SEC Notebook: East teams struggle with ‘walkovers’

The Sports Xchange

November 22, 2015 at 8:16 pm.

Nov 21, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Treon Harris (3) scrambles against  Florida Atlantic Owls defensive lineman Hunter Snyder (94) during the second quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 21, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Treon Harris (3) scrambles against Florida Atlantic Owls defensive lineman Hunter Snyder (94) during the second quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The third Saturday in November often gives SEC teams the opportunity for tune-up games against lesser competition to prepare for big rivalry games coming up on Thanksgiving weekend.

The rationale behind that ploy was evident Saturday in Alabama’s 56-6 rout of FCS foe Charleston Southern, Auburn’s 56-34 thumping of Idaho, and Kentucky’s 58-10 pounding of Charlotte. The Crimson Tide and Tigers now can turn their attention to each other and the Wildcats can zero in on Louisville.

Some teams, however, apparently didn’t get the memo about these supposed walkovers.

Division champion Florida (Florida State next) and Georgia (Georgia Tech next) both had to go overtime before escaping with victories, and South Carolina (Clemson next) saw a sour season turn even more bitter with a loss to The Citadel.

All in all an embarrassing day for the East teams.

It easily could have been much worse for the Gators. They put themselves in real jeopardy after scoring a touchdown to start their overtime against Florida Atlantic by missing the extra point.

Had the Owls responded with a touchdown, they could have won simply by converting the PAT. But the Gators’ defense stepped up after the Owls reached the nine-yard line on the ensuing possession and kept the Conference USA doormat out of the end zone and Florida survived, 20-14.

“They beat us to every punch up front. They had more energy,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said after FAU’s defense, which had given up 479 yards in a 24-17 loss to Middle Tennessee a week earlier, held the Gators to just 252 yards. “That’s just the way it was. I’m very disappointed in our effort.”

Ditto with Georgia. The Bulldogs scored an early touchdown lead against Georgia Southern and then went into the tank. They gave up 233 rushing yards to the Sun Belt team and needed a fourth-quarter field goal to send the game to overtime. After stopping the Eagles on the opening possession of overtime, the Bulldogs won 23-17 on Sony Michel’s 25-yard touchdown run on their first play.

“We kept our poise and our composure and kept doing our jobs until the very end,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I was proud of the way we finished.”

The ultimate indignity for the SEC came in Columbia, where South Carolina lost 23-22 to The Citadel. The FCS team ran for 350 yards against the Gamecocks with 115 coming on two scoring plays — Cam Jackson’s 59-yard run and Tyler Renew’s 56-yard dash right up the middle midway through the fourth quarter.

“They outcoached us, they outplayed us, and they outclassed us, everything from the penalties to the rushing to the playing,” interim Gamecocks coach Shawn Elliott said. “They played with great effort and great hearts.”

The last time the Gamecocks lost to an FCS opponent? It was 1990, 38-35 to The Citadel.

ALABAMA (10-1, 6-1)

Game: Alabama 56, Charleston Southern 6. The Crimson Tide took no chances (or prisoners) in jumping out to a 28-0 lead after one quarter and 49-0 at the half. RB Derrick Henry rushed for 68 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries on Bama’s first two series and essentially retired for the afternoon.

Takeaway: Coach Nick Saban was upset early in the week when a reporter queried him about giving freshmen Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris the opportunity to get some playing time against an FCS opponent to help prepare them for backing up starter Derrick Henry, but that’s exactly what he did. After the first two series, Henry added only a 28-yard reception to his numbers while Scarbrough logged 10 carries for a game-high 69 yards rushing with one touchdown and Harris also had 10 rushes for 48. “We wanted to get those guys in the game and get them to play as early and as often as we could,” Saban said. “Both guys, I think, got to play. We didn’t end up playing Derrick that much, but I think it was more important to get the other guys the experience.”

Next: At Auburn, Nov. 28.

ARKANSAS (6-5, 4-3)

Game: Mississippi State 51, Arkansas 50. QB Brandon Allen drove Arkansas from his own 11-yard line over the final three minutes, completing five consecutive passes to get the Razorbacks into position for a 29-yard field goal attempt. But a breakdown in protection led to PK Cole Hedlund’s potential game-winning kick being blocked, negating Allen’s effort and Arkansas’ comeback.

