Kipp Branch

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Herons New Hire

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Brantley County has their new man in David Shores.

Coach Shores comes to Brantley County after a 3-year stint at Brunswick High School.

Shores served as the Assistant Head Coach, Special Teams Coordinator and Safeties coach for the Pirates.

During the school day, Coach Shores also wore the hat of Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for the Pirates.

Before Brunswick, Shores served as the Defensive Coordinator at Camden County High School from 2017-2020. Prior to Camden, Shores orchestrated defenses at Lowndes (2015-16) and Peach County (2014).

Coach Shores has coached in the GHSA playoffs nine out of ten seasons, since moving to Georgia, from his home state of Alabama.

In his thirteen-year tenure as a high school coach in Alabama, Coach Shores was a part of 2 State Championships, 1 6A Runner-Up, 3 Quarter-Final appearances, 1 Second-Round and 3 First-Round appearances.

Shores began his coaching career as graduate assistant at Auburn University in 1998. From Auburn, Shores served as an assistant coach at both Opelika High School and Hoover High, before going back to the SEC to work as an analyst at Louisiana State University, under Nick Saban.

Shores became defensive coordinator at Pelham High School in 2005, before taking the same title at Spain Park High the following season. He then served as Head Coach at Spain Park from 2008-2010 and Head Coach/Athletics Director at Pell City High School from 2011-2013.

Coach Shores’ record as head coach currently sits at 27-18, with a 3-2 playoff record and 19-11 in region play.

Coach Shores is married to the former Alison Still, of Waycross. Alison currently serves as the President of the Camden County Chamber of Commerce. David and Alison are extremely excited to join the Heron family!

Coach Shores had this to say to me after his hiring became official:

“I am excited about the opportunity ahead of me at Brantley. I feel like this opportunity was meant to be.

I have had a desire to be a head coach again for quite some time and usually apply for numerous openings, but this one just felt right and was the only opening I applied for this year.

It is close to home and Alison, and I really love this area. I grew up playing high school football in a small town. The small-town atmosphere really appeals to me. I feel like smaller communities are more supportive and really buy-in to what we are trying to accomplish with the young people in our program and community.

There are a lot of wonderful things happening at Brantley County High School and I hope to be a great ambassador for the county and play winning football on top of it.

Coach Cannon did a fantastic job here, and he played a lot of kids so we have some experience coming back in 2024, and we will need it because we are in a new region that includes Thomasville, Fitzgerald, and Worth County. Iron sharpens iron is our approach and people better buckle up when they play us.

I begin on March 1st, and we have a lot of work to do between then and August, but we have good kids in the program, great community support, great support from the school system and BCHS administration. I am ready to get to work! Go Herons!”

This is a great hire for Brantley County. David Shores has a great defensive mind and will run the Brantley defense.

He will bring in an offensive coordinator and will not change much scheme wise in year one. Brantley plays single A football and should compete for a playoff spot this fall.

A lot of exciting things are happening in Brantley County, and for the Shores family.

The Franchise

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2024 quarterback class may be the deepest in years at the position.

There is the potential to have as many as six QB’s selected in the first round when April rolls around. Let us look at the top 6 QB’s in the draft:

Caleb Williams, USC: Regarded as the best QB prospect in years, all signs point to Williams being selected by the Chicago Bears with the first overall selection in the draft.

Williams, a former Heisman winner, has the arm and mobility to be a franchise QB in Chicago.

The Bears will part ways with Justin Fields and hopefully learned a valuable lesson about putting pieces around a young QB so he can be successful. Atlanta Falcons are you paying close attention to this situation?

Drake Maye, North Carolina: Expect a run on QB’s with the first few selections, and now the beauty contest begins.

With the third overall pick in the first round the New England Patriots select the big bodied, big armed prototypical QB that fits right into the Patriot way.

Mac Jones will be cast off to greener pastures and Maye will lead a proud franchise for the next 12-15 years. Maye will have a distinguished career for the Patriots.

Jayden Daniels, LSU: The 2023 Heisman winner revives football in the nation’s capital.

The Commanders select Daniels with the second overall pick in the first round and Commanders begin the March back to being a playoff team in the NFC East.

Michael Penix Jr., Washington: Experts think Penix will drop into the second or third round, but his productivity cannot be questioned.

