Kipp Branch

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Gold Rush

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Ka’ Shawn Thomas should be the Region 2-AAAAAA defensive player of the year. No other player in this area has had a bigger impact on that side of the ball than Thomas has had.

The 300-pound senior finished his Pirate career with that heartbreaking 29-28 OT loss to Houston County. Thomas has been the ringleader of a senior class that won 35 football games and 3 region championships.

When you mention the name Ka’ Shawn Thomas to his head coach Garrett Grady you get the following “Ka’ Shawn has been an outstanding football player for us for four years. He is our leader on defense. When things get tough the other kids look to him for leadership and he makes things happen on the football field. He can dominate the line of scrimmage and make teams struggle in the run game. He is also a great pass rusher, and he caves in the pocket in the passing game. You don’t see many kids like him that come through high school programs. He will be missed around here and will be a productive college player at Wake Forest both on the field and in the classroom. He has set the standard around here for defensive linemen moving forward”.

Thomas could end up on some All-State teams after the current high school season concludes and will most definitely be an all-region player in 2022.

Thomas committed to Wake Forest back in March. He was the top player on the Wake Forest board and was the first player committed in their 2023 recruiting class.

Wake will be getting a young man with a great motor, quick first step, and at 300 pounds a man who can command double teams from an opposing offensive line. Wake Forest is a program that is on the rise and is very competitive in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Ka’ Shawn comes from a great family, and he would probably tell you his favorite person and role model is his mother, Tashana.

Tashana is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and she has an amazing personality and when momma talks Ka’ Shawn listens. She has raised a solid young man that is going to be a success in life long after his football career is over. His mother and family have instilled a great foundation in Ka’ Shawn.

Ka’ Shawn leaves a great legacy at Brunswick High School. He will be mentioned as one of the all-time greatest players to ever come through the school. I personally believe that he is one of the top ten players that BHS has ever produced.

It has been a privilege to broadcast Ka’ Shawn for his entire BHS career on Pirate Radio. He has been a great ambassador for the program and a ‘yes sir’, ‘no sir’ kind of young man that always greets you with a firm handshake and the upmost of respect.

I know Ka’ Shawn is going to have a fine college career at Wake Forest, and possibly in 4-5 years you could hear his name called by an NFL in a future NFL draft. I know this the young man will be missed on Altama Avenue.

I will leave you with one final comment that I firmly believe. Ka’ Shawn Thomas is the best defensive lineman to ever play at Brunswick High School. I have seen many kids come through the program since I went to my first Pirate football game in 1974 and I can’t think of one better at his position than Ka’ Shawn.

 

 

Pirates’ Journey

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Year one of the Garrett Grady tenure at Brunswick ended in heartbreaking fashion with a gut wrenching 29-28 loss to Houston County in the first round of GHSA 6A state playoffs.

The Pirates finished the 2022 season with a 10-1 record. The Pirates were crowned Region 2-AAAAAA champions with a 30-27 win over Effingham County.

Let’s look at the 2022 season:

August 19, 2022: The Pirates hosted Andrew Jackson from Jacksonville at Glynn County Stadium. The Tigers finished 7-4 in 2021 earning a playoff berth.

Jayden returned a punt for a touchdown and the Brunswick Black Flag defense held the Tigers to 200 yards of total offense on the night in a 23-13 opening night win. The win was Grady’s first win as a head coach. Andrew Jackson finished the 2022 season with an 8-3 record and playoff berth in Florida.

August 26, 2022: The Pirates hosted Camden County at Glynn County Stadium. Most pundits picked BHS to lose this game, but a strong defensive effort and second half power run game propelled BHS to a 16-10 win.

Lionel Twitty made the play of his BHS career by deflecting a Wildcat pass inside the Pirate 10-yard line to preserve the win. Camden was the #2 seed in Region 1-7A.

September 9, 2022: BHS played in the inaugural Georgia/Florida High School Football Classic at Glynn County Stadium. The Pirate defense completely shut down Bolles in a 20-3 win. This was another game the experts predicted BHS to lose.

