The last Saturday in October is upon us, the first official BCS rankings were released later in the week and that means the race for conference championships and bowl bids is in full swing. TheSportsNotebook’s college football coverage is breaking down the week with a separate post for each conference. Let’s take a look at SEC Week 9…
Tennessee-Alabama (3:30 PM ET, CBS)
South Carolina-Missouri (7 PM ET, ESPN2)
Butch Jones has Tennessee making some great progress, with his near-miss against Georgia at the start of October and then last week’s upset of South Carolina getting the Vols to 4-3 and amidst the pack of SEC East teams with two losses that are hoping for a Missouri stumble. But at least for Tennessee, that would mean they’d have to win out and they would mean winning as a 28-point underdog at Alabama.
Speaking of Missouri it was two weeks ago today that we were looking at the undefeated Tigers, while also noting that the schedule stretch had them playing Georgia, Florida and South Carolina all in succession, with no bye weeks in between. Mizzou hammered Georgia in Athens. Even though the Tigers lost their quarterback James Franklin, they shut down Florida last week.
With a two-game lead in the division, Missouri doesn’t have to win over South Carolina, but if they do, it would all but wrap up a ticket to Atlanta on December 7 for the SEC Championship Game, and shift the conversation to whether Gary Pinkel’s team can beat Alabama and win the national title. Franklin is still out, but so is South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw, and Missouri is a three-point favorite at home.
Another quarterback missing in action will be Vanderbilt’s Austyn Carta-Samuels. Certainly not what the Commodores need is they get set to face Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. The Aggie loss to Auburn has ended their national title hopes, but an at-large bid to a BCS game (presumably the Sugar) is still in the cards if they win out.