Could the Bucs at 26 or the Steelers at 20 take a shot at a productive player like Penix Jr.?

I can hear the so-called draft experts use every draft day buzz word phrase regarding this player. Penix could be a steal for someone. I predict the Raiders will take the QB with the 44th overall selection in the second round.

Bo Nix, Oregon: Bo Nix is quietly rising up draft boards. I now fully expect Bo Nix to be drafted by the Denver Broncos with the 12th selection to be the replacement for Russell Wilson, who will get traded before the 2024 draft.

Sean Payton will have his QB moving forward to turn Denver into a Super Bowl contender.

J.J. McCarthy, Michigan: Jim Harbaugh thinks his national title winning QB should be one of the first QB’s off the board.

I will take it a step further as I think the Minnesota Vikings will draft McCarthy with the 11th pick in the first round to replace Kirk Cousins who will be somewhere else this fall.

McCarthy has the arm talent and mobility that the Vikings want moving forward.

Sleeper Selection: Spencer Rattler, South Carolina: I think Rattler could be on the biggest steals of this draft.

The QB was the only bright spot on a bad football team in 2023. Regardless of what the New York Giants say publicly about Daniel Jones they are not saying it privately.

The Giants take their QB of the future with pick seventy in the third round.

This 2024 QB class will go down as one of the greatest QB draft classes in history a decade from now.

 

I Have The Power

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Another college football season has come and gone.

The SEC perception wise seemed a little down in 2023.

No SEC team played for a national title for the 2023 season for the first time since 2014. The College Football playoff committee/ESPN dream scenario match-up of Alabama and Texas did not come to fruition.

It was still a solid year in the premier football conference in the land. My final SEC power rankings are listed below. The 12-team playoff begins in 2024. Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and Ole Miss all would have made an expanded 12-team playoff if it had been in place 12-months sooner.

1.Georgia – It is hard to be disappointed after going 13-1. It was not the best UGA team in the last three seasons but it was damn good.

UGA was not consistent all season on getting pressure on the QB. They lost to Alabama in the SEC title game 27-24, but gave you 63 reasons in the Orange Bowl to show that they are the best team in the country.

A 12-team playoff would have resulted in a 3-peat. UGA lost late in the season one year too early.

2.Alabama – Considering the QB situation, it was great season. The demise of Saban and the dynasty was premature. The Wide Receiver play was not up to Alabama standards.

Jalen Milroe is a talented athlete who needs to improve in the short and intermediate passing game.

Alabama has had the most talented roster in the country for three straight seasons based on blue chip rankings, but no national titles to show for it.

3.Missouri – The Tigers were unexpectedly good and the future is bright.

Who did not enjoy the Cotton Bowl win over Ohio State? This team will be in the SEC title hunt in 2024.

4.Ole Miss – The Rebels won 11 wins for the first time ever. That alone gets you a lofty spot in SEC power rankings. The top four in this conference are better than any top tier teams in any other conference. Lane Kiffin has Ole Miss rolling.

5.LSU – I suspect a letdown given last season but still on the right track.

Did anyone seriously think the LSU defense would be as poor as it was? The Tigers  did produce a Heisman winner.

6.Tennessee -It was a good season for the Vols. There is lots of hope for the future after the bowl game against a tough defense.

It wasn’t as good of a season as I am sure most Vols fans hoped for but not horrible.

Tennessee must improve on the lines of scrimmage to be elite.

7.Kentucky: The Wildcats started 5-0 then finished 7-6. That is about what you expect from Kentucky football.

8.Texas A&M – Ugh. Mike Elko to the rescue. Does that inspire confidence Aggie fans?

9.Auburn – Only Auburn can lose to New Mexico State and then force Alabama to win the iron bowl in miracle fashion and upset the entire college football world’s power structure.

That is Auburn doing what they do best, causing havoc.

Prediction: Hugh Freeze in three years will have Auburn competing for national titles and will be the premier college football program in the state of Alabama.

10.Florida – The Flagship University in the state of Florida has had three straight losing seasons.

The Gators did not make a bowl game in 2023.

They have the schedule from hell in 2024.

DJ Lagway better be really good at QB is all I can say.

Billy Napier may not survive 2024 as UF head football coach.

11.Mississippi State – It may be a while for the Bulldogs from Starkville.

