Top-ranked Alabama (4-0) blanked then-No. 21 Ole Miss 25-0, and the positive vibe that came from it showed that not all 25-point victories are equal.
Jacksonville State (4-1) suffered its first loss in its third straight overtime game, falling 35-34 to Murray State, but the Gamecocks can draw positives from a game they dominated statistically.
Auburn (3-1) had an open date after falling 35-21 at then-No. 6 LSU on Sept. 21, so the Tigers had two weeks to sulk about their loss or smile about their 21-point second half.
And nobody had as bad of a weekend as former Southern California coach Lane Kiffin, who was reportedly summoned off the team bus and fired at LAX Airport. So, there’s that.
Alabama: On point
The perfect touch that Alabama put on its victory over Ole Miss on Saturday wasn’t the shutout for the defense, though it had to feel good, especially for a maligned secondary.
The perfect touch wasn’t so much that the running game kick-started in the second half, though that showed that not all is woe with the maligned offensive line.
The perfect touch wasn’t even the Crimson Tide’s most dominating performance this season, which came against a ranked team that some had fitted for an upset of Alabama.
The perfect touch was Alabama’s third 25-point victory of the season.
Much of the ledge walking about this team came after the other two 25-point victories, and the Tide managed to coax anxious fans back off the ledge with another.
Auburn: Rebbed up
Meanwhile, Auburn’s next opponent will come into Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday looking for redemption after playing the prop in Alabama’s statement game.
Saturday’s Auburn-Ole Miss game, set for 6 p.m. on ESPNU, will mark an interesting clash of psyches.
Each team is coming off its first losses of the season, but Auburn had an open date after its 35-21 loss at LSU. While Ole Miss’ exposure is raw, Auburn regained some confidence with a 21-point (nearly 28-point) second half at LSU.
Both teams want to recover the good feeling of their previously unbeaten starts, with the alternative being two consecutive SEC losses and the prospect for more ahead.
No. 24 Ole Miss, already having lost to Alabama, will play No. 9 Texas A&M and No. 10 LSU right after playing Auburn. The Rebels don’t want to go from 3-0 to 3-4.
Auburn, already having lost to LSU, still must play Texas A&M, No. 6 Georgia and Alabama. A loss to Ole Miss makes at least five losses likely.
Suddenly, it feels like Auburn and Ole Miss will start October with a must-win game.
JSU: On the upside
While most of the focus immediately following JSU’s loss to Murray State centered on mistakes and missed opportunities, there’s another way to look at it.
The Gamecocks held one of the OVC’s most prolific offenses to 27 points in regulation, seven in the final two quarters.
Meanwhile, JSU’s offense amassed 652 yards and 35 first downs on 98 plays and had opportunities to rout the Racers long before starting their latest adventure in untimed football.
JSU came away with an OVC loss to show for it, but the Gamecocks showed potential. They can run, pass and play defense. It all came together in the second half in a way it hadn’t previously.
JSU dominated everywhere but on the scoreboard, thanks to red-zone turnovers and missed field goals.
The loss to Murray State was a blow, but JSU showed reasons to believe it can be a factor in the OVC race.
Sports columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576, firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jmedley_star.