We’re in for a red-hot finish to the SEC regular season, which is the perfect segue to another edition of Hot and Not:
Iron Bowl buildup: Every Iron Bowl is highly anticipated. It’s a game that’s played among the fans in that state 365 days a year and has been known to divide families right down the middle. But the real game is slated for Friday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It’s been a while since this much has been riding on it for Auburn and there were this many compelling storylines surrounding the game. Alabama, which won its first national championship in 17 years last season, would love nothing better than to ruin Auburn’s national championship hopes. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton could just about lock up the Heisman Trophy with a big game. Of course, with the ongoing NCAA investigation into his recruitment, there’s sure to be more than a few questions about his status right up until game time again.
LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson: He’s been the subject of a few “NOTs” this year. But he’s bounced back the past few weeks to play some of his best football and passed for a career-high 254 yards in the 43-36 win over Ole Miss.
Florida receiver Carl Moore: How do you get thrown out of the game for fighting on your Senior Day? Moore got the heave in the second quarter. It’s embarrassing enough to get tossed on Senior Day. But against Appalachian State?
Arkansas’ offensive line: We’ve given Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett props, his receivers props and now sophomore running back Knile Davis is coming on like gangbusters. Sounds like the “Hogs” up front are playing championship-caliber football, too.
November scrimmages: Plain and simple, Alabama and Florida don’t have any business playing Georgia State and Appalachian State the next to last week of the regular season. The same goes for Auburn playing Chattanooga, Georgia facing Idaho State and Kentucky taking on Charleston Southern the week before. If you’re going to play scrimmages in November, charge half-price for them.
Tennessee receiver Justin Hunter: One of the more promising freshman receivers in the league, Hunter has 15 catches this season, and six of those have been touchdowns. He has unbelievable leaping ability and the kind of body control to go up and catch just about anything thrown his way.
Vanderbilt’s offense: It’s hard to get much worse for the Commodores, who were horrid offensively in their 24-10 loss to Tennessee. They’re ranked 115th nationally in total offense and 113th in scoring offense.
South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore: The Gamecocks’ fabulous freshman surpassed the 1,000-yard mark rushing last week against Troy and now has 19 touchdowns. The SEC single-season record is 24, set by Alabama’s Shaun Alexander in 1999.
LSU’s defense: The reason LSU is 10-1 right now is because of its defense. The Tigers have consistently been the best ‘D’ in the SEC this season, but took the day off last week in a 43-36 win over Ole Miss, which rolled up 21 first downs and 420 yards of total offense.
SEC pass defenses: It’s been a good season for several of the SEC quarterbacks, and the receivers in this league are outstanding. But the flip side has been some bad pass defense, in particular some shoddy pass coverage. Take a look at where some of the teams in this league rank nationally in pass defense. Five are ranked 88th or worse nationally. Want to guess which two SEC pass defenses have been the worst? That would be Auburn (ranked 100th) and South Carolina (ranked 104th). Think those two teams will be slinging it around in the SEC championship game? They’re not the only ones who’ve struggled to defend the pass. Ole Miss is ranked 98th nationally in pass defense, Vanderbilt 96th, Mississippi State 88th and Tennessee 76th.