Sports, Thrill of Victory

Around the SEC: Week 6 Edition

Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

We’ve officially reached Week 6 of the SEC football season, and thanks to several strange storylines, it may be one of the most intriguing weeks in recent memory.

Let’s dive right into all the news and notes.

BIGGEST STORIES

No football will be played in Gainesville this weekend due to Hurricane Matthew. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

No football will be played in Gainesville this weekend due to Hurricane Matthew. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Hurricane postpones Florida-LSU game

Hurricane Matthew’s damage has extended to SEC football, too. The Gators, rather than give up a home game by moving its contest to Baton Rouge, stalled out long enough to the point that this weekend’s game won’t be played, and no makeup date has been scheduled yet. 

It’s a real mess, and this podcast, of which I’m a part, does a good job of explaining it.

Tennessee’s miracle

In UT’s game at Georgia, the Vols took their first lead with just under three minutes left, lost it with 10 seconds to play like this:

And then this happened:


This may be the best last few minutes of a college football game ever not involving a marching band. 

POWER RANKINGS

  1. Alabama (5-0, 2-0): 17 wins in a row for Crimson Tide. 
  2. Texas A&M (5-0, 3-0): Few teams have more offensive weapons than A&M.
  3. Ole Miss (3-2, 1-1): TE Evan Engram leads SEC with 479 receiving yards.
  4. Tennessee (5-0, 2-0): WR Jauan Jennings sees his name go down in UT history. 
  5. LSU (3-2, 2-1): After 42-7 thumping of Mizzou, maybe Ed Orgeron is what LSU needs. 
  6. Arkansas (4-1, 0-1): Prayers to OL Frank Ragnow on his father’s passing. 
  7. Auburn (3-2, 1-1): RB Kerryon Johnson’s 517 rushing yards are third in SEC.
  8. Florida (4-1, 2-1): A 15-tackle effort vs. Vandy for LB Jarrad Davis.
  9. Georgia (3-2, 1-2): QB Jacob Eason is learning, but the talent is undeniable.
  10. Mississippi St. (2-2, 1-1): DL A.J. Jefferson’s nine stops for loss leads league.
  11. Missouri (2-3, 0-2): WR J’Mon Moore leads non-kickers with 38 points.
  12. South Carolina (2-3, 1-3): Seven TDs are easily a league low. 
  13. Vanderbilt (0-2, 2-3): RB Ralph Webb leads SEC with 582 rushing yards.
  14. Kentucky (1-2, 2-3): LB Jordan Jones ranks second with 51 total tackles.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  1. Trevor Knight, QB, TAMU
  2. Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss
  3. Austin Allen, QB, Arkansas
  4. Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
  5. Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
  6. Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama
  7. Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M
  8. Ralph Webb, RB, Vanderbilt
  9. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
  10. J’Mon Moore, WR, Missouri

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  1. Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
  2. Arden Key, DL/LB, LSU
  3. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
  4. Justin Evans, DB, TAMU
  5. Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
  6. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
  7. Daeshon Hall, DE, TAMU
  8. Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
  9. A.J. Jefferson, DL, Mississippi St.
  10. Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
Here's one way to stop Tennessee's Derek Barnett. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE

Here’s one way to stop Tennessee’s Derek Barnett. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE

THIS WEEK’S PICKS

All times Central, p.m. unless noted

Tennessee at Texas A&M (-7), 2:30, CBS

A&M’s schedule is the 16th-toughest in America, according to Jeff Sagarin, while the Vols sit two spots below. Average yards per play for each team: A&M 6.8, Tennessee 5.4. The Vols are also missing cornerback Cameron Sutton and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, probably their second- and third-best defenders, in some order. That’s too much to overcome against a team that can spread the ball around like the Aggies. A&M 31, Tennessee 21

Alabama at Arkansas (+14), 6, ESPN

Despite leading the SEC with 44 points a game, there’s a sense that the Alabama offense (fifth in total offense at 484.4 yards per play) hasn’t quite come together under the talented freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, despite the fact that he’s been excellent. The disconnect between the points and yards can partially be explained by the fact that ‘Bama has scored a non-offensive TD in each game. Quarterback Austin Allen has done perhaps even better at leading the Arkansas offense, but the Razorback defense has leaked at times against better teams. The Crimson Tide rolls again, but it might not necessarily be easy. Alabama 31, Razorbacks 21

Auburn at Mississippi St. (+2.5) 11, SEC Network

Here’s two things you probably didn’t know: Auburn’s offense has been sneakily productive. The Tigers lead the SEC in rushing yards, and quarterback Sean White averages 8.4 yards per throw. Granted, Auburn has feasted against weaker teams, but the LSU win a couple of weeks ago showed me something. I’m still having a tough time getting a handle on MSU, but I’m guessing what I’ve seen from Auburn recently carries the Tigers on the road. Auburn 24, Bulldogs 20

Georgia at South Carolina (-6.5) , 1:30 on Sunday, SEC Network

Last week was nearly Georgia’s breakthrough moment, and then Hail Mary struck. What does that do to the Bulldogs’ confidence now that meaningful chances at wins, and the chances of competing in the SEC East, are shrinking? Coach Will Muschamp has Carolina playing a bit above its heads and perhaps the Gamecocks have a bit more motivation here. Gamecocks 20, Georgia 19

Vanderbilt at Kentucky (-3), 3, SEC Network

Was that the real Vanderbilt defense that finally stood up in the loss to Florida? If so, Kentucky, which has posted the league’s worst two yard-per-play numbers against Power Five opponents this year in games against Alabama (2.8) and Florida (3.1), could be in a bit of trouble. Vanderbilt 21, Kentucky 20