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Bob Dixon

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Middlesboro, KY 40965


Go Big Blue!

SHANE SHACKLEFORD: Kentucky Has Third-Best Team in SEC

The week that was in the Alliance Killer saw the nation’s top-ranked squad flex its defensive muscle again, a major upset on the Bayou, the craziest ending you can imagine, and the big boys hold serve in the SEC West. Let’s discuss the games, next week’s predictions, and the newly-minted SEC rankings you have all been waiting for.

Week Seven Wrapup

Georgia 30, Kentucky 13

Why Should I Care: The Cats went to Athens to win and fought hard for four quarters. But like my daddy taught me -- sometimes you’re the bug and sometimes you’re the windshield. UK was the bug today. UGA is number one for a reason -- that defense. Couple that with an offense that can make plays when needed and you have the perfect SEC storm. The next game the Georgia war machine will be tested will be in Atlanta against Alabama. And to be honest, Georgia might have the upper hand in that one. For the Cats, they enter their bye week at 6-1 and much-needed rest and recuperation. The next time we will see Big Blue is a date at Mississippi State.

Auburn 38, Arkansas 23

Why Should I Care: The Tigers are threatening to be the second-best club in the SEC West behind the renaissance of quarterback Bo Nix and the toughness instilled by coach Bryan Harsin. The Texas A&M and Ole Miss games will do the separating. For Arkansas, another divisional loss tells the tale. The Hogs have come a long way, but still, they have a little bit to go to make that next echelon in the SEC.

LSU 49, Florida 42

Why Should I Care: Interesting tidbit. The LSU faithful came into death Valley and wanted the scalp of embattled coach Ed Orgeron. After a career day by Tiger running back Tyrion Davis-Price (287 yards), it’s the Gators clamoring for the heads of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and coach Dan Mullen on a platter. Amazing what a week makes.

Texas A&M 35, Missouri 14

Why Should I Care: Coming off the Alabama upset, the Aggies went to Columbia and took care of business behind their defense. In my opinion, the second-best defense in the conference is A&M. Plus Gig Em quarterback Zach Calzada is getting better by the snap. Things are rolling in College Station.

South Carolina 21, Vanderbilt 20

Why Should I Care: In the “Please I Don’t Want to Finish Last in the SEC East” Bowl, the graduate assistant turned hero signal-caller Zeb Noland came off the bench late in the fourth quarter and led the Gamecocks to a last-second win over the Commodores. Poor Vandy. Even old folks are beating you now.

Alabama 49, Mississippi State 9

Why Should I Care: The ticked-off Tide rolled into Starkvegas and reasserted itself behind a defensive clinic on the Fightin’ Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense and 543 yards of total offense. In reason, though, you knew it was coming. Kentucky will be making the trip to MSU in two weeks. I like the Cats’ chances.

Ole Miss 31, Tennessee 26

Why Should I Care: I watched the SEC nightcap between the Vols and Rebels. In the craziest ending of a football game I’ve seen in a while, I learned the following things:

  1. Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral should be the Heisman favorite.

  2. Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker is absolutely QB1 in Knoxvegas. If he is hurt, the whole makeup changes for the Josh Heupel offense.

  3. Knoxville hates, nay loathes, one Lane Kiffin.

  4. The best defense played all night was either one’s defender’s falling down and stopping the fast break offenses.

  5. Neither team can stop the run.

  6. Who brings a bottle of mustard inside a stadium?

Week Eight Predictions

Last week, the Backwoods Swami went 5-2. For the season, he is 63-9 (.875).

There are only five tilts on the docket this week, so I am going to add for giggles the Sun Belt conference slate too. (Note: I have a secret fan crush on Coastal Carolina.)

Let’s get after it.

Arkansas Pine-Bluff at Arkansas

LSU at Ole Miss

Mississippi State at Vanderbilt

Tennessee at Alabama

South Carolina at Texas A&M

Coastal Carolina at Appalachian State

Louisiana at Arkansas State

Texas State at Georgia State

South Alabama at UL-Monroe

Week Seven SEC Rankings

From the home office in Speedwell, Tennessee, let’s rank the Alliance Killer. Come on, it’ll be fun for the whole family.

  1. Georgia: No question about it, these are the Top Dawgs in the SEC right now (like what I did there?)

  2. Alabama; The Tide got their legs back. The most dangerous one-loss team in the country.

  3. Kentucky: The Cats fought the Dawgs on the road for four quarters, so I will slot them here. Plus, how can you argue 6-1 and 4-1 in the SEC?

  4. Texas A&M: The Aggies are brewing something special up. You haven’t heard the last of them.

  5. Ole Miss: The Rebels survived in Knoxville on a 23-yard Tennessee completion when 24 yards were needed. They also needed Matt Corral’s epic 426-yard performance to win in the best environment in Knoxville since 2017. They earned this spot this week.

  6. Auburn: War Eagle is quietly putting together a strong first season under Bryan Harsin behind a consistent rushing game, the renaissance of Bo Nix, and an improving defense.

  7. Tennessee: The Vols were hard-luck losers Saturday night. But they have things moving in the right direction in Knoxville. They’re not the Vols of the last five years. But the end of the game was thoroughly embarrassing for the school. The fans pelting the field with anything not bolted down was awful. I have a lot of Vol friends out there and I know that while they are probably upset with the results of the game, they don’t condone this. And I do not blame the team or coaches. They fought for 60 minutes and played hard and clean. Not on them at all.

  8. LSU: The Tigers have figured something out. You could see the beginnings of it at the end of the UK loss. Run the football a bunch behind a two-tight end set. If they can stay successful in it and the defense can find a way to survive, then the Tigers could finish the year in a better place than they were a couple of weeks ago.

  9. Florida: There are much more questions than answers in the Swamp. The Gators have to figure out who is the quarterback. The old saying goes if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have any. Plus will they let go embattled defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, coach Dan Mullen, neither, or both at some point?

  10. Arkansas: It seems like reality is catching up with the Hogs. There’s no question they are on the right track to build their program. But to do this in the SEC is a huge order. They’re getting there though.

  11. Mississippi State: The Dawgs are a one-trick pony right now with a killer passing attack and not a whole lot else. To continue to make progress, they have to develop some type of run game and consistent defense.

  12. South Carolina: Raise your hand if you thought USC would be 4-3 at this point of the season? Anyone? I didn’t. But coach Shane Beamer is rebuilding the program and has won some games in the process. With a graduate assistant quarterback.

  13. Missouri: The Tigers have so many issues on defense. It really doesn’t matter how good the offense is, until the defense is shored up it’s going to be a long season in Columbia.

  14. Vanderbilt: The Commodores were a hard-luck loser as well Saturday, leading South Carolina on the road until the final play. I give Vandy coach Clark Lea credit. He has his team playing hard regardless of the score or the opponent. That’s commendable in itself. They just don’t have the horses to play for 60 minutes in the SEC.

Shane Shackleford is a regional sportswriter from Speedwell, Tenn. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the United States Basketball Writers of America. Shane is also a football color analyst for WRIL-FM 106.3 Sports in Pineville, KY. He has written and published his first book “Bounce: A Basketball Love Story” which can be found on Amazon currently. You can find Shane on Magazine, A Sea of Blue, The London Sentinel-Echo, The Corbin Times-Tribune, The Mountain Advocate, Harlan County Sports, and The Mountain Eagle. Contact Shane by email at and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.


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