SEC items of interest
As we head to the midpoint of September and the games switch from non-conference donnybrooks and money-driven homesteading whitewashes, SEC on SEC hate is picking up.
So too are the questions.
In fact, other than Alabama — which has fewer questions than Helen Keller at a sign language seminar — everyone still has some wondering about where they are and where they could be headed. (Side note: If you are an Alabama fan, does this become boring? Does knowing that almost every single week is a 'W' and the only things to worry about is whether your reigning SEC offensive player of the year has improved enough in the offseason and which five-star linebacker is going to fill in for an injured five-star linebacker. Woe is them.)
With that, let's put the ball and play and keep an eye on some of these things:
First down: Florida-Tennessee. Is this Florida's last stand? It's hard to think that a team is facing a make-or-break scenario in its second game, but isn't that what Florida is facing after getting housed by Michigan and then having week 2 canceled? The Swamp will be rocking, the Gator Chomp will be everywhere, and more importantly for Florida fans, the Tennessee defense will be prominently involved. That begs the question of what happens when a movable object faces a resistible force? We'll find out. Winner takes the first step toward losing to Alabama in December in Atlanta. Hey for funsies, can the losing coach have his picture taken naked on a shark? Deal.
Second down: Auburn offense. Shhhh, but Auburn has figured out how to end an offensive malaise that has been around since Nick Marshall left campus. Yep, the Tigers are putting offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey in the booth. Cue the Guinness beer commercial cartoon guys: "Brilliant!" The results for the high-tech, next-level, chess-not-checkers decision for Lindsey to take the elevator rather than the tunnel will not be overly clear considering Auburn hosts Mercer this week. Know this: If the offense can not find a a rhythm and some production, Lindsey and the rest of the staff including Gus Malzahn will be making a bigger more permanent move sooner rather than later.
Third down: Dan Mullen vs. Ed Orgeron. Mullen has to really like his Mississippi State team. He's got an interview swagger that screams a confidence come Saturday. A lot of that comes with having a quarterback you trust to do the right things and make big plays in Nick Fitzgerald. It also helps to have a couple of five-star defensive studs. Ask Ed Oregon, considering LSU always has five-star defensive studs. This one has a chance to be a lot of fun.
Fourth down: How 'bout that Coach Boom? Will Muschamp's South Carolina defense flexed a lot of muscle against a Missouri team that was rolling into last week's 31-13 South Carolina win. T's OK to have believed before the season that South Carolina and a Muschamp-style defense would keep them in games. But Jake Bentley, Deebo Samuel and the USC-East offense has been doing work. Also of note: Now that SEC teams are playing SEC teams with SEC officials, here's wondering who will be the first coach to get a 15-yard penalty for coming on to the field to talk to an official? Vegas has Coach Boom among the favorites.