Editor's Note: Mark Green was perfect for a second straight week to move to 33-4 for the season and improve his winning percentage to 89.2.
The search for a running game continues in Athens this week as Georgia takes on the Las Cruces, New Mexico, Aggies of the Sunbelt. Sooner or later Georgia will have to put its lofty national ranking to the test, but this doesn't figure to be the game to prove much of anything. What may become apparent in the next two games is that injured Dawg QB D.J. Shockley is not needed as much in mop-up duty as he would have been next week against Alabama. For Georgia this season, the running of TB Musa Smith will not be enough to balance out the receiving acrobatics of Damien Gary, Terrence Edwards and Fred Gibson. GEORGIA 32, NM STATE 20.
The pumpkin patch in Knoxville was the site of one of the more grotesque scenes in college football history last Saturday as the Big Orange struggled even to get the football to its quarterback in the pouring rain. Very Strange. Vol center Scott Wells appeared to be giving birth to a live catfish which QB Casey Clausen was too squeamish to help deliver. The result was an embarrassment that only a hundred thousand self-promoting Tennessee fans could fully appreciate. After all, a race of people who would go so far as to checkerboard their end zones and wear orange panties on live television have to be red in the face with the stark realization that, after all, it was never about Steve Spurrier.
Oh, well, with all the new date-rape drugs available on the Cumberland Avenue Strip these days, UT should have no trouble finding a pill to put this one behind them, right alongside the SEC Championship loss last year to LSU. Sooner or later, though, it's bound to sink in. And amidst the cold sweats and the night terrors, some lonely Vol voice on the Hill may soon be heard to gurgle out the unlikely, yet all too obvious sum of two plus two: Doug Dickey and Phil Fulmer. By the way, what's a Rutgers? TENNESSEE 50, RUTGERS 6.
Here's a hot one. Youngish South Carolina finally avoided the turnovers last week against a self-destroying Temple team while Vandy indulged in still more self-defeat in Oxford, Miss., falling by just a touchdown to the wobbly-legged Ole Miss Rebels of David Cutcliff. Traditionally the 'Dores haven't been able to bounce back from such foot-shootings quickly enough to convince their fans that such performances aren't just another form of football self-hate. New Commodore Coach Bobby Johnson doesn't yet understand pathological losing and may be able to break the spell this Saturday against the visiting Gamecocks.
As Johnson said to his team in Oxford shortly after Reb QB Eli Manning had given Ole Miss a 17-point lead, "Don't give up. We're just three plays away from winning!" Apparently the Commodores took heed and took heart. They clawed their way to the Mississippi 27-yard line before a flashback fourth-quarter fumble cost Vandy its chance to win. So the real question, the one inscribed in the visitors locker room and on the cheap end zone seatbacks and written inside West Nashville Chinese Restaurant fortune cookies for decades, still remains: Isn't this just the same old Vandy? So far, at least, we'll have to assume it is, despite the alpha jerk to the contrary. SOUTH CAROLINA 33, VANDERBILT 27.
The second quarter blow up in Lexington just before halftime last week left Middle Tennessee State without two of its best defensive starters who got tossed from the contest. Consequently, the Blue Raiders were unable to stay with the streaking UK Wildcats, who now have a 4-0 record for the first time this century. Who needs Hal Mumme? 'Cat Head Coach Guy Morriss has so impressed that the school signed him to a five-year contract extension this week, just in time for Kentucky's road trip to Florida. What in the world were they thinking? FLORIDA 34, KENTUCKY 23.
If last Thursday night's demolition at the hands of Auburn wasn't enough to shove the ole Starkville pickup truck the rest of the way over the cliff, maybe the impending NCAA investigation will be. By the time the smoke had cleared from the Tigers' 42-14 castration and the last cowbell had clanged its last illegal clang, Barefoot Joe Lee Dunn and his cadaverous mentor Jackie Sherrill looked like a couple of bad matching Elvis tattoos on the backside of Brown Sugar herself, the bella donna of the Jackson honkey tonk circuit. Them two was dead men walkin. And, when asked about a late-game Auburn fake field goal attempt, there was nothing they could think of to say except, "Consider the source." Source? The source of what? The truth of a 28-point beating? You mean as in the "horse's mouth?" Well indeed. Only I would add, "What goes around, comes around." Hearing Jackie talk is like having to plow behind a fresh-fed mule. LSU 27, MISS STATE 16
Coach Fran has again resorted to the "secret quarterback" trick for yet a third time in his still-short career at the Capstone. If this is allowed to continue, Las Vegas will have him removed from his position so they can once again publish a pointspread on Bama games without having to guess at who's actually going to play quarterback for the Tide.
Sooner or later Franchione will have to come up with a new deception lest he be laughed out of town for losing as well as lying. The trouble with this game is, Arkansas could only wish that Brodie Croyle would be let loose against the lightning fast Arkansas secondary. If that is the case, Alabama would be embarrassed, and the world knows it. Thus, you have to believe Tyler will in fact be the man come Saturday night. Maybe that's why Fran motioned him to lie down last week in Tuscaloosa when he was limping toward the Bama sideline after being "hurt" against Southern Miss. "Make it look good, Tyler. Holler a little too, why don't ya?" Duh. A rare road win in Fayetteville. ALABAMA 30, ARKANSAS 24.
The new Auburn Tigers return to Jordan-Hare this Saturday night for a rematch with Syracuse of the Big East. Things have certainly changed since the first meeting. Not only are the Tigers starting a different quarterback, tailback, free safety and right tackle, but AU also sports a couple of new, fast-rising assistant coaches bent on making things not at all like they were a year ago.
Syracuse, for its part, is hardly recognizable. Not only have eight offensive starters graduated from last year's team, but this year's defense is currently ranked 114 out of 119 teams in Division I. Oh, and New York Governor Pataki is staying at home for this one. And as if to put a bow on the turnabout, Auburn's golden eagle mascot "Tiger" is taking a break while "Spirit"--a bald eagle and our National Symbol--will make her debut in the silhouette of the American Flag. Call me superstitious, but something tells me Auburn will win this game going away. Look for big things from the Cadillac and the quarterback. AUBURN 38, SYRACUSE 20.