The grandest opening weekend in college football history has come to a close. It started with Tennessee, the ninth-ranked team in the country, needing overtime to survive Appalachian State at home. It ended with Ole Miss watching a 22-point lead turn into an 11-point loss to Florida State.
It was that kind of weekend for the King of Conferences.
The SEC went 6-6 in non-conference play over the 5-day weekend. Counting Vanderbilt's loss to South Carolina, seven SEC teams took an L in Week 1, the most in one weekend since September 1992. Some of the setbacks came to defensible opponents -- Clemson, Florida State, Wisconsin.
Others, not so much. There was Kentucky's 25-point blown lead to Southern Miss. The #clanga that allowed South Alabama to beat Mississippi State. Missouri was hardly competitive at West Virginia.
And some of the SEC's six wins were hardly impressive, either. There was Arkansas's one-point defeat of Louisiana Tech, and Tennessee's escape. Florida was knotted 7-7 with Massachusetts 29 minutes and 52 seconds into an eventual 24-7 win.
Poor quarterback play, an expected Achilles heel for the conference, was the root of much of the league's problems.
That's not to say it was all doom and gloom from College Station to Columbia, though. Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M made the conference proud with defeats of USC, North Carolina and UCLA -- each of them ranked, for whatever that means at this point in September.
But it was hardly the shock-and-awe campaign typical of seasons past. The conference's well-worn game plan has been to beat highly-regarded foreign foes in early September, then buttress its reputation with important conference games in middle and late September. You know the drill: SEC Team A beats Non-Conference Opponent X in Week 1, then plays SEC Team B two weeks later. If Team A beats Team C, it cements itself as a national championship contender and a single-digit rank in front of its name. If Team C wins, well, isn't that just a testament to this conference's depth? And the week-to-week grind that no other conference has to deal with? And PAWWWWWWL?
"I don't think it's a rough week. It's a week in college football. We've played some great games and challenged ourselves the first week. That's good for college football," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told CBSSports.com.
The SEC echo chamber may not be quite as loud this year, but it won't disappear entirely. Rome was built on the backs of seven straight national championships, and one weekend of mediocre play won't come close to erasing that.
It does raise the question though, one I asked Saturday night, if there's anyone in this league good enough to challenge Alabama.
But it's only Week 1. We don't know anything yet, and the answers will present themselves soon enough -- specifically, two weeks from now, when Auburn hosts Texas A&M, LSU hosts Mississippi State and Alabama goes to Ole Miss.