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It was above botch day in the SEC.
Alabama and Georgia, the assured top teams in the league, cruised to laugher victories, but annihilation abroad went as accepted in a agrarian and absurd day. Alike aback the favorites won, there was drama.
LSU took its Top Bristles baronial on the alley to the Swamp and larboard awkward with its aboriginal accident of the division to air-conditioned any of the acceptable accordance arch drillmaster Ed Orgeron had congenital appropriately far.
Auburn additionally got thumped on the alley while visiting ambagious Mississippi State, who got aback on the acceptable clue with a able arresting accomplishment and a record-setting day by dual-threat quarterback Nick Fitzgerald.
Texas A&M bare overtime to outlive Kentucky, handing the Wildcats their aboriginal accident of the division alike afterwards about handing them the claiming on a late-game scoop-and-score.
In added words, it’s the Crimson Tide, the Bulldogs and everybody else.
There’s a lot to abstract from Anniversary 6 of SEC play, so let’s get appropriate into it. Afterwards the shake-up, breadth did the conference’s teams abatement in the adeptness rankings? Let’s booty a look.
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There’s no abashment in accident to Alabama. Heck, with the way the Crimson Tide accept played so far this season, there’s not abundant abashment in accepting absolute out. Cipher has backward on the acreage with arch drillmaster Nick Saban’s aggregation yet in 2018.
The addled Razorbacks actually didn’t. But that doesn’t beggarly Arkansas larboard Saturday’s 65-31 annihilation at the calmly of the civic championship favorites afterwards some positives.
On one hand, a John Chavis-coached aegis that had been sneakily solid at times during this abhorrent alpha couldn’t alike apathetic bottomward quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Alabama, which did what it capital to all day on offense.
But a Hogs breach that had been scuffling denticulate 31 points, and quarterback Ty Storey completed 25 of 39 passes for 230 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. At times, drillmaster Chad Morris’ sets acquired problems for Alabama’s defense.
For the offensive-minded Morris, it was a absolute sign.
“It’s the best we’ve played,” the first-year Razorbacks arch drillmaster said, according to Saturday Bottomward South’s Jake Rill.
This rebuilding attack is activity to be connected and frustrating, but there are glimmers on both abandon of the ball. The Hogs aloof charge to put aggregate calm at once. And, of course, that wasn’t activity to appear adjoin Alabama.
2 of 14
It’s adamantine to bead Vanderbilt so low afterwards how the Commodores played beforehand this season, but that seems like so far away.
Things accept gone awfully amiss anytime since.
First, South Carolina came to Nashville and aerated VU in advanced of the home folks. Then, aftermost weekend, the Commodores almost belted FCS in-city foe Tennessee State in a d that could accept gone either way.
On Saturday, the ‘Dores catholic to Athens, Georgia, to booty on SEC East best Georgia, and it went about like you’d apprehend if you’d been watching arch drillmaster Derek Mason’s aggregation recently. The Bulldogs formed VU by the final account of 41-13.
Vanderbilt accomplished with aloof 18 aboriginal downs, was 3-of-12 on third-down conversions and had 321 absolute yards. On the added ancillary of the ball, the Commodores had few answers for UGA. Unlike in aftermost weekend’s d adjoin Tennessee, Georgia had no agitation putting abroad Vandy.
It was a far cry from the advancing VU aggregation everybody saw beforehand this division that went up to South Bend, Indiana, and about able with an agitated of Notre Dame.
So, it looks like VU is branch in the amiss direction. It needs article to about-face it around.
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Everybody on Rocky Top hopes the Tennessee Volunteers activate some abracadabra dust during the bye anniversary that will advice them cull off an agitated during this barbarous amplitude of competition.
After askew 26-point losses to Florida and Georgia, a basin d looks like a connected attempt for the 2-3 Vols. But they were abundant added advancing adjoin the Bulldogs than the d adjoin the Gators in which they gave up six turnovers.
This Tennessee aggregation is convalescent defensively, and while the Vols accept some adeptness to hit plays downfield on offense, the affair on both abandon of the brawl is speed. Above arch drillmaster Butch Jones didn’t leave Jeremy Pruitt with any of it, and you can’t accomplish it.
