Tag Archives: LaQuon Treadwell

Watching Only One SEC Football Game Each Week: Part Two

A little over a week ago, I introduced this idea. What if, for some terrible reason, I could only watch one SEC football game each weekend this season? Which games would I watch? Part one featured my picks for weeks one through six of the SEC football season. Here are my picks for the remainder of the season.

Week 7: #1 Alabama @ #10 Tennessee

This is probably the one game I’m most excited to watch all season. The Crimson Tide may have lost some key pieces to their championship team but they have plenty of recruits from their past few classes that can fill in those gaps. They also have Bo Scarbrough to replace Derrick Henry, and he definitely cannot be ignored. On the other hand, Butch Jones and Tennessee didn’t really lose important pieces to their puzzle at all. They return experienced players on both sides of the ball. The defense will be solid, and the offense has the potential to be explosive. If Josh Dobbs can pass for more than ten yards this season, the Volunteer offense will be hard to stop.

This game was a close one in Tuscaloosa last year, with Alabama obviously being the eventual victor. This year the two teams meet in Knoxville and I’m sure Neyland will be rocking. I don’t know that I’m right about this but I think the Vols will have a good chance to get a win at home over the Crimson Tide. And I’d be laughing at Lane Kiffin the whole time. He might have to block me on Twitter if they lose.

Week 8: #12 Ole Miss @ #6 LSU

There are a few Ole Miss games that will definitely have my attention this season. This game in Death Valley is liable to be one of the most exciting SEC West games we’ll get to watch all season. I’ve talked about him plenty in Part One of this duo of lists, but Chad Kelly will be huge for Ole Miss this season.

The Rebels lost Laquon Treadwell to the NFL at the end of last season, but Damore’ea Stringfellow has the potential to be just as important to their offense. Playing opposite Treadwell last year, he already put up some pretty impressive stats (36 catches, 503 yds., 5 TDs) for the Rebels. LSU returns Fournette who was mostly a force to be reckoned with last season. More importantly, their quarterback Brandon Harris now has more experience and can hopefully help balance Fournette’s rushing attack with his passing attack.

These two offensive powerhouses meeting in Baton Rouge should make for a fantastic, explosive football game. The winner? Whichever team has fewer turnovers.

Week 9: #25 Florida vs. #16 Georgia (at EverBank Field)

The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party will always draw my attention as a Gator. Heading into this season, both teams are expected to be strong but both have some pretty big question marks. The Gators need to actually move the ball on offense and they need to choose a quarterback to do that…again. Their defense will be as solid as ever as they retain the title “DBU.”

Georgia will have running back Nick Chubb again and an exciting new coach in Kirby Smart. That combination could prove to be very dangerous. As far as SEC defenses go, theirs may be pretty average. But an average Bulldog defense might overpower a below average Gator offense. At the end of the day, I’d give this one to the Gators. But I don’t say that with much confidence.

Week 10: #1 Alabama @ #6 LSU

Alabama and LSU are the two highest-ranked SEC West teams in the preseason coaches poll, making this game an easy choice. Last season, the Alabama defense shut down Heisman hopeful running back Leonard Fournette in this matchup. The question is whether or not they’ll be able to repeat that feat now that LSU has a more experienced quarterback with Brandon Harris returning.

For LSU, containing the Alabama offense will be a must. Last season, they allowed them to outgain the Tiger offense by about 250 yards. If they allow Alabama to gain over 400 yards again, they’ll be hard-pressed to win this game. Fournette and Harris will be a destructive duo, but I expect the Alabama defense to be able to contain them pretty well. And for this reason, I anticipate Alabama winning this game, despite LSU’s home field advantage.

Week 11: Auburn @ #16 Georgia

I honestly have no idea what to make of Auburn at this point. Last season I expected them to be solid but I would consider their 6-6 regular season record anything but solid. Surprisingly, they only lost to Georgia by a touchdown. That team they played a close game with was not the same team that Georgia has this season. Mark Richt was replaced with a shiny new head coach straight from Alabama, Kirby Smart. And since running back Nick Chubb is returning from his injury, the Georgia offense will undoubtedly be more difficult to stop.

The Auburn defense under Will Muschamp’s replacement, Kevin Steele, will be what decides this game. Steele has worked with a number of impressive programs: Alabama, Clemson, and LSU, to name a few. Whether or not he’ll be able to resurrect a defense that struggled during most games last year remains to be seen. Because of my doubts for Auburn’s defense and my faith in Georgia’s offense, I give them the clear advantage in this game. But I don’t expect a blowout.

Week 12: Arkansas @ Mississippi St.

Arkansas is in a similar position to Tennessee this season, even though their outlook isn’t quite as favorable as that of the Volunteers. Head Coach Bret Bielema is entering his fourth year here after a decent season last year. In theory, he should finally have his players and his system in place.

Meanwhile, Dan Mullen has had to return to the drawing board for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs lived and died by quarterback Dak Prescott the past two years. Last year, they had pretty much no offensive production unless Prescott was involved. Now that Prescott is gone, Mullen is going to have to completely revamp their offense if he wants any chance of surviving in the SEC West. Since Arkansas seems to be on more of an upward trend here, I see them winning this game at Mississippi State.

Week 13: Rivalry Week

Sorry guys, but I really can’t pick just one this week. There are far too many interesting rivalry matchups.

All rankings listed are according to the Preseason Amway Coaches Poll, released on August 4th, 2016. Featured photo courtesy of wikimedia via user Neomrbungle.

E-Mail Kristen at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @OGKristenB.

The Proper Sendoff

Years come and go and so do teams, but names of the elite and those that leave a great impression on its program and any other platform are the ones that stick with the history of the conference. These players brought forth, have impacted the SEC in positive ways in which will leave us talking about them for quite some time with great on and off the field performances giving us plenty of reasons to share them in future conversations. The list provided points out a handful of players with the significance they deserve.

 

 Kentrell Brothers, Missouri, LB, Senior

MizzLogoBeing snubbed for not even being on the list of finalists for the Butkus Award, Brothers finished his career on a high note in his senior season leading the nation in total tackles with 152 stops and also being a second team All-America standout. His fearless attitude and continuous drive doesn’t go unnoticed as coaches and players around the league think highly of his play and integrity. Tied for eighth in the record books for all-time tackles in school history, Brothers’ future looks bright at the next level as we look forward to seeing him thrive in his next steps.

 

Shon Coleman, Auburn, OT, Junior

Auburn LogoThough just a junior, Coleman is expected to forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft receiving some first round praise from a few credible scouting sources. Coleman’s story is detailed with his bttle to overcome leukemia in his leg as he bounced back to continue his football career at Auburn. Working back to get into the swing of things, Coleman had a junior season to rmember serving as the bookend tackle for the Tigers and receiving All-SEC second team praise. Seeing Coleman’s success is a heartwarming narrative that we hope to see continue with a happy ending in the NFL.

 

Jake Ganus, Georgia, LB, Senior

UGA logoWith the unfortunate announcement that UAB’s football program was being shut down, Jake Ganus’ football career was almost cut short until the decision was made to walk on to the Georgia football team. Being a seasoned starter at UAB, Ganus provided the perfect fit to what the Bulldogs needed to produce at middle linebacker and the new Bulldog didn’t disappoint. Ganus completed his lone season with the Dawgs with 96 total tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss while pursuing a management degree and being equally known as the guy that proposed to his girlfriend on the field of Sanford Stadium. Though just playing one season in the SEC, Ganus provided the likeness and toughness that every SEC great has been described with.

Derrick Henry, Alabama, Junior

Bama LogoWell, when you surpass The Hershel Walker you will be remembered forever among all things college football. Running the ball for 1,986 yards and counting with 23 touchdowns, Henry has put together one of the all-time great seasons in college football history. But if you ask his friends, family and teammates, he isn’t known just for his success with the ball in his hands, but of the impact and warm spirit he brings to put a smile on everyone’s face. Henry enjoys football and enjoys people. What more can you ask?

 

Antonio Morrison, Florida, LB, Senior

UF logoThere’s no question when asking who is the leader on this talented Florida defense. Morrison brings the intensity and leadership with a drive like no other to get the best performance out of himself and his surrounding teammates. Morrison has battled through tough injuries that jeopardize his future playing career, but he didn’t go down without a fight and now finishes his career with 281 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks entering the Citrus Bowl. Morrison’s experience and expertise will be missed in 2016 for the Gators.

 

Dak Prescott, Mississippi State, QB, Senior

MSU logoIt’s finally that time for the likable Dak Prescott to move on from college and graduate from Mississippi State. Prescott has been nothing short of spectacular since taking over the quarterback duty back in 2013 with a Heisman caliber season and the ability to carry the team on his back and succeed. Prescott’s decorated career as one of the SEC most noted dual-threat quarterbacks, Prescott’s inspiring journey after he lost his mother to cancer has been a testimony to many as he looks to continue to support cancer victims while succeeding at football. A great football player and an even better man.

 

Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss, WR, Junior

Ole Miss logoWhen talking to teammates and coaches, Treadwell is simply described as a hard worker. Battling back after the gruesome leg injury in 2014, Treadwell put together a wonderful season highlighted by his team’s win over Alabama for the second season in a row. Treadwell’s inspiration to football players from all over and any citizen of the United States creates optimism and strength with hope to overcome any devastation. His football skills are top notch at the college ranks and he looks to be the top wide receiver picked up in the 2016 NFL Draft.

What I'd Do With The Browns

The Browns are now 2-9 and officially done with the playoffs, many fans have thrown in the

Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns passes against the New York Jets during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on September 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets won 31-10. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns passes against the New York Jets during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on September 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets won 31-10. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

towel and are hoping we tank for a number one pick. I for one think tanking for a better draft pick is disrespectful to the leaders and veterans on the team.

Plus a lot of the teams that look to be a top the draft board, (Tennessee, Dallas, San Diego, Baltimore) are not in the market for QBs. It seems very likely a QB like Paxton Lynch or Jared Goff could be available to us at the 3rd to 5th pick. So now with tanking out of the question here is my plan for the rest of the season.

1.  Start Duke Johnson at running back! Isaiah Crowell has been an absolute disaster as a RB. Right now he is last in the NFL among qualified runners in with 2.9 yards per attempt. The advanced stats do not treat him in any better as he last in the NFL in Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR) and Defense-adjusted Value over Average (DVOA) stats from Football Outsiders. Johnson has done better than Crow in all ares and he deserves to keep moving forward as our starter.

2. Play Austin Davis now but do not be reluctant to hand the keys to Johnny Manziel. Manziel had the job and lost it by lying about his partying. As a twenty year old college kid I sympathize with him a bit. Partying, getting drunk, and listening to Future at the club is quite fun honestly. The only difference is I’m not getting paid 1.8 million dollars to lead a professional football team.

This is the reason that I’d keep Manziel on the bench until Davis shows that he is not the quarterback that gives us the best chance to win. And perhaps Davis is a good quarterback, he seems to have a great attitude and has starting experience with the Rams. Perhaps he can bud into a decent QB with us.

3. Fire Jim O’Neill! We have the highest paid defense in terms of percent of team salary, yet we are the worst at stopping the run and second worst at keeping teams out of the end-zone. After this I would try to get younger guys like Nate Orchard and Ibraheim Campbell into the rotation more to see what kind of value they’ll hold in the future.

In the off-season my main goal would be to figure out if the Browns have a chance to go to the playoffs with either Manziel, Davis, or even McCown. If I don’t think these guys are capable of doing that I’d take a QB in the first round.

It’s still too early to tell which QB would be worth taking as every top guy has some key weaknesses but I’m sure some one will emerge as a top 5 pick. If I feel that one of these guys can take me to the playoffs my number one target is Joey Bosa. Now keep in mind I am not an OSU fan by any means, but I know that Joey Bosa has the capability to boost our run defense and our pass rush. Other options include upgrading our secondary by taking CB/S Jalen Ramsey of FSU or CB Vernon Hargreaves out of Florida. If I don’t feel that Josh Gordon is focused on football Laquon Treadwell would be a great option to help bolster the receiving corps which has been our weakness since Braylon Edwards decided to stink.

 

Michael Thomas, Ohio State’s Underrated Star

The Ohio State Buckeyes have all of their goals still in front of them after starting their season 8-0 (4-0). An underrated part of their success this season has been the play of fourth-year junior wide out Michael Thomas.

When you talk about the success of the Ohio State offense, there are a lot of names that usually come ahead of the Buckeyes leading receiver. Ezekiel Elliott, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller are the names that usually come to mind first.

With all the weapons that the Buckeyes have at their disposal when it comes to the skill positions, it’s hard for everyone to get the recognition they deserve. One thing about Thomas however, he continues to go about his business steadily performing at a high level regardless if he gets much credit for doing so.

Ohio State has lost two of its weapons who looked to play a big role in the offense this season. Noah Brown suffered a season ending injury in preseason camp, and Corey Smith also went down for the season after an injury in the win over Indiana. This put even more of a burden on Thomas to perform as the only true wide receiver on Ohio State’s roster.

This season, Thomas is the top receiver on an Ohio State team that has five different players with at least 15 catches on the season. The ball is spread around to a number of different players, and feeding Ezekiel Elliott along with J.T. Barrett in the running game will always be the main objective. Still, Thomas has proven his worth as one of the consistent playmakers on the Ohio State roster.

His numbers don’t stack up with some of the receiver’s that play for the more pass happy teams in the country, who also possess less weapons than Ohio State has at their disposal. Nonetheless, Thomas has been consistent, even with the musical chairs that has went on at quarterback. On the season, Thomas has 35 catches for 536 yards with six touchdowns. He has a touchdown catch in six of eight games this season.

You can only image if J.T. Barrett had been the starting quarterback the entire season what Thomas’ numbers would be. With Cardale Jones under center, the Ohio State passing game has struggled for most of the season, and things have run much smoother with Barrett under center.

“Cardale missed the throw,” a line I’ve said far two many times this season. Thomas will have a much easier time getting throws in position to make plays after the catch with Barrett under center. The Barrett to Thomas combo just seems to click, which is great news for Ohio State going forward.

Last season, even with 2nd round NFL draft pick Devin Smith on the roster, Thomas led the Buckeyes in receptions with 54. Thomas was labeled as more of a possession receiver, while Smith was the deep threat. Despite this, Thomas still reeled in nine TD grabs as a sophomore.

The nephew of former NFL standout Keyshawn Johnson, Thomas is a very similar receiver style wise. Johnson was a 6’4”, 212-pound possession receiver with ability to run after the catch, but not necessarily a deep threat. Johnson was also known for thriving in the red zone.

Thomas, who is 6’3”, and 210-pounds is cut from the same cloth. He is a tremendous route runner who excels at getting open on short and intermediate routes. He doesn’t possess next level speed, but has shown the ability to break a tackle and run away from the defense after the catch. When Ohio State enters the red zone, Thomas is spectacular at going up and getting the ball. He also excels at knowing where he is on the field, and keeping his feet inbounds.

Thomas is one of the better route runners in the country. Here’s an example of the great route running Thomas possesses, using a double-move to freeze preseason All-American cornerback Kendall Fuller in the first game of the season against Virgina Tech.

In this next clip, Thomas showed off his run after the catch ability. Catching a short pass, Thomas stiff-armed a defender while proceeding to burn the defense for a 50-yard touchdown against Rutgers.

As of this week, (10/26/15) cbssports.com has Thomas ranked as the number two receiver eligible for the 2016 NFL draft behind only Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell. He is projected to be a late first, early second round draft selection at this point. With a good finish to the season, Thomas could solidify himself as a first round draft pick.

Although his name usually comes after dynamic playmakers such as Ezekiel Elliott and Braxton Miller when examining the Buckeye offense, Thomas is just as important.

The Ohio State offense is loaded with talent all over the field, but don’t forget ol’ reliable Michael Thomas when considering what makes the Buckeye offense go.

Auburn vs. Ole Miss: Glancing Back and Peering Forward

My first recollection of an Auburn vs. Ole Miss game is the Liberty Bowl of 1965. The two teams had not met since 1953. This was the first time the Liberty Bowl was played in Memphis. It was held in Philadelphia from it’s inception in 1959 through the 1963 season. In 1964 the game was played in Atlantic City.

Ole Miss escaped that 1965 game with a 13-7 win. Tailback Tom Bryan scored Auburn’s only touchdown on a 44-yard scamper. He was named the game’s Most Valuable Player and its Outstanding Offensive Back. The Tigers’ Robert Fulghum was selected as the Outstanding Defensive Back.

IMG_23831973 was the season that I attended my initial Auburn-Ole Miss brawl. And that it was, a defensive battle.

The game took place on October 6th of that year. That was the day old Cliff Hare Stadium was dedicated as Jordan- Hare Stadium.

Coach Jordan was, of course, humble in his receiving this honor and his Tigers responded with a 14-7 victory.

Halfback Rick Neel broke a 7-7 tie with a 33-yard touchdown burst with just over one minute remaining in the game.

One of the most exciting games of the series occurred on January 2, 1971 in the Gator Bowl. Auburn was led by junior quarterback, Pat Sullivan. Ole Miss also had a decent signal caller heading up their offense that day. His name was Archie Manning.

Auburn broke out of the gates with a vengeance by rolling to a 21-0 lead before the Rebels roared back to cut the lead to 21-14 at halftime.

The teams battled fiercely for the remainder of the game, several Gator Bowl stats were broken, with Auburn finally securing a 35-28 win.

And, probably, THE most exciting game of the series took place in Oxford in 2014. Click below:

Now, for those of you who love numbers and history, here are some more. The last six Auburn coaches’ records versus Ole Miss:

Shug Jordan, 4-3

Doug Barfield, 2-0

Pat Dye, 4-1

Terry Bowden, 6-0

Tommy Tuberville, 7-3

Gene Chizik, 3-1

Gus Malzahn, 2-0

The meetings between the two schools had been sporadic until divisions were created in 1992. Auburn leads the series with a 29-10-0 record against the Rebels.

The first time the schools met on the gridiron was in Birmingham in 1928 with the Tigers taking the win, 19-0.

The largest margin of victory came in 1985 when Bo Jackson ran for 240 yards on 38 carries to lead Auburn to a 41-0 victory.

The longest winning streak stands at nine, with Auburn taking games interspersed between 1971-1991.

Auburn vs. Ole Miss 2015

Last year’s contest was an elimination game, of sorts, and the same holds true for Ole Miss this year. The Rebs control their own destiny but if they lose they can more-than-likely kiss any chance to win the SEC West goodbye.

The 2015 Auburn Tiger football season is at a critical juncture. The same could have been, and probably was, said about last Saturday’s tough loss in Fayetteville. It rings ever more true with each succeeding game.

If Auburn fails to win, then any chance of a very good bowl game will disappear with the breeze which will waft away from Jordan-Hare Stadium around mid-afternoon this coming Saturday.

IMG_2329The Rebels had an impressive, 23-3, win against Texas A&M last Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Quarterback Chad Kelly had a big night throwing for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Laquon Treadwell was on the receiving end of five of those passes. They totaled 102 yards.

Laremy Tunsil, star left tackle on the Ole Miss O line, returned to the lineup after completing a seven-game NCAA suspension for receiving illegal benefits. It appeared to have rejuvenated their ground attack as they rushed for 230 yards. They only ran for 40 yards the week before at Memphis.

I’m not going to rehash the details of Auburn’s excruciating loss, in four overtimes, at Arkansas last week. If the Tigers hadn’t dropped eight passes and two interceptions it would have been, truly, a different story. Hey! It would have been a different story if Tiger receivers had caught only HALF of those whiffs. SIGH.

But take heart Auburn fans! Redshirt freshman quarterback, Sean White, is getting better each week and it appears he could be a star for the Tigers sooner than later.

Here is a look at some of his numbers.

White completed 19 of 32 passes, in the Arkansas game, for 254 yards and zero interceptions. Add back only half of the eight drops and you have a completion percentage of .719, and many, many more yards. Probably well over 300 and, possibly near 400.

On the season he has thrown 97 passes and completed 62 for 805 yards. That’s over 200 yards per game. He has one interception. That came in the Miss State game.

And  hopefully it’s going to get even better for the young QB.

Now, forget the numbers. The thing that impresses me most about Sean is his competitive spirit, his confidence, and his leadership. The kid LOVES to play and he gives it 110%.

He comin’!

Peyton Barber. Another baller. The guy really has a nose for the end zone. He found it four times against the Razorbacks. And he’s rushing for 110 yards per game.

And… AND… Carl Lawson practiced for the first time Tuesday! Will he play Saturday? We don’t know yet, but that is very encouraging!

Also, Auburn’s defense played better. After garnering 14 first quarter points, Arkansas scored only 10 points in the last three quarters of regulation play.

If defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp, can get similar results as those this Saturday, the Tigers will have a solid chance at winning the football game.

So, Auburn is playing to get better. They’re playing for pride. They’re playing for the opportunity to continue toward a 9-3 regular season record and a very good bowl game.

Ole Miss is playing for an opportunity to continue toward an SEC West Championship and, potentially, a College Football Playoff berth.

This is a HUGE game for both teams. A loss, for either squad, effectively ends the realization of lofty post-season goals.

Auburn has not committed a turnover in its past three games. That is a very good thing. If the Tigers can again protect the football, improve on both offense and defense, and get its expected high level of play from special teams, they have a good chance to win.

This game should be a Battle Royale. I expect Auburn and Ole Miss to come out breathing fire and leave everything on the field.IMG_0546

It should come down to the fourth quarter and whoever wants it most should win.

Here’s how I see it.

Ole Miss, trailing 21-20 late, gets a long TD pass from Kelly to Treadwell. 27-21, Black Bears.

Auburn, in an effort to salvage its season, gets a kickoff return of 87 yards from Rudy Ford. This puts the ball at the Rebel 13.

White hits Kamryn Pettway, coming out of the backfield, for a 12-yard gain.

Peyton Barber hammers it in from the one. The PAT is good. Auburn up.

Blake Countess then intercepts a late pass from Kelly and Auburn holds on for a 28-27 win!

You heard it here first!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midseason All-SEC Team

In all honesty the midseason all-conference team means absolutely nothing. Isn’t that just a great Segway into the rest of my article? Midseason all-conference teams identify the players that have helped out their team in the best ways possible in achieving its success so far at this point in the season. Here are the top players from the SEC by position midway through the 2015 season.

Quarterback

Chad Kelly, Ole Miss

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After two back-to-back 70-point performances in the first two weeks of its season, Ole Miss knew it had a star at quarterback. Chad Kelly is a big time playmaker that continues to put Ole Miss in great spots to win games. Defeating Alabama for the first time in Tuscaloosa since 1988, Kelly has gained the fan support and trust of head coach Hugh Freeze.
2015 Stats: 1,862 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 64.4% completion

Running Backs

Leonard Fournette, LSU
The most entertaining player in college football has been nothing short of greatness for the Tigers this season. Fournette’s ability to bounce off defenders and then turn up the field for big gains has already given him 1,000 yards in five games. The streak of 200 yard rushing games is over, but that was just something for us bleacher reporters to have fun with.
2015 stats: 119 carries, 1,022 rushing yards, 8.6 yards per carry, 12 touchdowns

Derrick Henry, Alabama

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Finally waiting his turn on being the unanimous #1 option for the Tide in the backfield, Henry has not disappointed. Dodging defenders and using his surprising speed has paved way for 10 touchdowns on the ground in an offense where he is much appreciated.
2015 stats: 120 carries, 665 rushing yards, 5.5 yards per carry, 10 touchdowns

Wide Receivers

Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

The highly-touted recruit has burst on the scene for the Aggies and has become their most deadly offensive weapon. Kirk’s speed and elusiveness has given big play ability to what was already an explosive Aggie offense. The future is bright for this Kyle Allen Christian Kirk duo.
2015 stats: 32 receptions, 519 receiving yards, 16.2 yards per catch, 4 touchdowns

Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
Having the concern of whether he would return to full effect or not after his harsh leg injury a year ago, Treadwell has erased most of the doubters putting together a productive 2015 season. He admits that he is still working on some things to get back where he was but an 80% Treadwell is still pretty darn good.
2015 stats: 35 receptions, 510 receiving yards, 14.6 yards per catch, 3 touchdowns

Tight End or Fullback

John David Moore, LSU, FB
J.D. Moore has been an important piece to Fournette’s successful start to the season. In every highlight play from his teammate, Moore is the man in front paving the way for the big gains on offense. Moore will actually be out this week for Florida, which can be a concern for the effectiveness in the LSU run game.

