Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What we learned -- Week 1

So the SEC went 11-1 last weekend (thanks to UGA for blowing the perfect game). Not bad, especially when the ACC went 0-2 against the Colonial Athletic Association.

Here's a few thoughts on where some of our teams stand after Week 1. We'll add some updates as people awaken and clear their hangovers after the three-day weekend. Feel free to pimp your team in the comments.

UPDATE: We here at SEC Expats welcome a new correspondent, Bonnie Kunkel, a Florida fan -- because, you know, Florida doesn't get nearly enough attention. Here's her bio:

Name: Bonnie Kunkel
Allegiance: Florida
All-time favorite player: Tim Tebow, of course (although I am old enough to have seen the immortal Emmitt Smith play)
Possibly disturbing fact: As soon as the new Gator logo came out, I got a tattoo of it... but it's backward.

Bonnie Kunkel: Florida 62, Charleston Southern 3 - First of all, how did CSU score three points? I think overall we played pretty well. Brandon James is getting into a groove (finally). I loved the 85 yard kickoff return for a TD. It was the first kickoff returned for a TD in 10 years for the Gators. James promised that UF would break the drought this season... and he delivered in game number one. Nice job, Brandon.

I was also impressed with receivers Aaron Hernandez and Riley Cooper... although neither seems ready to replace Percy Harvin.

Backup QB John Brantley took a lot of snaps. He's not as exciting to watch as Tebow but what an arm on this kid! And, his daddy was a Gator QB too... gotta love that.

Finally, let the witch hunt begin: who are the two people who voted Alabama #1 in this week's poll?

DOUBLE SECRET UPDATE: Ole Miss 45, Memphis 14 -- Snead and Co. finally caught fire in the 4th quarter against a decent Memphis team. Now the Rebels catch a break: a bye week to rest up from the flu symptoms that have hit a dozen players so far.

Tommy Tomlinson: Oklahoma St. 24, UGA 10 -- Um, yeah, when you lose two of the top 12 picks in the NFL draft, maybe you won't be as good the next year. I had high hopes for Charlotte's Joe Cox -- secretly, I was dreaming of a Tee Martin scenario -- but he didn't show much Saturday. His one major downside was supposed to be the lack of a strong arm, but it seemed to me that he threw a lot of passes TOO hard -- could be he was trying to prove everyone wrong, could just be a lack of touch. It didn't help that his receivers dropped several not-great-but-catchable balls.

The defense actually wasn't bad, it just got killed on field position -- three of OKSt's four scoring drives were 32 yards or less.

Oh, and one of our best offensive linemen is out for the season again.

Peter St. Onge: Auburn 37, Louisiana Tech 13 - We threw the ball downfield. We ran the ball inside and out. We did what an SEC offense is supposed to do with a WAC defense - wear it down with our quickness and bigness. Plus, our new offense coordinator said he really didn't unveil much of his new offense. We're a little giddy about all this.

But: Our defense gave up a few sustained drives before switching to man-to-man coverage and shutting La. Tech down. Our unheralded freshman safety got the season's first interception, which seems kind of promising but also reinforces the fact that we're thin enough to have an unheralded freshman starting at safety. We might have to be a team that tries to outscore teams this year. That's not very comforting, but it's a lot more fun to watch.

Michael Gordon: Alabama 34, Va Tech 24 -- Though Greg McElroy got hit too often, Alabama's offensive line did show signs that there is life after Andre Smith.

That when all the dials were turned to a classic Va. Tech win (an offense making the most of its opportunities and a defense fighting for every foot), Alabama seized the day in the fourth quarter by attacking on both sides of the ball. McElroy was key. His eyes cleared in the second half and he started finding receivers all over the field.

Say what you want about recruiting rankings, Alabama's talent is deepening. Last year against Clemson, Alabama played almost a dozen true freshmen from its top-ranked class. Against the Hokies, and again with a top-ranked group of recruits, they played two or three. The caliber of UA players has gotten that much better in that short of time.

R. Trentham Roberts: Mississippi State 45, Jackson State 7 -- Beatdown of SWAC team doesn't exactly light up the night sky with insight. Team gets RB Anthony Dixon back for the first of this season's two separate months-from-hell -- Auburn (improved), Vandy (bowl team), LSU (bowl team), Georgia Tech (bowl team). Even 1 and 3 from that might be too much to expect.

But here's what I really learned while sitting in class listening to the president tell me that I probably won't become the reality-TV star I had always dreamed of being:

That this year's BCS title game will be presented by Citi. That Citi. The Citi of billions in bailouts and bonuses. The Citi that is now 36 PERCENT OWNED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. The Citi that has managed to provide each and every one of you with a stake -- a very real stake -- in the national championship game.

So what's a responsible shareholder to do?
Watch your toxic assets at work.
Cheer for your team.
Stand up for America.

Cliff Mehrtens: I learned that staying up till 1:30 a.m. to watch LSU give up about 450 yards made me cranky most of Sunday.

Then again, after traveling 2,500 miles and spotting Washington a 7-0 lead, the Tigers offense made waves. Jordan Jefferson is a mobile quarterback with a good arm, and Terrence Toliver (6-foot-5) had three catches of more than 25 yards. Two were for touchdowns.

LSU gave Washington a throw-away touchdown on the final play, so the outcome was never in doubt.

But LSU's defense concerned me. Too much arm tackling. Too many third-down conversions by Washington. Too sloppy, in a nutshell.

On to Vanderbilt.


Anonymous said...

TT could have pointed out that Cox had the flu and flew in after the rest of the team.

Should have used it now b/c there will be no excuses when the Cocks shut them down between the hedges.

USC 10

Anonymous said...

Where is the LSU update??? I know they didn't perform up to par against Washington but I think they are being left out on the SEC Expats' blog. WE need some representation. GEAUX TIGERS!!!!

Anonymous said...

Possibly disturbing fact: As soon as the new Gator logo came out, I got a tattoo of it... but it's backward.

Oh my.

704Champ said...

"Should have used it now b/c there will be no excuses when the Cocks shut them down between the hedges."

I hope this is what happens. South Carolina beating Georgia with great defense, combined with my Wolfpack annihilating Murray State this weekend will give me some much needed optimism about NC State.

No shame in losing 7-3 to the Gamecocks if they beat Georgia 10-6, right?

Anonymous said...

need the head of the expats to contact me when y'all get a chance:


~ you've got us RSS'ed (which we definitely appreciate!) and we have a proposal of sorts for you.

Jamie said...

Agreed, Michael Gordon, there is indeed life after Andre, though I was happy to see them wake up more the second half. I will admit I was scared. Most impressive to me were the players I didn't realize were going to be good this year (Hanks in particular). Everyone knows we will see things from Mark Ingram and Julio. Roll Tide!