Every time South Carolina lost this season, Steve Spurrier threw shade at Clemson. That's what rivalries are for, essentially to give fans a way make up for otherwise disappointing seasons. It didn't work out like that for Gamecock faithful this year, something made even more bizarre since Clemson's QB played with a torn ACL. Spurrier has as bit of a rebuild in order for next year as all signs point to a new defensive coordinator and the loss of some of their top performers on both sides of the ball.
For the first time since 2009, South Carolina fans must relinquish bragging rights. The Gamecocks lost to the Clemson Tigers 35-17 today, breaking its five-year winning streak and capping a disappointing .500 regular season. The young South Carolina defense displayed the same kind of issues that plagued them most of the season, allowing 491 total yards (more than 8 YPP). While the pass/run yard allowance seems balanced (266 passing, 225 rushing) it's worth noting that 123 of those pass yards came from identical Artavis Scott shovel sweeps—receptions, technically, but basically glorified runs. I mention this not to take away from Watson, but to illustrate that Carolina simply couldn't stop the run, especially around the edges, and the result was not good.
First impressions are important. I like Georgia and I like the Georgia fans we've encountered here and on Dawg Sports, largely because they've had respectful and reasonable fans. I know some folks have brought up whiny or trolling Georgia fans but I hope we maintain the healthy relationship we have on Rock M Nation.
A lot of pundits said Georgia deserved the SEC Championship game over Mizzou and I'll be the first to admit they are the better team. Mizzou got pantsed by Georgia at home but managed to rebound and remain focused on winning all the games left on their schedule. Georgia lost to the same mediocre South Carolina and Florida teams Mizzou beat.
I tend to think Georgia would give Bama a tougher matchup in Atlanta, but a loss to Georgia Tech in the first overtime game in Sanford Stadium history makes me think they're just as flawed a team as we are. Or maybe 18-22 year old kids are fickle.
Rivalry game my butt. Georgia got manhandled up front on both offense and defense in the second half, looked inexcusably perplexed by even simple triple option plays, and just didn't look like a team that really wanted to win for the second, third, and most of the fourth quarters. The most telling moment to me came when David Andrews was shown exhorting his teammates on on the sideline then came on the field and whiffed completely on a block, giving up a sack. Talk is cheap. And Tech fans now have every reason to talk for 364 days. They won. We lost, and we have no one to blame for it but the Red and Black coaches and players who were clearly outmatched today.
Will Muschamp is damn fine defensive coordinator. Florida State has looked beatable in basically every game this season. We may have been foolish to rely on Florida to upset FSU, but they came damn close. The same team that lost in the Swamp 42-13, lost by 5 on the road to Tallahassee. Rivalry game factor I suppose.
But the signature feature of the Muschamp tenure, stultifying offense, was an issue over and over again on this day. The Gators began their first four drives in FSU territory, yet allowed almost as many points on a Treon Harris pick-six — bobbled by Tevin Westbrook, housed by Terrance Smith — as they scored (nine) on those possessions, and didn't enter the red zone despite beginning in FSU territory on any of the first three drives.
A game that demonstrates just having more stars on the field doesn't equal a better team.
Vanderbilt recovered with Patton Robinette behind center. Robinette returned to the game in the second quarter after Johnny McCrary threw a bad interception in the Tennessee end zone. A Torren McGaster pick set Vandy up for a 36-yard field goal of their own. One UT three-and-out later, the sophomore QB led Vandy 88 yards in 12 plays to tie this game at 10 apiece. He found Steven Scheu wide open along the left sideline for a 36-yard touchdown pass that energized the Commodore sideline.
Roaring out to a 5-1 record, Kentucky couldn't manage that bowl-qualifying 6th win despite having 5 shots at it.
I was rooting for Kentucky to upset Louisville to give the East another bowl team but they couldn't hang on and dropped the game 44-40 and their record vs the Cardinals inched closer to even (currently 14-13 all time). They won't be getting those extra bowl practices and they just lost their offensive coordinator to Troy. Stoops bros just can't get any luck this year.
On the other hand, they're going to be REALLY good at basketball this season so ya know, I don't feel too bad for them.
Before the season started, if you would have told us that we would be 5-6 heading into this game, UK fans would have taken it immediately. Even the most blue tinted glass wearers like myself would have been good with a shot at a bowl against a UL team minus Teddy Bridgewater. My esteemed colleague, James Streble, wrote an article recently on A Sea of Blue entitled "Beat the Cards, save the season."
Despite sitting in talent-rich Texas and pulling in top recruiting classes the past few years, a 7-5 team we won't see again until 2021 (which bizarrely is only 7 years from now), is making some major overhauls in the coaching department, further evidence that you can't win games purely on talent.
By that time either Kevin Sumlin's princely contract will have paid off, or both teams will be coached by entirely new coaches and GIFs will be an obsolete file format. Until then:
LSU didn't do anything particularly fancy. They didn't do anything they haven't really done all year (aside from the zone read). They didn't do anything they haven't done in the past three years. Sure they did it with man-beasts like Fournette running the ball, but nothing that they did was complex. And we still couldn't stop them. They rushed for 384 yards in this game. THEY RUSHED FOR 384 YARDS IN THIS GAME ALONE. To put that in perspective, Carson is our leading rusher and he has 431 yards on the season.
