SEC Insider


Gators quarterback Chris Leak tied a school record with six passing touchdowns against South Carolina last week. The feat hadn't been accomplished at Florida since 1996, when Danny Wuerffel threw six TDs against Alabama.

Florida (6-4, 4-4) closes out the regular season at rival Florida State (8-2, 6-2 in the ACC) on Saturday in a game being televises at 6:45 p.m. CT on ESPN.

"We've had a very good week of preparation," said Gators coach Ron Zook. "Monday was a little bit lighter to keep our players fresh.

"This is obviously a big rivalry game and since most players on the teams know each other, it makes for an interesting game."

The Gators and Seminoles have played every year since 1959 and are playing in the regular season scheduled finale for the 26th straight time. Florida State defeated the Gators, 38-34, last year and lead the series, 10-9-1, in games played in Tallahassee.

With his 159 yards in last week's 24-6 loss at Auburn, Bulldogs senior quarterback David Greene became the school's career record holder for passing yards with 11,174, passing Eric Zeier's previous mark of 11,153 yards. Greene's total ranks second in SEC history, behind only Tennessee's Peyton Manning who had 11,201.

Greene also set the Bulldog career record for total offense last week, with 10,930 yards, passing Zeier (10,841) as well.

Georgia (8-2, 6-2) has an open date this week before capping off the regular season against Georgia Tech on Nov. 27.

"We took Monday off, went yesterday (Tuesday) and went after it pretty good," said Bulldogs coach Mark Richt. "We put the pads on and got some of our younger guys to scrimmage. We had a good time with it and nobody got hurt too badly."

The Wildcats won in comeback fashion against Vanderbilt last Saturday, rallying from a 13-0 deficit for a 14-13 win. It marked the first time since the Mississippi State game last season that Kentucky was able to overcome a halftime deficit for a victory.

"Well, we've finally got a little good news here with Kentucky football," said Wildcats coach Rich Brooks. "We had the biggest 4th quarter come back since 1949. We came back from 13 down and stopped our losing skid and also got a SEC win which we hadn't had previous to this week."

Kentucky (2-8, 1-6) is off this week and closes out the season at Tennessee next week.

"This off week should help some players get healthy enough to play against Tennessee," said Brooks.

The Gamecocks (6-4, 4-4) close out the regular season at rival Clemson and injuries are a concern.

Quarterback Dondrial Pinkins did not play last week at Florida and is questionable for Saturday and wide receiver Troy Williamson suffered a sprained ankle in the second half against the Gators and missed most of the final 30 minutes.

"Dondrial was able to throw a few passes and he may be ready on Saturday," said South Carolina coach Lou Holtz. "Practice hasn't been the way we like it but it is Clemson week and so we just have to be ready to play."

The Tigers (5-5, 4-4 in the ACC) drubbed South Carolina, 63-17, last year in Columbia and need a win Saturday to get bowl eligible.

The Volunteers (7-2, 5-1) need just one win in their final two conference games to clinch a spot in the SEC Championship. Tennessee was off last week and visits Vanderbilt on Saturday in a game being televised at 11:30 a.m. on Jefferson Pilot Sports.

"Well we are certainly well into our preparation into the game; coming off an open date really helped us," said Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer. "They've prepared well and we're excited about the opportunity we have to reach the Eastern Division Championship and play Auburn again. Our focus has been working as a team and working on fundamentals."

With freshmen quarterbacks Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer again unable to play, the Vols will go with junior Rick Clausen against the Commodores. Clausen played in the second half two weeks ago against Notre Dame and was 10-of-18 passing for 120 yards.

Tennessee's 21 straight wins against Vanderbilt is the third-longest streak in Division I-A. Only Notre Dame's 41 consecutive wins against Navy and Nebraska's 36 straight wins against Kansas are longer active streaks.

Another game, another close loss for the Commodores.

With the Commodores' 14-13 loss at Kentucky last week, four of the team's eight setbacks have now been by a combined 10 points, leaving coaches and players scratching their heads over a season full of close calls.

"It's as frustrating as you can imagine it to be," said Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson. "It's easy to dismiss Vanderbilt as a poor team but I think we've had several opportunities but we haven't been able to execute.

"We've been in the situation to get it done we just couldn't do it."

