Blog Entry

What I Learned from the SEC (Nov. 20)

Posted on: November 20, 2010 11:42 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

1. South Carolina learned its lesson. The last time Carolina won a game as big as last week's SEC East-clinching victory over Florida , they had downed No. 1 Alabama before going out the following week and laying their biggest egg of the season against Kentucky . Now, sure, the Gamecocks got a lot of help early on from a Troy team that for some reason played like a nervous team with lots to lose rather than the massive underdog with nothing to lose they were. But the previously-hapless Gamecock secondary held a statistically potent Trojan passing attack entirely in check, the Marcus Lattimore -led offense ruthlessly punished every Troy mistake, and by halftime it was already 56-7, 'Cocks . Not only did Carolina avoid the letdown, but they looked ready to give Auburn all they want and more when the SEC championship game rolls around in two weeks.

2. It's time to put the defense-first image of the SEC to bed for good. Maybe the SEC really is home to better athletes, maybe they really do hire better coaches, maybe they take defense more seriously than some other conferences ... but none of that, even if true, is making a lick of difference on the field at the moment. This week gave us only four games between SEC teams and FBS competition, and those four games produced 268 total points (in regulation) and as average score of 42-25. And that 's with Tennessee and Vanderbilt battling to a low-fi 24-10 Volunteer win, and the conference's best offense and ninth-ranked defense at Auburn taking the week off.

You get the point: very few teams in this league are playing defense. When even the consensus best unit in the league -- LSU's entered the weekend No. 1 in total defense at 274 yards per-game -- is getting gashed for 36 points and 420 yards at home against the conference's No. 5 offense, the SEC's image as a collection of grind-it-out attacks and impregnable defenses is officially as current as Bob Dole . If SEC fans want to argue their conference is superior, fine. If they want to argue their conference is superior because of the SEC's brand of defense, they need to acquire a clue.

3. LSU should be an underdog going to Arkansas. Full kudos to Les Miles for exorcising his clock management demons , but it's the Hogs who appear to be playing the better football at the moment after surviving what might have been Mississippi State 's best performance of the season on the road in Starkville while the previously stout LSU defense was busy getting gashed by the up-and-down Rebels. If Masoli and Co. can do that in Baton Rouge, what can Ryan Mallett and the suddenly scorching-hot Knile Davis do in Fayetteville?

(And while we're playing the transitive property game, the latest compelling evidence of how much stronger the West is than the East? The Razorbacks went to the East champion three weeks ago and rolled to an easy win. Then they went to the fifth-place team in the West tonight and were fortunate to escape with a double-overtime win.)

4. This Tyler Bray kid might just be one worth watching. Not that you'd expect it from his taste in tattoos , but the skinny kid from California has taken to SEC football like a duck to some very forgiving water. No, the pass defenses of South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt aren't the most intimidating the conference has to offer. But after another productive outing in Nashville (16-of-27, 232 yards, 8.6 yards-per-attempt, 2 touchdowns), Bray has collected some seriously impressive numbers in his last three league performances: 43-of-76 (57 percent completion rate), 714 yards (9.4 YPA), 7 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions.

And he's a true freshman. If Derek Dooley can keep his head on straight and his brittle-looking body remains intact, Bray should be one of the SEC's best in due time ... and maybe as soon as 2011. (As for 2010,the Vols are one win against Kentucky away from scraping their way to a bowl berth. Not bad considering they stood at 2-6 not so long ago.)


Since: Aug 19, 2010
Posted on: November 22, 2010 2:20 am

What I Learned from the SEC (Nov. 20)

No dude, the ACC is the joke

Since: Oct 9, 2008
Posted on: November 21, 2010 10:51 pm

What I Learned from the SEC (Nov. 20)

There's a reason people haven't watched their team this year; the networks put games on TV that people actually want to watch.  The Boise St./New Mexico St., Boise St./Toledo, Boise St./Idaha, Boise St./Insert weak football team here matchups have no entertainment value.  Boise St. may be good but until they play a real schedule, it is hard to put them in the national championship picture.

Since: Oct 31, 2010
Posted on: November 21, 2010 2:21 pm

What I Learned from the SEC (Nov. 20)

LSU passed Stanford up to #3 in the Sagarin ELO BCS Computer Rankings.  Arkansas moved up to #6.  The SEC West has 4 in Sagarin ELO top 10 and 5 in top 20 (Miss St. @ 17).

1.   Auburn
2.   Oregon
3.   LSU
4.   Stanford
5.   TCU
6.   Arkansas
7.   Boise St.
8.   Alabama
9.   Wisconsin
10.   Oklahoma St.

Since: Apr 29, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2010 1:23 pm

What I Learned from the SEC (Nov. 20)

Arkansas is playing VERY well right now, no doubt. But you can't equate LSU's defense against Ole Miss to how they will fare against Arkansas. There have only been two SEC teams to give LSU's defense fits this year, and they both featured strong, elusive QB's who's cutting ability seemed to take advantage of LSU's speed and over pursuit.
Mallett is NOT that guy. He's great... don't get me wrong, but in a different way. As an LSU alum, I'm not even saying that we win the game, but you cannot use Masoli & the Rebel-bears as a reason to look down on LSU's D. By the way, last time this happened (Auburn game), LSU came out and handled the undefeated defending national champs pretty well. I HOPE for a repeat performance next Saturday vs. Arkansas.

Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2010 12:53 pm

LSU in Fayetteville?

LSU's travelling to the Rock...even a more difficult trip than one to Fayetteville.

Since: Apr 13, 2008
Posted on: November 21, 2010 11:07 am

What I Learned from the SEC (Nov. 20)

The SEC is a JOKE. 

Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2010 10:20 am

What I Learned from the SEC (Nov. 20)

I agree that Auburn will have its hands full with Bama and then Carolina, but I disagree that Auburn would easily thrash a very powerful Oregon team, or that Boise does not deserve its top ten ranking.  Boise State is dominant on both sides of the ball, and every Virginia Tech win just adds to their rep this season.  Unfortunately, they will not play for the title.  Oregon will most likely win out for one of the spots, and if Auburn somehow stumbles, I can see the pollsters vaulting someone like Wisconsin or even Oklahoma State over both TCU and BSU.  It's the "BS System" that actually KEEPS SEC teams (and other auto-bid conference teams) in the national title hunt, it does not prevent them.

I'd actually like to see Boise State play in the title game.  We could finally say one of the following: 1) They played the best, they beat the best, they belong; 2) The played the best, they got punked, stop clamoring for them to be included in the debate over who deserves a title shot.

I'd love to see South Carolina beat Auburn (naturally!), and then the Beavers beat the Ducks, and see if the polls and computers would have the cobbles to put TCU-BSU in Glendale!  We know they don't/won't, but it'd be interesting to see.  What would happen is that Auburn and Oregon would STILL get BCS games, and the Horned Frogs and Broncos would play in El Paso or San Diego.

Since: Apr 6, 2010
Posted on: November 21, 2010 8:58 am

What I Learned from the SEC (Nov. 20)

I don't agree at all with your anti-Boise State sentiments. If Boise State were in The SEC, I think they'd perform very well. You obviously haven't watched their team this year. Now that we don't have a chance to play for The National Championship, I'm hoping Boise State gets a chance to play someone other than TCU, and show all of the naysayers that they are an excellent team.

Since: Sep 26, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2010 8:50 am

What I Learned from the SEC (Nov. 20)

johngault - Love the name, especially during these political times.  Also, although you may have been a little exaggerated with you argument, your point is right-on about the SEC.  Another way to say it is: The SEC is in a different league than the rest of college football; a sort of mini-NFL.

Since: Nov 21, 2010
Posted on: November 21, 2010 12:12 am

What I Learned from the SEC (Nov. 20)

Us folks of the SEC do not have to make a case for being the best - we are the best and 4 national championships in a row are the proof of the pudding. If Boise State is a top ten team, then Fats Domino is an Olympic pole vaulter.  And if Auburn manages to get by Alabama and South Carolina, which will in itself be an amazing feat, it will be 5 national championships in a row.  Oregon will be crucified.  If Oregon was playing in the SEC they would maybe be 5 and 5.  BS (Boise State) would not even have a winning season - maybe they could beat Vanderbilt.  The only way the SEC can be denied is through a BS system that will keep them out of the final game.  

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