The #1 Monday morning recap article for SEC Fans… Pulling no punches as we recap a weekend of SEC football action…
It’s still too early to know the extent of the damage done. We’re going to need dental records.
Coming into the weekend the SEC had eight teams in the top 25. Well, #6 lost, #7 lost, #11 lost, #15 lost, and #22 lost bad. #1 won big, #14 won big and #24 beat a hobbled Johnny Football.
Alabama will win the West unless Auburn catches them? What?
Missouri is running away with the East? Wait, who?
People would be talking about LSU and A&M choking if it wasn’t for South Carolina.
Florida and Georgia might as well play their game in Dr. James Andrews’ waiting room.
Manziel won’t win the Heisman Trophy.
The SEC is in total chaos.
Is Alabama Above it All?
Alabama looked great this weekend, but everyone has looked great against Arkansas. The truth is that we still don’t know a whole lot about Alabama. They might be great like they were when they shut out Ole Miss. Or, they might be like everyone else in the supposed top of the SEC; they sure looked that way against Texas A&M.
To say Alabama’s schedule has been favorable to this point would be an understatement. Their signature win against Texas A&M is looking less impressive each week as A&M continues to be a defenseless team, and the win might continue to look worse if Johnny Manziel’s arm injury limits the massive production needed to win games for a team with no defense. LSU will be a battle, I’m sure, but LSU has now lost two games to two teams who are currently unranked.
Is Alabama safe? I’m not asking if they will safely go undefeated until the BCS title game, but will they go to the BCS title game even if they go undefeated? It’s possible the numbers won’t work to their benefit. Assuming they go undefeated they will have wins over Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn and likely Missouri. Is that enough to hold off Oregon and Florida State, who probably have more impressive resumes at this point in the season and still have some huge games ahead of them? I didn’t expect to ask these questions, but as of right now the best team in the country is isn’t Oregon and it isn’t Alabama. It is Florida State.
Related: BCS rankings top 25
Missouri Is in Control
Last week I said Missouri’s dream run was over before it started after the loss of quarterback James Franklin for back to back games against Florida and South Carolina. Well, I was wrong. Missouri and backup quarterback Maty Mauk humiliated Will Muschamp and his supposedly amazing defense to the tune of 36 points and 500 total yards. Add to that South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw being hurt, again, and you have the SEC East handed to you on a platter. It will be shocking, at this point, if Missouri doesn’t win the SEC East.
It was a great win for Missouri with the backup quarterback but it you have to mention that Florida was without three of their four best defensive linemen, their starting quarterback, their starting running back and multiple offensive linemen. They also beat Georgia without “Gurshall” and basically all of their wide receivers. No team is without injures at this point in the season. Again, Missouri is without Franklin, but Missouri has been fortunate to play these teams when they played them.
Their schedule is tough down the road, with games against South Carolina, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. It’s a difficult stretch but there is a very real chance that Missouri is undefeated heading into Atlanta where they will meet Alabama. If they find themselves winning that game they will have the best resumé in college football. It could happen, and anyone who says Alabama is the SEC’s only chance to win their 8th straight BCS Championship is wrong. In fact, Alabama might not even be the SEC’s best chance to win their 8th straight BCS Championship.
Related: 5 interesting stats from Saturday
It’s Never Going to Happen For Spurrier at South Carolina
Georgia was in the middle of giving South Carolina the break it needed to take total control of their destiny. The Gamecocks even had an outside chance at playing their way back into the National Title picture. Hell, Jadeveon Clowney finally showed up. Then it all fell apart. South Carolina’s loss to Tennessee was the craziest thing to happen on Saturday and probably the most devastating.
This was South Carolina’s chance. They have the program-changing talent in Clowney. They have the best quarterback of the Spurrier era (when healthy) and a budding superstar running back in Mike Davis. Last week it felt like South Carolina had turned the corner with their massive win over Arkansas, but maybe that had more to do with Arkansas. South Carolina still has a chance at winning the SEC East, but they will need help from a lot of teams. They can start the road to recovery next week at Missouri, but they will likely be without the oft-injured Connor Shaw, who was taken out in the fourth quarter against Tennessee with a knee injury. Without Shaw it seems unlikely that South Carolina will be able to score enough to hang with Missouri and their freak show receivers.
South Carolina should have won this game going away, but allowed Tennessee to hang around. South Carolina always seems to play down to their competition, but this one was inexcusable. You have to wonder… was this the last chance for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina?
It was a great win, however, for Butch Jones and Tennessee. After losing a heartbreaker to a banged up Georgia team, a lot of people (me) were wondering if this Butch Jones thing ever has a chance at working. Well, it can work. Jones, through sheer force of personality, has made serious strides towards changing the culture at Tennessee. This program is desperately searching for something to believe in and Butch Jones is providing that to the players and fans. Now, they have #1 Alabama next week, followed by #5 Missouri and #11 Auburn, so more losses are coming to Knoxville, but how they respond in these three games might determine the trajectory of this program for the next five years.
War Damn Eagle
Now, Butch Jones might be heading down the right road at Tennessee, but where Gus Malzahn is going they don’t need roads. Auburn is back. I mean, Auburn didn’t win one game in the SEC last season, they were an absolute mess and now they find themselves 3-1 in the SEC, 6-1 overall, after a program changing win over Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.
