Five weeks into the college football season, a few thoughts:
Auburn: Who will beat this team? I've been predicting a late-season slide for a while because of their fairly obvious flaws, but with LSU, Ole Miss, and Georgia wetting the bed, that's likely to become three wins, not a late-season slide. Say what you will about Auburn, but they would have thumped all three of those teams Saturday afternoon. Now, admittedly, it's not a great team by any stretch and it would be no surprise to see them pull some random choke jobs, but don't be the least bit surprised if this team comes into the Iron Bowl at 10-1 with the SEC West on the line. Again, who will beat this team? With narrow wins over MSU, Clemson, and South Carolina in the bag, they are 5-0 with five games remaining against teams that are plain damn bad. This team can get to ten wins without beating one better-than-average team.
Florida: The offensive identity has to change, and the mental mindset has to change against Alabama. We're not rolling over for them like Georgia. Period. They better figure that out. Even so, Florida is still the class of the East and should handle LSU at home with no issue. Hat tip to John Brantley and Jeff Demps, both displayed great toughness all night. And say what you will about that defense, but it is physical as hell. Special teams, too, are pretty much without an equal in the SEC. 31-6 score or not, this is still one damn dangerous team. 'Bama, Arkansas, and Florida are at the top of the SEC, and it is a very big gap to fourth.
Georgia: Funeral. It's over. The question, again, becomes whether or not UGA officials have the fortitude to make the call and fire Richt. And, frankly, if the powers that be don't fire Richt, then the powers that be themselves need to be fired. Even with A.J. Green, this program is just impotent right now, and it's hard to fathom many worse BCS conference losses than Colorado (which is intramurals, contrary to Dan Hawkins' suggestion). A losing season is almost a given at this point. The question becomes, with Tennessee, Vandy, and Kentucky in the coming three weeks, whether or not Richt can even make it until November. Even so, it's when, not if, he's not going to be in Athens long-term. And calm down about Kirby Smart. Given this train wreck, Georgia is probably not going to hire a defensive coordinator under the age of 40 with no head coaching experience.
Kentucky: Two games against legitimate competition, and two big losses. Getting blown out by Florida was one thing, but giving up 42 to Ole Miss and losing to Johnny Reb is about as bad as it gets. This is basically a two-man offense with Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb with no defense at all. You do the math. The redeeming feature for Kentucky is that, after taking a thumping against Auburn this weekend, the schedule gets about as easy as you can possibly get. I honestly get the feeling that if it weren't for the cupcake OOC scheduling and the very big down year in the SEC that this team would be 4-8.
LSU: This is a dead, lifeless program. We dodged a major bullet here, without Tennessee putting thirteen men on the field Miles is fired now and a competent coach is heading to Baton Rouge. Every second Les Miles remains at LSU is a blessing and as long as he is there this program is of no real threat to Alabama (or any other good program for that matter), and the longer he remains the further he will drive that program in the ground. And the LSU fans who are big enough homers to not realize that are even dumber than Miles himself. And for Gods sakes, stop being so damn stupid and rooting for LSU to implode. We can get meltdown material anywhere, sticking a guy like Les Miles at a rival / potential powerhouse program is a much tougher task. You may as well be rooting for the Great Depression. The only hope, no kidding, is Jarrett Lee. Put him in at quarterback and two things happen: (1) LSU is forced to eliminate all of that option, zone-read junk that is a waste anyway, and (2) LSU at least gets some semblance of a vertical passing threat. To paraphrase Hank Hill, he ain't much but he's all they got.
Ole Miss: Call me crazy, but the past two weeks have gone as well as humanly possible for Houston Nutt, beating both Fresno State and Kentucky in relatively comfortable fashion. Jeremiah Masoli continues to not be worth all of the fuss, and defensively this team is nothing short of terrible. An off week will help with Alabama up next, but the schedule is brutal the next three weeks with 'Bama, Arkansas, and then Auburn. Expect Nutt to swing for the fences, particularly against 'Bama and LSU, because he knows an upset will save his job. There will be oddities.
Mississippi State: Alcorn State v. MSU. I don't think there's enough money in the world to get me to watch that game. The Bullies win in a snoozer, and now they play at Houston, who'll have a true freshman third-string quarterback at the helm. That alone will probably get them the win, but they still need another SEC win to make a bowl game. Not that anyone outside of Starkvegas will care one way or the other.
Tennessee: That has to be the most heart-breaking loss in the history of time, but the zebras got the call correct. And Dooley... epic coaching fail. Dooley shouldn't have tried to substitute in the first place, you're playing goal line defense regardless, keep the same personnel package on the field and force LSU to make a play. Literally all he had to do was sit back, point and laugh at the LSU sideline, watch Miles blow the whole thing up, and he even screwed that up. And on that note, Dooley still has not done the first thing to convince me that he is a viable long-term solution in Knoxville. The fact that this game was in relatively close speaks more to LSU's impotence than it does anything positive on Tennessee's part. This has to be the worst Tennessee team of my lifetime. With any luck, it will get much, much worse.
Vanderbilt: After knocking off Ole Miss in an upset, the Commies get an off week and then go lose by three touchdowns to mighty Connecticut. They cannot throw the football, they cannot run the football, and they cannot play defense. About all they can do at this point is drive another nail in Mark Richt's coffin.