1. MUSCHAMP MIGHT HAVE SALVAGED HIS COACHING CAREER: Back on Friday, you would have struggled to find 100 people who thought Will Muschamp would be the coach at the University of Florida next year. When you look at what happened Saturday and then look at the next three games, you might find it difficult to find 100 people who aren’t convinced that Muschamp will be the head coach at UF next year.
2. THE GATORS JUST PLAY BETTER WHEN TREON IS IN THERE: We could debate the reasons why until we’re blue in the face but whatever it is, the Gators just play better for Treon Harris. Jeff Driskel is a good kid who wants to win as badly as any kid on the Florida football team but somehow that doesn’t translate on the field. Against Georgia, there was an air of confidence on both sides of the football and a hunger to go get more every time the Gators scored or got a stop defensively. If that same confidence carries over the next four games, then the Gators are going to be a formidable foe.
3. Hutson Mason IS A GAME MANAGER NOT A PLAYMAKER: And this is precisely why all those folks who were calling Georgia a dark horse to make the college football semifinals should put on a dunce cap and be forced to do time out in the corner for the next six days. In every season there comes a point when a quarterback has to win a game. Mason is not that guy.
4. EVEN ON ONE LEG Dak Prescott IS REALLY GOOD: Prescott played on one leg Saturday and while that cost Mississippi State a couple of turnovers and restricted the offense, when the Bulldogs needed big plays, Prescott was there to make them. Todd Gurley’s suspension takes him out of the running for SEC Player of the Year so that leaves Prescott in control not only for that honor but perhaps the Heisman as well. The only thing standing in his way would be for Blake Sims to play lights out on November 15 and Alabama to torpedo Mississippi State’s dream run.
5. Steve Spurrier NEEDS A NEW DC IN THE WORST WAY: On the offensive side of the ball, Steve Spurrier is having the most fun he’s had in years inventing ways for to put points on the board and he’s got a potential Heisman candidate for next year in Pharoh Cooper. He also has the worst defense he’s ever had and the sooner he jettisons defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward and brings in someone with a clue, South Carolina can get back to its winning ways, but not before.
6. EVEN WITH TWO LOSSES, Ole Miss SHOULD BE TOP FIVE: Seven points separate the Rebels from an unbeaten year and an end of the year showdown in the Egg Bowl with Mississippi State to see who goes to Atlanta. The rankings won’t show it because they have two losses now, but the Rebels are one of the five best teams in the country. In any other conference they would be unbeaten.
7. Florida State COULD WIN THE SEC EAST, BUT NOT THE WEST: The Seminoles have won 24 in a row and shouldn’t be seriously challenged until the semifinals of the first college football playoff. They are good enough to run the table in the ACC and if they were in the SEC, they would win the East. The West? They might be the fifth or sixth best team.
8. WHEN EVERYONE SHOWS UP TO PLAY, BAMA IS REALLY GOOD: The problem is we never know for sure which Alabama team is going to show up. They can look awesome against Florida and need a bad call by a zebra to win on the road against Arkansas. On days when everyone is on the same page, there really isn’t a team in the country as good as Alabama. We’ll see if everyone shows up to play Saturday night in Baton Rouge.
1. MISSISSIPPI STATE (8-0, 5-0 SEC): It took an interception in the end zone with 15 seconds to go to keep the Bulldogs from going overtime against Arkansas. Dak Prescott played on one leg but still threw for 331 yards and ran for 61.
3. AUBURN (7-1, 4-1 SEC): Auburn got a great escape win over Ole Miss to remain in the hunt for both the SEC West and the College Football Playoff. Even if the Tigers run the rest of their SEC table (Texas A&M, at Georgia and at Alabama) they will still have to have help to win the division.
4. OLE MISS (7-2, 4-2 SEC): The Rebels are seven points away from unbeaten and ranked #2 nationally. There is a get well game against D1AA Presbyterian this week and there is still the incentive of winning 10 games, knocking off Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl and going to a decent bowl game.
5. LSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC): The kids have been figuring things out since that 41-7 loss to Auburn. Can all those freshmen and sophomores play like juniors and seniors Saturday night when big bad Bama comes to town?
6. Texas A&M (6-3, 2-3 SEC): Kyle Allen looked like a true freshman against Louisiana-Lafayette. He will look like a freshman again this week when the Aggies travel to Auburn. Kenny Hill hasn’t played well but he’s light years ahead of Allen. He is suspended for one more week, however.
7. GEORGIA (6-2, 4-2 SEC): Wasn’t it just Friday that some folks were penciling Georgia in as a dark horse to make the College Football Playoff? Now they have to knock off Kentucky and Auburn and hope someone beats Missouri to win the SEC East. Back on Saturday everyone was proclaiming Jeremy Pruitt as one of the great defensive coordinators of our era. How come he couldn’t figure out how to stop that off tackle play that the Gators ran for about 300 of their 418 yards if he’s so brilliant?
8. MISSOURI (7-2, 4-1 SEC): The Tigers are in complete control in the SEC West with three SEC games to go at Texas A&M, at Tennessee and home against Arkansas. All three are winnable. All three are losable as well. The Tigers are boring but if they win out, they’ll go to Atlanta for a second straight year. How many of you had them going last year much less this?