September 16, 2022: BHS beat Islands High School 49-0 in a very lopsided contest. Outcome was never in doubt.

September 23, 2022: BHS hammered Glynn Academy 55-21 to win its third consecutive City Championship.

The Pirate offense was clicking throughout the contest and Glynn’s only scores came on trick plays and a fluke pass deflection.

The 55 points scored by BHS were the most ever for the Pirates in the long and storied history of the City Championship Series. BHS leads the all-time series 40-37-2.

September 28, 2022: BHS traveled to Grovetown in Augusta for a Wednesday contest that was moved up due to Hurricane Ian.

Touchdown Terry Mitchell scored 4 TDs on his birthday and the Pirates won a 56-39 shootout to stay undefeated on the season.

October 7, 2022: BHS hosted Lakeside Evans at Glynn County Stadium. The Pirates took control of the game early and cruised to a 44-10 win.

The Pirate defense dominated the contest.

October 21, 2022: BHS traveled to Guyton and hammered South Effingham 42-3.

BHS scored 6 touchdowns in their first 19 offensive plays. Mitchell caught a 54-yard TD pass from JR Elkins on the first offensive play of the game.

The Mustangs kicked a 42-yard field goal with under two minutes remaining on a running clock to avoid the shutout.

October 27, 2022: BHS traveled to Evans and lost LB Devin Smith for the remainder of the season with a broken ankle just two minutes into the contest.

The Pirates turned it over 6 times on the night in an ugly 28-7 win to stay unbeaten.

November 4. 2022: The Pirates held on late to beat Effingham 30-27 for the region championship in possibly the worst officiated game I have ever witnessed in person.

The story of the contest was yellow flags that wiped out two Pirate scores in the contest.

November 11, 2022: First round playoff game with Houston County.

The Bears rolled up 600 yards of total offense and led 21-7 in the fourth quarter.

The Pirates put on a furious rally and tied the game with 48 seconds left, and HOCO missed a 32 yards FG to win it with one second left on the clock to win it in regulation.

BHS scored to lead 28-21 in OT and Houston scored to cut it to 28-27 and went for two points and converted to end the BHS season with a 29-28 win.

This senior class won 35 games and three city and region championships. That ranks this group as one of the best in BHS history.

Garrett Grady should be region coach of the year.

Ka‘Shawn Thomas should be your defensive player of the year in the region.

Terry Mitchell should be your offensive player of the year in the region.

Things are looking pretty good right now on Altama Avenue.

Sharing Is Caring

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The SEC is the premier college football brand in the United States.

It has been this way for quite a while now. The SEC has crowned three straight national champions in football.

As the premier brand in football, I believe the time has come to start rotating the SEC Championship game to different locations throughout the conference region.

The time is now to begin the rotation. Personally, I think Atlanta is a good place to host the game, but other locations have a lot to offer as well.

I’m thinking now that the SEC is expanding with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas it is time to start a six-city rotation that give more fans the opportunity to experience the SEC brand.

Listed below is the suggested rotation from my perspective with comments promoting each city:

Atlanta: Atlanta is pretty much the geographical center of the south. Atlanta has hosted the SEC Championship game since 1994.

The geographical blueprint of the SEC is now expanding outside of the traditional south.

Why not rotate the game to various points to the expanded blueprint?

If the decision is ultimately made to keep game in a central location like Atlanta, then so be it. Atlanta is a great host city, and the city has great facilities, hotels, airport, and overall infrastructure for continued success. Atlanta is the 8th largest metro area in the United States with around 6 million people.

New Orleans: SEC championship in New Orleans would be an amazing experience.

Food, culture, French Quarter, that party type atmosphere in New Orleans is second to none.

The NFL has hosted numerous Super Bowls in the city. Plenty of hotel rooms. If New Orleans is good enough for the NFL, then it is more than good enough for the SEC.

Smaller metro area, but things listed above make this a must stop on the rotation. NO would be the most fun stop on the rotation.

