It’s the most, wonderful time, of the year.
I cannot for the life of me get that Holiday standard of a song out of my mind.
And really, especially for the Alliance Killer known as the SEC, it’s a pretty good time of the year to be thankful.
The two combatants for the SEC have been determined (the two teams that will do battle in Atlanta are shocking, shocking I say.) They’re thankful.
Most of the conference’s teams are looking at potential holiday travel destinations, so they’re thankful too.
LSU is looking for a new head Tiger, so there’s some thankfulness there too. Vanderbilt’s first season in the slog back to SEC relevance is nearly over, so they have thankfulness in their hearts.
Then there’s Florida. Poor Florida. There probably isn’t a whole lot of thankfulness to be found in the Swamp.
Let’s recap the week that was in the SEC, with a tinge of thankfulness mind you.
Week 12 Review
South Carolina 21, Auburn 17
Why Should I Care- USC coach Shane Beamer has given the Gamecocks the greatest holiday gift, hope. The Gamecocks fought the Tigers for 60 minutes and came away with a win that made them bowl eligible. As for Auburn, it wasn’t long ago I thought they had an argument for second best in the SEC West. That seems like an eternity ago.
Georgia 56, Charleston Southern 7
Why Should I Care- Georgia did what they do. They pounded CSU into the ground and played enough offense to light the scoreboard up. All in a day’s work.
Alabama 42, Arkansas 35
Why Should I Care- It took Alabama’s Bryce Young to throw for 556 yards for the Tide to survive the Hogs. In the process, Bama will now face Georgia in the SEC final. If the Tide has any hope of a win, there are a bunch of corrections that must be made. In a hurry. For Arky, the Hogs are climbing their way into the upper echelon of the SEC in the West no less.
Texas A&M 52, Prairie View A&M 3
Why Should I Care- The Aggies dismantled the View as expected. However, the LSU game will be a little tougher for Gig Em, especially since LSU is playing for a bowl bid and wants their head coach in Baton Rouge.
Mississippi State 55, Tennessee State 10
Why Should I Care- Other than the juggernaut in Athens, the hottest SEC team right now could be State. The Dawgs improved to 7-4 with the blowout win. MSU quarterback Will Rogers is lighting up secondaries (391 yards passing) right now and could very well engineer an upset in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss.
Kentucky 56, New Mexico State 16
Why Should I Care- The Cats improved to 8-3 with an offensive explosion against the Aggies. Quarterback Will Levis threw for 419 yards and receiver Wandale Robinson had 181 receiving yards to go along with Chris Rodriguez’s 119 yards on the ground. As an offense, Kentucky had over 700 yards of total offense which is good news coming into next Saturday’s game against archrival Louisville.
Missouri 24, Florida 23 (OT)
Why Should I Care- Thanks to this result and the results of the last month or so, the Dan Mullen era has ended in Gainesville. Mullen is a good offensive coach but isn’t a CEO of an elite program. Put him in as a coordinator at a Power 5 school or a head coach at a Group of Five, and he’s going to fare much better. Florida will be looking for their fourth head ball coach in 12 years. As for Mizzou, the Tigers achieved bowl eligibility with their overtime win. Star running back Tyler Badie scored the touchdown in overtime to set up the game-winning two-point conversion.
Ole Miss 31, Vanderbilt 17
Why Should I Care- The Rebels improved to 9-2 by surviving a less than stellar performance against the Commodores. Heisman candidate Matt Corral passed for 321 yards to set up an Epic game in Starkville Thanksgiving Thursday in the Egg Bowl. Give Vandy credit. They competed for 60 minutes against a strong SEC squad. The tide seems to be turning in Nashville.
Tennessee 60, South Alabama 14
Why Should I Care- The Vols achieved bowl eligibility as well by dismantling the Jaguars in Knoxville. There’s little doubt that the Vols are definitely on the uptick. Getting to bowl eligibility is huge for the program regardless of the possible NCAA storm that could be coming at them.
LSU 27, UL Monroe 14
Why Should I Care- The Tigers set themselves up to end the Ed Orgeron era in Baton Rouge in a bowl game by beating the Warhawks. Quarterback Max Johnson threw for over 300 yards to lead the Tigers to a much-needed win. Next week’s game against Texas A&M is a big game on several fronts.
Week 12 Predictions
Last week, the Backwoods Swami got back to winning a few, going 14-3. For the season, I am 112-26 (811). With an air of thankfulness (got it in there again), let’s do some predicting.
As an added bonus, I’m going to include the name of the rivalry game too, you know, to spice up Thanksgiving week for you. I had to ad-lib a couple, so you’ll see them.
- Kentucky at Louisville (Battle For the Governor’s Cup)
- Ole Miss at Mississippi State (The Egg Bowl)
- Missouri at Arkansas (The Battle Line Rivalry)
- Alabama at Auburn (The Iron Bowl)
- Georgia at Georgia Tech (Clean, Old Fashioned Hate)
- Florida State at Florida (The Sunshine Showdown)
- Vanderbilt at Tennessee (The Volunteer Showdown)
- Texas A&M at LSU (The Don’t Lose Jimbo to Baton Rouge War)
- Clemson at South Carolina (The Palmetto Bowl)
- Coastal Carolina at South Alabama (The Directional School Showdown)
- Texas State at Arkansas State (The Champions of Life Bowl)
- Troy at Georgia State (The We Play at Turner Field Showdown)
- Georgia Southern at Appalachian State (Moonshine Madness)
- UL Monroe at Louisiana (The Crawdad Classic)
- Kansas State at Texas (Can the SEC Return the Horns Classic)
- Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (Bedlam)
Week 12 SEC Rankings
- Georgia- Shocking, right?
- Alabama- By the skin of their nose.
- Ole Miss- Just about blew it against Vandy.
- Texas A&M- Great defense, average offense.
- Mississippi State- The Fightin’ Mike Leach’s are really playing good football right now.
- Kentucky- Sole possession of second place in the SEC East is the determining factor for me. They deserve credit for it.
- Tennessee- What a year for Josh Heupel, who would be SEC coach of the year if not for…
- Arkansas- Sam Pittman is SEC COY. The man has turned the program around.
- South Carolina- The Gamecocks deserve credit for an unbelievable year based on all projections. And they have a shot to beat…Clemson.
- Auburn- The wheels on the bus go round and round unless you’re War Eagle. Those wheels have flown off into the median of the SEC Interstate.
- Missouri- The Tigers might have driven the stake into the heart of Gator head coach Dan Mullen’s Florida career. Wow.
- LSU- Who will be the next Tiger in Baton Rouge? Stay tuned, it could happen in a hurry.
- Florida- How the mighty have fallen. I see 5-7 in their future, and a new head coach.
- Vanderbilt- Vandy is showing signs of life. Good for them.
Shane Shackleford is a regional sportswriter from Speedwell, TN. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the United States Basketball Writers of America. Shane is also a football color analyst for WRIL-FM 106.3 Sports in Pineville, KY, and is a member of the 13th Region Sports Media Network. He has written and published his first book “Bounce: A Basketball Love Story” which can be found on Amazon currently. You can find Shane on KySportsStyle.com, A Sea of Blue, The London Sentinel-Echo, The Corbin Times-Tribune, The Mountain Advocate, Harlan County Sports, and The Mountain Eagle. Contact Shane by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.