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Saturday Lessons: November 7

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Voters will be voters (read: idiots).

Pick a poll. Any poll. In it, today you'll find Iowa behind USC.

Iowa has one loss to 6-3 Northwestern. USC has two losses, one of them to 3-6 Washington. That alone would be enough to put the Hawkeyes ahead of the Trojans, but USC also has the evisceration at the hands of Oregon on its resume. I know it's popular to rag on Iowa for all the close wins, but in the end, they're all wins and the two schools have similar schedules played so far. There's no way to justify having USC above Iowa, and yet there's up to a four spot gap (AP poll) between the two. It's nonsense.

Alabama gets to face the tin hatters this week.

I don't think anyone really believes Jarrett Lee was going to lead any sort of dramatic comeback against Alabama's defense. It's also LSU's job to keep Bama from driving within field goal range. Even so, Patrick Peterson did get that interception late in the game because he had possession and a foot down. The second foot is irrelevant because this is not the NFL where you do need both feet in bounds.

If you guessed from the first two sentences that I don't think that blown call gave Alabama the game, you're right. Alabama was the better team and with a few less mistakes from Greg McElroy, the Tide would have been a larger margin of victory. It's no different than any other ref-fueled tempest in a teapot that we've seen this year in that way though. As a Florida fan, I'm just glad it's someone else's turn.

Florida hit the snooze button.

Mark Jones and Bob Davie incessantly talked about how low key it was in the Swamp on Saturday night, and that's exactly what the program needed. They beat Vandy by the same margin they beat Georgia by. There was no drama. There was no controversy. There was never a doubt of the outcome of the game. It's the perfect breather before embarking on the final road trip of the year to Columbia this weekend.

You could nitpick the offense, as it didn't get up to the buzzsaw gear again. That had more to do with Vandy's defense though, which put up a valiant fight. The Commodores also saw fit to pressure the quarterback in obvious passing downs, something that has worked fairly well for everyone who's tried it. We know who this Florida team is by now, and we saw exactly that: a pretty good but not dominant offense that sees no need to take chances thanks to a ferocious defense backing it up.

LSU now must avoid a letdown.

It's hard to beat a team as good as Alabama. It's even harder when you lose your starting running back and quarterback in the process. They fought the good fight on Saturday, but they're still about a year away from competing on the highest level. The danger now is if, with the division title out of reach, they start feeling bad for themselves. Louisiana Tech is no threat, but with both Houston Nutt and Arkansas still left on the slate, there's still potential for chaotic upsets. That's what those two have delivered off and on in recent years, and any more Tiger losses would put a damper on an otherwise good year.

The MWC is above the Big East for now.

With Iowa dropping off, there's one less undefeated team to look out for. We know the Florida-Texas-Alabama trio is pretty much unbreakable without a loss for one of them, so the interesting stuff comes after them. We can see in the Coaches' and Harris Polls that TCU is a pretty clear No. 4 over the No. 5 Cincinnati Bearcats, which both relates to how they've been playing and the level of respect their conferences are getting. TCU, with the exception of a close scrape with Air Force, has been blowing out its MWC competition whereas UC has had more tight games.

Given how Pittsburgh has climbed in the rankings and how UC is above TCU in the computers, I would think it unlikely that an undefeated Cincinnati would be behind an undefeated TCU in the final BCS rankings. However, it's just interesting to note that a non-Big Six team is the first in line at the table if the preseason script (SEC Champ versus Texas) somehow fails us. And people said there's no progress being made.

South Carolina's descent continued.

If you chalk the upcoming Florida game as a loss for the Gamecocks, they will end up 3-5 in the conference. After the hot start and given the general down-ish state of the SEC at the moment, that has to be a huge disappointment. They looked all right for the first half of the game, battling to a 10-10 halftime tie before unloading a 80 yard Stephen Garcia to Alshon Jeffery bomb to begin the second half. The floodgates opened from there though, with Arkansas pouring on 23 unanswered points to win the game. The Chicken Curse seems to be in full effect.

Arkansas finally broke through on a good defense.

Here's what kind of year it was for Arkansas before Saturday. Against Alabama, Ole Miss, and Florida, they averaged about 15 points per game; against everyone else, they averaged 48.6 points a game and never were held below 40. The Hogs were great at putting up points on lousy defenses, but they were silenced against the best ones.

South Carolina's defense isn't quite in the same league as Florida's or Alabama's, but it's not Georgia's defense either. This was an important sign that the Razorbacks can succeed against an upper-half-of-the-SEC defense, and it builds momentum for the rest of the stretch run. They've got two winnable games (Troy, Mississippi State) before going to Baton Rouge to try to pull off yet another improbable upset of LSU. If Jordan Jefferson is still gimpy and this breakthrough is a real sign of progress, that one could easily happen.

It's good to have homecoming.

Georgia's defense got to get a shutout and hold someone to 55 total yards. Kentucky got to give QB Morgan Newton some easy reps. Auburn got to pad its season stats. Jonathan Crompton got to know what it felt like to be Tim Tebow circa 2007, as he accounted for six touchdowns in one game. Ole Miss got to give Dexter McCluster a much-deserved break. Ain't November cupcakes great? Just wait 'til November 21, when both Florida and Alabama get down to snacking.