10 Things We Learned About the SEC in Week 10
In Week 10 of SEC action, fans were once again reminded that football games are absolutely unpredictable.
Look no further than the LSU/Alabama game.
Raise your hand if you predicted Zach Mettenberger to have his best performance of his career against the best defense in college football.
Forget that, who envisioned A.J. McCarron leading a perfect game-winning two-minute drive in a night game at Tiger Stadium? Certainly not this guy.
So this past week, fans relearned that anything can happen in the SEC, but what else did we find out?
Alabama Has Resolve
Championship teams are made in the face of adversity.
It's the fourth quarter, and the best team in college football can't produce a first down to save its life. Every yard is earned, not given. The entire nation is watching in hopes of a monumental upset, and 93,000 fans are roaring as loud as Mike the Tiger.
Time is running out, back is still against the wall, and with less than two minutes to play in the game, it's time to show what you're made of. Cement your legacy, AJ McCarron.
McCarron led the Crimson Tide down the field and scored with less than a minute to play to put Alabama on top. Just like that, Alabama rescued its hopes of repeating as national champions. The champ was battered but not beaten.
Georgia Bulldogs Are SEC East Champs
Auburn is the only team standing between Georgia and an SEC Championship berth. Yep, go on and book Georgia for Dec. 1 in the Georgia Dome.
If the Bulldogs were going to trip up in their final two SEC games, Ole Miss was the most viable candidate.
After all, the Rebels have five wins this season, including two SEC wins. But Georgia put it on the Rebels. With a monster day by Aaron Murray through the air (384 yards and four passing touchdowns), the Bulldogs defeated the Rebels 37-10.
With the 2-7 Auburn Tigers being Georgia's last SEC opponent of the year, it's safe to say the Bulldogs will play for another SEC Championship.
Texas A&M Is the Third Best Team in the SEC West
No debate about it anymore.
After Texas A&M manhandled Mississippi State 38-13, the Aggies are now the third-best team in the SEC West. Not bad for a team that was picked to finish fifth in the SEC West at the 2012 SEC Media Days.
And how’s this for a fun fact—Kevin Sumlin has as many SEC wins as Derek Dooley and as many SEC West wins as Dan Mullen. It's Sumlin's first year in the SEC too, in case you've forgotten.
But more importantly, Sumlin has one of the best quarterbacks in college football and his team is heading into Tuscaloosa with tremendous momentum. Upset, anyone?
Zach Mettenberger Has Potential
Give it up for Zach Mettenberger, everybody.
No other player has been criticized more than Mettenberger has this year, and in the biggest game of his life, he delivered big time.
Mettenberger threw for 298 yards, had one touchdown and no interceptions against the Crimson Tide's defense. You know, the defense that was giving up just 145.9 passing yards per game heading into the contest.
Mettenberger went into the game as the scapegoat of LSU's offense, and after an impressive showing, it's clear why he's the starter of this team now. It's also apparent that he could give LSU fans what they've been yearning for—good quarterback play.
Arkansas Could Win a Game with Strong Defensive Play
"Tulsa vs. Arkansas is going to be a shootout," said everybody before their encounter last Saturday.
How wrong we all were. Like Arkansas, Tulsa is known for its offensive prowess. Okay, maybe not so much this year for Arkansas, but you get the picture.
Still, going against a Tulsa defense that allows 24.9 points per game, Tyler Wilson and this Arkansas offense was sure to light up the scoreboard. And with the Razorbacks giving up 29 points per game, this game would look like a Big 12 affair.
Not the case. Actually, LSU and Alabama had more scoring in their contest. Arkansas held Tulsa to just 328 total yards and 15 points in its 19-15 victory.
The Mad Hatter Would Cost LSU the Game
Going into the epic showdown Saturday night, all of the advantages and disadvantages were laid out on the table.
Les Miles, AKA The Mad Hatter, was listed as a wild card, because he could be prove to be an advantage or disadvantage for LSU.
Well, in this game, Miles' bag of tricks didn't work. Even worse, they didn't make much sense. Fake field goal on 4th-and-12 and an onside kick after LSU gained all of the momentum? Come on, Les.
It's like he was forcing it. In one of the biggest night games in Death Valley history, Miles gambled and lost.
Georgia Has Overcome Playing Down to Its Opponents
Admittedly, Georgia blowing out Ole Miss came as a bit of a surprise.
The Bulldogs all too often play down to their opponents, and with Ole Miss coming into Athens with back-to-back SEC victories, a close contest was expected.
It looked to be true when Ole Miss jumped out 10-0, but then the Bulldogs showed their teeth. Georgia scored 37 unanswered points and poured on 533 yards.
Are the Bulldogs finished playing down to their opponents? It certainly looks so.
Florida Would Barely Beat Missouri
Once again, the SEC truly is unpredictable, isn't it?
Florida, like Alabama, has an excellent defense, strong running game and has a quarterback that's gained some respect in many fans' eyes.
After Alabama beat Missouri 42-10, who's to say Florida fans would witness anything other than a thrashing when the Tigers head to The Swamp?
Well, Missouri has something to say to that. The Gators barely squeezed by the Tigers, and Florida's 14-7 victory at home against a 4-5 Missouri club is vastly underwhelming.
Mississippi State Is Overrated
Tough sledding for Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a great start because all of their tough games came at the back end of the schedule, and now they could lose the rest of their games this season. Even Arkansas and Ole Miss aren't gimmes right now.
So will this team every break through? Mississippi State's run at winning games in the SEC West have been as successful as Wile E. Coyote's attempts at catching the Road Runner.
Mississippi State just isn't good enough to compete with the elite. It's always been the story for this team, and 2012 is no different.
The SEC Stays Alive in the BCS Championship Race
Oregon survival in Southern California.? Check.
Kansas State avoids upset against the Pokes? Check.
Notre Dame escapes with overtime victory against Pittsburgh? Check.
The scenario couldn't have been set up any better. Alabama's dream was set to die in Death Valley, just like the last 22 opponents that faced LSU in Tiger Stadium. With Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame all still undefeated, Alabama's dream could translate into the SEC's dream of winning seven straight national championships.
But Alabama survived and with that survival, the SEC still has a favorable chance of being represented in the national championship game.