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What We Learned from the SEC in Week 12

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This was a familiar sight across the SEC this week as many teams, including Georgia, played opponents of lesser quality. (Source: Georgia Athletics) This was a familiar sight across the SEC this week as many teams, including Georgia, played opponents of lesser quality. (Source: Georgia Athletics)
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  • What We Learned from the SEC in Week 1

    What We Learned from the SEC in Week 1

    Sunday, August 31 2014 1:51 PM EDT2014-08-31 17:51:41 GMT

    For a while, it looked like the college football world was going to be upended in the first week of play, but it all worked out according to plan in the end.

    More >>

    For a while, it looked like the college football world was going to be upended in the first week of play, but it all worked out according to plan in the end.

    More >>

(RNN) – The BCS has spoken and no other conference except the SEC even exists. This comes after a week of games that was so terrible we didn't even watch one.

We had our eyes trained on what was almost the second-biggest upset in Louisiana, and what ended any lingering hope of a non-AQ conference team making a BCS bowl. Obviously, we're speaking of the overtime loss by Louisiana Tech to Utah State.

It was a bad day to be away from a TV. Not only did Ole Miss go into the most overrated stadium in college football and try to prove that statement true, but Stanford showed Oregon the importance of playing defense and Baylor resurrected the ghost of Robert Griffin III in a total annihilation of Kansas State.

The Wildcats lost by 28, a deficit that came close to matching the previous high for points allowed by their defense. The win made Baylor 5-5 and set up Notre Dame's rise to No. 1, followed by a trifecta of SEC teams. That's the first time that no other conference has failed to have a team ranked in the top 4.

More chaos could ensue in the next two weeks, and you would be stupid not to watch for it. And to those annoying people who won't shut up about how the regular season will be diminished when the playoff starts, one loss is still enough to eliminate a team from it, so please drop your stupid arguments and embrace what college football should have instituted decades ago.

Below is the weekly list of what we learned from watching SEC games in Week 12.

1. Nick Saban is the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. With all due to respect to Lou Gehrig, he's got nothing on the Alabama coach.

Saban is on the verge of backing into his second national championship game in consecutive seasons. Not even Bear Bryant pulled that off. Saban is known as much for finding things to be upset about even after dominating wins as he is for "The Process," which emphasizes playing up to a personal standard regardless of opponent and losing early enough that there is still time for everybody else to lose and vault you back up in the rankings.

You can't argue with success. Losses by Oregon, Stanford and Oklahoma State last year allowed the Crimson Tide to get a rematch with LSU for the national championship, and losses by Oregon and Kansas State have put Alabama at No. 2 in the BCS and back in control of its own destiny.

It almost looks as if "The Process" involves losing a game just so Saban can have something to be upset about. Even when he won a national title at LSU, the Tigers lost a game early in the year and benefited from the BCS shutting Southern California out of the championship game despite being ranked No. 1 in both human polls.

Saban is now free to rally Alabama (10-1, 6-1) to wins over Auburn, Georgia and Notre Dame/Florida/Oregon/whoever-ends-up-not-losing-another-game and further his place in college football lore.

2. Ole Miss hates winning. How else can you explain some of the outcomes the Rebels have produced this year?

The Rebels (5-6, 2-5) gave up two touchdowns in the last 6 minutes of the game in a 30-27 loss to Texas A&M, needed a last-second field goal to beat Arkansas, allowed Vanderbilt to get a game-winning touchdown in the final minute, gave up three fourth-quarter touchdowns to LSU – including a game-winner in the final minute – and have been one win away from bowl eligibility for three weeks.

It's a big improvement over where the Rebels were last year, and is a sign that good things may be on the horizon, but it has to be frustrating for fans to know that the Rebels could just as easily be 8-3 as they could be 4-7.

3. It's a good time to be an LSU co-ed. Les Miles, the Tigers' insane head coach (The man eats grass. Enough said.) gave his full endorsement to the lovely ladies of Baton Rouge getting cozy with his football players. Get your hands on some cheap, plastic beads, boys, it's going to be a good week.

Miles is a lunatic. This has been known for years, but it's always nice to reaffirm a strongly held belief. His odd, profane, rambling advocacy of heterosexual revelry was, by far, his best "Les being Les" moment, and the speech should immediately adorn the walls of every sorority house in southern Louisiana.

This is good news for Arkansas. Not only will LSU (9-2, 5-2) be stuffed full of gravy and cranberry sauce before Friday's game, they could be very unfocused early in the week as well (Perhaps trying to win the favor of these ladies?) and that smells like a recipe for an upset.

Then again, it's Arkansas, so forget we even brought that possibility up.

4. It's a really bad idea to lose to Vanderbilt. The one-day delay on this column deprived us of the opportunity to speak ill of Derek Dooley while he still had a job, but we did enough of that during the season and in text messages to friends that it's probably for the best.

That doesn't mean we're not going to still speak ill of him, though. We do, however, respect Dooley's parting statement in which he said, "Sorry I was so terrible." Maybe that wasn't a quote. We could be paraphrasing. Either way, it's honorable to admit when you're bad at your job.

