Another week has come and gone in the college football season. The SEC consistently gives the sport amazing games, moments, and players. Here are my five biggest takeaways in the conference from week eight.
1. A Win For Derek Mason
It was a mostly quiet weekend in SEC Football as six out of seven favored teams won on Saturday. However, this is still college football, where the unpredictable always happens.
It just so happens that Vanderbilt got a huge win over heavily favored No. 22 Missouri on Saturday by a score of 21-14.
Make no mistake, this was a must-win for head coach Derek Mason, and he delivered big time. The Commodores came into the contest with a terrible 1-5 record and no hope. Yet, somehow, Vanderbilt found a way to win one for their coach who was essentially trying to protect his job.
Mason gave quite possibly the best postgame interview of the season after the victory:
Not a fan of Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason?
Oh yes you are.
And any other human who watches this. pic.twitter.com/pC0V9sF09h
— SportsbyBrooks (@SportsbyBrooks) October 20, 2019
On the flip side, what an utter disappointment for Missouri. They came into the game leading the SEC East and as a newly ranked team, then they just laid a huge egg. That’s twice this season the Tigers have done this (hello, Wyoming).
This is a very talented team, but they come out on some Saturdays not ready to play on the road. Also, the SEC East is still an absolute dumpster fire, and Mizzou’s loss doesn’t help with that.
Overall, chalk this one up as just another weird SEC East upset.
2. Florida Passes Another Test
The Gators had the tough challenge of playing at South Carolina on Saturday. To make matters worse, they were actually trailing the Gamecocks heading into the fourth quarter.
Thankfully for Florida, there are four quarters in a football game. Dan Mullen’s team would go on to score 21 points in the final quarter to defeat South Carolina by double digits.
Gators Win! Gators Win!!
Florida beats South Carolina!
38 – 27 ?? ??
Florida is 7-1!
Next up UGA in Jacksonville!
Go Gators! pic.twitter.com/9pLUb00Un3
— Everything Gator (@EverythingGator) October 19, 2019
It was a very typical win for the Gators as quarterback Kyle Trask had another solid outing as a game manager; their rushing attack was dominant, and their defense played well when it mattered. Florida is just a very perplexing team. It’s obvious they aren’t one of the best squads in the country this season, but they find ways to win due to fielding a true, complete team.
The offense is just good enough, the defense does what it takes to win, and their special teams are not a major hindrance at all. However, the road ahead gets much tougher. After a bye week, they will play Georgia in their annual rivalry game which will most likely determine the SEC East.
The Bulldogs should win, but with Mullen as head coach of the Gators, they will have a real shot at the upset.
3. Speaking of Georgia…
Well, Kentucky played right with the Bulldogs for right at two and a half quarters. Georgia’s fans were so upset with their offense putting up zero points in the first half that many fans booed and even left the stadium before the start of the third quarter.
A lot of Georgia fans didn’t return to their seats after halftime. pic.twitter.com/laN3Bpwf5J
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) October 19, 2019
Of course, the game was played in a monsoon which is part of the reason why so many fans left. The Bulldogs eventually got its offense going as they defeated the Wildcats by 21 points thanks to the play of running back D’Andre Swift. The star back ran for over 175 yards and two scores.
Overall, it was an admirable effort by Kentucky to make the contest as competitive as it was. However, its obvious that UK is extremely depleted right now. The Lynn Bowden experiment at quarterback was fun for a game against a bad team, but it didn’t go very well against Georgia. Bowden only completed two passes for 17 yards.
Yes, he had a good game on the ground, but you just aren’t winning football games in today’s game by completing only two passes. It will be interesting to see how Kentucky handles its quarterback situation heading into their matchup with Missouri next weekend.
Personally, I believe that a healthy Sawyer Smith is better than what UK fans had to sit through last night, but that’s a big “if.” Either way, this an extremely serious problem for the Wildcats, and they must find an answer soon.
4. Tua Banged Up
Of course, Alabama crushed Tennessee yesterday. But the big story from the game is the injury to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s ankle. Once he exited the contest, the Crimson Tide offense just wasn’t the same at all. Quarterback Mac Jones (a former Kentucky commit) only threw for 72 yards in Tua’s absence.
Y'all see this offense right..
Don't EVER disrespect Tua Tagovailoa ever again. This offense works because of him, not the other way around.
— Jacob Harrison (@JJacobHarrisonn) October 20, 2019
The good news is that the injury is not that significant as the star quarterback was having a good time celebrating in the locker room after the game.
Tua Tagovailoa enjoying a victory cigar after beating Tennessee pic.twitter.com/ctTxDxOnjX
— Ryan C. Fowler (@RyanCFowler) October 20, 2019
One has to wonder about his durability though. This is the second time he has been injured over the past 10 months. Again, he will be fine, but it is curious that he has had multiple lower-body injuries. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on moving forward.
5. Burrow Does What Burrow Does
To absolutely no surprise, LSU thrashed Mississippi State thanks to another great performance from quarterback Joe Burrow. In true Burrow fashion, he passed for over 300 yards and four touchdowns without throwing a single interception.
So far Burrow stats look like this: Passing completion rate of 79.4%, 2,484 passing yards, and 29TD/3INT.
Hey Baton Rouge, there’s a new school record holder! pic.twitter.com/i9rWCXkVAx
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) October 19, 2019
The fact that he has already broken LSU’s season record for passing touchdowns through just seven weeks speaks for itself. He HAS to be the Heisman Trophy favorite as of today. I know Jalen Hurts has had a great year, but Burrow has just been better this season.
I still think that this is the biggest story in college football so far this year. I’ll keep beating this drum until Burrow proves otherwise. With another week down, we are just one more week closer to that mammoth Alabama-LSU showdown.