Our weekly look at who’s hot and who’s not in the SEC:
LSU’s resiliency: It’s been phenomenal the way LSU has kept its focus this season and not allowed anything to sidetrack it. The Tigers have had players arrested, including their starting quarterback. They’ve had players suspended. They’ve had players injured. Their offensive coordinator, Steve Kragthorpe, had to give up the play-calling duties after announcing that he had Parkinson’s disease. And then last week, Tyrann Mathieu, Spencer Ware and Tharold Simon were all suspended after testing positive for synthetic marijuana. It’s been one thing after another, but the Tigers seem to get better every week. They now have two weeks before they face Alabama in the big showdown on Nov. 5. At the rate they’re going, maybe they need something else to happen off the field, because they seem to thrive in those situations.
LSU receiver Rueben Randle: In keeping with the LSU theme, is there a better receiver in the SEC right now than Randle? He leads the league with seven touchdown catches, and had scoring grabs of 46 and 42 yards last week against Auburn.
Arkansas’ starts: Sooner or later, these slow starts are going to catch up with the Hogs. They did it again last week against Ole Miss and fell behind 17-0. They’ve been explosive enough on offense to come charging back each of the past three games, but it’s not a habit you want to get into in this league.
Vanderbilt running back Zac Stacy: The Commodores have been looking for more firepower on offense, and Stacy provided it in the 44-21 win against Army with a career-high 198 rushing yards and a career-high three touchdowns.
Auburn’s passing game: It wasn’t just Clint Moseley, who was making his first start at quarterback. For most of the day, he didn’t have any time to throw and was sacked six times. The Tigers are hurting all the way around in their vertical passing game and desperately need top receiver Emory Blake back.
Alabama’s second-half defense: A big part of Alabama’s second-half awakening last Saturday in its 37-6 win against Tennessee was a defense that locked down the Vols. In shutting Tennessee out in the second half, Alabama held the Vols to 41 total yards after the break and no first downs.
Drama surrounding John Brantley: There is none. Florida’s senior quarterback will be on the field this Saturday against Georgia after missing the past two games with a high ankle sprain. Brantley was throwing the ball as well as he ever had prior to getting injured against Alabama.
SEC expansion talk: Now that it looks like Missouri is indeed headed to the SEC, maybe we can finally cool it on all the expansion talk and who’s coming and who’s going. At the risk of sounding like Coach Saban, I could give a (bleep). OK, I won’t go that far and do realize that there’s a ton of interest in the ever-changing landscape in college sports. But enough is enough. Let’s play football.