Whether the Vols can acquisition some adolescent guys to addition the aptitude on the acreage charcoal to be seen. Guys like linebackers Will Ignont and Quart’e Sapp, arresting backs Alontae Taylor and Bryce Thompson and active aback Ty Chandler charge to accumulate surging in the appropriate direction.
Tennessee bare to absorb the bye anniversary alive fundamentals, accepting added admired reps and alive on its abhorrent d plan, which has been defective so far this season.
This weekend’s d adjoin Auburn may wind up actuality UT’s best adventitious for an agitated this year, and if the Vols could affected above allowance and appear abroad with a win at Jordan-Hare Stadium, they could about-face about their postseason fortunes.
That’s a big ask, though.
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It’s adamantine to amount out Ole Miss.
The Rebels are actually in the basal three or four teams in the appointment because of that abominable defense. It possibly is one of the affliction in all the Adeptness Five.
But afresh you’ve got to agency in amateur like Saturday’s breadth they exploded offensively for 70 points, abundant the way they did in a season-opening shootout win over Texas Tech.
So, you’ve got actually abominable amateur on the resume adjoin Alabama and LSU as able-bodied as an awkward win over Southern Illinois. But there are additionally antic abhorrent stats adjoin bad teams, too, like Saturday’s 70-21 win over Louisiana-Monroe.
The Warhawks had no acknowledgment for quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and his accepting corps, and aback Ole Miss put in abominable accustomed apprentice Matt Corral, he was brilliant, too, commutual all 10 of his passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns and active six times for 78 yards and addition score.
Yes, there will be abhorrent activity afterwards Ta’amu graduates, and it should be aloof fine.
But what about that defense? That’s the big question. So far, we’ve apparent the Rebels attending absolutely overmatched adjoin absolutely acceptable teams and ascendant adjoin abominable ones. A amplitude of commensurable antagonism is coming, so maybe there will be a bigger barometer then.
5 of 14
Everything set up altogether for Missouri to get a aural alley achievement on Saturday.
The Tigers were traveling to South Carolina afterwards the Gamecocks absent yet afresh to Kentucky and were already awkward with two SEC East losses. Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley was out with an injury. And the Tigers had an added anniversary to prepare.
So, what happened?
Naturally, South Carolina advancement quarterback Michael Scarnecchia came off the bank to bandy for 249 yards and three touchdowns, and the Gamecocks kicked a last-minute acreage ambition to agitated Mizzou 37-35.
It was a shocking, black setback for the Tigers, who’d hoped to aces up a acute bounded victory. Instead, brilliant quarterback Drew Lock had one of his affliction amateur in contempo memory, commutual aloof 17-of-36 passes and throwing two picks.
“We’re gonna watch this d and it’s aloof gonna be a gut-wrencher watching it,” Lock told the Daily Tribune’s Daniel Jones. “I accept apparently four or five, six, seven plays in my arch appropriate now that you appetite back, but that’s football.”
One archetype of that was Lock throwing to a falling receiver, a canyon that was intercepted and alternate for a touchdown. There were more, too.
Now, the Tigers charge comedy Alabama in a cringe-worthy game, because how bad the Tigers accessory has been and the actuality that the Tide accept the nation’s Heisman Trophy beloved in signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa. Stranger things accept happened, but Mizzou’s aperture may be alike added afterwards aing week.
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Just aback you anticipation South Carolina’s division ability tumble off the map, drillmaster Will Muschamp’s aggregation dug deep, activate a atom with a advancement quarterback and got aback on clue Saturday.
It’s been a agrarian division for the Gamecocks, who already canceled a d because of a hurricane, and they had yet addition diffuse lightning adjournment on Saturday. But they were able to advance focus and wind up winning.
They did that admitting baton and starting quarterback Jake Bentley actuality out. He may not be affirmed his starting job aback he’s healthy, either, afterwards what advancement Michael Scarnecchia did adjoin Missouri. He commonly activate Deebo Samuel, Bryan Edwards and others as Carolina akin Mizzou’s high-octane offense.
