SEC Tailgating for Dummies: Week 11 Game Previews

Louisiana Senate Campaign

Author: Chris Marler – @

Well, we’re finally heading into the final month of the regular season in the SEC. It’s equally as exciting as it is depressing since it means the season is coming to an end. However, the month of November should be the best month yet with each week’s games becoming what is basically a playoff before the actual College Football Playoff. There are still 3 teams alive in the SEC East, and there are 5 teams still alive in the SEC West which is absolutely absurd.

That’s primarily due to what happened last week, so what did we learn after Week 10? Mississippi State is hitting stride about as well as a marathoner with a pulled hammy, Gus Malzahn can’t dance for shit, South Carolina’s defense is going to drive Steve Spurrier to drinking and/ or cutting himself, Mizzou still has a pulse, and UGA’s title hopes were dashed after they pissed down their leg once again in The World’s Biggest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

On the week I was 4-3 straight up, and 3-4 against the spread. On the season my record straight up is still pretty strong at 65-17, but I’m now at exactly .500 against the spread with a record of 36-36-2. I’m average, mediocre, middle of the road, ordinary, and I hate it. This must be what it feels like to be an Ole Miss fan most years. However, unlike an Ole Miss and Georgia I plan on finishing this season strong. So, let’s get after it in this week’s preview!

UT-Martin (5-5) @ Mississippi St (8-0) –Starkville, MS 4:00 PM EST SEC Network

Remember a few weeks ago when I told you Mississippi State was overrated? Remember that time I reminded you of it last week? Well, this is me doing it again and being right all three times. Miss St looked nothing like the #1 team in the country a week ago at home against Arkansas. QB Dak Prescott had 2 bad turnovers in the first half, and the Bulldogs actually trailed the Hogs by 10 heading into the 2nd half.

MSU has struggled badly in their last 3 games against Auburn, Kentucky, and Arkansas. They’ve committed 8 turnovers, and Heisman frontrunner Dak Prescott has completed only 57% of his passes. Luckily the game is played on the field and not through stats on paper, as Miss St is still undefeated on the season. However, it’ll be hard to finish the season unblemished with a defense that is ranked 13th in the conference in total yards allowed at 435 ypg.

In regards to this game…who cares? With the awesome slate of games this weekend around the country this game will be more overlooked than an asthmatic fat kid in a pickup basketball game.

Score – Miss St 41 UT-Martin 10

Booze – O’Doul’s. Because I want you to still feel like you’re the life of the party Mississippi State. However, just know that your beer is about as real as your title hopes are. It’s real like a cubic zirconium engagement ring is real. MSU still has road trips to Tuscaloosa and Oxford. Their remaining schedule after this cupcake game includes: Alabama, Vandy, Ole Miss, and potentially the SEC East champ in Atlanta. ESPN gives them a 7% chance at finishing that schedule undefeated. Personally, I don’t think they’ll make it past next week, but for now enjoy the party and your momentary pseudo drunk and moment in the spotlight.

Presbyterian (5-4) @ Ole Miss (7-2) – Oxford, MS 12:00 PM EST SEC Network

I guess the entire state of Mississippi took the weekend off. Ole Miss, boy do I want to make fun of you for scheduling a game in November against a team whose mascot is called “The Blue Hose.” However, I won’t be too hard on you considering the ridiculous and heartbreaking ending you went through last weekend against Auburn.

Luckily, this week you’re playing Presbyterian, a D2 mid-major (if there is such a thing) from the shit hole town of Cochran, SC. I’ve been to Cochran, SC, and literally the only thing in that town is a K-Mart, a Shoney’s, and an overwhelming amount of gout. The people there are so gross they look like they came out of the womb with a denim umbilical cord.

This game comes down to 2 questions. One, will Ole Miss be able to bounce back after their 2nd loss of the season as well as the loss of their best offensive player? And two, will Presbyterian be focused with that huge matchup looming against Gardner-Webb next weekend?

Jesus. Thanks for nothing Mississippi. Just like your education, obesity, and literacy rates you have once again disappointed everyone.

Score – Ole Miss 38 Presbyterian 0

Booze – Flavored Vodka and a Slurpee. Why? Because Ole Miss is in full on self-loathing stage after back-to-back losses, and they just want whatever portion of booze and comfort food will help them not feel feelings. Last week’s home loss to Auburn was tough. I haven’t seen that many well dressed white people that disappointed since Harry Connick Jr got laryngitis and had to cancel is Christmas concert special. Unexpected back to back losses? Who could’ve seen that coming? Umm…y’all could’ve, and should’ve, seen that coming because you’ve never won anything in the history of your program besides a decade long battle in white guilt during the 1990’s to change your mascot away from Colonel Reb. Drink up Parker, Campbell, Paisley, etc. Whatever your generic white name is. Drink up. You may want to get used to this feeling because this won’t be the last time it happens. Why the slurpee? Because again Cochran, South Carolina is an absolute shit hole, and this is probably the fanciest drink in town besides the Boone’s farm that some asshole is probably drinking from a solo cup wine glass. Cochran is like an open air Wal-Mart just with fewer lines and more people picking their front wedgies. Nobody in this game deserves anything more than this homemade “daiquiri”, and I’ll guarantee that 90% of these fans A) can’t spell daiquiri and b)will try and drink it too fast to force a brain freeze to help forget about the pain of losing.

Florida (4-3) @ Vanderbilt (3-6) + 14.5 – Nashville, TN 7:30 PM EST SEC Network

If you love Big 10 Football then this is the SEC game of the week for you. It has everything you could want: proud academics, cold weather, and absolute irrelevance.

Seriously though, I owe both of you an apology. Florida, there was never any part of me that thought you had a chance against Georgia last week. I would’ve bet my entire life savings that y’all would’ve lost to the Dawgs. Luckily, I didn’t bet, so I only lost a little bit of pride instead of the dozens of dollars I have in my savings/ shoebox under my mattress.

Vandy, I owe you an apology as well. I mocked your QB Johnny McCrary when he said he felt like he was one of the top quarterbacks in the country after his debut against Missouri. How did he follow that up? He went 20-29 for 281 yards and a school record 5 TD’s. I’m still not going to apologize though because Vandy has still been the bane of my existence this season. We’re already in November, and I’ve still yet to accurately pick a Vandy spread correctly.

That ends this week y’all! I’m pretty confident that Florida will cover the 14.5 points. Why? Because the Gators are confident after last week, AND they rushed for a ridiculous 418 yards against UGA. That’s not good for a Vandy defense that is ranked 72nd in the country in rushing defense allowing over 170 ypg. Also, despite McCrary’s record setting performance last week head coach Derek Mason said that he’ll split time with Patton Robinette because “they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeve.” Oh great. Can’t wait Derek. What could the trick be? Gaining over 200 yards of offense against a fucking SEC opponent? Stop with the tricks and shenanigans because right now the only thing that’s sadder than your program is that blind kid from “Dumb and Dumber” petting that dead bird. That’s what you are Vandy. You’re a blind kid in government housing petting a dead bird. Gross.

No matter how many tricks Derek Mason has up his sleeve he will be outmanned and outcoached by Will Muschamp. And besides a eulogy, that is one of the saddest things I’ve ever written.

Score – Florida 32 Vandy 17

Booze – A large Coke from an AMC movie theater with an airplane bottle of Jim Beam. Why? Because buying a ticket to this game is like paying $7 for a fountain Coke. It’s a waste of money. This game is awful. The only thing that’s more pathetic than the crowd at this game is the fact that this is a revenge game for Florida. That’s real life because Vanderbilt beat the Gators 34-17 last year in the Swamp. I don’t want to sound crude, but if my team ever had to play a revenge game against Vanderbilt I would grab the closest butter knife and start playing the wrist violin immediately. This drink is also necessary because literally anything at the movie theater would be more entertaining than this game. I mean it. Another Madea movie, a subtitled version of Godfather III, or hell, Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey reenacting “Point Break” with sock puppets (with that reference I’m officially drunk) would be more entertaining than this game. The offenses in this game will cause more people to cover their eyes an audience watching a Wes Craven film.

Texas A&M (6-3) @ Auburn (7-1) -21.5 – Auburn, AL 3:30 PM EST CBS

Remember a month ago when this game looked like it may decide who would head to Atlanta to represent the SEC West? There are clean shaven Mall Santas that are more legitimate than you Texas A&M. You’re a pretend title contender. You’re a pretend military affiliation. Is there anything real in College Station besides booster money and ignorance? I’ve seen shipwrecks at the bottom of the ocean that have aged better than you have throughout this season.

Like a Dominican turned double play this game is going to get out of hand quick. I spent a good bit of time researching stats for this game, and there is literally not one that favors the Aggies. NOT ONE. Last week their QB Kyle Allen threw for a total of 6 yards in the 2nd half. They gained 243 total yards against a team who was giving up over 400. And, they won by 5 against a team who was ranked 121st in the country in scoring offense. How do you do that with that offense?! It’s not like you could’ve been distracted by the hot coeds in the stands considering there are less women at A&M than the amount of points they scored against ULM.