Takeaway: The Razorbacks stumbled out of the gate and fell behind 31-14 late in the second quarter before putting on a furious rally to take a 42-31 lead after three quarters. But they couldn’t stop the visiting Bulldogs from driving 82 yards on just six plays in the fourth quarter and fell behind by a point. They then seemed ready to pull out the win before the final mistake cost them. “Unfortunately, been through a couple of heartbreakers since I’ve come here to Arkansas, but that one might be at the top of it,” said coach Bret Bielema, who is finishing up his third season in Fayetteville. “Just to be that close and in that type of a game and to walk out empty-handed, to put in all that work during the course of the week that they did to put together everything we had, to be a 1-3 team and to battle back to get to where we need to be, to fall short on a few plays is very disappointing.”

Next: Vs. Missouri, Nov. 27.

AUBURN (6-5, 2-5)

Game: Auburn 56, Idaho 34. The Tigers took care of business early, jumping out to a 35-17 lead at the half and 49-30 advantage after three quarters against the Sun Belt team. The Tigers rushed for 297 yards with RBs Jovon Robinson and Roc Thomas leading the way with 99 and 78 yards, respectively.

Takeaway: QB Jeremy Johnson had a solid game, completing 13-of-19 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns with — ta da! — no interceptions. He spread the completions around to six different receivers, though senior WR Ricardo Louis had four for 90 yards and a touchdown. “I’ve been confident, and this game is just a lot of momentum for this team and for myself,” Johnson said. “It’s great win we’ll enjoy.” Johnson also rushed five times for 23 yards and wasn’t sacked once. “I thought Jeremy did a good job in the air, and I thought he did a good job on the ground,” coach Gus Malzahn said. “He managed the offense very well. He made a couple of really good decisions on the zone read. He really managed the offense well.”

Next: Vs. Alabama, Nov. 28.

FLORIDA (10-1, 7-1)

Game: Florida 20, Florida Atlantic 14 (OT). QB Treon Harris threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to TE Jack McGee in overtime and the Gators got a break when the visiting Owls couldn’t haul in a fourth-down pass in the end zone on their possession. Harris also had a 53-yard touchdown pass to WR Antonio Galloway after the Gators set up their first touchdown on a fumble recovery at FAU’s 2-yard line.

Takeaway: Defense saved this one for the Gators. DB Brian Poole broke up FAU’s final two passes in the end zone in overtime when a touchdown and extra point would have tagged the Gators with an embarrassing loss. The Owls had just 299 yards of total offense and managed only one touchdown under their own steam. “Time and time again guys on defense stepped up and played,” coach Jim McElwain said. “Figuring out a way to win, that’s what it’s all about.” Harris struggled, throwing an interception and losing a fumble that FAU recovered in the end zone for a tying touchdown. He also was sacked five times as the Gators had only 252 yards of total offense.

Next: Vs. Florida State, Nov. 28.

GEORGIA (8-3, 5-3)

Game: Georgia 23, Georgia Southern 17. The Bulldogs stopped the visiting Eagles on fourth-and-1 at the 16-yard line on the first series of overtime, then got the winning touchdown when RB Sony Michel scored on their first play of the extra period. Georgia trailed 17-14 after Georgia Southern’s Younghoe Koo kicked a 48-yard field goal with 9:21 left in the fourth quarter but tied it on Marshall Morgan’s 43-yarder at the 6:06 mark. The Bulldogs then kept the Eagles out of field goal range on their final series to send the game to the extra period.

Takeaway: The Bulldogs had a couple of chances to put the Eagles away early, but failed to take advantage of them. They lost two fumbles in Georgia Southern territory, including one at the eight-yard line in the first quarter while holding a 7-0 lead, and the Eagles returned the second 62 yards for a touchdown. The Bulldogs missed a 48-yard field goal that would have given them a two-score lead in the first quarter, and the Eagles responded by driving 69 yards for their first touchdown. “A lot of really good things happened, but the turnovers really hurt us,” coach Mark Richt said. “We got the touchdown on our first drive and then turned it over when it looked like we might go up 10-0 or 14-0. Then early in the second half, we had it in really good shape and we fumbled and they scooped and scored to go ahead. All of a sudden, we had to really get after it.” Georgia finished the game with just 288 yards of offense but held the Eagles to just 271 despite giving up 227 on the ground.