Tennessee reaches 6-6 and their first bowl game since 2010 will give them a chance to coach up all their youth and a chance to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2007. They'll probably win the off season again come national signing day and maybe the "The Alabama of the
Easy East" can improve on their 0-3 record vs Missouri.
For the year, and for the second year in a row, Tennessee gets about what it deserved under Butch Jones, neither over nor underachieving. Last year Tennessee lost one and won one it shouldn't have. This year the Vols once again pulled the upset on South Carolina and gave one away against Florida as the favorite. The Vols were also favored against Missouri, but as we mentioned last week, that game went the way both team's seasons have truly gone.
What an amazing performance by our seniors. So many of them played crucial roles in that win, from Marcus Murphy's touchdown that allowed Mizzou to reach 21 points first as Bill C predicted early last week, to Markus Golden's game deciding forced fumble/recovery.
This is a game I'll be talking about for years to come, both because of the outcome and because the crowd, who didn't quit at half-time and stood for most of the 4th quarter and earned the right to storm the field, once again, as SEC East Champions.
It was huge, and since the Hogs were never able to keep the offense on the field in the first half, the defense appeared to eventually wear down and couldn't hold the Tigers anymore by the time they got into the 4th quarter. The Razorbacks have averaged a time of possession advantage of about 8 minutes all season. But against Missouri, the Tigers held the ball for 32:43 and all the extra plays seemed to zap the Arkansas defense by the time they got to the final two drives.
Amari Cooper is really good, y'all. The combination of his deep threat, Bama's bruising run game and a terrific red-zone defense is going to make the SEC Championship game incredibly tough for a Mizzou team that hasn't yet put together four complete quarters from it's offense, defense and special teams. Mizzou can't be eating hot dogs in the 4th quarter if they want to pull off this upset.
The Tigers were able to move the ball with relative ease in the first half, but struggled as they got close to the Alabama end zone. Their first 12 plays inside the opposing 10 went for a net of two yards, resulting in three field goals and a 14-9 lead for Alabama.
The Bayou Bengals pull to 3-0 against the Aggies despite having a down year and laughable quarterback play. Both teams have tons of top tier talent, particularly LSU who routinely turns over their roster to the NFL.
Not too many RECRUITING STARS ARE LIES folks speaking up during LSU-A&M— Jason Kirk (@JasonKirkSBN) November 28, 2014
Will Les Miles leave for the Michigan job opening up soon?
A&M was also in a position to win this game because of a series of mystifying calls by the coaching staff on the final drive. Leonard Fournette busted off a 46 yard run to get LSU in scoring position. Then, needing only a 1st down to ice the game, Fournette never stepped on the field again for the final series of downs. The first two plays were both outside runs by Magee, followed by a passing play which resulted in a sack. There's not a single good decision by the coaching staff there.
Tough game for Gus Malzahn but a regression on offense and a barn fire on defense gives them an 8-4 record with three other losses, to Texas A&M, Georgia and Mississippi State. I'd argue that Missouri could have the same conference record were it to play in the West this year and that's not taking anything away from our Tiger-bros down south.
I'd also like to note here that Mizzou was relying on Auburn to upset Georgia to give Mizzou more leeway during their run the the SEC Championship game. That's back to back years Mizzou has taken control of it's destiny and proven up to the task. I'd say that's the mark of quality coaching and player buy-in, which are the things most in a team's control.
2) Um, we need some changes on defense. No, really. A lot. I've tried to support this staff. I really do think the defense is better than what they've shown recently. But allowing the amount of points they have in the last five conference games of the season is pathetic. If we didn't have the offense that we do, this would have been an even worse collapse over the last few games.
Mississippi State should be incensed by an obvious cheap shot on their star QB. Yet another reason for him to go pro now and avoid next season (oh do we play them next year?)
Oh and I think Gary Pinkel has to lock this up right?
Ole Miss back up 31-17 with 9:14 to go. A Mississippi State loss also probably helps Gary Pinkel's SEC Coach of the Year candidacy.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) November 29, 2014
4. Should Dak Prescott have been on the field after hitting the turf hard?
This is totally in the realm of speculation, but Prescott looked like he had his bell rung. He never looked right on the last few offensive plays of the game. The throws were very high, and one was into triple coverage. None of us know what sort of shape Prescott was in at the end of the game, but he did not look right.
2. Dak Prescott is not winning the Heisman. Coming into this game, the Mississippi State quarterback needed to make up quite a bit of ground to catch Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota or Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. At one point the front-runner in the race, Prescott's chances dwindled when the Bulldogs lost to Alabama. A second loss, and another game without eye-popping statistics, and it's safe to say he's out of the running. Prescott will still likely get an invite to New York City, but he won't be taking the award home with him.
I'll leave everyone with a final thought