Quick thoughts and takes on every Week 8 SEC game.
Auburn 51, Arkansas 10
Auburn is still sort of hanging around as the offense is getting stronger … or it might just have looked that way because it was playing Arkansas. Bo Nix had a sharp performance averaging over ten yards per throw with three touchdowns. The running game overcame the absence of JaTarvious Whitlow with eight different Tigers getting carries on the way to almost 300 yards with three scores – AU was in control from the start.
The Hog defense struggled, but the offensive line didn’t do a thing to control the game. It couldn’t handle Auburn’s Marlon Davidson and a line that owned the running game – Arkansas ran for just 52 yards – and Ben Hicks couldn’t make up for it with the passing game. Hicks threw for 182 yards with a touchdown and a pick, and he lost two fumbles.
Auburn is still very much alive for everything. Beating Arkansas doesn’t mean much, but it looked and played like a rested team after two weeks off, and now it’s time to make a massive statement at LSU. With that game, Georgia, and Alabama still to go, there’s too much work to do, but the Tigers are 6-1. The bar is obviously set higher than mere bowl eligibility, but with Oregon, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Florida to over the first seven games, 6-1 is just fine.
Arkansas lost its fourth straight game, got destroyed by Auburn again, and now gets a trip to Alabama. Considering WKU might be the best team in Conference USA, it’s going to take something big to finish anything better than 2-10.
Florida 38, South Carolina 27
It’s possible for all positive things to come out of this, to a point. South Carolina obvious isn’t going to be please that it lost, but it played hard, well, and showed that the Georgia win wasn’t any sort of a fluke – this is a good team that just so happened to lose to a Gator team that’s top-ten good. Florida showed it could get past the nasty game against LSU and win in a tough road battle. And now …
The Gators did what they had to do, even if it was really, really rough for three quarters. They got to this point in the year at 7-1, get two weeks off – this REALLY needs a rest – and has everything on the table with the date with Georgia. Win that, don’t lose to Vandy, at Missouri and Florida State, and the College Football Playoff is there for the taking with a win in the SEC Championship. It’s just that easy.
Despite the rainy conditions and the wet ball, Kyle Trask threw for 200 yards and four scores – and, yes, one TD pass was TOTALLY on a pick play – and the running game rumbled for 154 yards and a touchdowns. However, the Gators had a hard time with a South Carolina ground game that pounded away for five yards per carry. Tavien Feaster had a fantastic game with 175 yard and a score on 25 carries.
South Carolina is still okay. It gets Tennessee and Vanderbilt up next. Win those two, and at 5-4 with Appalachian State up next – followed up by Texas A&M and Clemson – a bowl game is still in play if the team keeps playing like it has over the last few weeks.