The chasm between teams in the SEC seems to be growing. Injures are starting to mount, dismantling the hopes and dreams of the teams in Fayetteville and Lexington. However, some squads seem to be hitting their stride. Tennessee silenced the crowd in Death Valley and ran right through LSU in what was supposed to be a trap game before their showdown with Alabama. We are now getting to the “put up or shut up” portion of the season and I’m here to ponder it.

Injury Roulette

The most dangerous game each team must play each year is not against an opponent – it is injury roulette. In the grind of the SEC, the question isn’t when, but how bad, will it burn you.

Making it through the season with a good record depends heavily on the health of your team and it helps to have a crap ton of luck in this department. Just ask Kentucky and Arkansas. Last week Kentucky was a play or two away from beating Ole Miss on the road. One week and an injury to star QB Will Levis later, they got embarrassed at home by South Carolina’s Beamer Ball.

Three weeks ago, Arkansas was number 10 in the country. Now their secondary is decimated, and KJ Jefferson was out for their game in Starkville. Currently they don’t even look like a top 10 team in the SEC. When they get Jefferson back, things change.

Speaking of Starkville, Mississippi State must have called the miracles department from SEC Shorts and got a package deal after the LSU loss. They got Arkansas sans KJ Jefferson, and they may get Kentucky without Will Levis this Saturday in Lexington. Apparently, he has turf toe, something I still believe to be made up. Someone reading this who has really had it is probably cussing me right now. Don’t cuss me, cuss your doctor for diagnosing you with that made up injury for a stubbed toe. I digress.

Those weren’t the only QB’s to miss action last week. Last year’s Heisman winner Bryce Young missed the A&M game with a shoulder injury he suffered at Arkansas. It almost cost the Tide the W and would have led to the biggest upset and possible story line of the season. The health of Young is the biggest question leading into the…

Third Saturday in October

I’m not going to go thru all the platitudes of the last time Tennessee beat Alabama. You’ve heard them all. Yes, we get it, Noah was fashioning the Ark the last time the Vols beat the Tide. Any avid fan of the SEC and especially those two fanbases know this game hasn’t been relevant since T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli were chasing waterfalls.

However, there was a time when everyone stopped to watch this game on the Third Saturday in October. It was the game between the two winningest and recognizable programs in the historic SEC.

Bryant, Neyland, Majors, and Saban have all roamed the sidelines for these games. The players are too many to name, but I’ll never forget David Palmer of Alabama taking the two-point conversion around the end to tie  and preserve the streak of 11 years since the Vols last beat the Tide. I was in the stadium at historic Legion Field the night Peyton Manning started a new streak for Tennessee. Then he endeared himself to the hearts of all Bama fans by leading the band in Rocky Top.

I, as a traditionalist, am jacked that this game means something again. Most of my young SEC loving life this game was epic. The last time both teams were undefeated heading into the game was 1989. Alabama won that contest 47-30. Legendary coach Johnny Majors roamed the sidelines for Tennessee, and I remember stars like Chuck Webb and Reggie Cobb being monsters in the backfield. I remember this Cobb-Webb graphic – due to it being close to Halloween – that was pretty cool to a kid of 10 years. Alabama was coached by Bill Curry and had Gary Hollingsworth slinging it around. Siran Stacy was running up and down the field. Lamonde Russell from my wife’s hometown of Oneonta was the Tides leading receiver. I remember Alabama having this prestige about them that resonated even at that young of an age. My dad had the Bear coke bottle at our home in Mississippi. They were kind of a big deal… I guess they still are.

I think you get the point, even for an Ole Miss fan this game was a big deal. More years than not, this game featured top 10 teams and future NFL superstars. So, hello old friend and welcome back to the show, Third Saturday in October.

Ramblings from Around the League

Ole Miss – I started getting texts at halftime from my sweetest friends to inform me the Rebels were trailing lowly Vanderbilt 20-17. Part of me laughed it off and let them know this is a different Ole Miss under Kiffin. However, the other part thought “oh shit” here we go again – nothing has changed. My first thought was right. Ole Miss came out in the second half and rolled. If Ole Miss ever plays a full game, they will murder someone. I hope it’s this next bunch.

Auburn – Fans of the War Eagle have been boasting this week of how glorious it will be when they steal Lane Kiffin from Ole Miss. It’s never good to be the last one in on the secret, a situation where Auburn currently finds itself. To keep it short – NO! This is not 1997 and Tubberville’s not in Oxford talking about pine boxes. The landscape has changed and Kiffin isn’t headed to the booster toxic environment on the Plains. Get your massage tables ready Auburn – the Freeze is coming.

Texas A&M – One play completely defines Jimbo “the offensive guru” Fisher, and it was the one that could have completed a miracle. On a night where the Tide’s offense was sputtering, the Aggies found themselves in the unthinkable positions of being on the goal line with a chance to win the game. I won’t rehash the play. That has been done enough – but damn Jimbo! A one route play to the sideline where you are yelling who to throw it to? That’s pathetic. It’s almost like he is coaching for his buyout.

On a positive note, the A&M defense at least gave Jimbo a chance to make that call. They held Alabama’s offense in check all night. I guess it could be argued Jalen Milore’s accuracy held the Tide offense in check. I’m willing to give the kid a “it was his first game” benefit of the doubt, but he seemed to be doing his best Anthony Richardson impression most of the game.

Georgia – Their QB is old. Like really old. He is older than a third of the starting QB’s in the NFL. That’s all I got on Georgia. They’re good but haven’t been tested in the slightest. Missouri wasn’t a test. It was team sleepwalking through an ugly win.

Pettey’s Super Scientific Ranking

Etch it in stone.

  1. Georgia – I’m not sure Georgia gets a real test until week 10 against Tennessee.
  2. Alabama – Young was out. They were less good.
  3. Tennessee – The busted the Trap in Baton Rouge. Now they get a chance to exercise their greatest demon.
  4. Ole Miss – When Ole Miss turns it on, they are dangerous.
  5. Mississippi State – One bad half. Don’t sleep on State.
  6. Kentucky – This is where the SEC drops off and gets weird. With Levis Kentucky is legit. Without him they are poo. Ask the Cocks.
  7. Arkansas – See Kentucky but add Jefferson. However, I think they get him back this week.
  8. Texas A&M – Yell Practice can celebrate a “Hanky Panky” style moral victory this week.
  9. Florida – They just survive games. Can they survive LSU?
  10. LSU – Their games with Florida get weird. I don’t expect this one to be different.
  11. South Carolina – Cocks stole KY’s jelly… and then used it on them. Brutal.
  12. Auburn – If Auburn finds a way to beat Ole Miss this year… I won’t really be surprised.
  13. Missouri – I think that guy from Happy Gilmore who hid in the trees and yelled you suck would be a great Missouri fan.
  14. Vanderbilt – I bet the halftime celebration this weekend was amazing.

As always thanks for reading and buckle up. I have a feeling we are in for a pretty good week of college football. If you have made it this far thanks for reading and follow our Podcast for more entertainment.