12.South Carolina – There is significant improvement needed in 2024.

13.Arkansas – Bobby Petrino to the rescue. Sam Pittman’s days are numbered in Fayetteville.

14.Vanderbilt – Vandy always has baseball season to fall back on.

On July 1, 2024, you have Oklahoma and Texas entering the mix. The SEC will expand the national perception of being the best conference in college football.

Something Smells Fishy

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

“If somebody in that committee room doesn’t think Georgia’s one of the four best teams in the country, I don’t know if they’re in the right profession,” UGA head coach Kirby Smart after the team’s SEC championship game loss.

Forget about who got in and just look objectively at Georgia’s resume heading last Saturday’s game

– Won last 2 national championships.

– Won an SEC record 29 straight games, three straight 12-0 regular seasons.

– No. 1 in the country 24 straight weeks heading into Saturday in AP and Coaches poll.

– Hadn’t lost a game in 727 days.

– Has dominated college football and the SEC, the toughest conference in CFB, for two years.

– Lost first game Saturday in more than 2 years by just 3 points and its two best offensive players were playing injured.

If you look objectively at the facts, there is no way UGA is not one of the top 4 teams in the country.

I don’t care who you cheer for, there is no way a team that has basically dominated college football for the last two years can lose one game by 3 points and drop out of the playoffs.

How do you go from being the overwhelming No. 1 team in the country for the previous 24 weeks and lose a championship game by just three points – with two of your best offensive players injured – and completely fall out of the playoff picture. There is no doubt Georgia is easily one of the best four teams in the country and should have been included in the playoff.

Now on to Florida State. Florida State should bolt from the ACC now after the 13-0 ACC champion got left out of the playoffs.

The precedent has been set now and it’s clear they should bolt to a more respected conference like the SEC or even the Big 10.

The committee had FSU in the playoffs after Ohio State lost to Michigan only to drop them out a week later after they won the ACC.

If Georgia would have beat Alabama, the committee was still going to put Texas in over FSU. FSU winning without their top 2 QB’s stirred up the controversy but the plan was already in motion.

FSU was one of the best teams in the country prior to the Jordan Travis injury. The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl a few years ago with a back-up quarterback and beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in that game. Brady is the recognized GOAT at the QB position.

The ACC let you down FSU. You would have never been left out if you were in the SEC. It’s time to get your lawyers working to find a way to exit the ACC.

The problem with this playoff committee is the messaging they use, and then have the ESPN talking heads spin it to drive viewership.

Greg McElroy had the nerve to say that “no team could ever overcome sub-par QB play and win a National Championship”. Well Greg Alabama did it in 2009 with McElroy at QB. He  passed for 58 yards in the title game win against Texas.

As of today, the best four teams are: Alabama, Georgia, Florida State, and Texas. Cheaters like Michigan did not deserve to go at all.

The gutless NCAA gave them a slap on the wrist. Ohio State lost to Michigan, and FSU has a championship defense. The Chicago Bears won a Super Bowl with a Championship defense and average QB.

The four most deserving teams are: Alabama, Florida State, Texas, and Washington.

Too much subjectivity in the only major sport in the entire country that does not have a true playoff system.

Also, ESPN is ruining college football. Guess who has the SEC TV rights starting in 2024? That’s right ESPN. The same ESPN that revealed the rankings live last week with the same talking heads that said FSU did not deserve a spot. Coincidence?

You better believe they strong armed this committee into Alabama. Go back prior to the reveal and look how Herbstreit had his helmets aligned in the background.

Enough is enough.

Successful Pirate Voyage

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2023 Brunswick High Pirates had another good sailing through the waters of region 2-AAAAAA this fall.

The Pirates finished with a fine 7-4 record and won a first round State playoff game over Mundy’s Mill 28-22 after trailing 22-7 at halftime.

This senior class leaves the program in fantastic shape, leaving with a 36-10 overall record, three region championships, and three city championships.

Head Coach Garrett Grady had this to say about the 2023 Pirates:

“We had another great football season at Brunswick High School. This team and group of seniors accomplished many things in their career here at Brunswick High. Looking back at this season it was definitely built on the hard work & dedication from the off-season workouts, spring football, summer workouts, summer OTAs, & in season practices. I am proud of this team and the way they competed from every start of each game to the final whistle.

