Also: An Alabama nose tackle teams up with a mid-major QB for comedic glory, even as a top conference running back decides it's time to strike out on its own.
This week in make-ups, breakups, shake-ups and other sordid gossip in Division I-A's hottest mess of a football conference:
SEPARATED. The Ole Miss fan base and university leadership, following a very public spat in the wake of the football team's blowout loss to Vanderbilt on Sept. 17. Friends of the couple say the source of the disagreement is the leadership's inability to control wild-child coach Houston Nutt, whose performance on the field has been slipping even as he makes unwanted headlines for brutally assaulting the future prospects of a string of unlucky quarterbacks. A formal cutting of ties with Nutt may be the only way to patch things up -- though sources say that could happen as soon as this weekend.
BORN. Bowl hopes for the Vanderbilt Commodores, at Vanderbilt Stadium, on Sept. 17. Still undefeated and riding their first three-game winning streak since 2008, the proud parents report the infant will stay in the neonatal intensive care unit at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for at least the next three weeks as results of upcoming games against South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia can be analyzed. However, with winnable games against Army, Kentucky and Wake Forest still on the schedule, doctors are hopeful that the family could bring home its fifth bowl invitation by December.
DIED. Auburn's 17-game winning streak, of acute defensive failure, in Clemson, S.C., on Sept. 17. The streak, which included a victory in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, was enjoying the title of "nation's longest active" when it was taken down in a hail of points by the Clemson Tigers, led by sophomore QB Tajh Boyd. The autopsy revealed 624 yards and 32 first downs against Auburn's defense, which doctors later said "no winning streak could've been expected to survive." The visitation will be held this Saturday, when Auburn plays host to 0-2 Florida Atlantic; in lieu of flowers, the family has requested that a new defensive coordinator be sent to the Auburn Athletic Complex, 392 South Donahue Drive, Auburn, AL 36849.
MISSING. The Tennessee Volunteers' running game, an oft-troubled youth who was last seen boarding a plane t Gainesville, Fla., on Sept. 16. The unit left no trace other than a box-score column reading "21 rushing attempts for -9 yards." No arrests have been made as of yet, but Florida defender Jonathan Bostic is said to be a "person of interest" in the investigation -- particularly since the Florida Gators' frontrunner status in the SEC East, missing for nearly two years, was miraculously found the same day the UT ground game went missing. Authorities are said to be exploring connections between the two incidents.
FOUND. LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee, in Starkville, Miss., on Sept. 15. Lee had a rocky upbringing in Baton Rouge and disappeared in 2008 after throwing a total of seven interceptions for touchdowns that season; however, the youngster surfaced in Starkville on Thursday looking none the worse for wear with a 21-of-27, 213-yard performance in a win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs. While officials refused comment about Lee's whereabouts during his disappearance, citing an ongoing investigation, a source within the Mississippi State Police tells us Lee may have fallen in with a cult led by eccentric offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. Crowton is also wanted for corrupting offenses as far away as Utah and Illinois; Lee, however, is said to be responding to "deprogramming" efforts nicely.
FORMED. The comedy duo of Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams and North Texas QB Derek Thompson, at Bryant-Denny Stadium, on Sept. 17. The pair's colorful comedic stylings will vault them to superstardom sometime in the next couple weeks when their homemade video (below) is featured on Comedy Central's "Tosh 2.0":
From there it's just a short trip to a buddy-cop flick and an HBO special. Good luck, guys.
GOING SOLO. South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, after a 246-yard performance in the Gamecocks' come-from-behind win over Navy on Sept. 17. Lattimore's publicist told the media that her client "has been carrying the team for some time now" and will take the field against Vanderbilt this weekend without QB Stephen Garcia or any of his receivers; rather, the backing group will consist of five offensive linemen and five blocking tight ends.
DATE SET. Saturday, Nov. 5, for the battle royale between the Kentucky Wildcats and Ole Miss Rebels, in Lexington, Ky. If current trends hold, analysts predict, the bout will almost certainly feature a pair of teams still searching for their first win in the SEC. "It'll be just like the classic Ali-Frazier match of '71," said fight promoter Mike Slive, "only with homeless drunks instead of heavyweight boxers, and probably with a lot more slapping than actual punching." Vegas oddsmakers have installed the home team as the favorite by two and a half pratfalls.