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SEC Football: What Stock Would Your Favorite Program Be?

LSU running back Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette via FoxSports.com

If your favorite Southeastern Conference football team was a stock in the market, who would they be? Would they be a savvy tech company, or a stodgy old blue chip? This is a look at which company each SEC most closely resembles.


MSFT_logo_pngFlorida $MSFT Florida was the top program in the country when Urban Meyer was at the helm. Now they are under new leadership and everyone needs to take a wait-and-see approach as to how Jim McElwain works out. They have immediate access to an unlimited amount of talent, and could be the trend-setter in college football with the right man in charge. Like Microsoft, they used to be great.

500px-General_Electric_logo_svgAlabama $GE The Crimson Tide is the biggest, baddest football program in the country. They are a blue chip program that always produces solid results. Alabama has been the definition of consistency under Nick Saban.

Tesla-Motors-symbolTexas A&M $TSLA Like Tesla, the Aggies are led by a brilliant mind in Kevin Sumlin. Although they have had flashes of greatness,  everyone is waiting for the Aggies to explode on the field and measure up to the recruiting hype.

1000px-Goldman_Sachs.svgAuburn $GS The Tigers feature good leadership, good talent, a proven system, and are poised to be strong for years to come. Just like with Goldman Sachs, there are detractors from the outside who question whether Auburn has achieved their success through nefarious means.

ups-logo-vector-01Arkansas $UPS It is tempting to compare the Razorbacks to Walmart for obvious reasons, but the program resembles the people in brown more. Arkansas slowly grinds away and gets the job done. There is nothing exciting about the Arkansas offense, but it wins games, kind of like the way UPS does a solid job day in and day out.

king logoMississippi State $KING King Digital Entertainment produced Candy Crush Saga and was wildly successful. Their failure to produce another game that has approached Candy Crush‘s popularity has caused the stock price to drop 28 percent since their initial public offering. One must wonder whether MSU will see a similar drop-off on the field once quarterback Dak Prescott graduates.

American_Express_aiOle Miss $AXP In the 1980s, the American Express card in your wallet was a status symbol. The people at AMEX still think it is 30 years later. Similarly, Ole Miss fans think that their football program is a traditional power because they experienced success in the 1950s, and the Grove has some cache as a tailgate spot. Rebel fans can look down upon Mississippi State just like AMEX execs can look down upon Discover card holders.

apple-logo-2014-pngGeorgia $APPL Apple is an extremely successful company that produces stylish products. Georgia has been consistently successful on the field, and regularly produces first-round draft picks. Techies will argue that Droid products are more capable than their more aesthetically pleasing counterparts from Apple. Alabama and Auburn fans will point out that they have won more national titles in the last decade than UGA, despite their recent run of elite skill players and NFL talent.

900x900px-LL-0f9e13fa_jim-beam-logoKentucky $BEAM Does this need any explanation? The number-one producer of bourbon in the world happens to be located in Kentucky. Most of the Wildcat fans partake in their homegrown product while counting the days until basketball season begins. The Jim Beam distillery was de-listed after a private company purchased all the shares; some Wildcat fans believe their football team has been de-listed for the past decade.

ford logoMissouri $F Ford was the only American car company that did not require a government bailout. They quietly made a profit while no one was watching. Everyone forgets that the Tigers won the East the year before when making predictions for the next season. Mizzou is not a flashy program, but they have consistently won since joining the conference.

Twitter-Logo-Icon-by-Jon-Bennallick-02Tennessee $TWTR The Volunteers have amazing potential just like Twitter. Both the Vols and Twitter stock have under-performed up to this point, but are poised to break out in a big way. The Vols have a killer app in quarterback Josh Dobbs, while Twitter has Periscope.

McDonald's_2006LSU $MCD Everyone knows that going to McDonald’s too often will likely lead to an early demise. The same can be said for visiting teams who venture into Baton Rouge. McDonald’s has hit a lull as a company. They are no longer everyone’s favorite burger joint, as the Whataburgers and In & Outs of the world have cut into their market share. Yet, McDonald’s still serves billions of people annually. LSU has seen their win totals diminish over the past few years, yet they still produce as much NFL talent as any program in the country.

callaway-logoSouth Carolina $ELY Callaway Golf Company is one of the most successful manufacturers of golf apparel in the world. Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier was drawn to Columbia because of all the nice golf courses in the area. Spurrier is the Gamecocks program. It is doubtful that Callaway will steal market share from Nike any time soon, just as it is doubtful that South Carolina will win the Eastern division any time soon. Spurrier will continue to play golf and the Gamecocks will be a winning program as long as he is the head coach.

internet america logVanderbilt $GEEK Internet America is a small internet service provider that will never compete with the large telecommunication companies out there. The same can be said for Vanderbilt‘s prospects for consistently competing in the SEC East. There will be outlier-type years like the period under James Franklin, but the ‘Dores cannot be expected to consistently compete for SEC championships.


Michael Taglienti is a Contributor at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeTag98.

