The SEC's 10 wildest moments of 2018 regular season
What a wonderful 2018 season it ended up being. Trying to narrow down highlights of any season is a daunting task, but 2018 was particularly challenging.
If you don’t think making these picks is tough, think about the games and moments that just missed: Any one of Tua Tagovailoa’s epic performances, Florida’s comebacks over Vandy and/or South Carolina, the SEC’s most disappointing team (Auburn) opening the season by beating a potential P5 champion (Washington), Vandy crushing UT for bowl eligibility, Kentucky edging out Missouri on an untimed down … and we could go on.
But instead, let’s go with the 10 that we did choose — the SEC’s wildest moments of 2018.
10. Citadel 10, Alabama 10
It’s not a game that will go down in college football history, but for one half, The Citadel reminded us all that perhaps the best philosophy of college football is simply this: You never know. Nobody could play with the Tide, but for one crazy half, The Citadel somehow did. Yes, it all fell apart over the final 30 minutes, but when the season ends, The Citadel might end up as the team that gave Alabama the toughest test. If that’s not wild, what is?
9. That time Missouri gave up 572 passing yards … and won
Missouri made most of its impact down the stretch of the season, but it did have an ugly win early over a Purdue team that passed for 572 yards but somehow lost, at home, even. Of course, Purdue went on to destroy Ohio State, which attests to the “wildness” of this game.
8. Tennessee upsets Auburn via a double fumble
It didn’t end up as a brilliant season for UT, but it was a year that included surprising upsets of Auburn and Kentucky. The Auburn game was particularly surprising as UT went into The Plains as a 17-point underdog, but carried the day with a big play passing attack. It was the Vols’ first SEC win since 2016 … and the biggest play was suitably bizarre.
7. LSU takes down Auburn on a big kick
Few spots in college football have more pressure than a last-second kick on the road that defines a win or loss. But that’s the spot that LSU transfer Cole Tracy found himself in during LSU’s Week 3 game at Auburn. Tracy’s kick began LSU’s run of positive mojo … and Auburn’s slide to 7-5. One play doesn’t make a season, but this big time kick was a wild moment. Big enough that the Titanic music works …
6. So, so close — and a very shaky call against A&M
In a year of upsets, the most memorable might have been the upset that almost was. In Week 2, Jimbo Fisher made a big statement in College Station by coming a millimeter (and a shaky call) from upsetting Clemson. The fumble that was called out of the end zone won’t be forgotten anytime soon in the SEC.
5. Pregame fight and then, LSU owns Miami
Miami was supposed to be great. LSU was supposed to be mediocre. Nobody told the teams, because Ed Orgeron’s Tigers delivered an opening-week whipping that set the trend for both squads. The only thing wilder than the game was the ridiculous pregame squabble.
4. Kentucky makes history in The Swamp
Kentucky hadn’t won in Gainesville since Ronald Reagan was President and Top Gun was the big office’s big hit. They changed that in Week 2, delivering a defensive-minded victory that ended a 31-year losing streak and paved the way to their 9-3 season and heights not reached by that program in decades.
3. Georgia fakes out nobody, and loses at LSU
Georgia was expected to be nearly untouchable, and at 11-1, it earned that. But when the Dawgs played LSU, an ill-advised fake field goal helped put them in an early hole that they couldn’t climb out of. On a team of 5-star talent, kicker Rodrigo Blankenship probably wasn’t the ball carrier UGA wanted to rely on.
2. Tua gets hurt, Alabama goes airborne in crushing the Tigers
On the strength of several of the plays above, LSU became the de facto best regular-season challenge to Alabama’s supremacy. It wasn’t much of a challenge. That Alabama won the game wasn’t surprising. That they outgained LSU 576-196 in pitching a 29-0 shutout was wild. Even more dramatic was that undoubted Heisman winner Tua Tagovailoa was crushed by an early hit that temporarily knocked him from the game. He came back to pass for 295 yards, which again, was 99 yards more than LSU gained for the game.
He also outrushed LSU’s running backs, 49-19, and added a rushing TD.
Controversial flags, bad spots, ridiculous catches, the ending that wasn’t, the pre-emptive Gatorade bath to a coach who ended up losing, another huge Cole Tracy field goal that gets forgotten … what didn’t happen in this game?
Yes, A&M beat LSU. Yes, there were 7 overtimes. Yes, it was probably the most controversial game of the season, and yes, it’s No. 1 on this list.