Mississippi State bounced back in a big way with a solid win over Arkansas. What does it mean for MSU? What happened in the rest of the SEC? Miss bowl talk and conference realignment? Read on my friend....
After a three game losing streak, the Mississippi State Bulldogs soundly handled that Arkansas Razorbacks, ending any hopes of Fayetteville's football team making a bowl game. While Mississippi State fans worried a bit early in the contest, it turned into a laugher with Mississippi State winning 45-14.
The Good: Mississippi State made some strong in-game adjustments in the contest. The Bulldogs have struggled with this at times, so perhaps this is a sign of a maturing coaching staff. The Bulldogs switched their coverage scheme to slow down Cobi Hamilton, encouraging the Razorbacks to run more and try riskier passes, both of which played into Mississippi State's hands. Mississippi State's offense compounded the problem for Arkansas by continuing to find the end zone. This easily looked like the best game Mississippi State has played in quite some time.
The Bad: It's hard to find too much to dislike about this game from Mississippi State, but it was a bit concerning how easily Arkansas moved the football at first. It is a bit hard not to wonder what might have happened if the Bulldogs had not made a heads up play on the botched Arkansas punt return.
The Ugly: Senior Day should not happen at 11am. I saw several tweets about the lack of enthusiasm from the student section at the game, and that is not cool.
SEC REWIND: Overall, quite a boring week in SEC play with most teams feasting on FCS opponents, but let's have a look anyway.
Alabama 49, Western Carolina 0: Alabama crushes the Catamounts and finds themselves back in title contention.
Florida 23, Jacksonville State 0: Florida has a woeful offense right now, but they mustered the fire power to down the Gamecocks.
Auburn 51, Alabama A&M 7: Congrats to the Tigers for knocking off A&M...oh...that is Alabama A&M..nevermind
Georgia 45, Georgia Southern 14: Aaron Murray's four TD's might have given him a shot at a MMQB award later, but it was against an FCS foe, so dice.
Texas A&M 47, Sam Houston State 28: The Bearkats tried to mount a furious fourth quarter comeback, scoring 21 in the fourth quarter. Too bad they were down 47-0 going into it. The Aggies tried to sweeten Johnny Manziel's Heisman reel with an extra-point attempt, but it missed. He has now crossed 3000 yards passing and 1000 rushing.
Syracuse 31, Missouri 27: The Tigers embarrassed the SEC by giving up 21 points to the Orange. With Texas A&M next, Missouri will most likely sit at home this holiday season.
Kentucky 34, Samford 3: The Wildcats picked up their second win ,and they left Commonwealth Stadium with a feel-good moment as Joker Phillips rode on his players shoulders off of that field for the last time as coach of the Wildcats.
LSU 41, Ole Miss 35: In another feel-good moment, the Rebels choked a fourth quarter lead and lost in Baton Rouge to LSU. Bo Wallace had a strong game for Ole Miss, but his three interceptions hurt his squad in the end. That said, Ole Miss will be a capable and desperate team on Saturday.
Vanderbilt 41, Tennessee 18: In a not feel good moment in Knoxville, Derek Dooley coached his final game at Tennessee and the Volunteers were thumped in historic fashion. Don't look now, but Vandy may win 8 games and have a chance at a ninth win in a bowl game. The Mayans were on to something.
SEC Offensive Player of the Week: Tyler Russell, Mississippi State: Say homer, say what you will, but Russell had the performance of the week against a real foe. If Wallace does not toss three picks, I (painfully) give it to him. Russell finished 19-of-32 for 274 yards and four scores. LaDarius Perkins also had a big game as well, rushing for 91 yards and catching two touchdowns.
SEC Defensive Player of the Week: Andre Hal, Vanderbilt: Hal's two picks helped the Commodores turn their matchup with Tennessee into a beat down. Vanderbilt scored off of both of his interceptions, and he played a large role in that with two terrific returns after making the pick.
SEC Power Rankings: Oh boy...let the verbal beat down begin...this is fairly difficult again this week , but here we go. Seriously..I love you thoughts, in agreement or disagreement...
Georgia is starting to grow on me, so I give the SEC East champs a nod over Texas A&M. Florida is just having a tough time offensively, and they may be the best team poised for a bowl upset. Yes, LSU beat A&M, but if that game was played now, the Aggies win, same goes for Florida.
1. Alabama (1)
2. Georgia (3)
3. Texas A &M (2)
4. LSU (4)
5. Florida (6)
6. South Carolina (5)
7. Mississippi State (7)
8. Vanderbilt (8)
9. Ole Miss (9)
10. Missouri (10)
11. Arkansas (11)
12. Tennessee (12)
13. Auburn (14)
14. Kentucky (13)
FIVE THINGS I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS WEEK
1. It looks like conference realignment is about to crank up again. I posted on this Sunday, and may make a few tweaks after some of your feedback. It will be interesting to watch this round play out for sure.
2. This Battle for the Golden Egg is going to be one of the best ones yet. Ole Miss will be fighting to go bowling, shut up State fans, and win at home. They will be a tough task for Mississippi State Saturday.
3. While everyone keeps mentioning Mississippi State to the Gator Bowl, I think the Bulldogs are headed to Atlanta. I just don't see Clemson in the BCS, especially if they lose to South Carolina, and the Chik-Fil-A Bowl contractually must take the best ACC team not in the BCS with a few exceptions. If Clemson goes to Atlanta, South Carolina is not going there. That would most likely send Mississippi State, unless the league offices help spring a surprise and Vandy ends up there or sends South Carolina to the Outback Bowl.
If Vandy ends up in the Chik-Fil-A, the Bulldogs could drop all the way back to Nashville, as the Gamecocks would be in Jacksonville, Florida in the Outback, LSU/Texas A&M in the Cotton, Georgia in the Capital One, Texas A&M/LSU in the BCS, and Alabama in the BCS title game.
If the league works to send South Carolina to the Capital One Bowl, it would end up with Alabama in the BCS Title game, LSU/Texas A&M in the Sugar Bowl, Georgia/Florida in the Outback Bowl, Texas A&M/Georgia in the Cotton Bowl, Florida/Georgia in the Chik-Fil-A and the Bulldogs in the Gator Bowl.
It keeps the Bulldogs in an interesting spot. A loss to Ole Miss potentially could mean a return to the Music City Bowl.
4. The Heisman race usually does not catch my attention, but I am very interested this year because it seems the award will go to a red-shirt freshman or a linebacker, two non-traditional Heisman picks.
5. Yes, we are all glad that the BCS is going away, at least as it lives now. Tell you what though, last Saturday would not have been as awesome without the current system...
BONUS: Keep up with the Daily Grind this week. Joe and I have some great guests coming your way this week. Dicenzo Miller joined us today. Check it out.