What we learned
While most experts focused on what South Carolina’s miracle comeback at Missouri means to the SEC East, you also might want to take stock of what Alabama’s rout of Tennessee means.
While the SEC East teams continue to beat up on each other, the Crimson Tide, two-time reigning national champs and now a clear favorite to make it three in a row, took apart the Vols. This same Tennessee team had made ground this month on other SEC East teams, nearly upsetting Georgia and then knocking off South Carolina.
While Alabama’s 45-10 destruction of the Vols reiterated how Bama is again the class of the league, there is still hope in the unsettled East and no one has more than the Gamecocks and coach Steve Spurrier. A loss Saturday night essentially would have eliminated the Gamecocks from the race and put Missouri in a strong position. Now Missouri, with a backup quarterback and a faith-shaken kicker, is a little wobbly and the game is on.
Â€”It just worked out tonight,” Spurrier said. “That’s all you can say. It was meant to be.”
A team-by-team glance at the remaining SEC East schedules:
- Missouri: Tennessee, Kentucky, at Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
- Georgia: Florida in Jacksonville, Kentucky and at Auburn.
- South Carolina: Mississippi State and Florida both at home.
- Florida: Georgia in Jacksonville, Vanderbilt, at South Carolina.
Alabama, meanwhile, has an off week and coach Nick Saban says the Tide won’t focus just on LSU. The Tigers visit a week from Saturday.
“We really won’t take this whole week to practice (for LSU),” Saban said. “We have two really good other SEC opponents (Mississippi State and Auburn) and we’ll spend some time helping our players trying to understand what they do. We’ll probably spend one extra day on LSU this week.
“I’ve been really pleased with the way our guys have come out the last four games that we’ve played.”
And Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron had this to say to the nation: “I feel like we’re playing better each week. I felt like we showed that (Saturday). We were explosive. Really, the only time they stopped us is when we stopped ourselves.”
“You know, that’s his job and it’s his responsibility. Last week, he made five. It’s not one guy here. We all could have done something different to help win that football game.” — Missouri coach Gary Pinkel on kicker Andrew Baggett’s missed 24-yard field goal that bounced off an upright in the double-overtime loss to South Carolina.
“When he went 10-for-10 to start the game.” — Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin when asked at what point he was sure he made the right call to start the injured Johnny Manziel. He passed for 305 yards and four touchdowns against Vanderbilt in a 56-24 victory.
“I’ve seen him do that 100 times in practice. It didn’t surprise me. He broke on it and he did the same thing he always does.” — Alabama’s Deon Belue on teammate’s Landon Collins’ 89-yard interception return for a touchdown against Tennessee. For Collins, the replacement for the injured Vinnie Sunseri, it was his first career interception.
“For a true freshman, playing for the first time in this kind of environment, I thought he did very well.” — Tennessee coach Butch Jones on freshman quarterback Joshua Dobbs of Alpharetta, who was 5-for-112 for 75 yards and ran three times for 19 yards. Dobbs started the second half because of an injury to Justin Worley.
“We’ll stay for 60 if you stay forever.” — Sign held by an Alabama fan after coach Nick Saban had urged early-departing students to stick around for the full game.
“That sounds good to me. I’m too old to go someplace else and start over, I can tell you that.” — Saban, when asked about the sign.
In the event of a tie for a division championship:
A. Two-team tie
1. Head-to-head competition between the two tied teams.
2. Records of the tied teams within the division.
3. Head-to-head competition vs. the team within the division with the best overall record (divisional and non-divisional), conference record and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken from first to last.
4. Overall record vs. all common non-divisional opponents.
5. Combined record vs. all common non-divisional teams.
6. Record vs. common non-divisional team with the best overall conference (divisional and non-divisional) record and proceeding through other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within their division.
7. The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series standings following the last weekend of regular season games shall be the divisional representative in the SEC Championship game.
B. Three-team (or more) tie
1. (Once the tie has been reduced to two teams, refer to the two-team tie-breaker format.)
2. Combined head-to-head record among the tied teams.
3. Record of the tied teams within the division.
4. Head-to-head competition vs. the team within the division with the best overall (divisional and non-divisional) conference record and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken from first to last.
5. Overall record vs. non-division teams.
6. Combined record vs. all common non-divisional teams.
7. Record vs. common non-divisional team with the best overall conference (divisional and non-divisional) record and proceeding through other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within their division.
8. The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series standings following the last weekend of regular season games shall be the divisional representative in the SEC Championship game, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five or fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the SEC Championship game.
Charles Bloom @CharlesBloomSC
#Gamecocks (Mizzou/UCF) and Oklahoma (ND/TT) are only teams to beat two current members of USA Today Top 25 this season.
Greg Bacon @gregbacon
After blowing the late lead, the Tigers should switch mascots to the #Mizzou Braves.
Skip Bayless @RealSkipBayless
Manziel calls it a day in 3rd q w/ 305 yds passing, 4 TD passes w/ sore throwing shoulder. AGAIN: He’s going to be a STAR in the NFL.
Edgar Thompson @osgators
#Gators bad, boring offense eventually could doom Will Muschamp says @BianchiWrites in an excellent column.
- Mississippi State at South Carolina, 12:21 p.m., WPCH
- Georgia vs. Florida, 3:30 p.m., CBS
- Auburn at Arkansas, 6 p.m., ESPN2
- Tennessee at Missouri, 7 p.m., ESPN
- Alabama State at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m., CSS
- UTEP at Texas A&M, 9 p.m., ESPN2
By the numbers
Alabama’s record since the start of the 2008 season when the Tide has rushed for at least 140 yards.
Receiving yards in his career for Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, the all-time SEC leader. He had eight catches for 92 yards against Texas A&M.
Home SEC victories this season for Texas A&M after dumping Vandy. The Aggies are 3-2 in the SEC West but have lost at Kyle Field to Alabama and Auburn.
Thumbs up: To South Carolina’s Connor Shaw. Despite numerous injuries that have kept him from becoming one of Steve Spurrier’s greatest quarterbacks, Shaw showed what he can do late in the Missouri game, driving the Gamecocks back from a 17-0 deficit to a 27-24 double-overtime victory. When December arrives, don’t be surprised if the coach’s son from Flowery Branch High is leading USC into the Georgia Dome for the SEC title game.
Thumbs down: To Vanderbilt coach James Franklin. He’s full of talk about turning Vanderbilt around, but the reality is this: The Commodores are now 1-4 in the SEC East and that win came in a miracle victory against Georgia. The demolition by Texas A&M on Saturday shows just how far away Vandy is from competing with the best on a weekly basis. The Commodores have surrendered more than 50 points to the Aggies and Missouri.
Compiled by Ray Cox