To say this was not the prettiest weekend for SEC football would be an understatement. There were seven match ups last Saturday that featured SEC schools in one way or another. The conference games were blowouts and the non-conference games were closer than they should have been. #1 ranked Alabama showed why they are at the top of the polls with a dominating performance over Texas A&M. The other two “impressive” teams this week? LSU and Vanderbilt. Let’s take a quick look at what each team did last week and looks forward to in week nine.
If you did not know, Alabama is good. Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide kept rolling last week after taking down #6 ranked Texas A&M by a score of 33-14. RB Damien Harris eclipsed the 100-yard mark with 128 rushing yards against the Aggies. Freshman QB Jalen Hurts continued doing what he does best; winning games in a big fashion. Hurts contributed to three touchdowns on the day. The Crimson Tide face their last real threat this Saturday when they travel to Baton Rouge to take on #19 LSU.
Even attempting to write about Arkansas’ “game” at Auburn is depressing. The Razorbacks were dismantled by a score of 56-3. The Hogs gave up 544 rushing yards to Auburn while amassing 25 themselves. The road ahead gets no easier as they host a rejuvenated, #14-ranked Florida team.
On the other end of the spectrum, Auburn fans could not be more pleased with last Saturday. Like mentioned before, the Tigers routed Arkansas 56-3. Auburn’s defense nearly pitched a shutout, as Arkansas’ only points came via a 54-yard field goal. Regardless of the opponent, holding a team to 25 rushing yards and three points is an accomplishment. Against a (formerly) ranked SEC foe? That is incredible. Up next Auburn travels west to play what is left of Ole Miss.
The Florida Gators enjoyed another off week this past Saturday. The Gators have played one football game in the past 25 days, which will grow to 27 before they finally compete in another contest. This break has given them a chance to rest and regain QB Luke Del Rio from injury for the gauntlet of a schedule they have left. Because they dodged LSU early, Florida has kept its chances of making it to Atlanta alive. Their road to the SEC East crown makes a stop in Jacksonville this Saturday as they take on an unpredictable Georgia team in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs also had this past week off to prepare for their match up with Florida. Georgia is currently sitting at 4-3 on the season. First year coaches get relaxed expectations, right? Not in Athens. Georgia got dismantled by Ole Miss, lost a heartbreaker to Tennessee for the second consecutive year, and got stunned at home by usual SEC bottom feeder Vanderbilt. Coach Smart better have something special in store for Florida, or Dawg Nation will grow impatient.
Kentucky is coming off of a shootout victory against SEC West foe Mississippi State by a score of 40-38. Junior QB Stephen Johnson threw for 292 in the Wildcats’ win. Though Kentucky currently sits at 4-3, there are some major issues still plaguing Mark Stoops’ team. For example, their defense has given up 34+ points in five of their seven games so far. If Kentucky can sure up their defense, they will be looking at their first bowl berth since the 2010 season. They will be tested this Saturday by Drew Lock as they travel to Columbia to take on the Missouri Tigers.
This season has been an interesting one in the swamp lands of Louisiana. The Tigers are currently 5-2, #19 in the country, and under the command of interim head coach Ed Orgeron. Leonard Fournette appears to be back to his old ways as he racked up 284 rushing yards against Ole Miss in a 38-21 victory. Up next for the Tigers? Hosting the machine that is Alabama with a chance to spoil their perfect season. Crazy things happen in Louisiana at night, and the Tiger faithful are hoping for just that this Saturday under the lights of Death Valley.
The Bulldogs lost their fifth game of the season last Saturday in a shootout at the hands of Kentucky. QB Nick Fitzgerald rushed for 107 yards in their loss. The Miss. State has an easier game this weekend as they host Samford. A win, regardless of the opponent, will be crucial to this team. It would take a miracle for this team to become bowl-eligible this season with Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas, and Ole Miss, left on the schedule.
In this “what could have been” season for Ole Miss, things did not get any better last Saturday as Leonard Fournette and the LSU Tigers defeated the Rebels by a score of 38-21. Currently sitting at 3-4, their matchup with #15 Auburn this Saturday is crucial to prevent this season from becoming an absolute disaster.
Missouri’s tough season got even worse last Saturday as they were defeated by Conference USA opponent Middle Tennessee State. QB Drew Lock and RB Damarea Crockett have been the two lone bright spots for the Tigers this season. Mizzou hosts Kentucky this Saturday. A win against the Wildcats would be a crucial positive for a team in desperate need for a win. Crockett
The Gamecocks are counting their lucky stars after surviving a 34-28 scare against UMass last Saturday. South Carolina is ranked 123rd in total offense this season, which has been the major source of their struggles. The task does not get any easier for the Gamecocks this Saturday when the #19 Tennessee Volunteers roll into town. If South Carolina has a chance to sneak out a win, this week would be it. Tennessee has lost two straight games and is down multiple starters.
No team in America has enjoyed a bye week quite like Tennessee. The Vols have had 15 starters affected by injury this season. Nine players who either missed the Alabama game entirely or were limited during it were back at practice this week following the Saturday off. Tennessee is coming off two straight losses as they travel southeast to take on Will Muschamp’s South Carolina Gamecocks. Should Tennessee play a normal game, this will be an easy win. However, the Vols have yet to play in a “normal” game all season.
Last Saturday, Texas A&M’s powerful offense and aggressive defense gave everything they had against #1 Alabama. They still lost by 19 points. All is not lost for the #9 ranked Aggies though, as they have a very favorable second half of the season. QB Trevor Knight has been airing the ball out all over the field, throwing for 1664 yards through their first seven games. A&M hosts New Mexico State this week in hopes of bouncing back from their double-digit loss.
The 4-4 Vanderbilt Commodores are coming off a 35-17 win against Tennessee State. Vandy has been playing quite well these last few weeks, as they defeated Georgia on the road two weeks ago as well. The Commodores are a few unlucky plays away from being 7-1, as wins against South Carolina, Florida, and Kentucky narrowly escaped Derek Mason’s squad. Vandy has a bye this Saturday, and will be traveling to Auburn on November 5th.