Next: At Georgia Tech, Nov. 28.

KENTUCKY (5-6, 2-6)

Game: Kentucky 58, Charlotte 10. RB Jojo Kemp rushed for three touchdowns, his last on a 47-yard run, and RB Stanley “Boo” Williams ran for two, including one on a 53-yard scamper, as the Wildcats made quick work of the 49ers. Freshman RB Sihiem King also scored on a 62-yard run as the Wildcats piled up 544 yards of offense — 415 on the ground — while holding the 49ers to just 233 for the night.

Takeaway: Redshirt freshman QB Drew Barker not only got his first career start, he took every snap for the Wildcats as junior and former starter Patrick Towles remained on the bench. With Kemp and Williams both going over the 100-yard rushing mark (165 and 140, respectively), Barker didn’t have to do a lot in the passing game. “No doubt,” he said of the success running. “That definitely helped.” Barker was 16-of-29 passing for 129 yards. He didn’t have a touchdown pass but also didn’t throw an interception. “I thought he did a good job under the circumstances,” coach Mark Stoops said. “His first start and a pretty sloppy day, cold, overall, but he did some good things. It seems like he made good decisions for the most part. And a few balls got away from him, but it was hard to throw it there, once the ball was getting very wet.”

Next: Vs. Louisville, Nov. 28.

LSU (7-3, 4-3)

Game: Mississippi 38, LSU 17. The Tigers recovered from Mississippi’s early punch and cut a 24-0 deficit down to 24-17 early in the third quarter when RG William Clapp recovered RB Leonard Fournette’s fumble in the end zone for a touchdown less than five minutes into the second half. But the defense couldn’t come up with a stop on Mississippi’s next two possessions, and the Rebels got their cushion back up to 21 points with two long touchdown drives.

Takeaway: Sophomore QB Brandon Harris threw for a career-high 324 yards, but he completed barely half of his career-high 51 pass attempts, he was intercepted twice with the Rebels converting one of the turnovers into a touchdown, and he lost a fumble late in the first half while being sacked. But those weren’t the only problems the Tigers had in losing for a third straight game for the first time in 16 years. They were penalized 13 times for 95 yards with one early holding call wiping out all but three yards of Fournette’s 59-yard run on his first carry. And PK Trent Dominguez missed a 27-yard field goal attempt that would have tied the game at 3-3 in the first quarter. Tigers coach Les Miles hinted he may have had questions about some of the 10 penalties called against his team in the first half. “That seemed to plague us in the first half, the number of penalties that followed big plays,” Miles said. “I’m not the expert on those penalties right now. I will be sometime Sunday. But it’ll be very interesting to see how those penalties were called.”

Next: Vs. Texas A&M, Nov. 28.

MISSISSIPPI (8-3, 5-2)

Game: Mississippi 38, LSU 17. The Rebels scored early and late to get the win over the Tigers. After jumping in front 24-0 before giving up a score to the Tigers late in the second quarter, they closed the scoring with two touchdowns in the third quarter after the visitors had cut their deficit down to two touchdowns earlier in the period, getting the second touchdown when RG William Clapp recovered teammate RB Leonard Fournette’s fumble in the end zone with just four minutes into the second half.

Takeaway: The Rebels let LSU get back into the game when RB Jaylen Walton fumbled on the kickoff after the Tigers scored on their first series of the second half. That led to another LSU touchdown on Clapp’s fumble recovery to reduce the gap to 24-17. But the Rebels bounced back with scoring drives of 83 and 57 yards with QB Chad Kelly rushing for one touchdown and passing for another to get it back to a 21-point game. “Couldn’t be more proud of the way the defense fought when their backs were against the wall, particularly in the red zone,” coach Hugh Freeze said. “Even on the fumbled kickoff, we fought to not let them in. I can’t complain about the passion they played with.” The win keeps Ole Miss in contention in the West Division race. A win over Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl and a loss by Alabama to Auburn would put the Rebels in the SEC Championship Game.

