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An October day in the SEC

October 3, 2015

"We'll play some old ones, but with a new twist. You can't play it the same way twice."
South Carolina visits Missouri with a familiar yet unrecognizable playlist.

The above photo has invited jokes comparing Steve Spurrier to a veteran blues singer. He also stated this week that he does not listen to rap music. None of this has much to do with football, but neither does discussion of the Gamecocks status these days. In fact, everything about the Gamecocks currently has to do with the age of the ol’ ball coach. Does anyone remember a time when he was simply the ball coach? Did such a time ever exist?


The Gamecocks currently trail Missouri 17 to 10 in the second quarter. The Tigers are playing without suspended quarterback Maty Mauk. If South Carolina cannot amend this score, then they will start the season 0-3 in the conference, and the rest of the season will continue to play on like a Bob Dylan tour of minor league baseball seasons, which is to say, it won’t have much to do with football, but with a long and gracious goodbye between and old man and the game he coached.

Meanwhile, Missouri can rise to .500 in the conference with a win, after having dropped its SEC-opener to Kentucky, who, by the way, is 2-1 in the standings right now.

Alabama returns to the scene of a past crime.

I have before me a post-it with an outline. The outline begins with a description of a day I will not speak of here, for I do not speak of it often. It was, after all, the day the music died in Athens for Mark Richt, Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, and those long ago dreams of number one. For now, I will simply hold my breath, cross my fingers, and lift up my toes from the floorboards. Everything be damned—Saban is back in town.

Arkansas and Tennessee meet to commiserate.

This autumn was supposed to be about restoration. Pig calls were to resound again in the Ozark hills of the Natural State. Instead, a grand opportunity slipped away against Texas A&M, and the Razorbacks find another season already on the chopping block with its throat waiting to be slit. The season began in late summer with a 48-13 trouncing of UTEP. Then came a loss to Toledo, a loss to Texas Tech, and the heartbreak against the Aggies. These are sad times growing sadder. These are the times of Bret Bielema and unmet promises. Sell the farm! Runoff the kids! It’s time to get up and go!

The Vols ain’t fared much better. They blew a lead against Oklahoma, and they blew a lead to Florida. If they seize a lead today, it may just be to blow it all again. This year was supposed to be a return to those orange and white checkerboard heavens. Instead, it already feels like the hounds have fallen down a rabbit hole that may well have no bottom. They fall and they fall and they fall.

Ole Miss lookin’ to stomp through the swamp.

All eyes are on Athens this week, but the Rebels trip to Gainesville is of the utmost importance. Both these teams are 2-0. Both these teams are after something they’ve either never had or seems ever further and farther part of the past. This is a big game. Look for these two rugged defenses to beat the beauty from the game. This will not be pretty. Then not much about the south worth talking about ever is.

Mississippi State and Texas A&M meet once again to compare maroon paint samples.

Mississippi State already failed earlier this season to build on last year’s momentum; they lost by two points to LSU. Now they make a trip to Corpus Christi. On the other hand, the Aggies are coming off a thrilling victory against Arkansas, probably feeling both good and lucky, like a small town senior on graduation night. Of course, there is that sudden feeling of oh shit, what’s next lingering in the air still warm with blood and sweat and a strange sense of hopeful fear. The quarterbacks in this game are both worth watching. One is young and untested. The other may be the best in the conference. This game has all the makings of flame and firework. It could also be a day where grown men beat the pups senseless, sending all those cowbells limping back into the eastern wild.

Eastern Kentucky and Kentucky.

Kentucky’s only loss on the season is to Florida, so far, but wouldn’t it be the Kentucky kind of thing to go out and lose to those little Colonels down the way? I doubt it happens, but if it does, I’ll think of my Richmond birthplace with more affection than I have in years past, at least until tomorrow.


Bryan Harvey tweets about things he knows little to nothing about @LawnChairBoys.

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