Sep 22

SEC Rundown - Week 3

Posted By:Wes Mewbourne - Birmingham, AL  Tags:

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  This was probably the most nail-biting, intriguing, and overall exciting weekends of football in recent memory - and the drama was high in the SEC.  Lane "Loud Mouth" Kiffin ate his words in the swamp, or did he?  Auburn and West Virginia clashed with each having something to prove.  All and all the SEC was undefeated against other conferences.  Here are those recaps and more in this week's rundown...

    Saturday had a lot to offer the college football fan.  Sure Alabama was holding a glorified scrimage to start the day, but there were still some good tidbits to be taken from T-town.  One huge benefit of playing a nobody is building depth and eyeing the future a bit.  We saw that a good bit Saturday as backup Star jackson took a few snaps, and the runnign back position was the usual revolving door.  Even with Julio Jones and Roy Upchurch out for the whole game, the Tide wound up with more answers than questions for next week's SEC opener hosting Arkansas.  Also on the early slate was Kentucky challenging Louisville for the Governor's cup.  A much better watch, this game had seven lead changes (4 in the fourth quarter alone) and half the total points scored in the final 15 minutes.  The Wildcats hope to continue that fourth quarter staying power, and they'll need it.  Their next two games bring the top ranked Gators and the third ranked Tide into Lexington.  No rest for the weary.

    As the day progressed, there were a fair share of yawners.  LSU hosted Louisiana-Lafayette, South Carolina played Florida Atlantic (though that game was way too close at the half), and Ole Miss had target practice with Southeast Lousiana.  Mississippi traveled to Vanderbilt in what will be known as the Battle for the Bottom (of the SEC, that is).  Not that they deserve it, but with that loss, Vanderbilt will surely find its way into the bottom of its division, the SEC, and out of any chance for a bowl game.  A sad day for Bobby Johnson and his Commodores.  There's always the hope to beat your biggest rival, which brings me to...

    Florida was playing with a hand or two tied behind its back today.  The swine flu has apparently found its way to Gainesville, causing multiple missed practices, and generally a distraction for the whole team.  Add that with a nation filled with viewers anticipating a royal beat down of the Volunteers and you have a team that tries to do too much.  See Tebow interception and no touchdowns.  Or the fourth quarter fumble that almost let Tennessee back in the game for real.  Or the fourth quarter that saw the defending champs held scoreless.  Tennessee showed flashes of potential, and the uber dominant program of a year ago showed flaws.  How well the Vols played or how poorly the Gators slipped up won't be totally viewable unless you're in the respective film rooms this week.  Either way, it paves the way for a very interesting SEC season.

    Finally the real slobberknockers of the night were not entirely expected.  Arkansas played host to a Georgia team with a LOT of issues - namely figuring out how to play defense.  The Razorbacks, meanwhile, were wondering if Ryan Mallet is the real deal.  At least one question was answered, as Mallet gashed the Georgia defense for over 400 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Unfortunately for them, Joe Cox threw for 5 touchdowns of his own, and the Dawgs prevailed when it counted.  Also in the SEC West, a storm of a different kind was brewing - the kind that brings lightning so bad it delays kickoff for over an hour.  When the game finally began it looked as though Auburn was going to be the latest bust.  Down 14-0 in the first quarter.  Then 21-10.  It seemed no matter what the Tigers did, the Mountaineers were one step ahead.  As the second quarter began, the home team found their rhythm.  By halftime, the gap was closed to 21-20.  After a see-saw third quarter, it was a 3 point game.  In the end, it was the defense - who previously intercepted Jarrett Brown 4 times - that stepped in.  The fifth and final INT was tuned into six points, ending any hopes of a West Virginia comeback, and sending the the home crowd into a frenzy.  Coach Chizik himself addressed the fans, saying he wished he had 87,000 game balls, one for each fan.

Games to watch this weekend:

Arkansas @ Alabama - This ought to satisfy your craving for a solid match-up.  Bobby Petrino's sudden offensive juggernaut rolls into T-town against defensive mastermind Saban and Co.  It's a chess match sure to entertain, as well as narrow down the prospects for the SEC Championship game.  The real matchup, though is when Bama has the ball, where will the defense be?  The Tide roll in this one, 31-13.

Ole Miss @ South Carolina - So they started in the Top 10 based on last year's team.  They moved into the Top 5 by beating up on Samford and nobody.  How will they handle a road the SEC?  We find out this week.  The real question is which South Carolina defense will show up - the one that held NC State to a field goal or the one that surrendered 41 points to Georgia?  The Ole Ball coach will make it interesting, and Garcia steps up his game to topple the first Top 10 program since Spurrier arrived.  Cocks win 28-24

Arizona State @ Georgia - The Bulldogs could certainly use the win here, both for their own credibility and for the conference (remember Tennessee-UCLA?).  Sure, this won't have any conference ranking consequences, but it can give both teams a significant boost.  Let's just hope the Dawgs don't overlook the Sun Devils in prepping for next week's battle with LSU.  Georgia takes the game 37-24

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