Oct 7

SEC Rundown Week 5

Posted By:Wes Mewbourne - Birmingham, AL  Tags:

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What a week in the SEC!  The conference landscape begins to take shape after a wild Saturday.  The winners, losers, and more are here this week in the Rundown…
Of the top two ranked teams that played this week, neither Alabama nor LSU looked particularly dominant – until the end of a half.  The first quarter for Alabama was dreadfully mediocre outside of their first drive.  Even in the second quarter, they started from inside their own 5-yard line.  The second of those drives is when the third ranked Crimson Tide finally got it in gear, methodically driving 97 yards for a touchdown with 40 seconds til the half.  The first Wildcat play from scrimmage resulted in a fumble in which Courtney Upshaw returned for a touchdown.  Suddenly, a 7-6 slugfest was a 21-6 comfortable lead.

 LSU had a time in Athens.  With a 6-0 lead at the half, and all of the third quarter, the Tigers looked like they couldn’t finish any drive they started.  Georgia started the final quarter with a go ahead touchdown.  In the last three minutes, though, there was a combined 20 points scored between the teams.  Throw in three two point conversion attempts and two crazy excessive celebration penalties and LSU survives yet another scare.

The two notable nonconference games this week saw the SEC split with a win over the Big 12 and a loss to the ACC.  Mississippi State gave a valiant effort hosting Georgia Tech.  The Yellow Jackets were just too much, though, racking up 479 yards of offense and a 42-31 win in Starkville.  Arkansas had an intriguing match up with Texas A&M.  Both of these teams were top 3 total offenses, and it figured to be a shootout.  On paper, it should have been – in A&M’s favor.  Arkansas was outgained (458-434 yards), lost more turnovers (3-2), and the Aggies held the ball just over 32 minutes.  Arkansas, though, had more yards per play (including Mallet’s ridiculous 4 touchdowns off 17 completions) and the better score.  Arkansas wore out the visiting team 47-19.

By far the best game of the bunch was played in a little stadium in Knoxville.  The Auburn Tigers were 4-0 but hadn’t proven themselves on the road.  The Tennessee Volunteers had a .500 record, but gave Florida all it could handle in the Swamp the week before.  This figured to be a strategic chess match between assistant gurus Gus Malzahn on Auburn’s offense and Monte Kiffin on Tennessee’s D.  What happened was a strategic dismantling of the Volunteer defense.  Auburn moved the football almost at will throughout the game, took a very confident halftime lead (13-6 on the road in the SEC’s largest stadium and had just blocked the PAT), and held the ball almost 10 minutes longer than Tennessee.  By the time the Tigers showed their one apparent weakness – depth – it was in the forth quarter and they were up 23-6.  Sure, Tennessee scored 16 minutes in the final 12 minutes, but their inability to do anything the first 38 is a testament to the job that Auburn coach Gene Chizik and his staff are doing on the Plains.

Games Worth Watching This Week

Auburn @ Arkansas – The first SEC kickoff of the day promises to be a good one.  Auburn once again goes on the road in the SEC, this time as a ranked team, and the favorite.  Remember last week when Arkansas was supposed to win a shootout with A&M?  This week looks like it should be another one, but Arkansas catches some breaks, is deeper down the stretch, and makes the Tigers wait another week before becoming bowl eligible.  Arkansas wins 27-21.

Alabama @ Mississippi – It’s the stiffest challenge for the Tide since opening week, and the toughest game for Ole Miss since losing at South Carolina.  Even home field advantage won’t help the Rebels.  The Tide is better than South Carolina, and if the Gamecocks beat them, this could be the largest margin of victory in the past few years.  The Tide rolls 31-17.

Florida @ LSU – The winner of this game has won the national title each of the past three years.  Let that sink in for a moment.  There will be so much going into this game, from Tebow, to Les Miles’ coaching, to the Tigers anemic (at times) offense.  Meyer is keeping Tebow’s status close to the vest, presumably to make LSU prepare for either him or Brantley.  Here’s saying the Tigers call the bluff, plan for starter Brantley, and the longest active win streak in the nation comes to an end.  LSU upsets the Gators 23-14.

Check back next week for the SEC Midterm Report Card!

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