This has been a tough week, both psychologically (football-wise), and work-wise. Hence, posting has been slow, but especially passionate. This week around the SEC nothing really earth-shattering happened to be an LSU fan or an Arkansas fan. Lo and behold, I am one of those.
Let's get to the action:
Tennessee gets to avoid the twin embarrassments of a) losing to Vandy, and b) losing to 8 teams in one season. The second of those may yet happen this week, but at least they beat their fierce in-state rivals. Vandy, for their part, lost out in the bowl-position stakes and now finds themselves firmly behind Ole Miss and South Carolina, and they may end up behind Kentucky as well, which would mean probably the I-bowl for Vandy.
As for the game, Tennessee really dominated it. They played their best football since the first half of the season opener at UCLA. They did not allow any of Vandy's quarterbacks to do anything, and played just competently enough on offense to put up a few points. It is telling, however, that in this game the two offenses combined for 16 points and the two defense combined for 14. The defenses were almost as productive at scoring points as the offenses.
It's too late for Phillip Fulmer and Tennessee of course. Tennessee will be home in December and January, and Fulmer will be either looking for a new job or planning his retirement. Bobby Johnson at Tennessee may be looking for a new job, but his would be a happy occasion.
A lot of people would accuse Florida of running it up, but let's look at a few facts:
- Backup QB John Brantley threw just as many passes as Tim Tebow (11)
- Percy Harvin had exactly five touches
- Nine Gators rushed the ball
- Nine Gators caught the ball
- Two different Gators kicked extra points
Yeah, I don't think there's very much that's heroic about hanging 70 on a hapless opponent, but at the same time I cannot blame a coach if he "runs the basic offense" (including passes) with young backups in the game. That appears to be what happened here. Infrequently used transfer Emmanuel Moody had the most carries of any running back, and David Nelson made his 3rd, 4th, and 5th pass receptions on the year. Urban Meyer, despite being generously loathsome, at least pulled his starters on offense in this one.
Mississippi State 31
Mississippi State overcame a 14-0 deficit and officially knocked the Razorbacks out of bowl contention by handing them their 7th loss.
Since his mid-season injury, Arkansas running back Michael Smith has not been nearly as effective, averaging less than 4.0 yards per carry in his last 3 games, and not getting over 67 yards rushing in any game. Nor is he excelling in the passing game. This is a kid who had had 5 games this year with 129 yards rushing or more, including 4 in a row. He may well have been on his way to 1st team All-SEC honors until he got hurt.
For Arkansas, redshirt freshman QB Nathan Dick, the younger brother of Casey, had a good night, going 25 for 43 with 333 yards. Under Petrino, Arkansas's passing game has been productive all season, though also very mistake-prone (they have still thrown more interceptions than touchdown passes).
Mississippi State played its best offense of the season, generating 226 yards of rushing offense and competent if unspectacular passing. It's a little late for them, but nice job.
That's where we end today. I won't go over the Ole Miss @ LSU game because I feel we've already discussed that one enough. Once again, I am deliberately ignoring Alabama, who luckily played into my hands by having a bye week.