The SEC Riviera Roundup
By Chris Warner
Gauging the Human Highlight Reel
SEC Week Six
October 7, 2015
LSU sophomore running back and Heisman leader Leonard Fournette is poetry in motion at the clip of 218 yards per game; a stepchild of the modern human imagination; at worst—a video game; and at his best—the greatest football player to ever don the royal purple and gold—and it’s not even close. For every future LSU opponent, playing the Tigers and their android rusher labeled 7 will be a seminal moment, not only for them, but for the future of sports history, as Fournette quietly goes about his business re-writing the LSU, SEC and national record books on his way to claiming one of the most prestigious prizes in college football and sports. Like his trailblazing predecessor Pete Maravich—there is only one Leonard Fournette—and you better realize that his sensational sophomore regular season is now half gone. All of which is worth the reminder: Remember, if you ain’t Buga—you suspect.
In this exclusive, weekly column of all things SEC Western Division Football we’ll take our regular armchair quarterback tour through the nation’s toughest sub-conference, tagging deserved winners and losers while trying to depict just how talented Leonard Fournette really is and what his massive presence means for the LSU Tigers as they lean hard to make an inevitable early November championship run under Head Coach Les Miles.
Around the West
Alabama – Nick Saban’s back was to the wall. Paul Finebaum declared his dynasty dead if he lost to the Georgia Bulldogs. Mark Richt let the dogs out. Nick Saban’s players didn’t like the way they disrespected them during pre-game. The added motivation provided the humbled Crimson Tide was apparently a game changer, as the Alabama players exacted a humbling revenge of their own, 38-10, restoring order in the process. Bama hosts the Hogs this week at 6:00 p.m. in T-Town.
Arkansas – Bret Bielema redeemed himself at the expense of Butch Jones last Saturday in Knoxville. Video footage of Coach Jones striking a Volunteer football player has since made its way onto the Internet, meaning the death threats coming from disgruntled Vol fans will likely persist until he is run out of town on a rail. The Hogs may have defeated the Vols, but they face a real football team on Saturday—one they played toe-to-toe a year ago in Fayetteville.
Auburn – The Tigers travel to Lexington Saturday to take on the 4-1 Wildcats. The Gus Bus is still sputtering, despite the fuel additive provided in the form of freshman quarterback Sean White. Gus is apparently ready to go back to straight gas and put senior Jeremy Johnson back into the fray. The Plainsman and their devout faithful can only hope Gus knows best. At this point the season is a disappointment, but all is not lost if they can piece a few wins together. All hail Gus.
LSU – Leonard Fournette’s 75-yard rushing touchdown to open the third quarter against Eastern Michigan was a thing of beauty. Stiff-arm the opponent, get to the outside, turn on the jets, swivel the hips—boom! Touchdown Tigers! Fournette’s talents are as mind-boggling as his consistent production and one can only wonder how it affects his teammates. Tiger fans are hoping they are still motivated to improve the passing game, as the meatier portion of the schedule awaits. The 4-0 Tigers will tangle with the 2-3 and SEC winless South Carolina Gamecocks at an undisclosed location this Saturday.
Mississippi State – The Bulldogs fell short in their attempt to defeat the Aggies last Saturday, rounding out their record to 3-2 on the year. Merlins now has two weeks to improve his team with Troy State and Louisiana Tech before facing Kentucky in Starkville. State has played much better than its consensus preseason prognostication of dead last in the West. Late conference games against Mizzou, Arkansas Alabama and Ole Miss will be the deciding contests on whether or not those predictions were true.
Ole Miss – Chad “Chaz” “Swag” “Machine-gun” Kelly was exposed against Florida in Gainesville this past Saturday as a player not yet ready for prime time. Kelly may be an aspiring rapper with a ready AK-47 in his trunk, but his street cred as a big-time SEC QB is falling faster than the Black Bear fan base’s confidence in their head coach, who refuses to produce an adequate running game, despite the obvious necessity. Ole Miss not only looked overconfident against Florida, they looked ill-prepared. The Bears host New Mexico State Saturday and play Memphis the next.
Texas A&M – The Aggies are now 5-0 on the season after defeating State last Saturday. Drawing a bye this week, they will have two weeks to prepare for the biggest game of the season—a revenge clash against the Crimson Tide. The Tide demolished A&M a year ago, 59-0, a certain sore point among all Aggie football fans. A loss against the Tide will ruin their heretofore unblemished season. One can only wonder what Kevin Sumlin and the Chief will scheme up for the Tide. One thing is certain—Kyle Field will be electric. However, Alabama will likely bring their own 12th man—a Steve Shaw-appointed referee, as Alabama is now back in the Western Division hunt.
Until next time…
*Chris Warner is double graduate of LSU and holds a doctorate from the University of New Orleans. He has blogged about SEC Football for 17 years running and is the author of over 20 books, including the popular “Tailgater’s Guide to SEC Football Volume IV” and “SEC Sports Quotes Compendium,” along with “The Wagon to Disaster,” “Bushwhacked at the Flora-Bama, Volume II” and “Saved at the Alabama-Florida Line,” a novel set at the iconic watering hole in 2010. He is currently writing, “Captured by the Brit Who Fooled Baton Rouge,” the life and times and hideous crimes of one Richard Scott Rogers, an insidious pedophile who masqueraded as a TV talk Show host for 12 years in Baton Rouge before his deserved demise at the hands of his gay lover and son-in-law in August 2014.