The 2016 college football season is nearly a month old, and every SEC team already has four games in the books. Quite a bit has transpired, some of it expected, some of it downright surprising.
We asked each of our SEC reporters to name the best game they watched during the month of September. Here's what they said:
Edward Aschoff: Alabama-Ole Miss
Allow me to toot my own horn: I believe I've been to four of the best SEC games so far, so consider me an expert in this field. While Tennessee's incredible comeback over Florida was fantastic to watch in person, Alabama roaring back from a 24-3 deficit on the road at Ole Miss in Week 3 to win 48-43 was the best performance I've seen all season. Ole Miss' start was just as exciting, as the Rebels lit up Alabama's secondary, but just when you thought Ole Miss might have gotten over its Florida State collapse, Alabama rolled right back with a 45-6 run, only for Ole Miss to grind out two more touchdowns with less than three minutes remaining. Talk about squeezing every cent out of that trip.
David Ching: Georgia-Missouri
For sheer entertainment value, one could make a case for Ole Miss-Alabama, Ole Miss-Florida State, Kentucky-Southern Miss or Tennessee-Florida because of the wild second-half comebacks in each. But as far as the best game so far, give me Georgia’s 28-27 victory over Missouri in Week 3. You had two incomplete teams looking to find themselves. You had two future stars at quarterback slinging the ball around the field. And of course you had a heart-stopping finish, with Georgia scoring the winning touchdown on a fourth-down pass from Jacob Eason to Isaiah McKenzie, followed by a game-saving takeaway at midfield with 1:10 remaining. It wasn’t the prettiest game and these aren’t two of the best teams in the conference, but their Sept. 17 contest was one of the most exciting SEC matchups of the year to date.
Sam Khan Jr.: Arkansas-TCU
For me, it was a game that involved only one SEC team: Arkansas at TCU in Week 2. It was a key nonconference game for both teams, and Arkansas took a 20-7 lead late in the third quarter before TCU reeled off 21 consecutive points to take a 28-20 lead. That's when things got interesting. The Hogs had a game-tying drive that included a reverse pass to quarterback Austin Allen for a two-point conversion. The Horned Frogs could have won it in regulation, but Dan Skipper blocked a field goal. They went two overtimes, and in the second, Allen broke a couple tackles on a quarterback keeper to win it 41-38 for the Razorbacks.
Greg Ostendorf: LSU-Auburn
With all due respect to everyone else’s picks, did your game get a coach fired? Because this one did. Sure, Les Miles was probably on his way out at some point anyway, but it was only fitting for him to go out on a loss in which LSU scored a winning touchdown on the final play only to see it called back because the clock ran out. The game itself was billed as the “hot-seat bowl,” and while it wasn’t a shootout like Alabama-Ole Miss, there were plenty of fireworks at the end of Saturday's game. The only thing more memorable might have been if Danny Etling's last-second touchdown pass stood. But then Miles would still be at LSU.
Alex Scarborough: Alabama-Ole Miss
I’m biased, I know, because I was there, but Alabama-Ole Miss is hard to beat. That game had everything, but mostly it had drama. Ole Miss’ defense was crushing Jalen Hurts and Alabama ... until it wasn’t. Alabama’s defense, meanwhile, was getting crushed by Chad Kelly and the Ole Miss offense ... until it wasn’t. The whole game got turned on its head at least two times. There were offensive and defensive touchdowns, and in the end, both teams showed me a lot. Hurts proved that he’s not intimidated by the big stage, and Kelly proved once again why he’s the best quarterback in the league. How Hugh Freeze got his team to bounce back and beat Georgia the way the Rebels did in Week 4 is beyond me. I thought both Alabama and Ole Miss would need a month’s rest after that one.