I’m a little ornery today, so I’m just gonna get right to it.
League officials are meeting to see if the Commodores still get to be part of the SEC after dialing up this little gem against Georgia.
Look at every single team in this conference, examine their wins, take your heart out of it to whatever extent you can, and tell me where else you could have possibly put the Vols. No benefit of the doubt this week. Because the choice is clear. At present, the Vols rank No. 13 in the SEC. Deal with it.
London Bridge is not falling. Butch Jones and company didn’t suddenly turn into bad coaches. But in 50-50 intra-divisional games that are critical for the bowl hopes of UT, Jones’ team is 0-2. Vanderbilt last year, and Florida last week. Fans don’t have a right to be calling for heads. But they have every right to be disappointed.
By no means do I intend to make light of the allegations facing Treon Harris, who was indefinitely suspended after being accused n Gainesville of committing sexual assault shortly after returning from Knoxville. But the fact remains Treon Harris could well go down as a player who only played one quarter for the Florida Gators. And in that quarter he beat the Vols. If that doesn’t tell you what it’s like to be a Vol Fan, I dunno what possibly could.
This team’s offense is horrible. I still can’t believe Tennessee didn’t beat them.
I was going to tie LSU and Florida, but since LSU is a road favorite in the Swamp this week, I decided to give them the nod. Plus, the Gator offense could be exactly what the ailing Tiger defense needs. (Remember when LSU went un-scored upon for nine consecutive quarters at the beginning of the season? Neither do they.)
Arkansas is the highest ranked team in the conference which has yet to get an SEC victory. They’ve played well. They look better. Much better. This week, an angry Alabama team comes to Fayetteville, when we’ll learn a lot more about how good Arkansas really is.
9. South Carolina
If liking Steve Spurrier is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. And I’m starting to wish he’d ridden off in the sunset after last year. Because this thing in Columbia could get ugly. The Gamecocks’ preseason goal was to represent the East in the SEC Championship Game. Their goal now should be to finish above .500. That’s what I’d be preaching this bye week if I were Spurrier.
I know. That just looks weird. And it is. Kentucky at 8th in the conference. But after they beat UL Monroe this weekend, they’ll be 4-1, 2-1 in the conference. A bad call away from being UNDEFEATED. That’s the good news.
Week after next, Kentucky’s schedule starts to get real. I don’t expect them to end the year at 8th, but you gotta tip your cap to the Wildcats for their early-season results.
They are a (horrible) loss away from being a top 15 team. No one wants to hear it, but this team isn’t bad. And if they find a way to beat Georgia in Columbia this week, they’ll have the inside track for the East. Before you laugh, don’t forget they went into Athens and knocked the Bulldogs off last year.
6. Texas A&M
I had two games I was pounding the table on last weekend. One was A&M at Mississippi State. I predicted Dak Prescott and company would walk the dog on the Aggies. And they did. Their early-season romp over South Carolina doesn’t look so impressive anymore. Neither does their run defense. With games remaining against Ole Miss, at Alabama, at Auburn and Missouri remaining, the Aggies will likely wind up being a middle-of-the-pack SEC team this year.
OH. And the A&M guy who’s been trolling me via text was eerily quiet this weekend.
They’re far from perfect. They have some soft spots on defense. They have a quarterback who has yet to prove himself. But they also have the best backfield in the SEC, as well as its best player in Todd Gurley*. There’s a tremendous chance that a two-loss team will win the East this year. Which means that if Georgia beats Mizzou this week, the division is probably theirs.
*Editor’s note: This list was compiled and posted prior to the new of Gurley’s indefinite suspension on Thursday evening
The other game I was pounding the table on last Saturday? Alabama at Ole Miss. I sure got that one wrong. Not quite sure what to make of the Crimson Tide and look forward to seeing how they respond this week at Arkansas. Especially in light of AJ McCarron’s remarks.
“I think one of the things that this team is lacking that hurts them the most is not having the true leaders like we had last year.”
I’m not convinced Bama deserves the fourth spot. But I’m not convinced they don’t, either. The West is brutal. No one’s getting out of that thing without an L. Which means Bama is still alive, in my mind. As are the other three teams that remain. Two of which…
2. Ole Miss and Mississippi State
The SEC Championship, if not the NCAA Championship, could well run through the Egg Bowl. Reason number 13,784 why I love college football. They’re tied at No. 3 in the AP poll. They’re tied at No. 2 in our SEC Power Rankings.
But if you put a gun to my head, I give the slight edge to Mississippi State. I’ve said it virtually every week since last season, when I first started writing regular SEC columns. I love Dak Prescott. I’ve been high on him from the get. He’s the second best player in the conference. Bo Wallace? Not always sure what you’re going to get with him. Still, I won’t deny the Rebels after a gutty win over Bama at home, in the face of a horrible call, to boot. And their front four on defensive is NASTY.
Bottom line: there’s some great football being played in the Magnolia State. And I, for one, am all for it.
Both have huge matchups this week. Ole Miss gets A&M on the road where we’ll see if that d-line can shut down Kenny Hill and the Aggie offense. Meanwhile, Mississippi State gets Auburn at home.
I actually got a tweet from a Vol Fan who told me that Tennessee was better than Auburn after Auburn’s close call at Kansas State. Let that percolate for a bit. Because that’s just crazy talk. Going on the road and beating a really well coached top 20 team when you’re not on your A-game is hard to do, folks, so I never thought that was evidence of weakness. Instead, strength.
That said, they’ll have to play a whole lot stronger to beat a top 3 team on the road this week when they travel to Starkville. The oddsmakers have this at Auburn -3. I’m not so sure it shouldn’t be the other way around.
Benefit of the doubt to the defending SEC Champions. But don’t be surprised next year if you hear cowbells from atop RTI’s SEC Power Rankings.
Whatever was ailing them looked to be cured last Saturday against LSU.