Another week has gone by in the world of college football, and there were more important happenings from the SEC. The conference play in week four was top-heavy, but those games had major implications on the division races.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the SEC in week four:
The Vols have finally proven themselves
The Tennessee Volunteers finally defeated the Florida Gators on Saturday, ending an 11-game losing streak that dated back to 2004.
After an abysmal showing in the first two quarters, coach Butch Jones was able to rally the team and storm back to take the win – the Vols scored 38 unanswered points.
What does that mean for this Tennessee team?
Well, after an offseason full of hype and an opening three games that were severely underwhelming, the Vols can at least say they have proven themselves as legitimate. This isn’t to say they’re all of a sudden national championship contenders – sorry Vol nation, that one is still out of reach. But, what Tennessee has shown is that it is capable of winning the SEC East for the first time since 2007.
If Dobbs can perform the way he did against Florida, the offensive line continues to improve and the offensive play-calling remains dynamic, the Vols should have a major edge in the race to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.
LSU might be going downhill
Well, it finally happened folks. After years of an alternating warming and cooling seat, Les Miles has been fired by LSU.
The final nail in the coffin was the atrocious start to the season that the Tigers have gotten off to. Through four games, they have looked absolutely terrible on offense, struggled against lower-tier competition and have already lost two games. This was a team that many predicted to win the SEC West and contend for a national championship this season.
Now, they’re not only out of the national title hunt, they are also likely out of contention in the SEC West.
Les Miles has been at the helm for LSU since 2005, when he took over for Nick Saban. Since then, his unorthodox personality and philosophy has paid dividends for the Tigers — consistently being among the most talented and productive teams in the country.
However, since the loss to Alabama in the 2012 BCS National Championship, LSU has been a bit off. The 2012 and 2013 seasons were still good — the Tigers finished 10-3 both years — but since then, the program has been faltering.
An 8-5 record in 2014 and a 9-3 record last year, initiated the growing heat that Miles’ seat had begun acquiring.
The start to 2016 was the straw that broke the camel’s back. After years of failing to live up to admittedly lofty expectations, and an offense that continued to regress beyond belief, Miles was let go and so was his offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
Miles’ inability to consistently reach and stay at the top of the mountain, and Cameron’s inability to coach a not-garbage offense, led to their firing on Sunday.
Now that they are both gone from the program, there is a huge question that needs answering — what’s next for LSU?
The Tigers better reflect on that question heavily and make the right decisions on who to bring in to replace Miles and Cameron. If they don’t, their time as one of the nation’s elite programs might be over.
It’s time to believe in the Aggies
After an impressive win over Arkansas, it is finally time for everyone to accept the truth – Texas A&M is pretty good this year.
Will they win the national title? No, probably not, but the Aggies are real SEC West contenders.
Although quarterback Trevor Knight hasn’t been the most accurate so far, he has provided leadership, playmaking ability and balance for the team.
Knight has made plays both through the air and on the ground for the team this year. Texas A&M has rushed for over 200 yards in each game, and the team is still undefeated under coach Kevin Sumlin when rushing for 200-plus yards in a game.
The defense also looks great. They have shown the ability to come away with important stops and big plays when the team needs it most.
Assuming that the injuries to receiver Ricky Seals-Jones and defensive end Myles Garrett aren’t too serious, this Aggies team is loaded with talent and have shown the ability to utilize it well.
They might not be able to dethrone Alabama as the kingpin of the SEC West, but Texas A&M has the best shot at doing that in 2016.
Edited by Dalton King
Featured image by Ruth Dudley, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics
Adam is the Assistant Sports Editor for the Tennessee Journalist and a Junior at UT. Most of his free time is spent watching sports, listening to good music, and enjoying life. If you wish to contact him, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter, @AdamMilliken14, or find him at https://www.linkedin.com/pub/adam-milliken/109/a89/a32.