What’s the old wedding saying … something old, new, borrowed, and blue?
The SEC kicked off the 2007 campaign with a bit of each.
Something old? How about the Mississippi State Bulldogs struggling on offense under Sylvester Croom. Everybody likes Sly, but his pants are about the same temperature as those of Michigan’s Lloyd Carr from sitting on the hot seat.
Something new? Nick Saban started his new regime at Alabama with a solid thrashing of Western Carolina, raising the hopes of Crimson Tide followers even higher (if that’s possible).
Something borrowed? Offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe of Tennessee borrowed the no-huddle scheme of former pupil Peyton Manning and the Super Bowl champ Indy Colts. While the Volunteer defense struggled in a loss to Cal, the offense looked very good.
Something blue? How about defensive coordinators across the conference after watching the blue blur of Florida’s offense run up 49 points in just over three quarters of play to open the season.
Watch for our SEC power rankings in a couple of weeks when we get into full conference schedules.
See you at kickoff!
Pigskin Picks (2007 Record: 10-1 with Tennessee losing to Cal the only blemish)
Alabama at Vanderbilt (12:30 ET LFS)
St. Nick Saban won his second scrimmage as Tide coach, this one a 52-6 blowout of Western Carolina that was only slightly more strenuous than the one that didn’t count back in the spring. Redshirt freshman running back Terry Grant looked like the real deal, racing for a 47-yard touchdown run on the Tide’s first play from scrimmage, and finishing with 134 yards and 3 TDs. Vanderbilt never struggled against the Richmond Spiders, but couldn’t completely squash them until the third quarter. All-America WR Earl Bennett starred with 13 receptions, 223 yards, and 3 TDs. Expect Tide to keep rolling, but Saban will face his first non-scrimmage action in this one.
Game Ball: Alabama
The Razorbacks passing game struggled in a 46-26 win over Troy, but tailbacks Darren McFadden (151 yds) and Felix Jones (129 yds) had typical games.
Next game: at Alabama on 9/15/07
Auburn vs. South Florida (9:00 ET ESPN2)
Auburn beat Kansas State 23-13, but the score is most misleading. The Tigers trailed most of the night, only pulling ahead when QB Brandon Cox hit Gabe McKenzie with 2:01 left for the go ahead score. On K-State’s next possession, Auburn’s Antonio Coleman recovered a fumble and took it back for the TD and the final score. Auburn could not protect Cox and had few offensive weapons. The Bulls of South Florida from the Big East are a program on the rise, but struggled to beat Elon 28-13. QB Matt Grothe threw for 122 yds and a TD, and RB Mike Ford rushed for 3 TDs. Another dangerous game, but Tigers should play better and pull out a win.
Game Ball: Auburn
Florida vs. Troy (6:00 ET)
Apparently, only an act of God can stop the Gators. In a game called by lightning with more than eight minutes left, the Gators flashed as much speed as a sprint relay team and were never challenged in a 49-3 win over Western Kentucky. QB Tim Tebow passed for 300 yards and 3 TDs, and ran for another. Keep an eye on sophomore WR Riley Cooper who hauled in 122 yards worth of catches. Just what the Gators needed, another wide receiver. Troy can score a bit but QB Omar Haugabook was banged up a little against Arkansas. Mighty Gators tune up for Volunteers the following week.
Game Ball: Florida
Georgia vs. South Carolina (5:45 ET ESPN2)
See SEC Game of the Week Article
Game Ball: Georgia
Kentucky vs. Kent State (6:00 ET)
The Kentucky Wildcats scored five touchdowns on their first eight possessions, and cruised to an easy 50-10 victory over Bluegrass state rival Eastern Kentucky. QB Andre Woodson passed for 250 yards and 3 TDs in less than three quarters work. UK returned nearly all the offensive thoroughbreds from last year’s Music City Bowl championship team and the polish showed. The Golden Flashes of Kent look to notch another win over a BCS school after whipping Iowa State 23-14. QB Julian Edelman passed for 162 yards and ran for 75 more. Might be interesting for a while, but the Wildcats have too many offensive weapons.
Game Ball: Kentucky
LSU vs. Virginia Tech (9:15 ET ESPN)
The nation’s top game will be on the Bayou at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. Virginia Tech played not only against East Carolina (winning 17-7) but also against the emotional backdrop of serving as a salve to heal the wounds of Hokie Nation. The football Hokies probably accomplished the off-field healing more effectively than the on-field winning, struggling mightily on offense (33 yards rushing on 31 carries; 278 total yards) before prevailing over the well-prepared Pirates. Tech better bring a better offensive game to the Bayou because LSU dominated defensively in a 45-0 pasting of Mississippi State on Thursday night. The Tigers intercepted six passes. New QB Matt Flynn struggled to find a rhythm, and while LSU has plenty of scoring weapons, they too will need better production against the tough Hokie D. This one will not be for the faint of heart and scoring should be difficult for both teams. LSU should win, but it is not a guarantee.
Game Ball: LSU
Ole Miss vs. Missouri (6:00 ET)
Ole Miss took advantage of Memphis miscues and held on for a 23-21 win after leading 20-0 at the half. QB Seth Adams passed for 201 yards and a TD, but it was a blocked punt for a touchdown and a 99-yard interception return by Dustin Mouzon that propelled the Rebels to the win. Mizzou won a wild Arch Rivalry marathon game 40-34 over Illinois by intercepting a pass at the 1-yard line with less than a minute to go. QB Chase Daniel passed for 359 yds and 3 TDs. The Rebels look to be improved, but doubtful that they will tame the Tigers.
Game Ball: Missouri
Mississippi State at Tulane (7:00 ET CSS)
To say the Bullies sputtered offensively in the opener with LSU is like saying the Titanic had a little leak. QB Michael Henig threw six(!) interceptions against the Tigers in the 45-0 thrashing. This will be the season opener for Tulane's Green Wave and with the game being in NOLA means a lot to them and the area. Potentially means just as much to Sly Croom's future ... give the Dogs one more chance.
Game Ball: MSU
Tennessee vs. Southern Miss (7:00 ET)
Tennessee proved no match defensively for the speed and offensive creativity of Cal, as the Golden Bears streaked to a 45-31 victory over the Vols in Berkeley. The Big Orange offense looked very efficient running the new no-huddle offense, with Erik Ainge doing his best Peyton Manning impersonation (right down to all the line-of-scrimmage gesticulating, pointing, and running the play clock down). The question on Rocky Top will be whether the defense volunteers any resistance against the Golden Eagles from Hattiesburg. For Southern Miss, last year’s freshman AA running back Damion Fletcher kicked off his sophomore campaign with 156 yards in a 35-13 victory over Tennessee-Martin at the Rock. From the Rock to Rocky Top is a big change … from UT-Martin to UT-Knoxville is a bigger one. This should be a good game.
Game Ball: Tennessee