In the mid-week edition of Three & Out, a rivalry is renewed, a student hosts a teacher and we're talking fashion...seriously. Here are the three things to keep an eye on during week eight in the SEC:
One of the SEC's most underrated rivalries will be renewed in Baton Rouge on Saturday night, when Auburn travels to Death Valley to take on LSU. For the majority of this decade, the winner of this game has gone on to represent the West in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Both teams are coming off of tough home losses, and are in desperate need of a win to maintain any glimmer of hope of catching Alabama in the SEC West race.
These two teams have squared off in some epic games, which tend to be named after natural disasters. The Earthquake Game, The Hurricane Game, The Day The Barn Burned, The Cigar Game, The Upright Game and The Interception Game all have contributed to making this rivalry can't miss TV on an annual basis. In the last five meetings between these two, the largest margin of victory has been six points. All of those games were decided within the final two minutes or in overtime. There's no reason to believe that this year will be any different.
LSU comes in off a bye week, following their 13-3 loss to Florida two weeks ago. For the Bengal Tigers, the key is on offense. They enter the game 11th in the league in scoring offense, last in total offense, 11th in rushing offense, 10th in passing offense and last in first downs. That's not exactly what offensive coordinator Gary Crowton envisioned in the pre-season, when RB Charles Scott, OL Ciron Black and WR Brandon LaFell were named to the pre-season All-SEC Team. Auburn is 11th in the SEC in rush defense, so if Scott doesn't put up All-SEC numbers this week, it might just be a lost cause.
After a 5-0 start, Auburn comes in to this one reeling, following back-to-back losses to Arkansas and Kentucky. In those two games, Auburn's offense has been sputtering. In the first five games, the Tigers offense scored in every quarter. Since then, they've only scored in two-of-eight. QB Chris Todd, who appears to have lost a bit of arm strength from the beginning of the season, has thrown zero TD's and one INT in the two losses, after starting the season with 12 touchdown tosses and only one interception. With Patrick Patterson and Chad Jones lurking in that LSU secondary, it's hard to imagine that he'll get it turned around this week.
On paper this looks like two desperate teams and, quite honestly, not very compelling football. But, I can assure you, that's only the perception. This game routinely provides one of the best games of the season. No matter what the scenario, these two teams always make it interesting in some way shape or form. Enjoy.
The student hosts the teacher this week, as Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen welcomes his former boss Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators to town in a Saturday night tilt in Starkville.
Maybe Meyer can convince Mullen to come back to Gainesville and direct his offense?
As strange as it may sound, Florida has been living and dying with defense this year, as the offense has been spinning its wheels trying to find its identity. With Louis Murphy and "Percy Harvey" ($1 to Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown) now collecting paychecks in the NFL, the Gators have had a hard time stretching the field and have relied heavily on Tim Tebow. That's not necessarily a bad thing. After all, Tebow is Superman. But, coming off a concussion, it would be helpful for the Gators' offense to give his shoulders a little bit of a break this week vs. the Bulldogs.
As lopsided as this game looks on paper, the series looks even more lopsided – but probably not the way you think. Of the 10 games that these two teams have played in Starkville, the Bulldogs have won seven of them, including four straight. In those four games, they've outscored the Gators 131-82. The last time these two teams met, Sylvester Croom and Jerious Norwood effectively ended the Ron Zook era with a 38-31 win over the Gators.
It's unlikely that the Bulldogs make it five straight this weekend. But, watching how the two head coaches approach this one will be interesting. They both know all there is to know about each other, so expect some changeups to be thrown at various times just to keep it fresh.
It's technically not the "Third Saturday In October," the Vols are coming off an impressive performance on OFFENSE and the story line thus far in the Alabama/Tennessee game has been Lane Kiffin's Saturday wardrobe preferences. What in the name of Smokey and Big Al is going on?
Never one to shy away from artificial hype, Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin requested that his team be allowed to wear orange jerseys in Saturday's game vs. the Tide, instead of their traditional road whites. The request was granted by the SEC, but was quickly denied by Alabama.
Alabama athletic director Mal Moore issued a response to the request in Monday's edition of the Mobile Press-Register.
"It is our desire to maintain the custom of the visiting team wearing their visiting jerseys." said Moore. "We'll continue to wear our white jerseys when we visit Knoxville next year.''
For the sake of everyone, thanks Mal. I know it's not that big of a deal for Kiffin to make the request, so spare me those e-mails Tennessee fans. But the artificial hype that Kiffin is drawn to drumming up wears REALLY thin. This game is big enough for both teams for two very different reasons. There's no need to create artificial hype.
It's understandable that Kiffin wants to harken back to the 60's to recognize the historical significance of the rivalry. That would be great. But, if you're going to do that, schedule a date where both teams wear throwback jersey's (which seems to be a weekly occurrence in the NFL). I'm sure both schools would give it serious consideration and, if agreed to, would work hard to make it a successful event. But don't just throw stuff up against the wall and see what sticks.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at
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