Three & Out appears every Sunday and Wednesday in 2010 to give you three SEC thoughts, news and notes. In today's edition, we take a look at the Iron Bowl, Florida's debacle in Tallahassee and Georgia's performance against Georgia Tech.
ONE FOR THE AGES
With Auburn controlling its national championship destiny and Alabama coming off the BCS National Championship in 2009, the Iron Bowl was easily one of the most anticipated games of the 2010 season. It didn't disappoint.
For the fourth time this season, Auburn's maligned defense stood tall when it needed it most. After digging a 24-0 hole in the first half, the Tigers allowed only 67 yards and three points in the second half, en route to the 28-27 win. The defensive turnaround allowed Auburn quarterback Cam Newton to work his magic. The junior Heisman Trophy front-runner accounted for all four of Auburn's touchdowns and silenced the crowd of more than 102,000 fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Just how big was the comeback? It was the largest lead Alabama had ever surrendered in a loss. Ever. It was the largest deficit Auburn had ever overcome in a win. Ever. With all that Auburn had on the line and a BCS at-large spot waiting for Alabama, it was a game that will live on in Iron Bowl lore as one of the all-timers.
The black cloud hanging over this one was the controversy regarding Mississippi State's recruitment of Newton last fall. While there's not one shred of evidence that jeopardizes either Auburn's season or Newton's eligibility at this time, there is at least a chance that, eventually, Auburn may have to vacate wins and championships from the 2010 season. But one thing is for certain, there's no way that anyone can vacate the memory of that game from the fans who watched it on both sides.
Remember when Florida was an offensive juggernaut? My, how things have changed.
The 2010 edition of the Gator offense was about as predictable as the sunrise all season, and Saturday's 31-7 loss to Florida State was no different. The quarterback tandem of Jordan Reed and John Brantley combined to complete just 8-of-16 passes for 52 yards, one touchdown and one costly interception near the end of the first half, halting the Gators' six-year reign over the Seminoles.
Florida finished in the bottom half of the SEC in scoring offense (seventh), total offense (ninth), rushing offense (seventh), passing offense (seventh) and passing efficiency (10th) this season. For 12 games, the Gators could not establish any semblance of an offensive identity, and it appears that offensive coordinator Steve Addazio is in the crosshairs of Gator Nation.
"The fix starts tomorrow," Meyer said. "There's one way to do it, and it's hard work and go rebuild it. We're going to rebuild it right, though. Not wrong. We'll rebuild it right."
"Right" better include either the dismissal or reassignment of Addazio, otherwise it probably won't be enough to right the ship or appease the fan base. If Addazio is still calling plays in 2011, the onus then falls on Meyer, and he doesn't want that.
A BOUILLABAISSE OF INEPTITUDE
Georgia's matchup with Georgia Tech Saturday night was huge for the Bulldog football program, but not in the way that the fan base wanted. Georgia should never have to beat its intra-state rival to become bowl eligible under any circumstances. If you watched Georgia's 42-34 win over Georgia Tech, you saw precisely why the Bulldogs' season has been a disappointment.
Sloppy. Sloppy. Sloppy.
The good news for Georgia is that Georgia Tech was even sloppier Saturday night. The Yellow Jackets turned the ball over four times, didn't convert two Georgia turnovers into any points and missed the potential game-tying extra point with 4:48 to play.
In the end though, the way Georgia got to bowl eligibility isn't important. A bowl game invitation means bowl game practices, and considering how inconsistent the Bulldogs have been in every aspect of the game this season, those extra practices are needed. Whether the bowl game is in Memphis, Birmingham or on the Moon, it really doesn't matter. Those bowl practices will set the tone for the 2011 season, which is a mighty big one if Mark Richt wants to remain employed in Athens.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at
Don't forget to check out "Y'all Play Nice" from CFN's Russ Mitchell and Brian Harbach every Thursday during the season.
2010 Three & Out Archive