SDS Week 6 Mailbag: The best SEC East-West rivalries, Joe Moorhead lookalikes and field-storming etiquette
SEC play is starting to heat up, and there are some big-time matchups coming our way in October.
The leaves are changing, the weather is getting colder and we’re finally starting to hit peak “football weather” mode. It’s a great time of year — college football, NFL football, MLB playoffs, NBA and NHL are all going on this month, and it’s the best time to be a sports fan.
That said, we’d better do as every football coach says and take it “one week at a time.” Therefore, let’s get down to business with this week’s SDS Mailbag:
The LSU-Florida rivalry seems to have gotten more intense the past few years. Where does it rank among the SEC East-West crossover rivalries?
With 14 teams, that means there have to be seven crossover games. Obviously, some have much more history than others, and some are more lopsided than others.
You’re right — LSU and Florida’s rivalry, which has always been intense, became nastier following the Hurricane Matthew-related rescheduling drama back in 2016.
Still, it’s only a top-three rivalry as far as I’m concerned. Here’s how I rate the seven rivalry games:
- Georgia-Auburn — The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is what the SEC is all about. I love these games and hope they go on forever.
- Alabama-Tennessee — This isn’t much of a rivalry at the moment, but boy have there been some good matchups between the Vols and the Crimson Tide in years past.
- LSU-Florida — This rivalry has really heated up in recent years, and I’m here for it.
- Mizzou-Arkansas — Neither school wants to acknowledge the other as a rival, which actually makes this a fairly intense rivalry.
- Texas A&M-South Carolina — This one just feels a little forced, especially when you consider the geography of it.
- Mississippi State-Kentucky — This year’s game was a big one, but these two teams are rarely relevant on a national scale at the same time.
- Ole Miss-Vanderbilt — This is what happens when every team needs a crossover rival.
I don’t see these changing anytime soon, either, unless this Auburn-to-the-SEC East noise actually gains some traction in the coming years.
Fans stormed Frank Howard Field following Clemson’s comeback victory against Syracuse on Saturday, a seemingly unbefitting response to a top-ranked program (and the 2016 National Champion) beating an unranked foe. After some research, it appears this “Gathering at the Paw” is a Clemson tradition regardless of the opponent or outcome. Tradition aside, when is it appropriate for home fans to storm the field?
Yes, Clemson has a waiver from the NCAA to rush the field after every game, as is their tradition. However, that doesn’t stop other fans from freaking out every time they do it after beating a lesser opponent.
Clemson aside, though, there are definitely some guidelines that should be followed for fans who are thinking about storming the field.
First of all, let’s start with the two extremes. If you’re an FCS team and you beat a Power 5 school, please storm the field. If you’re Alabama, sorry, but you can’t storm the field. I’m sure that’s a small price to pay for five titles in the Nick Saban era (so far), but yeah, no storming the field in Tuscaloosa.
Here are some other acceptable field-storming circumstances:
- Beating the No. 1 team
- Beating a top-10 team if you’re unranked
- Beating a top-25 team if you’re a Group of 5 team
- Winning a rivalry game on a last-second play
- Snapping some sort of embarrassing streak (like if Kentucky had beaten Florida at home this year to snap their 31-year losing streak to the Gators. Heck, the Wildcats fans in Gainesville probably still should have stormed the field.)
I’m sure there are some I’m forgetting, but these are good guidelines to follow so that we don’t end up with every school having its own “Meeting at the Paw” nonsense in the future.
Will Joe Moorhead pull Nick Fitzgerald and start Keytaon Thompson?
Things aren’t going well for Nick Fitzgerald this season. After entering the year with a bit of Heisman hype, he was suspended for Week 1 following a violation of team rules.
Since then, he hasn’t looked the same, and he seems to have regressed as a passer. In fact, of all 14 SEC starting quarterbacks, Fitzgerald has the lowest QB rating at 108.46. To compare, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa’s rating is 238.32. Since comparing anyone to Tagovailoa this year is unfair, though, the No. 2 SEC quarterback in QB rating is Georgia’s Jake Fromm at 186.06.
This is where we probably should bring up that Fitzgerald tweaked his throwing motion this offseason. That, uh, doesn’t appear to have worked very well thus far.
Fitzgerald is still a threat with his legs, with 318 yards and five scores on the ground so far. However, Thompson has also shown he can run, with 161 yards and three touchdowns of his own in the running game.
I’m not saying Moorhead should bench Fitz just yet, but if he fails to get the offense going this weekend against Auburn once again, the Bulldogs will have to at least start giving Thompson more touches moving forward.
Speaking of Joe Moorhead …
Without his beard, doesn’t Joe Moorhead remind you a little bit of Bret Bielema?
I can definitely see that, but to me, he looks a lot more like a current NFL coach — Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers.
I mean, check this out. Especially now that Moorhead is without the beard, Moorhead and McCarthy look like brothers:
Adding to the comparison, both coaches call their own plays, and both are great offensive minds (even if both of their offenses have struggled this year).
We need you to put together some drinking game rules for Mizzou vs. Alabama to make the demolition less sad.
There’s nothing to be sad about, Mizzou fans! Everyone is taking a beating at the hands of the Crimson Tide this year, so it’s best to go down to Tuscaloosa, take the loss and then head back home with either a 4-2 or 3-3 record (depending on this weekend’s game against South Carolina).
The only unfortunate thing about next Saturday’s game is that the Tigers had the bad luck of drawing the Tide as their 2018 SEC East-West crossover game. However, it isn’t like any of the past 10 years would have been better years for a visit to Tuscaloosa.
But I’m never one to turn down a drinking game request, so here are my thoughts on the subject:
Take a drink:
- Every time someone mentions Drew Lock’s NFL draft stock
- Every time Jalen Hurts is mentioned or shown on camera before he even plays a snap
- Every time the game’s betting spread is mentioned
- Every time the announcers mention Alabama “making it look easy”
- Every time the announcers discuss Alabama’s kicking woes
- Every time Tua Tagovailoa’s success on third down is mentioned
Give three drinks:
- When you successfully predict what yard line a Corey Fatony punt will be downed at
- When you are the first to notice that Jalen Hurts is on the field
- If you successfully predict how many minutes it will take Alabama to score its first touchdown
Finish your drink:
- If Nick Saban gives someone an “ass chewing” on the sideline
- If Mizzou takes the lead at any point in the game
- If Alabama misses an extra point
- If Alabama’s student section empties out following a big first-half lead
Note: Please don’t drive after playing this game, as it is likely to lead to some serious alcohol consumption. But, on the bright side, it will make next weekend’s game much more manageable for Mizzou fans (and more enjoyable for Alabama fans).
Have a question for next week’s mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email your questions to ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.