Two weeks into the season, if there's one thing we know, it's that we don't know much.
Such is always the case in the infancy of any college football season, as pretenders shake out from the pack of contenders, week by week. The SEC had a fairly ugly schedule outside of two prominent games, vacillating between prime time match-ups (UGA vs. South Cackalacka) and the absolute bludgeoning of lower tier/ FCS teams (Ole Miss vs. Southeast Missouri State.) So what do we know? Let's take a look around...
The obvious marquee conference game this week was the annual early-season showdown between the Bulldogs and Gamecocks. In the last 3 meetings, "The Ole Ball Coach" Steve Spurrier and Darth Clowney have wreaked havoc on Georgia's always-effervescent title hopes. This game was fairly contentious early in, but as the game wore on it became apparent that Georgia was the better overall team. Murray could literally do no wrong, partially shaking the "can't win the big game" label with an outstanding 309 yard, 4 TD performance against a defense many believe is among the league's elite. Not only did Murray have a strong outing, but RB Todd Gurley proved he may well be the best back in the country not playing in crimson, piling up 136 yards and 2 TDs on 30 totes. The Dawg offensive line answered a few questions as well, holding Jadeveon Clowney to just three tackles and one sack in the game.
Very strong performance from Georgia, and one that should establish the Dawgs as our SECCG opponent...errr... the Eastern Division Champions. The UGA defense is still a little suspect, as SC's Connor Shaw tallied more than 220 yards passing and RB Mike Davis had an explosive game with 149 yards rushing. However, Georgia, despite they're misstep to the Fightin' Dabos in Week 1, is the team to beat in the East.
In the other big match-up featuring our SEC brethren, Florida took the opportunity to derp their way to a loss against the resurgent Miami Hurricanes. Real talk for a moment: I just can't figure Florida out. Last year's offensive woes were blamed on Jeff Driskel. Driskel had a decent game against Miami from a yardage standpoint, but this loss does not sit squarely upon his shoulders alone. Florida's usually solid defense looked apathetic and unable to stop the rather vanilla schemes the Canes threw their way. And the UF offense? Good Lord, everything about the Gator offense is an absolute train wreck. Four red zone turnovers? Gators fans can only really hang two of those albatrosses around Driskel's neck, as he was intercepted twice inside the 20. Include in that melodrama a fumble and a failed 4th down conversion, and you understand the misery that is Will Muschamp's life.
After a strong performance in the opener against a lesser opponent, UF proved that they still don't have all of the horses pulling in the same direction on offense. The defense better develop a little fire, or there'll be a lot of smack talk drifting downriver from the Georgia hills as the Cocktail Party approaches.
The rest of the SEC slate consisted of lop-sided contests with weaker opponents.
- In the East, Kentucky fired their engines after a poor performance in Week 1, trouncing Miami (Ohio) 41-7 to pick up first-year head coach Mark Stoops' first victory. It appears the Cats' may have also found a quarterback, as Max Smith got the start and amassed 310 yards and 3 TDs in the newly minted Wildcat "Air Raid" scheme.
- Tennessee managed to beat back upstart Western Kentucky thanks to a litany of Hilltopper turnovers. After taking a 3-0 early lead over the Viles, the next 6 WKU offensive plays resulted in 5 turnovers, including two pick 6's. That 3-0 lead quickly became a 31-3 deficit, and the Viles never really looked back from there in route to an impressive and well-rounded performance (against WKU though, sooo....)
- Apparently, Missouri has fielded and American-rules varsity tackle football program this season, and the Tigers are off and running at 2-0 after beating up Toledo by a score of 38-23. QB James Franklin threw for 212 yards in the win, though it did take two late touchdowns to seal the victory for Mizzou. They actually trailed 24-23 in the third quarter. To Toledo.
- Vandy played Austin Peay, and I don't know how much we really need to say about that. Vandy QB Austyn Carta-Samuels had a great outing with 223 yards and 3 TDs (1 pass, 2 rush).
- In the West, Mississippi State trounced Alcorn State 51-7, despite Tyler Russell missing the game from the effects of a concussion sustained against Oklahoma State. He wasn't needed, as back-up Dak Prescott subbed in and threw for 174 yards and 2 TDs.
- Arkansas, oh Arkansas, what has become of ye? Though they're now 2-0, those wins cannot be a source of pride for the Hawg faithful. Dirty Bert Bielema and Co. trailed Samford (that's right, Samford, not Stanford) until the fourth quarter. On the upside, it appears the Hawgs have cemented their identity under the Bielema regime, as the offense relied prominently on the run. Freshmen Alex Collins (I hear his mama is the better back) and Jonathan Williams combined for nearly 300 yards rushing between them, though I'd like to reiterate the opponent was Samford. Not the Trees, but Samford.
- Ole Miss did their thing against Southeast Missouri State, rumbling to a 31-13 win after an early 31 point outburst. Both Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti took snaps at QB and make big plays in the passing game, which is something we can rely on in regards to Ole Miss in 2013.
- The Auburnite continued to rely heavily on the rush while breaking in new QB Nick Marshall en route to a 38-9 win over the GusBus's former team, Arky State. AWBARN IS BACK YAWL!!!
- LSU scrimmaged with UAB in Baton Rouge, winning 56-17. QB Zack Mettenburger had one of his best days as a Tiger to date, throwing for 282 yards and 5 Tds. Odell Beckham was scary good in the game as well, catching two TD passes and scoring on a 100 return off of a missed field goal. The Tigers posted 446 total yards of offense, giving a glimpse of what their offensive talent can do when properly motivated and utilized. The defense is still struggling a little, as they allowed UAB 296 yards of total offense despite the fact that the Blazers were never really in the game.
- And finally, we arrive at our opponent for the week, the Texas A&M Aggi. The Aggi took on traditional powerhouse Sam Houston State, and things weren't pretty. JFF posted 403 yards through the air with 3 TDs and one interception. Several aTm receivers had strong showings, as can be expected in a 400 yard passing performance. However, SHST running back Tim Flanders (?) gashed the Aggi defense for 170 yards and 2TDs on 17 carries. Let that sink in...now think of what Alabama's stable of backs may amass in this Saturday's game. Consider that stat, combined with the 390 yards of total offense aTm allowed to Sam Houston State, and one could come to the conclusion that a) aTm is not sending the full complement of 11 defensive players on the field; b) said defensive players are not familiar with the ultimate goal and responsibilities of a defensive football team; or c) the aTm defense is just really bad at this point in the season. (I'm pretty sure it's option C).
Despite the uneventful Week 2 slate, this week will feature more high-profile games. Below are the SEC games for this week:
SEC Week 3 Schedule
Time (EST) Matchup
12p.m. #7 Louisville @ Kentucky
12:21 p.m. Southern Miss @ Arkansas
3:30 p.m. Tennessee @ #2 Oregon
3:30 p.m. #1 Alabama @ #6 Texas A&M
7 p.m. Mississippi State @ Auburn
7 p.m. Vanderbilt at #13 South Carolina
7 p.m. Kent State @ #8 LSU
8 p.m. #25 Ole Miss @ Texas
SEC Teams in the AP Top 25
1. Alabama (57)
2. Oregon (1)
3. Clemson (1)
4. Ohio State (1)
6. Texas A&M
10. Florida State
12. Oklahoma State
13. South Carolina
21. Notre Dame
25. Ole Miss