Life in the Southeastern Conference in the fall revolves around college football more than any other place in the country. Not surprisingly, stuff happens that only happens in the SEC. Or, it just seems that way.
News item: Tennessee defensive tackle Danny O'Brien is injured in the Volunteers double overtime loss at Texas A&M. The injury looks serious as O'Brien lays motionless on the ground as medical personnel work carefully and then wheel out a stretcher and transport O'Brien to a local hospital. Fans from both Tennessee and Texas A&M at Kyle Field watch silently.
Thankfully, O'Brien's injury is not serious and he is released and flies back to Tennessee on Saturday night with his teammates.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
News item: The University of Tennessee issues a statement saying that defensive tackle Danny O'Brien has been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. O'Brien responds on his twitter account that: "I take full responsibility.'' Tennessee officials say that the action is not related to the injury O'Brien suffered on Saturday. It is further revealed that O'Brien was suspended for a violation of team rules last season.
Long time SEC observers say that, even in the wacky world they live in each fall, this is new ground in the bizarre.
It would be easy to speculate about what prompted this latest episode, but we feel that just stating the facts of the case is enough for now. Just another day at Tennessee. Not surprisingly, the main news is speculation about who will replace O'Brien for Saturday's key game against Alabama.
News Item: Following Arkansas's loss at home to Alabama on Saturday night, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is berated by a drunken Razorback fan who yells obscenities at Bielema. The fan is arrested and charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct.
Just another disgruntled fan right? Well, not exactly. The man arrested is named Lawton Nalley and he is an assistant professor of agricultural economics at the University of Arkansas.
Nalley still has his job, but he issued a statement: ""I embarrassed myself, the college and the university.''
News item: Because of the weather conditions caused by Hurricane Matthew, the SEC game between the University of Florida and LSU in Gainesville, Fla. is postponed. LSU officials offer to play the game on Sunday, Florida officials decline, saying the logistical problems were too large to play the game the next day.
Conspiracy theory advocates say the reason Florida couldn't play the next day was because starting Gator QB Luke Del Rio is still recovering from an earlier injury and would not be available.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, who does not have the power to tell schools in his conference when and where they can play games, says the SEC will look at all solutions to find a time and place to reschedule the game. But both schools have full schedules the remainder of the season.
There you have it. Three items not related to actual game results taking place on an October weekend of football in the SEC.
Much of the attention at the start of the season was the battle in the Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division where Clemson and Florida State were both Top 5 (in the country) Pre-season picks. Then, Louisville joined the party after it demolished FSU. The Cardinals fell short in a wild game against Clemson, while FSU went up and down for a few weeks before turning the corner a bit with a come-from-behind win at Miami.
Lost in the Atlantic Division shuffle is the emergence of a decent race in the ACC Coastal Division between Virginia Tech, Miami and North Carolina. Tech looks like the front runner now after raising its record to 5-1 after it went to Chapel Hill and took apart the Tar Heels in Hurricane conditions. North Carolina had looked like an emerging contender with its last second win at FSU the week before. Miami looked like a dark horse until it lost to FSU on Saturday night in non-Hurricane conditions. Miami will learn its fate the next two weeks when it takes on North Carolina and VT....Don't look now, but Wake Forest, 3-9 a year ago, is 5-1. Next up: FSU
Remember the days when the SEC would dominate the weekly rankings with four or five or even six teams in the Top 25 and multiple teams in the Top 10? Well, the SEC still has three teams--Alabama at No. 1, Texas A&M at No. 6 and Tennessee at No. 9-- in the Top 10, but the new king on the block is the Big Ten, which has four Top Ten teams--No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Michigan, No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 10 Nebraska. The last time the Big Ten had four teams in the Top 10 was in 1960. That is likely to change this week since Ohio State plays at Wisconsin and Alabama is at Tennessee.[/membership]