I am very proud of our coaching staff and the job that they did this season as well. Our coaching staff not only developed our players on the field, but they developed them into young men with character and prepared them for the game of Life. This team showed a lot of resiliency & grit.

This team went through a lot of adversity and instead of letting it get the best of them, they fought through it and developed as a TEAM. Many players gained valuable experience that we can build on and I am looking forward to next year. GO PIRATES!”

The Pirates placed many players on the All-Region Team:

Region 2-AAAA First Team

Jack Hunt/OL: Hunt had a fantastic senior campaign playing center for the Pirates. Hunt was a team leader on the offensive line and will play college football next fall.

Heze Kent/TE: Kent will more than likely be the highest rated football prospect to ever come out of Glynn County once his career is finished at BHS. The wonderful thing for Pirate fans is that Kent has two more years in the blue and gold.

Jamarious Towns/RB: Towns returns for his senior season next fall, and you can expect massive things from him and the Pirate offense next season.

TJ Mitchell/WR: The most prolific pass catcher in BHS history. Mitchell’s play-making abilities will long be talked about on Altama Avenue, and he will be missed greatly.

River Creel/DL: Creel played a lot of football for BHS. Played well as a freshman and will be hard to replace next season.

J’Shawn Towns/LB: Towns is a thumper. His best football is ahead of him.

Devin Smith/LB: The Kentucky bound Smith is simply one of the greatest players ever to roam on the defensive side of the ball for Brunswick High School. Period end of story. You do not replace a Devin Smith.

McClain Fineran/K: Fineran made some huge kicks for BHS in his career. He will be missed.

Landon Etheridge/LS: Etheridge had a fantastic season at long snapper and stepped in and made a huge 38-yard FG in the City Championship game this fall.

 

Region 2-AAAA Second Team:

Grant Moore/QB: Moore will be a junior next fall. Expect huge things from him.

William Heck/RB: Heck had a fine junior season.

Waseem Murray/WR: Remember this name folks.

Chase Richardson/OL

Donyea Broughton/DL

Michael Daniels/LB

Tavion Gadson/DB

Garrett Grady’s Pirates will be elite on offense in 2024. Defense will need to replace some studs. Look for the Pirates to compete for another Region Championship in 2024.

 

 

 

 

The GOAT

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Alabama has played three of the top four offenses in the SEC this season. They held all 3 teams to only 10 points in the 2nd half.

Teams played, SEC ranked O and 2nd half points scored:

 

  1. LSU: 7
  2. Ole Miss: 3
  3. Tennessee: 0

 

Also, the Bammer offense outscored these 3 teams 66-10 in the 2nd half of those contests. How many of you wrote Alabama off after their loss to Texas? This football season shows why Nick Saban is the best coach in college football and reinforces the fact that he is the best college football coach of all time.

He has taken this current Alabama team, replaced a Heisman QB with a QB that simply has great running ability and turned them into the scariest team in the SEC.

Alabama is now imposing their will on other teams like well, like Alabama. They are big, fast, and physical and don’t make a lot of mistakes. Also, Alabama is still recruiting as well as any team in the country.

I frequently watch the SEC Network and my wife defines frequently as every single day.

All offseason the narrative has been that Nick Saban is on the decline. Alabama is not what they used to be. The talking heads on the ESPN family of networks wrote Nick off.

After the Texas loss there were should Saban retire narratives.

Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and Tennessee wilted in the second half trying to match up with Alabama.

Alabama is going to the SEC Championship game in early December, and it appears the Georgia Bulldogs and Kirby Smart will be the opponent.

Yes, UGA is back-to-back national champions and going for a third straight, which is a feat that has not been accomplished since the 1930’s.

Well, Alabama was going for a 3-peat in 2013 then the “Kick Six” happened at Auburn.

The Saban era at Alabama was the best run-in college football history with six national championships in twelve years (2009-2021).

The problem with that statement is that the run is not over. If Alabama can beat Kentucky which they will, a paycheck opponent, and Auburn then they are an SEC title game win away from being back in the playoffs.

Then I ask who wants to play the Crimson Tide right now? If you look at the current roster Alabama is not up to Alabama standards under Saban at QB, RB, WR, OL, DL, and LB. Yet, despite those facts Alabama is putting themselves into a position to compete for another national title.

