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Monday, October 31, 2011
Halloween in the SEC

By Chris Low

Hey, be sure to avoid all the ghouls, goblins and witches while trick or treating later Monday night.

Here’s our annual Halloween treat for you from the SEC blog. Consider it the spookiest post of the year:

Houston Nutt
Mississippi's losing streak against SEC teams is turning into a nightmare for coach Houston Nutt.
Cursed: Ole Miss has lost 11 straight SEC games, the longest such streak in school history, dating to last season. It’s been especially frustrating the past two weeks, because the Rebels haven’t quit fighting and played inspired football in the first half. They just haven’t been able to put two halves together.

Twilight zone: What in the world has happened to Georgia senior kicker Blair Walsh? He’s missed 10 field goal attempts this season, including a 37-yarder and 33-yarder last week in the win against Florida. This is the same guy who was a Lou Groza Award finalist two years ago. It’s been like watching a great golfer completely lose his putting stroke.

Boo (boo): Lot of choices here. South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore’s season-ending knee injury tops the list. The Gamecocks aren’t close to being the same team without him. Ole Miss has probably had as many injuries to key players as anybody, and Tennessee has been decimated by the season-ending knee injury to top receiver Justin Hunter and quarterback Tyler Bray’s broken thumb that could keep him out for the rest of the regular season. If you want to go back to the preseason, Arkansas star running back Knile Davis fractured his ankle, which has put a serious dent in the Hogs’ running game.

Thriller: The most exciting play of the season so far? Marquis Maze’s brilliant 83-yard punt return for a touchdown against Arkansas is hard to beat. So is “The Move” by Alabama running back Trent Richardson, who nearly broke the ankles of Ole Miss’ Senquez Golson on the tail end of a 76-yard touchdown run. And let’s not forget South Carolina’s 276-pound defensive end, Melvin Ingram, rambling 68 yards for a touchdown and even shaking Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin on the sideline while taking a fake punt to the house.

Back from the dead: Good luck in finding anybody outside the players and coaches on Georgia’s football team who didn’t think the Bulldogs were dead after those back-to-back losses to open the season. The only buzz surrounding the team following the 45-42 loss to South Carolina on Sept. 10 centered on coach Mark Richt and whether or not he was going to make it. Well, with two games to play in the SEC, the Bulldogs are alive and well in the East race and have won six straight games. There’s a mental toughness about this team that wasn’t there the past couple of seasons.

Haunted House: Alabama has won 25 of its past 26 games at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Auburn has won 13 straight games at Jordan-Hare Stadium. There’s just something about those football venues in the state of Alabama.

Graveyard: The Eastern Division might be looking at a second straight season where at least four of the teams don’t finish the regular season with a winning record. A year ago, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt all had losing seasons. This season, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt will all have to close with a flurry if they’re going to finish above .500.

Halloween costumes: LSU coach Les Miles/The Mad Hatter (just too easy); Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones/Darth Vader; South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier/Sports columnist for The State newspaper; Alabama center William Vlachos/Bouncer at a frat party; LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee/Rodney Dangerfield (no respect), Vanderbilt coach James Franklin/Rocky (ain't taking nothing from nobody).