Center

Ethan Pocic, LSU
The two-time SEC linemen of the week has been one of the more dominant centers in the country so far this season. An effective run blocker and vocal leader, Pocic is the anchor on a solid LSU front.

Offensive Linemen

Vadal Alexander, LSU, OT
Outside of Laremy Tunsil, Alexander was one of the more hyped offensive linemen in the SEC this preseason. Alexander has lived up to that high billing being a dominant force at right tackle with his quick feet and strong base to excel in both the run and pass game.

Fahn Cooper, Ole Miss, OT
There is a relief that Laremy Tunsil is returning this weekend, but Fahn Cooper has been very good in trying to fill the vacancy at left tackle. Cooper was voted SEC offensive lineman of the week in Week Four.

Kyler Kerbyson, Tennessee, OT

kerbyson
Kerbyson has been solid this season for what was expected to be a shaky Tennessee offensive line heading into the season. Serving has a great pass protector and a solid run blocker has helped Tennessee provide the Vols with two backs with 300-plus yards.

Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas, OG
Formerly known as the best lineman with the golden arm, Tretola is also a great SEC offensive guard. Tretola is your ideal nasty grinder in the run game that has helped pave way what has been another solid rushing attack from the Razorbacks.

Defensive Linemen

Walter Brady, Missouri
Losing Shane Ray, the Tigers needed to find someone who could fill the big shoes and provide pressure on the quarterback. Brady, redshirt freshman, has been flying all around the backfield this season causing havoc at a high rate.
2015 stats: 17 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 2 hurries

Jonathan Bullard, Florida

GatorCountry.com
GatorCountry.com

The Florida defense has been electric this season and so has Jonathan Bullard. Bullard has been a star in the making and he is beginning to reach his star-studded potential being a threat to make something on every play in either the run or pass game. Probable first or second round pick.
2015 stats: 28 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 4 hurries

Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
The 2014 freshman sensation is even better than his freshman form (obviously). Garrett is frankly just a beast when it comes to rushing the passer. Offenses continue to double-team him showing the respect he deserves being the dangerous disrupter he is.
2015 stats: 25 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 6 hurries, forced fumble

Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M
A little overshadowed by his partner in crime Myles Garrett, Hall has been just as productive. Being more of an effective run stopper, Hall helps balance out a strong defensive unit for the Aggies.
2015 stats: 23 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles

*Note: Since all-conference teams are mostly made up of players with a high stat production, Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss did not make the list but has played at a considerably high level.

Linebackers

Kentrell Brothers, Missouri

Athlon Sports
Athlon Sports

One of the lone bright spots for a struggling Tigers team is linebacker Kentrell Brothers. His tenacity to get after the ball carrier has not gone unnoticed. Brothers seems to always be in position to make the play as his stats back that up.
2015 stats: 74 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions

Antonio Morrison, Florida
The top candidate for comeback player of the years, Morrison’s play and leadership has bought him a spot on the midseason All-SEC team. Morrison has played at a high-level throughout his Florida career and is the captain of a strong Gator defense with its work cut out for them this week versus Leonard Fournette and LSU.
2015 stats: 46 tackles, 1.5 sacks

Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee
Constantly making impactful plays, Reeves-Maybin is a hot name on the Vols defense with plenty of players derserving high praise. Reeves-Maybin continues to anchor a shaky and very young linebacking corp with his solid play and leadership.
2015 stats: 56 tackles, 3 sacks, forced fumble

Defensive Backs

Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida, CB
The definition of a lock down corner, Vernon Hargreaves has once again been a phenomenal cover man in the SEC. Eyeing his third straight All-America bid, Hargreaves continues to play at a high level living on his own island.
2015 stats: 19 tackles, 3 interceptions

Mike Hilton, Ole Miss, NB
Hilton had a strong game in the upset in Tuscaloosa and has help consistency since. Hilton is an undersized corner (5’9 184), but is an aggressive physical playmaker that doesn’t take no for an answer.
2015 stats: 26 tackles, 6 pass breakups, 4.5 tackles for loss

Jalen Tabor, Florida, CB
Gaining more attention because of Hargreaves’ lockdown ability on the opposite side, Tabor has made the best out of every opportunity he has received. Just a sophomore, Tabor has solidified a dangerous cornerback duo in Gainesville creating its own version of “No Fly Zone.”
2015 stats: 15 tackles, 8 passes defended, 2 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions for touchdowns

Tre’Davious White, LSU, CB
Not receiving many targets his way, White is a respected cover corner who has been highly effective in the passing game though just playing average quarterbacks. White continues the trend of lockdown cornerback play on the Bayou and could be the next LSU big name to make the jump to the NFL.
2015 stats: 20 tackles, tackle for loss, punt return touchdown

Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Punter

Drew Kaser, Texas A&M
Of the small amount Kaser has had to punt it away this season, he has done an excellent job at pinning opponents deep with a 51 yards per punt average. The Aggies face a tough Alabama defense Saturday, which will create many fourth down punts for Kaser making him an even more vital piece for this Aggies special teams unit.

Kickers

Trent Domingue, LSU & Westin Graves, Mississippi State
Both players have knocked every one of their kicks through the uprights being 7-for-7 on the year so far. Very reliable players.

The Ole Miss of 2015 IS Different Than Ole Miss of 2014

Being on the cover of Sports Illustrated and I’m sure may other publications, the Ole Miss football team has once again reached that hype that looked unattainable for quite some time. Slipping through the cracks a year ago the Rebels and college football have already seen this narrative. But this time it’s different and I am going to tell you how this team will throw away of what happened last season and start a new chapter for this once relevant program many years ago.

