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Biggest SEC Shocking Stories So Far This Season

What the heck just happened? (Captured still from SEC Network broadcast)

Biggest SEC Shocking Stories So Far This Season

By: Larry Burton

No season in the SEC goes completely through October without surprises and  this year was indeed a banner year. In going through the biggest surprises of the year, some seem so outlandish as to make you laugh.

  1. From First to Worst – That’s the Auburn Tiger’s story this year as the wheels not only fell off the Gus bus, but it flipped into the ditch. This spring the SEC media picked Auburn to win the SEC. By the end of October they were dead last in the SEC West. Let me repeat that, dead last. No team has ever crashed and burned so hard in the entire history of the SEC from Media Days to the end of October. Auburn in fact will be hard pressed just to even have a shot for the worst bowl offered to an SEC team. When does the fan base turn on Gus? Stay tuned.
  2. The Collapse of Missouri – Many thought Missouri would be a contending team in the spring, but by the end of end of October, they have just one SEC victory and are sitting near dead last in the SEC East. Not only did Missouri collapse, but so did starting quarterback Maty Mauck, who was suspended at the end of October for the rest of the year. Missouri up to now has proven to be a resilient team that always finds a way to wind up near or at the top of the standings in the East. Not so this year.
  3. South Carolina Got All Plucked Up – Not only did the team fall apart but the Old Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier left for the golf greens and big this mess adios too. It seems like yesterday that Spurrier called a press conference just to say he wasn’t going anywhere and now he’s gone. Well, there goes the most fun day of SEC Media Days. Carolina went from being a contender to less than a pretender and is actually looking up at Vanderbilt. Talk about a bunch of Gamecocks laying an egg this season….
  4. The Florida Gators Taking the East – Unless God just really hates the Gators and they lose to Vanderbilt this weekend, the Gators went from being projected as the 5th best team in the East to first. They not only rebuilt in one year with a Saban protege, Jim McElwain, but won the East and play in the SEC Championship Game. They did it with a good defense and a great turnover margin and without smoke and mirrors. Some may think that this should be second in the list, but the Gators were a team on the rise who were opportunistic enough to make the most of every close game.
  5. Georgia’s Collapse – As usual, when expectations are extremely high in Athens, Mark Richt seems to always find a way to disappoint. Such was the case for the team that was picked to win the East. Instead, ending October with three losses, a very narrow loss over Tennessee in a game they should have won and a very ugly 9-6 win over a pitiful Missouri, proved that despite the talent level at Georgia, they’ll always come up short. Richt rode leading running back Nick Chubb like a rented mule and he soon was beaten up and broken with a season ending injury that could lead Georgia to even more losses. November is not the time to be opening up the quarterback competition but that is going on too between the hedges. Some say this should have ranked higher in the “Shock List” but those of us who have followed the SEC as long a I have knew Richt would find a way to screw the pooch once again. It was almost expected.
  6. Kentucky’s Great Start – Kentucky was thought to be a cellar dweller dueling with Vanderbilt for the worst record in the SEC, but instead reeled off 4 out 5 wins to start the season, barely losing to Florida. They also should have beaten Auburn but didn’t and they’ve proven to be a very competitive team and they have a chance to make a bowl game this season. Few thought that a real possibility at the start of the year.
  7. Alabama Jumping So Many Undefeated Teams to Make The Cut in the College Football Playoffs First Poll – Either Nick Saban’s aura is just more compelling than I had assumed or the committee just figured that things would work themselves out in time, it was still shocking to see Alabama jump so many undefeated teams to claim the all important 4th spot in the first poll. But before Alabama fan start popping champagne prematurely, let me remind them that only one team in the first poll’s top four made it to the actual playoffs last year and that number 16 in that poll was the eventual winner.
  8. Vanderbilt is not the worst team in the SEC – By head to head tie breaker, that would now be Missouri, a team we’ve already alluded to. But there’s still time for the Commodores to take their rightful place. Stay tuned.
  9. Tennessee Failed to Live Up to the Hype – Butch Davis is big on getting out the hype but apparently low on delivering the goods. Again, Tennessee was thought to be a strong contender in the East and was picked to finish second, behind Georgia, but it typical fashion from Tennessee teams of the past, they just don’t know how to win with another team on the ropes. They just can’t finish them off. All four losses were close games they could’ve won. A strong finish against weakling teams will help make things look better, they’ll go from 4-4 to 8-4, which is just where I had them at the start of the year as this reporter never bought into all the hype. A 7-6 team rarely becomes an 11-2 team in one season.
  10. Arkansas’ Failure to Get Over the Hump – Last season Arkansas proved itself to be competitive team that was close to turning the corner. The SEC media thought they could be a third or fourth place team in the West, but Arkansas finished October with just two SEC wins placing them in next to last place just ahead of a pitiful Auburn squad that they managed to beat in five overtimes and a surprising win over Tennessee that they should have in fact lost. Once again, the Hogs go into the final stretch with thoughts of “Wait till next year” on their minds.

And that’s the top ten shocking things that have happened in the SEC up to end of October. If you wish, comment on what you think should have made the list or what order you think things should be in.

Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter

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