My favorite moment from every SEC team in 2018
The 2018 season is over, but the memories will last a lifetime.
Was that a corny line or what?
In all seriousness, the 2018 season was full of plenty of entertaining games, storylines and moments that will live in college football lore. To honor that, I looked back at my favorite moment for every SEC team in 2018.
I realize that’s extremely subjective. I’m not saying these are all the “best” moments for these teams, but they provided the most entertainment for me, the neutral observer who consumed 16 hours of college football programming every Saturday this fall.
So here’s my favorite moment for every SEC team in 2018:
Alabama — Jalen Hurts leads made-for-Hollywood comeback in SEC Championship
As they said in the Tom Rinaldi piece on College GameDay, Hollywood wouldn’t say the Hurts script was believable enough. There were almost too many parallels to what happened a year earlier on the same field against the same team.
Really? He’s going to take Tua Tagovailoa’s place now? Really? He’s going throw AND run for touchdown passes in the final 5 minutes to close this thing out? Come. On.
Hurts’ comeback against Georgia will forever make him an Alabama legend. With a trophy case that’s already busting at the seams, the 2018 SEC Championship will have a special meaning. What a perfect way for Hurts to be remembered by Alabama fans.
Arkansas — The play that summed up everything
In this instance, I’d rather show than tell.
“Arkansas, describe your season in one play.”
— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) November 11, 2018
It’s going to get better, Arkansas fans. I promise. How am I so sure? Well, it can’t get worse than that.
Auburn — JaTarvious “Boobee” Whitlow’s mom makes him drop and give her 50
An all-name team captain, Whitlow had a career day in Auburn’s second game of the year. The redshirt freshman finished with 122 rushing yards in a 63-7 victory. But he also fumbled on his second possession.
His mom did NOT approve.
After the game, she greeted him by making him drop and give her 50 pushups … “and 1 to grow on.” The video is worth your time. Auburn actually fumbled 5 times and lost 4 of them that day. But when you’re playing Alabama State, those mistakes don’t really come back to bite you.
The good news for Whitlow was that he only fumbled twice more the rest of the year, and only one was lost. He did fumble when he set a career high with 170 rushing yards against Ole Miss. No word on if he had to do 50 pushups for that one, too.
Florida — The pick-6 that awoke The Swamp
This might have come off as a prisoner of the moment take, but 3 months later, I stand by it. I was there for Florida’s upset of LSU. When Brad Stewart Jr. picked off Joe Burrow in the fourth quarter and took it to the house to thwart LSU’s late comeback attempt, The Swamp erupted. I’ve never heard a stadium as loud as it was for that moment.
Pick Six de DB Brad Stewart ! Les Gators prennent maintenant 8 points d'avance à moins de 2 minutes de la fin ! Wow !
Florida 27, LSU 19pic.twitter.com/CO6bGUzjKa
— TBP College Football (@thebluepennant) October 6, 2018
That moment symbolized the rebirth of The Swamp as a truly hostile atmosphere. Gators fans won’t forget that anytime soon.
Georgia — Deandre Baker trolls Deebo Samuel in epic fashion
So, the South Carolina receiver made the mistake of saying he didn’t know who Baker was leading up to the showdown against Georgia. Even the casual fan knew Baker as the AP Preseason All-American cornerback. Baker then intercepted Jake Bentley for what should have been a pick-6 on the first series, but Baker dropped the ball at the goal line.
Still, Baker dominated and held Samuel to just 33 receiving yards. And afterward, Baker got the last laugh on Samuel:
As promised: #UGA CB Deandre Baker after the game … background: during the week, South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel said he didn't know who Baker — a preseason first-team AP All-American — was. pic.twitter.com/GF3HA4avjp
— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) September 9, 2018
Kentucky — Benny Snell delivers Kentucky’s 2018 mission statement after Mississippi State win
Can we just remember 2018 as the year of Snell Yeah? Snell yeah we can.
The Kentucky running back was the perfect person to embody the Wildcats’ underdog mindset all year. The Ohio kid who couldn’t get the Buckeyes’ interest came into the year saying he felt he was the best running back in the SEC, and he proved he was.
When Kentucky was a home underdog to Mississippi State in Week 4, Snell racked up 4 touchdowns and fueled a 28-7 victory. The message solidified the Wildcats as a legitimate Top 25 team.
And no soundbite was more fitting than this one.
“Everybody wants to doubt us. I’m proud of my team, and we’re gonna keep proving y’all wrong. Let’s go!”
Keep doubting @benny_snell…
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 23, 2018
Snell was like a 2018 version of Muhammad Ali and I loved every second of it.
LSU — Ed Orgeron shuts it DOWN
Man, take your pick. There were so many great moments from LSU that I loved this year. From Joe Burrow’s awesome postgame soundbite after beating Miami in the opener to Ed Orgeron dropping some, um, interesting words after the Auburn win, the Tigers had a season to remember.
But the moment that I couldn’t stop watching was Orgeron interrupting his own press conference to shut down individual workouts on the practice field. Twice. It was equal parts classic and terrifying.
“Hey guys, I’m having a press conference!”
"Hey guys! I'm having a press conference!"
— Jacques Doucet (@JacquesDoucet) December 20, 2018
We got peak Orgeron in 2018. Nervous, on-edge Orgeron wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining. But after the season the Tigers had, that long-term security should be on its way.