  1. Having a playmaker at quarterback.

No matter how absurd it may sound, but this Ole Miss program would not be where it is right without the play of Bo Wallace. Hugh Freeze rejuvenated this once broken program into a potential playoff contending team for years to come. And the Rebels would not be in this situation of being at the peak of their prominence without Wallace setting the tone for future seasons. Deny it all you want, but down the stretch Wallace created situations that helped his team pull out wins but also contributed in many ways to put his team into sticky situations and not being able to get out of them. No playing on a consistent level is what hurt Wallace most.

Chad Kelly may have answered the call of Ole Miss finally having a consistent playmaker at quarterback being effective in every game he has played to this point. Racking up 1,219 yards in the air with 13 total touchdowns Kelly has set the tone in a potent Ole Miss offense by making smart decisions and not making the big oops play that we always expected from Dr. Bo. Kelly playing at a consistent level not turning the ball over at crucial points in the game is what gives this team a new element to really turn into a powerhouse in 2015.

  1. Having a consistent running game.

Always wanting more production from the running backs in Oxford to complement with the passing game is what Rebel fans have yearned for in recent years. Hopeful to that the problem has been fixed the Rebels have become a potent rushing attack in the always run-heavy SEC. Averaging just under 200 yards a game the Rebels have increased their average by 44 yards from a year ago adding new elements to attack opposing defenses.

During the Freeze era the Rebels did not really ever find that primary back to carry the load throughout the season once Bo Wallace managed to slip up somewhere. Senior Jaylen Walton (5’8 170) lacks the size of your normal every down back but seems to have become the bell cow gaining the most carries within the four-game stretch. Again, consistency is key on offense for the Rebels to find success in 2015.

  1. Having a healthy Laquon Treadwell.

The biggest playmaker on the Ole Miss offense two years running is 100 percent healthy and is playing at an even greater level in 2015. After suffering a devastating injury after the Auburn game in 2014, Laquon Treadwell missed the rest of the season and so did the whole Ole Miss team.

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Treadwell’s demeanor and attitude makes him an infectious teammate that makes the whole team around him better even despite his top tier caliber play. Having chemistry among the team is a number one key to success in any system and having a healthy Treadwell on the field brings the Ole Miss Rebel team to a confidence and swagger that no one else can touch in the SEC.

  1. Possessing that big game factor.

This point may be going a little too far only matching up with one Top 25 team so far on a rough schedule, but the Rebels performed well when defeating top five Alabama 43-37 two weekends ago. Winning any SEC road game is a big deal but defeating Goliath at his place speaks volume. Having this win under their belt gives this squad a sense of reality and confidence to face the SEC gauntlet that lies ahead of them as in this week facing the Gators in the Swamp.

  1. Been there done that.

Not sticking with the normal Classical Hollywood Style film of a cliché happy ending, the Rebels saw their magical season slip away at their fingertips last season with similar hype coming after their victory over top-ranked Alabama. With the majority of the team having faced that troublesome period last season knowing how to not let it happen again by experiencing does more good than harm. The Rebels are not a continuous team that gains hype each and every season so gaining experience and knowledge of when it happens and how to remain there will help guide the team to greener pastures currently and years to come.

Legacy Lines – September 18, 2015: Fool Me Once, Shame On Me

Editors note: Hollis Oliver McLain, III (@HollisOliverIII) will be publishing a series of articles throughout the season on some of college football’s most storied programs. This year, we’ve selected Alabama, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA and Virginia Tech. On Tuesday’s you’ll get important links about each program (Legacy Links) and on Friday’s you’ll get important story lines and a game preview of one team (Legacy Lines). Follow each of these stories here , and get your latest news when you need it.

 With conference play ratcheting up exponentially this week, there are too many good games to count. If you happen to find yourself without a game to watch Saturday evening, then you need to check the Kentucky vs. Florida game out. Kentucky hasn’t won against the Gators in over a quarter century, but this year’s Wildcats have the best shot at winning that they have had in a long time. Sure to be a thriller, the Kentucky game won’t disappoint.

Moving on, we have chosen the Alabama vs. Ole Miss game as the Legacy Program game of the week. At first glance, you will see two teams that have impressed so far and hope to continue their momentum as the breadth of conference play is just up ahead. After some careful examination, Alabama looks to be on the cusp of becoming the Alabama machine that we have come so accustomed to hating since Saban took over. On the other sideline we have the Ole Miss rebels, who, with their transfer quarterback Chad Kelly, have found an offensive identity and are destroying teams, scoring over 70 points in their first two games. This weekends’ SEC West matchup will determine who has the upper hand from here on out, and a win could propel either one of these teams into the playoff picture.

Now, each week we highlight some sort of minor history surrounding the two teams going up against each other. The story of this weeks’ game is that there isn’t much history to be excited about if you are an Ole Miss fan. The all time series record is 47-10-2 in the Crimson Tide’s favor. Ole Miss won the first ever matchup in 1894, but hasn’t exactly done well since then. So, the rough history doesn’t exactly encourage the Ole Miss fan base, but what does, is last year. During the 2014 season, these two teams squared off in a massive SEC West battle that ended in an upset, with Alabama losing 23-17 to the Rebels. Most of us saw the pictures of the Rebel fans tearing down and carrying the goal post out of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, and we were ecstatic. Fast-forward to this year, and both of these teams are looking good, with a shot to reach the SEC championship still realistic for both of them. Alabama, in the entire series history, has never lost back-to-back games to Ole Miss. As with most erroneous stats, take this for what its’ worth, but you better believe that the Tide will be playing with some extra moxie come Saturday. We all know how Nick Saban hates to lose, especially to the same team two years in a row.

