Saturday, September 16, 2006

SEC (Non-Alabama) Recap:

The two big games on the slate were what everyone expects to be the de facto West title game between LSU and Auburn, and the Florida-Tennessee tilt, which is only the de facto East title game if you don't believe in Georgia.

LSU has to be frustrated -- even more than after your normal 7-3 loss. They outgained AU 309-181, didn't commit a turnover (Auburn committed one), held Kenny Irons to 2.7 yards per rush, and just generally appeared the better team. But they turned the ball over on downs twice (once on 4th-and-1 in the first quarter, again at 4th-and-8 at the Auburn 31 in the fourth) and had a pass dropped in the end zone. And had a player stopped five yards short of the end zone on the last play, and had a pass interference call improperly overturned, and generally got no breaks.

Florida, meanwhile, escaped after Tennessee blatantly choked away a game it had in hand. (Full disclosure: I hate Tennessee and think that Phillip Fulmer is probably the Antichrist.) The Gators took over at their own 28 with 4:38 to go in the third quarter; they won 21-20 after Tennessee apparently forgot how to play defense. Tennessee simply couldn't run the ball, and when Fulmer tried to milk the clock they were unable to maintain drives. Good.

The best team in the conference might actually be Georgia, though they haven't actually played anyone. After shutting out South Carolina last week, they did the same to UAB (this being the same UAB team that lost to Oklahoma 24-17 in their opener), and put up 34 points with a freshman quarterback, Matt Stafford. Their offense appears pretty weak, but that defense might be special, and might not allow another point until they play Tennessee in three weeks.

Kentucky pounded Ole Miss, 31-14 -- the Wildcats' first win in an SEC opener in 19 years. The game was 14-all late in the second quarter, then Kentucky poured it on... Vandy had yet another of their patented moral victories, but lost 21-19 to Arkansas when they failed on a tying two-point conversion and a last-minute fieldgoal came up short... Mississippi State finally scored, but lost anyway to Tulane, 32-29, despite scoring 22 in a desperation fourth quarter comeback... South Carolina avoided similar humilation, holding off Wofford, whoever that is, 27-20 with a last-second interception deep in their own territory. Apparently Spurrier didn't run up the score for once, and it nearly cost them.


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