Six quick first impressions of the 2016 SEC:
1. One more weekend like this and the “Make the SEC Great Again” hat and bumper sticker will become a regular part of the landscape.
The Labor Day weekend matchups had a Bowl Week feel to them, and the (debatably) best conference in the land did not step up, going 6-5 in non-conference games — with one more loss possible Monday night when No. 11 Ole Miss faces No. 4 Florida State.
One member — Mississippi State — loses as a four-touchdown favorite to South Alabama while another — Kentucky — blows a 25-point lead to lose to Southern Miss. When do we start criticizing those Sun Belt and Conference USA teams for not scheduling tougher opponents early in the season?
2. Once more on the tightrope for LSU’s Les Miles, now trying to balance the great weight of an uninspired loss to unranked Wisconsin along with all the other accumulated baggage.
Even Miles, the most skilled wire-walker of them all, the Great Wallenda of coaches, must lose to gravity eventually. The lone memorable moment of his team’s trip to Lambeau Field: An after-the-whistle tackle by an offensive lineman following a game-cinching interception. Gonna be tough to set that one to inspiring music and use it as the lead-in to the 2016 highlight video.
If Miles makes it through to 2017, we can declare him officially as indestructible as the plastic milk jug.
3. Georgia may have entered the first weekend greatly underestimated in the East. But it exited one of the favorites.
A complete one-day makeover. Botox should work so fast. Tennessee pulls a horseshoe out of its end (zone) to beat App State. And Florida loses style points with a messy win over UMass. Kirby Smart mustn’t allow his team to catch wind of either of those results, lest his players turn smug and insufferable and begin wearing dinner jackets on game day.
4. The SEC is so top-heavy at the moment that it may fall over by Halloween.
It is like the college freshman’s food pyramid — completely upside down.
Alabama only seemed to separate itself more from the rest of the conference this weekend, leaving the rest of us behind on the dock, waving to this cruise ship as it slips over the horizon. Bless the Crimson Tide, for it keeps the SEC relevant.
5. Why, shockingly, it turns out you can spell “success” without the SEC.
This is going to take some getting used to. Humility becomes no one in this part of the college football world. It is as foreign a concept to the southern soul as is vegetarianism.
6. But it could be worse.
You could be a follower of the Pac-12.