Arlington: the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, officially designated Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Texas encompassing 11 counties and anchored by the major cities of Dallas and Fort Worth.

It is the economic and cultural hub of North Texas. The area has a population of around 8 million people making it the 4th largest metro area in the US and largest in the SEC.

AT&T Stadium or Jerry’s World would be a perfect venue.

Miami: SEC Championship in South Beach. Sign me up.

9th largest metro area in US. Weather is always great and Hard Rock Stadium is awesome.

ACC would fight to keep SEC out of Miami through.

Can you see the SEC coming into Miami and selling out everything when the ACC cannot even sell out their own conference championship game?

Nashville: SEC Title game in the Music City.

Nashville just approved a new domed stadium in downtown Nashville, just a few blocks away from Broadway Street.

Two million people in Nashville metro area. Perfect city and new venue make Nashville a perfect host.

Nashville is a fun city that would quickly be one of the favorite stops in the rotation.

Imagine your favorite team winning the SEC and running into Kid Rock playing an unannounced set at his restaurant on Broadway during your postgame drunk fest.

Houston: Fifth largest metro area in US. Home of the Texans, Astros, and Rockets.

Houston is a world class city that has hosted multiple Super Bowls.

Houston is a must on any SEC rotation even if nearby Texas A&M is a dumpster fire currently in football.

It is time to share the wealth SEC and expand the SEC experience to outside of Atlanta.

Bogus Rankings

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Here are the initial college football playoff rankings released on Tuesday night with my thoughts by each team:

Tennessee: Wins over Alabama and LSU land the Vols in the top slot. The argument against Georgia by the committee was that they struggled with Missouri and Kent State.

Did the committee not watch Tennessee struggle against Pitt and give up almost 500 yards passing to Anthony Richardson and Florida in a 38-33 Vol win?

Vols land here by virtue of beating Alabama. I’m good with it. This defense is not championship caliber, however.

Ohio State: A brand the playoff committee loves. They always have and always will. Game with Michigan is coming up.

Georgia: Defending national champs are undefeated with number one Tennessee coming to Athens this weekend.

It will all sort itself out in a couple of days. Can you hear Kirby talking to his team about respect about right now?

Clemson: Another loved brand by the committee. The ACC did their best to protect the brand against Syracuse a couple of weeks ago. Is there a team in the top ten this week that Clemson could beat? This team is vastly overrated.

Michigan: I guess the committee does not think much of the Michigan out of conference schedule this year. That is my only guess on why they are ranked behind Clemson.

Alabama: The loss to Tennessee does not hurt Alabama as they control their own destiny. This Alabama team does not seem as good as previous Alabama teams. Loved name brand though by the committee.

TCU: Unbeaten TCU gets the hose job by the committee plain and simple. Ranked behind a one loss Alabama team and behind a Clemson team that has not beat anyone noteworthy.

If Oklahoma or Texas had the TCU resume, they would be in the top four. The committee loves name brands.

Oregon: The Ducks may be playing the best football in the country right now, but that 46-point loss to Georgia opening weekend looms large right now.

USC: The Trojans might beat Clemson in the top 10 and nobody else, but if they do not lose at Utah a couple the brand loving committee would have had this team near the top four.

LSU: The two loss Tigers believe it or not control their destiny in the SEC West. Beat Alabama this weekend and get to Atlanta and win the SEC and the Tigers will be the first two loss team to get into the playoff.

Tennessee is the easy #1 team in the country based on their body of work so far.

No argument from most reasonable college football fans that follow the sport. My question is why the committee didn’t give us a #1 vs #2 matchup this weekend?

We had an entire hour show on ESPN last night focused on the hypotheticals of it all. I firmly believe that if the Dawgs and Vols were playing on ABC or ESPN Saturday we would have that #1 vs #2 matchup.

Since the game is on CBS, I believe ESPN pressured the committee to put UGA at #3 to keep CBS from hyping a game of the century type matchup this weekend. It will sort itself out in the end but a #1 vs #2 would have been fantastic.

