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SEC Banter: Conference loaded with storylines entering November
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Florida head coach Jim McElwain, right, walks the sidelines during a timeout in the second half of the game against Georgia on Oct. 28 in Jacksonville, Fla. - photo by Associated Press

My grandmother had an old wooden medallion with “TUIT” printed on it. In her map-dot-from-west-Tennessee drawl — which I am thankful to hear in my mind every day — she explained that it reminded her not to procrastinate and, instead, to get “to it.”

With the SEC coaching carousel spinning, the conference boasting the two top-ranked teams in the nation and plenty of heavy hitting matchups to come, there’s plenty to banter about as we enter November.

Let’s get TUIT:

JIM MCELWAIN BACK TO SELLING CARS

After taking Florida to the SEC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons, Gators head coach Jim McElwain was fired seven games into the 2017 season.

The death threats he apparently made up may have caused the death of his tenure in The Swamp, but something bigger was amiss about McElwain’s relationship with the Florida administration.

In any event, the good news is he can go back to his true calling: selling cars.

As a refresher for the three or four new Banter readers I pick up each year, I’ve long said that “Jim McElwain” — in name — sounds just like a car dealer. “Come on down to Jim McElwain Buick for our year-end closeout!”

Here’s hoping “Mac” is better at selling LeSabres than coaching football.

BUTCH JONES SOMEHOW STILL EMPLOYED AT TENNESSEE

While Florida acted swiftly and got a jump on its search for a new coach, Tennessee is letting Butch Jones flail as the Volunteers’ program sinks to new depths.

Everyone at Tennessee, Jones and Smokey the Bluetick Coonhound included, knows he will not return as head coach. So why not make the call now and show some decisiveness?

A good friend of mine often marvels, “People in high positions get paid lots of money to make dumb decisions.”

Tennessee cannot afford a dumb decision here. While I’d love to see Jon Gruden in the SEC (rumors, or “Grumors,” of Gruden’s impending hire at UT have been around for years), an interesting name I’ve heard is Tony Dungy.

With Peyton Manning wielding influence over the search, it’s not out of the question that his former Indianapolis Colts coach would be in the mix.

Dungy could bring a calm, veteran presence to Knoxville, right the ship, then hand over the Rocky Top reins to a younger coach ... like Manning himself.

SEC CURRENTLY HAS TOP TWO PLAYOFF TEAMS IN ‘DOWN YEAR’

You’ve heard the claim — mostly by West Coast limousine liberal types — that the SEC is down this year, a mediocre conference with just one good team.

Turns out the SEC occupies the first two spots in the first College Football Playoff rankings, with Georgia at No. 1 and some team named Alabama at No. 2.

If the Tide and Dawgs meet in the SEC Championship Game and it’s a close, competitive contest, the SEC could — and should — field two teams in the playoff.

Take that, liberals!

BAMA, LSU SET FOR ANOTHER SNOOZEFEST

Alabama and LSU meet Saturday in the “This used to be a good rivalry but is boring now” game.

LSU hasn’t beaten Alabama since ‘Nam. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but it’s no exaggeration that a generation of Bayou Bengal fans is being raised without witnessing an LSU victory over the Crimson Tide.

It won’t come this weekend in Tuscaloosa, either. Bama’s rushing attack will gut a thin LSU defensive front, and LSU’s offense is not yet the quick, spread-em-out attack that Alabama has somewhat struggled against.

Look for a competitive first half and for Saban’s adjustments to lead to a comfortable Alabama win.

Enjoy the first SEC weekend of November. If you’re like me, you’re still full of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from Halloween and possibly in need of a new Buick LeSabre.

Let’s get TUIT and meet up Saturday at Jim McElwain Buick!

Ben Prevost writes SEC Banter during college football season. He can be reached at SECbanter@hotmail.com

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