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SEC Week 3: Auburn, Arkansas hope to avert full-blown catastrophe

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Colton Miles-Nash bears down on a Louisiana Monroe running back in last week's upset loss to the Warhawks in Little Rock, AR. (Source: Walt Beazley, Arkansasrazorbacks.com) Colton Miles-Nash bears down on a Louisiana Monroe running back in last week's upset loss to the Warhawks in Little Rock, AR. (Source: Walt Beazley, Arkansasrazorbacks.com)
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  • Hot Reads: Up is down, down is up in SEC this week

    Hot Reads: Up is down, down is up in SEC this week

    Thursday, September 4 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-09-04 12:00:24 GMT
    Texas A&M was a surprising team in its first game, but that may not be such a good thing. On the other hand, an Alabama squad that was just blah is likely headed in a more positive direction.
    Texas A&M was a surprising team in its first game, but that may not be such a good thing. On the other hand, an Alabama squad that was just blah is likely headed in a more positive direction.

Mercy what a jumble the SEC has become so early in the season! Let's take a look at what lies in store this week:

Louisiana Monroe at Auburn, 12:21 a.m. ET, SEC Network

Louisiana Monroe, Marilyn's younger sister, hopes to improve to 2-0 in the SEC this week.

A clash of savage birds is going on here: the Warhawks face a team with a War Eagle for a mascot. LaMo is a 16-point underdog at Auburn. But they were a 30-point road dog against Arkansas last week, and the school sold commemorative T-shirts after that one.

Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier, who made more turnovers than Pillsbury in the loss at Mississippi State, is at the epicenter of a tailspin that could become a Category 5 disaster if the Tigers manage to lose.

After this week, Auburn faces in succession LSU, which kicked five more players off the team this week, and Arkansas, which is experiencing a whole other level of sorrow.

Auburn will probably win, but curling up with a bloody Mary and watching this one is suddenly a better idea than cutting the grass.

Alabama at Arkansas, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Nick Saban spent the first two weeks of the season lambasting the media for talking too much about how good the No. 1 Alabama football team is. All that positive publicity made the players so overconfident that the Crimson Tide barely eked out a 35-0 win over Western Kentucky.

This week, as UA prepared to play the team formerly known as No. 8 Arkansas, we have received approximately the same amount of communication from Tuscaloosa that we have from extraterrestrial life forms. Historically, ominous Alabama silence means bad news for opposing teams. Saban, who is a little, shall we say, obsessive, has his team in ultra-super-focus mode.

Arkansas fell apart last week. Key players got hurt, among them QB Tyler Wilson, who got knocked cold. Late in the game the TV cameras panned the Arkansas sideline as the tragedy unspooled and viewers witnessed the same deer-in-the-headlights gaze from Razorback coaches that Alabama fans saw not so long ago, when Mike Shula was in command.

Arkansas toppled completely out of the AP Poll, the longest drop in the history of time.

Perhaps the Hogs will regain focus and determination for Coach John L. Smith, stage a massive upset and fans wearing plastic pig hats will weep with relief and joy.

Don't count on it.

Florida at Tennessee, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

Back when Apple stock was cheap, this game was big stuff. Florida and Tennessee were the class of the SEC. They had clear eyes and full hearts and the smack talk was great.

When Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning made the emotional decision to return to his beloved school for his senior year instead of pursuing NFL riches, Florida's Steve Spurrier, who was a lot funnier when he was the coach of a really good team, said it was because Manning wanted to be a three-time Citrus Bowl MVP.

See, boys and girls, back in those days the Citrus Bowl was where the second-place SEC team always played. The Citrus Bowl is now called the … never mind, you had to be there.

Now both teams are back on the upswing and all hopey changey. UT and UF are nationally ranked for the first time in years, and both are contenders in the SEC East. Sort of. No, really. That's not funny. I'm serious.

Tennessee is off to a 2-0 start, and the Vol Nation is dancing around the golden calf, envisioning serial victories and eternal greatness. QB Tyler Bray is excellent, and the offense around him is very good. But the defense is sketchy, and the Vols have played precisely nobody.

Florida isn't as pretty or cool as Tennessee this year, but does have a certain blue-collar charm. Those Gators slugged out a win against a better-than-expected Bowling Green State team in the opener, then came from behind and dog whipped Texas A&M at Kyle Field in front of one of the only crowds in college football that compares in insanity to the 102,455 bellowing wild people dressed in orange pants and things that will inhabit Neyland Stadium.

Semi-interesting

The youngsters from Missouri got their comeuppance last week. Somebody ran his mouth and said Georgia played "old man football," which was a very bad idea. The Tigers showed up for their first SEC dance wearing uniforms that looked like a roller derby team and Georgia proceeded to take them way down south to the Okefenokee Swamp, drug them through the mud and the mosquitoes and water moccasins and snapping turtles and said "Old man that, ladies." Following that rude initiation, the Tigers now carry the SEC torch against interlopers from Arizona State, of all places, and they dang sure know what is expected of them.

Texas A&M at SMU – The Aggies, too, will be expected to crush non-SEC opposition.

Texas visits Ole Miss, and we find out if the Rebels are gangsters or pranksters.

Western Kentucky comes to Kentucky. If this is a good game, Kentucky is awful.

Bloodbaths

Mississippi State at Troy. Troy's home field used to be a land mine for visiting teams of prominence – ask Marshall, Missouri and Oklahoma State. Not right now.

UAB at South Carolina. Coach Spurrier, please play somebody soon, OK?

Idaho at LSU. LSU kicked some more guys off the team, but that shouldn't make much difference against the Fighting Potatoes.

Florida Atlantic at Georgia. zzzzzzzzzz.

Presbyterian at Vanderbilt. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • Southeastern ConferenceMore>>

  • What We Learned from the SEC in Week 3

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    Sunday, September 14 2014 1:47 PM EDT2014-09-14 17:47:12 GMT

    Two top 10 teams were upset this week, and to the surprise of few, they were Southern Cal and Georgia.

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  • No. 24 South Carolina upsets No. 6 Georgia 38-35

    No. 24 South Carolina upsets No. 6 Georgia 38-35

    Saturday, September 13 2014 10:09 PM EDT2014-09-14 02:09:54 GMT
    Dylan Thompson threw for three touchdowns and No. 24 South Carolina's maligned defense stood strong on a fourth-quarter goal line stand to topple No. 6 Georgia 38-35 on Saturday night.
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    USC season on line; UGA looking to break bad; Vols face tough road test

    Friday, September 12 2014 6:00 PM EDT2014-09-12 22:00:26 GMT
    Georgia can establish itself as a top-tier beast if it gets by South Carolina this weekend - and USC would drop to 0-2 in the league with a loss. Tennessee travels to Oklahoma, where Coach Bob Stoops doesn't believe the SEC is all-powerful.
    Georgia can establish itself as a top-tier beast if it gets by South Carolina this weekend - and USC would drop to 0-2 in the league with a loss. Tennessee travels to Oklahoma, where Coach Bob Stoops doesn't believe the SEC is all-powerful.
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