Yeah, I know. Who wants to care about anything other than Tennessee-Florida and the restoration of glory and excitement and actually having real, legitimate hope. This is kind of weird, isn't it? Regardless. There's a whole rest of the conference out there and at least three games worth caring about, which is kind of a step up. That also means that Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas get relegated to the trash heap for now. (Incidentally, when I attempted to relegate those three teams to the trash heap, I only found Alabama and Arkansas. Apparently Georgia got up and read some Camus, wandered off, and ended up in the trash heap anyway. Must've been the smell?)
Also, Kentucky? I don't care that you're playing Louisville. Y'all are downright Charles Barkley-turrible right now. Will I watch your game anyway? Yeah, probably. I'm a sucker like that.
Clemson v. Auburn
This just feels like a natural matchup, doesn't it? Tigers vs. tigers (vs. plainsmen vs. eagles vs. glass vs. the student section - thanks to War Eagle Reader for the video), inexplicably lucky team against team that can never get over the hump, As a 12 PM kick, it'll be sloppier than it could be, which plays into the hands of ...well, I'm not sure really. Auburn fans sure think their team is special, which sets them up nicely for the HATERZ attacks with a comfortable win against Clemson. Now, if they need an onside kick and
a wrongly disallowed goal a questionable pass interference call to pull off a win, then that might not work as planned.
South Carolina v. Navy
This feels like one of those brush-over games, but after a draining game against Georgia they might take a little while to get going. Navy's doing Navy things this year, winning comfortably and under the national radar while running the ball all over the place. South Carolina's rush defense has been pedestrian so far while we're at it (64th nationally), and this looks like the third straight week of a Gamecock game that'll be close for a while at least. This feels like a game that we'll flip to after our game, see Navy up 3 with the ball late in the second quarter, and start getting excited. Of course, after halftime South Carolina will roll 17 unanswered, but it'll be fun while it lasts, right?
Vanderbilt v. Ole Miss
Real, live, conference-like action! I'm not exactly a fan of either of these teams, ranking them 10th and 11th in the SEC Power Poll, and I'm not sure if that's respectively. It's just ..well, it's not exactly a secret that I lean towards offensive-minded teams, and Vanderbilt's been ugly about that for years, and Ole Miss is coached by a team whose head coach turned this into 8-5, so while yes, it's a conference game, is it okay if I'm not excited about it? Because I hope it is.
With that being said, Vanderbilt's defense is worth paying attention to, in the sense that you're not going to want to watch a offense whose best weapon is a now-injured tight end. Warren Norman, a lonely nation turns its eyes to you?
Mississippi State v. LSU
Starkville. Thursday. Who's excited? I'm excited - no, really, I am. I still have high hopes for the Bulldogs this year, and it's probably worth watching the team we're ranking #1, no? This will be a much tougher test for MSU, and while I think they'll acquit themselves reasonably well, there will be crazy. I'm also curious to see how well the Chris Relf-Vick Ballard axis works against a, well, defense this season. (No offense, Auburn.) My suspicion is they're better, but I don't know if they're good enough to compete with a LSU front seven this fast - not for 60 minutes, at least.
I'd drop a rather large link dump for LSU, but PodKATT made my job easy. Thanks, PodKATT!
It's fascinating to watch the combination of a John Chavis defense plus a middling, rushing-dominated offense do as well as it's done at LSU for the last couple of seasons. It feels appropriate, somehow. I have this odd fascination and affinity for them as long as they have Chavis in tow. Maybe old habits die hard, but I can't be the only person who thinks this way, can I?