The SEC schedule kicked off early this week, as a Thursday night match-up between Auburn and Kentucky started off conference play. The Thursday night game got the weekend slate started off on a good foot, as both teams played a close and comptetitive game, setting the tone early for the week.
Before the results, here are the updated SEC standings:
As mentioned, Auburn and Kentucky got the SEC week started off, and the Tigers prevailed over the Wildcats 30-27 in what was one of the more competitive games on the SEC schedule. Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles threw for 359 yards, but it was the running game that did all the damage for both teams, as all six touchdowns scored in the game came via the rushing attack.Auburn earned their fist SEC victory on the season while Kentucky fell behind Georgia in the East standings.
The two most hyped match-ups of the weekend were No. 10 Alabama vs. No. 9 Texas A&M and No. 8 Florida vs. No. 6LSU, and both proved to be pivotal for the early season conference standings. Alabama was able to intercept Aggies' quarterback Kyle Allen three times and returned all three for scores en route to a 41-23 victory. Alabama running back Derrick Henry ran for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and the loss for Texas A&M knocked them off the ranks of the unbeaten. LSU and Florida lived up to the hype of the big-game match-up of the leaders of the West and East respectively, as both teams kept it close with their respective strengths. Leonard Fournette ran for 180 yards and two scores for LSU, and quarterback Treon Harris, filling in for suspended quarterback Will Grier for the rest of the season, threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns. But in the end, the Tigers prevailed 35-28 over the Gators and cemented themselves as the sole leader of the West for now.
As big as those two games were, the headline-stealer from this weekend was a non-conference game. No. 13 Ole Miss traveled to Memphis to take on the unbeaten Tigers, and Memphis didn't shy away from the fight. Ole Miss jumped out to a 14-7 lead, but Memphis scored 24 unanswered points, and Ole Miss could never complete the comeback and ended up upset by the Tigers 37-24. Quarterback Paxton Lynch threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns for the Tigers and limited Ole Miss to just 40 rushing yards. The loss was a huge blow to the Rebels even though it didn't affect their SEC standing.
The other two SEC games on Saturday were ugly, low-scoring affairs between unranked foes. South Carolina earned their first conference win against Vanderbilt in a 19-10 contest that was a battle for the SEC East basement. The loss prevented Vanderbilt from getting their first SEC win, and the Commodores are the last winless team in conference play in the SEC. The last game of the night was even uglier, as Georgia and Missouri failed to score a single touchdown in their match-up that saw the Bulldogs triumph 9-6. The two teams combined for just 462 offensive yards, including just 164 from Missouri, and neither team looked good at any point during the game. The win helped keep Georgia's SEC East hopes alive, while Missouri is all but finished in the East race.
As it stands right now, LSU and Florida would have a rematch in the SEC Championship game in December. But the suspension of quarterback Will Grier for the season puts Florida in an interesting spot, and Georgia can still overtake them with a victory over the Gators when the two face off down the road. Alabama, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss have all yet to face LSU, and any of those teams are capable of pulling off the upset against the Tigers.
As crazy as the first half of the season has been in the SEC, the second half could be even crazier if these trends continue.