With Tennessee and Vanderbilt taking a much-needed week off, I had the luxury of channel surfing Saturday. College football games only.
It turned out to be Upset Saturday. Two of the top seven teams lost, as No. 5 Stanford lost 27-21 to unranked Utah and No. 7 Georgia lost to undefeated Missouri. In all, six of the top 20 teams met defeat.
In the early games, I watched parts of a Top 25 triple-header. It included Missouri-Georgia between two ranked teams between the hedges. The other two games were No. 14 South Carolina on the road at Arkansas and the Red River Rivalry, No. 12 Oklahoma against unranked Texas in what could have been Mack Brown's swan song.
At 6-0, No. 25 Missouri is for real. Make that was for real, until Tigers quarterback James Franklin went down and out with what was diagnosed as a separated shoulder. Estimates on when he will return run the gamut – from a couple of weeks to 6-8 weeks. They are not the same team without Franklin.
The undefeated Tigers torpedoed Vanderbilt last week, putting 44 points up on the Commodores. Their second straight SEC road game found them picking on an injury-depleted Georgia team, a team that saw quarterback Aaron Murray throw an uncharacteristic two interceptions as the Dawgs went down, 41-26. Murray finished with four turnovers. It marked the first time in 32 years that Mizzou had knocked off a top 10 team on the road.
“I was 4-0 on turnovers,'' Georgia Coach Mark Richt said. “They did a really good job of securing the ball and we didn't.''
Murray would have liked to have two of his passes back.
“Both picks were forced throws, trying to put the ball into tight spaces where I probably should have checked down,'' said Murray, who also had three touchdown passes for the Dawgs.
In Dallas, Brown lived to coach another game as Texas upset No. 12 Oklahoma, 36-20. This one was a signature win for Brown and the ‘Horns. It could not have come at a more opportune time as the buzzards were circling the Cotton Bowl.
It's no secret the natives were restless. Texas has been fighting Aggie envy as Texas A&M has taken the spotlight in the state. Texas A&M raised a state record $740 million at the end of the fiscal year which ended Aug. 31.
Texas A&M pointed to the Aggies joining the SEC and obtaining a government contract to develop vaccines. The success and media exposure A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has received also factored in the elevated fundraising.
The Longhorns had a 1-2 start with 19 returning starters giving expectations for brighter things. They came to the Red River Rivalry as a two-touchdown underdog. That was before quarterback Case McCoy threw two touchdown passes, hitting 13 of 21 for 190 yards.
Texas rolled up 445 yards on offense, while holding the Sooners Express to 255 yards on the ground. The Longhorns played keep-away, holding the football more than 10 minutes longer than Oklahoma.
South Carolina took its best shot at the Hogs after Arkansas took an early 7-0 lead. Coach Steve Spurrier's team scored an unanswered 52 points on the Hogs for a 52-7 win.
First downs were 32-7 in South Carolina's favor. They had 537 offensive yards compared to only 248 for Arkansas. Spurrier featured a balanced offense, getting 277 yards through the air, another 260 on the ground.
The mid-day game that held my interest was the No. 10 LSU Tigers hosting No. 17 Florida. Yards were harder to gain as entrance to a national park.
It was nasty in the trenches. Not pretty, but packed with hard licks on both sides. The 17-6 score said it all. Florida dropped to 4-2 and it left Coach Will Muschamp's record against ranked opponents to 4-7.
If you missed the Texas A&M-Ole Miss game, shame on you. I know I was bleary-eyed before one of the most exciting fourth quarter of the season. Give it to Aggie QB Johnny Manziel. Time and time again he drove his team and put points on the board despite playing on a bum knee. The Rebels answered every time and it was decided by an Aggie field goal on the final play. It was a classic in every sense.
All in all, the SEC saw Alabama stay undefeated and the Tide, LSU and Texas A&M are the best teams in the West. The East is still very much up for grabs. Georgia has to get injured players back on the field. South Carolina is going to be a tough out, but still has Missouri and Florida left, both games to be played at home.
You can always count on one thing: There is always high drama with SEC games.
Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.