5-at-10: Weekend winners and losers and SEC title game match-up set

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) runs with the ball after incepting a pass by Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen as safety Camryn Bynum (24) looks on in overtime of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) runs with the ball after incepting a pass by Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen as safety Camryn Bynum (24) looks on in overtime of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

Weekend winners

Everyone who watched the Bills-Vikings game. Wow, the NFL product, when it’s right, is the best entertainment out there. Holy cow what a football game. And think of the best games in recent memory, and Josh Allen has now been on the losing side of two of them. While we are here, Justin Jefferson may be the best football player on the planet.

Jeff Saturday. There were so many great things about the NFL slate, but Saturday winning on Sunday when his only previous coaching experience was on Friday nights was pretty cool. And who knew that Matt Ryan had a 39-yard rush in his bag?

Joel Embiid. Dude is a baller. He dropped 59 on Sunday and almost completed a quadruple-double with 11 rebounds, eight assists and seven blocks.  

Tony Finau. The tall, smooth-swinging Finau went wire to wire to win the Houston Shell Open. Like the really great ones in just about any sport, Finau has a knack for making his craft look effortlessly easy.

Gus Malzahn. I can remember writing that when the Gus Bus pulled out of Opelika and headed to Central Florida that he had a better chance to get to the playoff there than at Auburn in the current SEC hierarchy. When the playoff expands — could be as soon as 2024 — Malzahn and the Knights are going to be a fairly regular contender. After beating Tulane this weekend, Malzahn’s crew is likely headed to a New Year’s Day bowl game.

Dolly Parton. OK, when I saw that Dolly won the Jeff Bezos’ Courage and Civility Award, I thought, well that’s nice. Maybe he’ll give her a certificate or upgrade her to Amazon Prime or something. Turns out the award comes with a check. For $100 million. Dolly can give it to whatever causes she believes in, and if she’s looking for a family-oriented, interweb-based morning conversation to hand out some seed money to, I’ve got a few suggestions.  

Weekend losers

UTC. There’s still a chance for the Mocs to make the FCS playoff field, but Saturday’s home setback hurts. The Mocs were in position to grab the SoCon race by the face mask and let it slip away.

Will Levis. That was a disappointing performance in every regard for the highly regarded UK quarterback. He finished 11-of-23 for 109 yards with no scores and a pick in a loss to Vandy, which won its first SEC game since 2019.

Pac-12. Oregon’s loss hurts. So did UCLA’s. USC is the lone crew out West that has a chance to crash the playoff dance, and that chance seems lengthy right now.

Tennessee basketball. Wow, UT looked dreadful Sunday with a horrific offensive showing in an inexplicable loss to Colorado. In fact, the early season hoops have been less than impressive.

S-E-C. S-E-C.

The SEC is really only a TCU loss away from almost assuredly having two teams in the playoffs. 

In what was a wild — albeit lower-scoring than I may have thought — Saturday, the title game is set with two weeks left in the regular season.

And there were really too many winners to name.

We’ll start with Brian Kelly, who went from a season-opening nightmare to punching LSU’s ticket to Atlanta with another gutty, down-to-the-wire win.

I think if LSU wins out — including beating Georgia in the title game — they will get to the playoff.

The mess in the Pac-12 helps the SEC, too, especially if Utah can find a way to win that league, considering Utah lost to Florida. (Side note: Dang, Florida humiliated South Carolina.)

Another winner: Bryce Young. In fact, it’s scary to think how downright disappointing this season would be for Alabama without Young’s heroics. 

Another winner: Cadillac Williams, the interim Auburn coach who is doing his dangedest to make sure any and all decision-makers in Auburn take notice. Here’s another thing in Cadillac’s favor: While Auburn has had a run of coaches that have found success but never truly connected with the fan base, the Auburn crew loves Williams. 

The lingering questions from the weekend that settled the races for Atlanta start with Jimbo Fisher’s future in College Station. What a disaster.

They circle back to what appears to be a growing feud between Josh Heupel and Eli Drinkwitz considering the Vols added a late TD to make it 66-24.

Granted UT had its reserves in the game and I’ve always believed if you clear the bench, run your offense, and Heupel’s offense is some kind of explosive. And UT needs all the style points it can manage.

And the final question has to be, “Can anyone beat Georgia?”


This and that

— You know the rules. Speaking of the SEC, here’s Paschall’s weekend wrap column, which is always a must-read on Mondays. 

— We have a 24-hour standard before we discuss our shows, so we will kick around all things “Yellowstone” on Tuesday. Deal? Deal.

— Finau ran away with the PGA event over the weekend, but the Baylor School quartet fared quite well, too. Stephan Jaeger and Keith Mitchell were in a large group at 6 under and tied for ninth. They each cashed a check for $196,500. Harris English finished at even par and shared 39th, which was good for $36,540. Luke List made the cut and finished tied for 57th and made $19,236.

— The atmosphere at the Bucs-Seahawks game in Germany was awesome. And when the crowd started singing “Country Road Take Me Home,” I really wanted the football to stop. It was magnificent.

Today’s questions

Weekend winners and losers. Go.

Multiple choice Monday will turn this way.

What’s the best show on TV right now?

— “Yellowstone”

— “Succession”

— Other 

As for a Rushmore, as free agency starts to pick up speed, what’s the Rushmore of MLB free agent signings?

Go and enjoy the day.