■ Thinking back now, three full days removed from electric Saturday night, we can't help thinking what really decided the winner of the Kentucky-South Carolina football game was pure ego.
Steve Spurrier gave in to his ego and Neal Brown did not.
South Carolina was chewing up chunks of yardage on the ground on the way to a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter. Mike Davis had just scored on a 26-yard run to give the Gamecocks a 38-24 lead.
After Kentucky cut the lead to 38-31, however, South Carolina faced a third-and-3 on its own 39-yard line.
Instead of more ground-and-pound, Spurrier reverted to his more famous approach of putting the ball in the air. The result: UK cornerback Cody Quinn broke up Dylan Thompson's pass to Damiere Byrd and Carolina punted.
After Kentucky tied the game at 38, South Carolina got the ball back with 2:41 left. All the Gamecocks needed was a field goal. But Spurrier went back to the air and Thompson's second pass was — as we all know — batted up in the air by UK defensive tackle Mike Douglas, snagged by UK defensive end Bud Dupree and toted 6 yards into the end zone for the home team's 45-38 lead.
Even after that, South Carolina got the ball back with 2:23 left. Still plenty of time. Yet again, Spurrier called pass plays. The fourth consecutive pass ended up in the arms of Kentucky safety Ashely Lowery.
Consider that after Davis ran the football just twice in the fourth quarter — once after his touchdown with 11:45 left and not at all in the game's final eight minutes.
Contrast that with Brown who, like Spurrier, built his reputation on the passing game. Yet when South Carolina proved it had no answer for Kentucky's Jojo Kemp running the football out of the Wildcat formation, the offensive coordinator kept calling the same rushing play over and over and over again.
"Like I said in the post-game, if it's working, you're going to continue to run it on both sides," said Mark Stoops on Monday.
While Spurrier got away from what was working, Brown never did.
■ Loved what Stoops said Saturday night when asked if you can talk about his team turning a corner with the win.
"If we go out and win next week and take care of business, I think we do," he said. "I mean that. That's the thing in this business, you've got seven days to be humbled."
Before the Vanderbilt game, we talked about a young head coach and a young team in the unfamiliar position of being a favorite.
Same goes this week for a young head coach and a young team being in a position where it must forget about the congratulations from last week and focus on taking care of business this week.
■ On the flip side, you can make the case that this team has prepared appropriately each and every week.
It beat UT-Martin the way an SEC team is supposed to beat an OVC team. It kept a gritty Ohio team from scoring a touchdown. It went toe-to-toe with Florida in The Swamp. It shook off that disappointing loss to beat Vanderbilt.
It responded to the hype and challenge surrounding South Carolina, which had to be mad from blowing a 13-point lead the previous week against Missouri, to score the game's final 21 points and beat the Gamecocks.
■ Last weekend was a big weekend for the Mitch Barnhart Tree.
Thursday night, Arizona Athletics Director Greg Byrne, a former Barnhart assistant at UK, celebrated the Wildcats' upset win over Oregon.
On Saturday afternoon, Mississippi State AD Scott Stricklin, a former Barnhart assistant at UK, celebrated Mississippi State's win over Texas A&M.
Saturday night, Boise State AD Mark Coyle, a former Barnhart assistant at UK, celebrated Boise State's win at Nevada.
Of course, the Oregon AD is former Barnhart assistant Rob Mullens, but in that Arizona-Ducks matchup, one former Barnhart acolyte had to lose.