 

Initial rankings winners:

Tennessee: They beat the beloved brand Alabama.

Clemson: No way they should be in the top four.

 

Losers:

Michigan: Being behind Clemson is an absolute joke.

TCU: Not a preferred name brand by the committee.

 

Final Thoughts: If your name is Alabama, Clemson, or Ohio State you will get a favorable ranking. If you are not one of those three, then your resume gets nitpicked by the talking heads on ESPN.

 

Dangerous Gators

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It is that time of the year again when the Dawgs and the Gators tee it up on the banks of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida.

The game is known as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” The political correctness crowd would like folks to not refer to that title, but I have never cared what that crowd thought anyway.

The series began in 1904 with a 52-0 UGA win. Florida does not acknowledge the 1904 contest and says the series began in 1915. Since UGA leads the overall series, their claim is the valid claim for this article.

 

Georgia/Florida through the decades:

1900’s: UGA 1-0

1910’s: UGA 3-0

1920’s: UGA 3-2

1930’s: UGA 8-1-1

1940’s: UGA 7-2

1950’s: UF: 6-4

1960’s: UF 6-3-1

1970’s UGA 7-3

1980’s: UGA 8-2

1990’s: UF 9-1

2000’s: UF 8-2

2010’s: UGA 6-4

2020’s: Tied 1-1

UGA leads overall series: 54-44-2

 

The series has always been streaky with one team dominating the other over a period, but the last twelve contests have been relativity even with UGA holding 7-5 advantage going into the 2022 game.

Six times over the past twenty years one team has come into the contest undefeated. Florida came into this game unbeaten in 2009 and 2012 and went 1-1 in those contests.

Georgia has come into this contest undefeated 4 times in the same window 2002, 2005, 2017, and 2021 and has a 2-2 record in those games.

Georgia comes into the 2022 game with an undefeated 7-0 record, and as you can see in the above paragraph that means nothing in this series.

So, as we preview the 2022 contest you can throw the record books out the window. Georgia ranks second in the conference in total offense gaining 526 years per contest.

On defense Georgia ranks first in the conference and third nationally only giving up 247 yards per game.

Florida comes in the game with a 4-3 record overall and 1-3 in the SEC. Florida has lost SEC games to Kentucky, Tennessee, and LSU. The three losses came against three of the better teams in the conference. Florida beat Missouri at home 24-17. Their upcoming opponent struggled to beat Missouri 26-22 and should have lost that game.

Florida ranks seventh in the league in total offense averaging around 430 years per game.

Defensively the Gators rank 12th in the conference giving up around 430 yards per game.

Coming into this game UGA is, depending on where you look, a 15.5 to 17-point favorite in the contest. That is too high.

Florida’s strengths are offensive line, running backs, and QB Anthony Richardson. The Gators run for 213 yards per game which ranks as fourth best in the SEC.

I think UF comes into Jacksonville and tests a UGA run defense that has not really been tested in 2022. If Florida can run the ball and control the clock, then this will be a tight contest with Richardson factoring into the run game.

Georgia is a well-rounded football team. I think the Georgia passing game against a Gator secondary that has been torched in Tennessee and LSU losses will be key factor in the outcome.

UGA should be getting some key receivers back for this contest which will be huge.

Prediction: Georgia 31-21. Stetson Bennett has a big game passing and keeps some key drives alive with his feet to get UGA past Florida.

The UGA defense gets tested early but adjusts to take control in the second half of the contest.

I was thinking about this, if UGA wins this contest it will be their 55th win in the series.

SEC Pulse

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The SEC football season is now a month old. Those who follow football have come to consensus about every single team in the best football conference in the country which is the SEC. Here are my thoughts a month into the season on every team.

