Week 6 saw a big shake-up in the rankings with three top-5 teams losing. The losses meant different things to the different programs. For LSU, it was a wake-up call that the Tigers are no longer in a two-car garage atop the Southeastern Conference — the Gators are back in the club after a brief two-year “staycation.”
For Georgia, it was a relief to be blown away by South Carolina, as the Bulldogs and their fans are bad actors and thus were very uncomfortable in the role of SEC and national heavyweight. Now they are at home again and able to relax, having been punted back to Tier Two. For F$U, there was a major Disturbance in the Farce. The nation was shocked that the Seminoles lost a game they never should have lost to an unranked opponent … because apparently the nation forgot that they do that multiple times every single year.
Still the nation was shocked that the loss came in Raleigh, N.C., because that only happens every other year. Message from the Gators to the Semis: thanks for keeping the No. 4 spot warm for us! There should be no such scorched earth at the top of the rankings this week, but there is potential in Baton Rouge, La., for at least one more top-10 flip-flop.
No. 1 Alabama @ Missouri
As they prepared for their first SEC game as a conference member, a Missouri player referred to SEC football as “Old Man football.” The Tigers were summarily beaten senseless at home by what may turn out to be only the sixth-best team in the SEC. This week, the Tigers host No. 1 and defending national champs Alabama, who epitomize “Old Man football” like no other team in the conference (or country for that matter). Saturday, Missouri is going to get a beating bigger than anything seen since the days of its Old Man’s Old Man.
Old Man Bama: 56
Tennessee @ No. 19 Mississippi State
Vols at Dogs, two hicks enter, one hick leaves the 2012 SEC race — although UT probably left it mentally after last week’s loss. Either Dan Mullen or Derek Dooley is going to pull the longer straw here, only to find out the rest of the year that everyone else is playing with really big sticks. What is the more brainless and self-denigrating fan tradition — incessantly banging a cow bell without any reference to Bruce Dickinson, or incessantly singing the exact same hillbilly song? And what is the Vols’ obsession over “Rocky Top” anyway? It’s the Tennessee state song? Well so are six other songs (take out the dip and chew on that for a while, Vols). The tune’s original version didn’t even break the top 30 on the country charts. And that was back when the only country recording artists were George Jones, Loretta Lynn and the cast of “Hee-Haw.” And does it strike anyone else as bizarre that this song is a tortured lament over the loss of a dear and beloved way of life, losing the love of one’s life, and being trapped in a life of quiet desperation … and it is performed by the “Pride of the Southland” band as a frenetic, upbeat happy tune, and in restaurants, bars or and churches across the south — if Volunteer fans here it played — at the drop of a straw hat they will stop what they’re doing and clog until the final note is played. Because they’re just so giddy that the entire way of life they cherish has been lost and transformed into The People of Wal-Mart, they just have to celebrate by jumping around like they’re on an erupting pile of illegal Tennessee fireworks.
Hell, it’s not even UT’s official fight song — that would be “Down the Field,” a militant song of loyal adherence to the school, the lyrics of which have nothing to do with “Down the Field” … whatever that means. Can I hear the cowbells again? By the time this game is over, we’ll all be wearing gold-plated diapers!
Is Your Mascot a Volunteer or Bluetick Coonhound?: 27 (and what’s the difference?)
I’ve Got a Fevah, and the Only Prescription is: 23
Wisconsin @ Purdue
This game brought to you by The Home Depot, because Wisconsin is going to make its Purdue list a Purdone list.
No Honey Badgers: 30
Made to Boil: 17
Temple @ Connecticut
Two pseudo-intellectual fan bases butt heads on the storied soil of Storrs, Conn. Well, considering how awful the Huskies have played this year, they soon will be changing it to Storrs Light.
Last with a Silver Bullet: 13
Auburn @ Ole Miss
Ole Miss continues to try to get comfortable with their new mascot “Rebel Black Bear,” which is not very easy since there isn’t a lot about bears that shouts “rebellion!” They pretty much just sit around and eat honey and talk to a little pig (kind of like Auburn students out on a date), and occasionally attack and maim hikers, fishermen and shutterbugs in the wild who are too stupid to notice the warning signs … such as THERE’S A BEAR! It’s been a tough transition for Missy fans since finally breaking the news to Colonel Reb that the Emancipation Proclamation had passed. But fans can always visit him if they get lonely, as he has returned to his dual career of deep frying chicken at KFC and appearing in Warner Brothers’ cartoons with Miss Prissy and a plucky little chicken hawk.
