Three & Out appears every Sunday to recap the week that was in the SEC. In our injury-riddled Week 9 edition, we discuss the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, Arkansas' comeback and Auburn's offense.
MONKEY OFF ITS BACK
You know that whole Jacksonville Curse thing? Well, apparently the black cat stayed in his cage Saturday afternoon.
For just the fourth time in the last 22 meetings, the Georgia Bulldogs topped the Florida Gators in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Georgia did it in spite of missing two field goals, dropping several possible interceptions and looking like the same Georgia team that always shows up in Jacksonville.
Aside from a 72-yard pass to open the game, the Georgia defense - which had been overlooked this season - resembled the Bulldog defenses of the early 2000s. Excluding first play jitters, the Bulldogs only allowed 154 yards for the game. I know it's Florida, and their offense is dreadful, but that's still impressive.
This was the kind of win that Georgia needed to propel itself back to SEC relevancy. Down two touchdowns to the nemesis in a game that possesses one of the biggest mental hurdles that any team in the country must overcome is not something that should be discounted. The tiebreaker to South Carolina might cost Georgia a shot at Atlanta, but there's no doubt in my mind that Georgia is the best team in the East right now.
SURVIVE AND ADVANCE
A two-game road trip to Ole Miss and Vanderbilt is not supposed to be difficult. Arkansas managed to make theirs difficult though, but escaped Nashville with a dramatic come-from-behind 31-28 win over the gritty Vanderbilt Commodores.
Arkansas is the anti-Texas A&M. Unlike their soon-to-be SEC brethren, the Razorbacks routinely show up in the second half. It isn't always pretty, but Arkansas has kept itself in this SEC West race, despite its loss to Alabama earlier in the season. If LSU can top Alabama next week in football-mageddon, the Hogs have a very legitimate shot at the West title, considering they visit Baton Rouge on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
A three-way round robin tie for the SEC West crown is a real possibility. If that's the case, the lowest team in the BCS standings would be eliminated and then the remaining two teams would have their tie broken via head-to-head matchup (assuming those two teams are within five BCS spots of each other).
Nahh, that won't create a debate or anything.
FINDING ITS STRIDE
Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has seen his star dwindle a bit this season, after the Tigers have failed to establish much of an identity in the post-Cam Newton era.
Well, that is until Saturday night.
Auburn got 177 rushing yards from Michael Dyer and efficient quarterback play for the first time all season. Sophomore Clint Moseley completed 12-of-15 passes for 160 yards and four touchdowns in the win, which was his first as a starting quarterback. The Tigers amassed 414 yards of total offense on the evening. Topping the 400-yard mark used to be commonplace for Auburn, but the Tigers hadn't topped that plateau since their Week 3 loss at Clemson.
With six wins on the season, Auburn is bowl eligible before the month of November has even started. That's not bad considering bowl eligibility was the ceiling that some folks gave the Tigers before the season began.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee
2011 Three & Out Archive
Three & Out – October 30, 2011
Three & Out – October 23, 2011
Three & Out – October 16, 2011
Three & Out – October 9, 2011
Three & Out – October 2, 2011
Three & Out – September 25, 2011
Three & Out – September 18, 2011
Three & Out – September 11, 2011
Three & Out – September 5, 2011
Three & Out – August 29, 2011
Three & Out – August 22, 2011
Three & Out – August 15, 2011
Three & Out – August 8, 2011
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