SEC East:

  1. Georgia: The defending national champions looked like a beast for the first three weeks of the season. Stetson Bennett looked like a Heisman front runner. UGA was lighting up scoreboards. Over the past two weeks UGA has looked very beatable with struggles against Kent St. and Missouri. Wide receivers need to get healthy, and the defense needs to stop the run better. November is looking brutal now with the recent struggles with Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Kentucky in consecutive weeks down the stretch.
  2. Tennessee: The Vols look like a scoring machine with Hendon Hooker at QB. LSU this week and Alabama next week will tell us what we need to know about Tennessee. Will the Vols be able to stop any offense with a pulse moving forward? Right now, Tennessee looks like a contender for the SEC title.
  3. Kentucky: The Cats gave one away in Oxford last weekend. But isn’t that what Kentucky does when the pressure is on? Still in contention in the east. Probably will need to beat both Tennessee and Georgia later in the season. That is not going to happen. They might get one of those big games, but they will not win both. Odds are they lose both.
  4. Florida: The Gators are in a rebuild. Billy Napier will get 6-7 wins out of this team and make a bowl. Florida will be back soon.
  5. Missouri: The Tigers played UGA down to the wire last week. Can they take that same intensity to Gainesville this week? The answer is no.
  6. South Carolina: This is a bad football team folks. End of story here.
  7. Vanderbilt: This team plays hard, and I respect that. Not a particularly good football team.

SEC West:

  1. Alabama: How hurt is Bryce Young? The running game looked impressive at Arkansas last week. Defense is solid. Wide receivers are down from previous years. This is still the team to beat right now in the SEC if Bryce does not miss considerable time. The TSIO (Third Saturday in October) next week in Knoxville with Tennessee could be the game of the year in the conference.
  2. Ole Miss: Running game and defense. That is the recipe in Oxford in 2022. 5-0 sounds good. Alabama comes to Oxford soon.
  3. LSU: Will the real LSU Tigers stand up? Jekyll and Hyde Tigers right now. Alabama comes to Tiger Stadium in November….
  4. Mississippi State: MSU is one of the surprise teams this fall. This is a dangerous team to play right now. Are you listening UGA? The November 12th trip to Starkville looks like a beast on the schedule right now.
  5. Arkansas: The Razorbacks are horrible on defense. They cannot stop a dripping faucet right now.
  6. Texas A&M: I called this before the season. This team is a fraud. No QB, no imagination on offense, and are about to get run out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama this weekend. The real loser is CBS who used a primetime 8PM slot for this game against Alabama.
  7. Auburn: If the Tigers lose on Saturday to UGA will Bryan Harsin have a job on Sunday? Auburn has QB issues and have not won in Athens since 2005. It is safe to say that Auburn has hit rock bottom. Recruiting is down and the boosters at Auburn are running and ruining the athletic department.

Stetson For Heisman

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

2017 seems so long ago. The Georgia Bulldogs won the SEC Championship, Rose Bowl, and were a blown coverage away from winning the national championship.

At the time there was the walk-on QB that was giving Roquan Smith and company fits on the scout team all during that championship season. That QB was Stetson Bennett.

After a brief stint away from Athens, and a global pandemic the former walk-on led Georgia to a national title in 2021. He lit up an Alabama defense for fourteen points in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line.

Still during the lead up to the 2022 season there were doubters. The doubters said UGA won despite Bennett. They do not remember the 40-yard strike to AD Mitchell and the capping TD toss to Brock Bowers facing an Alabama blitz to end the 41-year championship drought.

Then something amazing happened and Stetson Bennett torched 11th ranked Oregon for a career high 368 yards and a 49-3 curb stomping.

Then he has backed it up with great performances against Samford and South Carolina. Now Georgia is the top ranked team in the country, and you are hearing the impossible being said and that is STETSON FOR HEISMAN!

Wait one second Kipp what are you saying? I am saying Stetson for Heisman. Why not?

As of now Bennett sits high on the list of favorites. He is playing better than the media darlings that he trails in the current odds.

If the award were given today Stetson Bennett would be your 2022 Heisman winner based on performance, and if you base it on team accomplishments who is better than Georgia right now?

Brock Bowers is in the mix as well. Who throws Brock the football?

