SEC West race heats up this Saturday

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 6, 2000

Sports Editor

Living in the wild, wild west.

That’s what the the SEC Western Division race looks like right now, an old western movie where the last man standing gets the prize; namely a free trip to Atlanta, possibly a BCS bowl invitiation and who knows? Maybe in Auburn’s case a shot at the national title.

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A very, very long shot though.

Auburn travels to Starkville, Miss., this weekend to face a gang of Bulldogs who are living on an all-time high after whipping the Florida Gators last Saturday. At 5-0, the Tigers have been a surprise this season and in the past when Auburn has entered this game unbeaten they’ve come away a dominating winner. Plus, a number of Tiger players still remember that debacle at Jordan-Hare last year. Up 16-0 in the fourth quarter to the Bulldogs, Tuberville and the Plainsmen blew it and blew it bad.

Alabama’s off this weekend, something which the Crimson Tide needed badly. Thanks to the win over South Carolina, Tide fans won’t spend these next two weeks blasting Mike DuBose, Tyler Watts, Freddie Milons and whoever else they feel is responsible for losing an almost sure-shot at a national championship. Bama has two weeks to prepare for Ole Miss. The pressure’s off of DuBose, but for how long?

As promised, here’s the grades.

Ole Miss – Do you think that Ole Miss fans have finally gotten over Tuberville? With Bama in two weeks, the Rebels’ players better have. With quarterback Romaro Miller and tailback Deuce McCallister the Ole Miss offense has looked great this season. But in big games, like the Auburn one, Deuce did his part, but Miller tossed three interceptions. Defense is still suspect. Grade : B

Arkansas – The Razorbacks had to go and spoil last weekend’s all SEC Western sweep, by losing to Eastern Division underachiever Georgia. So Sooey-Hogged about beating Alabama, Arkansas forgot about the Bulldogs, who were still stinging over that loss to South Carolina. After last Saturday’s game, Houston Nutt has seen the future and it’s not pretty. Grade: C-

LSU – From the extreme low of losing to UAB on homecoming to the extreme high of knocking off No. 11 Tennessee last Saturday night at Tiger Stadium, this Bayou Bengal team could be fun to watch in the week’s to come. No doubt, the Tigers played over their heads against the Vols, but imagine what could happen if they would do that every week? Grade: B-

Mississipi State – Who let them ‘Dogs out? Joe Lee Dunn did. The Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator is one of the best in college football. Offensively, Jackie Sherrill’s team can run the football, but can quarterback Wayne Madkin pass it? This week against Auburn will tell all. Grade: A-


– Rudi! Rudi! Rudi! That’s what they’re screaming in Auburn and well they should be. Tailback Rudi Johnson has rushed for over 100 yards in all five games that Auburn’s played this season. And he gets better in the fourth quarter. Plus the Tigers’ defensive front is playing like a seasoned group of experienced veterans, instead of the freshmen and junior college transfers that they are. Grade: A

Alabama – Let’s take a look at the record. UCLA, loss. Southern Miss, loss. Arkansas, loss. Vandy and South Carolina, wins. There was problems before the South Carolina game, but I think they’ve cooled somewhat after the win last weekend. Still, having DuBose come out and wanting to resign after the Southern Miss loss, can’t do much to motivate the Tide players. I mean, if your coach was going to give up on you, why would you want to give 100 percent for him? Grade: C+