With division titles and playoff berths on the line, it was a big week for the SEC. Every team in the conference played and there were a total of six conference clashes.
There were a number of meaningful matchups, with the headliner being the meeting between Alabama and LSU.
Let’s get to that game first, shall we?
Can Bama hang the banner already?
LSU stood the best chance of any team this season to beat Alabama, and they got manhandled. Sure, the score was only 10-0, but a look at the stats says everything.
Alabama rushing: 216 yards, one touchdown
LSU rushing: 33 yards, no touchdowns
Keep in mind that LSU has the best running back in the SEC in Leonard Fournette. For the second straight season, Alabama’s defense has been his kryptonite. If the Crimson Tide can stop Fournette, it can stop anybody.
Now for more stats.
Second half production from each team
Alabama: 198 total yards, 10 points
LSU: 20 total yards, no points
Bama still has to play Mississippi State, Chattanooga and Auburn, but they’ll more than likely win each one of those games. Mississippi State and Chattanooga won’t come close, so all that’s left is Auburn. The only prayer for the Tigers is their rushing game, and the Crimson Tide have proven that they can stop a rushing attack (scroll up if a reminder is needed).
So go ahead and hang the banner. Pass out the rings. Nobody Alabama has left to play stands a chance, not even playoff contenders or the eventual SEC East Champion.
Speaking of the SEC East…
Tennessee will (somehow) win the SEC East
Tennessee was one of the two SEC teams that didn’t play a conference opponent this week, so the Vols did nothing to shake up the standings. What happened elsewhere played perfectly into their lap, however.
As it stood heading into Saturday, the Vols were third in the SEC East behind Florida, who was 4-1 in conference play, and Kentucky, who had a 4-2 SEC record. If Tennessee wanted even a small chance of making the SEC Championship, they needed help.
They got help.
Florida got embarrassed by Arkansas 31-10 in Fayetteville and Kentucky lost on a last-second field goal at home against Georgia. This makes the SEC race a lot tighter.
Here are the current SEC East standings:
- Florida (4-2 SEC)
- Kentucky (4-3 SEC)
- Georgia (3-4 SEC)
- South Carolina (3-4 SEC)
- Tennessee (2-3 SEC)
- Vanderbilt (1-4 SEC)
- Missouri (0-5 SEC)
There’s a crazy scenario where the East ends up in a six-way tie, which you can see here.
— Jesse Strickland (@jgstrickland7) November 6, 2016
But that’s very unlikely. After Florida’s loss to Arkansas, it looks more and more likely that Tennessee will find its way to Atlanta. If the Vols win out, which should happen, Tennessee will finish 5-3 in the SEC. If LSU beats Florida, which will happen, that will be at least the third conference loss for the Gators.
Tennessee has the head-to-head tiebreaker over Florida and will have at least a full game over everyone else in the East if they’re able to win out, thus landing them the crown of SEC East Champions.
Texas A&M isn’t going to the College Football Playoff
With Texas A&M’s shocking loss to Mississippi State, the Aggies now have two losses. If there was any shot of them making it to the SEC Championship, they maybe could have sneaked into playoff talks. With the head-to-head loss against Alabama, it’s no longer possible for them to grab the division title.
The loss to the Bulldogs knocks them out of the playoff discussion.
Somehow, the College Football Playoff Committee thought Texas A&M was the fourth-best team in the nation. Headed into Saturday, the Aggies were ranked higher than unbeaten Washington and one-loss teams such as Ohio State and Louisville.
Sure, A&M’s only loss was to No. 1 Alabama, but the Aggies haven’t looked great on defense for much of the season and nearly lost to Tennessee at home despite forcing seven Vol turnovers.
Yet, there the Aggies stood at No. 4. If they had won out, perhaps the committee would have let them retain their ranking and the SEC would have had two representatives in the CFP. Losing to Mississippi State during a rebuilding season eliminates any hope of such a scenario.
If Auburn can win out, there’s still a shot that the SEC will have two teams in the playoff. Unfortunately for Texas A&M, it won’t be one of them.
Edited by David Bradford
Featured image by Hayley Pennesi, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics