SEC Misery Index: Only Auburn's 25-point collapse could upstage Florida's dysfunction

Nick Gray
Nashville Tennessean

Flopping onto your phone or computer screen like a walk-on fullback who just caught the game-winning pass, the SEC Misery Index is here.

Auburn, that was not good. Let's start there.

Most Miserable: Auburn's second half sounds off the alarms

The Air Raid, when it works, is no joke. Quick passes, usually to receivers who have running room, aren't easy to defend. It's not easy to get to the quarterback. And just when you have your eyes forward, receivers can beat you down the field.

That being said, the Auburn Tigers led 28-3 midway through the second quarter. Even if the Air Raid did get going (which it did), Auburn had two things going for it: An offense that scored four touchdowns in a quarter and a half as well as a 25-point lead.

By the fourth quarter, the lead was no more; the offense was sputtering to a halt; and the Jordan-Hare Stadium crowd was irritable. 

Auburn Tigers quarterback Bo Nix (10) walks off the field as Auburn Tigers take on Mississippi State Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. Mississippi State Bulldogs defeated Auburn Tigers 43-34.

Quarterback Bo Nix got banged up and clearly was limited in the final minutes. That had a impact on Auburn's offense, but so did the Tigers' inability to run the ball. 

And Mississippi State's Air Raid was on fire over the final 2 ½ quarters, with Will Rogers compiling 415 passing yards and six touchdowns. 

It's coach Bryan Harsin's first season at Auburn, and this game wasn't a make-or-break. But a 25-point lead turning into a loss is quite the slipper fit for misery. Harsin cannot make blowing leads a habit at Auburn.

NO EXPLANATION:Auburn football's Bo Nix after loss to Mississippi State: 'I’m not quite sure what happened'

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Still Miserable: Florida, what are you doing?

The Misery Index really doesn't want to go too long into whatever is going on at Florida. But if the Gators keep doing the things they're doing, the Misery Index has no choice. None. 

It was outright embarrassing to have to battle FCS Samford like that, and the final score didn't really matter once the Gators got ahead for good. There are clear issues both internally and externally. The Misery Index examined that dynamic and how a toxic internal dynamic can impact the external. Firing assistant coaches and coordinators is rarely more than window dressing to disguise the issues inside the home. 

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Coach Dan Mullen cannot erase the result. He cannot erase the bad taste left in the mouth of Florida fans. He cannot erase the film of the first half against Samford, which scored 42 points. These things matter. These games will be played. It's unavoidable.

What Florida cannot do is kick the can on fixing this program. Mullen is getting it wrong. Is there anyone in Gainesville or elsewhere who can help him? If not, 2022 could be a textbook example of a lame duck coach floating down a river to nowhere.

Miserable, but can deal with it: Texas A&M's offense lets it down again

Here's the problem with how Saturday's game went for Texas A&M: Ole Miss tried its best to give the game away. The win was there for the taking in the fourth quarter, as Ole Miss failed on a fake field goal attempt and turned the ball over on downs. A&M had a chance to take the lead twice but settled for a red zone field goal and a backbreaking interception.

Not every team can have a quality backup quarterback who can win games on the road against ranked competition. But even if you consider Haynes King as a quality option, coach Jimbo Fisher has yet to recruit a quality quarterback who has established himself with Texas A&M. Fisher does not want to be the coach that failed because he couldn't get the right quarterback to take the Aggies to the next step, especially given his positive track record.

Not everyone is miserable....

  • Georgia. Smash. 
  • Alabama. Smash.
  • Missouri got back into range of a bowl berth with a solid win at home against South Carolina. At 5-5, a win against either Florida or Arkansas will do it.
  • Kentucky can exhale following its 34-17 win at Vanderbilt. It can be easy to get lost in the wash of a difficult SEC schedule. (This is the Misery Index, after all.) The Wildcats needed to be reminded that not every team and every game has to be a slug fest, and a strong first half meant an easy final 30 minutes. The target is 9-3, with New Mexico State and Louisville remaining.