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SEC Week Three: Arkansas Beats Georgia, Auburn Survives Clemson

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I highly recommend ESPN’s scoreboard for stats, drive summaries, etc.

Arkansas Fans the Flames Under Georgia’s Richt
Arkansas won a hard fought game against a gamey Bulldogs squad doing what they do best, putting the ball in Ryan Mallett’s hands and letting him find his playmakers running down the field. Georgia’s defense is improved from last year, but they still missed too many open field tackles and still gave Mallett too much time. He made them pay for it too. Georgia is still reeling without the services of suspended WR A.J. Green, and even with what sparks they found on offense, it wasn’t enough. Now Arkansas gets ready for a MAJOR test against Alabama, and Georgia must look for answers as they try to salvage the season. Mark Richt knows he needs to stop the bleeding in order to keep this season from spiraling out of control–along with his career.

Auburn’s Idea of “Pace” on Offense is Pitiful
In three games this year, Auburn has managed to get just over 60 plays off when they have the ball. The opposition, including Clemson Saturday night, has controlled the clock and run a lot more plays against the Tigers’ defense. The defense is improved but it’s not improved enough to overcome the lack of rhythm or consistency on offense. And that, boys and girls, is going to cost Auburn in the meat of the SEC schedule. Cam Newton is good in flashes, but those don’t come nearly often enough to give the Tigers an edge against better competition. Buyer beware on Auburn, for now.

Alabama’s Offense is Clearly the Conference’s Best
They can run with multiple backs (as Mark Ingram ripped off 100 yards in the first quarter following a few weeks off after knee surgery), they can throw it all over the field from multiple sets, the quarterback doesn’t make mistakes, and the offensive line can protect and punish an opposing defense. This is a scary team when they have the ball, and there may not be a defense in the conference or the country that can stop it. Alabama won last year’s championship with defense. This year it’ll be done with offense.

Jeremiah Masoli is a One Man Gang at Ole Miss…
…and it’s not enough. Not even close. Not even enough to beat Vanderbilt in spite of having home field advantage. Masoli can throw and run but he can’t do everything else the Rebels need to do to have success, including play defense–good grief Ole Miss. Losing to Jacksonville State and Vanderbilt in the same year may be enough to turn the heat up on Houston Nutt. And if the Rebels continue to slide, the oven may be too hot for him to last to next season in Oxford.

Final Thoughts
– Florida still looks confused on offense but the Gators’ defense is fast and strong. Can they repeat in the East? Can any other team step up and take the crown?
– South Carolina’s life is about to get complicated with games against Auburn, Alabama, and Kentucky in the coming weeks.
– Speaking of the Wildcats, Joker Phillips’ Kentucky squad looks to be carrying on the tradition of Rich Brooks and they look pretty solid doing it.
– Tennessee is a mess.
– Mississippi State has a lot of heart but not enough talent to get them over the hump.
– LSU has a lot of talent but not enough heart or coaching acumen to get them over the hump.

Check back later this week for the the SEC Weekly Preview.

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