No shortage of news and storylines as the fourth and final Saturday of October nears.  Let’s get TUIT, SEC Banter style:

Just Call It “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” Already

Georgia (No. 7, 6-1 overall, 4-1 SEC) and Florida (No. 9, also 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the league) meet in Jacksonville for their annual SEC East tilt.

This contest is an SEC Championship and College Football Playoff eliminator, as the winner claims the inside track to the SEC East title and preserves its playoff hopes.

I always felt like being in Florida gave UF the advantage, but inside it's 50/50.

I always felt like being in Florida gave UF the advantage, but inside the stadium it’s 50/50.

Before some soft, no doubt left-wing and politically correct person decided against it, this classic SEC rivalry was known as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”

You can quibble about whether the game’s revelry in fact constitutes the WLOCP.  Some say a ho-hum afternoon in New Orleans takes the cake in that department.

Regardless, not referring to the Georgia-Florida game as the WLOCP is emblematic of today’s wimpy, protectionist culture.  Newsflash:  at some point, young adults must learn how to handle themselves at grown-up events like cocktail parties.  Dropping the WLOCP moniker is classic symbolism over substance.

Is there a person who can honestly say, “I’m going to the Georgia-Florida game, but since it’s no longer called the WLOCP, I only plan to have a little fun.  If it was still called the WLOCP, I’d have lots of fun.”

SEC Banter says damn the PC torpedoes, head down to St. Simon’s (or to Sea Island for the uppity types – you know who you are), hop on a boat to Jacksonville, and enjoy the game – responsibly – for what it is:  The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party!

My man Clay Crim at the helm of his beauty on the way down to Jacksonville last year.

My man Clay C. at the helm of his beauty of a vessel, navigating down to Jacksonville last year.

“Free Devin White!”

I love the SEC.  It’s in my pen name, after all.

But the conference’s negligent officiating is impacting the competitive balance and perhaps even the outcome of football games.

The most recent egregious call came last week during the second half of LSU’s win over Mississippi State.  Tigers’ linebacker Devin White – the best player on LSU’s team and worthy of Heisman discussion, in my view – was called for “targeting” on a hit of MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald.

After game officials took all of 30 seconds to review the questionable call (replay showed White led with his arms, not the crown of his helmet, and it was not a flagrant hit), they confirmed the “targeting” penalty.

The result is that, by rule, White will miss the first half of next week’s top-5 showdown against Alabama in Baton Rouge.  The SEC’s poor call, its highly questionable and hasty confirmation, and lack of any appeals process means LSU is without its best player for an entire half against the nation’s most potent offense in Alabama.

LSU fans reacted in their typically subtle, toned-down style:

  • They purchased billboards near the SEC’s headquarters in Birmingham with the message, “Free Devin White”
    This is an actual billboard in Birmingham, AL.

    This is an actual billboard in Birmingham, AL.


  • James Carville, the political consultant and LSU alum, wrote an op-ed piece alleging collusion between the SEC and Alabama.  Hell, I think Robert Mueller should investigate.

    That is one fine lookin' shirt.

    That is one fine lookin’ shirt.


  • The SEC’s office was flooded with calls from irate LSU fans protesting the penalty (by the way, the SEC headquarters’ number is (205) 458-3000).


  • Looziana’s governor even weighed in, asking for an explanation of why the call was upheld as targeting.

Message to the SEC:  Improve in-game officiating.  It’s a glaring weakness in an otherwise incredibly strong product.  Perhaps use some of that $600 million in annual revenue and hire full-time, dedicated SEC officials instead of part-time substitute high school teachers.  (I don’t know if any SEC refs are part-time substitute teachers but it feels right.)

By the way, this classy move by an Alabama defender resulted in just a 15-yard penalty, no ejection:

Predicting Saturday’s Slate

The Big Georgia-Florida Game Featuring Outside Beverages:  Vegas has the Dawgs as 7-point favorites.  Banter calls a UGA win, but it’ll be close and come down to the last few minutes with a late Rodrigo Blankenship field goal.  Georgia 24, Florida 21.

No. 12 Kentucky at Missouri:  Banter’s upset special has Mizzou winning its first conference game in a high-scoring SEC East shakeup.  Tigers 42, Wildcats 35.

No. 16 Texas Agricultural & Mechanical at Mississippi St.:  This all-maroon affair ends with an A&M win over State in Starkvegas.  Dorks 21, Pups 13.

Tinnissee at Sakerlina:  With nothing on the line except mediocre, mid-level SEC East superiority, it’s the Gamecocks over the Vols in Columbia.  Cocks 38, Vols 20.

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