As you surely know, Wednesday was “Back to the Future Day,” the day Marty McFly time traveled to in the classic 1989 film, “Back to the Future Part II.”
It’s hard to believe in 2015 we don’t have hover boards, self-lacing Nikes, or dog-walking drones like the movie predicted. And I’m still waiting for the first Café 80’s to open.
Then again, it’s hard to believe we’re just over halfway through the college football season.
The season’s midpoint brings with it dreaded mid-term grades. Don your self-drying jacket, grab a Pepsi Perfect (despite no one drinking Pepsi around these parts), and hop in your flying DeLorean as we grade the nation’s finest football conference, SEC Banter style.
We start in the SEC West, home to the conference’s only teams currently ranked in the top 10.
Alabama (No. 8, 6-1, 3-1 SEC): Despite its self-inflicted September stumble against Ole Miss, Alabama is squarely in the SEC and national championship races. November 7 in Tuscaloosa will be SEC Back to the Future Day, as Alabama-LSU once again shapes up as a dandy.
It’s an A- for the Crimson Tide.
Arkansas (2-4, 1-2 SEC): A coach who runs his mouth incessantly, loses to Toledo and Texas Tech, and underachieves despite some having picked Arkansas to contend in the West. Biff Tannen could do a better job coaching the Hogs, even without Grays Sports Almanac.
The win at Tennessee saves Arkansas from a big fat F, as they earn a D for dismal.
Auburn (4-2, 1-2 SEC): It sure doesn’t feel like Auburn has a winning record. Instead of grading the Tigers, let’s grade my preseason prediction: “Despite a loaded roster, Heisman hopeful Jeremy Johnson at QB, and facing Georgia and Alabama at home, I’m calling an off-year on the Plains.”
SEC Banter’s prediction gets an A, and I didn’t even have Biff’s sports almanac!
Mississippi State (5-2, 1-2 SEC): State is having a ho-hum season thus far, sort of like life in Marty McFly’s hometown of Hill Valley.
B for the Bulldogs.
Mississippi (No. 24, 5-2, 2-1 SEC): Mississippi has moved in the polls faster than Doc Brown’s time machine blazed fire tracks at the Twin Pines Mall. The Rebels went from No. 17 in the preseason polls, shot to No. 3 after beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and back to No. 24 after singing the blues in Memphis.
The Rebels receive a C+, which also happens to be my most common grade in math growing up.
LSU (No. 5, 6-0, 4-0 SEC): The Fighting Fournettes continue their ground assault with customary Les Miles flair, or lagniappe as they say on the bayou, meaning “a little something extra.”
Despite time generally standing still in Louisiana, LSU earns an A.
Texas A&M (No. 15, 5-1, 2-1): I’m tempted to give the Aggies an Incomplete because they haven’t played a game outside of Texas all season. We’ll learn more about A&M this Saturday when they travel to Oxford for their first true road game of the year.
For now, the Aggies receive a B from Banter.
Over in the SEC East, the race is Florida’s to lose, and that’s where we’ll start:
Florida (No. 13, 6-1, 4-1 SEC): Perhaps the SEC’s surprise team under first-year coach Jim McElwain, the future has repeated itself with Florida back atop the SEC’s elite. The Gators can all but punch their ticket to Atlanta with a win over a downtrodden Georgia on Halloween.
Florida gets an A for alligator.
Georgia (Unranked in AP poll and deservedly so, 5-2, 3-2 SEC): Expectations for Georgia were as high as those for 1990’s “Back to the Future Part III,” the only film in the trilogy that felt a little forced.
In hindsight, we should have tempered those expectations a bit — at least for Georgia, whose season is crashing.
C-, bordering on a D for the Dawgs.
Kentucky (4-2, 2-2 SEC): The Wildcats are close to turning the corner and gave Florida all it could handle. But last week’s home loss to Auburn keeps Kentucky trapped in its unfortunate past instead of heading — you guessed it, into the future.
B- for Big Blue.
Missouri (4-3, 1-3 SEC): No return trip to the Georgia Dome for the Tigers this year, but Mizzou pulled off an even more improbable feat by losing and winning games with final scores of 9-6. Way to go!
Show me a C+ for Missouri.
South Carolina (3-4, 1-4 SEC): Out of respect for the former Head Ball Coach, the Gamecocks receive an “Incomplete.” Steve Spurrier’s departure was strong and sudden and cruel sometimes, but the power of love for him is undeniable.
Tennessee (3-3, 1-2 SEC): Huge blown lead at home to Oklahoma, huge blown lead at Florida, huge blown lead at home to Arkansas, and a one-touchdown win at home over a poor Georgia team.
It’s a rocky season on Rocky Top, and the Vols get a C-.
Vanderbilt (2-4, 0-3 SEC): Who cares about Vandy? Let’s again focus on my preseason prediction, in which I said the ‘Dores wouldn’t win a conference game.
Vandy gets an A+ for proving me correct thus far. Keep it up, Commodores!
What will the future will hold for your favorite team? As Doc Brown said at the conclusion of the “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Your future is whatever you make it ... so make it a good one.”
Here’s to hoping your SEC team makes it a good one.
Ben Prevost writes SEC Banter during the college football season. It runs on Thursday.