The third weekend of the 2018 SEC season didn’t have a ton going on, but everyone still got to enjoy another classic Auburn-LSU meeting on the Plains. The Bayou Bengals 22-21 come-from-behind win over the home Tigers is easily the best the SEC has had to offer in the early goings. However, things are just now starting to cook. Week Four brings us our first full slate of SEC games, as only LSU and Ole Miss play non-conference opponents this weekend.
Are any of Kentucky, Missouri, or Texas A&M legit? Can Vandy build off of their close loss in South Bend as the Gamecocks come to town? Does anyone even care about Florida-Tennessee anymore? Stay tuned.
- Alabama Crimson Tide. Ole Miss’s opening touchdown bomb was akin to when the plucky underdog boxer lands his first punch in any cliche boxing movie: the heavyweight champ simply smiles and goes to work. Tua Tagovailoa once again watched the entirety of the second half from the sidelines as the Tide eviscerated the Rebels for the second year in a row. Lost in how incredible and fun the offense has been this season is how well the brand new secondary has played. Ole Miss has a lot of issues, but that passing offense is not one of them. Outside of the opening bomb to D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss did absolutely nothing on offense. If you take that one bad play out, the Rebels finished 6/21 passing for 58 yards and a pair of interceptions. That is incredible against this offense. Trevon Diggs had a couple of really impressive pass break-ups, Patrick Surtain II continues to be invisible out there because of how well he is in coverage, and safeties Deionte Thompson and Xavier McKinney are tearing it up. This team is scary good.
- Georgia Bulldogs. The Dawgs still haven’t been pushed at all three weeks into the season, but they honestly look like the second best team in all of college football, let alone the SEC. This team reminds me a lot of the 2012 Crimson Tide: they are efficient in the passing game with a solid quarterback throwing to an array of strong and multi-faceted receivers, they can run on just about anyone, and although they lost a number of studs from the prior season, they are still a top 5 defense in the country.
- Mississippi State Bulldogs. The SEC’s second of its pair of Bulldogs are gaining on the first. Again, like Georgia, they’ve only had one true test so far, but they passed it with flying colors. The advanced metrics are already staring to heap praises onto Joe Moorhead’s group, and I can’t disagree with them. While many of the perceived great teams across the country continue to struggle along at least one side of the line of scrimmage, State’s been dominant on both.
- LSU Tigers. I’ll be honest: I did not expect this team to be 3-0 at this point in the season. As I said last week though, this may be the most LSU team of all-time. Quarterback Joe Burrow is still completing less than 50% of his throws, and yet, the Bengal Tigers just keep finding ways to win. Turnovers and big plays in the right moments are powering this team right now. I still contend that Ed Orgeron’s squad will end up with 3-4 losses this year, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with this group.
5. Auburn Tigers. On the flip-side of that game, Auburn came away with another classic Gus Malzahn loss. The offense inexplicably disappeared, Jarrett Stidham once again underwhelmed against a quality defense (16/28 for 198 yards and two INTs), and the secondary got beat time and again in important moments. This is still a very talented team that could be among the nation’s elite, they just need to...tweet...
6. Missouri Tigers. The defense got torched for over 600 yards again by win-less Purdue, but I remain confident that this team will end up making some noise in the East this year. Drew Lock really has an incredible ability to sling the ball around. Outside of Tua, I don’t know another quarterback that throws a better looking ball. They’ll get their chance to make a statement when Georgia comes to town this weekend. That 11:00 kickoff in Columbia could be an interesting one. Even 2012 Alabama fell victim to a dynamic quarterback in a high-scoring Air Raid spread
glares at Doug Nussmeier
7. Texas A&M Aggies. The Ags are riding high on everyone’s rankings due to their moral victory against Clemson, but Dabo Swinney’s team honestly isn’t looking so hot right now. A&M’s certainly got pieces, but they are a young team that’s being remolded into what Jimbo Fisher prefers his program to look like, and that’s going to take some time. This team will likely have some strong performances at home, but on the road in the SEC they could really struggle. Lay the points in favor of the Crimson Tide this weekend.
8. South Carolina Gamecocks. Honestly, Will Muschamp and company dodged a small bullet this past weekend. Marshall has a pretty solid club this season, and that was a perfect let-down spot.
9. Kentucky WIldcats. The ‘Cats looked good in their blowout win over Murray State, which is honestly a step forward for a program that has failed to win convincingly against cupcakes in the past. Kentucky beat Florida in Gainesville a few weeks ago mostly because they were the more physical team on both sides of the ball. They’ll have to be even better in that regard if they hope to upset Mississippi State this weekend.
10. Vanderbilt Commodores. Vandy showed well against Notre Dame this past Saturday. Honestly, they had a number of opportunities to win that game. The Fighting Irish are overrated, but that still would have been a monumental win for the ‘Dores. Kyle Shurmer is the real deal at quarterback. Despite a complete inability to run the football and a -3 turnover margin, he nearly led Vandy to the upset win. This team shouldn’t be slept on.
11. Ole Miss Rebels. Goodness gracious, that defense is bad. They’ll need to regroup offensively if they don’t want this season to get out of hand.
12. Florida Gators. Remember when CBS insisted on starting their SEC broadcast season with Florida-Tennessee?
13. Tennessee Volunteers. Well, none of the players currently playing for either team does.
14. Arkansas Razorbacks. But at least they aren’t Arkansas. My goodness, this team sucks.