Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
'22 SEC season has been a bit wacky thus far
Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel watches play on the Jumbotron during the second half of an NCAA college football game against the Tennessee Martin Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 65-24. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
With five regular-season games remaining for most teams, it is obvious that the SEC has been a little upside down this season.
That is with the exception of No. 1 Georgia, which appears to have firm grip on Alabama’s spot as the league’s most likely champion and is headed to the playoffs.
Alabama was beaten by Tennessee, in the Smoky Mountains, barely beat Texas and struggled to a 24-20 win over Texas A&M, whose season is Halloweenish.
The Aggies opened the season ranked No. 6 in the nation, and seven games later, they are 3-4 overall, 1-3 in the SEC. Their only win was against Arkansas, which played its worst game of the season that day in Arlington, Texas.
Arkansas ran all over South Carolina, which last Saturday beat A&M.
For the first time in his multi-million dollar time in College Station, Jimbo Fisher has a losing record.
Currently, he’s being paid more than $3 million a win, and that’s expensive even for the oil-rich Aggies.
Back to the Crimson Tide, who did bounce back from their loss to Tennessee with a 30-6 win over Mississippi State, which scored its lone touchdown as time ran out to deny Alabama a shutout.
It was a defensive game, and the usually powerful Tide had only 41 yards of net rushing and a total of 302 yards of offense against a team known as Air Raid.
Bama has a week off and then travels to LSU, one of the surprise teams of the season so far.
The Tigers were unimpressive in their season-opening loss to Florida State, which has since struggled to a 4-3 record. LSU then picked up the tempo until it took on the biggest surprise of the season, Tennessee, which beat the Tigers 40-13 in Baton Rouge.
LSU then went to Gainesville and beat Florida, then last Saturday knocked off previously undefeated Ole Miss, which is still a surprise team, 45-20.
A lot will be on the line when LSU and Alabama meet Nov. 5, most likely on national television.
Arkansas’ season hasn’t exactly been what was expected either.
The loss to Texas A&M left a bad taste in a lot of mouths. The Hogs still have three home games and two road trips starting with Auburn this weekend, and then close the season at Missouri, where the Hogs are 0-4 since the Tigers joined the SEC.
Arkansas is favored this Saturday, but Auburn hasn’t given up and appears to be playing hard. The Tigers’ offense seems to have an offensive identity crisis, its passing game is AWOL. In conference play, they have scored nine touchdowns, eight on the ground.
They are one of four SEC West teams that have allowed more points in conference play than they have scored. They gave Ole Miss a good game before losing 48-34, but in the other three conference games, they scored a total of 44 points.
They did lead LSU at the half 17-14 before losing 21-17.
Arkansas opened with quality wins over Cincinnati, which has won six straight since, and South Carolina, which is 5-2 on the season. Arkansas once stood 3-0 before losses to the Aggies, Alabama and Mississippi State.
Now the Razorbacks are at a crossroad.
Not one of their final five games seems as winnable as it did before the loss to Texas A&M.
The first of their final three home games is against Liberty, which beat Brigham Young 41-14 last Saturday, as the Flames rushed for 300 yards and passed for 247 yards. Their only loss of the season was to No. 10 Wake Forest 37-36.
Then comes what appears to be an improving LSU and tough Ole Miss.
What may sum up how crazy this season has been — and it could get wilder — is the two best teams are in the East and not the West.
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.