The final weekend of the college football regular season is Rivalry Week, and in the SEC one game takes center stage: The Iron Bowl. The Alabama Crimson Tide destroyed the Auburn Tigers 49-0; the last nail in the coffin of the worst season Auburn football has had since 1950. Good times, indeed.
Watching the other rivalry games are always a pleasure, and the tradition involved in these games is one of the main reasons college football is so great.
SMILE Hogs: Your Season Is Finished
LSU defeated Arkansas 20-13 in the on Friday, and secured the coveted Golden Boot for yet another year. Yes, trophies for winning regular season games is a total Big Ten gimmick, but I have to admit the big metal boot is quite beautiful. It’s definitely better than a stupid brown jug.
Zach Mettenberger had 217 yards and a touchdown in the game, and Jarvis Landry had a one-handed grab in the back of the end, which was one of the best catches in college football this year. Arkansas was able to keep it close for the entire game, and had an outside chance to win at the end, but came up short on a 2nd and goal from the 18 as time expired.
We all know Auburn’s season has been a dumpster fire wrapped in a train wreck. Arkansas’ season was also a colossal disappointment, but at least the Hogs were competitive at times this year. Maybe that’s enough for John L. Smith to smile about when he heads back to bankruptcy court. Smile, John!
On another note: Has there ever been a quarterback in the SEC in recent memory that has gotten his clock cleaned more than Tyler Wilson? Don’t let his team’s collective failure fool you — this guy is as NFL-ready as any quarterback coming into the draft. Tyler Wilson knows what it means to throw the ball and get popped, because he has done it his entire college career. He is very familiar with the kind of pressure and adversity he will face in the NFL, and he’s tough enough to handle it. He’ll be a steal in the draft.
The Egg Bowl: For Ole Miss, It Was Over Easy
Ugh… sorry about that.
Ole Miss capped a nice rebuilding season in a 41-24 win in the Battle for the Golden Egg, which admittedly is several degrees lamer than “The Golden Boot,” but a few notches better than “The Old Brass Spittoon,” which is just gross. The Rebels are 6-6, which means they will play in a bowl game. I am very impressed with the job Huge Freeze did this year. His team played hard all season, as opposed to last year’s squad that played mostly uninspired football.
Mississippi State started the season 7-0 and reached the No. 11 ranking in the BCS. They have since lost four of their last five games in spectacularly awful fashion, proving once again that Mississippi State is the perennial fraud in the SEC West. But as we know, 8 or 9 wins is about the most any decent coach can muster in Starkville. One has to wonder if Dan Mullen’s name is going to come up for any of the 47 head coaching gigs that have opened up in a matter of three days.
SEC v. ACC
There isn’t an argument that the SEC is better than the ACC this year, or ever. In fact, the ACC is having one of the worst years in some time, and that is saying something. This is ridiculous, quite frankly, as ACC schools recruit the same parts of the country as the SEC does. They don’t have Maryland anymore though, so I guess that technically makes them “better” than they were.
- No. 4 Florida 37, No. 10 Florida State 26: It is easier to understand why the BCS computers had Florida State ranked 17th on average. In a close game that could have gone either way, Florida, the best second half team in the country, reeled of 24 straight points against the Seminoles and won going away. FSU dropped to 13th, but play Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship.
- No. 3 Georgia 42, Georgia Tech 10: Speaking of the Ramblin’ Wreck, they also got creamed by their interstate rivals from the SEC. This was merely a tune up before the Bulldogs take on Alabama in the SEC Championship. 6-6 Georgia Tech plays FSU in the championship, and will play a bowl game. They have a chance to join UCLA as the only teams in college football history to finish 6-8.
- No. 12 South Carolina 27, No. 11 Clemson 17: Having spent some time in the state of South Carolina, I can tell you the hate between these two rivals challenges any rivalry in the country, including Alabama and Auburn. South Carolina has won its fourth straight against the Tigers, as they dominated time of possession by almost 2 to 1. Clemson, despite being 10-2, will have to sit home and watch Ga. Tech play in the ACC championship, and there is something fundamentally wrong with that.
Head Coaches: Who Needs ‘Em?
This week’s SEC tickle fight featured two teams who have already fired their head coaches, and who were both trying to avoid becoming the first team in the history of the SEC East to finish 7th (Auburn holds this distinction in the SEC West). Tennessee won the game 37-17, and managed their only SEC win of the season. With the #4 ranking in basketball, I wonder if Wildcat fans even noticed.
Tyler Bray had another Tyler Bray day, throwing for 293 yards and four touchdowns. Bray has thrown for 3612 yards and 34 touchdowns on the year — not bad for a 5-7 team playing in the toughest defensive league in the country. The obvious problem for Tennessee all year was their defense. It surrendered an average of 37.7 points and 409.4 yards per game this year, which both rank outside the top 100.
The bigger story behind the scenes at Big Orange is who is going to be the next head coach. Jon Gruden has been the most popular name popping up in unfounded speculation, but in my opinion, the least likely candidate. Gruden has been out of coaching for five years, and is currently the color analyst opposite Al Michaels for Monday Night Football. Not only is he very good at his job, but he seems to really enjoy it. It’s nice and warm up in that booth. I don’t think he leaves.
Alabama will play Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on December 1st at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The game will be aired at 4 p.m. EST on CBS.
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