Alabama may again be the best team in the SEC, and Saban is the architect of it.

Saban is the greatest coach in college football history. Next time his team looks like it’s taken a step back, fans should keep their traps shut before using the word “retirement.”

It appears that GOAT has been taking notes of his premature demise and has produced one of his greatest coaching jobs ever. The Tide looked like a middle of the pack SEC team after the Texas and South Florida games, but a transformation has taken place since then.

The 2023 Alabama team is not one of the greatest in school history, but the grit and determination this team displays makes their head coach proud. When your head coach is the GOAT then that is quite an accomplishment.

Once again, the Tide is rolling right into Atlanta with a College Football Playoff berth at stake. Nick Saban and Alabama will have a say in the matter.

 

Betting On Beck

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We’re halfway through with the 2023 Georgia football season, and Carson Beck is the big man on campus in Athens, Georgia.

He is the QB on the number one team in the country that is currently riding a 23-game winning streak. Beck’s stats at the halfway point look like this:

 

144-of-196 passes (73.5-percent)

1,886 yards

13 total touchdowns; 11 passing touchdowns

9.6 yards per attempt

Two comeback victories in SEC play

SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week, October 7

 

His head coach has all the confidence in his abilities and offered this about his QB recently on how he can improve: “Mobility. Getting in and out of the pocket decisions, when to tuck it down and run versus stand in and throw,” Kirby Smart said. “Some designed runs probably wouldn’t hurt him around the red area and things that he can do. He’s a good athlete.” Smart is always coaching his kids up.

After all, Beck has some big shoes to fill. His predecessor as Georgia’s starting quarterback was Stetson Bennett, who led the Bulldogs to consecutive national championships and was always at his best in the biggest games.

Now, after three years spent watching mostly from the sidelines, Beck is finally getting his chance to lead the No. 1 Bulldogs and he is making the most of that opportunity.

During both the South Carolina and Auburn games I thought “UGA just had 2 national championship years. It must end somehow and I’m going to be ok with this”. I still want to see UGA go undefeated every single year. Seeing UGA win back-to-back titles and witnessing generational greatness related to UGA football fills the fulfillment tank. At least, for a while. I’ll start to get aggravated again when UGA starts going 8-4 with an unexplainable loss or two thrown in there again.

When things looked bleak at Auburn a few weeks ago Beck’s play won the UGA fan base over. He won me over.

I feel more confident now about him in pressure situations than ever before. He won in a very tough environment.

Auburn ran the ball all over the UGA defense for the entire game and UGA turned it over numerous times. For Beck to stand in there and lead those last 3 drives, that was impressive.

The national media gave most of the credit to Brock Bowers, who is the best tight end in college football history, but Carson Beck was the one delivering those passes. The man is just cool under pressure.

Carson Beck has more pass attempts than any other QB in the SEC at the halfway point of the season. Not saying this is a good or bad thing, but halfway through the season I think it is safe to say this isn’t a run-run-pass offense as the Mike Bobo critics shouted to the heavens during the summer. Kirby Smart has unleashed Carson Beck and is going to ride on his arm in 2023.

UGA is 39-1 since the loss to Florida in 2020. UGA could be 48-1 if they can run the table for the 3-peat.

The statistics, records, and accomplishments from this run will easily be used as one of the standards for modern college football dynasties.

Alabama set the standard with 6 titles in 12 years, but Kirby has built something at UGA that is special.

I remember the 43-4-1 run from 1980-83 and thought nothing would ever top that at UGA. Well, I was wrong these are unequaled times in Athens, Georgia.

Carson Beck has a chance to make his own legacy at UGA. He is off to a great start.

Carson Beck is a kid who grew up in the Jacksonville area and he will get his opportunity to make his mark in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party right in his own backyard. This young man is a baller.

 

 

Killing Time

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Here is the main question in my mind and it is one that Florida does not have a great track record of.

Will Florida be patient and allow Billy Napier to build the Florida program the right way?

Florida was one of the founding members of the SEC in 1933. It took the Gators 58 years to win their first SEC Football Championship in 1991. UF has won 8 SEC Football Championships overall and none since 2008.

It has been 15 years since Florida has won anything of significance in football. In the same time frame the Gators have had 5 head football coaches. Doing the math Florida hires and fires head football coaches every three years.

