The 50 best things about SEC football in 2020
Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.
And a Happy New Year.
Speaking of that, I will fight anyone over the internet who tells me that Home Alone 2 isn’t better than Home Alone 1. This is not a debate. Kevin walked into New York like he owned the place and took down a pair of criminals on the loose in someone else’s house. If that doesn’t earn your respect, I don’t know what does.
You didn’t come here for my Home Alone takes; you came for some year-in-review content. Specifically in the SEC.
This list of the best things is indeed totally subjective. You might’ve loved the way that Jake Camarda punted a football. That’s cool. That can be on your list.
As for my list, well, here were the best things about SEC football in 2020 (starting after LSU won the national title):
50. Greg Sankey wasn’t Kevin Warren
As a result, every day I woke up knowing that and feeling better about SEC football happening in 2020.
49. I personally loved Stetson Bennett’s 15 minutes of fame
That’s not a jab at Bennett, who defied odds by becoming an SEC starter, which is more than 99.99999% of us can ever say. But The Mailman phase of 2020 did ultimately feel like a fad that faded like Beanie Babies and grunge music.
48. LSU didn’t have a boring post-title season
There was nothing ho-hum about it. From weekly draft departures/opt-outs to troubling off-field stories about the program to Odell Beckham Jr.’s fake cash, this was by no means a boring year following the best season in college football history.
47. The Ole Miss defense was awful, but in the perfect way
Because I love points, points, points and more points.
46. We eventually got a healthy Christian Barmore
Because while I love points, points, points and more points, I also love when 310-pound defensive tackles get off the ball like edge rushers and sack the quarterback.
45. Kevin Harris and Shi Smith made South Carolina so much more tolerable
Without those guys, what would the Gamecocks have become? Coastal Carolina? Whoops. Can’t make that joke anymore.
44. Jeremy Pruitt’s babushka
A picture is worth 1,000 words (and that scarf is worth zero COVID protection):
Jeremy Pruitt going full babushka pic.twitter.com/c5DbtdtJtF
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) October 10, 2020
43. We still got walk-off winners, even though 1 came thanks to a missed extra point in OT
Come on, Kentucky. It’s 2020. You’re supposed to be past that stuff.
42. Ainias Smith’s body control
That’s very specific. I said what I said. That tiptoe against Alabama was absurd. So were about 35 other plays from the Aggie sophomore in 2020.
41. We finally got to see Anthony Schwartz’s 100-yard dash on a football field
I can confirm after watching this that the owner of the Youth World Record for the 100-yard dash is indeed fast:
AUBURN IS TORCHING LSU 😳
Bo Nix connects with Anthony Schwartz on a 91-yd score
This game closed as a pick ’em… pic.twitter.com/0BnE2HcZub
— br_betting (@br_betting) October 31, 2020
40. This is the part where I say something to describe my Chris Rodriguez love
Ah, I’m on the spot. So many things can describe the Kentucky tailback, who averaged an SEC-best 6.9 yards per carry. Let’s go with “sneaky dynamic.”
39. We got a legitimate benches-clearing brawl thanks to Florida and Mizzou
I’m not a pro-violence guy, but from an entertainment standpoint, I love that in a random SEC East matchup, we can occasionally get a benches-clearing brawl with dudes still punching each other while wearing helmets. Someday, I’ll learn why football players haven’t learned what hockey players realized decades ago.
38. Eli Drinkwitz had the ultimate signing day video
I feel like SEC fans learned a TON about Drinkwitz when he signed Ennis Rakestraw out of Texas:
— Mizzou Football (@MizzouFootball) February 5, 2020
37. Even in a COVID year, we still got 10 SEC teams playing bowl games
And it was supposed to be 12. Boom.
(Don’t look at the records, though.)
36. The SEC has the most appropriately named human being in the sport
35. Terrace Marshall/Kayshon Boutte combo was electric
We can combine them into 1 person since Marshall opted out and Boutte then became a star in those last 3 games. Remember when LSU receivers got better once they left for the NFL? Say goodbye to those days.
34. We still had some wild upsets
Arkansas knocked off then-surging MSU, South Carolina upset Auburn, A&M took down Florida, LSU stunned Florida via a shoe throw … who could’ve seen any of that coming?
33. There wasn’t a “will the SEC make the Playoff” debate
Hey, don’t take that for granted. There are struggling Power 5 conferences in America.
32. No rivalry games were canceled
Shots fired at the Big Ten. And hey, the SEC only had 2 games officially canceled in 2020. That’s a win.
31. That 1 Bo Nix touchdown
I’ve been critical of Nix, but this was a beautiful disaster of a play:
BO NIX OH MY GOODNESS
— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 5, 2020
30. Landon Dickerson proved that robots don’t play at Alabama
Dude had a personality and was loved for that … and for being one of the best centers in America.
29. We finally got unfiltered Jimbo Fisher
If I had a $75 million guaranteed contract, I’d be unfiltered all the time. Fisher waited until his final regular-season game of Year 3 to tell us how he really felt about the Aggies’ Playoff snub.
28. We got a non-roller coaster version of Feleipe Franks
When healthy, he was a far more consistent quarterback than he was for most of his career. He was good enough that the Jameis Winston comparison I used to make seemed dated by November.
27. Thanks to South Carolina and Auburn, Hugh Freeze rumors were back!
Weren’t they fun! I can’t wait for them to come back when Vol Twitter tries to impeach Jeremy Pruitt. Is that how it works?
26. Dan Mullen went off the deep end
Between dressing like Darth Vader after charging at an official, calling out Ohio State (and Texas A&M) and nearly biting Todd Grantham’s face off, Mullen was some kind of fired up in 2020.