The Commodores (2-8, 1-6) host No. 15 Tennessee on Saturday in their season finale. Vanderbilt has lost 21 consecutive games against the Vols entering this weekend's game.

"History has not been real good to us in this series," Johnson said. "But I don't like to dwell to much on the past."


The Crimson Tide will look to play the role of spoiler this week when hosting Auburn in the 69th Iron Bowl.

Alabama (6-4, 3-4) is bowl eligible and just looking to improve its Holiday destination. But the Tide know that the Tigers are still playing for a shot at the national championship and would like nothing better than to ruin Auburn's dream season.

"The players know each other real well, probably better than the coaches," said Alabama coach Mike Shula. "But as far as playing spoiler, well we're just concerned with getting our seventh win."

This will be just the fifth meeting between the two schools in Tuscaloosa, as most games in this series were played in Birmingham up until 1989. Auburn has won all four previous games at Alabama.

Razorbacks tight end Jared Hicks caught two touchdowns in last week's 35-3 win against Ole Miss, marking the first time an Arkansas tight end had multiple TD catches in one game since Joe Dean Davenport had two against Auburn in 1999. The two scores were Hicks' first of the season.

Quarterback Matt Jones' 72-yard touchdown run against the Rebels was a career-long and was the longest run by a Razorback since Fred Talley scored on an 80-yard play against Auburn in 2002

Arkansas (4-5, 2-4) visits Mississippi State on Saturday, needing a win against the Bulldogs and victory next week against LSU to qualify for a bowl.

"We've had good practices so far this week," said Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt. "We're playing against a very good football team in Mississippi State. Sylvester Croom has done a great job there and you can see the way they are improving."

With his team still the odd man out in the BCS rankings, Tommy Tuberville had plenty of questions to answer during Wednesday's coaches conference about the current system. From running up the score to impress voters to coaches revealing their votes in the polls, Tuberville was asked it all.

I think if you look at the polls and look how certain people vote, some people don't vote differently then they did in the beginning," said Tuberville. "That's why voting shouldn't start until October. That way people know how teams are doing."

The Auburn coach said he disagreed with running up the score and encouraged coaches to reveal their votes.

"I think we should reveal our votes, especially with our situation we're in," Tuberville said. "If you're hiding your votes, then you're hiding them for a reason."

Auburn is 10-0 for the first time since 1993 and visits rival Alabama Saturday in a game being shown on CBS at 2:30 p.m.

"This is always one of those games that it's hard fought," Tuberville said. "Both teams dig down for a little extra."

LSU's 26-10 win against Alabama last week was only the Tigers' second victory against the Tide in Baton Rouge. The win also improved LSU's home record to 6-0 this season.

The Tigers look to finish undefeated at home for the first time since 1972 when they host Ole Miss on Saturday.

"The big thing we're working on is consistency in the way we play," said LSU coach Nick Saban. "Ole Miss has played extremely well at times like against South Carolina and against Tennessee. In a rivalry game like Ole Miss vs. LSU we expect them to play the same way."

The Bulldogs (3-6, 2-4) have had two weeks to prepare for Saturday's game against Arkansas. Mississippi State has won two of its last three games entering this week's contest with the Razorbacks.

"We had a week off and I think we're as healthy as we've been," said Bulldogs coach Sylvester Croom. "It feels like the kids came back with enthusiasm and up to the challenge of playing Arkansas here at home. We've got our work cut out for us but were looking forward to it."

Like most coaches in the SEC, Croom knows stopping Arkansas begins with stopping Matt Jones.

"Their offense starts with Jones and everything ties into their option game," Croom said. "They've got options, they've got traps, they've got ghost plays and things that keep you off balance. They make you defend and that's how they hurt you in their running game."

The Bulldogs are just 1-5 against Arkansas in the Houston Nutt era and have lost five in a row.

Ole Miss is in unfamiliar territory. For the first time since 1996, the Rebels are guaranteed of finishing with a losing record after last week's 35-3 loss at Arkansas.

"It's never easy," said Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe. "But adversity is something you have to deal with in this business. It will be different not having that extra practice time for our younger guys during the bowl preparations. But we'll just have to get in the weight room and make the most of what we can do."

The Rebels (3-6, 2-4) visit LSU on Saturday.

"We've had good preparation and we're certainly going to need it," Cutcliffe said. "I think LSU is a great team, one of the best in the country.

"We'll have to be our best to compete with them."

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