Of course, when it comes down to the game, throw all the history out the window, because these teams are ready to play. The story of Saturday will be the Crimson Tide defense against the Rebel offense. With Chad Kelly commanding the offense and Laquon Treadwell making corners hate their lives’, this team has potential. Will they be able to stop the Alabama D-Line? My first thought is probably not, but they have blasted every team they have played so far, even though UT-Martin isn’t great and Fresno State doesn’t have Derek Carr anymore. I see the Tide’s D-Line controlling the line of scrimmage, and the Rebels best chance of winning will be through the air. Let’s flip things around and talk about the Alabama offense vs. the Ole Miss defense. The Rebels have a very real chance of stopping the Tide’s offense, especially with some questions still at quarterback. A year removed from the Landshark defense sensation; let’s see what they can do against Derrick Henry and Jake Coker. For the Tide to win, they have to have solid quarterback play, but they also must get some sort of running game early, which they shouldn’t have any trouble doing with Derrick Henry leading the horses. Special teams are a wash in this one, and by that I mean they come into the game pretty equal. With some meaningful storylines, and others that aren’t as much, this game will be another classic SEC brawl. Hopefully both teams can come out relatively unscathed.

Coming into this game, both teams are ready to show the nation what they can do. While we don’t know a bunch about either team, one thing I do know is that Saban will have his team ready to go. Honestly, I think the Tide all but stop the Rebel offense in a defensive battle, and at the end of the day, the Tide win 23-20.

SEC Fantasy Football

If you’re a football freak like myself you watch every SEC game start to finish no matter the matchup or the final scores. Some others don’t see eye to eye with that concept. Therefore, to invest more into each and every game why not bring fantasy football gameplay to the NFL D-league (SEC)?

The NFL is the most popular sport in the United States. Many reasons back up that point but none more than fantasy football. You can deny it all you want, but you know it is true. Fantasy football has taken over the NFL gaining more viewership for that reason and “followers” becoming more knowledgeable of teams’ depth charts and offensive situations and schemes (ask them about a defensive player and most will have no idea who or what you are even talking about).

The SEC has more attraction than any other conference in college football, but adding fantasy football to a league that is progressively becoming more potent on the offensive side of the ball would be a fun thing to follow dismissing the Xs and Os every now and then. If you are in an SEC fantasy league already then yay for you! If you’re not or have yet to draft a team yet let me help you out before you hit “draft player” button.

Quarterbacks

Photo Credit: USA TODAY
Photo Credit: USA TODAY

With most Southeastern Conference teams playing in a run-heavy system, no quarterback is going to jump off the page with eye-popping numbers or giving you any reason to draft one high with no value coming from that. Dak Prescott may be the exception as he leads the pack with his dual-threat ability and capping off his 2014 Heisman hyped season with 41 total touchdowns and an average of 341 total yards per game. Prescott’s role should remain the same as his 2014 form, which should make for a very nice selection early in your draft. If there is a number two on the list go ahead and pencil in Texas A&M’s Kyle Allen. After sitting out and waiting his turn last season behind Kenny Hill, Allen flourished in his minimal stint and is poised for a big 2015 in an offense that is very quarterback friendly. Patrick Towles of Kentucky and Maty Mauk of Missouri are in the same boat as both have plenty of potential but lack the continuity of consistent play. Both could be quality options with their gunslinger mentality and potentially being 25-plus touchdown players. Auburn’s Jeremy Johnson continues to be a hot name in college football as he will now lead a loaded Auburn roster taking over for the departed Nick Marshall. Though, Johnson is known for his big arm and accuracy don’t sleep on his ability as a runner in an offense that will cater to every ounce of his ability and skill.

Running Backs

Photo Credit: Vanderbilt Official Athletic Site
Photo Credit: Vanderbilt Official Athletic Site

It’s never a bad idea to select an Alabama, Auburn, or Georgia running back early as at least one of them will finish as a top three rusher in the league. The Tide and Bulldogs have inked in their starters as both NFL talented runners, Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb, look to capitalize off solid 2014 seasons with their roles now becoming more substantial as their volume will increase with more opportunity as TJ Yeldon and Todd Gurley move on to the NFL. Auburn on the other hand, have a trio of solid runners in the backfield but choosing one as their starter or choosing one as your fantasy draft pick is a big question. Pinpointing one is difficult, but Roc Thomas is currently the favorite to at least started the first few games so take that in whichever way you would like. With Jonathan Williams’ recent injury benching him for the whole 2015 season, Arkansas’ Alex Collins should be considered as one of the top picks in the fantasy draft. Already being a stellar back sharing carries, Collins’ role will definitely increase along with his overall production. Some sleepers to keep an eye out for include Vanderbilt’s Ralph Webb, South Carolina’s Brandon Wilds, and Florida’s Kelvin Taylor. Russell Hansbrough of Missouri is a player you need to draft.

Wide Receivers

Photo Credit: Stacy Revere, Getty Images
Photo Credit: Stacy Revere, Getty Images

Taking the most talented receivers in the conference is a good direction to go in. The conference’s bests include Auburn’s Duke Williams, Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper, Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell and Florida’s Demarcus Robinson. All four possess NFL caliber talent but are also fantasy studs. Duke Williams’ disciplinary status seems to have been cleared up, so an early selection isn’t seen as much as a stretch as it was a couple of weeks ago. With quarterback Johnson being more of a pocket passer, Williams should thrive in an interesting newish Auburn offense. Being the focal point of a probable anemic South Carolina, the play calling from Steve Spurrier should and most likely will revolve around the ability of Pharaoh Cooper. Cooper benefitted from a big arm quarterback in Dylan Thompson a year ago so his production could drop just a tad but still should finish the season strong. Travin Dural, LSU, and De’Runnya Wilson, Mississippi State, are also a couple of other names to target early both being big-time red-zone targets. Having a taste of Lane Kiffin’s philosophy he likes to single out a receiver early and will run the offense through that player throughout the seasons (Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, Amari Cooper). So, if you can find that key receiver that will be awarded that role then you may have yourself a gem. Sleepers a plenty in the SEC but just to name a few are Ole Miss’ Cody Core, Auburn’s Ricardo Louis, and Arkansas’ Keon Hatcher.

