Sunday, October 03, 2004

Another week in the SEC

During the second quarter of the Auburn-Tennessee game, from high up in the stands of Neyland Stadium, something happened that I didn't realize could ever happen, especially in the 2nd quarter. Fans visiting for the opposing team could be heard. Period. On national TV. Could be heard clearly chanting for the visiting team. No incessant jet-engine-level pro-UT noise from the 109,000 or so wearing hunter's orange. No band playing freakin' Rocky Top 41 feakin' times a game. The win was impressive enough, but I am much more impressed by the alternating silence followed by Auburn chants followed by more silence coming from Neyland.

And what the hell happened to LSU? I really thought that Georgia was overrated and LSU would beat them soundly. Once again, what the hell?

It appears that the SEC is moving away from the parity among teams which has been the norm for the last couple of years. The league seems to be moving back towards having 4-5 teams at the top who dominate all the others, rather than the anybody can beat anybody enviroment that has made the conference more exciting, but has really screwed with getting any number of teams ranked highly. Two to three years ago, there were some bad teams, but that was largely limited to UK and Vandy. The other 10 were at least competitive against each other on any given day, so to speak. Now the suck list has grown to include Mississippi St, Ole Miss, and Alabama. Arkansas and South Carolina remain in limbo. Even if USC is #25 now, the still have to play UT and UF. At Arkansas, everything depends on Matt Jones, affectionately known as "Big Lanky" or "How many years has he been there?". As usual they will continue to be a wildcard and could quite possibly beat Auburn or LSU.

On the other hand, even suck teams can have a good time. We hung out with people tailgating for the UK-Ohio game. Cooking out and drinking beer and bourbon are the same everywhere. But there is this thing called corn-hole. It's like horseshoes, but you throw bean bags onto a sloped piece of wood with a hole in it. 3 points for the hole, and 1 for landing it successfully on the sloped piece of wood. We even went to the 1st half the UK-Ohio game. They get very excited about 1st downs, there is a cheer for it even. And booing the coach's poor play-calling is an artform. And leaving at halftime. We left at halftime, with many of the fans, when we realized Kentucky was trailing at halftime to Ohio, and did hang on to lose 28-16. Sad.