Aside from Ole Miss vs. Arkansas and Tennessee vs. Missouri—I’ll get to those games in a minute—week 13 in the SEC was relatively uninteresting. Five games featured a matchup between an SEC school and an extremely inferior FCS opponent.
There are people who already criticize the SEC for their weak non-conference schedule, and Saturday certainly didn’t quiet those “haters.” The introduction of the College Football Playoff has already put some pressure on SEC teams to schedule more challenging non-conference games, but they don’t necessarily have to.
Until the SEC diminishes in quality—which doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon—these SEC schools can rely on the strength of their conference schedule to be of the “required difficulty” in the eye’s of the playoff committee. With that being said, I think fans everywhere would agree that it would benefit the sport if SEC teams started scheduling non-conference games with teams from the Power 5 Conferences. If more schools from any of the Power 5 Conferences start playing each other in non-conference matchups, then it will give the committee a better understanding of who is better than who.
However, schools aren’t going to completely stop scheduling FCS opponents. Playing inferior teams gives these coaches a chance to evaluate where they are personnel wise, but there’s no need for these games at this point of the season. Keep them before week 4.
Wow Pig Sooie.
After Saturday’s 30-0 beatdown of Ole Miss, Arkansas completed the shutout of back-to-back ranked conference opponents for the first time in school history, as well becoming bowl-eligible for the first time in three years.
It also needs to be noted that the Razorbacks didn’t beat a team like Vanderbilt two weeks in a row—they blanked LSU (#17 at the time) and a top-10 Ole Miss team. If Alabama had done this, then experts would be raving about their dominance and so on and so forth. But this is Arkansas. Until two weeks ago, this team had gone winless for 17 conference games in a row.
Now, the Razorbacks definitely got some help from Ole Miss’ six turnovers, but give credit to the Arkansas defense because these turnovers weren’t forcing themselves. Or maybe they were… insert “Bad Bo” joke here: _____________.
It is always important for teams to hit their stride late in the season, and while Arkansas doesn’t have a playoff or an SEC Championship to play for, this team is playing their best football of the year and they certainly do not show any signs of slowing down.
Missouri still alive.
Every Georgia Bulldog fan in the country was breathing down their neck, waiting for them to slip up, but what did the Tigers do? They went into Neyland Stadium and came away with a close victory to keep their SEC Championship hopes alive.
At the end of the day, Missouri has their defense to be thankful for, because they were absolutely suffocating on Saturday. The Tigers held Tennessee to 53 yards rushing—1.8 YPC—and they sacked Joshua Dobbs six times. And not only did Maty Mauk not turn the ball over once, but he also made some clutch fourth quarter touchdowns that helped Missouri secure the victory.
Next up on the schedule is a home game against Arkansas. Many thought this would be the easiest of Missouri’s remaining conference games, but it is quickly becoming the most difficult given how well the Razorbacks have looked in the last two weeks. Schematically, Arkansas is very similar to the Georgia Bulldogs, whom the Tigers lost to 34-0 earlier this season. Both teams will pound you into submission with the run, play hard-nosed defense, and protect the football.
If Mauk can limit his turnovers and if the defense can contain Arkansas’ rushing attack, the Missouri will be well on their way to a second-straight SEC East title.
Enjoy the time with your family, enjoy the food, and most of all, enjoy the football.