- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Anybody feeling hot … or not?
It’s that time again:
Georgia coach Mark Richt: As much abuse as he took back in September, and really most of the offseason, Richt deserves his props now. The Bulldogs, after losing their first two games of the season, have won nine in a row and wrapped up the Eastern Division championship Saturday with a 19-10 victory over Kentucky. It wasn’t Georgia’s most impressive performance by a long shot, but it completed the kind of nine-game run you don’t often see in this league after a team opens the season with back-to-back losses. It’s a fact that the schedule eased up considerably, but Richt, his staff and the veteran leaders on this team deserve a ton of credit for keeping this team on point when all they were hearing outside the program back in September was a bunch of negativity.
Tennessee cornerback Eric Gordon: His 90-yard interception return for a touchdown in overtime saved the Vols in their 27-21 win over Vanderbilt, and Gordon had the presence of mind to keep running even though one of the officials incorrectly blew his whistle.
Marc Curles: Speaking of that whistle, it hasn’t been a good run for Curles and his crew the last few years. SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw issued a statement essentially saying that the officials screwed up twice on the final play of the Tennessee game. The whistle never should have been blown, but because it was blown, the play by rule was not reviewable. Curles also headed up the crew that was suspended in 2009 after officiating snafus in the Georgia-LSU and Arkansas-Florida games.
Kentucky linebacker Danny Trevathan: Maybe, finally, he’s starting to get the respect that he deserves. Trevathan had his third 17-tackle performance of the season in Kentucky’s 19-10 loss to Georgia. Included were three tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.
Florida’s start: How disinterested were the Gators last week against Furman to start the game? They were down 15-0 and then 22-7 at one point. There were almost as many defensive breakdowns as empty seats in the Swamp.
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin: He’s probably still steaming after the way the Tennessee game ended in controversy. One thing’s for sure: Franklin looked like a raging bull the way he went charging across the field looking for the officials at game’s end.
Alabama’s kicking game: It’s unfair to call it a complete disaster, because the Crimson Tide have done some things well. But when you can’t make field goals and are ranked 11th in the SEC in kickoff coverage, giving up a 95-yard return for a touchdown last week, you’re sure not helping yourself in the all-important third phase of the game.
SEC love: Let’s face it. The SEC is already Public Enemy No. 1 around the rest of the country. Everybody else is tired of hearing about the SEC, tired of seeing SEC teams win national championships every year and tired of the SEC getting the national spotlight. Well, with the top three teams in the BCS standings all being from the SEC this week, there’s not going to be an abundance of love out there. The rest of the country would probably rather see a forfeit than two SEC teams slugging it out in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game.
3hSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information