Sept. 28, 2013
What did Saturday's games mean to Auburn, which had the day off? Probably the biggest thing is that Auburn players and coaches would have liked for Ole Miss to upset Alabama and come to Jordan-Hare Stadium next Saturday with a perfect record.
Instead, they'll get an Ole Miss team that was thoroughly embarrassed by Alabama's defense in a 25-0 loss and one that will, no doubt, be eager to make amends.
Next Saturday's game will be a big one for two teams with 3-1 records. It won't be the end of the world for the loser, but the winner will be positioned to do some good things going forward.
My guess is we won't hear much this week from Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace. Here's what he said last week about Alabama:
"We can put points on them. I think we can put points on anybody. We just got to show up and play and it's the same thing every week: Let's stay on schedule and control the tempo and don't have any turnovers.
"We have better receivers than A&M. They want to talk about Mike Evans being so good. Well, we have Donte (Moncrief) and I think Laquon (Treadwell) is going to be that way. I think we have better players on the outside than A&M does."
After Saturday's game, a steady stream of Alabama players said they Wallace words provided extra motivation.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said after the game that he didn't remember being shut out before. Of course, he didn't have to be. Ole Miss was in field goal range three times. All three times the Rebels went for it on fourth down. All three times they were stopped. If they'd just kicked those field goals, the score would have been 16-9 in the fourth quarter.
Of course, if Ole Miss had made those first downs, Freeze would have been widely praised for having the guts to try. Good calls are ones that work. Bad calls are ones that don't.
Freeze and Auburn coach Gus Malzahn
are long-time friends. Malzahn won the Sunbelt Conference championship at Arkansas State last season before moving to Auburn. Freeze won it in 2011 before moving to Ole Miss.
It's not likely they'll be chatting this week.
More thoughts and impressions from my day spent kicked back watching games on television:
In case you missed any of them, here were the other scores involving Southeastern Conference teams: Georgia 44, LSU 41; Texas A&M 45, Arkansas 33; Tennessee 31, South Alabama 24; South Carolina 28, Central Florida 25; Florida 24, Kentucky 7; Missouri 41, Arkansas State 19; Vanderbilt 52, UAB 24.
Alabama's defense was really, really impressive against Ole Miss. Consider that the Rebels had scored 39 points at Vanderbilt and 44 at Texas. Neither of those teams has a strong defense, but it's a long way from those games to being shut out.
Georgia's 44-41 victory over LSU was as dramatic as you'd ever want to see. It was a heck of contest between Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Honestly, I'm not sure it would have been so close if Georgia running back Todd Gurley not suffered ankle injury that sidelined him for most of the last three quarters.
Georgia, Texas A&M and LSU are extremely impressive on offense. On defense, none of them are impressive. That could cost all of them between now and December.
That Alabama is unbeaten going into October comes as no surprise. But who would have thought that the only other unbeaten SEC team would be Missouri? Of course, going 4-0 against Murray State, Toledo, Indiana and Arkansas State doesn't exactly mean happy days have returned.
On the other hand, Missouri won only three games all of last season.
South Carolina looked nothing like a championship contender in holding on to win 28-25 at Central Florida. After the game, All-America defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who has had precious little production so far this season, had some not-so-kind things to say about his teammates.
"I think it's some of the older guys, to be honest," Clowney said after the Gamecocks improved to 3-1. "The younger guys are coming along great. It's the older guys. They think we can just walk on the field and dominate teams. We aren't the same team as we were last year."
Perhaps Clowney ought to think back to the summer when he declared at SEC Media Days that Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd were afraid of him.
Arkansas might not win a lot of games this season, but the Razorbacks sure won't be an easy out for anyone, especially in Fayetteville.
After leading 31-7 in the third quarter, Tennessee had to turn away a late South Alabama drive to get away from Neyland Stadium with a victory. The Vols, whose victories have come over the Jaguars, Western Kentucky and Austin Peay, have a long, hard road ahead.
Until next time ...
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: