November has commenced, and it's during November that seasons are made or broken or continue their middling trajectory. The first week of November is one hour longer than all other 51 weeks of the year, which is convenient because Alabama and LSU always meet for book club on the first Saturday of November and Discipline and Punish is a friggin' nightmare to read.
November is the time when the college football postseason begins to take fetal shape, when conference opponents have slaughtered enough of one another that real hierarchies coalesce. For instance: following a 27-3 bone-crushing of Georgia last week, Florida has all but locked up the SEC East division, which this very blog two weeks ago told you would happen anyway. Congratulations to Florida, and to us.
If you happen(ed) not to attend school in Tuscaloosa or Baton Rouge, this week might kick off your Thanksgiving and otherwise holiday planning. This week also includes, then, a relative dearth of munitions stockpiling compared with your compatriots in Alabama and Louisiana, so sit back and enjoy the show. We're whipping 'round the SEC.
Maty Mauk is suspended for the year at Missouri
On Sunday, four days after reinstating their starting quarterback, Missouri announced that Maty Mauk had been suspended for the rest of the 2015 season, citing "a violation of program policies." This benching comes in the wake of a four-game sit-down for another violation of team rules, and now the Kansas City Star is reporting that Mauk was involved in a bar fight last Wednesday, mere hours after he apologized for the previous month-long suspension in the first place. That's right: Maty Mauk was suspended four games, then reinstated, then apologized to his team upon being reinstated, then went out to the bar and got in a fight. And now he's done for the year.
Mark Richt should retire
Mark Richt should retire and join one of the network bloviation machines. UGA boosters hate him. The alumni hate him. The students hate him. He (or his staff) recruit well and never put the pieces together in just the right way. He lacks the ruthless killer instinct of a Saban or a Miles or a Swinney. In his 15 years at Athens, the game and conference have changed around him. He's a Bobby Bowden protégé for crying out loud.
Which is to say that Mark Richt needs to be on TV. Mark Richt has seen and heard and bled over more of the college game than many of us will ever know. Mark Richt remembers Spurrier in Gainesville and Saban in Baton Rouge. Mark Richt has bade farewell to six different coaches at Tennessee and Kentucky. Richt has quietly taken his licks every year and still somehow cleans up better than Houston Nutt. Put Richt on Gameday or have him write a dissertation on SEC football, because, like Spurrier, everyone could benefit from hearing his war stories.
The definitive preview of LSU-Bama
For what seems like the fourth or tenth year in a row, LSU and Bama are playing for a controlling stake in the SEC West. Bama, currently No. 4 in the CFP rankings, holds a touchdown advantage to visitor LSU, currently No. 2 in the CFP rankings. Both teams want dearly to come away with a victory on Saturday, insofar as a victory will concretize whatever team's spot in the round of four semifinal, and hey, it's always fun to win. Either way this goes, one expects somebody to come out on top, just definitely not on top of the over/under (48 points).