So … who gets the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week award?

Alabama’s backup punt returner who might just win the Heisman Trophy? Or Vandy’s backup kicker who just made college football history?

How about we just celebrate the heck out of both instead of cursing at the clouds about Marco Wilson’s Playoff-altering penalty.

On that and more after another wild Saturday down South in and around the SEC.

10. Oh, Marco … not like that

Look, Florida didn’t deserve to beat LSU on Saturday night. And at no point Saturday did the Gators look capable of taking out Alabama next week in the SEC Championship Game.

Coin toss to a last-ditch missed field goal attempt, the Gators looked out of sorts against LSU.

Kyle Trask had 3 turnovers. Todd Grantham twice dialed up corner blitzes that led directly to one busted coverage touchdown and set up another. They made a true freshman quarterback, making his first start, on the road, look like a poised veteran. When they needed a score, Florida’s celebrated offense produced 3 consecutive 3-and-outs, totaling just 8 yards.

So, yeah, there was plenty of blame to go around long before Florida’s defense finally got a key stop on 3rd down to force a punt and give Trask and the offense yet another shot to win the game.

Florida’s offense didn’t get that chance, of course, because seconds after getting said stop, Gators redshirt junior Marco Wilson committed arguably the costliest penalty in Playoff-era history when he threw Kole Taylor’s shoe downfield in celebration.

Elijah Moore’s fake dog pee celebration last year ultimately cost Matt Luke his job, but the Rebels weren’t going anywhere. And, heck, they’re all celebrating in Oxford now that Lane Kiffin is living large.

The Gators, however, had big dreams. Real dreams.

Gators fans no doubt are still screaming that the refs should have eaten their whistles. No harm was done. A kid merely celebrated a huge play in an emotional game. Let them play.

Don’t blame the stripes on this one.

We’ll never know whether Trask would have delivered a Heisman dagger and driven in for a game-winning score, but we do know that Wilson’s penalty gave LSU a first down and led to the Tigers’ game-winning field goal.

We also know that Florida has 2 losses … and that the Selection Committee has never invited a 2-loss team to the 4-team Playoff. Florida won’t be the first.

Florida isn’t beating Alabama next week, anyway. But even if the Gators somehow did, the Gators tossed their Playoff dreams goodbye Saturday night.

9. Congrats to LSU …

Let’s give LSU a ton of credit for competing when a lot of other teams would have caved.

LSU had every excuse imaginable Saturday. Heck, it barely had enough scholarship players to play. Its best defensive player dressed but was injured and never got off the sideline.

It was a great win, typically worth celebrating. Max Johnson was fantastic. Cade York was clutch. And the Tigers showed all of the competitive characteristics we’ve come to appreciate about Ed Orgeron.

I’d be more effusive, but that would be disingenuous.

The fact is, it’s difficult to separate LSU’s fantastic win Saturday from the off-field issues that preceded it. Remember, the week started with the Tigers self-imposing a bowl ban, but that’s the least of their problems. There still might be fallout from the damning USA Today investigation alleging that Orgeron and LSU mishandled accusations of sexual assault within the program.

Fix the culture. Then I’ll celebrate the wins. And believe me, it’s more much fun to celebrate a 57-yard game-winning field goal.

8. Does USC have a Playoff case? Why not?

Have to admit, I never considered the Pac-12 a legitimate threat to the Playoff this season. They started too late, had no chance to play enough games and … well, it’s the Pac-12. As much as people like to bang on the Big Ten for its Playoff woes, the Pac-12 has been worse. It has only won 1 Playoff game in the tournament’s 6-year history. And then Ohio State promptly smoked Oregon 42-20 in the inaugural championship game. The Pac-12 has only been in the Playoff 1 time since then — and Alabama went through the motions in a routine 24-7 semifinal win over Washington in 2016.

But USC is making the case — a case that got a whole lot stronger after the B1G tripped over its shoelaces again this week and failed to get Ohio State another game.

USC is 5-0 after rallying past rival UCLA on Saturday.

That’s the same record that Ohio State has.

USC will play for the Pac-12 championship next weekend.

That’s the same thing Ohio State will do in the Big Ten.

USC has an NFL-caliber quarterback. Kedon Slovis threw for 344 yards and 5 TDs Saturday. He has 16 TD passes in 5 games, tops in the Pac-12.

You see where this is going.

I guarantee you the Playoff committee never thought for 1 second it would have to think seriously about a Pac-12 team contending, or having to justify how 1 5-0 team heading to a conference championship game can be 11 spots lower than another 5-0 team heading to a conference championship game.

7. Alabama’s backup punt returner might win the Heisman …

Must be nice, right?

DeVonta Smith is only returning punts because Jaylen Waddle got hurt.

That’s a TD in 2-hand touch. I mean, nobody got within 2 yards of the guy. The only thing missing was the celebratory Heisman pose in the end zone.

Smith had 111 yards on his first 3 punt returns. He was well within reach of Javier Arenas’ school record (153 yards vs. Tulane in 2008), but Arkansas avoided him the rest of the game.

6. Is Nick Saban mellowing?

It’s worth asking. We haven’t seen a good old-fashioned butt-chewing this season. Sure Alabama is undefeated and almost entirely untested, but that’s never stopped him before.

