Over the course of a college football season, there are mountains and valleys. Unless you’re Alabama, in which case, there are mountains. But the rest of the SEC had a very up-and-down 2016. So looking back, we single out the highest and lowest points of the season for each SEC school.
High: Check back in three more games.
Low: Not much to work with here, but falling behind Ole Miss 24-3 late in the first half of their third game of the year was a scary moment. That said, in six minutes of clock time, the Tide had tied it up.
High: Smoking East division champ Florida 31-10 was a definite highlight. The offense was usually good, but on that day, the defense showed up too.
Low: The Missouri loss was putrid, but getting boat-raced by LSU the week after beating Florida demonstrated how and up-and-down this season was. This was made weirder when Florida beat LSU the following week.
High: The heart-stopping win over LSU changed two programs drastically, but the highlight for the Tigers was probably thumping Arkansas 56-3. When Auburn’s offense worked with Kamryn Pettway pounding the rock, WDE soared; when it didn’t, they nose-dived.
Low: See the nose-dive. Losing to Bama by 18 was tough, but not surprising. Getting held to seven points and 164 total yards by Georgia was the lowlight. But for that loss, Auburn would be in a much better bowl.
High: The finale against Texas A&M was pivotal for several reasons—among them that it was LSU’s best offense performance in ages and that it got Ed Orgeron the head coaching job. Whether the second is ultimately a good thing or not, we shall see.
Low: The Auburn loss was heartbreaking, but it was the opener against Wisconsin that was the beginning of the end of the Les Miles era — and the end of the Brandon Harris era.
High: Beating Texas A&M knocked the Aggies out of the CFP picture and paved the way for Nick Fitzgerald to go all Dak Prescott on Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. Not many 5-7 teams beat the No. 4 team in the country.
Low: Losing to South Alabama in the opener on a doinked field goal wasn’t just embarrassing — it put the Bulldogs behind the chains all season long.
High: Knocking off Texas A&M with de-redshirted QB Shea Patterson has to be the highpoint. At that point, Ole Miss looked likely to at least lock up a bowl game.
Low: Losing the last two — to Vandy by 21, and to Mississippi State by 35 — ended things on a different note. That Egg Bowl loss was horribly embarrassing, making it a fitting end to the season.
High: When the unbeaten Aggies knocked off unbeaten Tennessee in a top-10 showdown to climb to 6-0, expectations were sky high in College Station. Early impressive wins at A&M, though often lead to …
Low: Unimpressive late losses. Three losses in four games to close the season, two against teams that won five games, was simply unacceptable. LSU looked like it was playing against a high school defense when it scored 54 on A&M.
High: After all of the drama that surrounded the hurricane and cancellation and rescheduling of the LSU game in Baton Rouge, nothing could have been finer for Florida than to wrap up the division title by stopping Derrius Guice 1 yard shy of paydirt. You knew it would be a defensive highlight.
Low: Having a 21-3 halftime advantage on Tennessee and watching the game absolutely crash and burn in the second half was a down moment. Given Florida’s personnel, spotting them an 18-point lead on a mediocre Tennessee offense sounds like a done deal, but on that day in September, it wasn’t.
High: In a game that few expected them to win, Georgia embodied Kirby Smart’s defense-first mentality and stone-walled Auburn 13-7 to become bowl eligible. Jacob Eason’s game-winner against Missouri and Rodrigo Blankenship’s kick at Kentucky are honorable mention.
Low: The Tennessee Hail Mary loss was a special kind of depressing, but the lowest point had to be getting absolutely massacred by an Ole Miss team that finished 5-7. The 45-14 loss might have been worse than the score indicates.
High: Celebrating on the field at Louisville after knocking off the No. 11 Cardinals, 41-38 was the obvious highlight. Kentucky had lost five in a row in the series and began the game as a 27-point underdog, but instead picked up their seventh and best win of 2016.
Low: After blowing a three-score lead in the season opener and getting crushed 45-7 at Florida, starting QB Drew Barker aggravated a season-ending back injury in the first series of game 3. UK looked more like a 2-10 team than a 7-5 one at that point.
High: In the last half of a 4-8 season, the Tigers rallied from a 24-7 deficit to stun Arkansas. Barry Odom’s season wasn’t successful, but no one can say Mizzou quit.
Low: A 51-45 Homecoming loss to Middle Tennessee pretty much took all the air out of the bowl balloon. It was a tough defensive season for the Tigers.
High: The opener was a big win, but not as big as knocking off Tennessee in mid-October behind the de-redshirted freshman QB Jake Bentley. That was Will Muschamp’s statement game.
Low: Getting crushed by Clemson wasn’t much fun. Hardly unexpected, but the 56-7 score was one of the biggest blowouts in series history.
High: Beating Florida was amazing, but the emotional swing of knocking off Georgia on the Dobbsnail Boot play to move to 5-0 has to be the iconic moment of 2016 for Tennessee. If only that high could have lasted.
Low: Getting crushed by Alabama was a downer, but not surprising. Losing to Vandy by 11 points to end the season was. If 2017 isn’t a cleaner season, then Butch Jones getting fired will be part of the future.
High: The win over Tennessee was gigantic, and will propel Vandy forward, but let’s be honest — the late-season surge started with an unlikely 17-16 win over Georgia. Sure, UGA wasn’t as good as Tennessee, but few gave the Commodores a chance, and if they had been drubbed, they might not have made it to five wins, much less six.
Low: Getting steamrolled by 31 points by Georgia Tech suggested a hopeless season. Fortunately, Derek Mason turned it around.