Bennett is a dual threat for the UGA offense this season. His grasp of the Todd Monken system makes the offense look unstoppable at times.

UGA scored in their first seven possessions against Oregon. Georgia put on an offensive clinic against South Carolina. UGA rolled up almost 550 yards of total offense against an SEC defense.

If you look at the UGA schedule from now until the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, you see the likes of Kent State, Missouri, a down Auburn team, and Vanderbilt.

Bennett should put up some substantial numbers in those contests. UGA should enter the Florida game at 7-0.

Then you have Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Georgia Tech. If Georgia can run the table and go 12-0, then how can Stetson not be invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony?

If UGA was to be a 13-0 SEC Champion and Bennett has played as well as he has during the first three games of the season, then he will have earned the Heisman Trophy.

Folks this thing could happen because Stetson is the leader of a complete football team in Athens, Georgia.

This story has the makings of a Hollywood movie script. The Stetson Bennett story would be an impressive movie. I know about ten million fellow Georgians who would agree.

The season still must play itself out, but Stetson Bennett is already a Georgia Legend.

The only real question that remains is, which actor would portray Stetson Bennett in a Hollywood adapted movie in the next 5 years?

Move over Rudy the Stetson Bennett story will be coming to the theaters soon.

Wind In The Sails

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The high school football regular season is already a third of the way finished. One local team sailing high are the Brunswick High School Pirates.

First year head coach Garrett Grady has the Pirates sitting at 3-0 on the young season with back-to-back impressive wins against Camden County and The Bolles School out of Jacksonville, Florida, which have a combined 14 state titles.

What is impressive about this group of Pirates is that these kids have bought into everything Coach Grady has instilled this offseason.

Off season conditioning, where the entire team improved on their strength numbers. BHS has ten players currently in the 1000-pound club. Last season the program had three players in the club. The 1000-pound club is a combination of max bench press, squat, and power clean in the weight room.

Most players increased their strength individually by 20 to 25% during this past offseason. The benefits of that show up in the second half of games like the Camden and Bolles contests where BHS wore these quality opponents down when it matters the most.

Off the field during the spring and summer the football program was very visible in the community. Community service projects, volunteer opportunities the Pirates have been seen around town this offseason.

Garrett Grady has instilled a culture of helping and mentoring kids around the community. I personally saw Harvard commit Jayden Drayton teaching kids’ proper fundamentals at a 7–8-year-old football camp this summer.

I was told by a family member that senior LB Lionel Twitty provided them with the best customer service experience they have had in years at Home Depot on a blazing scorching summer day when Twitty refused to let them assist him in loading materials on a trailer for a big home project under construction.

The program motto is “All About the Family.” This is not just a catchphrase folks these kids live it because their coaching staff coaches them on this every single day.

Character education is huge aspect of this football program, and the culture of the Brunswick High football program revolves around this.

Just this past weekend, BHS coaches worked at The Georgia/Florida football classic at Glynn County Stadium in supporting roles making sure the event was as success. BHS staff was there from start to finish on Thursday and Saturday for the seven-game event.

Brunswick had a game on Friday night but worked to support the school system for the other six games that were played. That speaks volumes about the quality of the BHS coaching staff. Twelve to fourteen hour days on Thursday through Saturday, then a long workday on Sunday getting ready for the upcoming opponent.

On the field, BHS may field the best defense the school has seen since 1999. Unsung heroes like Jordan Jimerson, Ivan Johnson, Zion Turner, and Keon Leggett do not get all the headlines but make their presence felt every Friday night.

Did you see that hit Leggett made on a Bolles receiver last Friday night? Ronnie Lott would have been proud.

On offense, unsung heroes like OL Eli Smith, OL Jonathan Welson, OL Quan Gibson, and OL Josh Walker wear down opposing defensive fronts every week. They just do their job.

QB J.R. Elkins is getting better every single week. You have young running backs in William Heck and Jamarius Towns that will be household names in Brunswick soon.

The Pirates also have a young LB on defense J’Shawn Towns that will knock you into next week.