Tight Ends

Photo Credit: Michael Woods, WholeHogSports
Photo Credit: Michael Woods, WholeHogSports

A receiving tight end is a luxury in college football giving the quarterback one more option in the red-zone to find six. Some may not be true tight ends, but still play the position though being more of a wide receiver. Two of those seem to be the favorites as the top two tight ends taken in the 2016 draft: Evan Engram and OJ Howard. Engram has the full package as a fantasy tight end with great hands, an ample amount of targets, and a career yards per catch average of 15.7. Engram complements with Treadwell to make way for new quarterback Chad Kelly in Oxford. OJ Howard could be the most athletic and talented tight end in all of football but has yet to scratch the surface as a productive outlet for an Alabama quarterback. Howard comes into his junior season, most likely his last, with just 31 catches for 529 yards and two touchdowns and doesn’t serve as a hot commodity for fantasy owners due to Kiffin’s lack of tight end use. Hunter Henry may be the safest pick in all of the SEC. Though Henry isn’t a touchdown hog he is still a threat to put up big numbers each and every season. Henry is in an useful offense to help display his ability giving him plenty of shots at fantasy production.

Happy drafts! 

Who Takes the Power 5 Conference Crowns in 2015

Only one open Saturday remains before opening kick-off of this year’s college football season. Sounds like it’s about high time we put some predictions out there I’d say. This year feels much more difficult in that regard than last year. After Ohio State, there doesn’t appear to be a dominant team, one you can just pencil into the playoff along with the Buckeyes.

TCU, a common #2 on many people’s list, should have one of the Top 5 scoring offenses in the country but is replacing key players all over the defense. Alabama, Baylor, Oregon, and Auburn fill out the remainder of a lot of predicted playoff brackets, but each will be trotting out a new starting quarterback. Though first-year quarterback have had incredible success lately, predicting which one can lead his team to the playoff is a whole other ballgame. As far as the rest of the Top 25? You could pick a name out of a hat, because I think they all have about an equal chance of winning double-digit games or going 8-4 and disappointing the fan base. Let’s start with the conference races.

ACC

The best teams still reside in the Atlantic Division but the gap may have closed, at least for 2015. Clemson will have one of the best offenses in the country, which will give the Tigers’ many new defensive starters time to come around. Having a stud at DE (Shaq Lawson) and CB (Mackensie Alexander) doesn’t hurt either. Clemson will go 11-1 and face Virginia Tech who, thanks to a stout defense and a just-barely-respectable offense, will survive the garbage heap that is the Coastal Division. (Other Notables: Florida State: 9-3 Louisville 10-2 Georgia Tech 8-4)

Championship Game: Clemson over Virginia Tech

Big 10

It’s hard to predict anything but a repeat of last year’s Big 10 season, where Ohio State knocked Sparty out of playoff contention and followed it up with a beat-down of Wisconsin on their way to a playoff spot. Michigan State won’t have an easier time having to travel to Columbus this year, and while I could be talked into a different team getting pummeled in the conference championship, I think Bucky gets to double-digit wins and its reign continues in the Big 10 West. (Other Notables: Michigan State: 10-2 Michigan 9-3)

Championship Game: Ohio State over Wisconsin

Big 12

The conference that caused the most discussion last year only to be left out of the playoff kicks of the new season with what looks to be more of the same. TCU and Baylor both start off in the Top 5 and fans of the conference will be wondering once again if the lack of a conference championship game will cause them to lose out on a playoff spot. I think TCU carries the momentum from last season for much of the year, but their losses on defense will get to them in the end. Baylor is the most complete team in the conference, basically only having to replace the signal-caller, a position that has churned out Heisman candidates for the last few years in Baylor’s system. Baylor goes 11-1 and actually becomes the conference’s “One True Champion”. (Other Notables: TCU 10-2 Oklahoma 10-2)

Pac-12

Is any team going to be able to survive nine games in this conference? Will we see a three loss conference champion? Nothing will surprise in the Pac-12 this year which may have passed the SEC as the nation’s best conference and its deepest if nothing else. Oregon and USC are the favorites but USC hasn’t lived up to expectations since the Pete Carroll days, and Oregon is merely just trying to replace a Heisman winning QB and the best player in school history. After that? Arizona State, UCLA, and Stanford all will challenge the 10-win threshold. Transfer QB Vernon Adams may fit seamlessly into the Ducks’ offense, but a late-season stretch of at Arizona State (October 29th), at Stanford (November 14th), and USC (November 21) in a four-week period will do them in. The Ducks match Stanford’s 10-2 record, but Stanford’s win on The Farm is the tiebreaker.

So who will survive the nation’s toughest division to face the Cardinal? Any team outside of Colorado has a realistic shot. My pick is the Trojans. It’s going to be a close race between them, UCLA, and Arizona State but having the conference’s best quarterback will be the difference. USC heads to the Pac-12 title game having joined the conference’s double-digit win brigade at 10-2. (Other Notables: Arizona State: 9-3 UCLA: 9-3)

Championship Game: USC over Stanford

SEC

Hey it’s everybody’s favorite conference! Similar to the Pac-12, the SEC is going to be a bloodbath this year. The East Division favorite is Georgia, who never fails to disappoint when they start the year in the Top 10. The West favorite is Alabama, who still doesn’t know who its quarterback is going to be. Considering two of their first three games are against Wisconsin and Ole Miss, I’m going to go ahead and say that’s not a plus. Auburn’s defense is revamped and should be improved, but they’re also breaking in a new starter behind center, albeit one who has a little more momentum and experience than the Crimson Tide’s bunch.

But I’m not going with either of them. Last month one of my bold predictions was that Ole Miss would take the SEC and after a few weeks of pondering, I’m stickin to it. I think Ole Miss and Alabama are pretty similar teams. Both should have great defenses, good-to-great offensive lines, and are breaking in a new quarterback. When Ole Miss travels to Tuscaloosa the third week of the season, it will be hard for both teams to run the ball. The difference is the Rebels’ new signal caller will have receivers who can make key plays when the team needs them (WR Laquon Treadwell and TE Evan Engram). Ole Miss finishes what they couldn’t last year, heading to the SEC Title game at 11-1. In the East, I’ll take the perennially underrated Missouri over the perennially disappointing Georgia. (Other Notables: Alabama: 10-2 Georgia: 9-3 Auburn: 9-3 Tennessee 9-3)

Championship Game: Ole Miss over Missouri

USC, Ole Miss, Ohio State, Clemson, Baylor. Five conference champions, four playoff spots. Who gets left out? Who takes home the trophy for 2015? Check back next Monday for my playoff picks.