Ole Miss is better than Auburn. That’s gonna leave a mark.
The Grove: 24
Dead Trees: 19
No. 3 South Carolina @ No. 9 LSU
The headline reads, “’Cocks visit Baton Rouge.” … I assume they mean in addition to the thousands who live there. Time they update their Shiny Pants jokes, Stevie! Getting manhandled by Florida was no embarrassment. After all, LSU and its fans had a lot of practice getting used to that almost every year of the ‘90s. In fact, from 1988 to 2001, Florida won 13 of 14 games against the Bayou Bengals. But South By-Gum Carolina? LSU is 16-2-1 against its feathered foe, and hasn’t lost to the Gamecocks since 1994, when the Tigers used to play more like Morris the Cat. At the end of the day, in a night game in Baton Rouge, pride hurting badly, and a Carolina team that has never been atop the SEC roost like this before — and are not used to spending a week hearing and reading about how great they are — I have to believe LSU is going to be a minor buzz saw Saturday. As strong as Carolina looked against UGA, and as much as I’d like the Florida-SC game to be a battle of unbeaten top-5 teams, I have a feeling that the Tigers get the Red Stick out of their butts and beat the ‘Cocks.
Syracuse @ No. 20 Rutgers
Rutgers is ranked? In the words of Rhett Butler, “Frankly Scarlet Knights….”
Orange Men: 20
Red Renaissance Fair Dorks: 10
North Carolina @ Miami (Fla.)
UNC has lost so many players over the last three years to expulsion that nobody recognizes its roster. Miami has lost so many players to the free clinic that everyone recognizes its zoster.
Heals (Hopefully): 17
California @ Washington State
The Cal motto is, “Let there be light.” Really? At that point, why not just make it, “In the beginning WE created Heaven and Earth.”
And then they created Cal Bear football. And they saw that it was bad.
Washington State is a confused and confusing university. When you look on its website under distinguished alumni, it lists five entries under the heading “Animal Husbandry,” including one who pioneered the Kung-Fu Grip. Concerning the word “distinguished,” in the words of Indigo Montoya, “I do not think it means what they think it means.” The absurdity of advertising this fact seems it would be cooked up by the likes of absurdist cartoonist Gary Larson — a WSU alumn — or perhaps conceived in the bleary-eyed stupor of Timothy Leary — another Cougar alumn. Also confusing is that another of their noted alumni is Gary Coleman, but not the one from the seventies TV show “Diff’rent Strokes,” but rather the general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Whatchyoo preachin’ about, Willis?! Wazzoo is so diverse and pronounced in its confusion that it actually produced both Dolph Lundgren and Edward R. Murrow. For those Cougars fans staying up late Saturday night hoping to see a victory over Cal: Good night and good luck.
Prince Humperdinks: 32
No. 4 Florida @ Vanderbilt
Many Gators fans are concerned about this matchup, citing it as the perfect trap game. And while there are certainly all the elemental makings of a trap game, UF fans have little to fear. Florida has defeated Vandy 21-straight times. Picking the ‘Dores to win a football game against the Gators would be like picking a minnow to reason his way out of a shark’s mouth. Besides, Florida’s defense is dominating at this point in the season, Mike Gillislee is running like a man possessed, the still-developing passing offense should find a lot of soft areas in the Vandy secondary and the otherwise incomparable special teams units have shored up their only weak spot: the return game. That’s because Pop Saunders was given the Old Level 5 last Saturday. The “Old Level 5” of course would be Level 5 of Will Muschamp’s sideline rage. There are 10 levels known to man, and Pop incurred Level 5 after inexplicably fair-catching all of his punt return tries despite having over a 10-yard halo of green pasture each time. Level 5 is when Coach Boom chews someone out so intensely that ‘Champ’s hair vibrates on his head. His hair vibrated enough to fuel an entire football game on one of those classic ‘70s electronic vibrating football boards. It was too much for Pop to take, and he had to be replaced by Andre Debose on the punt return team. But Saunders should be cleared to play against Vandy.
22 Straight Wins: 42
Continue to Sink in the S-E-Sea: 13