing in front of a raucous Swamp crowd on Saturday night beat the team everyone said would blow them out in Utah.

Utah was never coming into Gainesville and getting a win. BTW, I called this outcome.

The Gates land here. Billy got snubbed by LSU in the hiring process after building the best program in Louisiana. They called him Sunbelt Billy in LSU circles. Bet the power brokers in Red Stick are kicking themselves now after the Brian Kelly debacle against FSU.

Anthony Richardson looks like a Heisman front-runner.

4) Tennessee (1-0): The Vol offense looked world class, but can they stop anyone with a pulse. But today they land in the four spot. Look at the SEC East rising to the top of the current power rankings…

5) Arkansas (1-0): The Hogs beat a College Football Playoff contestant from a year ago at home last weekend in Cincinnati. That is enough to land in the top five of my initial SEC power rankings for 2022.

6) Mississippi State (1-0): The Air Raid is in full effect in year 3 of the Mike Leach era in Starkville. This could be a dangerous team in 2022. Alabama and Georgia are you listening?

7) Kentucky (1-0): The Cats looked ok in week one. Business picks up this weekend in Gainesville. I mean business really picks up. The Cats will not be ready to handle Anthony Richardson and the Gators.

8) Ole Miss (1-0): The Ole Miss defense looks solid. The offense will come around soon. Lane Kiffin will see to that.

9) Texas A&M (1-0): I am not a believer. Do not get upset by Appy State at home this weekend Aggies.

10) Missouri (1-0): The Tigers looked like you would expect Mizzou to look and that is the look of an SEC bottom feeder.

11) South Carolina (1-0): The Gamecocks had to block two punts for TDs against Georgia State to pull away.

Spencer Rattler looked rusty. Carolina better get better quick with Arkansas and Georgia coming up during the next two weeks.

12) Auburn (1-0): Auburn should never be in this position which is a formal accusation on everything associated with Auburn at this moment in time. This is unacceptable.

13) Vanderbilt (2-0): This may be the high-water mark for Vandy in 2022. Vandy looks good on offense currently. Enjoy it while it lasts.

14) LSU (0-1): What in the blue hell LSU?

You looked like hot garbage against Florida State. Offense was horrible. Players were unmotivated, coaches lacked emotion.

The culture in Baton Rouge right now is rotten. For week one you land right here where you deserve.

Florida looked impressive with Billy Napier in his first game. LSU looked awful under Brian Kelly in his first game.

Absolutely no reason for LSU to look this bad with the talent on that roster.

Out Front

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

When the UCF Knights took the field for their spring game on Saturday, they had a unique look.

UCF announced that in the spring game, players will be donning custom QR codes on the back of their jerseys in place of the traditional number. The QR code will link back to the player’s profile on the UCF athletics website.

On the UCF website, each player has links to their social media profiles. This innovative approach to the spring game further emphasizes the changing times across college athletics in the NIL era.

This approach is not the first of its kind for UCF in the NIL era. Last spring, UCF geared up for its spring game with different looking uniforms, just like this year. Last spring game, though, Knights players had their Twitter handles on their nameplates.

Things obviously look drastically different right now across college sports than they did a couple years ago. With players now able to profit off of their Name, Image, and Likeness, the game has completely changed. UCF head coach Gus Malzahn has seen those changes come by firsthand.

UCF has tried to embrace the evolving times under Malzahn, and now these types of things are par for the course in college sports.

“Last year, we put Twitter handles on our jerseys. I was like, ‘What the heck am I doing?’” Malzahn said. “We wanted to be the school that embraced it. At the old traditional schools, there’s a lot of dynamics. Yeah, they’re for it but really, they’re not for it. We are a school that can fully embrace it—the young school, social media. It fits with us. It was a little weird early on. Now it’s not. Now it’s part of the job description.”

UCF’s offense hit its stride in the Spring Game after quarterbacks Mikey Keene and John Rhys Plumlee combined to produce nearly 500 passing yards.

Malzahn’s optimism for the quarterbacks showed on the stat sheet with Keene going 21 of 28 for 282 passing yards and three touchdowns, while Plumlee went 11 of 15 for 189 passing yards and four touchdowns.

Opponents totaled 25 sacks for 158 yards against UCF last year. That’s 4 more sacks and 23 extra yards than the year prior.

With starters Cole Schneider and Marcus Tatum off to the pros, Malzahn turned to the NCAA transfer portal for more size. He found that with a 6-foot-10 offensive tackle Ryan Swoboda (Virginia) and a 6-foot-7 tackle Tylan Grable (Jacksonville State).

With the combination of adding two transfers with a full year of development under coach Herb Hand, Malzahn likes where things stand with his offensive line.

That success by the offensive line will lead to running the ball well. During the spring game, sophomore Johnny Richardson gained 108 yards on just 9 carries while Mark-Antony Richards, Anthony Williams and true freshman Jordan McDonald rushed for more than 30 yards each.

This all happened while starting running back Isaiah Bowser, who led the team with 9 rushing touchdowns last year, had the afternoon off.

Last season was the first for Malzahn at UCF. In his first year, he led the Knights to an overall record of 9-4, including a 5-3 mark against AAC opponents. UCF wrapped up the season with a victory over the Florida Gators in the Gasparilla Bowl.

“Ever since the bowl win, it’s been different,” Malzahn said. “I think the combination of the bowl win, the combination of going to the Big 12, you can feel when you’re here that we’re about to do something special. You can feel it, the recruits can feel it. Everybody wants to dream, everybody wants to be a part of something special, and we’re well on our way.”

UCF is definitely a bright future stock to BUY.