Part of me wonders if Auburn will be on letdown alert after such an emotional victory at Ole Miss. But, I don’t think it will even matter. Nick Marshall could probably beat A&M by 21 (and be nearly as accurate) if he was playing left handed. Here’s the only stat you need to know for this game…

Auburn ranks in the Top 3 in the SEC in: Rush ypg, Yards per rush, rush efficiency, and percentage of rushes over 5 yards. A&M’s defense ranks in the Bottom 3 of the conference in every single one of those categories. On an embarrassment scale of 1-10 this game is David Hasselhoff half-naked eating cheeseburgers while being serenaded by Carl Lewis singing his “version” national anthem.

Auburn will score at will against the Aggies. Then, they’ll pull the starters to rest them for UGA next week, and Jeremy Johnson and the 2nd team offense will score at will.

Score – Auburn 42 Texas A&M 20

Booze – Bloody Mary. Don’t garnish it with anything besides corn syrup and red food coloring though. Why? Because this is gonna be a blood bath. Auburn has the nation’s longest home winning streak at 15 games. This drink is perfect because a Bloody Mary should only be ordered on the Sabbath/ Sunday which seems fitting considering that a divine intervention is the ONLY way Auburn could be this lucky over the past 2 years. In the last 2 years nearly have of Auburn’s wins have been decided by a TD or less, and they’ve had about as many miracles as a Tom Rinaldi special. A 109 yard kick return in the Iron Bowl, a Hail Mary on 4th and 18 against UGA, and now a game saving tackle against Ole Miss where the WR fumbled because he broke his leg going into the endzone. Either Auburn is really lucky or Jesus wears an orange and blue halo. It’s like someone who orders this drink at any time that isn’t Saturday or Sunday morning; there’s just no explanation for it. I’ve never understood anyone that orders this drink at any time other than brunch. If you’re out for drinks on a Thursday night and you consciously decide to order a well vodka, olive juice, and V8 blend then you’re either dumb or just an asshole. I’ve had customers come to my bar and order a Bloody Mary during a Friday Happy Hour, and since I work in the service industry I have to be polite. But, what I really want to say is, “Hey, order something else so you stop fucking embarrassing yourself.” Speaking of embarrassing, A&M should honestly contemplate staying home for this one because the only thing more depressing than this return trip to College Station will be…well I guess arriving in College Station. I can’t imagine anything worse than coming home after a tough loss and seeing nothing but a sea of men in pleated beige and crew cuts.

UGA (6-2) @ Kentucky (5-4) + 10 – Lexington, KY 12:00 PM EST ESPN

I finally figured out the best way to describe UGA’s football program. You know those bloopers that air on the SportsCenter Not Top 10 every Friday? It’s usually a series of airballs, missed layups, and a compilation of unexpected nutshots. However, every once in awhile they will show a clip of someone about to hoist up a trophy and then out of nowhere it slips out of their hands and crashes to the ground. That is the perfect metaphor for UGA football. It’s almost like they don’t want to win a championship.

How else do you explain their performance last week? Better yet, how do you explain their performance against South Carolina earlier this year? It’s as embarrassing and sad as it is consistent. As a resident of Georgia sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh at UGA or send the team to a Tony Robbins seminar to figure out why they’re so afraid of success. UGA views trophies and championships like it’s a hot potato, and they don’t want any part of it. The only person who’s underachieved more than this program is Matt Damon in the first 2 hours of “Good Will Hunting.”

So, come here UGA. Look at me when I tell you this. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. Hey! It’s not your fault.

I’m kidding it’s 100% your fault. Who else is to blame when you give up over 400 yards rushing to a team that couldn’t be more pathetic and one dimensional? Florida came into that game completing a forward pass about as often as Tim Tebow has had sex. That performance was inexcusable. Don’t get me wrong as an opposing fan it was hilarious, but still, inexcusable.

I know I’ve been rude, but what else did you expect? Here’s the good news. You still have a good chance at getting to Atlanta. Just get by Kentucky and onto the next week. That’s when the best player in college football, Todd Gurley, returns in what will be one of the most electric atmospheres in the country. I can’t wait. I hope Gurley comes out of the tunnel by himself Ultimate Warrior style and lights a fucking fire under your team. Let’s just make sure you return from Lexington with a win first. Also, my nipples are hard after that Todd Gurley-Ultimate Warrior fantasy, and I’m not kidding.

Score – UGA 34 Kentucky 23

Booze – A six pack of Yuengling. Now, I’m usually a staunch advocate to the notion that no man should ever be caught carrying a six pack. There’s just something not right about it. It’s a little too small and a little too dainty. Also, defending your purchase of it sounds about as masculine and convincing as you telling me that whatever you have around your shoulder is a satchel and not a purse. Regardless, this is exactly what you need for this game. You don’t need a 12 pack or a case. You just need something that will get you a decent buzz. Why? This week is just the calm before the storm until Auburn comes to the Classic City next Saturday. So, grab a sixer and start getting loose for the big one. Yeungling is also the beer of choice here because it’s the oldest brewery in the country, and UGA-Auburn is the oldest rivalry in the South. I would’ve chosen a southern beer, but let’s be honest we mess up most things we try to do on our own. I mean just look at Reconstruction or Jimmy Carter’s political career. Oh, Kentucky if you’re wondering why I didn’t include you in anything it’s because Matt Elam got us kicked out of the liquor store when he started trying to eat one of those plastic limes of artificial juice.

