Another Saturday, another reason that games are decided on the field instead of on paper. Let’s get right to it.
Teams Stepping up/Slipping up
1. Stepping up: Auburn/Slipping up: Florida – War Eagle. Backs against the wall. Embarrassed at home one week ago. Hosting a very good Florida Gator team that’s risen to #2 in the country. Big Deal. The Tigers find a way to win with defense and special teams and get back into the SEC mix. Gators find a way to let a tough game get away after leading early.
2. Stepping up: Michigan – Go to Happy Valley without big-time WR Mario Manningham to face a Penn State team who’s had this date circled for a year after suffering their only loss of last season on the final play. Penn State plays tough, but Michigan stays in control by winning the battles for time of possession (by 7 minutes) and rushing yardage (116 vs. -14).
3. Slipping up: Iowa – Tough loss to #1 Ohio State at home a couple weeks back. Then, rebound versus Purdue and gain some momentum versus Indiana leading up to the showdown with Michigan, right? Wrong. Indiana hangs tough throughout to gain the win against the #15 Hawkeyes.
4. Slipping up: Georgia – Take a lead into halftime, even just 6 points, and you should return ready to put Vandy away. Come on, it’s Vandy–the Baylor, the Northwestern, the… you get the point–of the SEC! Maybe no lead feels safe after the Tennessee game, I don’t know. But a 2-game skid in which you surrender halftime leads at home is not the way to prepare for the Florida-Auburn-Ga Tech gauntlet that begins in two weeks. Especially when FL and AU games are at their places.
5. Stepping up: Texas A&M/Slipping up: Missouri – Aggies show character by asserting themselves early, then clamping down on defense in the 4th to keep the Tigers at bay. This was a much needed good win. As for Missouri, they were held to under 25 points for the first time this season and give up a great opportunity to go deep into the season undefeated. Still have a legti shot at the Big 12 North title, but it will come down to the Nebreska game.