South Carolina’s bye week probably came on a good week for a Gamecocks team that could use some healing heading into its final three-game stretch. It definitely came at a good time for Gamecock/college football fans.
Without the stress of your favorite team playing, you can devote all your energy to a blockbuster weekend around the country, and you don’t even have to wait until Saturday. On Thursday night, there will be not one, but two, Top 25 matchups.
First No. 5 and undefeated Baylor plays No. 12 and once-beaten Oklahoma. Then No. 2 and unbeaten Oregon takes on No. 6 and once-beaten Stanford at Stanford. So, if you’re rooting for some dream scenario where South Carolina could find itself back in the national picture or you’re just rooting for chaos in general, root for Oklahoma and Stanford.
Saturday comes what has become the pre-SEC Championship Game when No. 1 Alabama takes on No. 10 and twice-beaten LSU. The Tigers have lost to Georgia and Auburn this year, but still look to have the kind of talent and physical nature to make this game interesting. For Alabama, this is a chance to prove it’s truly the nation’s No. 1 team and not simply riding on last year’s national title.
As you would expect, the head coaches of the Tide and Tigers have taken a different approach to Saturday’s game.
“What it's like is just a little more energy in the step of your team, their attention to detail is greater," LSU coach Les Miles said Monday, according to Nola.com. "Their attention to watching film and extra time is something that they put in. And yeah, I enjoy it very much. I've always enjoyed the competition with some of the better teams in this country and certainly Alabama is that."
Alabama’s Nick Saban went with this, “I think that from my perspective, the way we try to get ready for every game is sort of the same kind of grind, whatever you want to call it, in terms of every situation that comes up, getting your players to understand and anticipate what's going to happen, what they need to do to execute, get them to practice and prepare so that it gives them the best opportunity when the game comes," he told AL.com. "Look, we have a tremendous amount of respect for this team but we've had a tremendous amount of respect for every team we play. If there was a better way to do it, we would already have been trying to do it that way.”
Around the SEC:
Florida coach Will Muschamp had some awkward moments in his regular Monday press conference.
Meanwhile, at Mississippi State, the Bulldogs are trying to help quarterback Dak Prescott deal with the loss of his mother.
And, at Texas A&M, where Eric Hyman is now the athletics director, the longtime head athletic trainer has been fired and folks are wondering why.