Any Given Saturday Week 7 Recap: Florida and UGA Need Each Other

Two weeks ago, I imagined the possibilities of a Zach Mettenberger slash Aaron Murray hybrid. Mettenberger is the hammer with towering size and an arm that makes the football whistle when he throws it. Murray is the scalpel. He’s small, but methodical and precise.

It might be time for another merger and the formation of a hypothetical a team of rivals. The enemy of thy enemy is my friend. The combined forces of one of the SEC’s fiercest divisional rivalries might be what it takes to unseat Alabama from its stone gargoyle perch atop the SEC standings.  Florida and UGA are each one half of the perfect team. The Gators defense takes the Gator-sized chunks out of opposing offenses. Even in defeat this season, they've allowed just 19 points per game with an anemic offense that consistently set them up with their backs up against the wall. Their passing offense once again looked like Steve Harvey’s gator-skinned wingtips.

Conversely, the Bulldogs offense was in constant attack mode. Even without Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell, they were a threat to put up 30 a game while playing with one of the slowest tempos in the nation. However, their defense is as threatening as a hairless Chihuahua.

With Aaron Murray and a healthy Gurley under center for the "Okefenokee State Tailgators,"  you'd be looking at a national championship contender.

Co-head coaches Will Muschamp, a UGA alum and Mark Richt, who backed up Jim Kelly at Miami before paying his coaching dues alongside Bowden at Florida would split duties. Richt could devote his time to offense and Muschamp would channel his volcanic intensity into Florida’s shutout defense.

However, let's not ignore LSU. The Tigers control their own destiny. A win over Alabama on Nov. 9th sets them up for a pre-Thanksgiving clash against Texas A&M that will have SEC Championship implications.

Fresh Prince of SEC East:

One year ago, Texas A&M and Alabama were the unsophisticated cousins from Philly moving in with their snooty family in Bel-Air. The neighbors turned their noses up at them, and regarded them as frauds in a land of football sycophants. In just two years, they’ve turned the conference upside down. This is their home now. Texas A&M staked its claim as Alabama’s foil thanks to Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, now a New York Jet, became the rally cry behind UGA’s Mizzou whooping, after Richardson called out their “old man” style of football.

In their second go-round, Mizzou officially squeezed the life out of UGA’s slim national championship dreams. Don’t look now, but Mizzou and Alabama possess the final unblemished records left in the SEC. The good news is that Missouri is here to stay. The bad news is that UGA is no longer the only SEC squad to get slashed by the injury reaper. Missouri's scars are apparent in the form of quarterback James Franklin's absence.

Franklin separated his right throwing shoulder in the fourth and was replaced by redshirt freshman Maty Mauk. Backup quarterbacks such as Blake Bell and Tyler Murphy provided sparks for a while, but eventually they plummeted back to Earth on Saturday. Franklin’s loss is a blow to their pursuit of an undefeated season, but Mauk appears to be Gary Pinkel and David Yost’s next Frankenstein project under center. The ugly news is that next week, he’ll get immediately thrust into the furnace against the Florida Gators carnivorous defense.

Even in defeat, the Gator licked the bone clean against Mettenberger. If Mauk looks like a freshman at home against Florida, he could be in for an agonizing debut as the Gators toss him around like Uncle Phil evicting Jazzy Jeff from the premises.

Even Stanford Suffers From Brain Cramps Every Once In A While

We should have seen this coming. I'm sure that's what all parents say just before one of their children holds up a convenient store or tries cooking meth in their room. Stanford was rife with distractions this week. Condioeeza Rice's appointment to college football's playoff selection committee inspired national backlash, while Steve Sarkisian's accusations of Stanford's defenders playing possum incited anger from David Shaw. Lou Holtz tried to fault the timing of Stanford's rigorous mid-term exams. Stanford simply got caught in a trap game between Washington and UCLA.

It was the perfect storm, topped off by Shaw's decision to throw on third and fourth and 2 from the Utes 6-yard line, instead of running the ball down Utah's throat in the final minute. The Cardinals had more than enough time to run on third and fourth down before getting four chances to breach the endzone from the 4-yard line. Their gamble didn't pay off and the house claimed Stanford's national title hopes –– at least for now.

Clowney Isn’t The Best Pass Rusher In South Carolina

On SEC Media Day, Jadaveon Clowney went out of his way to point out the fear he claims to have seen in Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd’s eyes last November. This season, the roles have been reversed. Clowney is being criticized for being afraid to play hurt and risk his NFL future, while Clemson’s Vic Beasley has put as much of a hurting on quarterbacks as any defender has all year. Beasley entered Week 7 leading the nation in sacks. As the Clemson offense Clemsoned all over itself, Beasley and the defense made the defensive play that put Boston College’s upset bid to bed and gave the offense some breathing room. After NC State quarterback Pete Thomas wandered outside the pocket and fumbled near the sideline on the 17-yard line, Beasley picked up the loose ball and escorted it into the endzone to extend Clemson's lead to 10.           

Man(ziel) On Fire – Who caught fire in Week 3?

The Money Badger waited until the fourth quarter to strike against Ole Miss. After crumpling to the ground with an apparent knee injury in the first quarter, it was like Manziel doused himself with inspirational fuel and lit a match. Manziel returned with a brace and proceeded to have his best rushing performance of the season.

His telekinetic ability to shake defenders was on display all night, but he saved his best performance for last, as 44 of his 124 yards came with him wriggling through defenders on the final two drives. In a span of the final three minutes, A&M went from trailing by a touchdown to winning by a chip shot field goal. It may have been Ole Miss, but Saturday night was a reminder of why Manziel is still in the running for a second consecutive Heisman. Aaron Murray wilted under the pressure of having to overcome his mediocre defense. Manziel walked across the hot coals with a smirk on his face. Money Badger don't care.