Smell ya later, bye weeks.

Be gone. You’re not welcome here anymore.

From here on out, we’ve got nothing but at least 7 SEC games every week. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we’re somehow already onto the second weekend of November, it’s dark out early and I don’t know how to process time moving so quickly.

Oh well. Here are my early impressions of every SEC game in Week 11:

Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky — Dane Key’s rise should continue in a big way

After a blistering hot start, we saw Key suffer an unfortunate midseason hand injury that cooled off him off. But as we saw against Mizzou, the highly-regarded true freshman is already a special player. He’s still learning how to get separation and win those matchups on the outside, but get him the ball in space and he can make things happen, just as he did against Mizzou for the game-winning touchdown.

Against a Vandy defense who ranks No. 130 out of 131 FBS teams against the pass, Key should have a big day. We watched Jonathan Mingo go off for 247 yards a month ago in Nashville, and most recently, Juice Wells hit the century mark against Vandy. Both Mingo and Wells line up predominantly out wide, much like Key. There should be a handful of opportunities to slip past the porous Vandy secondary and continue his impressive freshman season … even if the Kentucky offensive line continues to struggle.

Mizzou vs. Tennessee — Now isn’t a “lick your wounds” day for that Tennessee offensive line

For the first time all year, they got beat. Badly. Allowing 6 sacks to Georgia was easily that group’s worst showing of the season. Against a Mizzou defensive line that’s been lights out, this is far from an obvious “get-right” matchup in the trenches, despite what that 3-touchdown spread would suggest. Tennessee looked perplexed by some of the disguised blitzes that Georgia threw at it. I wonder how much of that we’ll see from Blake Baker, who just inked himself a new contract and could absolutely have a “nothing to lose” type of approach with Mizzou’s defensive game plan.

The Tigers haven’t allowed any SEC team to score more than 26 points, and they lead the SEC in tackles for loss. That group is plenty capable of holding its own if Tennessee is under the impression that it can go through the motions coming off the humbling loss in Athens.

LSU vs. Arkansas — Harold Perkins vs. KJ Jefferson is the matchup I didn’t know I needed

But I’m here for it.

Perkins’ rise as LSU’s pass-rushing force has been well-documented. The 5-star true freshman has been phenomenal not only at pinning his ears back and speeding up quarterbacks, but he also appears to have mastered the art of the perfect quarterback spy. LSU defensive coordinator Matt House put a ton of trust in him to take care of that against some experienced SEC quarterbacks, and it paid off. He’s been a monumental part of LSU’s midseason defensive turnaround with 18 tackles, 2 sacks and a whole lot of quarterback pressure in his last 3 games.

How does Perkins, fresh off a night in which he did everything in his power to contain Bryce Young, handle Jefferson? We know that Jefferson’s rushing ability comes in a variety of forms. He can run the delayed draw, he can call his own number on the RPO and he can scramble if the coverage limits the throwing windows. That last area is where Perkins’ pursuit will be crucial. Hopefully for LSU’s sake he saved something in the tank after playing a career-high 67 snaps in the Alabama win.

Alabama vs. Ole Miss — How much Quinshon Judkins is too much Quinshon Judkins?

Asking for a friend.

If you’re Lane Kiffin, surely you have to want to test the will of this Alabama team, who entered as a preseason No. 1 and is now sitting with 2 losses before the Iron Bowl for the first time since 2010. If you’re Kiffin and Charlie Weis Jr., one would think that Judkins will get a whole lot of work coming off the bye. Judkins leads the SEC with 180 carries, 34 of which came in the midst of a career day at A&M.

Obviously, Alabama’s not at the place that a depleted A&M squad was at when Judkins rolled in and gashed the Aggies for 205 rushing yards. The Tide might be coming off a loss, but it’s still a squad who ranks No. 7 in FBS in yards/carry allowed (3.01) and has only allowed 1 30-yard run all season. But again, that was a “we’re competing for a Playoff spot” Alabama. This is rare territory for the Tide, and it’ll take an especially disciplined effort to prevent the Alabama native from going off against the in-state program who didn’t offer him out of high school.

South Carolina vs. Florida — Is that … Anthony Richardson turning the corner?

Somewhat quietly, Richardson has been really solid in his last 3 games with a quarterback rating of 131.5, a 6-0 TD-INT ratio and 206 rushing yards with 3 scores. It’s been quiet because Richardson’s efforts came in a 1-2 stretch, though those losses were both days in which the Gator defense got hit for 42-plus. That’s not a bad thing that it’s been quiet improvement from the Florida signal-caller. We know Richardson can occasionally make the spectacular play, but the question with his upside was always going to be if he can master the un-spectacular play.

I’ve been encouraged by Richardson’s ability to hang in the pocket, step up and make on-target throws. The touchdown ball that he delivered to Caleb Douglas late in the 3rd quarter was exactly what I was talking about. A&M got pressure off both edges, but Richardson calmly climbed the pocket and delivered a perfect on-target throw to Douglas.

Those are the types of plays that Richardson’s Week 11 counterpart, Spencer Rattler, has struggled to make. Two immensely talented quarterbacks will be on display, but the one who has shown more growth the last month (Richardson) could be in for a bigger day.

Georgia vs. MSU — The Tennessee game showed why Jalen Carter can make it a long night for Will Rogers

I present to you, reader of this column, what a future top-5 pick looks like at full strength:

Carter’s 2022 campaign has been a bit frustrating because he had 2 separate injuries he dealt with, but man, he’s a total game-wrecker on the interior. He was a huge reason why Georgia didn’t need to send 6 at Hendon Hooker. I’d expect in that hostile environment that we’ll see the Dawgs move around Carter, who showed that his conditioning certainly isn’t an issue coming back from injury.

He can force Rogers off his mark, which as we were reminded by Derick Hall totally showing out in Auburn’s comeback attempt, can be a death sentence for the MSU offense. If Carter plays at the level we saw against Tennessee, there won’t be enough cowbells in the Magnolia State to prevent the Georgia defense from taking over.

Texas A&M vs. Auburn — Bowl elimination game! Who cares more?

On Saturday, there was no doubt that a Cadillac Williams-led Auburn team cared plenty when it eliminated a 21-point deficit at MSU. That was a different Auburn squad than the one who looked lost in the second half of games under Bryan Harsin. Granted, the Aggies were about as short-handed as one could be in a loss to Florida in which it failed to score a second-half point. What we have this Saturday is a “loser ain’t bowling” matchup.

Both of these teams should, in theory, run wild with the ground attack. They had the 2 worst Power 5 rushing defenses in the month of October, and we know that Devon Achane and Tank Bigsby are more than capable of busting loose big runs at a moment’s notice. But in order to contain one of those backs (along with Jarquez Hunter and Robby Ashford), one defense has to show that it still has a pulse. Auburn is the better bet to do that, which probably explains why it’s a slight home favorite. Another loss for A&M and a Jimbo Fisher-led team will miss a bowl game for the first time in his 13th season as a head coach.