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SEC Banter: News and notes from around the SEC
Banter
Ben Prevost

There’s no shortage of news and storylines as we approach the fourth and final Saturday of October.  Let’s get to it, SEC Banter style:

Just Call It “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” Already

No. 7 Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC) and No. 9 Florida (6-1, 4-1) meet in Jacksonville this Saturday for their annual SEC East tilt.

This year’s affair is an SEC Championship and College Football Playoff eliminator, as the winner claims the inside track to the SEC East title and preserves its playoff hopes.

Before some soft, no doubt far left-wing and politically correct person sitting in an ivory tower decided against it, this classic SEC rivalry was known as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”

You can quibble about whether the game and its associated revelry in fact constitute the WLOCP. Some say a ho-hum afternoon in New Orleans takes the cake in this department.

Regardless, I can’t figure out why Georgia-Florida isn’t called the WLOCP anymore, and I would love to find someone whose behavior was influenced by the boneheaded decision to drop the WLOCP moniker.

Is there a person who could honestly say, “I’m going to the Georgia-Florida game, but since it’s no longer officially called the WLOCP, I only plan to have a little fun.  If it was still called the WLOCP, I’d have lots of fun.”

SEC Banter says damn the torpedoes, head to St. Simon’s, hop on a boat to Jacksonville, and enjoy The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

“Free Devin White!”

I love the SEC. It’s in my pen name, after all.

But the conference’s downright awful officiating is impacting the competitive balance and perhaps even the outcome of football games.

During the second half of LSU’s win over Mississippi St. last Saturday, LSU linebacker Devin White – the best player on LSU’s team and worthy of Heisman discussion, in my view – was called for “targeting” on a hit of MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald.

After game officials took all of 30 seconds to review the questionable call (replay showed White led with his arms, not the crown of his helmet, and it was certainly not a flagrant hit), they confirmed the “targeting” penalty.

The result is that, by rule, White will miss the first half of the top-5 showdown between LSU and Alabama in Baton Rouge next week. The SEC’s questionable call, then its more questionable and hasty confirmation, followed by a total lack of any appeals process, means LSU will be without its best player for an entire half against undoubtedly the nation’s best and most potent offense in Alabama.

LSU fans reacted in their typically subtle, toned-down style. They purchased billboards near the SEC’s headquarters in Birmingham that say “Free Devin White!”  James Carville, the political consultant and LSU alum, wrote an op-ed piece alleging collusion between the SEC and Alabama. LSU fans have urged anyone and everyone to call the SEC’s office in protest.

Message to the SEC: Focus on improving your in-game officiating. It is a glaring weak spot in an otherwise incredibly strong product. Maybe take some of that $600 million in annual revenue and hire full-time, dedicated SEC officials instead of part-time substitute high school teachers. (I don’t actually know if any SEC refs are part-time substitute teachers, but it feels right.)

Saturday’s Slate

WLOCP: The boys in Vegas have the Dawgs as a 7-point favorite. Banter calls a UGA win, but it’ll come down to the last few minutes. Georgia 24, Florida 21.

No. 12 Kentucky at Missouri: Banter’s upset special has Mizzou winning its first conference game in an SEC East shakeup. Tigers 42, Wildcats 35.  (Vegas has Mizzou by 7 here, so technically not an upset.)

No. 16 Texas Agricultural & Mechanical at Mississippi St.: This all-maroon affair ends with an Agriculturals’ win over the puppies in Starkvegas. Dorks 21, Pups 13.

Tinnissee at Sakerlina: The Gamecocks have their way with the Vols Saturday night in Columbia. USC 38, Vols 20.


Ben Prevost writes SEC Banter during the college football season. Email him at SECbanter@hotmail.com.

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