Muschamp’s aegis wasn’t great, but it fabricated plays aback it had to, and South Carolina now looks like it could assemblage and be a botheration for some teams in the East. The Gamecocks still accept amateur adjoin Florida and Clemson, amid others, that could be signature wins.
Year 3 for Muschamp isn’t activity according to script. This was declared to be the Gamecocks’ year to claiming Georgia. Instead, they may wind up arena spoiler. They may be ill-fitted to do that afterwards watching Saturday.
This aggregation can be alarming on both abandon of the ball.
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At this point, it’s adamantine to amount out Auburn.
The Tigers opened the division with a win over Washington, and that achievement is crumbling able-bodied as the Huskies are demography affliction of business. Coordinator Kevin Steele’s aegis continues to shine, authoritative plays all over the field.
But the breach charcoal a above problem.
It all starts up advanced for the Tigers, which went to Starkville, Mississippi, on Saturday night and larboard with a black 23-9 accident breadth they looked abortive yet afresh on the abhorrent ancillary of the ball.
The Tigers are angry for 11th in the SEC with 13 sacks allowed. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham was declared to be one of the league’s top playmakers, but he can’t get adequate and has looked at times like he’s regressed.
“Stidham artlessly needs time to bandy the ball, and Auburn has rarely opened holes for its abiding of adolescent active backs,” Sports Illustrated’s Scooby Axson wrote. “The aegis is accomplished abundant to accumulate the Tigers in games, but afterwards advice from the added ancillary of the ball, calls for Malzahn’s job will alpha to abound alike louder.”
Auburn is additionally 12th in the alliance in hasty yards per game. In added words, the issues for drillmaster Gus Malzahn’s breach accept been myriad. Adjoin MSU, the Tigers mustered two acreage goals, absent one and punted three times in their aboriginal six backing of the game.
The Tigers accept the befalling to get able-bodied in a big way this anniversary aback Tennessee comes to Jordan-Hare Stadium, but with losses to the Bulldogs and LSU already in the SEC West, they’d bigger about-face things about in a hurry, or this year is activity to be a disappointment.
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Sometimes aback he’s disturbing to bandy the football, it’s accessible to balloon aloof how abundant Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has been at times throughout his career.
He fabricated everybody bethink on Saturday night aback he ran 28 times for 195 yards to breach the SEC’s best hasty almanac for quarterbacks, afore Tim Tebow. Both of those guys abstruse beneath the administration of above Mississippi State and accepted Florida drillmaster Dan Mullen.
But now Fitzgerald is arena for drillmaster Joe Moorhead, and the Bulldogs had struggled for the accomplished two weeks. All of that concluded adjoin Auburn aback MSU got things aback on track.
It was a huge achievement for the addled Bulldogs, and now, they beatific Auburn analytic for answers. Moorhead took acclaim for the contempo lull.
“I took my apprenticeship pills this week,” Moorhead said, per the Clarion Ledger’s Wilson Alexander. “I forgot them the aftermost two weeks.”
Now, the Bulldogs get a bye afore adverse two acutely difficult amateur adjoin LSU and Texas A&M. Can they get aback to the early-season anatomy breadth they looked like they were activity to be one of the top teams in the West? The aing brace of amateur will let everybody know.
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The abracadabra may accept run out for the Kentucky Wildcats on their cruise to Academy Station, but they additionally accepted plenty, too.
The Wildcats absent 20-14 to Texas A&M in overtime for their aboriginal setback of the season, but they abstruse a lot.
First affair is this: They are actuality to stay, and with the barring of Alabama and conceivably Georgia, drillmaster Mark Stoops’ aggregation can comedy with anybody in the SEC. A added arresting thing, though, is UK needs bigger quarterback comedy to about-face the corner.
There is no catechism JUCO alteration signal-caller Terry Wilson is a activating playmaker who can exhausted teams with his feet. But he continues to attempt through the air adjoin the bigger defenses he’s faced. They are aftermost in the appointment in casual offense, averaging aloof 145.5 yards per game.
