Every year it seems, there’s one of those SEC Saturday’s where things don’t quite go according to plan. Two of my core beliefs about the SEC entering this weekend were: (1) that Alabama would keep their unbeaten record in tact en route to the national title and (2) that LSU would falter once they played an opponent of decent quality.
Unless you are reading this to learn for the first time what happened in the SEC this past Saturday (which would be kind of crazy), you know that those two beliefs were debunked in a big way during a crazy, drama-filled weekend.
(19) South Carolina 35 (1) Alabama 21
Not only was the fact that USC even beat ‘Bama surprising, but the way it happened was a bit of a shock to me. I thought South Carolina would need to force Greg McElroy into mistakes and capitalize on them, but McElroy was really pretty good all game. It was the Tide running game that could not get in gear. McElroy’s counterpart Steven Garcia was also superb, throwing only three incompletions in 20 attempts. Freshman RB Marcus Lattimore also got it done on the ground for USC, especially late in the game.
So, what does this game mean. For Alabama, it certainly is a setback. They have fallen to eighth in the polls and are currently on the outside looking in. However, odds are that they still control their own destiny. Since their loss was at the hands of an East team, they will make it to the SEC title game if they win out, where they could be positioned to match up with South Carolina again. Recent history shows us that a one loss SEC champ is usually a team that makes the national title game. The argument will be whether they deserve it over an unbeaten squad like Boise State or TCU.
South Carolina, on the other hand, gets a major boost. They too remain in control of their own destiny with respect to the SEC title. They have two winnable road games against UK and Vandy before hosting Tennessee. If they win the games they should, they will be 7-1 entering two consecutive games against Arkansas and Florida.
(12) LSU 33 (14) Florida 29
Well, that was crazy. I don’t know how Les Miles keeps putting himself in these situations, but it’s worked out so far, because they are now 6-0 after one of the craziest game winning drives you’ll ever see. LSU seemed to put it together a bit on offense, going for nearly 400 yards, but they still needed the late game heroics of Josh Jasper and Terrence Tolliver. LSU also limited Florida on the ground to only 89 yards, which is quite an accomplishment.
Regarding that fake field goal, I have heard some people talking about the legality of the play, saying the holder must first take his knee off the ground before throwing it or lateraling it. I’ve always wondered about that and I’m glad it’s finally being brought up.
(8) Auburn 37 Kentucky 34
(11) Arkansas 24 Texas A&M 17
After moving the ball at will in the first half, Arkansas was limited to just one field goal on their seven second half drives, punting on the other six in the new Cowboys Stadium. Arkansas just couldn’t put A&M away and the Aggies had their opportunities, including a last second throw to the end zone that was intercepted, but they just couldn’t punch it in.
Georgia 41 Tennessee 14
Tennessee is pretty bad this year and they looked it against Georgia. The Vols were down 17-0 by the end of the first quarter and UGA never looked back, moving the ball for over 400 yards, holding Tennessee to just 269 yards and forcing three turnovers. The good news didn’t last for the Bulldogs though, because running back Caleb King is in jail for failing to appear in court to face a speeding charge.
Mississippi State 47 Houston 24
MSU ran the ball, then ran the ball some more and there was nothing Houston could do about it. They rushed for 409 yards (7.2 per attempt). Houston, on the other hand, showed little interest in running, attempting just 16 rushes (and 59 passes). That might fly in C-USA, but you aren’t going to beat many SEC teams that way.
Vanderbilt 52 Eastern Michigan 6
Wow. When I saw Vandy was favored by 25 points in this game, I thought “EMU must be awful”. It turns out that they are even worse than I thought. Allowing Vandy’s normally inept pass offense to go for 353 yards is quite an accomplishment, particularly when they still run for over 200.
1. Auburn 6-0 (3-0) – They’ve played some close ones, but they keep winning
2. South Carolina 4-1 (2-1) – Loss to Auburn keeps them at #2 following win over ‘Bama
3. Alabama 5-1 (2-1) – Still very much a threat for SEC, national titles
4. Arkansas 4-1 (1-1) – Close loss against Alabama doesn’t look quite as good now
5. LSU 6-0 (4-0) – Win @ Auburn in two weeks would make me a convert
6. Florida 4-2 (2-2) – Coming back to earth after Tebow
7. Mississippi State 4-2 (1-2) – Trip to Florida will be interesting
8. Ole Miss 3-2 (1-1) – Overcoming awful start
9. Kentucky 3-3 (0-3)
10. Georgia 2-4 (1-3) – Not sure the year is salvageable
11. Vanderbilt 2-3 (1-1) – Not an awful team
12. Tennessee 0-3 (2-4) – This is not pretty