Then you have a kid who waited his turn in Taivon Gadson, who made the game changing play last week against Bolles when he returned an interception to the goal line that changed the complexion of the Bolles game. The Pirates went on to win 20-3. BHS was trailing 3-0 in the third quarter when Gadson rose to the occasion when his team needed it the most.

Every good football team is full of unsung heroes. I just highlighted a few this week.

It is really “All About the Family” for the BHS football program.

Garrett Grady was a great hire by BHS.

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.

The Rattler Effect

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Coming off a 7-6 season with a win over North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, things are looking bright in Columbia, South Carolina.

Shane Beamer has the Gamecock Nation believing that Carolina will be contenders in the SEC East in 2022. I cannot think of a more optimistic fanbase than South Carolina in my history as a college football fan.

South Carolina is still in rebuilding mode; expectations are rising once again until you look at a schedule from hell.

South Carolina has a lot of experience returning this fall, it has a good young head coach and with the addition of Spencer Rattler at QB, the Gamecocks look to make noise in the SEC East.

South Carolina has put all their eggs in the basket of one Spencer Rattler, the Oklahoma transfer at QB. Can Rattler lead this program to 8 wins this fall? Let us look at the schedule.

9/3/22 vs Georgia State: South Carolina is only a 13-point favorite at home over Georgia State currently. Does that mean Carolina could struggle in this contest. Give me Carolina at home 34-17. 1-0

9/10/22 @ Arkansas: The Hogs are expected to be good, and Carolina must travel to NW Arkansas to play this one. This is one of those games Carolina must have if they want to be relevant in 2022. KJ Jefferson will be too much for Carolina on the road. Arkansas wins 35-24. Carolina is 1-1

9/17/22 vs Georgia: Carolina fans point this game as one that will shape a season. I believe it is listed as a noon kickoff in that furnace of a stadium.

September games in Columbia are brutal. If you lose to Arkansas on the road, then how do you expect to beat UGA? They will not. UGA wins 38-20. Carolina drops to 1-2.

9/24/22 vs Charlotte: Carolina bounces back with a 42-13 win to even the record at 2-2

10/1/22 vs South Carolina State: Carolina wins this one easily 49-10. 3-2 on the season.

10/8/22 @ Kentucky: UK thinks the UGA game at home in November will be for the SEC East Championship.

Could the Cats take South Carolina lightly? Carolina puts up a great fight, but they come up short in Lexington 24-21 to sit at 3-3 at the halfway point of the season. 0-3 in the SEC.

10/22/22 vs Texas A&M: This is where Carolina salvages their season when an overrated Aggie team travels to Columbia.

Everything comes together on this day for South Carolina and Sandstorm reigns as it is piped into a raucous crowd. Carolina wins 31-27 to go to 4-3 on the season. 1-3 in the SEC.

10/29/22 vs Missouri: Mizzou gets thumped by Carolina 31-14. 5-3 and 2-3.

11/5/22 @ Vanderbilt: Vandy is awful. Carolina easily 45-10. 6-3 and 3-3 in SEC play. Bowl eligible.

11/12/22 @ Florida: Toss up game. I like Carolina’s depth right now better than Florida’s. Shaky nod to Carolina 28-27. 7-3 and 4-3.

11/19/22 vs Tennessee: Senior night in Columbia. Tennessee is a trendy pick this fall based on their offense. Can they stop anyone is the key?

I like South Carolina’s defense better than the Vols. Give me Carolina in front of a jacked-up home crowd 38-35 in a wild affair. 8-3 and 5-3.

11/26/22 @ Clemson: I will not pick South Carolina to ever beat Clemson again until they accomplish it. Clemson at home 28-21. 8-4 regular season and Shane Beamer could run for office in the state.

Best case: 8-4 as outlined above with a bowl game in Orlando or Tampa on NYD.

Worst Case: 5-7 with losses to Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Texas A&M, Florida, Tennessee, and Clemson.

We will see how the Spencer Rattler experiment transpires.

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