THE VETERAN’S DAY CLASSIC
Nothing like kicking off Week 11 on 11/11. This past Saturday was also Veteran’s Day. We wouldn’t have college football if it wasn’t for our veterans. Without them, who knows how we would’ve spent our day and the awful things we would’ve had to worry about. Because of their service, the majority of you reading this north of the Mason-Dixon Line probably spent the weekend thinking about whether or not Jim Harbaugh would be allowed to coach against Penn State. For those reading south of it, you were primarily pondering the odds that SEC football misses the College Football Playoff for the first time ever, should Georgia find a loss somewhere. Not too bad of problems to deal with, and all made possible thanks to a veteran.
Welcome to SEC Football Fireside Chat. Where for years now we have summarized and recapped all that happened on the previous Saturday in Southeastern Conference football. It’s low on the X’s and O’s, and high on the things that actually matter. And just like your favorite game day snacks, it is best consumed while sitting to lessen the subsequent heartburn.
SEC FOOTBALL WEEK 11 RECAP & RESULTS
“They got a name for the winners in the world, I want a name when I lose”
“They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, Call me Deacon Blues”
– “Deacon Blues” by Steely Dan (1977)
It was true when that song was recorded in the late 1970s, and it still rings true today. In the early 1990s, the SEC divided into two divisions – East and West. In 1992, the first SEC Championship football game was played, pitting the champions of the two respective divisions against each other. Alabama was the representative for the West that first year, and would be many more times to come.
But with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas to the conference starting next season in 2024, it was announced the divisions would be scrapped. This made 2023 the last season where there would be formal division winners (going forward it will just be the top two teams period). So just like it began, so it will also end. With Alabama’s win over Kentucky on Saturday, the Tide clinched the SEC West yet again, and will be headed to Atlanta to face Georgia on December 2nd.
They got a name for the winners in the world, indeed.
First impressions are always important. Take for example, someone bakes you a certain type of cake you’ve never tried nor heard of before. Regardless of what it is supposed to taste like, if the person making it uses the wrong ingredients, leaves it in the oven too long, drops it on the sidewalk and tries to piece it back together as if nothing happened, you are probably not going to enjoy it and may never try that kind of cake ever again in your life solely because of this one awful experience.
I can only hope someone who has never watched SEC football before didn’t stumble upon South Carolina/Vandy on Saturday and try their first bite with this one……They may never eat a slice of SEC cake ever again.
I hate to do this to you, Auburn fans, I really do. Your offense has been struggling and then all the sudden it explodes in Fayetteville on Saturday. You are excited. You had fun. But this game wasn’t about Auburn. This one was all about the Pigs. For those that aren’t Arkansas fans, grab a seat and let me catch you up to speed:
Arkansas hired their current head coach, Sam Pittman, on December 8, 2019. He was coaching the offensive line at Georgia, and had previously done the same for the Razorbacks just a few years prior. Pittman wasn’t a household name, but was well liked in the area and known to be one of the nation’s top recruiters. Thanks to the previous head coach, Chad Morris, the Arkansas program was at the bottom of college and SEC football. They had gone winless in the SEC two straight years and needed someone to pick them up from rock bottom. Sam Pittman was just the guy to do it.
Even with getting the new era started in the 2020 COVID season, the Razorbacks found three conference wins. An amazing accomplishment in a year that was everything but ordinary. The next year, in 2021, Arkansas went 9-4. It included beating Penn State in the Outback Bowl, knocking off LSU in Baton Rouge, and don’t forget about their 40-21 drubbing of Texas at home where the fans stormed the field and felt what it was like to be on top of the world. And while they were up there, the drunk students all in perfect harmony declared that Arkansas was “back.”
I’m sorry…back to what, exactly? When was the last time Arkansas had been in that spot? The 2012 Cotton Bowl win right before Bobby Petrino crashed his motorcycle and the program along with it? Were they possibly talking about the 1980 Sugar Bowl where the Hogs lost 24-9 to Alabama? I would say they were talking about their 1964 co-national championship under Frank Broyles, but no one still remembers what it felt like that far back.
No, all of that in 2021 was an anomaly. Last year, Arkansas finished 7-6 and lost to Liberty at home. This year they are 3-7 and will not be going to a bowl game. My friends, now you can correctly say: Arkansas is back.
Big win for A&M, and much needed. However, some pessimistic Aggie fans were probably thinking this would only allow their head coach to hang around and overstay his welcome even longer. But as we learned Sunday, that’s not the case. Jimbo Fisher has been let go and now Texas A&M has a head start over everybody else on their search for a new coach. There’s no telling who they will land since money is obviously not an issue in College Station. Just take a look at what they are paying Jimbo NOT to coach.
Allow me to correct that final score: Jimbo Fisher – 76,800,000; Texas A&M University – 0.
Last year, this one got ugly in Knoxville. Tennessee had just come off of a deflating loss at Georgia that ruined their undefeated season and #1 ranking. They took out all their frustrations on Missouri, putting up a 66-24 win.
A year later, it got ugly in Columbia. If Missouri wasn’t afraid of Georgia last week, why would they be scared of that throw-up pumpkin Tennessee orange? Missouri proved they are a good team. They also proved Tennessee is about as average as a fast-food salad without the dressing.
“LSU’s Jayden Daniels is the best quarterback in the SEC.” “Florida only gives up 702 yards.” “LSU wins their fifth straight over the Gators.”
Choose whatever headline you want, the final score tells you the whole story. It’s a shame LSU’s pathetic defense has cost them what could have been a special season. Daniels is playing as well if not better than Joe Burrow in 2019, and instead of being 9-1, they are 7-3. Also, Florida only needs one more win to make a bowl game. Easy right? Their two remaining games are just on the road at Missouri and FSU at home.
Florida isn’t even going to a bowl game……
When will people learn? College Gameday even fell for it and went to Athens. One loss #9 Ole Miss on the road at undefeated #2 Georgia. They said it would be exciting. It was supposed to shake up the College Football Playoff picture and give Lane Kiffin the biggest win of his head coaching career. Could he finally pull off the elephantine upset?
Yeah it was 52-17.
It’s become an annual tradition for Ole Miss to start out strong, but ultimately end with their season dissolved and forgotten like a salt packet that’s torn open and emptied out on a cold, windy night.
Georgia heads to Tennessee next Saturday, where once again, talking heads will spend the week telling you to watch out. Upset alert! But don’t fall for it. You’re smarter than that.
LOOKING AHEAD TO WEEK 12
I’ll go ahead and tell you right now, next week is when we seperate those who love college football and those who are the fan equivalent of Splenda or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! There’s only three conference games in SEC football next week; and one of them is Kentucky at South Carolina. So excuse me, there’s two conference games next week. Sure we’ve got Georgia at Tennessee at 2:30, and Florida/Missouri that night…but how many of you will watch Chattanooga at Alabama? Or Southern Miss at Mississippi State? Abilene Christian at Texas A&M? Do I have any takers for New Mexico State at Auburn? Consider yourself challenged. Will you watch these games next week? A real fan will. They’ll watch as much as they possibly can…and love every second.