One of the great SEC rivalries will be in the spotlight on Week 8 with Alabama and Tennessee now set to face off in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week. The Oct. 24 date between the Crimson Tide and Volunteers will be the 102nd meeting in the series with the Tide holding a 56-38-7 all-time advantage.
The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET from Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, with Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and Jamie Erdahl on the call.
Among the many interesting storylines surrounding this year’s meeting is the latest chance for Jeremy Pruitt to measure his program against the class of the conference. Coming off a second-half collapse against Georgia, the Vols and their fans will be looking for a full four-quarter show of competitiveness against their traditional October rival. There is a lot of excitement about how Pruitt has elevated the program on the recruiting trail and in its eight-game winning streak that stretched from the 2019 season to the loss at Georgia. Hower, as Phillip Fulmer has mentioned, Tennessee will be judged by how it performs against three teams: Georgia, Florida and Alabama.
Other highlights from the Week 8 schedule in the SEC include Georgia’s trip to face Kentucky, Auburn traveling to take on Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss, and Florida hosting a Missouri team that’s looking more dangerous after a win against LSU.
All times Eastern
Noon — Auburn at Ole Miss — SEC Network
3:30 p.m. — Alabama at Tennessee — CBS
4 p.m. — South Carolina at LSU — SEC Network
7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. — Missouri at Florida — ESPN or SEC Network
7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. — Georgia at Kentucky — ESPN or SEC Network
One of my favorite parts about the month of October in college football is how quickly the rankings adjust to those initial reactions from the opening weeks of the season. In “normal” seasons this, would still be the point where teams have finally have a couple conference games in the books and whatever kind of overreaction we made from the few September results worth noting has been put to the test by the grind of league play.
Even in a “normal” year, this is the point where we identify an early-season result that has been proven to be wildly misleading. In 2020, that game is Mississippi State’s 44-34 win at LSU. The biggest game on the SEC’s opening-week schedule had everything fans could want, from the intrigue of seeing how the defending champs would replace Joe Burrow and more than a dozen starters to the SEC debut of Mike Leach. By the time K.J. Costello and the Bulldogs (who entered the game as 18-point underdogs) were done carving up LSU for 623 passing yards in the upset win, a new era was proclaimed in the conference. Mike Leach was here, we thought, and the league would never be the same.
Well, while we did see scoreboard-breaking totals in the SEC this past weekend, none of it came from Mississippi State. The Bulldogs did not even score an offensive point in a 14-2 loss to Kentucky, a result that was preceded by a 21-14 loss to Arkansas. Ever since the Leach era started with lighting up LSU, Costello has thrown the ball 114 times and the Mississippi State offense has scored just two touchdowns.
Now at 1-2, Mississippi State finds itself at the bottom of the SEC West standings with LSU. That same LSU team that started in
The college football rankings have been relatively easy for most of this unique 2020 season. With only 76 teams in the picture and nearly two dozen of them not even in action until Sept. 26, each week only brought slight adjustments to the way a voter viewed the landscape of the sport. Then Week 5 happened, and now everything is up in the air.
Granted, the top of the CBS Sports 76 is not where you’ll find the drama. Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Notre Dame remain our top five teams in the country with only a minor adjustment of the SEC East rivals swapping spots following the Bulldogs’ impressive win against Auburn. But our rankings are meant to highlight the entire sport, and that’s where we see major movements both within and outside of the top 25 spots.
Oklahoma State lands in the top 10 at No. 8 after moving up seven spots, and normally, such a rise would warrant a note in our Mover’s Report below but the shake up in the rankings this week leaves the Cowboys as one of the more subtle adjustments. More than half of our top 25 teams this week are at least five spots removed (10 higher, five lower) from where they were a week ago with the extremes being TCU’s rise from No. 45 to No. 20 and double-digit drops for Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi State and Texas A&M.
These dramatic shifts in the rankings are reflective of how quickly our perceptions change in these early weeks of a season that is lacking for the usual nonconference fare. While those games give us at least one surprising upset and a handful of high-profile matchups every year, the results mostly reinforce preseason expectations for the top teams in the country.