SEC Weekend Recap
By Jeremy Hillman
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Georgia clinched a spot in the SEC Championship Game with a win over Auburn Saturday.
It was another wild week of football in the Southeastern Conference. From a shocker in Tuscaloosa to a blowout in Auburn, week eleven of the Southeastern Conference football season was full of big plays, surprises and intensity.
With titles and bowl position on the line and the season drawing closer to the end, every game is crucial and every outcome important. Here is my weekly review of the SEC action.
Biggest Win: Texas A&M 29, Alabama 24. Alabama was favored by 14 points in this game, and most prognosticators had Bama penciled into the BCS Championship Game. That was before Johnny Manziel and the Aggies beat the Tide on the road this past Saturday and created a major shake-up in the national football polls.
Worst Loss: Missouri 51, Tennessee 48. While Auburn and Arkansas had ugly performances, Tennessee has to be the most disappointed. After leading for much of the game, the Volunteers allowed a not-so-great Missouri team to come from behind and upset them at home.
Offensive Player of The Week: Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel. The Heisman trophy candidate quarterback threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, and added 93 rushing yards to his impressive stat line in the huge win over No. 1 Alabama.
Defensive Player of The Week: LSU S Craig Loston. The LSU junior racked up six tackles and took an interception back 100 yards for a touchdown in the Tigers' lopsided win over top 25 Mississippi State.
1. Texas A&M. What a big-time victory for the rookie member of the SEC. The Aggies beat a top-ranked Alabama team that most had already prematurely placed in the BCS Championship Game. The win most likely gives Texas A&M a 10-win season, puts them at least in the discussion for a BCS bowl invite, and earned the Aggies priceless national exposure for their program.
2. Georgia. In what could have been a trap game, Georgia throttled Auburn 38-0 and now has a shot at Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and a realistic outside shot at playing for a national title. The Bulldogs are playing very well on both sides of the ball in the past couple of weeks and should finish the regular season with 11 victories.
3. Vanderbilt. James Franklin has done a miraculous job as head coach of the Commodores. Vanderbilt qualified for a bowl game with a road win over Ole Miss on Saturday and could win as many as eight games in 2012.
1. Gene Chizik. With a 2-7 record, Chizik was probably already likely to be replaced as head coach at Auburn. However, after an embarrassing 38-0 home loss to rival Georgia on Saturday, there is no doubt that he will be packing his bags. Auburn football has turned into a train wreck over the past two seasons, under his watch.
2. Derek Dooley. Much like Chizik, Dooley was already on the hottest of seats before Saturday. After a painful upset loss to Missouri this past weekend, Dooley is now rumored to have been fired this week. Tennessee continues to be unable to run the ball or play defense at any level of competitiveness.
3. Alabama QB A.J. McCarron. Although he has had a terrific season, his two interceptions against Texas A&M not only cost the Tide the game, but also cost him a shot at the Heisman and may cost the team a shot at a national title. Probably unfair to put it on his shoulders - Yeldon fumbled as well and the defense had its issues - but turnovers are costly in big games, especially in the red zone.
Updated Bowl Projections:
BCS National Championship Game: Kansas State Vs Oregon
BCS Rose Bowl: Wisconsin Vs Notre Dame
BCS Orange Bowl: Rutgers Vs Florida State
BCS Sugar Bowl: Alabama Vs Clemson
BCS Fiesta Bowl: Georgia Vs Oklahoma
Cap One Bowl: LSU Vs Nebraska
Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M Vs Texas
Outback Bowl: Florida Vs Michigan
Chick-fil-A Bowl: South Carolina Vs NC State
Gator Bowl: Mississippi State Vs Michigan State
Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt Vs Virginia Tech
Liberty Bowl: Tennessee Vs UCF
Compass Bowl: No SEC team available; Troy Vs Kent State
Updated Top 10 Players Ranking (based on performance, not potential):
1. Texas A&M Johnny Manziel
2. Georgia LB Jarvis Jones
3. Texas A&M DL Damontre Moore
4. South Carolina DL Jadeveon Clowney
5. Arkansas WR Cobi Hamilton
6. Vanderbilt WR Jordan Mathews
7. Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson
8. Georgia QB Aaron Murray
9. Tennessee WR Justin Hunter
10. Alabama QB A.J. McCarron
Updated Awards Projections:
SEC Coach of The Year: Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin
SEC Offensive Player Of The Year: Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
SEC Defensive Player Of The Year: Georgia LB Jarvis Jones