9. FLORIDA (4-3, 3-3 SEC): Reports of Will Muschamp’s demise were greatly exaggerated. The win over Georgia not only resuscitates Muschamp’s Florida coaching future but the Gators will be favored to win their next two SEC games, which means they’re still in the hunt to win the SEC East. Who would have thought that as recently as Saturday morning?
10. ARKANSAS (4-5, 0-5 SEC): The Razorbacks have now lost 18 straight SEC games dating back to 2012. At some point you figure they’re going to win one. They get a week off before a final three-game gauntlet of LSU, Ole Miss and at Missouri. The juicy rumor going around is that Arkansas AD Jeff Long will take the Michigan job and take Bret Bielema with him back home to the Big Ten. Arkansas could run a lottery for folks who would be willing to pay to help him pack.
11. KENTUCKY (5-4, 2-4 SEC): The Wildcats are road kill in the SEC. They are back home in Lexington where they play like a completely different team next Saturday when Georgia comes to town. If they play like they did against Mississippi State a couple of weeks ago, they could torpedo Georgia’s last gasps of SEC East championship hope. The Cats have three cracks at a sixth win and a bowl game remaining on the schedule.
12. TENNESSEE (4-5, 1-4 SEC): In his second start this season, Josh Dobbs torched South Carolina’s pathetic defense for 301 passing yards and two touchdowns and ran for 166 and three more. With Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt the last three games on the schedule, Tennessee has the look of a team that is going bowling.
13. SOUTH CAROLINA (4-5, 2-5 SEC): Steve Spurrier needs a new defensive coordinator in the worst way. The Gamecocks have lost three games this season in which they have blown two touchdown leads in the fourth quarter. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Gamecocks on offense. They threw for 377 and ran for 248 against Tennessee.
14. VANDERBILT (3-6, 0-5 SEC): Freshman Johnny McCrary threw for five touchdowns in the win over Old Dominion. Vandy isn’t a very good football team but at least the Dores have finally found a quarterback. McCrary is the fourth quarterback to start for Vandy this season and he’s a keeper.
Mississippi State lost one first place vote but the Bulldogs are still comfortably ahead of #2 Florida State in the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Ole Miss dropped to #12 and Georgia dropped down to #17. Dropping out of the top 25 was East Carolina. The Gators got one vote for #25.
(1) Mississippi State; (2) Florida State; (3) Auburn; (4) Alabama; (5) Oregon; (6) TCU; (7) Michigan State; (8) Notre Dame; (10) Baylor; (11) Arizona; (12) Ole Miss; (13) Ohio State; (14) LSU; (15) Nebraska; (16) Oklahoma; (17) Georgia; (18) UCLA; (19) Clemson; (20) Utah; (21) Arizona; (22) Duke; (23) Marshall; (24) West Virginia; (25) Wisconsin.
The Seminoles have won 24 straight and it’s doubtful they will be challenged again until the playoff semifinals. When #6 TCU and #7 Kansas State square off this week it will be like a college football playoff elimination game. Winner stays in the hunt, while the loser drops out.
(1) Florida State; (2) Mississippi State; (3) Alabama; (4) Auburn; (5) Oregon; (6) TCU; (7) Kansas State; (8) Michigan State; (9) Notre Dame; (10) Ole Miss; (11) Baylor; (12) Ohio State; (13) Arizona State; (14) LSU; (15) Clemson; (16) Oklahoma; (17) UCLA; (18) Duke; (19) Marshall; (20) Georgia; (21) Nebraska; (22) Utah; (23) Arizona; (24) West Virginia; (25) Wisconsin.
3. Big Ten
4. Big 12
5. Notre Dame
The in crowd:
1. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State: Playing injured, he still threw for 331 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 61. For the season, Prescott has thrown for 2,025 yards and 16 touchdowns and has run for 725 more and 10 TDs.
2. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Mariota helped his cause against Stanford Saturday by tearing up Stanford for 258 passing yards and two touchdowns and 85 rushing yards and two more touchdowns. For the season he has thrown for 2,541 yards and 26 touchdowns while running for 410 yards and seven more.
3. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin: Gordon sat the entire fourth quarter in the Badgers’ easy win over Rutgers, finishing the game with 128 yards and two touchdowns. His season stat line reads 1,296 rushing yards (7.5 per carry) and 18 touchdowns.
4. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: He is head and shoulders the best wide receiver in the country with 71 catches for 1,132 yards and nine touchdowns so far.
5. Trevone Boykin, TCU: He can help his cause this week with a big game against K-State. He had a tough game against West Virginia with only 166 passing yards and a touchdown and 49 rushing yards and one more score. For the season he has thrown for 2,472 yards with 22 touchdowns and he has run for 423 good for four more.
The out crowd:
(1) Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn; (2) Jameis Winston, QB, FSU (off the field brain is permanently jammed in neutral); (3) Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia (4-game suspension ended all hope); (4) Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska; (5) Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor.
Does the win over Georgia in any way change your opinion of whether or not Will Muschamp should be Florida’s football coach next season?
Between his gigs with The Allman Brothers and his own Warren Haynes Band, Warren Haynes is the front man for Govt Mule, dedicated to keeping Southern rock and roll alive. He will be doing a Leonard Skynyrd tribute show on November 12 at the Fox Theater. Warren is as hard a working man as there is in show business today and he’s definitely worth the price of admission. This is a live video of Govt Mule doing a great rendition of the old Marshall Tucker classic “Can’t You See.”