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SEC Banter: Midseason grades for SEC football teams and much, much more
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Ben Prevost writes SEC Banter weekly for The Times during the college football season.

We’re midway through the college football season and SEC Banter’s doling out midterm grades for football teams and whatever else floats my boat.

If you disagree with your grade, my office hours are Tuesdays from 8-8:15 am. Or, even better for ‘round-the-clock access, you can fax me.

We start with college football itself. This past Saturday felt like the first real week of consequence. The season has mostly lacked “pop” and, for that reason, college football gets a C with hope for turning in an A+ performance as the season progresses.

SEC Banter himself isn’t faring much better, to be candid. Perhaps it’s the ho-hum season, life’s general obligations, or science’s abject failure to invent a time machine to 1985, but Banter feels a bit off, and that earns me a C+.

Speaking of feeling a bit off, Georgia gets a D despite its 5-1 record and No. 10 ranking. Losing at home to unranked South Carolina and scoring zero points in two overtimes is more embarrassing than being cast in the next “Weekend at Bernie’s” sequel.

I might add Georgia looked as lifeless as Bernie.

Alabama: The rest of college football needs ‘Bama averaging 51 points per game like I need another golf shirt. For those who don’t know me well, I do NOT need another golf shirt. It’s an A+ for Alabama.

Toy Story 4: I watched the latest Toy Story installment with my kids over the weekend. Darn it if those little animated toys don’t make me cry to infinity and beyond, and this flick was no different, earning an A in my book.

Florida: Despite nearly insurmountable challenges that accompany perpetually tacky uniforms, Florida’s backup quarterback Kyle Trask was poised in Death Valley during a competitive loss, and the Gators will give Georgia all it can handle in Jacksonville. A- for Florida.

LSU: The Tigers have a high-flying, record-setting offense, about as unlikely as a new “Magnum P.I.” movie starring Tom Selleck, not some knock-off actor. An uncharacteristically porous defense keeps LSU from a perfect grade. A.

My most recent chili: I was proud of the 5-alarm chili I whipped up last weekend. Then, a good buddy from New Orleans sent pics of his boiled shrimp, blue crabs, grilled frogs’ legs, boudin, gator sausage, and pork ribs. My 5-alarm chili looked alarmingly pedestrian in comparison, so it gets a B-.

Missouri: I learned while researching for this week’s column that Missouri is, in fact, still in the SEC. They’re also tough to gauge after dropping the season opener to Wyoming but remaining capable of winning the SEC East. B+ for the Tigers.

My wife gets an A+ not just for being the best wife around (duh), but for going on a girls’ trip to Destin this weekend. Their plans include a fishing boat excursion in Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. How cool is that?

The only private school in the SEC, Vanderbilt, brings down the curve with a big fat F. The Commodores are understandably not an SEC powerhouse, but dropping one to a one-win UNLV team at home by a score of 34-10 earns a failing grade.

My playlist for going low on the golf course — I fired a 94 last week, boom — gets an A+. Heavy on Tom Petty with some Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton and Creedence thrown in for good measure, it’s a winner.

There you have SEC Banter’s midterm grades. If I didn’t grade your team, it’s because your team is pitiful (Arkansas, Tennessee), typically boring (Kentucky, Mississippi State), or was once known as East Alabama Male College (Auburn), a fact I will never let down.

See you during office hours, and I’m also waiting by the fax machine for infinity and beyond.

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