Things pretty much held serve in the SEC this week. The Tigers of LSU mauled the Gators, Georgia went up to Tennessee and got a big road victory and the Razorbacks turned back Auburn in the biggest games of the weekend. Here is what we learned from this weekend's action:
ALABAMA AND LSU ARE ON A COLLISION COURSE FOR NOV 5TH
Alabama and LSU are clearly the best two teams in college football. Some from Wisconsin or Oklahoma might argue but right now I just can't agree with them. The great thing about LSU and Bama being the best? They will decide who is better on the football field come November 5th. Alabama methodically took out Vanderbilt on Saturday by the tune of 34-0 as A.J. McCarron showed that he can provide the balance that Bama will need against LSU. LSU on the other hand bent Charlie Weis and Will Muschamp over their knee and paddled their ass by the tune of 41 to 11. Both of these teams just seem to be getting better and better every week and the showdown on Nov 5th will be epic.
FLORIDA DOES NOT HAVE A DECIDED SCHEMATIC ADVANTAGE
Florida's offense is a mess. Not having John Brantley has really brought it to it's knees as teams have focused in on Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey and taken them out of ball games. The defense has also gotten manhandled and throttled in the last two games giving up 38 and 41 points and often looking like they didn't want to be on the field. After playing the best two teams in the country these past two weeks and haven gotten rocked to the core has Will Muschamp lost this team? It certainly looked like it on the field on Saturday. The Gators have Auburn and Georgia coming up over the next three weeks. Neither team is nearly as physical as Bama or LSU but both have the talent to beat you. Will Florida rise up or have they shut it down?
SOUTH CAROLINA EATS WILDCATS FOR BREAKFAST
I don't know whether to be impressed with South Carolina's performance on Saturday or disgusted by Kentucky's. Based on the entire season's body of work I am leaning toward being disgusted by Kentucky. Going into Saturday, Kentucky was averaging just 15 points per game and they only scored 3 against South Carolina and only had 96 total yards. South Carolina on the other hand scored 54 points and Connor Shaw abused the Wildcats defense going 26/39 for 311 with 4 TDs. Even though it was just the Wildcats, this should serve as a huge confidence booster for Shaw after the debacle that was East Carolina. South Carolina now has three critical games on the road: at Miss State, at Tennessee and at Arkansas that will decide a lot about how they finish up their season.
GEORGIA WILL BE A FACTOR IN THE EAST
Georgia has faced two tests the past two weeks and has passed both of them. On Saturday most expected a high scoring duel from Tennessee and Georgia but instead they went into half-time dead-locked 6-6. Georgia answered the bell in the second half by putting up two touchdowns in the third quarter and that was too much for Tennessee to overcome. Georgia was led by freshmen Isaiah Crowell (who despite being banged up had two rushing TDs) and freshman Malcolm Mitchell (who caught 3 passes for 126 yards and a long of 71 before leaving with a strained hamstring in the third quarter).
Georgia's defense was also impressive. Georgia had issues getting a pass rush on Tyler Bray (both ILB Alec Ogletree and OLB Cornelius Washington missed the game for different reasons) but they were able to stuff the run as Tennessee lost a total of 20 yards on the ground for the game. Tennessee's TE was running free early and was making Georgia's life tough but Georgia made an adjustment and he didn't seem to make any catches in the 2nd half. Georgia didn't play a complete game this week but they held onto the football, made plays when they needed and didn't allow the other team to make a big play all game long. Tennessee came into the game averaging 447 yards and only gained 270 against Georgia. Tip your cap to the defense.
ARKANSAS IS CLEARLY THE THIRD BEST TEAM IN THE WEST
After getting curb stomped by Alabama on September 24th we were left wondering about the Hogs. Since then the Hogs have answered the bell by coming from behind to beat Texas A&M and by soundly beating the defending National Champion Auburn Tigers by the same score in which they lost to Alabama. If I was to tell you that Arkansas gave up 291 yards rushing you would probably tell me the Hogs lost, right? Well, they won and won big. The Hogs won the turnover battle and Auburn had over 100 yards in penalties. Tyler Wilson is getting more comfortable as "the man" as he went 24 of 36 for 262 yards. Arkansas also got a huge lift by getting Jake Bequette back on the defensive side of the football. Arkansas now sets their sites towards Ole Miss and Vandy and should be 7-1 (3-1 in conference) when they meet South Carolina in a big, big game for both teams.
TENNESSEE STILL HAS WORK TO DO
The biggest thing holding Tennessee back right now is a lack of a running game. They had a couple of short runs early but they were never able to establish anything consistent on the ground against Georgia. In the first half Tennessee moved the ball up and down the field but they never really seemed a threat to put the ball in the end zone and seemed to be missing that big play capability. Despite having all the time in the world to throw the ball, Tyler Bray seemed a bit off all game other than the short and intermediate routes. Tennessee is not a bad team by any means but they are still missing some key ingredients if they want to get back in the mix for the SEC East Championship. Also, Derek Dooley needs to hire a timeout consultant.