South Carolina 24, Kentucky 17
Through blatant stupidity, I somehow managed to overlook Spurrier's record against Kentucky before Saturday. He was a cool 15-0 going into the game and now, 16-0. Just stunning that I would miss that tiny detail before making my pick. As usual, I'm an idiot.
As for the game, reigning SEC offensive player of the week Chris Smelley played like Chris Smelley since he was not playing Ole Miss, whose defense has produced more SEC offensive players of the week than I can remember. He threw two picks and did his best to keep Kentucky in the game, even having one of his interceptions returned for a touchdown. Seriously, Steve Spurrier, stop thinking about tee times or whatever it is you do during the week and pull the plug on the Chris Smelley Experience. The world is begging for Stephen Garcia, not just because he is the better quarterback, but because if he has some success there's no limit to the misdemeanors in which he will most certainly engage.
Think about it, any success as the starting quarterback will cause his ego to nearly explode, which will result in him assuming he's invincible (or more invincible than he already thinks he is). Keying a professor's car? Child's play. How about consuming enough alcohol to kill every infection in Sudan, followed by him trying to literally rip his professor's car apart with his bare hands? And any night like that will definitely end with the kicking and/or punching of homeless people and hipppies. Just don't be surprised when it happens.
Mississippi State 17, Vanderbilt 14
Sylvester Croom does things the right way, is old school, hard-nosed disciplinarian, turning the corner blah blah blah blah blah. He won because Bobby Johnson was dumb enough to play Chris Nickson (3 of 10, 15 yards, 1 INT) for over three quarters. Seriously, Johnson didn't play the guy that led them to the win over Auburn until the fourth quarter. What was going on in those three quarters? Pretty much nothing. The longest drive led by Nickson? 17 yards. Yes, 17 yards. And he played for over 45 minutes.
I know some of that was the result of State's defense and Vandy's generally inept offense, but the moment Mackenzi Adams came in the game Vandy went on a 10 play, 57 yard touchdown drive. After watching him bring a dead offense to one with a pulse against Auburn, how could you wait three quarters to put him in? I don't even care about Vandy and I'm just as enraged as all 12 Vanderbilt fans.
Looking at State, they did what they should have done. Run the ball and don't turn it over. I need someone with time and math skills to create a formula that tells me what the percent chance State has to win when they run more than they throw. Even if it's around 40 percent that's roughly 80 percentage points higher than when they throw more than they run.
One last thing, State's recent improvement on offense (I know 247 yards of offense against Vandy isn't great, but they've looked better since the LSU game) is cause for speculation. Have Croom and McCorvey suddenly figured out how to call and coach football games? I think not. My theory: Tyson Lee is State's version of Willie Beamon. He's changing the plays in the huddle and leading this offense that could potentially climb into the mid-to-lower 80s of NCAA rankings in total offense. Watch for his rap video coming out in early November.
Georgia 26, Tennessee 14
The only good that came out of this game for Tennessee is that the Nick Stephens era will actually be 30% less terrible than the Jonathan Crompton era. Really, Stephens wasn't that bad, especially since Tennessee couldn't run the ball. He actually made it interesting in the third quarter when they cut Georgia's lead to 20-14. If he starts, and I suspect Vol fans will burn the stadium down if he doesn't, against State, they should beat State on Saturday. If Crompton was still around, I would have picked State.
And yet another uninspired performance by Georgia. Maybe they should try a blackou....oh, wait. Nevermind.
Arkansas 25, Auburn 22
This is what happens when Kodi Burns gets to play most of the game. One offensive touchdown and a dazzling 7 of 18, 119 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT performance from Burns. Throw in Arkansas outgained Auburn 416-193 and I'm amazed this was even close. Well, I was amazed until I remembered Casey Dick was the other quarterback in the game, then not so much.
My question is is (wow, two "is's" in-a-row....weird) this the beginning of the end for Tommy Tuberville at Auburn? I don't pretend to have my fingers on the pulse of Auburn football, but the sense of unrest going on there can be felt by those who don't really care about Auburn. Looking ahead, the Tigers go to West Virginia, Ole Miss, and Alabama, while hosting Georgia and at Tennessee-Martin. I only see one sure win in there. They'll probably end up beating Ole Miss because we're Ole Miss and we'll find a way to lose a game we should win, but it's still a real possibility for Auburn to end up 5-7. I don't know if Tuberville can survive that, especially after the mess he created by firing his offensive coordinator six games into his first season and he's got less offensive production than a Brandon Cox-led offense.
Florida 51, LSU 21
There's no need to worry about Les Miles butchering a game when LSU's defense can't stop the run. If Florida can keep their running success going, they will become a really, really good offensive team. Luckily for Ole Miss, Tim Tebow and the boys decided they'd wait until after the Ole Miss game to play harder than anyone else in the nation (what a stupid post-game interview). Thanks, Tim. And tell Urban his play calling on fourth and short is spectacular.
One more thing, we learned a few things about LSU this weekend. One, Andrew Hatch stinks. I know, it's shocking a Harvard transfer isn't very good. Didn't see that one coming. Two, Jarrett Lee teeters between average and slightly above average. It would have helped if he had any running game at all, but I don't think he's good enough right now to win a game when he has to shoulder the burden. And finally, LSU's defense isn't as good as we thought. While good, they aren't, as some writer once put it, the 800-pound gorilla with a chainsaw for its unit.
From everywhere else....
-Tommy Bowden was finally taken out back and shot Old Yeller-style. Bowden was best known for beating his dad's Florida State team when his job was on the line and for his lone superpower, mediocrity.
-One person (in addition to thousands of unquoted Clemson fans) in support of the firing/resigning/whatever was former starting quarterback Cullen Harper. Harper was quoted as saying, "It's what he deserved." In a related story, Harper and his six interceptions and four touchdowns got what he deserved when backup Willy Korn was named the starter.
-Someone woke Bobby Johnson up and told him Mackenzi Adams should be starting. Too bad no one passed the word around, say, halftime of the State game. Vandy could be 6-0 had he been paying attention.
-Pour one out for Dicky Lyons Jr. A guy with a fantastic name, and by all accounts someone you'd want on your team, tore two ligaments in his knee, ending his career at Kentucky. My lasting memory of Dicky Lyons is watching him tear up the Rebels during Ed Orgeron's one and only disastrous trip to Lexington. I don't remember what his final stats were, but I do remember at some point during the game incoherently screaming about our defense's inability to stop a short white guy. Not good times.