|QB Johnny Manziel leads the SEC and ranks second nationally with 392.7 yards of total offense per game. (US Presswire)|
Except for the Crimson Tide pounding opponents with numbing regularity, little has gone according to plan.
The SEC's surprising first half of the season gave us plenty of performances to remember. Here's our look at the best and worst so far:
Offensive Player of the Year: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M. The dazzling redshirt freshman leads the SEC in total offense and rushing by wide margins and has accounted for 24 TDs in six games. Scary thought: Manziel (1,680 passing yards, 14 passing TDs, 3 INTs) is improving as a passer. He gets LSU, Mississippi State and Alabama in the weeks ahead.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina. The freakishly talented 6-6 sophomore ranks second in the SEC with 12 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks, but that doesn't begin to measure his impact. He discombobulated Georgia's offense in the Gamecocks' 35-7 win -- the biggest SEC East game thus far.
Coach of the Year: Will Muschamp, Florida. Muschamp promised to turn the Gators into a punishing team that wears down opponents. He's done exactly that. Florida ran the ball on its final 25 plays against LSU and has outscored opponents 88-23 in the second half. The former Texas defensive coordinator has the Gators ranked No. 2 in the first BCS standings.
Most surprising player: RB Mike Gillislee, Florida. If only Charlie Weis had featured Gillislee like Brent Pease does. Gillislee carried 114 times in 2010-11. When Pease came over from Boise State, he designed a power running game around the 5-11, 209-pound senior. The results have been dramatic: 120 carries, 615 yards, 7 TDs and a slew of demoralized opponents.
Most disappointing player: RB Knile Davis, Arkansas. Despite coming back from a broken ankle, Davis declared himself the SEC's best running back in preseason. It hasn't worked out that way. Davis averages 3.4 yards per carry and has fumbled seven times, losing two. The Aggies returned one for a TD.
Most surprising team: Ole Miss. Under first-year coach Hugh Freeze, the Rebels doubled last year's win total and played No. 1 Alabama tougher than anyone else. They blew a great chance to beat A&M. With playmakers like Bo Wallace and Jeff Scott, Ole Miss is both relevant and fun to watch.
Most disappointing team: Arkansas. The Razorbacks edge Auburn for this “honor” because they entered the season as a national title contender. Losing at home to Louisiana-Monroe, giving up 51 unanswered points to A&M, getting humiliated 52-0 at home by Alabama -- those are some of the lowlights. The Hogs appear to have turned things around, winning two straight by a combined 73-14 score, but it's too late to save this season.
Best game so far: Florida defeats Texas A&M 20-17 in Week 2. It was the SEC debut for the Aggies, and it was a good one until the Gators spoiled it with a comeback victory at the end. We didn't know it at that time, but that game featured up-and-coming SEC teams with two of the top young QBs in the league in Jeff Driskel (Florida) and Manziel.
Most overrated team: Undefeated Mississippi State. Its 41-31 win over Tennessee was the Bulldogs' best of the season, but we're still not sold. Their schedule is extremely backloaded. They're good, but they'll end up at least third in the West by the end of the season.
Most underrated team: Texas A&M. Its' only loss was a 20-17 defeat at the hands of Florida, and the Aggies played the Gators tighter than anybody else this season. Saturday's win over Louisiana Tech was a big deal -- it might be the only loss for Louisiana Tech all season.
Conference championship game pick: Alabama vs. Florida. Alabama is a solid favorite over LSU in the West, but the East is clearly still up for grabs. Florida is the lone undefeated team on that side, with division games left against South Carolina and Georgia.
Midseason All-Conference Team
QB: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
RB: Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
RB: Mike Gillislee, Florida
WR: Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas
WR: Justin Hunter, Tennessee
WR: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
TE: Mychal Rivera, Tennessee
OT: Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
OT: D.J. Fluker, Alabama
OG: Chance Warmack, Alabama
OG: Larry Warford, Kentucky
C: Barrett Jones, Alabama
DE: Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DE: Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
DT: John Jenkins, Georgia
DT: Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
LB: Jarvis Jones, Georgia
LB: Kevin Minter, LSU
LB: C.J. Mosley, Alabama
CB: Dee Milliner, Alabama
CB: Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
S: Matt Elam, Florida
S: Eric Reid, LSU
P: Dylan Breeding, Arkansas
K: Cody Parkey, Auburn
KR: Onterio McCalebb
PR: Marcus Murphy, Missouri
All-Purpose: Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from SEC bloggers Daniel Lewis and Larry Hartstein, follow @CBSSportsSEC.