SEC Week 8 was surprisingly … normal. Yes, LSU jumped ahead on Ole Miss, and Tennessee gave ‘Bama a fight. But the day’s action more or less went according to form. Nonetheless, a deeper look is always warranted, so here’s our weekly check on the winners and losers of SEC Week 8.



Oklahoma struggled, Penn State lost, Cincinnati struggled, Oklahoma State lost. The top teams in the SEC basically took care of business on a week when most of the country did not.

Jalen Wydermeyer

Given the early injury to Haynes King, Texas A&M’s passing game is taking a back seat to its punishing group attack. But when the Aggies throw, Wydermeyer is an absolute stud. He had 6 touchdown grabs in 2019 and 2020, and had a pair on Saturday against South Carolina. For A&M to play its way into a 2nd place finish in the West, Zach Calzada has to make enough plays to keep defenses honest, and having a massive (6-foot-5, 255-pound) target with great hands makes his job much easier.

Ole Miss ground game

The Rebels were in danger of a possible upset. But Mississippi not only avoided that, but quarterback Matt Corral did not get beaten up up too much. Scoop Conner rushed for 117 yards and Jerrion Ealy added 97 more yards on the ground. When the Rebels run the ball this well, they don’t even have to be exceptional in the passing game. But of course, they are, which makes them that much more dangerous.

Tennessee’s effort

UT trailed Alabama by one score 30 seconds into the 4th quarter. That tight margin didn’t hold up, but the Volunteers did not get dominated as much as the final score would indicate. Hendon Hooker had a nice day, passing for almost 300 yards against the Crimson Tide. But mostly, UT scrapped and fought and made special teams plays. They gave up 33 first downs and got just 10, but the Vols still made the game competitive. No small feat.

Mike Leach’s European candy

What else can be said? With apologies to Cousin Eddie, Mike Leach is the gift that keeps on giving the whole year around.


Alabama’s special teams

A blocked punt, a missed field goal, an ugly roughing the punter penalty and lots of general sloppiness. Given the amount of talent on Alabama’s roster, the Tide should not struggle to get outstanding personnel on the field or fully engaged. It didn’t hurt Alabama this week, but in the future, it could.

LSU’s goal-line offense

LSU had a chance to really put Ole Miss in a hole on Saturday. Between two Rebel drives that went nowhere, LSU scored a touchdown on its first drive. On their second possession the Tigers drove to the Ole Miss 6-yard line, where a 1st and goal gave them a great chance to jump out by 2 touchdowns. But 3 Tyrion Davis-Price runs netted 3 yards and on 4th and goal from the Ole Miss 3, Ed Orgeron passed on an easy field goal … and the Tigers threw an interception. LSU didn’t score again until the 4th quarter, by which time the game was completely out of reach.

Vandy’s offense

Look, it’s an easy thing to pick on, but when a team’s long run for the game is 5 yards, it’s hard to see how they’re going to prosper as an underdog. All told, Vanderbilt ended up with 155 total yards and 5, count them 5, first downs. That’s one fewer than the number of Mississippi State touchdowns the Commodores defense allowed. Enough said.