After going 4-2 against the spread and 5-1 in picking the winner, I feel pretty good about my season so far at 32-4 in SEC play. There's a couple of things we should cover about this weekend that are not as surprising as ESPN might have you think.
First, the LSU loss is not that big an upset if you're paying attention. LSU was beat up and exhausted from the Florida game a week ago. It was one of those games that, despite the win, takes such a toll on a team for the rest of the season.
Last year Auburn beat LSU 7-3 in a similar ball game, and the Plainsmen just didn't seem to recover physically for the rest of the year. Two weeks later, Arkansas ran all over Auburn in a 24-10 victory. Same thing here for the Bayou Bengals, who lost another very close, very emotional, and very physical contest in triple overtime. Can they bounce back?
Second, the aforementioned Auburn-Arkansas game from 2006 made the Tigers beef up on the d-line. They moved 6'4, 265 lbs Sen'Derrick Marks from tackle to end, and brought in Pat Sims at 6'6, 315 to eat up space at tackle. They just weren't gonna be run on like that again.
This Tiger squad pretty much shut down the vaunted Tim Tebow off tackle offense in Gainesville two weeks ago, and showed again that they are for real by holding Darren McFadden to 43 yards and only 67 yards for the Razorbacks as a team. Pretty solid.
Auburn also left some points on the field with two missed field goals and a fumble inside the Arkansas 10. But that's football.
Third, John Parker Wilson is not that good at football right now. He's got the ability, but not the heart or head to lead Bama to anything special this year. The fact that the Tide lost to an inept Florida State team in an game that no one wanted to win, and a narrow escape over a very bad Rebel bunch should tell the tale.
If JP gets it together, the Tide could make a great run against the remaining schedule, which includes Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn. Just so everyone knows, the Tide is still tied for the lead atop the SEC West.
As for the rest of the league, I was disappointed by the Gamecocks fairly lackluster performance in the win over the Tar Heels. I was hoping for a blow out.
-I like the fact that Vandy has been coming around as a program, and that they played the Dawgs close. I like Bobby Johnson a lot. He's a good coach.
-Georgia has been as streaky as Mezz's underpants on the season between close calls, upsets, and narrow escapes.
-I just hate this Tennessee Volunteers team. They have no heart, no real drive, and no defense. They're just awful. They got the win over a team that I would generously consider spurious; a Bulldog team that, coming into the season, you just had to pity.
-My disdain for Mississippi State athletics, prior to the coaching equivalent of affirmative action, is well known throughout the land. When State hired Sly Croom, they went from annoying and shady to politically volatile. The three "big" wins Croom garnered the past three seasons have been made into a national media event, covered as if Nat Turner was leading an uprising.
But, you heard it here first, folks. Unless it is an out of conference victory, State is done winning ball games this season.
One more prediction about Mississippi State for the road. When Sly Croom comes into his fifth season next year, and the State fans and board of trustees put Croom on the hot seat in order to produce his first winning season, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson will be camped out in Starkville in late November trying to intimidate the Bulldogs into keeping Sly on.
Cam's Week 8 Games of Interest:
Watch: Florida at Kentucky, Tennessee at Alabama, Auburn at LSU
Tevo: Cal at UCLA, Vanderbilt at South Carolina (in case they end up good games)
Don't Buy the Hype: USC at Notre Dame, Miami at Florida State, South Florida at Rutgers