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SEC ’11 Week Three Recap: Harsh Light of Reality

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A few SEC teams were exposed in week three and the results were similar to the way a vampire reacts to direct sunlight (non-Twilight vampires. that is).

The Scores
LSU 19, Mississippi State 6
Clemson 38, Auburn 24
Vanderbilt 30, Ole Miss 7
Georgia 59, Coastal Carolina 0
Florida 33, Tennessee 23
South Carolina 24, Navy 21
Louisville 24, Kentucky 17

Arkansas 38, Troy 28
Alabama 41, North Texas 0

Observations

LSU’s defense is monstrous. A Mississippi State team that had moved the ball almost at will in its opening games could not find room to breathe against the Tigers last Thursday night. Couple that with an efficient performance by the offense and you have a recipe that is going to be tough to beat, even in the SEC.

I think we all knew Auburn was not going to be special on defense this year, but it is beyond bad. Scheme, players, execution, adjustments, you name it, the Tigers are bad at it. An explosive offense will beat lesser teams most of the time, but when your defense cannot get off the field on third down and is on the field for 90+ plays a game, there’s little time for the offense to work. The long, hard road for the Tigers just got a lot longer and harder. Could this be the beginning of the end of the Gene Chizik era?

It’s too early to tell about Auburn, but Houston Nutt at Ole Miss is as good as gone. It’s not just that it lost to Vanderbilt, it’s how they lost. Vandy forced turnovers and was more physical than the Rebels all day. That’s inexcusable on every level. I don’t think Nutt is totally done with coaching but I do think he’s done in the SEC.

South Carolina and Arkansas are nothing to write home about on defense either. South Carolina was gashed by Navy most of the day and Arkansas blew a big lead to Sun Belt nemesis Troy, which left both hanging on late to preserve a win. Those issues better get fixed STAT if either team expects to make a run.

Finally, Florida looks every bit as good as advertised, despite playing a lot of young players on defense. The Gators offense under the tutelage of Charlie Weis is explosive and powerful in good balance. The defense under Will Muschamp plays with intensity and speed. Florida still has several tests ahead but they looked primed for the examination.

Check back later this week for a preview of games in week four.

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