Posted: 4:38 pm Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Saturday could be the best day of football the SEC has ever seen 

By Tony Barnhart

There was so much we learned on a breathless Saturday in the SEC. So where do you start? How about here:

Better buckle up because it looks like, moving forward,  every Saturday is going be like last Saturday. Two weeks ago I told you that the SEC was more balanced with good teams than I had ever seen it and that every conference game would be appointment television. Saturday’s scores bore that out:

  • Georgia 35, Tennessee 32: Vols gave notice that their return to prominence will be sooner rather than later.
  • Texas A&M 35, Arkansas 28 (OT): The Hogs held a 28-14 lead over the nation’s No. 6 team but Kenny Hill brought the Aggies back.
  • Missouri 21, South Carolina 20: No. 13 Gamecocks led 20-7 with less than eight minutes left. Maty Mauk brought his team back on the road.
  • Kentucky 17, Vanderbilt 7: Vanderbilt was 1-3 but ‘Cats couldn’t put the Commodores away until getting three interceptions in the fourth quarter.

This Saturday shapes up as one of the best days of football this conference has ever seen with three teams in the Top 15 facing three teams in the top six:

No. 3 Alabama at No. 11 Ole Miss (3:30 p.m., CBS): Biggest game in Oxford since Eli Manning’s last home game in 2003.

No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 12 Mississippi State (Noon, ESPN): Bulldogs off last week. Should be biggest crowd in school history.

No. 15 LSU at No. 5 Auburn, (7 p.m. ESPN): Must win for LSU.

Florida at Tennessee (Noon, SEC Network): Huge quality of life game for Florida’s Will Muschamp.

Vanderbilt at Georgia (4 p.m., SEC Network): Georgia now controls destiny in the SEC East.

South Carolina at Kentucky (7:30 p.m., SEC Network): Wildcats will be excited. Gamecocks will be flat.

Three other things we learned:

  • Mark Richt is right. Todd Gurley is not one of the best players in college football. He is the “best” player in college football. Georgia was in prime position to be upset by a Tennessee team that showed a lot of guts on the road. But Gurley just put Georgia on his back and said “It’s OK, fellas. I got this.” Giving Gurley the ball on a fourth down inside the final minute spoke volumes. Georgia knew it had to keep the ball because its defense was giving up too many big plays. It also said that from this point forward, No. 3 will get the ball with the game on the line. Gurley got four yards and Georgia ran out the clock. I’ve only seen a handful of players in my time who could carry an entire team. Herschel Walker was one. Bo Jackson was another. Tim Tebow was another. Gurley is now on that list.
  • Brandon Harris is LSU’s best quarterback. How Les Miles handles his quarterbacks is his decision. But I know what I see. And in the last two weeks I’ve concluded that the LSU team plays better, significantly better, with freshman Brandon Harris in the game. Last week Harris led the comeback against Mississippi State that was a little short. In a scrimmage against New Mexico State (63-7), Harris completed 11 of 14 passes for 178 yards. Booger McFarland of the SEC Network, an LSU grad, said it best. It’s time to stop wasting time and get the best quarterback ready for the meat of the SEC schedule, which starts Saturday at Auburn.
  • Florida State does not look like a top-4 team: Credit Florida State for coming back from a 24-7 deficit at N.C. State to win 56-41. But if you’re the nation’s No. 1 team or a team that has designs on the four-team playoff, you don’t go to N.C. State and fall behind by 17 and give up 41 points. I still think Florida State is going to win all of its games and make the four-team College Football Playoff. But something is missing. I don’t know if it’s the weekly Jameis Winston soap opera or what. But at this moment Florida State does not look like one of the nation’s top four teams.

 

37 comments
wreckbuzz
wreckbuzz

Tony,


Check out the Georgia Tech games.  Maybe not quite on the level of those names you mentioned, but QB Justin Thomas has the look of a guy who can put a team on his back when it matters.

Savdon
Savdon

"Pigiron"

Must be from the rust belt where not much good has come from lately.

OH-IO
OH-IO

Better buckle up

OH-IO
OH-IO

dogs Vandy headline"best day"



pkak
pkak

Barnhart had Oklahoma, who won @ WVU and won big @ Tennessee, #5 last week because "they don't have the quality wins" (he didn't mention their Tenn. win in his article), but when Ga. beats Tenn. by 3 at home, instead of questioning an SEC team (Ga.), Barnhart says "Vols gave notice that their return to prominence will be sooner rather than later." Good one, Tony. Where was this love for the Vols when Oklahoma drilled them?

Getting_Older
Getting_Older

Tony, if NC State was in the SEC, you would just be touting how deep the SEC was.

JaySly
JaySly

Georgia-Missouri decides the east -- ga will beat uk Vanderbilt and fla with no problem

PigIron
PigIron

When do we get to stop pretending that the SEC East features any SEC caliber teams this year?

