We all must learn from our history before moving forward, so let’s take a look at what we learned about the SEC based on this past week.
In other words, who’s hot and who’s not?
Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones: There is no substitute for a game-changer on defense like Jones. He single-handedly deflates opponents, whether it’s a sack to kill a drive, a forced fumble to set up points for his own team or a blistering hit that causes the opposing quarterback to think about it the rest of the game. Most in this league felt like Jones was the SEC’s premier defensive player coming into the season, and he’s done nothing to dispel that. The truth is that he’s the SEC’s best player -- period. Nobody else can affect the game the way he can. In Georgia’s 41-20 win over Missouri last Saturday, he set up two of the Bulldogs’ four touchdowns in the second half with an interception and 21-yard return to the Missouri 1 and a sack and forced fumble at the Missouri 5.
Aggieland: What a super environment for college football. The people were great. The atmosphere was electric, and the eats were mighty tasty, too. Here’s a dining tip for visiting SEC fans: Check out C&J Barbecue near campus. The Aggies might have lost the game, but they made a big splash in terms of doing it up the SEC way.
Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson: If you’re going to poke the bear, especially when you’ve never gone up against the bear, at least show up and play your A-game. Richardson and the Tigers were the ones who looked like “old men” in the fourth quarter.
Football in the state of Mississippi: For the first time since 1999, both Ole Miss and Mississippi State are 2-0 to start the season. It turned out well for both teams in 1999. Ole Miss finished 8-4 that season and Mississippi State 10-2.
Vanderbilt in the second half: A troubling trend of years gone by has reared its head for the Commodores in their first two games. They’re coming up short in the second half, especially on offense. In fact, they’ve yet to score a touchdown after halftime in their first two games. Their collapse in the second half last week in their 23-13 loss to Northwestern could prove costly come bowl time.
Florida’s defensive adjustments: The Gators were too aggressive on defense in the first half, and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel made them pay. But in the second half, Florida made the right adjustments, played with more discipline and kept Manziel in the pocket. The result: Texas A&M didn’t score a point after halftime, was forced into four three-and-outs and managed just 65 total yards.
Confidence on the Plains: A team never looks confident after starting the season 0-2. But Auburn looks lost right now. There’s not a lot the Tigers can hang their hat on offensively. Sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier is still trying to find his way. And on defense, the Tigers have given up 916 yards and 51 first downs in their first two games.
LSU running back Alfred Blue: The Tigers have so many good running backs that it’s hard to pick out one and say that he’s going to be the guy. But in the first two games, Blue has been the “guy” with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, and he’s averaging 7.5 yards per carry.
Upholding SEC pride: Alabama’s season-opening rout of Michigan was impressive, and so was LSU’s beatdown of Washington. But there have also been some notable whiffs by the SEC to this point, led by Arkansas’ embarrassing loss to Louisiana-Monroe this past week. Vanderbilt lost to a Big Ten team of all things, and then in the first week, Auburn was beaten by an ACC foe and Kentucky by a Big East foe. The very idea ...
Arkansas’ dream season: The season’s not over, even though it may seem like it in the Ozarks right now. But the dream season sure flatlined last Saturday with the shocking 34-31 loss to Louisiana-Monroe. The Hogs may bounce back and challenge in the SEC. They may bounce back and win 10 or more games. It’s hard to predict either given what we’ve seen out of this team, in particular the defense, in the first two weeks. But one thing you can go ahead and scratch off the Hogs’ list of goals right now is a national championship. That ain’t happening, not after blowing a 21-point lead and losing at home to Louisiana-Monroe.