Billy Napier inherited a culture problem at UF that he has been working to improve since he walked on campus.

SEC coaches privately tell reporters that Florida has consistently been one of the most undisciplined teams in the conference over the past 5 seasons.

Napier has addressed the culture issue, and a sample size of results are known. The Tennessee win at home earlier this season was a huge positive for the program.

The Kentucky and Utah games were nightmares that show that the culture Napier is developing still struggles with dealing with adversity.

Florida is still a work in progress. Look at UGA early in Kirby’s tenure with ugly losses at home against Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech, and an ugly road loss to Ole Miss. Recruiting will fix all of that.

I heard Steve Spurrier say recently that Florida needed to recruit their way out the current situation they are in. Billy Napier is tearing it up on the recruiting trail. Florida’s 2024 recruiting class is currently ranked 4th in the country.

The 2024 recruiting class has addressed the following positions to date:

BY POSITION:

Quarterback (1)

Running Back (1)

Receiver (4)

Offensive Line (4)

Defensive Line (4)

Linebacker (3)

Defensive Back (4)

Florida is recruiting on a national level with committed recruits from 8 states. UF is a national brand and Napier knows this and is using it to his advantage.

Moving forward the Gators must lock down the state of Florida better moving forward as only seven of the Gators 21 commits come from the Sunshine State.

The glaring weakness of Florida right now is on the lines of scrimmage. The SEC is an inside out conference meaning you build your team along the lines of scrimmage.

Kentucky exposed that when Florida traveled to Lexington. Napier knows his long-term success in Gainesville will depend on how he recruits and develops offensive and defensive linemen.

Florida whipped Tennessee on both fronts in that big win. Just the opposite with Kentucky. The Utah loss was a fluke in my eyes. Florida fans are loud and vocal bunch on social media after ugly losses like the one against Kentucky.

The Gator fanbase is a passionate bunch and the toxicity of social media doesn’t help on the recruiting side of things.

Florida expects SEC and National Titles. Things got off track over the past 15 years, and now Billy Napier is on track to fix it.

He is recruiting well, and that will fix a multitude of issues. Napier says winning is hard in media sessions. Winning is hard at Florida when you have a train track littered with poor coaching hires.

Now Napier is fixing the recruiting woes, and the Gator nation just needs to be patient for about two more recruiting cycles and Florida will be back among the elites of college football.

Time is a precious commodity, and patience and trust in Billy Napier will reap championship benefits for the Florida Gators. Time and patience Gator fans. Will you allow it?

College Football Super Bowl On The Way?

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Could Clemson be moving to the SEC soon?

Rumors are swirling again regarding expansion. The SEC currently sits at 16 teams with Oklahoma and Texas joining in 2024. Think of Big 10/SEC as the NFC/AFC.

We’re quickly headed for an NFL-like model for college football because the powers that be desperately want media deals like the NFL has.

The short term will be chaotic, but it’ll eventually settle into a pro formatted league with regional divisions that prints money like the US Government.

But everything between now and then will be uncomfortable for the avid college football fan. It’s regionalized divisions within a national league.  It’s how every professional sports organization is laid out.

Eventually you will see a new alignment that is consisted of the Big 10 and the SEC. You could see 24 teams in each conference breaking away from the NCAA governing body which has become useless by the way.

You could call it something like the National College Football League. You could appoint a league commissioner just like the NFL and negotiate major TV deals for each the league. All teams that are not members of the NCFL could stay as members of the toothless NCAA and still compete at football.

If Clemson bolts to the SEC, what is to stop Florida State, Miami, and North Carolina from following? You keep hearing things from people like what about Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Virginia Tech? Do you want the Big 10 to come down and gain a footprint in the South?

The answer is who cares. In the NFL you have the AFC South and the NFC South. You the AFC North and The NFC North. You see it really doesn’t matter if you land in one of the two major conferences.

What about recruiting? The top-rated recruits will go to a league that has the best TV contract, which will end up fueling NIL money into the pockets of those highly rated prospects.

This will create parity like we see in the NFL. In the NFL anyone can get beat on any given Sunday. An NFL type model in college will create anyone can get beat on any given Saturday.

What if the SEC expanded by four more teams in 2025 with Clemson, FSU, North Carolina, and Miami to put the number at 20?