It's more honorable to not be bad at your job in the first place, but it's too late for that.

Dooley actually said, "I am sorry we could not generate enough wins to create hope for a brighter future," which sounds an awful lot like what we said above, just in a more eloquent and refined way. (Dooley has a law degree, so that is to be expected.)

Tennessee (4-7, 0-7) gave Dooley the boot one day after losing in spectacular form to the Commodores, just like two weeks ago when Kentucky's Joker Phillips got the boot one day after losing to Vanderbilt in spectacular form. Vanderbilt is actually pretty good, but the rest of the conference has spoken and getting embarrassed by Vanderbilt, and losing your shot at bowl eligibility in the process, is not acceptable.

That being said…

5. James Franklin (coach) will be getting some phone calls, and the first one better be from his athletic director asking how much more money he wants.

If Vanderbilt wants to be a big-time football program (is that even possible?) it has to drop a ridiculous pile of cash on the football coach's desk and be saddled by a crippling buyout clause should the win total return to its normal level. That's the stuff champions are made of.

But until forced to part ways with Franklin because another school with football tradition (i.e. rich boosters and a lack of concern for education) wants him, Vandy (7-4, 5-3) should shower him with all the love someone who lives in Nashville and can't play the banjo deserves.

He's the best football coach in the state of Tennessee and is on pace to stay that way just wearing orange instead of gold, unless that gold comes in bars.

6. Mississippi State is the living embodiment of "middle tier." The Bulldogs (8-3, 4-3) beat the bad teams and lose to the good ones handily.

Mississippi State followed three straight losses in which it allowed 38, 38 and 37 points and scored 7, 13 and 17 with a 45-14 win over Arkansas (4-7, 2-5). All three of the Bulldogs' losses were to ranked teams, and all eight of their wins are over unranked teams.

Mississippi State's only other opponent is Ole Miss, which is not ranked, so that bodes well for the Bulldogs.

7. It's Johnny Football's Heisman to lose, and he won't lose it. But if your name is going to be "Johnny Football," kicking a PAT should be easy for you. It wasn't.

Manziel is not a kicker and the point didn't matter in the outcome, so the miss is more than forgivable. However, the only reason he got sent out there in the first place was probably a shameless attempt at the Heisman, which is a good reason to vote for someone else to win it.

The only good that came from the attempt was it gave everybody a comeback to that one annoying friend we all have who claims he can do anything other people fail at. If Johnny Football can't do it, you can't either.

8. Want to hear a joke? Missouri. Ok, that was uncalled for, but it was still pretty funny.

Missouri's bowl eligibility likely slipped away, just like its fourth quarter lead in a 31-27 loss to Syracuse. Missouri (5-6, 2-5) allowed a touchdown with 20 seconds left in the game and now must topple Texas A&M (9-2, 5-2) to play in the postseason.

We're not much on predictions, but we're pretty confident A&M will win that one and end Missouri's inaugural SEC season with disappointment, just the way the entire season has played out. There is good news, however, because it is basketball season and the Tigers are currently undefeated.

9. Auburn is so bad it forgot how to celebrate. There are people who place the oak trees at Toomer's Corner in Auburn in such high regard as to be equal with the Liberty Bell. But while those trees are dying due to poison and Auburn fans throwing other dead trees onto them after every win (this has been a good year for the trees in that respect) there are other people who treat those trees with such respect and care that after beating Alabama A&M (yes, that was cause for celebration, if you're wondering) they set them on fire.

The trees were poisoned and have been delicately clinging to life for two years. That life slips away even more every time toilet paper is heaped on them. Trees aren't designed to take that kind of abuse. They also aren't designed to resist fire.

It's probably a moot point with only Alabama left on the schedule, but Auburn (3-8, 0-7) should just stop winning all together to give whatever chance at life the trees still have a fair opportunity because the fan base certainly can't be trusted with that kind of responsibility.

10. We like empty calories, but they're best in moderation. Western Carolina, Jacksonville State, Wofford, Georgia Southern, Alabama A&M, Sam Houston State and Samford were all on the slate for SEC teams.

Like eating Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding Dongs, CupCakes and Sno Balls, it's nice to get a quick fix every now and then, but you don't want to eat a whole box them at once. SEC teams played host to and shut all those teams down, similar to how Hostess, the maker of all the aforementioned goodies, shut down production this week.

SEC teams pay through the nose for those game, and you can honor their commitment to "excellence" by paying through the nose for a box of Twinkies, if you so choose. Just don't eat them all at once. Contrary to popular belief, they don't last forever. This week's news was proof of that.

Extra points: Seriously, if we hear another person say "the regular season is the playoffs" we're going to burst into flames.

We don't know if James Franklin (coach) can play the banjo or not, but either way he made the right career move.

If you're considering paying $8,000 for a box of Twinkies, call us first. We have an opened box that was purchased on a buy-one, get-one free special before the Hostess bankruptcy was announced that we'll sell for less than half that, but only if you pay the shipping.

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