SEC Insider


Florida's 20-13 win against Florida State last week gave the Gators (7-4, 4-4) their first win in Tallahassee since 1986. Quarterback Chris Leak was 19-of-39 passing for 231 yards and a touchdown pass, while tailback Ciatrick Fason recorded his sixth 100-yard game of the season, tallying 103 yards on 24 carries to become the first running back this season to eclipse the 100-yard rushing mark against the Seminoles.

The Gators' regular season is complete and they now wait to see where they'll be bowling. The Peach Bowl is a likely choice for Florida, while the Music City Bowl could be another.

The Bulldogs (8-2, 6-2) will be playing for state bragging rights Saturday when they host Georgia Tech at 2:30 p.m. on CBS. Georgia leads the overall series against the Yellowjackets, 55-36-5, and have won three in a row.

Georgia was off last week after completing its SEC slate with a 24-6 loss at Auburn two weeks ago. The Bulldogs' bowl destination is still up in the air, with the Cotton, Outback and Capital One Bowls all being possibilities still for Georgia.

The Wildcats (2-8, 1-6) had an open date last week and close the season Saturday at Tennessee. With the Volunteers already clinching a spot in the SEC Championship Game, Kentucky might hope for Tennessee to be overlooking this week's game.

"I don't know that it's an advantage, but it may not be a disadvantage," said coach Rich Brooks. "Now that (Tennessee) has clinched a spot in the championship, they may not come in as tuned up.

"We'd like to finish the season on a positive, a season which been a big disappointment so far."

Kentucky has not beaten Tennessee since 1984 and has lost 19 straight against the Vols. Saturday's game will be the 100th meeting between the two schools, with Tennessee holding a 67-23-9 edge in the series.

The Gamecocks announced Tuesday that Steve Spurrier will take over as coach. Spurrier did not coach this season after going 12-20 in two years with the Washington Redskins. Spurrier's hiring marks the return of the conference's top coach based on winning percentage.

"I'm excited about it, really," said Georgia coach Mark Richt, when asked about Spurrier's return to the SEC. "He's a great guy and his teams always go for 60 minutes."

Due to last week's brawl during their 29-7 loss at rival Clemson, the Gamecocks (6-5, 4-4) have elected to not accept a bowl bid. South Carolina's decision means the Houston Bowl, the 8th and final bowl to pick from SEC teams, will have to instead choose an at-large team.

Tennessee (8-2, 7-1) clinched a spot in the SEC Championship Game with its 38-33 win at Vanderbilt last week. The Vols will be making their fourth appearance in the SEC Championship Game in the last eight years, leading all conference schools during that span.

Junior quarterback Rick Clausen made his first career start as a Vol and passed for a career-high 189 yards against the Commodores. Senior tailback Cedric Houston moved into sixth place last week on the school's all-time rushing list, passing former Vols Travis Stephens, Reggie Cobb and Curt Watson. Houston, a Clarendon native, has rushed for 2,408 yards in the career and 779 yards this season.

The regular season finale for Tennessee is Saturday when it hosts Kentucky at 11:30 a.m. on Jefferson-Pilot Sports.

The Commodores (2-9) compiled a season-high 420 yards in last week's 38-33 loss against Tennessee. Brandon Smith (8 receptions for 160 yards) and Marlon White (7 receptions for 118 yards) led the Vanderbilt offense, which finished with 314 yards passing against the Vols.

Smith and White became the first two receivers with 100 yards in the same game for Vanderbilt since Oct. 10, 2001, when Dan Stricker (204) and Rodney Williams (102) both went over the century mark.

Vanderbilt's season is complete.


Alabama became the first team this season to force Auburn to punt following its first possession. The Crimson Tide couldn't hold onto a 6-0 halftime lead, though, and dropped a 21-13 decision against the rival Tigers in the Iron Bowl.

With its regular season complete, Alabama (6-5, 3-5) will now play the waiting game to see where it will be headed this bowl season. The Crimson Tide are most likely headed to either the Music City, Independence or Peach Bowl.

South Carolina's decision not to play in a bowl could affect Alabama's bowl bid as well.

Arkansas needs a win against LSU to become bowl-eligible for the seventh straight season. A victory would most likely send the Razorbacks (5-5, 3-4) to the Independence Bowl for a second-consecutive year.

"We're facing a very, very good football team," said Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. "LSU is a talented team with great coaches and great players. We'll need these next few days to get ready for a very good LSU football team."

Arkansas trails LSU in the head-to-head series, with the Tigers holding a 30-17-4 edge. The two teams have split the last six meetings.

Auburn finished the regular season 11-0 for only the second time in history and the first since 1993, when it also went 11-0. The Tigers' 21-13 win against Alabama last week extended their winning streak to 13 games. The current win streak is the nation's fourth longest and also the fourth-longest in school history.

The third-ranked Tigers will play Tennessee on Dec. 4 in the SEC Championship Game, with chances of playing for the national championship apparently fading as the latest BCS rankings still had Oklahoma ranked comfortably ahead of Auburn.

"There's nothing we can do about it," said Tigers coach Tommy Tuberville. "All we can do is play.

"Our players and coaches have come to the conclusion that all we can do is play and hopefully the votes will come out right."

Running back Alley Broussard set a school record with 250 rushing yards against Ole Miss last week. The previous record was 246 yards by Kevin Faulk against Houston on Sept. 7, 1996.

LSU (8-2, 5-2) will be looking to prevent Arkansas from becoming bowl eligible when the two teams square off Friday in Little Rock. The game is being televised at 1:30 p.m. on CBS.

The Tigers are likely headed to one of three bowls, depending on Friday's outcome. The Cotton, Outback and Capital One Bowls are all still likely choices to grab LSU this postseason.

Mississippi State's two touchdowns in the first quarter of last week's 24-21 loss against Arkansas marked the first time the Bulldogs scored two TDs in the first period since their game against Memphis in Game 6 of the 2003 season, a 16-game span.

Running back Jerious Norwood rushed for 109 yards against the Razorbacks, giving him eight career 100-yard games.

The Bulldogs (3-7, 2-5) visit rival Ole Miss on Saturday in their season finale.

"It's the last game for our seniors and it's an opportunity to win our first SEC road game," said coach Sylvester Croom. "We're looking forward to the challenge of playing Ole Miss.

"Anytime you play a rivalry game, it's for pride and for bragging rights. And you have to take it personal, because it is personal. Whoever loses has to live with the loss for a whole year."

The Rebels' disappointing season comes to a close Saturday when they host rival Mississippi State. But playing the Bulldogs should give Ole Miss (3-7, 2-5) plenty of incentive to come out fighting in the finale.

"Obviously, it's an intense week with such a big rival," said Rebels coach David Cutcliffe. "We're playing for pride and we'll have to play a good football game to compete against a much-improved Mississippi State team."

Ole Miss leads the overall series against the Bulldogs, 57-37-6. This will be the 101st "Battle for the Golden Egg" as the Rebels look for a fourth win in the last five years against their in-state rivals.

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