Butch Jones finally got his moment on Rocky Top.
As Alabamas 58-21 win at Tennessee came to a close on Saturday, the former Volunteers head coach and current Crimson Tide offensive analyst was the recipient of a Gatorade bath, courtesy of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and other Alabama players. In the locker room after the game, Jones partook in a tradition of the victors of the Third Saturday in October by smoking a celebratory cigar.
It was certainly a sweet moment for Jones, who was 0-5 against Alabama as Tennessees lead man from 2013-17. Even Nick Saban said afterward that it was good to see Butch Jones get dumped on.
But for all of the pomp and circumstance, Jones played as much of a role in the Tides win as the game had potential to affect the Southeastern Conference standings almost none.
Sure, if the Volunteers could have pulled off the upset, then the entire college football landscape let alone the SEC looks a lot different. But Alabama isnt Ohio State, nor is Tennessee Purdue. The Tide did what the Tide does. They rolled in what is becoming one of the more stale rivalries in the nation, something that Jones is all too familiar with.
With the win, Alabama has won the last 12 Third Saturday in October matchups, the most consecutive wins in the history of the rivalry. Not to mention that the Tides average margin of victory in those 12 wins is 25.6 points.
The Volunteers have had their fair share of success in the rivalry; before Alabama went on its tear, Tennessee won 10 of 12 games from 1995-2006. The Third Saturday in October has long been marred by streaks. But rivalries are more fun when they are consistently competitive. Just ask the Iron Bowl.
Thankfully for SEC fans, the football gods have a rivalry with some meaning in store this weekend.
On Saturday, No. 7 Georgia and No. 9 Florida will meet in Jacksonville, Florida, for The Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Not only is this a top-10 matchup with a 2:30 p.m. kick on CBS, but it also holds major implications for the SEC East outlook.
Both the Bulldogs and the Gators hold 6-1 records and are 4-1 in the SEC. Georgia controls its own destiny in the East, and a Bulldogs win would set up a tilt with No. 12 Kentucky also 6-1, 4-1 in the SEC on Nov. 3 to decide the divisions frontrunner. Florida isnt out of the hunt in the East by any means, but must beat Georgia to remain in the race.
The transitive property of wins gives the advantage to the Gators Florida beat LSU, which beat Georgia. But the Bulldogs are the favorite (-7 as of Monday night) and have a nearly 70 percent chance of winning, according to ESPNs Football Power Index.
If one were to go strictly by the numbers, youd expect a close game. Georgia averages 39 points per game to Floridas 34, while the Bulldogs and Gators both allow 16 points per game. On offense, Georgia racks up 461 yards per game to Floridas 408. Defensively, the Bulldogs allow 310 yards per game to the Gators 323.
But most importantly, the rivalry has been competitive as of late. Although The Cocktail Party has been subject to some blowouts, the rivalry is split 6-4 in favor of Florida over the last 10 games dating back to 2008, the last time both teams were in the top 10 and the last year Dan Mullen was on staff with the Gators. Florida won that game 49-10 en route to the BCS Championship.
Saturdays game could parallel the Alabama-Tennessee game with a lopsided score and a meaningless Gatorade bath, but at least it will carry some weight.
LSUs strength coach
LSU assistant strength and conditioning coordinator Jake Reidel was fired up before the Tigers contest with Mississippi State on Saturday and headbutted tight end Racey McMath. McMath was wearing a helmet. Reidel was not.
The action created quite the buzz on Twitter, and Eric Sollenberger, also known as PFTCommenter, called it a peak strength coach move. Reidel had a mark on his forehead the rest of the game.
LSU linebacker Devin White was ejected for targeting and will miss the first half of the Tigers game at Alabama on Nov. 3. The call was scrutinized by many, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards voiced his displeasure, asking for an explanation of the rule.
Missouris Adam Sparks was also ejected on a questionable call. The line between what is and isnt targeting seems to become more blurred every week.
Supervising editor is Seth Bodine.