College Football

SEC Progress Report

After one month of exciting showdowns and shocking records (Vanderbilt), I take a look at the state of SEC football.
SEC East

#5 Florida (4-0) (2-0)

Florida looks good. Not against Tennessee, but Tennessee’s speed defense has that effect on teams. Urban Meyer said something interesting on a televised interview with ESPN the other day when he said that he and his staff are trying to create an offense around Chris Leak, not the other way around. Critics of Florida this year point to the fact that Leak is not mobile enough for the offense that Meyer wants to run. Someone is not telling the truth. Florida’s weakness at the moment is that whenever they play a fast defense, their offense struggles. Alabama has a great defense and this will test Florida once again.  If Florida can get their offense on track against Alabama, consider their offensive woes over.

#6 Georgia (4-0) (2-0)

Georgia looked awesome against Boise State. They looked sick against South Carolina. So which is it? Georgia looks to have all the pieces there for a strong SEC run. So why did they struggle against South Carolina? South Carolina is not that good. They were trashed at home by Alabama. Georgia should have been highly motivated to whup up on Spurrier, yet they looked flat. I’ve commented on past articles that I think Georgia is not so much overrated, as they are unproven. They are off this week, but travel to Tennessee next week. That game will shine some light on Georgia. Side note: Next time you watch Georgia, watch out for their sensational safety Greg Blue. He hits harder than anyone I’ve seen so far.

Vanderbilt (4-0) (2-0)

Vanderbilt finally has a reason to hold their heads up. 4-0 overall record. 2-0 SEC record. Jay Cutler is being mentioned in the same breath as Tom Brady and Joe Montana as an efficient passer who just gets the job done.  Not to mention coach Bobby Johnson, who suffered a harrowing accident on his bike and broke his collarbone. We all know deep down that the Vanderbilt train is going to come to a screeching halt. But please, join with me in demanding that Vanderbilt be ranked #25 if they defeat MTSU this week to go to 5-0 before D-Day at home versus LSU. We should do it just to say that we were alive when Vanderbilt was ranked.

#9 Tennessee (2-1) (1-1)

Tennessee looked like they would be in the running for the most disappointing team in the country award with Michigan and Louisville. Than Rick “Lil’ Chalkie” Clausen came to the rescue and battered the LSU defense with a dizzying array of 5 yard passes and mean insults during his snap count. But it worked, and Tennessee’s season isn’t a wash quite yet. Phil Fulmer announced that Clausen, (or Clow-son, as y’all up north call him), will be the starter against Ole Miss. Anyone who saw Erik Ainge’s touchdown pass to LSU’s defensive tackle knows this is the smart move. Tennessee plays a classic sandwich game against Ole Miss before hosting Georgia next week. Watch Out!

Kentucky (0-1) (1-3)

Kentucky almost beat Louisville in Week 1. Unfortunately, this will be probably the season highlight for the Wildcats. They’ve lost six starters already and have lost six reserves to injuries. Getting blown out by Indiana had to hurt. I really can’t think of anything else to say about them.

South Carolina (2-2) (0-2)

Spurrier looked to have the Gamecocks on track against Georgia. Then Alabama blew them out at home. Now Spurrier wants to bench his starting quarterback for someone else. (Sound familiar?) I like Spurrier and respect his a great deal as a coach. But even he can’t make this grubby bunch into winners, at least not this year.

SEC West

#16 Alabama (4-0) (2-0)

I have never seen this much excitement out of my `Bama friends. They are convinced that this is the year that Alabama retakes the SEC. It hasn’t all been peaches and cream down in Tuscaloosa. Alabama had to come from behind over Southern Mississippi and just came off an uninspiring victory over Arkansas, who lost by over fifty points to USC and lost to Vanderbilt. Alabama does have an amazing home schedule this year with Florida, Tennessee, and LSU all coming to Bryant-Denney Stadium. The road to SEC glory is visible, but Alabama needs to travel it.

#24 Auburn (3-1) (1-0)

Auburn has been flying under the radar since their opening day loss against Georgia Tech. They have quietly produced three victories and seem to have hammered out the problems they had against Georgia Tech. Brandon Cox is much improved.  The defense is playing very well. They don’t play any good teams until they travel to LSU in week 8. We’ll have to see that game before we pass judgment.

#4 LSU (1-1) (0-1)

LSU just lost a heartbreaker to Tennessee. That has to weigh heavily on their minds. How will they bounce back?  I would say pretty well. They destroyed Tennessee in the first half and should have been winning by more than 21 points. JaMarcus Russell looks a lot better this year and Joseph Addai was running over Tennessee’s vaunted front seven. Look for them to bring Vanderbilt back to reality when they visit next week.

Ole Miss (1-2) (0-1)

Ole Miss is playing much better this time around and has a legitimate shot at playing spoiler this year for several good teams. Ed Orgeron has the Rebels heading in the right direction this year by bringing enthusiasm and confidence to a team who badly needed it after last year. They have a big game at Tennessee and have an outside shot at an upset.

Mississippi State (2-2) (0-2)

I really don’t have much to say about Miss St. They are not any good and do not deserve coverage at this point in the season.

Arkansas (1-3) (0-2)

In Houston Nutt’s defense, he really has helped improve the state of Razorback football in the past few years. I don’t think he should be fired for the way this season is going and they do have one of the top running games in the country. They just had the misfortune of playing USC and losing to Vanderbilt. That will put any coach on the hot seat.

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