More Overtime (cont.)
There was a moment Saturday night that perfectly captured SEC fans' unparalleled collective pride -- and the reason everyone else resents it. As Georgia players celebrated their 41-20 win over Missouri, the Bulldogs' red-clad cheering section in the lower bowl of Faurot Field broke out the ubiquitous chest-beating "S-E-C, S-E-C" chant ... at a game between two SEC teams.
But the Tigers had it coming as soon as defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson made his now-infamous "Old Man Football" comment about Georgia a week earlier. (Richardson apologized to Bulldogs coach Mark Richt after the game.) So of course, both Georgia-Mizzou and Florida-Texas A&M became referendums on the conference's self-proclaimed brand of "Grown Man Football."
What's amazing is how similarly the two games played out. Texas A&M jumped to a 17-7 first-half lead as the Gators struggled to get a handle on the Aggies' up-tempo offense. Kevin Sumlin's team ran 46 plays before intermission, racking up 269 total yards. But Florida came out after halftime and completely shut down freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, limiting the Aggies to 65 yards -- just 2.8 per play -- and winning 20-17.
Neither Missouri nor Georgia could get much going in the first half, and the score was just 3-3 with two minutes left before intermission. Then both teams woke up and combined for six scores over the next seven series. But the Dawgs did a nice job containing Tigers quarterback James Franklin's rushing attempts, and once Franklin got behind and needed to pass, Georgia star Jarvis Jones almost singlehandedly put an end to things.
Together, the Gators and Bulldogs combined to outscore the newbies 24-0 in the fourth quarter. That essentially reinforced the very point the SEC old guard wanted to make (while of course conveniently ignoring Arkansas' fourth quarter against Louisiana-Monroe).
"They started looking kind of sluggish, not moving around so much like in the first quarter when they were all hyped up," said Georgia receiver Marlon Brown. "We kept grinding and grinding, and I think we just wore them out."
My reaction to the latest AP and Coaches' polls:
Overrated: Oklahoma (AP and Coaches': No. 5)
Congrats to the Sooners on their 69-13 rout of Florida A&M. But with all of Oklahoma's offensive question marks, why would anyone keep this team above Georgia and Michigan State, both of which already have quality wins on their résumés?
Underrated: BYU (AP: No. 25, Coaches': NR)
The Cougars should have been ranked this preseason. They certainly should have entered the polls after their opening-night clinic against Washington State. But they'll move up soon enough if they beat Utah and Boise State the next two weeks.
Each week, I'll update my projected BCS lineup (as necessary) based on the latest games. Here's my current edition:
Title game: LSU vs. Oregon
Rose: USC vs. Michigan State
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Virginia Tech
Sugar: Alabama vs. Texas
Orange: Florida State vs. Louisville
That Fiesta Bowl spot opposite the Big 12 champion, which I'd previously earmarked for Wisconsin, is suddenly up for grabs. While I'm not entirely confident in the Hokies (nor would the Fiesta Bowl be thrilled about taking a team that's struggled to sell BCS tickets recently), I'm surer of them right now than I am of a second Big Ten team finishing in the top 14.
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