Next: At Mississippi State, Nov. 28.


Game: Mississippi State 51, Arkansas 50. The Bulldogs saw a 31-14 second quarter erased by a furious Razorbacks comeback, but after falling behind 42-31, the Bulldogs came back to score three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The game wasn’t secure, however, until junior LB Beniquez Brown broke through the Arkansas line to block a chip-shot field goal attempt that would have given the Hogs a two-point lead with less than 40 seconds left in the game.

Takeaway: The Bulldogs amassed 631 yards in total offense, the third-most in school history and most ever against an SEC opponent, in posting a fourth road win for the first time since the 1994 season. After jumping in front 31-14, the Bulldogs gave up 28 unanswered points to the Razorbacks, then rallied from a 10-point deficit with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. It all seemed for naught when Arkansas lined up for a field goal with ball right in the middle of the field at State’s12-yard line. Then Brown, who had a career-high 12 tackles, made the game-saving play. “It’s gotta be up there with one of the great finishes I’ve ever been involved in,” coach Dan Mullen said.

Next: Vs. Mississippi, Nov. 28.

MISSOURI (5-6, 1-6)

Game: Tennessee 19, Missouri 8. The Tigers trailed the visiting Volunteers 16-0 at the half and 19-0 after three quarters before finally putting together an 11-play, 50-yard drive for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Tigers forced the Vols to a three-and-out on the next series but went three-and-out themselves on their next possession and never got the ball back again until just 73 seconds remained in the game.

Takeaway: Once again offensive ineptness plagued the Tigers. They rushed for only 88 yards, and freshman QB Drew Lock was only 13-of-30 passing for 135 yards (44 on one completion) under the coldest conditions for a game in coach Gary Pinkel’s 15 seasons. It was 28 degrees at kickoff. “I didn’t want it to end like this,” Pinkel said. “I know we have another game left, another opportunity. But I certainly didn’t want it to end like this.” Despite the loss, the Tigers carried Pinkel off the field afterward. The coach earlier this month announced his retirement for health reasons, making this his final home game at Mizzou.

Next: At Arkansas, Nov. 27.


Game: The Citadel 23, South Carolina 22. The Gamecocks seemed to have finally taken control late in the game when WR Pharoh Cooper scored on a 41-yard reception to give his team a 22-17 lead approaching the midpoint of the fourth quarter. But the Bulldogs regained the lead when RB Tyler Renew scored on a 56-yard run, and the Gamecocks went three-and-out on their final two possessions.

Takeaway: The Gamecocks looked to have pulled out a miracle win when Cooper went 94 yards on a fourth-down play on their final series, but a penalty for an illegal shift nullified the play, and QB Perry Orth’s completion to RB Brandon Wilds came up two yards short on the ensuing play. “I saw a throw. I saw a catch. I saw a run for touchdown,” interim coach Shawn Elliott said of Cooper’s play. “I didn’t even know they threw a flag until somebody grabbed my shoulder.” The real damage was done long before that, however. The visitors rushed for 350 yards with their triple-option attack while the Gamecocks managed just 72 on the ground. “They just did a good job being patient with what they do,” defensive coordinator Jon Hoke said. “They get the ball, and they did a good job. We had people in position at times and didn’t make the play, and they did. Give them credit.”

Next: Vs. Clemson, Nov. 28.

TENNESSEE (7-4, 4-3)

Game: Tennessee 19, Missouri 8. The Volunteers held the Tigers to just 88 yards rushing and 135 passing on the bitterly cold night and had all the points they needed by halftime, which they led 16-0. The Vols added a fourth field goal in the third quarter and didn’t give up a touchdown to the home team until less than 10 minutes were left in the game.

Takeaway: Coach Butch Jones was disappointed his team had to settle for field goals on four of their eight drives into Mizzou territory, but he was happy to see the Vols’ success in running the ball. The Tigers came into the game with a rush defense that was third-best statistically in the SEC and was ranked 14th in the country, but the Vols ran for 248 yards, 151 of them from RB Jalen Hurd. The Tigers had held their first 10 opponents to an average of under 114 yards rushing per game. “Well we knew we had to start fast, we knew that there would be a lot of energy involved in this game so we had to come out and start fast,” said Jones, whose team scored on three of its first four possessions and four of its first seven series. “And we had to make them earn every yard and couldn’t give up the big score. And then we knew we had to methodically move the football, and we were able to do that.”

