All good things under the sun are accompanied with inevitable drudgeries. For every new Apple product you buy, there’s the set up process to get the device ready to be used. Every Ferrari comes with mountains of paperwork to be signed. And that twenty bedroom, twenty-five bath mansion you have your eye on needs endless upkeep and maintenance.
So it is with college football. Every year, for reasons not completely known, we seem to find ourselves with a weekend where the slate of games resembles a required textbook reading assignment. When teams declare essentially an extra bye week and schedule less than par competition. It usually happens the week before “rivalry weekend,” and is commonly referred to as “cupcake week” (unless you are Cole Cubelic of the SEC Network and Birmingham’s morning radio show McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning, who refers to it as “lettuce week” – because some people actually like cupcakes, but no one has ever asked for more lettuce).
This past Saturday was the 2023 edition of the Lettuce Cupcake Kickoff Series presented by [insert sponsor here if anyone wants it]. It’s never good when ESPN’s College Gameday is broadcasting live from James Madison University. That should tell you everything you need to know about the Saturday ahead.
Of course, not all the games were bad this weekend. There were three SEC football conference games and the other leagues featured big time matchups as well. No shame if you moved the Alabama game to a side screen or iPad in order to watch Michigan almost drop a game to the Maryland Turtles. Or gave up on LSU/Georgia State in order to watch the Washington Puppies take on the Oregon State Buc-ee’s. It’s completely understandable, and we won’t tell anyone if you don’t want us to.
By the way, welcome back to SEC Football Fireside Chat. Where for as long as I can remember we have summarized and recapped all that happened on the most recent Saturday in Southeastern Conference football. Here, we do our best to not let the X’s and O’s distract us from the things that actually matter.
The lettuce cupcake games are being omitted from below, except for one, as all the teams who played them (except for one) took care of business with dominant wins……except for one.
SEC FOOTBALL WEEK 12 RECAP & RESULTS
No, this was one of the conference games. But if these two were playing in my backyard, I would step out and tell them to keep it down.
South Carolina hosts Clemson next week for a chance to go to a bowl game.
Ever since Kentucky got bludgeoned 51-13 by Georgia, and coach Mark Stoops told the fanbase to “pony up” and provide financial support in relation to NIL and recruiting, the team is 1-4. If only the fans would donate more to this great cause…
Game of the day in the SEC. Once again the “Thicker Kicker” Harrison Mevis gives Missouri a buzzer-beater victory. The Tigers will finish with an unbelievably good ten win season after they are guaranteed to take down Arkansas this coming Friday.
Florida’s quarterback Graham Mertz left the game with an injury, as their season continues to slowly swirl down the toilet.
Ah yes, that “except for one” I mentioned earlier. It was Auburn.
They paid $1.8 million to New Mexico State to get absolutely clobbered. This wasn’t one of those close upsets, it was a beat down basically from the start of the Tiger Walk. Offense, defense, a fake punt so special teams too, was controlled by the Aggies. Auburn was beat in every phase of the game.
Of course, as every Alabama fan knows, this was purely for strategic purposes heading into next week’s Iron Bowl. Tremendous coaching by Hugh Freeze to keep concealed all the trick plays and whacky formations that are sure to be broken out next week against the Tide. The Tigers were already bowl eligible, so what’s the harm in dropping a pointless game on a slow weekend? It probably even helps recruiting when you can sell to a five-star how the current guys can’t even beat New Mexico State. Those elite recruits are sure to sign immediately knowing they will be starters as soon as they get the key to their dorm. Genius.
It will be a close one next week against Alabama. May even go into overtime like the last time the game was played in Jordan-Hare. Hugh Freeze has been preparing for it for so long, he didn’t even look at the New Mexico State film.
You were warned last week to not fall for it again. Georgia was NOT on upset alert. Tennessee still pulled out all the stops, though. Including a weird play that almost looked like Peyton Manning leading Dolly Parton out on to a stage so she could sing “Rocky Top.” Whatever that call intended to accomplish, it looks like it was not executed and fell incomplete.
Georgia finishes unbeaten in the SEC regular season for the third year in a row, and extends their overall winning streak to 28 games. They should have no trouble at Georgia Tech next week in a rivalry game so expired, it just needs to be thrown out of the fridge at this point. It’s starting to smell.
But don’t forget they have one more game scheduled after that on December 2nd around 4 o’clock eastern time.
That one will be one to watch…
LOOKING AHEAD TO RIVALRY WEEKEND
This coming week will be sports at its absolute peak. We come out of the gates hot on Monday with a myriad of college basketball midseason tournaments, featuring a heavy dose of SEC teams nationally televised. Those will stretch your stomach out for the greatest two words in college football: rivalry weekend.
(Also, on a side note, I believe Thanksgiving is being held on the day of the Egg Bowl. Just a heads up.)