Florida 14, Missouri 7
Even though he has missed almost four full games, Missouri quarterback James Franklin took advantage of his playing time this week to jump right into the meaty part of the Jevan Snead Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Quarterbacking Failure curve by throwing four interceptions on Saturday. He also earned Chris Todd points by averaging 4.6 yards per attempt on 51 passes (Jeff Driskel also hit 4.6, but did so on only 23 passes), as both quarterbacks did their best to make this game unwatchable.
And not watch it I did, as I mostly stuck with the Mississippi State/Texas A&M game, but congratulations to Florida for finishing their SEC schedule (how are they done when 9 other SEC teams still have to play 2 more conference games?) at 7-1, with a brand of football that can best be described as "Alabama football, if it were living under a bridge in 19th century Wales."
Vanderbilt 40, Kentucky 0
Has Vanderbilt ever provided the final knockout blow to a football coach's tenure at a school? The Commodores thrashing of Kentucky in front of a sparsely populated stadium brought the Joker Phillips era to a close. Well, not totally, as he has been given the Houston Nutt treatment and will coach the final two games against Samford and Tennessee.
So, based on how the Ole Miss team really responded to a fired-but-not-fired Houston Nutt last year, this should go really well for the Wildcats. The good news for Kentucky is that they have plenty of receivers on their roster who can play quarterback against Tennessee.
Texas A&M 38, Mississippi State 13
Per the usual, Johnny Manziel ripped apart another defense without the collection of speed and talent to force him to throw into coverage from the pocket. Mississippi State tried an interesting strategy at times in which they used no linebacker/safety spy and rushed their defensive lineman like you would against Clint Moseley. It was a plan based on the idea that Maziel would get so excited at the prospect of open space in all directions, he would trip himself or be one of those people who get paralyzed with indecision when presented with so many options.
And as his 129 rushing yards (440 total) note, that plan, or really any plan, did not go well for State (693 total yards surrendered). What was surprising about the game was State's inability to do much of anything on offense.
They couldn't run the ball and when forced into obvious passing downs, they couldn't give Russell enough time (8 hurries) and their receivers couldn't get open. It's an excellent formula for having your fans try to pick the right moment to leave the game to eat, drink, and watch non-awful football. I know many waited until it was 31-0 in the third, but someone with great instincts would have known the right call was at halftime.
Also, and you may have seen this, but Kevin Sumlin has as many SEC West wins this season as Dan Mullen has in four years. #THEChampionship
Tennessee 55, Troy 48
Now that's some cane-smashing discipline. Two hands on the cane, back is straight, and the legs are carrying most of the weight, ensuring good balance. If an errant Tyler Bray pass were to hit Dooley at this moment, he wouldn't be knocked over with the strong base he's showing.
Despite the wreck Tennessee's defense is (721 yards allowed to Troy), the Vols still have a pretty decent chance at winning their last three, as they play Missouri, Vanderbilt (at Vandy), and Kentucky. If they win those, they're 7-5 and 3-5 in the conference, plus a bowl game, which could buy Dooley another year. However, either way, Sal Sunseri will be asking Nick Saban if there's a spot for him at Alabama.
Arkansas 19, Tulsa 15
Two more wins and we can all say the bowl-bound Arkansas Razorbacks. At South Carolina, at Mississippi State, and LSU at home, so pick your two out of that. :(
Auburn 42, New Mexico State 7
At the end of the first quarter, Auburn had 29 yards of total offense and 1 interception. In the second quarter, they poured it on with 106 total yards AND a touchdown to lead 7-0 at half. Gene Chizik won a national championship and gets paid millions of dollars.
Georgia 37, Ole Miss 10
Ole Miss couldn't have hoped for a better start, as Georgia looked about as Georgia as they've ever looked against a weaker opponent. Even after giving up a huge play on a 66-yard touchdown pass, Ole Miss led 10-7 and had the ball at the Georgia 31. Then Vince Sanders fumbled inside the 20, killing the chance to keep the momentum and making it a two-score game.
Incredibly, Georgia would give the ball right back to Ole Miss, but Bo Wallace would reject that generosity and throw an interception right away. Combined with the touchdown three seconds before halftime on a THIRD AND 25, that was it for Ole Miss. Georgia had taken Ole Miss' best shot and then drop-kicked the Rebels across the room.
If Ole Miss doesn't make so many dumb mistakes in the first half, maybe they make a game of it in the second half. Or at the very least, make Georgia have to work for the win. Instead, Ole Miss made it easy for Georgia to end the game early, which was the most irritating thing about this game. My fragile brain can handle getting smashed to pieces by a better team, which is what happened in the second half, but it does not do well when Ole Miss gives better teams the easiest road possible.
But, ENOUGH LAMENT. Beat Vanderbilt so I can RECKLESSLY SPEND MONEY IN SHREVEPORT/MEMPHIS/BIRMINGHAM.
Alabama 21, LSU 17
After watching LSU during the Les Miles era pull a number of wins directly out of the space between its butt cheeks, this loss was especially delightful, or as delightful as watching Alabama win can be, because they finally lost a game in a fashion in which they've stolen wins before. And even more amazingly, LSU was in perfect position to win the game despite a fake field goal, onside kick, and a fourth down attempt all failing.
Zach Mettenberger played the best game of his career, chewing up the Alabama pass defense with throws on a variety of in and out routes that require arm strength and accuracy, especially on the outs, which were often thrown to the far side of the field, and LSU got like a million more rushing yards than Alabama normally gives up. And of course, their defense was fantastic in the second half. Yet, failure would rule the day for LSU.
Two things about this game that I didn't understand. One, after T.J. Yeldon's fumble on the LSU 10 (after the failed onsides kick), which took place on a drive where Alabama called five straight running plays, Alabama called ONE running play the next two possessions before the final drive, with Eddie Lacy averaging 7.5 yards a carry and Yeldon 6.9 yards. McCarron would go 1-4 for 0 yards on those pass plays.
And two, LSU played very aggressive coverage for most of the game until the last drive by Alabama. They backed off, gave McCarron time and some much easier throws, and then panicked when Alabama got deeper in their territory and blitzed instead of tightening up in the short field. I would make my poison choice based on a guy who looked awful for most of the half and make him throw into tight coverage without the threat of a deep pass.
Alas, TOO BAD, TIGERS. Now you know the pain of your team teasing you before collapsing and ruining EVERYTHING.
Double Your Paycheck Picks
Week: 4-4 (.500)
Season: 40-36-1 (.519)
2012 Jevan Snead Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Quarterbacking Failure Leaderboard
Awarded to the SEC quarterback who throws the most interceptions during the regular season
1. Tyler Bray 10
1. Bo Wallace 10
3. Kiehl Frazier 8
3. Tyler Wilson 8
5. Aaron Murray 7
6. Johnny Manziel 6
6. James Franklin 6
8. Corbin Berkstresser 5
8. Connor Shaw 5
10. Maxwell Smith 4
10. Zach Mettenberger 4
12. Brandon Allen 3
12. Morgan Newton 3
12. Jordan Rodgers 3
12. Tyler Russell 3
12. Clint Moseley 3
12. Jeff Driskel 3
18. Jalen Whitlow 2
19. Jonathan Wallace 1
19. Dylan Thompson 1
WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS WEEK
Texas A&M at Alabama
Will Alabama follow in the path of good defenses and limit the damage done by Johnny Manziel? Will Manziel go out every night this week in his Scooby Doo costume because THAT'S WHAT I WOULD DO? Has Nick Saban destroyed the CBS footage of him smiling after the LSU game?
Mississippi State at LSU
Will LSU pour out its anger and frustration on Mississippi State? Can Zach Mettenberger put together back-to-back good games? Will Dan Mullen lightly tap the breaks on fan expectation the next time he burns the Sun Belt to the ground?
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss
Wil the battle for Shreveport/Memphis/Birmingham be as intense as expected? Will Ole Miss find ALL THE SMOKE AND MIRRORS to distract Vanderbilt from its horrible pass defense? Will there be a moment of unified cheering from both school's fans to rejoice that this is finally not the JP game?