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

My predictions for NCAA Football final four on September 28,2014.

#1 SEED SEC Champ (Alabama)

#2 SEED Oregon

#3 SEED Oklahoma

#4 SEED ACC Champ(FSU)

*All picks subject to change on October 5, 2014.

DON1938
DON1938

Well, of course, FSU doesn't look like a top 4 team  Looks like Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, and LSU; with UGA number 5 followed closely by Miss State, Tennessee, Texas A&M.  Of course Missow has to e in there somewhere.  Teams like Oklahoma, Oregon, Notre Dame et al might as well just pack it in.  The country has never before witnessed anything like this.  Right Tony??  And don't give up on Vandy and KY.

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

@Getting_Older 

That's GOD-dam* right!   Barnhart is only becoming more of a joke. 


If BAMA (i.e. the ACC's FSU) plays AT Tennessee (i.e.the ACC's NcST) and does the exact same thing Barnhart and all of the other SEC clowns would be screaming that Tenn should be yet another SEC team who should be ranked. 

PigIron
PigIron

@Getting_Older

Yeah, I'd expect any team that could put a 24-23 lickin' on Georgia State to be competitive with the #1 team in the nation. ;-)

george231
george231

@JaySly  and they will lose to ark and au no problem. Pathetic east will send a 3 loss team to atl

TampGator1
TampGator1

@JaySly 


Sort of like Georgia would beat Tennessee with no problem. Just be glad Worley went out of the game for two series and go from there. 

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

@PigIron I agree the West looks strong, but let's see how the season plays out...how about that ?? I know it doesn't fit your agenda, but just for fun, let's assess after the season...and they have all played each other...go dogs

PigIron
PigIron

@Buschleaguer

If all of the Power 5 conferences has an undefeated conference champion at the end of the season, then the B1G champion will most likely sit out while the other four Power 5 champs play in the playoff. If the picture gets clouded by multiple conferences with 1 or 2 loss champions, then anything could happen.

There's been some talk of the SEC having two teams in the playoff, but I only see one way for that to happen. First of all, there would have to be at least two Power 5 conference champions with 1 or more losses. Then, Alabama and Auburn would have to meet in the final regular season game with both teams undefeated. If it was a very close game, and the winner went on to win the SECCG, then the loser of the Alabama vs. Auburn game might have a shot at getting into the playoff.

Then again, you might get bitten by a snake and struck by lightning at the same time as you're purchasing the winning Powerball ticket. You never know... ;-)

george231
george231

@DON1938  uga ahead of ms st and AM?? ha ha ha ha you cant be serious. Please enlighten us on your "logic"

F. Wilson BuddyHess
F. Wilson BuddyHess

@DON1938 LSU has not witnessed a beatdown like it got from Mississippi State in modern times, and in that stadium, and at night.  So much for that myth.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@DON1938 Miss State BEHIND LSU... dude did you even watch the game last week??  We dominated LSU at home...nuff said.  

PigIron
PigIron

@D-Sheets

NC State did have a big win over the Presbyterian Blue Hose last week. That was pretty impressive.

oledawg
oledawg

@TampGator1 @JaySly  You do realize that the UGA defense actually put Worley out of the game?  The defense is kind of part of the UGA team.  Pretty sure UGA can take a little credit for making a play.  We are absolutely glad that our D nailed Worley and put him out of the game.

PigIron
PigIron

@TampGator1

Worley was out for at least three, wasn't he? It was most of the third quarter, as I recall.

PigIron
PigIron

@Dewnsav

I said nothing about the SEC West, and I have no "agenda".

The best team in the SEC East is Missouri, and they lost to a bottom-feeder in the B1G last week.

DON1938
DON1938

@CowbellHell @DON1938 I apologize if I offended any Miss. State fans.  My intent was not to try and rank SEC teams but suggest how bias Barnhart is.  I was only naming teams at random.  I think Miss. State is a damn good football team and definitely better than LSU.  Sorry for the misunderstanding.

PigIron
PigIron

@oledawg

Yep... Georgia gets credit for hitting the quarterback's elbow with a helmet.

Hey! It won the game for them. No doubt about that. Wonder if Pruitt can train them to do that in every game? ;-)

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

@PigIron @Dewnsav what does "caliber" mean then ?? you're generally on here ragging on UGA. for the most part, that's your agenda as I see it...again, let the games play out...go dogs

PigIron
PigIron

@Dewnsav "what does "caliber" mean then ??"

You obviously have Internet access. Look the word up, if you don't understand what it means.

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

@PigIron @Dewnsav I just figure a smart guy like you would enlighten me on the "context"...you obviously have internet access....look up the word context if you don't understand what it means...go dogs