I’m gonna be honest with y’all. There’s a whole lot with this league that I have yet to figure out.

I’m not entirely sure why Kentucky’s offense can put up a total dud one week and then soar the next. I can’t tell you when Alabama is going to impose its will on a team. I sure as heck don’t understand why Joe Milton started ahead of Hendon Hooker in Week 1.

But here we are, in Week 11 of the 2021 season, with questions still to ask.

For example, is Matt Corral healthy enough to lead Ole Miss to a New Year’s 6 bowl? Is Georgia’s offense going to kick it into a different gear down the stretch? Is Jimbo Fisher about to win 10 games and earn another raise? Kidding. Sort of.

Let’s dig into some early impressions of Week 11 games in the SEC:

New Mexico State vs. Alabama — Hopefully Bryce Young doesn’t play more than a half

I don’t have a dog in the fight, but yes, I do worry about Young taking hits at his size. Nick Saban does, too. That’s why he let the officiating crew have it when Jay Ward came in and made contact with Young’s head on a hit late in that game. Should Young have slid? Probably. Was Saban within his rights to look out for his relatively undersized quarterback? Also yes.

Against New Mexico State, one would think that the protection will be improved and Young won’t take any significant hits. His nature is to keep plays alive and to shift the pocket so that his receivers get more time to get separation. The downside, at his size, is going to be the punishment he takes against SEC defenders. In SEC play, Young has taken an average of 3 sacks per game, which doesn’t include all the hits he takes on RPOs or late throws. He’s not built like Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa or even Mac Jones, who had a sixth sense to avoid pressure. Young needs to avoid significant hits for a weekend as we enter the home stretch.

Samford vs. Florida — Well, it can’t be much worse without Todd Grantham … right?

After watching how badly South Carolina ran all over that disinterested Gators defense, I don’t want to assume that group can stop anyone. With Grantham now out as defensive coordinator, is fair to wonder if Florida’s defense will get up for this one. This is all about effort. Will the leaders on that Florida defense like Zach Carter and Antonio Valentino allow this group to totally spiral? My guess is that won’t happen.

Even in 2017 when the wheels fell off with Jim McElwain, that team still got up for a home game with UAB. Could this be similar? One would think even with Dan Mullen’s staff changes, stopping a 4-5 FCS team shouldn’t be too tall of a task.

MSU vs. Auburn — Will Rogers has a tough task against this Auburn defense

Rogers has been excellent ever since he recovered from that shoulder injury he suffered in the Alabama game. He played well enough to beat Arkansas. At the very least, he’s one of the league’s better quarterbacks. At best, he’s good enough to be considered the third-team All-SEC signal-caller. He no longer takes foolish sacks, he’s limiting those catastrophic mistakes and he looks like he’s totally in control in Mike Leach’s offense. That’s why he’s third in the country in passing (it also helps that he throws 54 passes per game).

But Auburn has a defense that can keep Rogers in check. In 3 consecutive games against top-20 teams, Auburn allowed an average of 18 points per game (take away A&M’s non-offensive touchdown). KJ Jefferson, Matt Corral and Zach Calzada were all held to 7.8 yards per attempt or fewer, and they combined for 2 touchdown passes. Smoke Monday is leading one of the better SEC defenses, though it isn’t quite on the level of a Georgia or even a Texas A&M. Still, Rogers is facing a group that can capitalize on a mistake if he reverts back to his old ways.

Georgia vs. Tennessee — The rest of college football better pray Josh Heupel figures something out

Because if he doesn’t, yikes. The second that a team breaks through and — dare I say — hits 14 points against Georgia, it’ll be considered a “blue print game.” Sure. Ideally, UGA’s secondary would be tested. We’d see teams attempt to stretch the field like South Carolina did with Josh Vann. That still, however, led to just 1 touchdown. Tennessee, who is coming off an impressive shootout win in Lexington, is going to try to follow that formula. Hendon Hooker has shown to be plenty capable of executing Josh Heupel’s offense at a high level.