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The Bow, The Ow and The Wow: LeBron’s Finals Journey

The 2015 NBA Finals for LeBron James was a microcosm of a career and a tribute to a once in a lifetime athlete

– Kevin Donnan


Some of you are preparing to *click* out of this article, and I understand.

Because outside of Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriguez, there is no more polarizing athlete on the planet than LeBron James.

You don’t need to be a NBA expert to know of LeBron James‘ career. Generational talent right out of high school, playing in Cleveland, “The Decision,” the flops, the money, the MVPs, the politics, “The Heatles,” the titles, the commercials, and of course “The Return.”

Through it all, whether you’re the obsessed or the casual observer, you typically reside in one of two camps:

1. LeBron James is an overrated, cramping, preening, flopper. Or,

2. You’ve named your children in tribute to the names of James‘ fictional Nike family, The LeBrons.

Nike
Nike

(Which means that those children, if not blessed with intestinal fortitude, will most certainly learn to acquire some as you try walking around with the names: Wise, Business, Athlete and Kid.)

Of course, James recently completed his sixth NBA Finals in 12 seasons. No matter on which side of the fence you reside, and in spite of his record falling to an overall 2-4 in the title series, this edition of The Finals, which was his fifth in a row, truly cemented his legacy as the greatest player of his generation, perhaps all time, and one of the most divisive players who has ever set foot in the sports arena in the eyes of fans.


The Bow

After earning a split on the road in the first two games, clearly James was confident. As a road team, a split is the ultimate goal, and has set the stage for innumerable upsets and “can-you-believe-its.”

In Game 3, though, LeBron pulled out one of those rare moments in sports. Say what you want about The King, but very few have had the keen sense of the moment as he has over the course of his career, and Game 3 was another demonstration.

A minute or two before tip-off, James strode towards his place at the circle, stopped, and made eye contact with a legend. That glance has become a now legendary moment. James‘ simple bow of acknowledgment to Cleveland legend Jim Brown was one of the most beautiful gestures of respect, admiration and love that has ever been seen in sports, and one that will not fade from memory anytime soon.

Later, in an article on clevelandbrowns.com, Brown called the move “one of his greatest sports moments.” There is no way anyone can underscore the power of that statement when you take into account the legacy of Jim Brown, the athlete and the man.

The demonstration of respect to one of the most legendary athletes in the city and the country elevated James‘ status as a true sportsman, and a young man who is respectful and reverential of the past and those who helped blaze the trail without fear, and with nothing but courage and character.


The Ow

USATSI
USATSI

With Cleveland entering Game 4 owning the only lead they would ever have, the Cavs mirrored their unabashed leader’s awkward fall under the backboard in the 2nd quarter. Detractors called it an embellishment that, might even make, yes, LeBron James blush, but his tumble into the camera lens rattled the Cavs. Once James emerged from the floor, this tumble was no joke, he was cut, required stitches, and was down for a few minutes.

(The sad fact, is that LeBron‘s skull was not the only, ahem, body part that was shown to the world in Game 4, but I really want this to be about basketball.)

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It was the defensive plan of the Warriors where the pain really emerged for the Cavaliers. In his first start of the series, the Warriors started defending James with eventual series MVP Andre Iguodala. James shot a miserable 7-for-22, and had his lowest point total of the series with 20. Two games later, Iguodala was named MVP specifically for his defensive play against James.

The 103-81 blowout elevated the Warriors back into the confident and mentally unflappable crew that had dominated the league all season. With home court re-established, and Steph Curry finding his touch again, the clock was striking midnight on the supporting cast. A bench that likely didn’t realize just how they had caught lightning in a bottle began falling to earth in spite of the heroics of James.


The Wow

For nearly all teams, losing two all-stars (Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving) in one season, let alone in one playoff tournament, typically spells complete and utter doom. But the sheer will of James, in spite of those losses, is what truly brought it all home.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports/REUTERS
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports/REUTERS

LeBron was the first player in Finals history to lead both teams in points-rebounds-assists (38-PPG, 13-RPG, 8APG), and captured that amazing designation by literally playing all five positions at any given time. When he wasn’t posting up, he was bringing the ball up the floor as the point guard.

He also was responsible for more than 38 percent of his team’s points. Only Michael Jordan ever posted a higher share, and the difference is within one-tenth of a point.

After Game 5, he said that any team he played on could never be considered a true underdog, and that he was the best player in the world. While these remarks only stoked the fires of his critics further, it’s hard to argue with the inherent facts.

LeBron James is many, many, many things to many different people, and in so many ways this series represented the odyssey that began when he left St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. Brilliance, drama, passion, and of course, a little showmanship for good measure.

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny his ability and his desire to win, with all of the flops, cramps, televised “Decisions,” and everything else that goes with LeBron being LeBron.

I don’t understand why this superstar isn’t more embraced. From one end of the spectrum to the other, you simply can’t ignore or take your eyes away anytime he’s on the court.


Kevin Donnan is a regular contributor to The Scoop and is a sports obsessed and self-confessed Pop Culture idiot savant trapped in a frozen, northern wasteland, yet, loves all things Texas and is the most “American” Canadian who has ever lived above the 49th parallel.