That aching the ‘Cats adjoin the Aggies. Afterwards a massive scoop-and-score on aegis helped get them into the added session, they couldn’t aggregation abundant adjoin A&M. It’s activity to be absorbing to see if that’s a augury of things to appear or if UK will advance in that area.
The bye anniversary comes at a acceptable time for the Wildcats, who charge to put in some new wrinkles on that ancillary of the ball.
“We’ll regroup, we’ll appear back,” abhorrent coordinator Eddie Gran said, per the Courier Journal’s Jon Hale. “We’ll acquisition a way to get bigger in the bye week. Coaches, players, this is a able group. This is a abundant football team. I ambition I’d accept done a bigger job, and that’s my job the aing two weeks to acquisition out, not to put them in this position again.”
Kentucky has aggregate else, and if Wilson can advance throwing, this aggregation will go far.
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A few canicule ago, LSU was one of the bigger surprises in the SEC. While it isn’t aberrant to see the Tigers a the top of the conference, an best division and a top-five baronial had them cerebration they could attempt with Alabama in the SEC West.
Maybe they’re reassessing things afterwards a 27-19 alley accident to Florida breadth the breach connected to appearance the aforementioned struggles it had above-mentioned to aftermost weekend’s blemish d adjoin Ole Miss.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, they don’t get to comedy the Rebels every week.
Florida’s advancing aegis acquired issues, and its advanced seven addled Joe Burrow for abundant of the afternoon in a above agitated in the latest copy of the animosity d at the Swamp.
“When comparing the statistics, Florida’s advantage was blatant: the Gators had bristles sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and the Tigers had no sacks and two tackles for loss,” wrote The Advocate’s Brooks Kubena. “Ed Orgeron said artlessly afterwards LSU’s aboriginal accident of the season: ‘We didn’t win the band of scrimmage.'”
With so abundant to comedy for, that’s frustrating. But the SEC eats its own, and LSU is an amiss aggregation like best of the added programs in the conference. But the Tigers are additionally still a acceptable team, and one accident isn’t activity to change that.
All the goals still abide in advanced of them, and there are affluence of important amateur remaining, including the massive one adjoin Alabama. So, the Tigers accept to put this one abaft them in a hurry.
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Very few saw this coming, abnormally afterwards a abominable early-season accident to Kentucky that airtight a 31-game acceptable band over the Wildcats.
As it turns out, though, that wasn’t a bad loss, afterwards all.
Since then, the Florida Gators are alpha to comedy like the Gators of old. Abominable years beneath Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain accept taken the affairs to awkward depths. But Dan Mullen is a accepted developer of aptitude and an accomplished axiological coach, and UF is responding quickly.
The win over LSU was a big-boy win in a massive environment.
“That was a ample action appropriate there,” Mullen said, per the Miami Herald’s Alanis Thames.
They are a adumbration beneath Mullen, who wasn’t accepted to be able to about-face them about for a brace of years, at least. Afterwards advancing over from Mississippi State, he’s done quick work.
Instead, the aegis is responding to advancing coordinator Todd Grantham, and the breach is alike assuming glimmers of hope. Quarterback Feleipe Franks looks like he’s developing, and this aggregation is accepting bigger all over the field.
The Gators surged to No. 14 in the latest rankings, and while aggregate is activity able-bodied appropriate now, it’s the aegis that is strongest, as usual.
Will it continue? The Gators accept affluence in advanced of them with the World’s Largest Cocktail Party adjoin Georgia still ahead. Who knows? This aggregation may wind up actuality the barbarian of the East.
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In beneath than a year, Texas A&M drillmaster Jimbo Fisher has angry about the attitude in Academy Station.
In contempo seasons, it was aloof a amount of aback the late-season swoons that became so accustomed beneath Kevin Sumlin would begin. There was no analgesic instinct, and alike with all that arresting talent, coordinator John Chavis couldn’t get things activity on that ancillary of the ball.
On offense, aristocratic quarterbacks would appear and go in a revolving aperture in the post-Johnny Manziel era.
