Random Thoughts from Around the SEC

With week eight of the college football season in the books, a few thoughts:

Alabama: Nick Saban's historic reign of dominance over Tennessee continues in Tuscaloosa; 'Bama is 5-0 over the Vols since Saban arrived, outscoring UT a combined 160-52. Small wonder the Vols are trying to rebuild their program in his image. Run defense, however, showed some chinks in the armor, which has to be a major concern with LSU and their power running game on the way. The November 5th showdown against the Bayou Bengals will probably be the biggest home game ever for the Tide. If 'Bama drops that one then every single person who bleeds crimson and white will carry that one to their graves. This would be this generation's equivalent of the 1974 Notre Dame game.

Arkansas: Ugly performance in Oxford against Colonel Reb after the bye week as the unimpressive showing by Tyler Wilson gets bailed out by a surprising showing from Dennis Johnson and the Arkansas running game. Hogville would have turned into Shaggy Bevo had Randall Mackey led a late touchdown drive.  In reality, though, the Hogs are largely just counting off the relatively easy wins until they travel to Baton Rouge in late November. Ronnie Wingo is just not a tailback. And neither is Broderick Green.

Auburn: Harvey's Corner ain't rollin' like before. Biggest shock on Upset Saturday? A bad Auburn team plays horrendous football and not only manages to lose but in fact gets absolutely annihilated. Must be the Rapture. Three-man quarterback rotation worked as well as expected. Vicious hit on Onterio McCaleb; good to see him come back in. No real consistent receiving threat outside in the absence of Emory Blake and his injury has proven costly. Isn't it almost amazing to think a team this bad can still end up 7-5 or 8-4? Gus Malzahn is like an old plantation owner holding onto his Confederate war bonds circa 1866. Anyway, I think they ought to blame God; after all, channeling Carlin, if you're going to credit him in victory why not pass the blame that way in defeat? At least be intellectually consistent with your delusions.

Florida: SEC East hopes are already on life support, but the Gators will be mathematically eliminated with a loss to Georgia this weekend in Jacksonville. Let's focus on the small victories first, though, can they score a touchdown or field a punt this week? Judging by Muschamp on the sideline, it's a good thing Urban Meyer decided to stick with broadcasting.

Georgia: Nobody got arrested for UGA in the bye week, so consider that progress. There is probably no scenario in which Mark Richt loses to Florida this Saturday and returns to Athens next season, is there? A loss here probably eliminates the Dawgs, not mathematically just effectively, from the SEC East race. Be interesting to see how Malcolm Mitchell and Isiah Crowell look after the bye week. Isn't it fitting that Richt ultimately faces a must-win in Jacksonville to save his job?

Kentucky: Biggest surprise of the weekend arguably wasn't in Lubbock or East Lansing but in Lexington, where somehow the Wildcats managed to hammer someone, even if it was FCS Jacksonville State. Morgan Newton was as incompetent as usual but CoShik Williams and company ran it down the Gamecocks' throats. Downside? Probably the last win of the season for Joker Phillips.

LSU: The suspension of the K-2 Three proved harmless in Baton Rouge as the Bayou Bengals treated Auburn like a Voodoo doll. Give Jarrett Lee credit for one thing, he throws the deep ball very well, though it certainly helps to have a tall rangy type like Rueben Randle to throw it to. Brad Wing has a place in the NFL. Don't understand the criticism by some of the "We Want Alabama" chants. Clearly no one outside of Tuscaloosa has anything on LSU; it ain't trash talk if it's true, folks. One thing is certain, the loser on November 5th is going to have a meltdown like every damn nuclear weapon on the planet just went off. Tuscaloosa PD better hike up their girdles either way.

Ole Miss: Where was that performance when you need it against Jacksonville State, Houston? Arguably the best four quarters put together by an Ole Miss team since the 2010 Cotton Bowl. If Nutt can legitimately save his job by beating Mississippi State, it's possible he could return next year because this team is little, if any, worse than the Bullies. Don't look now but Nutt and Neal McCready are having a lover's quarrel; all I know is college football and sports journalism would be better off without both of them. I think Ole Miss would have a much more fitting gameday atmosphere if they played, "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down" on repeat through the PA.

Tennessee: Don't Tennessee fans have to be thrilled that Lane Kiffin was smart enough to realize that neither Cam Newton or Tayj Boyd fit his offensive system? The Vols were dismantled in the second half and now are likely just looking forward to showdowns against Vanderbilt and Kentucky to determine if they make one final trip to Legion Field. Tauren Poole strikes me as the Arian Foster type who could have a good career at the next level with better injury luck and some actual talent around him. Burning the redshirt of Justin Worley seems incredibly stupid at first glance, but admittedly Dooley has a point. Of course, that point probably portends something about Tyler Bray. Either way, I'd expect Worley to probably get the starting nod moving forward.

Vanderbilt: James Franklin and his 'Dores smoked Army thanks in large part to a career day from tailback Zac Stacy. Jordan Rodgers looks to be the starter now, and while no world beater he's a decent upgrade as a passer over Larry Smith. Vandy is now two wins away from bowl eligibility with games left against Tennessee, Kentucky, and Wake Forest. If Nashville could get the Titans to play offense and Clay Travis to finally jump that city would be sittin' on top.

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