Sorry for not putting this column out last week folks, I had a lot going on and WordPress wasn’t working with us. Plus, I had baseball on the mind. No, I don’t want to talk about it. Good thing there was a lot going on this past weekend to make up for it. Like:
– Tennessee coming out and making the four of us on our SEC Preview episode look really good. I think at least two of us picked them to win the SEC East, and if memory serves me, I believe Jordo called them beating Alabama. And what a neat moment. Neyland was rocking as hard as it has in 15 years, and you could feel the shedding of all the frustration and pain of the last decade-and-a-half. I have said for a long time it’s good for college football for Tennessee to be a power, and I mean it. What stood out to me was the confidence the Vols had; they never wavered, never got down, and never gave up. So to all the Vols out there, congrats. I’m concerned about what they do from here on out this season, but what a heck of a moment. Here’s hoping it’s a building block, not a peak.
– Well, let’s just go ahead and address the elephant in the room. You can blame refs all you want, but Alabama did not look like Alabama for the first half of the game against Tennessee. It honestly reminded me of the Auburn game last year, where they were sloppy, discombobulated, and too amped up. Previous Alabama teams worked like ninjas; stealthy and paying heed to nothing but the objective. This team the last couple of seasons has seemed to let more of its surroundings affect how it performs. Don’t get me wrong, they still bounce back and make it a game, but it’s interesting to see the environment get to them. I think we get to see now what this squad is truly made of: Do they bounce back and go scorched earth? (probably) Or do they struggle down the stretch? I’m leaning toward the former, but I do pause before I lean.
– Did anyone have Ole Miss vs. Tennessee for the SEC Championship? It’s still a long way off, but it’s a possibility. The Rebels quietly took over the top spot in the SEC West standings by way of an Alabama loss and their own smackdown of Auburn, 48-34. Lane Kiffin being Lane Kiffin, some gutsy calls made the difference in the game. In particular, an onside kick and subsequent touchdown gave the Rebels the momentum swing they needed to take care of the Tigers. I really did not expect Ole Miss to be undefeated at this point in the season—but they still have LSU, Alabama and State left to play. If they can somehow navigate that landscape unscathed, I think you have a dark horse coach of the year candidate in Kiffin.
– The Alabama National Fair just wrapped up a few weeks ago near where I live, and it’s a shame they don’t have any rides like the Mississippi State or Kentucky seasons this year: wild, fast, incredible highs, breathtaking lows, breakneck speeds, and only a small restraining system to keep you on your seat. State blew a real good opportunity by losing to Kentucky, which had already blown their own season by dropping games to Ole Miss and South Carolina. Come to think of it, that sounds more dizzying than the Gravitron. No thanks.
– Auburn looked decent against Ole Miss, which is sad given they lost by two touchdowns. But it’s amazing; they gave Tank Bigsby the ball and —get this—they did well! Who would have thought? Auburn gets a winnable home game in Arkansas this weekend, and they have to win that game. Have to.
– TCU not only has one of the coolest mascots in college football, they have one of the best teams. I was concerned when the Gary Patterson era ended the Horned Frogs would go back to being a cellar dweller, but Sonny Dykes has the Frogs undefeated and on the charge. They’ve dismantled Oklahoma, spoiled Gameday for Kansas and upended Oklahoma State. They’ve got a big matchup with No. 17 Kansas State Saturday, and a game with Texas looming large later this season, but could they be a playoff contender/spoiler? Crazier things have happened. Which means I just ruined their season.
– Utah is trying to do all it can to climb back into the National picture after their (getting worse each week) loss to Florida opening night. No one knew USC was in the top-10, and after Utah eked out a 43-42 dub, no one will. I wish I had been able to watch that game, but I was busy watching another Southern California team end their own season…
…and no, I still don’t want to talk about it.