Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What we think we know after Week 2

The SEC's version of the Book of Revelations opens this week when we finally get an idea of the relative strength of some of the teams. This week's headliner carries a small "H" with the battle of reclamation projects: Tennessee vs. Florida. More on that later.

Up to now? Well, here are some scatter shot observations.

1. Who can argue the power of the God Thang Voodoo being practiced on The Plains? Auburn is undefeated. Most of the world is happy to declare that they don't know how that's possible. But the explanation is simple: When it's time to win or lose the game, Auburn makes all the plays. Ryan Smith's tackle of Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf came straight from the Nature Channel. You know, the slow-motion footage of a wildebeest -- that would be Relf -- one stride from freedom when WHAM! the lion -- that would be Smith -- appears out of nowhere to knock him off his feet. I don't fault Bulldog coach Dan Mullen for putting the ball -- and the game -- in the hands of his best player. Relf is a so-so passer and a strong runner. He needed a yard against a bad Auburn defense. Yet, the game was on the line and Auburn, again, rose up. Smith's tackle was one of the best you'll see anywhere. Which brings us to this: There will be no easy outs against Auburn this year.

2. Alabama is 2-0 and near the top of the rankings, but Nick Saban's squad still feels like a submarine running in deep waters. True, the Tide dismantled Penn State, which after a promising start gave away any chance of winning with its ridiculous quarterback shuffle. Alabama, on the other hand, showed just enough to prove its superiority, then largely shut things down for most of the second half. This week, North Texas. Next week, Alabama throws a coming-out party for itself and visiting Arkansas, the scariest team on the Tide's early schedule. Granted, Hog quarterback Tyler Wilson will be making his first start on extremely hostile ground. But Arkansas has enough skilled players to press Bama's formidable defense. In the end, Wilson and Bama QB AJ McCarron should be the decisive figures. Alabama was lucky to beat the Hogs a year ago, and they did it by knocking Ryan Mallett into bad throws. Different quarterback this year, same blueprint for winning.

3. Bob the Rebuilder meets Bob the Rebuilder in Gainesville this week. Derek Dooley's Tennessee team faces another test in the long road back to respectability. Will Muschamp's Florida team must cover a shorter distance, but it's a path still filled with as much broken pavement as N.C. 12. Two traditional powers. Two young hyperventilating head coaches still trying to prove their chops. At home, Florida's defense appears to give a clear edge to Florida. But that assumes Gator QB John Brantley doesn't perform in his year-long clinch as he did in 2010. What used to be the conference's first heavyweight fight has fallen in class to a middleweight bout. Doesn't mean it won't be an interesting trade of blows.

4. South Carolina is 2-0. Georgia is 0-2. Georgia looked feeble against Boise State, but pushed the Gamecocks up and down the field last Saturday in Athens. Based on the performances of both teams, the SEC East race is far from over. South Carolina, with all its supposed offensive firepower, has needed turnovers and special team points for both of its wins. Its defense, again stocked with future NFL players, continues to play without discipline or consistency. Sure Georgia is winless, but the Dawgs should have won Saturday. The rest of the schedule sets up well IF ... UGA quarterback Aaron Murry can play up to expectations and IF ... Georgia can piece together a better defense. Big IFs, sure, but this team can beat anyone left on its SEC schedule. It could also lose to everyone of them. For the record, the numbers don't portend a happy ending. Georgia is 7-10 in the SEC since 2009.



Anonymous said...

Gator fan here telling you the Gamecocks are running the table this season and will be 12-0 playing an 11-1 Bammer team in Atlanta. Spurrier has loaded up the talent and finally bring a title to Columbia

Michael said...

Not happening, Gatoranonymous, unless the defense improves.

Thanks for stopping by. Post again.

Anonymous said...

The Most Overrated Teams of All Time:

1) 2011 Notre Dame football
2) Goliath & the Philistines
3) 2011 Georgia football
4) Napoleon's army
5) 2011 Florida football

Sorry, not buying the "___ should have won/lost" arguments making the rounds. Utah State should have beaten Auburn? False. Their "hands" team stood there flat-footed while Emory Blake went into the air to grab the onside kick. And USU did nothing to stop Trotter & Co. on either of their final 2 drives. UGA should have beaten SC? False. UGA piled up a lot of points and yards, but SC forced the turnovers and made the big special teams plays. UGA defense was nothing special either. I watched that game having visions of Trotter throwing for 800 yards on them. UGA is terrible.

Have I not been saying all summer that Barrett Trotter can play, and that Auburn is fine at QB? The evidence continues to mount in my favor. Loved his poise and performance in those last 2 minutes vs. USU. I was very interested in seeing how he would react after the pick-6 by MSU. I was pleased with the results. It helps that Emory Blake has stepped right into the "I'll catch the 10-yard pass and turn it into a 75-yard TD" role vacated by the graduation of Darvin Adams. Davonte Stallworth is developing into a TD threat whenever he gets the ball as well. The defense is just like last year's - a disaster of Biblical proportions 95% of the time, with the knack for making very big plays at crucial moments.

The Wrong Reverend Nut is done. I'm not impressed with his squad's 41 points against S. Illinois. I fully expect them to lose to Vandy this week.

I'm also still unimpressed by the Pigs. Beat 'Bama next week and we'll talk.

Speaking of overrated teams, how about Clempson nearly getting knocked off by Wofford last week? This is on top of their opener with Troy where the entire Clempson team disappeared for the entire second quarter. Somebody needs to spit-shine that stupid rock.