Published June 20, 2012 - 10:51am
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Bye weeks are a time for teams to recover mentally and physically, all the while possibly tweaking their lineup for their next matchup based on recent results.
Physically, players take punishment week-in and week-out in college football. Bye weeks allow the body to heal and focus to be restored mentally.
A great example of tweaking a lineup was in 2010, as the Gators were coming off a bye week before the annual clash in Jacksonville with Georgia. The Gators played three different quarterbacks in the same game weeks before in Trey Burton, Jordan Reed and superstar John Brantley. Florida brought in a new package for the Bulldogs but disguised the offense better, as they rotated Brantley in on some snaps at receiver to quarterback as a pre-snap motion, while still playing a run attack with Burton and Reed and the scat backs. Florida ended up putting enough points on the board to eventually get a win in overtime. A desperation move paid off for then coach Urban Meyer.
Most importantly, bye weeks give programs an extra week to prepare for a certain team. And if you are lucky enough to have the biggest game of the season fall right after the bye week as is LSU, then you take advantage of it. Last year, SEC teams were 7-5 coming their bye weeks.
Remember a couple years ago when Alabama played six different teams that had bye weeks the week before? The SEC will never make that mistake again.
No matter if your favorite team is dominating their current schedule or are getting destroyed, you cannot lose that week no matter what happens! Sometimes it’s more important for the fans to get a week off than the players.
This year, there are five key SEC games coming off bye weeks:
1. Alabama at LSU – November 3rd: LSU has a bye week before hosting Alabama in Baton Rouge this year. Last year, both teams had a bye week the previous week. That’s not the the case this year. And LSU’s bye week will come at a much-needed time. Two weeks before Bama, the Tigers play on the road at Texas A&M. Les Miles is currently 5-2 coming off bye weeks. I’m going to need a week to prepare for this one, too.
2. LSU at Florida – October 6th: Florida has a bye week before hosting LSU. Will Muschamp is 0-1 coming off bye weeks, with last year’s loss to Georgia. Florida will play Kentucky two weeks before taking on the Tigers, so they will get an extra week to prepare for the mighty Bayou Bengals.
3. Arkansas at South Carolina – November 10th: South Carolina has a bye week before hosting Arkansas this year. Steve Spurrier is 6-1 coming off a bye week as head coach at Carolina. The week before the bye, the Gamecocks will play Tennessee at home. This is a must-win for both Arkansas and South Carolina to get to Atlanta.
4. Arkansas at Auburn – October 6th: Auburn has a bye week before hosting the Hogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The week before the bye, AU hosts LSU. This will be a tough three-week stretch for Auburn, even with the week off sandwiched in between these two West powers. This game is always fun.
5. Tennessee at Mississippi State – October 13th: Tennessee has a bye week before taking on the Bulldogs in Starkville. This might not be a sexy matchup to you, but to both of these teams and fan bases, it is penciled in as a win. This is a must-win game for both teams who are trying to become relevant in their half of the division. Make sure you catch this underrated SEC game.