Mississippi State — Joe Moorhead has some, um, choice words for Ole Miss
In what turned out to be a roller-coaster season for the Bulldogs, Moorhead delivered a moment that’ll only fuel the Egg Bowl rivalry even more. When Ole Miss deputy AD Michael Thompson interrupted a midfield celebration between MSU players following the blowout win, Moorhead wasn’t having it.
“I’m the one trying to diffuse the situation, not their big-mouth f—– A.D.”
Moorhead followed that moment up by saying in the postgame press conference that he wanted his team to play with class, but that he “doesn’t want his team to take s— off anybody.”
Yo, Joe. Tell us how you really feel.
Mizzou — Drew Lock’s final sendoff
A very small percentage of players get a final sendoff at any level. I’m not talking about a “oh, it’s senior day and the crowd is clapping for you” sendoff. I’m talking like, you get pulled out of the game and the crowd comes to its feet to thank you for all you’ve done for a program.
Lock got that moment. And even though it was in the midst of some nasty conditions with a half-empty stadium, it was still pretty awesome.
Drew Lock leaves the field at home, one final time. pic.twitter.com/07jTx66Bwx
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 23, 2018
School record-holder, SEC record-holder, etc. What more could Mizzou fans have asked for from Lock in his career? What he meant to that program in the wake of the Gary Pinkel exit cannot be understated.
Lock deserved that moment.
Ole Miss — D.K. Metcalf’s 75-yard touchdown to start Alabama game
I was at the Alabama-Ole Miss game in Week 3, and all the talk coming in was whether the Rebels were going to be able to capitalize on that inexperienced Alabama secondary. Jordan Ta’amu appeared to answer that question from the jump when he threw a 75-yard bomb on the first play of the game.
It was the ultimate “we ain’t scared of Bama” moment. The Vaught-Hemingway crowd went bonkers, and it felt like Alabama was going to be in for quite the shootout.
Yeah, about that.
That thought was over faster than you could say “tailgate at The Grove.” Alabama finished the game with 62 unanswered points and pretty much squashed any notion that Ole Miss was going to be competitive by the end of the first quarter.
But we’ll always have that moment in time where people like Barrett Sallee thought his wild prediction would come true. Oh well. At least some good came of that.
South Carolina — Gamecocks get last-second field goal to beat Mizzou in a monsoon
There was something about watching Will Muschamp get fired up while coaching in a monsoon that was incredibly rewarding. It looked like Muschamp had basically jumped into a pool in his normal clothes. There were points in that game where it basically looked like they were playing on a slip-and-slide.
Even better, it turned out to be South Carolina’s most impressive win of the year.
After Tucker McCann kicked a 57-yard bomb to give Mizzou the late lead with just over a minute left, the Gamecocks marched down the field with backup Michael Scarnecchia and Parker White nailed a 33-yard boot to give South Carolina the epic win.
Go figure that an early kickoff game between a pair of teams that finished .500 in conference play was on the short list for games of the year in college football.
Tennessee — Jeremy Pruitt gets emotional after Georgia game
The 2018 season didn’t start with typical Tennessee preseason expectations. Coming off a winless SEC season and in Year 1 of the Pruitt era, the goal was just to get to the postseason. That meant seeing legitimate progress was enough to get the new coach choked up.
The Vols hung tough with overwhelming SEC East favorite Georgia on the road. They trailed by just 12 points with 5 minutes to play, and Pruitt recognized how crucial that was.
That’s why he got emotional in the postgame press conference:
— Luke Slabaugh (@LukeSlabaugh) September 29, 2018
Go figure that after that moment, Tennessee responded by upsetting Auburn for what was easily the first marquee win of the Pruitt era.
If the Pruitt era is a success, many will look back on that postgame press conference as a key turning point of when the ball started to roll in the right direction.
Texas A&M — Jimbo Fisher’s nephew thinks he can take Kevin Faulk
I know, I know, I know. Aggie fans had plenty to celebrate in Year 1 of the Fisher era. Even the losses, like after going down to the wire with Clemson, were celebrated.
So why not go with something positive for A&M? Because the postgame melee that ensued after the 7-overtime game against LSU was unforgettable.
As the story goes, Fisher’s nephew, Cole, pushed LSU analyst Steve Kragthorpe, which prompted former LSU running back and current staffer Kevin Faulk to get involved.
This was the result of that.
POSTGAME | #LSU director of player personnel Kevin Faulk and an unknown man with what appears to be an #Aggie bench credential throw punches on the field after @AggieFootball defeated @LSUfootball in 7-OT @theadvocatebr pic.twitter.com/H7EvCNmoIv
— Hilary Scheinuk (@hscheinukphoto) November 25, 2018
Why in the world Fisher’s nephew thought that he had any chance against Faulk is beyond me. Not all of us have that kind of confidence. There was another video that surfaced of Cole Fisher tracking down his uncle as he was walking off the field to tell him what happened, and you could just see the disdain in Jimbo’s face.
Thanks for the buzzkill, kid.
OK, so maybe that wasn’t a moment that we got to watch play out on television. But when all of us were slap-happy and still awake when this photo surfaced, it made for an extremely entertaining time to be on Twitter.
Vanderbilt — Derek Mason dances after beating Tennessee
When you destroy your in-state rival to clinch a bowl berth, what do you do? You dance like nobody is watching … even though we were all watching. Thankfully.
Take it away, coach!
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 25, 2018
Nothing fires up Mason like beating Tennessee, as we’ve found out the past 3 years.
Here’s hoping we all head into 2019 dancing like Mason.