What we learned on Saturday:
1) We thought it would be a wild day and it was: With each of the seven teams ranked 4-10 in the CFP rankings playing ranked opponents , something had to give. And it did:
- No. 3 Auburn was stunned by unranked Texas A&M 41-38.
- No. 7 Kansas State was manhandled by No. 6 TCU (41-20).
- No. 8 Michigan State could not handle the speed and athleticism of No. 14 Ohio State and lost 49-37.
- Ditto for No. 10 Notre Dame which is now out of the national championship discussion after a startling 55-31 loss at No. 9 Arizona State.
What does it all mean? It means the new CFP rankings that will be released Tuesday night are going to be interesting, especially at the No. 3, 4, 5, and 6 slots.
2) Georgia can win the SEC East on Saturday: The Bulldogs had an impressive bounce back game in beating Kentucky 63-31. If Georgia (5-2 SEC) can beat Auburn and if Missouri (4-1) loses at Texas A&M the Bulldogs will earn a spot in the SEC Championship game on Dec. 6 at the Georgia Dome. That would be a good accomplishment for a team that hit rock bottom in Jacksonville on Nov. 1. Give credit to Mark Richt and his staff. They just kept coaching their team.
3) Auburn ran out of good bounces: For the past two seasons Auburn has been a good team that found a way to win close games in the fourth quarter. But Auburn had two bad mistakes late in its loss to Texas A&M. One was a missed quarterback-running back exchange at the Texas A&M 2-yard line. Another was a miscommunication between quarterback Nick Marshall and center Reese Dismukes which gave the Aggies the ball at the 28 and ended Auburn’s hopes of a comeback. “We just didn’t get it done when we usually do,” said coach Gus Malzahn. That sums it up. Now Auburn has to play the role of spoiler against Georgia and Alabama.
4) Blake Sims showed incredible poise at LSU: Last week Alabama quarterback Blake Sims watched the video of Alabama’s 21-17 win at LSU in 2012. He wasn’t watching LSU’s schemes. He was watching how Alabama QB AJ McCarron handled the crowd at LSU’s Death Valley. You’ll remember that McCarron led Alabama on a late drive, where he completed four of five passes, to win the game. Sims showed the same kind of poise Saturday night. With his team trailing 13-10 Sims, who had not had a good night, drove his team 55 yards in the final seconds to tie the game with a field goal. His 6-yard TD pass to DeAndrew White on the first possession in overtime won the game.
“I’m really, really proud of the way (Sims) hung in there,” coach Nick Saban said.
5) The Gators are still in it: Florida (4-3 SEC) took care of Vanderbilt (34-10) on Saturday and mathematically can still win the SEC East. First Florida must beat South Carolina at home (Noon, SEC). Then Georgia must lose to Auburn. Then Missouri must lose two of its last three games and one of those losses must be to Tennessee. That’s a lot of “ifs” but when you’re having a tough year it’s nice to have something to hang your hat on. After everything Florida has been through, how sweet would it be to beat the Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier?