Last Saturday was one of the more interesting days of football in the SEC that I can remember with all of the upsets. Auburn was one of five teams that went into SEC matchups as an underdog and came out the winner.
Auburn’s challenge was the most significant one because Coach Gus Malzahn’s Tigers were playing the seventh-ranked Texas A&M Aggies on their home field in College Station while the other upset wins were done on home fields. There is a major difference in winning on the road vs. winning at home with the crowd being a factor in making the upset happen.
Tennessee surprised South Carolina and you have to give the new head coach in Knoxville, Butch Jones, credit for doing a good job of improving the Vols after some early season struggles. He has got his kids playing hard and upsets can happen in those situations.
I can say the same thing about the Ole Miss players putting in a big effort in their upset win over LSU, a big win for Coach Hugh Freeze’s team to end their losing streak. The Rebels had to overcome injuries to some key players to make it happen.
James Franklin, the coach at Vanderbilt, also deserves credit for having his team ready to find a way to win against a wounded Georgia team.
I have always thought that Missouri’s Gary Pinkel has done a good job of coaching and that was on display the past two weeks with a win at Georgia followed by another at home vs. Florida to take control of the SEC East race.
I know Missouri was just a slight underdog to the Gators, but anybody who can score 36 points against that Florida defense is doing something impressive. Making it happen with the backup quarterback leading the offense is even better.
All of the coaches involved in the upsets last Saturday deserve major credit for getting their kids ready to play at a high level. That is certainly the case with Coach Malzahn and his staff who have done an outstanding job of developing this Auburn team. The difference between the way the Tigers are playing now and the way they were playing in the second half of last season is remarkable.
The spirit and character the Tigers are developing is exactly what Auburn people want to see from their football team, which I think is continuing to get better each week.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat’s Picks.
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