Alabama (7-1) @ LSU (7-2) + 6.5 – Baton Rouge, LA 8:00 PM EST CBS

The best way I know how describe this rivalry is through the lyrics of Playaz Circle’s “Duffle Bag Boy” when he says, “Call me what you want but don’t call me for frontin.” Simply put this rivalry epitomizes what SEC football is. There are no gimmicks. It’s just an absolute war. These two teams have the most physical lines in the trenches, the most gifted athletes at the skill positions, and the most hostile environments in the country. This is THE game in the SEC.

That being said, how in the hell do you expect me to pick this?! I’ve overanalyzed this game more than a stage five clinger would after a side hug from her crush. I have no idea how to breakdown this game, but I guess a good place to start is with some simple facts.

LSU is not a good football team. I don’t care what kind of momentum you’ve built during your 3 game win streak against Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Florida. I’m not impressed. Hats off to you for upsetting Ole Miss though. That was impressive. But, man oh man did y’all tarnish the shit out of that victory. You rushed the field?! It’s Ole Miss. You’re supposed to beat Ole Miss! You can’t rush the field after beating Ole Miss ESPECIALLY if you’re nearly illiterate head coach says that same field is “the place where opponent’s dreams go to die.” That would be like The Highlander yelling out, “There can only be two!…or Three…However many you think is best!” Like a preposition at the end of a sentence that shit doesn’t make sense y’all.

Alabama is better than LSU. That’s literally not up for debate. There is nothing (on paper) that points to Bama losing this game. Where should we start? LSU is one dimensional on offense and in 6 of their 8 games have had to rush the ball 50 or more times. Bama is ranked 2nd in the country in rush D giving up only 77.1 ypg, and they held Arkansas to only 89 yards on 39 carries. Also, LSU QB Anthony Jennings is ranked 85th in the country in QBR. Lastly, I get it that nobody goes into Death Valley at night and comes out unscathed because LSU is 46-3 in home games at night under Les Miles. But, I’ll have to counter that with a quote that lies in the foundation of this rivalry, and that is “THE TIDE DON’T LOSE IN BATON ROUGE.” Since 1971 Bama is 17-4-1in Death Valley.

LSU is going to try and pound the football against Alabama which feeds right into their strength. Bama is allowing only 2.7 ypc against the run. Also, they haven’t allowed a 100 yard rusher all season. Not bad for a defense that is constantly described as “just not the same as it’s been in year’s past.” Ok, well they are ranked 1st in the SEC in total D and 2nd in scoring D. Also, who says the Tide won’t be run all over LSU. After all, the Tigers are ranked 9th in the SEC in rush defense, as they’re giving up over 159 ypg. They’re actually giving up more yards rushing than passing. When’s the last time you’ve heard of an LSU defense with that statistic?

Here’s the bottom line. LSU is going to run the ball as many times as possible because their QB is about as accurate as Helen Keller in a game of I Spy. However, this game comes down to two things: quarterback play and turnovers. Blake Sims is ranked 2nd in the country in QBR and is quietly having a phenomenal season. And, if Amari Cooper gets going the Tide will be difficult to stop. But, here’s the thing…Death Valley. It’s the ultimate equalizer. There’s a reason the Tigers are 46-3 at night there since 2008. And, by the way, all 3 of those losses were to teams who were/ or became ranked #1 in the country. Bear Bryant once said that playing in Death Valley “was like being inside of a drum.” There’s no stat that makes me feel like Bama should lose this game. However, it’s still in Death Valley, and I’ve had a bad feeling all week about this game.

Score – LSU 20 Alabama 17

Booze – Johnny Walker Blue. Why? For all the obvious reason. It’s elite, it’s expensive, and it’s admired. However, it’s also fucking terrible when you think about it. I know that sounds dumb considering that a glass of JW Blue usually costs between $30-$50. But, there are few people that actually enjoy this drink just like there are few people that enjoy this game. I hate this game. It’s like a fucking prostate exam. It’s a miserable experience that is inevitably going to happen once a year, and by the time it’s over you’re absolutely spent. This game is 4 hours of power drinking and acid reducers. It’s miserable. It’s hard to endure. But, hey just like this drink, it sure as shit is a symbol of elite status. So there’s something to hang your houndstooth hat on.


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