The Weekend was a good one for the Southeastern Conference. Though an all-SEC BCS Championship is out of the cards (thanks Lane Kiffin), the SEC Championship game will serve as a play-in game between Alabama and Georgia. Besides securing another spot in the title game, the SEC served notice that they are heads and shoulders better than the ACC. Three games between the two conferences and three double digit wins. In the “Not So Good News”, the ax fell on a couple of league coaches. Everyone knew John L. Smith was out at Arkansas, but it was made official on Saturday, the day after losing to LSU. Also, after the worst season in school history, Auburn let go of Gene Chizik. Though it was only two years after winning it all, Auburn has been truly awful and a change had to be made, but Auburn is in a bad spot. Potential NCAA sanctions are coming down, sanctions a new coach would have to do that. It will be difficult for someone to want to take on that position.
LSU @ Arkansas
LSU got outplayed by Arkansas on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but still managed to walk away with a win. The Hogs turned the ball over on their first two drives and showed just why they have been so lousy all year. However, LSU never took advantage of those opportunities with touchdowns. If the Tigers score touchdowns on either of those, Arkansas would have folded as so many other have, but they didn’t. The Tigers made enough plays to win, one the best catch I have ever seen and a fifty yard completion to essentially ice the game, but was lackluster most of the game. The Tiger defense has not been as dominate as they usually been. It is a concern heading into the bowl game.
Georgia Tech @ Georgia
The first of three SEC/ACC match-up was not even a contest. Georgia put a hurting on Georgia Tech 42-10. Georgia left no questions about whether they would trip up and cost themselves a chance at the national championship.
Kentucky @ Tennessee
In a battle to determine who the worst team in the SEC East was, Kentucky won, well lost. Tennessee blasted the Wildcats 37-17 to, thankfully, end both of their seasons. Now both programs can officially get their coaching searches under way and try to make a better future. One stat of note, Tennessee interim coach Jim Chaney has as many SEC victories in one game as Derek Dooley did in his last two years. That says it all for the Volunteers.
Vanderbilt @ Wake Forest
Vanderbilt beat Wake Forest 55-21. Let that sink in. The Vanderbilt Commodores scored FIFTY-FIVE points on their opponent. What’s more, Vandy is on a FIVE game winning streak and have won EIGHT games overall. Of the four games they lost, two were by a combined 14 points. With the right breaks the ‘Dores could have realistically been a nine or ten win team. To top it all off, they are going bowling two years running. These are all MAJOR feats for Vandy. It shows the smart guys can win in the SEC. Unfortunately, it also means programs with more money and history will come calling for their coach (I’m looking at you Tennessee).
Auburn @ Alabama
No need to waste a lot of space here. Auburn is the worst team in the SEC West. This is the worst Auburn team in the program’s history and as most expected, Alabama completely took them behind the woodshed and had their way with them. Alabama is a game away from their third BCS Championship game in four years, while Auburn just fired their coach. It will get worse before it gets better for the
Tigers of the Plains.
Ole Miss @ Mississippi State
Before this game, Mississippi State came out to warm up in shirts that read, “this is our trophy” with a picture of the Egg Bowl trophy that the Mississippi schools play for. This is along the lines of stepping on a team’s midfield logo, just an ultimate show of disrespect. And this was with the game in Oxford. The Bulldogs had reason to be a bit arrogant considering they had never lost to Ole Miss in Dan Mullen’s tenure. Well, as the saying goes, all good things come to an end and boy did it. Ole Miss slapped around Mississippi State to the tune of 41-24. Ole Miss has been the surprise of the league and are now bowl eligible with the rivalry win. As for Mississippi State, it appears that they were the beneficiary of a soft schedule. The Bulldogs only won four SEC games, and all four were the SEC teams that let go of their coaches.
South Carolina @ Clemson
Starting quarterback Connor Shaw was out, but back-up Dylan Thompson did more than enough for the Gamecocks to win over the Tigers, 27-10. Thompson tossed three touchdowns and 310 yards in the air to power the Gamecocks offense. Clemson’s high powered offense never fully got in gear because of South Carolina’s defensive pressure lead by Jadeavon Clowney. The win marks the fourth win in a row for South Carolina over their hated rival.
Missouri @ Texas A&M
The battle of the SEC freshmen was an A&M drubbing of Missouri. Manziel was again Johnny Football and scored five total touchdowns and over 400 total yards of offense. Manziel should be the clear cut frontrunner for the Heisman after his performance through the year. For Missouri, this was a learning year. The Northern Tigers now know what they need to compete at a high level in the SEC: fast, physical defensive line man. It will be interesting to see if they will be able to adapt quickly enough with some teams in the East going through transitions.
Florida @ Florida State
Florida has no offense. Their defense is good, but they wouldn’t be able to win this game if the offense didn’t score points. Those were the talking points on the game going into the match-up with Florida State. What was lost in that is that the Gators are a physical SEC team and the Seminoles are not. Florida bullied Florida State with their defense causing five total turnovers (four from quarterback E.J. Manuel) and tired Florida State out at the end of the game to put them away with a 24 point fourth quarter. The Gators did it the way they have done all year, a physical running game and dominant defense. People were saying that the Seminoles had a dominate defense, but as Florida coach Will Muschamp said during halftime, they felt they played better defenses through the year. It looks as if he was right.
Tune in later this week where we will preview the Alabama-Georgia matchup, which will determine who will take on Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship! Who do you think will win?