This week, we got a light-hearted little look at what makes Mac Jones the best, um, holder in the country.

Alabama football under Saban has forever been a machine. A stoic machine programmed to chase perfection, so much so that they didn’t seem to enjoy merely winning.

I think Tua Tagovailoa changed that culture a little bit, maybe humanized it a little bit.

Whatever prompted the change, I don’t think Saban would have signed off on a video like this 4 years ago. Not while in pursuit of a championship.

It’s a bit more enjoyable for everybody when Bama shows us how much fun they’re having, too.

5. Top 5 of Power 5

The best of the week …

1. UNC’s running game: Before the season, we ranked the top 25 running backs in the country. We included UNC’s duo of Michael Carter (No. 11) and Javonte Williams (No. 7). Saturday, Carter ran for 308 yards and Williams added 236 as the Heels ran all over Miami. Their combined 544 yards set an FBS record by a duo. They also combined for 5 rushing TDs and both went over 1,000 yards on the season, too.

I mean, my goodness …

2. How about Jake Bentley? The former SC QB transferred to Utah and had to deal with everything that has been the Pac-12. Saturday, while many were trying to find a way for Colorado to qualify for the Pac-12 title game, Bentley ended that narrative. He threw for 240 yards and 2 TDs as Utah blasted the No. 21 Buffaloes 38-21.

3. Tennessee DB Bryce Thompson’s spectacular 1-handed pick-6 against Vandy. Doesn’t get much better than this.

4. JT Daniels: Georgia is just a different team with Daniels, who threw for 299 yards with 3 more TDs. It’s too late, of course, but this team would beat Texas A&M by 14. At least. The Dawgs just handed Mizzou its worst loss of the season — and Mizzou played Alabama and Florida.

5. Let’s just say that Iowa and Wisconsin play really, really, really good defense, OK?

P.S.: So do Auburn and Mississippi State, apparently.

4. The 4 Playoff teams are …

No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 Clemson, No. 4 Ohio State.

Again, no need for change. And thanks to Florida’s epic meltdown, there’s no need to waste any time worrying about the Gators’ Playoff path, either. It disappeared in the fog Saturday night.

If you want Texas A&M at No. 5, fine. Instead of worrying about the Gators, the Aggies now need to worry about USC. I wish they had to worry about Cincinnati, but the committee has shown utter indifference to any Group of 5 team.

Texas A&M’s best Playoff hope is that Notre Dame somehow is so impressive next week against Clemson that it jumps the Tide for No. 1. That would eliminate Clemson, obviously, and avoid a 1-v-4 Alabama-Texas A&M rematch, which nobody wants. I don’t see that scenario happening, but that’s what Aggies fans have to hope happens.

As for other scenarios, he goes:

  • Alabama: The SEC title game will only impact Alabama’s seed.
  • Notre Dame: Gets really interesting if the Irish lose to Clemson, and OSU and USC win conference titles.
  • Clemson: Have to win ACC title game.
  • Ohio State: Have to win B1G title game.
  • Florida: They’re not beating Alabama, but play along: What if I told you the Gators could be the first SEC champion to miss the Playoff …
  • USC: Have to win Pac-12 title game by a huge margin and hope for help.
  • Cincinnati: Have to win the American convincingly, hope Alabama, ND and Ohio State win, USC loses and Texas A&M doesn’t look great against Tennessee.

What I think happens:

  • Alabama beats Florida to secure No. 1 seed.
  • Clemson beats Notre Dame to secure No. 2 seed.
  • Ohio State beats Northwestern to secure No. 3 seed.
  • Notre Dame claims the No. 4 seed over undefeated Pac-12 champion USC, 1-loss Texas A&M and undefeated American Athletic Conference champion Cincinnati.

3. A final word about Texas A&M’s Playoff bid …

Last week, I made the airtight case why the Aggies have had a great season but don’t belong in the Playoff.

The key to all of this is Alabama. I wrote that, primarily based on the 28-point loss, but I should have explained it further.

If Alabama were the No. 2 or No. 3 seed, I’d feel much better about endorsing the Aggies’ Playoff push. But Alabama is No. 1. The only way Texas A&M becomes the SEC’s 2nd team is if Florida loses in the SEC title game. But if Florida loses the SEC title game, Alabama stays No. 1. There’s no way Texas A&M could jump to No. 3, so if the Aggies were to make it, we’d get another No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Texas A&M.

This is why I want no part of that:

Damn Bama. Ruining college football for everybody but Dabo and Stephen Garcia since 2009.

2. Teams opting out

Let’s keep this really simple, OK?

There’s nothing wrong with it.

A couple of ACC teams decided this week that they weren’t going to play in a bowl game. More players have opted out too. There will be more.

Twitter’s gonna Twitter, but save it.

These kids have been through so much just to give us a college season, if they want to shut it down rather than going to a meaningless bowl game, tell them thank you for their time and move on.

There is no other answer.

1. Yesssssmaaaa’aaaammmm, Sarah Fuller!

I don’t have time for haters.

So before you even start and say anybody could kick an extra point, remember this:

Alabama’s kickers missed 3 extra points last year. They missed 9 extra points in 2018.

Sarah Fuller went 2-for-2 Saturday.

Just appreciate the moment.