It is officially Thanksgiving Day. This year has taken its toll in many ways, but at least we can say we made it past another checkpoint. And since this particular holiday reminds us to give thanks, we feel it necessary to compile a list of reasons to be thankful.
This isn’t your standard “reasons to be thankful” list, though. It would probably be shocking to find out people were sitting around the dinner table listing things they’re thankful for in the SEC, after all. But it was still fairly easy to compile.
So without further ado.
1. Lane Kiffin’s arrival at Ole Miss
Lane Kiffin has been everything we could have asked for and more. Between his talk of paying fines with pennies and his honest interviews, Kiffin’s return has made this unorthodox season a lot more entertaining.
His 3-4 record (might’ve been 4-3 if a certain kickoff return had been reviewed) is nothing to write home about, but just ask Dan Mullen and Nick Saban about the headaches Kiffin caused in just those two games. The offense is fun to watch, and it at least keeps them competitive in most games.
We deserved a Kiffin return to the SEC. He wasn’t doing enough for us down in Boca Raton.
2. The quick turnaround at Arkansas
It’s always a good thing when the SEC becomes more competitive. Arkansas going two straight seasons without a conference win wasn’t good for business, but that all changed with Sam Pittman.
What this Arkansas squad has done in Year 1 under Pittman is nothing short of incredible.
The Razorbacks are also 3-4 (might also be 4-3, but we’re just piling on Auburn at this point), despite playing a conference-only schedule. Not only that, they have been competitive in most games, which is a significant improvement from the product we’ve seen in recent years.
No more losses to North Texas, hopefully.
3. Texas A&M finally living up to expectations
We are late into November, and Texas A&M is still competing for a spot in the College Football Playoff. It took a few years, but we are finally here. Jimbo Fisher is (hopefully) back. The SEC is always more entertaining when multiple teams are still in the mix down the stretch.
Georgia all but eliminated itself when Kirby Smart waited until it was too late to unleash JT Daniels. But thanks to No. 6 Florida and the No. 5 Aggies, crowning Alabama SEC champions isn’t a foregone conclusion. There is still a lot of interesting football left.
We just need Fisher and company to avoid the choke.
4. Mac Jones and Kyle Trask
The SEC was in desperate need of more star power at the quarterback position after Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa departed for the NFL last year.
Several people thought K.J. Costello or Jamie Newman could be the answer — man, did we ever whiff on that one. Instead, we have the emergence of Mac Jones and Kyle Trask.
We had already seen good things from both players back in 2019, but their play has gone to a whole new level this season. Jones and Trask are squarely in the mix for the Heisman Trophy and should be finalists. We should be thankful for continued elite play at the position, given the uncertainty coming in.
5. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey
We came dangerously close to not having a college football season this year. With the antics from the Big Ten and Pac-12, things were trending in that direction back in August. But thanks to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey’s steadfast approach, we have almost made it through an entire season.
It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been more than any of us could have asked for, even a few months ago. People all around the college football world should thank Sankey, as well as President Donald Trump and our very own Clay Travis, for making this season happen.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.