Two undefeated SEC teams lost for the first time and another one-loss, top 10 team got bounced as well. From a conference perspective, when it comes to rolling out multiple playoff teams again, that's not ideal. Sure, the top two teams cruised without problem, as expected, but the rest of the SEC saw a serious shake-up. Simply put, ranking them 1-14 was tough. I did it, as you'll see shortly, but I don't feel great about it. That's later... for now, what I know after Week 6.
I know the Swamp is back. My weekend comrade and former Gator wide receiver Chris Doering said he had goosebumps watching the postgame celebration after Florida beat LSU. Heck, I had them too and I have zero affiliation to Florida. In postgame interviews, quarterback Feleipe Franks and head coach Dan Mullen paid homage to the support of the Florida faithful. That was a huge win. Six games in, the Gators have more wins than they had last season. And that defense, oh that defense. Dan Mullen came East to help the offense, he brought with him Todd Grantham to help the defense. That group is nasty. How about these numbers; three takeaways, five sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Georgia has to have taken full notice of their biggest SEC rivals.
I know that no SEC kicker should ever be short on a 43-yard field goal attempt, yet Kentucky's Miles Butler was, in overtime no less. The Cats are no longer undefeated after their overtime loss at Texas A&M. The well-tested Aggies got their biggest win of the season and did it with defense. Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko's group slammed the door on the SEC's top rushing team, holding the Cats to 70 yards on 30 rushes. How about this... until overtime, when the ball was PLACED at the A&M 25, Kentucky had not run a single play from inside Aggie territory. The Kentucky defense did its part. The offense and kicking game did not. As for A&M, it's been a while since they can say defense won them a football game. It did this one.
I know Nick Fitzgerald needed what happened Saturday. No, he didn't throw the ball well. He didn't have to. But nobody has ever said "Nick Fitzgerald will kill you with his arm." But he can destroy you with his legs, build and physicality. He did that against Auburn. Nicky Fitz ran for 195 yards in the Bulldogs win and in the process, became the SEC's all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks. His next yard on the ground will be the 3,000th of his career. I loved watching him Saturday night. It had gotten tough hearing the criticism, even tougher being part of the critics, when it came to Fitzgerald's recent play. Calls to bench him were loud and clear, and Fitz responded. What a performance and what a win. Meanwhile, Auburn still can't run the football. They had 90 yards on the ground. State had 349.
I know I've never had any desire to watch one minute of football in a driving rainstorm. I would have watched South Carolina and Missouri. What looked like nothing more than a tiny spot on a radar map (centered clearly over Williams-Brice Stadium of course) unloaded hard, driving rain on the Gamecocks and Tigers. Yet it looked, umm, FUN to be a part of. Gamecock fans made it look that way. Hey, it's only water, right? Michael Scarnecchia certainly didn't care. The fifth-year senior quarterback for Carolina stepped in because starter Jake Bentley was nursing a bum knee. And Scarnecchia threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start. In a rare occurrence in college football, both kickers delivered when called upon down the stretch, it just so happens South Carolina's had the last chance.
I know Nick Saban isn't seeking out rat poison anymore. He's got plenty to criticize with his team, and it's all centered upon his defense. Sure, they hung 65 points on Arkansas in Fayetteville, but Saban has never been a coach who will take a win and run with it. There are always areas to improve upon, and when your team allows season highs in points, yards and heck, even third down conversions against you, there's work to do. Something tells me they'll be fine. By the way, I loved seeing Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa on the field together some Saturday. With how he's handled everything, it's easy to root for Jalen. I was a little fired up about his 27-yard run with Tua blocking on the edge. But more than anything, what struck me about this game is what happened when it was over. The Razorback faithful, after seeing their team get a 65-spot hung upon them, gave their team a standing ovation as it left the field. They did the same thing last week in Arlington. They appreciate what is more obvious than anything about this group of Razorbacks. They don't quit. Head coach Chad Morris sees it too. He should also see that this fan base will be patient with his rebuild.
I know I'm ready for Georgia/LSU next week. I want to see the Dawgs tested. Enough walks in the park for these canines.
I know Ole Miss put up more than 800 yards of offense against Louisiana-Monroe. That's nice.
I know ranking these teams 1-14 has never been harder. So, without further ado, enjoy.
1 - Alabama
2 - Georgia
3 - Texas A&M
4 - Kentucky
5 - Florida
6 - LSU
7 - Mississippi State
8 - Auburn
9 - South Carolina
10 - Ole Miss
11 - Missouri
12 - Arkansas
13 - Vanderbilt
14 - Tennessee