The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Barnhart's burning questions for Week 11

342 days ago
Tony Barnhart | SEC Network

Will history repeat itself on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium?

Charley Trippi is one of the greatest football players in the history of the University of Georgia.

He played on two Georgia teams that were crowned national champions. He was the runner-up to Army's Glenn Davis for the 1946 Heisman Trophy. He had a great NFL career and is in both the Pro Football and College Football Halls of Fame.

Trippi, now 95, still lives in Athens, Ga. A few years ago I spent an afternoon with him. Among the many questions I asked him was one about his most disappointing day as a football player. He didn't hesitate.

"Auburn, 1942."

On Nov. 21, 1942, Georgia was 9-0 and on a clear path to the national championship. All it had to do was beat Auburn (4-4-1) in Columbus. Georgia, which had Trippi and Frank Sinkwich, the 1942 Heisman Trophy winner, was a very heavy favorite. Auburn dominated 27-13.

Georgia still went to the Rose Bowl but Auburn kept the Bulldogs from having a perfect season.

"Auburn was the only team around who played the T-formation and we just couldn't stop them," said Trippi. "They beat us fair and square. But I sure would like to have that one back."

On Saturday Georgia (9-0, 6-0) will again be No. 1 when the Bulldogs go to No. 10 Auburn (7-2, 5-1). A win moves Georgia closer to an appearance in the College Football Playoff. A loss could damage Georgia's dreams of its first national championship since 1980.

Here are our other burning questions for Nov. 11:

Is Alabama vulnerable at Mississippi State?

Alabama was already down a couple of linebackers when Shaun Dion Hamilton (kneecap) and Mack Wilson (foot) were injured in a tough, physical game last week against LSU.

Alabama is also concerned about superstar defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring) to the point of holding him out of practice on Monday.

With seven straight No. 1 recruiting classes, few teams in college football are as well-equipped to handle injuries as Alabama. But last week against LSU the Crimson Tide, in this reporter's opinion, looked vulnerable for the first time this season.

No. 2 Alabama (9-0, 6-0) goes to No. 16 Mississippi State (7-2, 3-2), a team that is playing with a little swagger and riding a four-game winning streak. Alabama has won nine straight against the Bulldogs.

Does LSU have enough in the tank to beat Arkansas?

To its credit LSU (6-3, 3-2) played pretty well before losing to Alabama 24-10 last week in Tuscaloosa. It was the kind of game that takes a physical and emotional toll on a football team.

But No. 24 LSU has some important goals it can still reach. The Tigers, for example, can get to 10 victories by winning their last three regular-season games (Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M) and then picking up a victory in a bowl game.

Not bad for a team that was given up for lost after falling to Troy (24-21) on Sept. 30.

First Ed Orgeron's team must take care of Arkansas (4-5, 1-4), which struggled last week just to take care of Coastal Carolina (39-38).

Can South Carolina clinch a tie for 2nd in the SEC East?

South Carolina (6-3, 4-3) played No. 1 Georgia to the final possessions last week in a 24-10 loss in Athens. But the Gamecocks have some real goals in front of them as they play their last SEC game of the season against struggling Florida (3-5, 3-4).

With a win South Carolina would guarantee that it would finish in at least a tie for second place in the SEC East, which it has not done since 2013.

Florida got taken to the woodshed by Missouri (45-16) in its first game since the departure of coach Jim McElwain.

South Carolina's Will Muschamp, who will get some coach of the year votes, will have a chance to post his first win against Florida, where he was head coach from 2011-2014.

Can Missouri's Drew Lock keep it rolling against Tennessee?

Three weeks ago Missouri (4-5, 1-4) looked like its season was headed for a crash and burn. But in the past three weeks the Tigers have been impressive in winning two nonconference games against Idaho (68-21) and UConn (52-12) followed by an SEC win against Florida (45-16) last Saturday at Faurot Field.

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock has been on fire, completing 60.7 percent of his passes. His 31 passing touchdowns leads the nation. He has thrown for over 1,600 yards in his last five games.

Missouri has games remaining with Tennessee (4-5, 0-5), Vanderbilt (4-5, 0-5) and Arkansas (4-5, 1-4). Now suddenly, the Tigers look like a team that can win seven games. That was unthinkable on Oct. 14 when Missouri lost to Georgia 53-28 to drop to 1-5.

Tennessee (4-5, 0-5) is still looking for its first SEC win of the season.