SEC East Ego Check: Florida, Georgia Rolled Over

Geoffrey TannerContributor ISeptember 28, 2008

A couple of speeding semis plowed through Gainesville, Fla., and Athens, Ga., on Saturday.

Some of the dazed survivors wearing orange and blue, red and black looked up through a cloud of exhaust and caught a glimpse of the vehicles' license plates.

They read, "WEST#1."

The SEC West got the tires rolling in the second half of the game between Ole Miss and No. 4 Florida.

It's not often that any team escapes the Swamp with a win, but the Rebels (3-2, 1-1) got the spark they needed when the Gators (3-1, 1-1) began turning the ball over in the third quarter. 

Even Tim Tebow got in on the act, fumbling on Florida's second possession of the second half.  Ole Miss capitalized when given a short field, scoring 17 points in the third, which gave them a 24-17 lead heading into the final quarter.

After the Gators drew even on a one-yard Tebow run, Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead hit Shay Hodge for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Florida would once again score when Percy Harvin ran in from 15 yards out; but when the PAT was blocked, the Gators were staring directly at oncoming headlights.  The Rebs would end Florida's final threat by stuffing Tebow on fourth-down.

One SEC East giant was reduced to roadkill.  But the carnage was far from over.

The stars had just finished aligning for No. 3 Georgia when eighth-ranked Alabama shifted into fifth gear and hit top speed Between the Hedges.

Ugly.  Pathetic.  Demoralizing.

Words that fall short when attempting to describe the Bulldogs' (4-1, 1-1) first-half play.

Remarkable.  Marvelous.  Extraordinary.

Synonyms equally incapable of describing the performance of the Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0) on Saturday night.

The final score of this top-10 clash may have been 41-30, but the game was over when Alabama scored 31 unanswered points in the first half.

Fans in Sanford Stadium watched in disbelief as Georgia's defense failed to force a single punt until midway through the third quarter.

Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson turned in the best road performance of his career (13-of-16 for 205 yards and a touchdown).

The Crimson Tide's offensive line simply manhandled the Dawgs, especially near the goal line. This allowed running backs like Glen Coffee and Roy Upchurch to score with ease.

And while Alabama was hitting on all cylinders, Georgia couldn't even find the ignition until it was too late.

Dumb but familiar mistakes continued to plague the SEC's most penalized team.  A flag for roughing the passer negated an early fumble by Alabama's offense that might have produced some momentum for the Dawgs.

The fact that Richt's team didn't completely mail it in during the second half remains the game's only silver lining.

A bye week now finds the Dawgs battered and bruised.  The Gators must move on quickly before facing Arkansas in Fayetteville.

It is still widely believed that one of these teams will represent the SEC East on Dec. 6 in Atlanta.

Maybe the eventual East champion will check their ego before entering the Georgia Dome.  If they do not, they'll be bracing for impact once again.