Published September 28, 2012 - 1:35pm
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Here is the stock report for the East heading into week five. We’ll see who moves up and down based on their play this weekend:
1. Missouri’s readiness to play in the SEC: The Tigers looked lost against South Carolina, much like the second half against Georgia. Whether it was Carolina’s stifling defense or the fact the Tigers’ offense has yet to get going with starting quarterback James Franklin, this team does not look physically ready to compete in this league. South Carolina abused them last weekend, limiting Missouri to a touchdown on the last meaningless drive of the game. The Tigers were 2-12 on third downs. That won’t get it done.
2. Vanderbilt’s Brand: I’m not sure James Franklin’s brand as a head coach is taking a hit, but it does remind us of the nearly impossible job of winning in Nashville. Franklin built the brand in the off-season, and now his brand sits 1-3, with the only win against Presbyterian. This team has to have something good happen to it soon, because bowl eligibility will be the next to be gone.
3. Kentucky’s will to win: Without starting quarterback Max Smith, the Cats’ team didn’t even want to show up last Saturday against Florida. Smith returns this weekend against South Carolina, and we’ll see whether this team has any energy or fight in it, or whether they are just going to lie down. Joker Phillips’ time in Lexington is becoming bleaker by the week.
1. Georgia’s offense: Georgia’s offense has been stellar through four weeks, never mind the fact they haven’t played a team with a winning record yet. The Dawgs lead the SEC in scoring and total offense, and this is a very balanced attack with Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley on offense. UGA has made 35 plays over 20 yards so far this season and are leading the entire country in that department. Let’s see how they fare against Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida coming up on the roster, though.
2. Jeff Driskel, QB, Gators: This kid has ice water in his veins, and he’s getting better each week. Florida finally has a quarterback not named Tebow making plays. But even Tebow is envious of Driskel’s pocket presence and throwing ability. He’s playing efficient football, making only one turnover, and he’s completed over 69 percent of his passes, with Connor Shaw being the only SEC quarterback to complete a higher percentage in less games. He’s also taken care of business at home and has notched two SEC road wins in hostile environment. Here’s a tip o’ the hat, sir.
3. South Carolina’s defense: Say what you want about Connor Shaw’s 11-1 record as a starter, but this Carolina defense is better than advertised. The front seven are nasty, led by Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor. LB Shaq Wilson is the unsung hero of this bunch and is the quarterback of the defense. They are fourth in the SEC in total defense and third in rush defense. This group is fast and physical. The secondary will be tested in several games coming up, as this is the most vulnerable group on the squad.
4. Discord toward Dooley: After the loss to Florida, the Vol faithful are growing weary of Derek Dooley. Vol nation is really giving their team no chance this week against Georgia, as Dooley is 0-11 against ranked opponents and 1-7 on the road in the SEC. His next four games – Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina – will be the telling sign of his Tennessee tenure.