The SEC could create four divisions with five teams. If a new body was formed with the Big Ten, then there would be no more cupcakes as you would only play teams from each conference.

Twelve game schedules, then two rounds of playoffs in each conference. You then have a championship Saturday with two huge conference championship games then a huge National Championship game on Saturday before the Super Bowl.

A 20-team breakout in a newly expanded SEC could look like this:

SEC Atlantic: Clemson, FSU, UNC, Miami, South Carolina

SEC East: Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt

SEC Central: Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee

SEC West: Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M

You would have 9 conference games annually. Each team would play everyone in their division annually. You would have one permanent opponent from the rest of conference and rotate the rest so you can play home and home with the entire conference in a 4–5-year window.

You would play 3 rotating Big 10 opponents based on a computer model that matches teams with similar records from the previous season. No more cupcakes.

The team with best overall record wins their division and makes the SEC playoffs. If there is a two-way tie in division then head-to-head tiebreaker is in effect. Further tiebreaker scenarios would be determined by league.

This model would require Notre Dame to join the Big Ten.

Put on your seat beat folks this is where college football is heading. If not two conferences, then four with similar type formats.

Rest in Peace NCAA. Can you envision a college football draft down the road with a draft order for the top high school football prospects with slotted NIL money for each pick? You talk about parity folks.

Tiers

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

After a couple of weeks into the 2023 season. There are signs that the SEC may be down in football in 2023. There will be plenty of time to reverse that perception, but as of today here are my SEC Tier rankings so far for 2023.

TIER ONE:

1 – Georgia: Georgia is the gold standard in the SEC currently. Two cupcakes disposed of so far with SEC opener this week against South Carolina. If UGA drops a couple of games will the SEC even be represented in the College Football Playoff this season?

2 – LSU: The loss to FSU was awful, but who else goes into this spot right now? LSU is talented and should regroup in time for the Alabama game to be for the SEC West title.

Can Brian Kelly get it done in Baton Rouge? LSU’s history says yes, but Brian Kelly’s history says no. We’ll see soon.

3 – Alabama: Physically whipped on the fronts by Texas who may end up being great, but warning signs are there if you are an Alabama fan.

Don’t close the door on Nick Saban. This is still a very talented and proud football program which makes them dangerous for the rest of this season.

TIER TWO:

4 — Texas A&M: The loss to Miami puts Jimbo on the hot seat. No reason this talented roster should stink the way they do.

A&M has a $77 million dollar quandary on their hands. If Jimbo is fired, they must pay that huge buy-out. Alabama comes to College Station this fall.

5 – Tennessee: Is Joe Milton really that guy? A struggle with Austin Peay raised questions about the Vols as they head to Gainesville, which has been a house of horrors for Tennessee for a long time. Vols have lost 9 straight there and have not won there since 2003.

6- Ole Miss: Big Road win at Tulane, and Alabama coming up soon will tell us all we need to know about Ole Miss.

Ole Miss has an experienced OL and a solid run game with Lane calling the plays. Division play is ending after 2023 in the SEC. Ole Miss has never represented the West in Atlanta for the SEC title game. Now or never Rebs.

TIER THREE:

7 – Missouri: I like this defense. A team you don’t want to sleep on.

8 – Arkansas: Are you buying the Razorback hype? I’m not this team is about to get exposed in SEC play.

9 – Auburn: This is the lowest you’ll see this team in the power rankings right now. Moving forward Hugh Freeze will have Auburn in the elite status in 2024 and beyond.

10 – Kentucky:  N.C. State transfer Devin Leary is all the hype at quarterback. They are effective at what they do, which is to bore the hell out of you.

TIER FOUR:

11 – South Carolina: Expectations exceed talent and depth. 9 sacks surrendered against UNC is a huge warning sign going into SEC play.

12 – Mississippi State: This team has a lot of unknowns, which is why they land here in their traditional spot in rankings like these. Historic bottom feeder.

13 – Florida: Gators have a schedule that can get a coach fired. Florida has fired a lot of coaches lately.

Billy Napier can recruit Florida out of this, but he needs time.

Statement game against Tennessee this weekend. The Utah game was bad. This team looks talented on defense.

14 – Vanderbilt: Vandy’s destiny is here. It is their birthright. Hopefully one day they can climb out of here.

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