Three weeks into the college football season, a few thoughts:
Arkansas: In many ways an ugly performance in Athens, but enough to live and fight another day. The downside for the Hogs is that while Mallett was as prolific as usual, the defense was still shaky and the running game was still non-existent. That was barely enough to beat Georgia, but is that enough to beat 'Bama? At the least, there is a colorable argument that the two best teams in SEC will be in Fayetteville next weekend.
Auburn: So, playing a middle of the road ACC team at home, Auburn completes all of one pass in the first half and gets two first downs. Later, Auburn takes the lead on a blown coverage. After throwing away the lead, they get overtime after the middling ACC team misses a wide open receiver on a blown coverage. After Auburn settles for a field goal in overtime, a game-tying kick ensues after the ACC team misses a wide open receiver in the end zone. Then, Auburn wins after a pre-snap penalty negates the successful kick, leading to the no-name kicker to miss a chip-shot field goal wide left. With that kind of luck, if this team were truly worth a damn, they'be national champions. A good team will take this bunch to the woodshed, and an average team will give them pure hell. The luck will run out, the losses will add up, and that will all probably happen sooner rather than later. This is still, at best, the fourth team in the SEC West.
Florida: Another week, another middling performance, and another relatively easy win with all of that not amounting to a hill of beans. The schedule set up perfectly early in the season for the Gators to be able to overcome some early problems, but they are running out of time. With Alabama and LSU on the schedule after the Kentucky game this week, Florida had better get it together quickly. As an aside, ten bucks says Chris Rainey is on the field in Tuscaloosa.
Georgia: It's 4th and 73, you're going for it, the defense is blitzing nine, what's the perfect play call Mike Bobo? Playaction fake, definitely the playaction fake. All joking aside -- well, I guess that's not a joke if you're a Georgia fan -- here is where it gets interesting for UGA. Your season is already over from a championship perspective, and you play a lot of weaker teams in the coming weeks that you should beat. That's nice because it should get you solidly back in line for a bowl game, but lose a game or two here and there to the likes of MSU, Colorado, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky, and more heads will roll in Athens. Having said that, I don't necessarily think the firing of Richt is imminent, but by the same token it seems clear to me that on some level it's an inevitability at this point. In my eyes, it's more of a matter of when, not if. Probably not this year, but it's hard to see him staying there long-term.
Kentucky: Another cupcake opponent, another snoozer win. Who knows if this team is any good or not? We'll find out this week. If they cannot give Florida a run for their money given the way the Gators have been playing, well, that probably tells you all you need to know about this team.
LSU: Consider this a step in the right direction for the Bayou Bengals. The scoreboard may not have indicated it for a while given their problems turning touchdowns into field goals, but even so LSU dominated the Bullies in every aspect of the game in ways that the Auburn Kool-Aid drinkers could only dream. Clearly there are still offensive concerns -- barely 260 yards of total offense and Jordan Jefferson, for the second week in a row, fails to get above 100 passing yards -- but it's an improvement over the first two weeks. Wins over West Virginia and Tennessee ought to send LSU to Gainesville undefeated. Good week for The Hat.
Mississippi State: Whew, that was ugly. Given LSU's struggles you figured MSU may be able to make a game of it, but that didn't come to fruition. With a better red zone offense LSU goes into half time up 28 instead of 12, and for now the Bullies are bad in every aspect. The defense looks suspect, they have no quarterback, they have no threats at the skill positions other than Chad Bumphis, and they cannot run the football. What else could go wrong in Starkvegas? The Egg Bowl this year looks like it will be a throwback to it's old Orgeron v. Croom glory days.
Ole Miss: You're going to love the meltdown this week, trust me. At this point, the relevant questions are just how far Johnny Reb falls and whether or not Houston Nutt can survive for another year in Oxford. At the very least, Fresno State is a better team than either Jacksonville State or Vanderbilt, and if they lose this one then it's going to be hard for Nutt to survive. They may have an upset in them somewhere, but for now even Shreveport is a major stretch. At this point they're dragging down Jacksonville State's strength of schedule.
South Carolina: If you wanna crown 'em then crown their asses, but I'm still far from convinced with the Gamecocks, and their offense only netting 24 points against Furman while the vaunted Paladins held
Jim Brown Marcus Lattimore to under 100 yards rushing on 19 carries didn't exactly do anything to further convince me. I still wouldn't put money on this team over Alabama, Arkansas, or Florida, nor would I be totally surprised if they wet the bed this weekend against Auburn if Barner Jesus can somehow find a way to keep God on their side. And for what it's worth, the betting class actually has Auburn favored in that game.
Tennessee: Pretty easy to see that end result coming from a mile away, but at least give Dooley credit for having his guys prepared and playing hard. For better or for worse -- and hopefully it is for worse -- this is likely going to be the status quo for the Vols this season. An upset or two might happen (big smile and waive at you, UGA), but the odds are that the Vols lose to every solid team they play this season. The good news, if any, is that without a major upset to a lesser team the Vols ought to make it to 6-6 and the PapaJohns.com Bowl. Well, okay, so maybe that's only good news for those of us who bleed crimson and white.
Vanderbilt: The new rallying cry for the Commies... "Hey, at least we're not Ole Miss!" In all honesty though, while tipping the cap to Vandy, it's hard to say how much was them and how much was just the fact that Ole Miss is a terrible football team right now. If they can beat UConn then I'll reconsider, but for now I'm still thinking 3-9 at best. At least the Turkey inseminator earned himself another year with the win over Johnny Reb.