College football was in full force this past weekend, with all 14 SEC schools getting a game under their belt. The SEC as a conference went 12-2 on the weekend. While the majority of teams played cupcakes week one, we did see a few teams play some high-level opponents. We learned Florida has made little-to-no improvement on the offensive side of the ball from last year. We also learned Bama is still Bama, and that South Carolina has a guy at QB that can win them a lot of games (in the East). So, following last week’s slate of games, how does the SEC stack up heading into week two? Just like this:
14. Missouri (Last week: 13)
Missouri was able to come out of week one with a 72-43 victory over FCS-foe Missouri State. Missouri’s offense was potent, and Drew Lock showed why he is a top-five QB in the league with 521 yards passing and seven touchdowns. As good as the Tiger’s offense was, the defense was equally as bad (ed. note: they were worse). Missouri couldn’t tackle anyone in the open field, and got torched for nearly 500 yards by an FCS school. SEC offenses will have a field day on this defense.
13. Ole Miss (12)
We didn’t learn much about the Rebels that we didn’t already know prior to a win against South Alabama. Shea Patterson lit the Jaguars up with 429 yards through the air, and A.J. Brown caught eight passes for 233 yards. South Alabama was able to keep the game close in the first half, but Ole Miss was able to pull away in the 2nd half for a 47-27 victory. The defense still looks suspect though, allowing 24 points in the win.
12. Vanderbilt (14)
Vandy traveled to Middle Tennessee State this past weekend and dominated the game from start to finish. The Commodores beat the Blue Raiders 28-6 and showed that there would be no drop off from last year to this year defensively. QB Kyle Shurmur also showed that he is a capable SEC QB by completing 20-28 of his passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns.
11. Kentucky (10)
Kentucky was able to escape Hattiesburg with a 24-17 win over Southern Miss to avenge last year’s embarrassing loss at home to the Golden Eagles. The Wildcats didn’t trail in the ball game, but were never able to pull away from the Golden Eagles either. Nothing that Kentucky did really wowed you. QB Stephen Johnson completed just over 50% of his passes for 176 yards and one touchdown, but RB Benny Snell averaged less than four yards per carry. Kentucky didn’t look like a team that could finish in the top half of the East like numerous media members predicted during the preseason.
10. Arkansas (9)
Arkansas dominated Florida A&M on Thursday night, as they should. I’m not sure what to take away from the Arkansas win, but we will know a lot more about the Razorbacks next week after Arkansas takes on TCU this Saturday at 2:30.
9. South Carolina (11)
South Carolina looked like a team that can give teams like Florida and Georgia a run for their money at the top of the East. The Gamecocks beat a team in NC State that some members of the media were very high on, one of which even had the Wolfpack in the CFP. Jake Bentley looked like a stud that could be in the Heisman conversation in a couple of years.
8. Texas A&M (6)
Texas A&M managed to summarize an Aggie season in just four quarters, which is pretty impresive if you ask me. A&M jumped out to a 44-10 lead over UCLA late in the third quarter just to have the Bruins storm back for a 45-44 victory. The only reason why I’m not dropping the Aggies further is due to how dominant they looked early in the ball game. The Aggies did struggle throwing the ball, which is not good news for a Kevin Sumlin offense, not to mention they may have lost QB Nick Starkel to an ankle fracture. The future certainly doesn’t look bright in College Station.
7. Tennessee (8)
Tenessee wrapped up an outstanding opening weekend of football Monday night with a 42-41 double-overtime win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Tennessee got torched on the ground to the tune of 525 yards against the triple option attack of Georgia Tech, but was able to whether the storm and escape with a win thanks in large part to a pair of turnovers and missed field goals by the Yellow Jackets. QB Quinten Dormady struggled in the first half, but came out and made some big plays for the Vols in the second half. I still question if the Vols can challenge Georgia and Florida for the East, but we will get a better idea of that when the Vols travel to Gainsville in a couple weeks.
6. Mississippi State (7)
The Bulldogs routed Charleston Southern 49-0 Saturday, and it wasn’t that close. The Mississippi State defense held CSU to just 33 yards of total offense (best in the country), forced two safeties, and never allowed the Buccaneers to cross the 50. Many people will say “but it was against an FCS team!” While that is true, the Bulldogs allowed over 600 yards of offense and 41 points to an FCS team last year. Improvement.
5. Florida (4)
Michigan beat Florida 33-17 Saturday, but it could have easily been 52-3. Florida wasn’t even able to muster 200 yards of offense against the Wolverines. It would be easy to point your finger at the QB play of the Gators, but in reality a lot of the blame lies with the offensive line. Florida’s o-line got whooped by the Michigan defensive front on seemingly every play. You simply can’t move the football if guys are in your QB’s face every play. On the bright side, Florida’s defense looks legit, they were able to score the only two touchdowns for the Gators on two pick sixes and block a punt. That might be enough to keep them near the top of the East, for now.
4. Georgia (3)
Georgia took care of Appalachian State 31-10 on Saturday and pitched a shutout until the final five minutes of the game. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, QB Jacob Eason sprained his knee in the ball game and could miss several weeks. The good news is that true freshman Jake Fromm played very well, completing 10-15 of his passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. We will learn a lot more about Georgia this week when they travel tp South Bend to take on Notre Dame. While Eason may be able to return at some point this season, the Bulldogs need to not only survive with Fromm, but be successful. The uncertainty at QB dropped the Bulldogs back a spot this week.
3. LSU (5)
LSU absolutely manhandled BYU in New Orleans Saturday night, never allowing the Cougars across the 50. BYU totaled just 97 yards of offense and had -5 rushing yards against a defense that didn’t even have its best player on the field in Arden Key. But the most promising takeaway from this game has got to be how efficiently Danny Etling played. Etling complete 14-17 of his passes for 171 yards and no interceptions. While these numbers won’t jump out at you, he was efficient, complimented the run game, and didn’t turn the ball over.
2. Auburn (2)
Auburn took care of business against Georgia Southern 41-7 Saturday night in the collegiate debut of Jarrett Stidham. Stidham was inconsistent at times, completing 14-24 of his passes for 185 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. Stidham also added a 14-yard touchdown run. The Auburn defense didn’t skip a beat from last season, as the Tigers allowed just 78 yards of offense, and the only Georgia Southern touchdown came on a fumble recovery. Just like most of the SEC, we will know a lot more about Auburn this time next week after they travel to Death Valley to face reigning National Champs Clemson.
1. Alabama (1)
Alabama and Florida State headlined week one of college football and the Tide did not disappoint. The offense struggled for the most part, albeit against a talented Seminole defense. Bama totaled just 269 yards on offense, and 53 of those yards came came on a deep ball to Calvin Ridley for a touchdown. The defense on the other hand did what a Bama defense does. They were able to hold the Seminoles to 250 total yards and just 40 yards on the ground. The special teams also played extremely well, coming up with a blocked a punt, a blocked field goal, and forced a fumble on a kickoff. One sour note for Nick Saban’s crew: starting linebackers Terrell Lewis and Christian Miller are out for the season with injuries.