This past Saturday was the beginning of the "Cannibalism of the SEC" with stunning defeats of South Carolina, Georgia and LSU. There are 11 teams with at least two conference losses already in October. This now leaves it up to Alabama again to carry the flag for a possible eighth straight BCS championship.
The Crimson Tide were already well positioned, but it seems now that they will have to do something they have not done during their last two titles—go unbeaten. I don't want to discount Missouri either, the Tigers have a fine football team and are much better up front than they were last season.
The only other contender is Auburn, who has regained its swagger under Gus Malzahn and knocked off Johnny Football this past weekend. College football always has a way of surprising you, and this weekend was as stunning as we have seen.
SEC home teams went 5-1 Saturday
Ole Miss ran for 176 yards in its win over sixth-ranked LSU. It was the most rushing yards by the Rebels since they ran for 272 at Texas. Jaylen Walton, the sophomore, gave Hugh Freeze the burst he was looking for and the Rebels never looked back. It was the first win over a top 10 team since 2009 and clearly set the table for another good season in Oxford. The defense which had been missing some key players, logged three interceptions, the most this season. Bo Wallace had his third straight 300-yard game and passed Archie Manning for seventh on the all-time list.
LSU looked flat early and it didn’t really know what hit the team in the first half. The turnover bug and the inability to get Ole Miss off the field on third down doomed the Tigers. The Rebels were 11-for-18, that 61 percent was the highest percentage all season and the first time a team has gone over 36 percent against them since TCU in the season opener. Zach Mettenberger has not thrown more than one interception in a game since the Ole Miss game last year. The Rebels now have picked him off five times in the last two meetings.
Auburn got a huge win in College Station and showed that it is a factor in the SEC West. The Tigers ran for 379 yards on 60 attempts against the Aggies. Auburn has 15 rushing touchdowns in its last four games. Sammy Coates was huge in the passing game, logging his second 100-yard game of the season. This was the third 300-yard rushing game of the season for Auburn. The Aggies last-ranked rush defense did them in as well. And they only got one turnover in the game. Auburn converted 50 percent of its third downs in the game while holding A&M to a season low 38 percent on third down. The Aggies converted only one time for a touchdown in four trips to the red zone.
Tennessee stunned South Carolina to give Butch Jones his first Southeastern Conference win. Freshman Marquez North had his first career 100-yard game receiving and all three of his catches were big. The Vols get their first win over a ranked opponent since 2009. Justin Worley played turnover free for the second consecutive game and had 179 yards passing. The Gamecocks clock management was called into question in the fourth quarter and they loss quarterback Connor Shaw for the foreseeable future. Before Shaw was injured he threw his first interception in 177 pass attempts.
Missouri is for real folks, I saw it with my own two eyes. Maty Mauck is a gamer and the fans choice at quarterback. Henry Josey is a quick one-cut back and the receivers are all good. The defense is very good at rushing the quarterback and Michael Sam is the best player no one has heard of in college football. The 36 points by Missouri were the most against Florida since LSU scored 41 in 2011. Missouri now has 14 interceptions which leads the nation.
Florida goes into the bye week looking for an offense. The Gators have not been this inept since 1999 and they are also banged up. This was the first time that the defense couldn’t keep them in a game as Florida relinquished too many big plays. Florida’s defense gave up seven completions of 15 yards or more, the most in the game this season.
Alabama had two running backs go over 100 yards in the same game for the second consecutive week as Kenyon Drake had 104 yards and Derrick Henry rushed for 111 yards. The Tide won 52-0 over Arkansas giving the Crimson Tide their third consecutive game with 45 points or more. Alabama has outscored its last five opponents 201-16.
Arkansas finally gets to the open week after eight consecutive games and five straight losses. The Razorbacks will get this week off then have two games then another week off before finishing with two games. The Hogs had 169 yards rushing, the third lowest total of the season for them.
This and That
Tennessee takes all its momentum to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama this week. Justin Worley nearly engineered an upset against Georgia and was able to pull one off against South Carolina. The thing he has done better is take care of the ball. Bama’s defense will be a different animal this week and now the Crimson Tide ranks second in the league in total defense and first in scoring defense.
Missouri plays its second home game against and East opponent when it faces South Carolina. The Tigers have a two-game lead in the division and could take another step toward Atlanta this weekend. The Gamecocks will have Dylan Thompson at quarterback and must do a good job against the Tiger ground game which is second best in the league. This could be a Jadevon Clowney-type game if the Gamecocks are going to win on the road.
Vanderbilt, fresh off its first big win of the James Franklin era, travels to College Station to face the Aggies. Expect the Commodores to focus on the ground game against A&M’s poor rush defense. One thing that gives Vanderbilt a shot at the upset is time of possession and keeping the ball away from Johnny Manziel and the offense.