Next: Vs. Vanderbilt, Nov. 28.

TEXAS A&M (8-3, 4-3)

Game: Texas A&M 25, Vanderbilt 0. The Aggies dominated the Commodores with their defense, holding the home team to just 148 yards for the game with just 23 through the air. QB Kyle Allen completed only half his pass attempts (18-of-36), but they were good for 336 yards and a touchdown (a 95-yard reception by WR Josh Reynolds), and RB Tra Carson rushed for another 126 yards for A&M.

Takeaway: It may have come against one of the most offensively inept teams in the country (Vandy is No. 119 among the 127 FBS teams) but the Aggies still reveled in their first shutout since a 31-0 blanking of Wyoming in 2004. “With the guys, there wasn’t a whole lot of chatter about it, but we could feel it on the sideline,” coach Kevin Sumlin said. “I thought our guys took the field with energy every time with a purpose and played with confidence. That’s something we can build on.” The Aggies forced the Commodores into nine punts, held them on downs twice, and came up with an interception on another series. “My first one,” senior DT Alonzo Williams said. “All of the seniors’ first one. It was great. We came in at halftime and said, ‘Let’s try and get a shutout’, and we ended up pulling it off. Everyone came together, worked hard and we pulled it off.”

Next: At LSU, Nov. 28.

VANDERBILT (4-7, 2-5)

Game: Texas A&M 25, Vanderbilt 0. Vandy’s defense gave up only one touchdown — on a 95-yard pass play — and limited the Aggies to field goals on six of their 10 drives across the 50-yard line. But the Commodores once again couldn’t take advantage because of their problems on offense, managing 125 yards rushing and a mere 23 passing.

Takeaway: It’s no secret that Vandy has had difficulty all year with establishing a consistency on offense, but the problem reached a new low against the Aggies. The 148 yards were a season low production for the Commodores, who were shut out for the second time this year, the first time since 1998 that the Commodores have been blanked twice in a season. The lone bright spot was RB Ralph Webb going over the 1,000-yard mark for the season with his 79 yards rushing giving him 1,003. “We were able to run the ball well, but we have to have a balanced run-pass,” coach Derek Mason said. “You have to make plays. You have to make sure all the pressure isn’t on Ralph and the run game. It had to do with balancing the run and the pass and not having opportunities to extend drives.”

Next: At Tennessee, Nov. 28.


–Quarterbacks Brandon Allen of Arkansas and Dak Prescott of Mississippi State put on an offensive show Saturday in Fayetteville.

The two seniors combined for 68 completions in 93 attempts for 914 yards and 12 touchdowns for the night with Prescott throwing the lone interception.

Prescott was 38-of-50 for 508 yards and five touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 51-50 victory. Allen was 30-of-43 for 406 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns just two weeks after throwing for six scores in an overtime win over Mississippi.

“As impressive a quarterbacking performance as you’re gonna see in college football on both sidelines,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said.

–Mississippi reached some program milestones in the 38-17 win over LSU.

The 280 yards the Rebels passed for gave Ole Miss a school-record 3,768 yards for the season, erasing the record of 3,718 the Rebels set in 2003.

The 38 points also gave the Rebels 445 for the season, and the five touchdowns gave them 57 for the year. Both are school records. The 2003 Rebels held the old scoring record of 442 points, and the 2001 Rebels set the touchdown mark at 55.

In addition, junior QB Chad Kelly, with his 81 yards rushing and 28 passing, set a school single-season record in total offense with 3,857, eclipsing the record of 3,701 set by his predecessor, QB Bo Wallace.

Kelly also upped the number of touchdowns that he is responsible for both rushing and passing to 34, two more than QB Eli Manning record in 2001.

“I give all the glory to God and my teammates,” Kelly said. “We have had some great players that came through this school.”
–LSU RB Leonard Fournette was back over 100 yards rushing in the loss at Mississippi after missing the mark in his previous two games, rushing 25 times for 108 yards. He also caught four passes for another 72 yards.

