Unbeaten, untied, and unimpressive?
Those adjectives will not hold true for every undefeated team in the SEC this week, but it describes the efforts of several contenders. The league has eight undefeated teams heading into the weekend and five members of the AP Top 10.
However, the play of several highly rated teams might cause their fans to simmer down on the excitement.
Georgia scrapped to a 14-7 road win over South Carolina. The Bulldogs will have to play better in the desert against Arizona State or their national title dreams may become a mirage.
Auburn mastered its new offensive “system” to the tune of 5 points against Mississippi State. That’s right … 3 for the Tigers and 2 for the Bullies on a safety. On the other hand, the Tigers pitching staff – I mean defense – hurled a shutout.
Kentucky nearly suffered another bluegrass miracle before Robbie McAtee made a game-saving tackle at the 1-yard line on the game’s final play against MTSU.
Vanderbilt won again after letting Rice move up and down the field for a 21-21 tie at halftime.
Arkansas is 2-0 and could just as easily be 0-2 (and would likely have lost last weekend had the game at Texas not been postponed).
LSU and Alabama were more impressive.
The Bengal Tigers prepared for a trip to Auburn with a workmanlike 41-3 victory over North Texas. The Crimson Tide rolled over Western Kentucky and look like the second best team (behind LSU) in the West at the moment.
This weekend offers significant games in the division races.
Out West the headliner is LSU at Auburn. The winner stands to emerge as the co-favorite (with Alabama) for the division title.
Alabama should be able to beat Arkansas, but the Tide has lost its last two trips to the Natural State.
Vanderbilt travels to Ole Miss in an inter-division game between two teams that have not lost league games.
In the East, Florida is undefeated but faces a big trip to Rocky Top.
Enjoy the games!
Game Day Weekly Conference Ratings
1. LSU … Tigers still looking good but will need a passing game this week.
2. Florida … Idle Gators get back to work with a trip to Rocky Top.
3. Alabama … When the Tide gains consistency week to week – watch out.
4. Georgia … Dogs got past a tough hurdle but did not look good in the process.
5. Ole Miss … Rebel offense gaining some momentum.
6. Auburn … Teams pay money at seminars to learn this offense?
7. Vanderbilt … Bowl watch stands at three more wins and counting.
8. Tennessee … UT finally volunteered some offense (545 yards) against a bad UAB team.
9. Kentucky … Wildcats had nine lives in hanging on by t—h—i—s much to beat Blue Raiders.
10. South Carolina … This defense deserves better support.
11. Arkansas … One positive from Hurricane Ike? It allowed the Hogs to move up a notch by not playing.
12. Mississippi State … Bully defense outscores offense by a deuce in 3-2 loss to Auburn.
Last Week’s Record 7-1
2008 Record 22-7
* All times Eastern
Alabama at Arkansas (12:30 Raycom)
The Tide rolled on offense, defense, and special teams to dispatch Western Kentucky with ease. QB John Parker Wilson became the all-time offensive leader at the Capstone and will add to that total against the Hogs. Bama looks like a contender, while Bobby Petrino’s pigs are perhaps the worst 2-0 team in America. Hogs had a trip to Austin canceled due to the hurricane … which mostly means they get their first loss this week instead. Could be a bit closer than you think.
Game Ball: Alabama
LSU at Auburn (7:45 ESPN)
These two teams were the preseason favorites to battle for the SEC West. Auburn took a step back on offense against Miss State in a 3-2 win, although the bullpen did a good job to hold the lead. Seriously, it was bad but not as bad as it seemed because penalties and turnovers played a role in keeping Auburn out of the end zone. Defensively, the Tigers held State to only 116 yards. They will need another strong effort as LSU roars onto the Plains. The Bengal Tigers have been the league’s most impressive team, and arguably have the best lines (O and D) in college football. LSU will need to be able to throw downfield more in this game instead of relying only on short passes. Call it a close one for the visitors.
Game Ball: LSU
Florida at Tennessee (3:30 CBS)
See SEC Game of the Week.
Game Ball: Florida
Georgia at Arizona State (8:13 ABC)
Georgia escaped South Carolina with a 14-7 win that may look prettier as the season progresses. It was not a good looking effort offensively against the Gamecocks but the Dogs did dominate time of possession. Defensively, Georgia throttled SC and came up with turnovers at key times, none bigger than Rennie Curran’s fumble-forcing tackle on Mike Davis at the goal line. ASU has Rose Bowl aspirations but might have gotten caught looking ahead when they were ambushed by UNLV in a 23-20 overtime loss. Dogs win in primetime. Sorry Brent and Herby.
Game Ball: Georgia
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (7:00)
Vanderbilt and Rice combined for nearly 500 yards of offense – in the first half (!) before the Commodores pulled away to move to 3-0. Vandy will need to be consistent on defense because Ole Miss is streaky. The Rebs struggled early with Samford then exploded for three straight scoring drives of over 50 yards midway through the game. I like Vandy, but think Johnny Reb has enough athletes to sink the Commodores ship.
Game Ball: Ole Miss
Mississippi State at Georgia Tech (12:00 Noon Raycom -ACC crew)
State scores less than a bucktooth boy at a beauty pageant. The Bulldogs had plenty of chances to beat Auburn but never could put points on the board offensively. The defense is stout but gave up some rushing yards to the Plainsmen. They will give up more this week against the triple-option flexbone of Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets took Virginia Tech to the wire before losing by a field goal to drop to 2-1 on the season. It’s tough to pick a squad from the JV (ACC) to win over the varsity (SEC), but I believe Tech will ramble and wreck State in Atlanta.
Game Ball: Georgia Tech
Wofford at South Carolina (7:00)
Wofford is a pretty little campus in Spartanburg, the football team is 2-0 after wins over Presbyterian and Charleston Southern, and the Terriers played the Gamecocks tough in 2006 before losing 27-20. Shouldn’t matter … Gamecocks will be surly after losing close at home to Georgia.
Game Ball: South Carolina