After a lot of SEC football weekends filled with dreck, the final weekend of the regular season in the SEC features nine games – and each one has an interesting storyline.
That might be hard to believe, but it’s true.
Granted, there might not be a lot of great teams in action, but there are some great games – even among bad teams.
Here’s a quick look at why there is intrigue with each of the nine games.
Ole Miss at Mississippi State: The Egg Bowl is a lot nastier than those outside of the state of Mississippi can imagine. So, as with every rivalry game this week, fan superiority for the next 365 days is on the line. But there’s a lot more. This could be the final game for Ole Miss interim coach Matt Luke, and he’s an Ole Miss guy through and through; getting him one more win would be huge for Luke and the Ole Miss fan base. Mississippi State, meanwhile, knows that a win will give it nine victories for the third time in four seasons and the fourth time in eight seasons. This is Dan Mullen’s ninth season at Mississippi State. You know how many nine-win seasons MSU had before Mullen’s arrival? Five. This is also big for Mississippi State in terms of bowl positioning.
Missouri at Arkansas: This could be the final game for Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who looks to have lost his biggest backer when athletic director Jeff Long was fired last week. Presumably, if nothing else, Bielema’s players will want to send him out a winner. Mizzou is looking to add to Arkansas’ agony and – in the process – win its sixth in a row. In addition, Mizzou QB Drew Lock has 38 TD passes and needs three more to set the SEC single-season record (the current mark is 40 by Kentucky’s Andre Woodson, in 2007).
Alabama at Auburn: First, it’s the Iron Bowl, the most intense rivalry in college football. Second, it’s for the SEC West title and the chance to go to Atlanta. Third, the winner remains very much in the hunt for the national title. But only the first one matters: It’s the Iron Bowl, folks.
Clemson at South Carolina: The Gamecocks are looking for their first nine-win season since 2013. Truthfully, though, while this season has been surprisingly good for South Carolina, the No. 1 thought on the minds of Gamecocks fans (and, presumably, coaches and players) is ending Clemson’s dreams of back-to-back national titles. A South Carolina win all but eliminates the Tigers from the playoff discussion.
Florida State at Florida: This has been a lost season in Gainesville. But there still will be a measure of satisfaction if the Gators can beat the Seminoles, which would ensure the Seminoles’ first losing season since 1976. Florida already is guaranteed a losing season, but making sure their rival wallows in the same kind of misery is a definite motivator. Misery loves company, right?
Georgia at Georgia Tech: Georgia has lost two of the past three to the Yellow Jackets, and that – no pun intended – stings. Of more importance, though, is that the Bulldogs must win to keep alive their hopes of making the playoff.
Louisville at Kentucky: Both teams are 7-4, and UK hasn’t finished with a better record than Louisville since 2009, which was the final season for Steve Kragthorpe as Louisville’s coach. Yes, basketball superiority is far, far more important to UK and Louisville fans, but if Wildcats fans can lord football and basketball superiority over their Cardinals counterparts for the second year in a row …
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