25. Grant Morgan reminded us that you don’t need a scholarship or a left arm to dominate
He just had another 10 tackles by the time I finished that sentence.
24. It just means more … mascots pooping on Lee Corso
I’ve watched this video over 100 times and I’m not ashamed, NOR SHOULD YOU BE, Uga!
In this week’s story time with coach, Corso tries to apologize to Uga for calling him ugly in 2008.
This might be the best one yet 😂 pic.twitter.com/aKsSnRaE2F
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 17, 2020
23. The Alabama-Ole Miss game happened
Besides Kiffin vs. Saban, we got gold. Pure. Gold. A whopping 1,370 yards, 111 points, 15 touchdowns and about a million reasons to be excited for every Alabama-Ole Miss game until further notice.
22. That Air Raid blitzkrieg in Death Valley gave us this video
We mustn’t ever forget this fantastic moment in internet history:
Join the bandwagon!! Shop all our Mike Leach merchandise including the pirate flag here: https://t.co/Z6IBxzHaoK
@hailstatestyle @HailState @HailStateFB #secfootball #jointhebandwagon #mikeleach pic.twitter.com/rD3FZnA1WC
— Campus Book Mart (@CBM_MSU) September 28, 2020
21. JJ Pegues spun and hurdled into our lives
If you haven’t seen or read about the 300-pound Auburn tight end/wild cat quarterback/special teams extraordinaire, you need to. Or just watch him in all his beauty:
JJ Pegues, a 6-2 300lb freshman TE running wildcat for Auburn 👀 pic.twitter.com/bVjnvAaf4w
— Dynasty Mark 🏈 (@Dynasty_Mark) October 10, 2020
20. The Lane Kiffin-Mike Leach bromance is weird but fun
Just a couple of dudes snappin’ COVID masks and having fun on Twitter. Guy stuff.
19. We still at least got some fans in the stands
Unless you were Texas A&M. Then you basically got all the fans in the stands. (I’m joking, Aggie fans. Kind of.)
18. Nick Bolton played football in 2020
I think I’d watch Bolton do most things. Walk the dog, take out the trash, fish. You name it. If the Mizzou star is doing it, I’m there.
17. The tight end play was perhaps as good as its ever been in 1 year
I’ll get to more on Kyle Pitts later, but think about how remarkable the position was this year. Jalen Wydermyer could start 2021 as the Mackey Award favorite, Kenny Yeboah was a revelation in Kiffin’s offense and pre-opt out Arik Gilbert was an absolute freak. Incredible.
16. We got the full Tennessee experience
In the 21st century, that is. You know, watch sky-high expectations and questions of Tennessee’s upside turn into rock(y top) bottom with questions about buyouts.
15. Sam Pittman made Arkansas an actual SEC team again
I’m high on that Hog, and in a good way.
14. Treylon Burks was a cheat code
If a guy can do this, he needs to be playing with the older kids:
Treylon Burks, this is insane. pic.twitter.com/uSyVwybTnN
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 17, 2020
13. Kadarius Toney became everything we/Florida Twitter ever hoped he’d be
Man, this dude was so fun to watch. Personally, I’ll never forget the time he ran through 5 dudes in the South Carolina game.
12. The Maroon Goons gave us the best-post Johnny Manziel version of Texas A&M
That’s an all-time nickname that I hope stays, along with that production on the Aggies’ offensive line.
11. The Lord blessed us with an Auburn coaching search
And to think, Auburn paid $21 million to give it to us. What a Christmas present!
10. JT Daniels fired up Georgia’s 2021 hype train
Yes, the switch to Daniels came later than Georgia fans were hoping for, but it yielded some remarkable results in the last month that will surely set those expectations through the roof this offseason.
9. Kyle Trask wasn’t exactly Joe Burrow 2.0, but he was darn special
Imagine saying that guy wasn’t “elite” among SEC quarterbacks. Couldn’t be me.
8. The John Scharlman tribute
The late Kentucky offensive line coach was honored in the best possible way. If this didn’t give you chills, I don’t think anything can:
Kentucky O-line coach John Schlarman died on Thursday after a battle with cancer.
His team honored him by leaving a spot open on their offensive line for the first play of the game 💙
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 14, 2020
7. Sarah Fuller made history
I’d put this even higher but those who have never spent a second caring about Vanderbilt’s kicker suddenly got big mad on the internet and proved to be a bit of a downer.
6. Lane Kiffin’s 2020 Ole Miss squad was a howlin’ good time
I compared Ole Miss to tequila. It’s an experience that usually isn’t meant for a quiet night in. It’s all gas, no breaks on both sides of the ball and I am here for it, no matter how hungover I get.
5. Florida gave 10-year old Connor permission to tweet this Austin Powers line
Who throws a shoe? Honestly?
— Connor O’Gara (@cjogara) December 13, 2020
Thanks, Marco Wilson!
4. Elijah Moore went from goat to G.O.A.T.
How many dudes can go from delivering the most embarrassing penalty in school history to becoming arguably the best receiver in school history? Unreal.
3. We got to watch Kyle Pitts become a football unicorn
I motion to remove the “tight end” title before his name. Like the NFL team in DC, it should just be “football player Kyle Pitts.”
2. Alabama’s 3-horse Heisman race was incredible, even for Alabama
DeVonta Smith, Najee Harris and Mac Jones all came into form and became All-Americans at the exact same time, and those of us with a love of points were treated to historic amounts of them.
1. It happened
Like, the season. Cheers to that.