A little bit of this and a little bit of that as we gear up for Week 3 in the SEC:
In each of the past three seasons, Florida has had a long return on special teams to either set up points or score points against Tennessee. The only good news for the Vols is that Brandon James was the culprit all three seasons, and he’s no longer around. James’ 50-yard kickoff return to open the game last season led to a Florida field goal. He had a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown in the 2008 game and also set up the Gators’ first touchdown with a 52-yard kickoff return. And in the 2007 blowout, he took a punt back 83 yards for a touchdown.
Florida quarterback John Brantley only has five pass completions longer than 15 yards in his first two games, and one of those was the fourth-down heave that was tipped and caught by Chris Rainey for a 25-yard touchdown in the final minutes of the Miami (Ohio) game. That 25-yarder was Brantley’s longest completion in the first two games.
After starting the season at No. 4 in the AP poll, Florida has won two games and dropped all the way to 10th. Since the preseason poll began in 1950, there have been 206 top 5 teams start 2-0, and only one other fell more than three spots from its original ranking. In 1958, Ohio State started at No. 1 and was down to fifth after its second win. Those Buckeyes won their first game by 3 and their second game by 5. These Gators won both games by more than 21 points.
Tennessee has lost eight of its last nine games against nationally ranked opponents. The average margin of victory in those eight losses was 16 points.
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett completed just 39.3 percent of his passes in four road games last season and 68.3 percent in seven home games.
Throwing the ball down the field is something Mallett does as well as anybody in college football. He has 37 completions of 30 yards or longer since the start of the 2009 season, which leads the way among FBS quarterbacks during that span. Houston’s Case Keenum is second with 36 completions of 30 yards or longer.
Arkansas has lost six straight games to Georgia with the last win coming in 1993 when the Danny Ford-coached Hogs won 20-10 in Athens.
Auburn has totaled 500 yards in total offense in five of Gus Malzahn’s 15 games as offensive coordinator after not reaching that mark in its last 40 games prior to his arrival.
Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton, who leads the Tigers in rushing with 241 yards, has done most of his damage on called runs. In eight attempts on called runs, he’s rushed for 137 yards, an average of 17.1 yards per carry. One of those was a 71-yard touchdown run in the opener against Arkansas State. Newton's largest number of rushing attempts have come on zone read plays (12 carries for 48 yards), and he's also scrambled 10 times for 80 yards.
Auburn opponents are 10-of-26 (38.5 percent) on third-down conversions in the first three quarters this season and 0-of-7 on third-down conversions in the fourth quarter.
In six of Mississippi State’s eight losses under Dan Mullen, the Bulldogs have gone into the fourth quarter within a touchdown or less of their opponent. That’s counting the Houston loss last season in which the game was tied entering the fourth quarter.
LSU has won 10 straight against Mississippi State by a combined score of 404-131. The last Mississippi State win came in 1999. The last Mississippi State win in Baton Rouge came in 1991.
This marks the first season since 2006 that the SEC has had six teams ranked in the AP or USA Today coaches’ poll after the second week of the season.
The Vanderbilt depth chart features 28 sophomores, 14 redshirt freshmen and 20 true freshmen. After two weeks, only eight seniors have seen playing time.
Georgia leads the SEC through two games in fewest penalty yards. The Bulldogs are averaging 27.5 yards per game, which ranks them ninth nationally. A year ago, Georgia was last in the SEC with an average of 67.5 penalty yards per game, ranking the Bulldogs 107th nationally.
Arkansas is likely the last nationally ranked opponent that Georgia will face until Oct. 30 when the Bulldogs take on Florida in Jacksonville. If the Bulldogs can win Saturday at home, it’s very possible that they could be 7-1 heading into that game against Florida. Their next five opponents are Mississippi State, Colorado, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky, all games in which Georgia figures to be the favorite.
Alabama has not allowed a red zone touchdown this season and has given up just two field goals inside the 20. Alabama’s opponent this Saturday, Duke, is 10-for-10 in the red zone this season, including seven touchdowns.
The Crimson Tide have won 16 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the nation and the longest for Alabama since winning 28 games from 1991-93.