SEC Wrap-Up, Jeopardy! Style: A Look at Teams Around the SEC
OXFORD, Miss. — In week two of the football season some teams looked quite intelligent. Some others looked as if they didn’t have a clue. You know, a clue, like the kind they give on Jeopardy!
Saturday, against non-conference teams, the SEC went 11-1.
Here is a look at last week’s games and the Jeopardy clue each team has going forward. I will take “Still the best conference in college football” for $500.
NO. 25 AUBURN 62, ALABAMA STATE 0
Why does Auburn even charge admission for sideshows like this one? Instead of playing Bama State, Tuskegee is even closer and a Division II team, why not play them? At least fans got to see Jarquez Hunter set a school record with a 94-yard touchdown run. Well, it happened with less than a minute to go in the third quarter, so not many fans were still in Jordan-Hare Stadium to see it.
THE CLUE: This is what we learned about Auburn Saturday.
THE QUESTION: “What is nothing? What is absolutely nothing?”
SOUTH CAROLINA 20, EAST CAROLINA 17
Shane Beamer got his second win as South Carolina coach in dramatic fashion as 27th-year senior Parker White calmly drilled a 36-yard field goal as time expired to give the Gamecocks the win. The Carolina defense did not allow a Pirates’ quarterback to throw for 80 yards nor did it allow an ECU runner to rush for more than 70. It also appears former grad-assistant Zeb Noland is a real leader.
THE CLUE: It is the most-important question to ask a prospective graduate assistant coach.
THE QUESTION: “What is do you have any eligibility left?”
PITT 41, TENNESSEE 34
In an underrated game, the Johnny Majors Bowl took place on Rocky Top Saturday. The Panthers took a 27-20 halftime lead and that was important since the two teams traded punches like boxers in the second half.
UT needs to figure out its running game. The Vols’ leading rusher was the starting quarterback and the second-leading rusher was the backup quarterback.
THE CLUE: This is why Rocky Top is so rocky on the top.
THE QUESTION: “What is Tennessee fans are calling for Josh Heupel’s head after only two games?”
NO. 13 FLORIDA 42, SOUTH FLORIDA 20
Quarterback controversy? What quarterback controversy? Aw, the one brewing in Gainesville, that is the one. Starting quarterback Emory Jones threw for 151 yards in 14 completions for the Gators. Backup Anthony Richardson threw for 152 yards and two touchdowns on THREE completions.
THE CLUE: A thesaurus.
THE QUESTION: “What book does Dan Mullen need to read to come up with other words to replace ‘controversy?'”
NO. 5 GEORGIA 56, UAB 7
J.T. who? Georgia’s J.T. Daniels could not play due to an injury, so Stetson Bennett IV stepped in and threw for 288 yards and five touchdowns. True freshman Carson Beck also got into the game and he threw his first touchdown of his career.
After giving up just a field goal to Clemson in the opener, the Dawg defense surrendered just a single touchdown to the Blazers. The UGA defense is pretty good.
THE CLUE: When a backup quarterback is successful, it is a product of this coaching philosophy from the season before.
THE QUESTION: “What is ‘coach next season’s team this year?'”
NO. 5 TEXAS A&M 10, COLORADO 7
Texas A&M not only lost its starting quarterback against Colorado, it almost lost the game and its lofty ranking. The Aggies lost Haynes King to a significant leg injury early in the game and relied on his backup Zach Calazada to throw a 14-yard touchdown to Isaiah Spiller with 2:41 left in Denver to avoid the upset.
THE CLUE: This is where you do not look when facing non-conference opponents.
THE QUESTION: “What is too far down the road to a Sept. 25th trip to Arkansas?
NO. 1 ALABAMA 48, MERCER 14
Even the Alabama announcers sounded like Willy Wonka when he asked bad children not to do bad things. “No, stop. Please don’t,” Wonka would say unenthusiastically. Kudos for the Bama coaches being able to get their team up to play a team that had never scored against them prior to Saturday.
THE CLUE: Nothing. I got nothing.
THE QUESTION: “Why does Alabama play teams like Mercer?”
ARKANSAS 40, NO. 15 TEXAS 21
Wait, what? Arkansas not only won the game against the No. 15 Longhorns, the Hogs beat them. Not only did Arkansas shut the Horns out in the first half, the Razorbacks outscored Texas in the second half to win going away. Each Hog runner who handled the ball averaged at least 6.3 yards per rush.
THE CLUE: This team should be careful what it wishes for in the future.
THE QUESTION: “What is Texas anxiously awaiting membership in the SEC?”
MISSISSIPPI STATE 24, N.C. STATE 10
Be careful when speaking badly about a Mike Leach team. After struggling in a season-opening win against Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State needed just 13 seconds to let N.C. State know the Wolfpack was in for a long day.
Lideatrick Griffin took the opening kickoff and ran it back 100 yards for a touchdown before the cowbells in Starkville could even ring. From there, the Bulldogs looked like a team that other SEC schools cannot overlook.
THE CLUE: This is how many teams in the SEC West who can win a lot of games.
THE QUESTION: “What is all of them, including Mississippi State?”
KENTUCKY 35, MISSOURI 28
It would be hard to pick a better SEC vs. SEC game to start the season. Kentucky’s Will Levis and Chris Rodriguez, Jr., is becoming one of the most impressive quarterback-running back duos in the SEC. Rodriguez, Jr., ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns, while Levis threw for 179 yards and another score. Mizzou’s Conner Bazelak threw for 294 yards and four scores.
THE CLUE: It sucks.
THE QUESTION: “What is the reaction when one of these teams had to lose this game?”
NO. 20 OLE MISS 54, AUSTIN PEAY 17
There was no hangover from an opening-week win, no fallout from a short week, nor big deal about Lane Kiffin returning to the sideline. Instead, what fans got was what they expected. Matt Corral threw for five touchdowns in three quarters, the Rebels had explosive plays and the defense even scored.
THE CLUE: They’re back…..
THE QUESTION: “Who is the Landshark defense?”
LSU 34, McNEESE STATE 7
In the week’s take-your-son-to-work game, LSU coach Ed Orgeron’s group handled his son Cody’s McNeese State Cowboys. Cody did throw a touchdown against daddy’s team, so Father’s Day in the Orgeron household will not be too awkward.
A cool fact about McNeese: The Cowboys have lost two games this season. Both teams, LSU (FBS) and West Florida (D-2), were 2019 national champions.
THE CLUE: One more.
THE QUESTION: “How many more games does LSU have before the Tigers better get serious?”
VANDERBILT 24, COLORADO STATE 21
Yes, Vanderbilt has won a game. In fact, Vanderbilt has won a road game. Vanderbilt has won a game to give Clark Lea his first collegiate victory. The Commodores could have packed this one in, but instead when the Rams tied the game with a touch over three minutes left, Vandy took over and drove down field in eight plays to Joseph Bulovas’ game-winning 38-yard field goal. Anchor Down!
THE CLUE: After a win, Vanderbilt’s chances of beating Stanford – who beat Southern Cal Saturday – this week in Nashville.
THE QUESTION: “What is not good, but it sure would be cool.”
By the way, I personally know two fellas who appeared on Jeopardy! Neither of my friends won, but both said Alex Trebek was a true gentleman. (Why would they lie? Both of those guys are sportscasters.) Rest in Peace, Alex.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.