It’s the home stretch of the Southeastern Conference football season, and only one important question remains to be answered. Who will play Georgia in the SEC title game? The Bulldogs clinched the Eastern Division two weeks ago with their win over South Carolina, and Alabama and Auburn will meet in the regular season finale to determine who wins the Western Division.
It seemed like a good time to take a quick look back at the season that has been and choose our biggest surprises of the SEC schedule.
Tennessee and Florida both are shopping already
The last time the Volunteers and Gators were looking for a new head coach in the same year it was 1970. Tennessee hired Bill Battle, and Florida hired Doug Dickey, who had just been fired at Tennessee, oddly enough. Things were different then. For starters, there was no SEC East. Throughout the 90s these two programs ruled the division mostly under the same two coaches – Steve Spurrier and Phil Fulmer. It’s been a revolving door at both schools since, but it’s still been a long time since they were shopping at the same time. That should make agents happy.
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The Volunteers haven’t won an SEC game
Not one. Tennessee must beat either LSU this week or Vanderbilt in the season finale to avoid history. The last time the Volunteers were winless in the SEC was 1932, the year before the SEC was created. Tennessee lost by 41 points to Georgia, 38 to Alabama and 33 by Missouri in the game that got Butch Jones fired.
LSU hasn’t completely fallen apart
Remember when Ed Orgeron’s Tigers lost 24-21 to Troy at home and were the laughingstock of the SEC if not all of college football? LSU has only lost once since and that was to 24-10 to Alabama on Nov. 4. The Tigers are fifth in the SEC and scoring defense and running back Derrius Guice is playing like Derrius Guice and is second in the SEC in rushing with 103.2 yards per game.
Missouri is not dead yet
Another Tigers team that was left for dead, Missouri was 1-5 at one point this year and head coach Barry Odom was on the hot seat despite being in just his second season. Now, though, Missouri has the second-longest win streak in the SEC with four straight victories. The Tigers have topped Idaho, UConn, Florida and Tennessee, and only 10-0 Alabama has won more consecutive games than Missouri at this point in the season.
Deebo Samuel STILL leads USC in touchdowns
The junior wide receiver did not finish the third game of the season, but he scored six touchdowns in that time. Seven games later, that’s still holding up. The only Gamecock within two touchdowns of Samuel is quarterback Jake Bentley, who has rushed for four scores. This fact speaks to the Gamecocks problems scoring points (11th in the SEC in scoring offense) but also is a reminder of just how dynamic Samuel was early this season. It should make South Carolina fans excited for 2018.