Nick Marshall wasn’t the best quarterback on the field, but that won’t often be the case for the guy if he keeps throwing up 236 passing, 100 rushing and four total touchdowns. He’s not the prettiest passer yet, but the completion to Marcus Davis in the fourth quarter was a thing of beauty. Running back Tre Mason continues to be spectacular, going for 178 yards and the go ahead touchdown. They still give up a lot of points but Auburn is fun. Gus Malzahn knows how to move the football down the field and believe it or not, Auburn, with a workable schedule leading up to the Iron Bowl against Alabama, still controls their own destiny in the SEC West.
Related: Winners/Losers of 1st BCS rankings
LSU Blew It
There’s no other way to put it.
LSU could have achieved all their goals for this season, even with their shootout loss to Georgia when they were still Georgia. They still had tough games against Alabama and A&M, but this LSU team seemed up to the challenge. The offense had been great all season and the defense seemed like they were starting to figure things out last week against Florida, but that clearly had everything to do with Florida being the most pathetic offense in college football. Zach Mettenberger seemed like a changed man for most of 2013 but on Saturday, on the road in Oxford, Old Zach Mettenberger showed his face just long enough to ruin LSU’s season. This loss wasn’t as bad as South Carolina’s loss to Tennessee but it’s close. LSU should have won this game going away.
The win for Ole Miss helps ease the pain from a tough three week stretch that produced losses to Alabama, Auburn and Texas A&M. This win, along with a road win against Texas, means the program is still heading in the right direction, but how they wrap up November, against Missouri and at Mississippi State will likely determine if 2013 was a success or not.
The World’s Largest Drunkest Cocktail Party in Decades
In two weeks Florida and Georgia fans will make their annual pilgrimage to Jacksonville for The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. In recent years, both universities and the City of Jacksonville have tried to shift the focus off the drinking and towards the football, and it makes sense, as one of these two great rivals has represented the SEC East in fifteen of the twenty-one SEC Championship games. It would almost be disrespectful to blackout and forget such a great rivalry. That is not the case this year. Drinking is not only recommended but should be required for anyone in Duval County.
It will be beautiful. Two opposing fan bases, born and bred to hate each other, will unite to commiserate together. “You think you suck? No, trust me. We suck WAY worse than you suck.”
They will drink to forget. Thoughts of the injuries, the losses, the missed opportunities, the terribly bleak futures, and the poor coaching will all be flooded from their memories one stiff-ass drink at a time.
Kegs will crumble under the weight of ultra-intense Keg Stands. Ping Pong balls will be everywhere. Heard of a Louisville Chugger? When the game begins the crowd will reach a fever pitch of excitement as they all gather in the middle of the parking lot to throw their tickets into a raging bonfire. It will be a festival of love. The World Largest Outdoor Orgy? Maybe.
Considering how hammered everyone will be, anything is possible. It will transcend a sporting event and become something truly spiritual. Florida’s Lynyrd Skynyrd and Georgia’s Allman Bothers will perform a massive concert together at the Landing; even the dead members will be there. The sweet sound of 200,000 drunks singing Sweet Melissa will drown out the terrible sounds of all the ACL’s snapping over at the stadium.
Even if you don’t want to participate in the orgy and feel more comfortable watching from periphery, you’ll want to be a part of this weekend. Both “football teams” have bye weeks, so spend the time building up your tolerance and working on your flexibility. It’s going to be magical.
Plays That Mattered
Never had a doubt, aside from the entire time the kick was in the air. Ole Miss Kicker Andrew Ritter gives Ole Miss the signature win in Hugh Freeze’s brief tenure in Oxford.
I wonder how Butch Jones would have responded had Michael Palardy missed this chip shot game winner? I imagine it would have involved a chain saw.
Tre Mason is old school. I’m pretty sure had Malzahn asked him to carry the ball until his heart exploded he would have done it and not asked any questions.
Here is Maty Mauk making Will Muchamp’s seat seem really, really, really hot.
What They Meant To Say
“I started watching game film of Jameis Winston at halftime. You saw the rest of this conference on display today. None of those clowns scare me.” - Nick Saban, Head Coach, University of Alabama
“After Florida fires me following our 60 point loss to FSU, do you think if I just showed back up at Texas they’d still honor that coach in waiting thing?” – Will Muschamp, Head Coach, University of Florida
“Poor Connor Shaw. He’s softer than John Mayer playing Daughters on a Tempurpedic mattress.” – Steve Spurrier, Head Coach, University of South Carolina
“I told our guys after the game, ‘it doesn’t matter who wins or loses. It doesn’t matter! Which fork to use when you eat a salad. It doesn’t matter if you choose to drink fluids or breathe oxygen. All that matters is which fork in the road you choose, right? I chose the one less traveled and it turned out to be a highway that took me straight to the Danger Zone where my co-pilot died in a fiery crash and I threw his dog tags in the ocean and Meg Ryan… And I’m so (expletive) proud of you for following me down that road.’ I said that verbatim, word for (expletive) word…. Oh, wait, that was the pregame speech.” - Les Miles, Head Coach, Louisiana State University