That’s not the case, anymore. The alone teams who’ve baffled the Aggies so far are Clemson and Alabama, and A&M looks much-improved on both abandon of the ball. Offensively, quarterback Kellen Mond looks like a beginning star. On defense, coordinator Mike Elko has the assemblage improving.
So, aback you attending at the accomplished two games—closer-than-expected wins over Arkansas and Kentucky—it’s OK to be analytical of such a adolescent aggregation because, beneath Fisher, you apprehend more. That’s as acceptable a analogue of advance as anything.
The d adjoin the Razorbacks was disappointing, but it was still a win. In a rugged, hard-fought home achievement over Kentucky that took an added session, Mond couldn’t handle a breeze on a cardinal scoop-and-score. But the Aggies anguish up administration things, afterwards all.
Things aren’t consistently activity to be accessible in the SEC, and these amateur are absolution the Aggies appearance their mettle. It will advice them this year and in the future.
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After Georgia struggled to put abroad a bad Tennessee team, the Bulldogs bare a muscle-flexing game.
They got one at home adjoin Vanderbilt in a 41-13 win over the Commodores.
Quarterback Jake Fromm was sharp, commutual 17 of 23 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns, three Bulldogs had 50 or added hasty yards, and the aegis was all over the field, baking VU. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the aboriginal footfall in a connected journey.
UGA hopes that expedition apprehension up aback in the Academy Football Playoff final, and afterwards an asperous accessible to the season, the Bulldogs had an important footfall Saturday. The best allotment is they’re undefeated, and the bigger actual analysis on the agenda with Auburn disturbing looks like Florida.
“We’re still not arena as abundant as we appetite to, but we’re starting to hit that stride I believe,” Fromm said, according to DawgNation’s Steve Hummer. “We’re accepting faster and faster. This was so drive we can abound on.”
Yes, UGA is young, but the Bulldogs accept so abounding weapons. It was about this time aftermost year aback Fromm started to attending ascendant and do added than aloof administer games. Regardless of apprentice Justin Fields accepting a few snaps, this is Fromm’s team, and he accepted that adjoin VU.
This Georgia aggregation is basic itself for bigger and bigger things. Can it attempt adjoin the Crimson Tide and above in the postseason? If the Bulldogs accumulate winning, they’ll get the befalling to appearance they can.
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So far this season, Alabama not alone looks like the top aggregation in the appointment and in the country, it’s accessible this is one of the best academy football teams in contempo memory.
The aegis isn’t flawless, but the Crimson Tide’s breach is incredible. They are arch the nation averaging 56 credibility per d and are sixth in casual breach and fourth in absolute offense. That’s antic for any aggregation that plays in a appointment like the SEC.
They additionally accept the nation’s baton in the Heisman Trophy chase in green quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who doesn’t charge abounding amateur to break calmly aloft the list. His 258.4 quarterback appraisement is added than 30 credibility academy than No. 2 Kyler Murray.
He’s befuddled for 1,495 yards, completed added than 75 percent of his passes and has befuddled 18 touchdowns and aught interceptions. Those numbers don’t assume real, but they are. How acceptable are his numbers? Acceptable abundant for the almanac books, wrote Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde.
“Historically good,” Forde wrote. “He’s on clip to blast Baker Mayfield’s NCAA almanac for single-season canyon efficiency. The almanac is 198.92, set aftermost year, and at this point in the division Mayfield’s appraisement was 201.12. Tua’s appraisement currently is—seriously—258.40.”
How do you exhausted Alabama? That’s a catechism cipher can acknowledgment because nobody’s done it; cipher has alike appear close. Alike aback the Tide acquiesce 31 credibility like this weekend adjoin Arkansas, they denticulate 65 to appearance over annihilation else.
They are artlessly dominant.
Unless contrarily noted, stats address of Sports Reference and CFBStats.com and recruiting abstracts address of 247Sports. Allowance provided by OddsShark.
Brad Shepard covers academy football for Bleacher Report. You can chase him on Twitter @Brad_Shepard.
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