Sorry for not posting yesterday. I had been up from 3:00am to about 4:30am with the baby, and somehow or another my alarm never quite went off.
It's Homecoming week in the SEC, and there are even fewer interesting-looking games this week than last, but before we get to that, there's a little matter of a certain backup quarterback to discuss. He won't be playing against Bama, or even making the trip, but he's been cleared of wrongdoing and will be back with the team next week. This has apparently greatly upset some of the rumor-mongers on the boards, who think the police are giving him favorable treatment. The official story, however, is that Perrilloux did nothing illegal and that the bouncers (who have been fired, btw) hassled him wrongly.
I disagree with the people who fault Perrilloux simply for being out so late at night. The kid, despite all his problems, is still a college kid, and it's not like he was hanging out at some crack house. He was at a club, reportedly with half the rest of the team with him. Yes, I wonder what his pregnant girlfriend was doing there, but I can't fault the kid for simply being out late at night.
Anyway, onto the games this week.
Vandy at Florida, 11:30am Lincoln-Financial. I'm glad Vandy showed the sort of life I had been expecting of them a couple weeks ago against the Gamecocks. Do they have a chance against Florida? Sure they do. But is it a realistic chance? Well, I think it's a realistic chance if Tebow is still at well below 100%. The ESPN preview of the game makes no mention of Tebow's health, which is what you get from ESPN sometimes. Tebow at less than 100% is an ordinary player, and Florida with an ordinary quarterback this year is an ordinary team. Vandy is also an ordinary team, which means that if Tebow isn't Tebow-esque, Florida and Vandy are roughly even. Still, Vandy does not have a whole lot of athletes on defense, and I believe that even without Tebow's running, their secondary probably isn't much of a match for Harvin-Caldwell-Ingram.
Troy at Georgia
Northwestern St. at Ole Miss
Tennessee Tech at Auburn
ULaLa at Tennessee
Like I said, it's Homecoming week. I assume all of these games are the Homecoming games for their respective home teams. The biggest mismatch is TTU at Auburn. Tennessee Tech is riding a four game losing streak, including losses to Samford, Austin Peay, and Jacksonville St. Auburn can name its score. If you're looking for upset potential, how about Troy at Georgia? Troy is 6-2, including a win against Oklahoma State and tough losses against Florida and Arkansas. Troy is actually a pretty solid OOC opponent, and Georgia is set for a letdown. I'm not saying it'll happen, but if there's a trap game on this list, this is it.
LSU at Bama, 4:00 CBS. Yeah, you know about this one. In all the hoopla about the Perrilloux situation, the situation going on with Bama's offensive line has been strangely underreported. The University (not the team) has suspended 5 players from the Bama team over a scandal involving textbooks, including two starting offensive linemen. My understanding of it is this. Football players get a textbook allowance, and what they do is go to the campus bookstore and get their books, drawing from an account. What these five players did was get textbooks through this process, not for themselves, but for their friends. My understanding is that they did not profit from this, but were simply doing favors for their friends.
The result is that 5 players, including two starting offensive linemen and two frequently-used reserve players (a running back and a defensive back) were not available for their last game against Tennessee, and their status for this game remains uncertain. It didn't hurt them last week, as they ended up playing their best game of the season in the absence of those players. However, Tennessee's D-line is not nearly as good as our defensive line, and I don't think Bama wants to go through this game without their best 5 on the offensive line.
We'll know in the next day or so whether they'll be playing.
I'll have more on this game tomorrow.
South Carolina at Arkansas, 7:00pm ESPN2. Let's see. Kentucky has lost 3 of its last 4. Florida has lost 3 of its last 4. And South Carolina has lost 2 in a row after starting the season 6-1. The teams in the East that looked like the best now look very very average. South Carolina still has a chance in the East, but they have to win out and hope for help. They need Georgia and Tennessee to lose, but the good news is that there's a very good chance that will happen, as Georgia gets Auburn and Kentucky down the stretch and Tennessee gets Arkansas, Vandy, and Kentucky.
Obviously, when talking about Arkansas, you start with their running backs. We all know how good they are (hint: very very good), but the question is always how the other team's defense matches up. I think South Carolina's defense matches up pretty well. They've been solid all year, and there are good athletes at defensive line and linebacker, as well as at corner to help on the ends. Arkansas isn't a good enough team to beat you unless you let them run all over you, and I think South Carolina has a good chance of keeping that from happening. Arkansas does not have the passing game or the defense to really beat you in those phases of the game.
I think that if South Carolina comes out and plays, they will win. The question is whether or not this team is collapsing following these tough losses to Tennessee and Vandy. South Carolina is not a team that has a history of winning when times get tough. They have a gut-check this week.