A sophomore, Fournette has 2,616 rushing yards for his career, fifth on LSU’s all-time rushing list. It was the 13th time in his 15 starts he has topped the 100 mark and, with 1,582 yards this season, he is just 104 yards short of Charles Alexander’s school record.

–Vanderbilt likely saw its bowl hopes crushed with the 25-0 loss to Texas A&M. The loss dropped the Commodores to 4-7 on the season. With only one game left — at nemesis Tennessee — they can’t reach the six-win minimum requirement for the postseason.

“It’s obviously very disappointing,” senior C Spencer Pulley said. “I think the other seniors definitely deserved that. They’ve put in the work for four to five years, but this year, we didn’t quite do enough.

“You can put that on me and some of the leaders on this team, and I’ll take that, getting the team ready to play this team right here and not getting the win.”

There is a chance that some 5-7 teams may qualify for bowls this year if there are not enough teams with six wins to fill all of the 80 postseason slots (including the four spots in the playoff).

With one weekend left in the regular season, there are 71 teams with the necessary six wins with another 14 needing to win their regular-season finale to get there.

In Vandy’s favor: If APR (academic progress rate) rankings come into play to determine which 5-7 teams go bowling, that favors the Commodores. But they still need to win their season finale at Tennessee to get to even five victories.

–Texas A&M PK Taylor Bertolet tied SEC and school records with his six field goals in the win over Vanderbilt.

He was good from 31, 25, 46, 46, 41, and 23 yards to match the school record Alan Smith set for the Aggies in 1983. Five other players share the conference mark: Auburn’s Al Del Greco, Florida’s Bobby Raymond (who did it twice), Alabama’s Phillip Doyle, Georgia’s Billy Bennett, and Mississippi’s Jonathan Nichols.

“He’s been solid all year,” coach Kevin Sumlin said of Bertolet, a senior. “He missed one, but the guy is kicking off and doing a really good job for us this year, particularly in this type of game where you know you might be called upon because of the red zone defense that we faced.”

Bertolet’s miss came from 35 yards in the second quarter. For the season he is 22-of-29 with five makes of over 50 yards in eight attempts from that distance.

–An interested spectator in crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium for Auburn’s 56-34 win over Idaho was Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville. He wasn’t there to scout the Tigers, but simply to watch his son, Tucker, a walk-on quarterback, see his first collegiate action.

“If I was ever going to see him play in Jordan-Hare, this was going to be it,” said the coach, who drove up from Tampa where his Bearcats pounded South Florida 65-27 the night before. “I watched him at Tiger Talk, got a hug picture and watched him play a few snaps. I really enjoyed it.”

Tucker, a senior, did not throw a pass but gained 14 yards on two carries.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “What I’ve always done — its strength and weakness — is I put my head down and I go to work. I try to do the best things and if I can get that done, we’ll have success. And if I don’t, you guys will all be writing a bunch of other stuff.” — Coach Les Miles, addressing a question regarding his job status and how he is approaching the issue after the loss to Mississippi, adding he will talk to the team about it Monday.



1. The West race still isn’t settled yet. A win over Mississippi State and an Alabama loss to Auburn will get Ole Miss to its first SEC title game.

2. Kentucky and Missouri remain in the hunt for a bowl. Both sport 5-6 records and must win their regular-season finales to be assured of a spot in the postseason.

3. The SEC’s reputation, especially the East Division, took a huge hit with the weekend’s results. The struggles by division winner Florida and Georgia in getting overtime wins and South Carolina’s loss to an FCS team provided plenty of ammunition for critics who say the conference is overrated.

4. Texas A&M’s quarterback situation may be settled. Freshman Kyler Murray went the distance in the shutout win over Vanderbilt, putting the issue at rest for at least a week.

5. Florida’s case for a playoff berth may be alive, but not that strong. The Gators have not been very impressive since beating Georgia 27-3, beating Vanderbilt by two points, South Carolina by 10 and Florida Atlantic in overtime, and a loss to Florida State likely would put them on the bubble even if they would win the SEC title game.