Thoughts while biding my time in between phone calls today ...
— That Auburn rebounded from its tough three-game stretch to challenge a surging Ole Miss team at home, that wasn't a huge surprise. That Auburn won the game, and won it handily? Big surprise.
From what I could tell — and to be honest, I missed all of the scoring Saturday because I had to work Saturday afternoon — Auburn did exactly what a tired, fading team with a suspect (and that's being kind) defense needs to do in that spot: hit a couple big plays, take the big lead and hold on for dear life. They did it well. Now they can start thinking big in terms of bowl games.
— Obviously, the big news nationally is the death of USC as a national contender and (probably) as PAC-10 champ. It's a huge surprise, obviously, but maybe it shouldn't be: typically, when the run of a particular program as a national power ends — and just about everybody has had them come and go — it ends in emphatic fashion, like when Colorado eviscerated Nebraska in 2001, or Wake Forest creamed Florida State in Tallahassee in 2006. Remember what they said in "Cocktail": Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end.
— What in God's name were Georgia and Tennessee trying to prove with their uniforms? That their marketing departments are more creatively bad than the ones at Oregon or Conference USA? Good Lord.
— Speaking of Georgia, here are two humorous links coming out of Saturday's Cocktail Party: a CW student compares Tim Tebow to Obama, and here's the story about Brandon Spikes & Washaun Ealey's eye.
Obviously, there's no excuse for a guy like Spikes — an upperclassman and a leader on that defense — losing his cool and pulling a Roddy Piper like that. On the other hand, UGA was pushing, shoving and chirping from the opening whistle Saturday, evidenced by one moment late in the first half when Tebow extended his hand to a UGA defender for a help up ... and the guy shook his head and walked away. I'm not sure why Richt encourages his players to play with that kind of edge against Florida — it's like watching Sting turn heel or something.
— One more note on UGA: Mark Bradley wants Richt to bench Joe Cox. Bench the Ginger Ninja? Really?
(Ohbytheway, in slightly related news, Georgia Tech is a very quiet 8-1 right now, and 10th in the BCS standings, with these three to play: vs. Wake Forest, at Duke, vs. UGA. And possibly the ACC Championship. You could very well see Ga. Tech in the Orange or Sugar Bowl in January.)
— This week's Game of the Century, once again, is LSU-Alabama. In fact, Saturday in Tuscaloosa marks the fourth time in five seasons that LSU and Alabama will play with the SEC West on the line. Yes, I'm including the 2005 version in which Mike Shula was prominently involved.
As Gentry notes, the Nick Saban angle has mostly faded into the background — LSU fans probably still hate him, the same way Ole Miss fans will always hate Tommy Tuberville and Alabama fans will always hate Dennis Franchione. But the focus this week, fortunately, will be mostly on the game itself, how the two teams match up, and how much LSU fans smell like corn dogs. That's the way it should be.
— Two other fun Alabama links: a great feature on Julio Jones from the weekend, and the latest from Daniel A. Moore.
And, since basketball season is upon us, here are Gentry's impressions of the first edition of the Fighting Grants.
Roll Tide Roll, coach.