College Football Frenzy: Saban down but not out ahead of vital SEC tilt

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You can bet, he’ll be front and centre — without literally being front and centre — Saturday, likely even calling the plays.

It’s been done by bed-ridden coaches before, and by all accounts, Saban is upright, “feeling fine” and thinking clearly, especially given the situation.

But all that just adds more fuel to what is likely the tell-tale game of this year’s SEC season.

It is No. 2 vs. No. 3, with the winner owning a huge advantage in the right to advance to the College Football Playoff. After all, they are the last of the SEC unbeatens, both sporting 3-0 perfection.

And you can bet, even though he won’t be there, Saban — just as he did in thumping his former offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin and the Ole Miss Rebels last week — will find a way to get the better of Smart, his former defensive coordinator, and arguably the NCAA’s best defence.

Even via Zoom.

SECOND DOWN

FLA head coach Dan Mullen lobbied last weekend for 90,000 to attend The Swamp for Saturday’s No. 10 Florida (2-1) host of LSU (1-2), but now nobody will be on hand after 19 of Mullen’s charges tested positive for COVID-19 . . . FYI: ‘Bama athletic director Greg Byrne contracted COVID, too . . . In the meantime, Kiffin made mention Wednesday of his Ole Miss side having had a spike in cases. Maybe that’s why we’re seeing such surprisingly awful stats from the defence in Oxford. Ole Miss has surrendered 641.3 yards per game and 51.70 points per game — both dead-last of the 76 FBS teams playing ball right now. Oof . . . So all in all, it’s been a rough week for the SEC, which began with the conference’s first date-change because of the virus. That was Missouri-Vanderbilt being bumped because Vandy’s short healthy players . . . Who’s not sick but hurtin’ in the SEC? That would be Mike Leach and The Air Raid, now stationed — and grounded, it seems — in Starkville. Leach and Mississippi State (2-1) got shut down in last week’s shocking 24-2 loss to host Kentucky. What’s happened since that wild Week 4 44-34 takedown of champ LSU (another hurtin’ unit, by the way)? The Air Raid visits No. 11 Texas A&M (2-1) this Saturday (4 p.m. ET, TSN4).