Can Velus Jones Jr. and JaVonta Payton win 1-on-1 battles? Or will Derion Kendrick and Kelee Ringo continue to shine in their limited action? This also comes down to whether Tennessee’s offensive line can keep Hooker protected. That’s been an issue at times. He took an average of nearly 5 sacks per game in his last 4 contests, which included him leaving the Ole Miss game with a knee injury. One would think that Heupel will still want to empty the bag and hope that he can buy some time to try to stretch the field.

And if that doesn’t happen? Well, kiss that blueprint game goodbye until at least the SEC Championship.

South Carolina vs. Mizzou — What an ideal time for the Gamecocks to discover their ground game

Mizzou was supposed to be the get-right game for the Gamecocks’ mostly disappointing rushing attack. Instead, Florida was that. Nobody could’ve predicted that South Carolina would triple up the Gators’ ground game, which entered Week 10 ranked No. 1 in FBS in yards per carry. By night’s end, you would’ve thought the home team was the owner of that stat.

Mizzou sold out to stop the run against Georgia, and it to a certain extent, it worked. Stetson Bennett picked apart the Tigers’ secondary. Could Steve Wilks follow a similar game plan and force Jason Brown to beat him? It’s possible, though Brown looked dialed in throughout his first career FBS start. Wilks, given his style, will likely try to keep extra defenders in the box to force someone besides ZaQuandre White and Kevin Harris to beat Mizzou.

Also of note? This is a huge game for bowl eligibility, which matters for a couple of teams who haven’t played in the postseason with their respective head coaches.

Kentucky vs. Vandy — Mark Stoops’ defense needs a laugher … badly

It’s been a month since Kentucky stomped all over LSU to earn its first 6-0 start since the Bear Bryant era. Since then? Yikes. A 3-game losing streak in SEC play torpedoed those New Year’s 6 Bowl chances. Stoops has his defense, which allowed a 16-3 touchdown-interception ratio this season, to blame for a good chunk of that. Yes, the MSU game was a turnover fest. Kentucky still struggled to slow MSU down and it couldn’t get off the field. The Wildcats defense didn’t stay on the field a whole lot against Tennessee (just 13:52). It did, however, get torched in the secondary.

The good news for Kentucky is that Vandy doesn’t really do that. Mike Wright won’t stretch the field like Hendon Hooker did. Against conference foes, Illinois and Kansas are the only Power 5 teams with worse passing offenses than Vandy. That’s telling. Even off a bye week, I wouldn’t expect Vandy to follow anything close to the Tennessee game plan of testing Kentucky deep down the sidelines.

Arkansas vs. LSU — Conventional wisdom suggests this will be a big Treylon Burks game

It was easy to forget watching Alabama struggle to string scoring drives together, but the LSU secondary is totally decimated. Burks, who has 3 times as many catches and receiving yards as the next-closest Arkansas pass-catcher, should go off. Ever since the all-world Georgia defense contained him, the All-SEC receiver has been a force. In his last 4 games, he has a combined 512 scrimmage yards and 7 touchdowns (6 receiving, 1 rushing). Kendal Briles could very likely force feed him targets out of the slot, where he lined up 76% of the time in Arkansas’ first 9 games.

What we don’t know is whether Cordale Flott will return after missing the Alabama game with an undisclosed injury. Ed Orgeron ruled him doubtful pretty early in the week, so who knows if that means he’ll be out longer. Even before Eli Ricks and Derek Stingley went down with season-ending injuries, Flott was LSU’s best player in the secondary, and he primarily guarded the slot. His return might be the only thing that can prevent Burks from continuing his post-Georgia dominance.

Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss — One of the best strength-on-strength matchups in SEC play all year is …

That A&M defense against Ole Miss’ offense. That is, if Matt Corral’s ankle magically heals and he’s not hobbled. I do worry about that, especially after watching what we saw A&M do to a red hot Bo Nix this past weekend. Ole Miss’ offensive line has to play its best game of the year to protect Corral. With how well Tyree Johnson is playing, good luck. We already know Jayden Peevy, Michael Clemons and DeMarvin Leal are forces up front. It seems unfair that Mike Elko just has another guy who can take over a game from the defensive line position.

It’s not just that group up front. Antonio Johnson has turned into a star who is seemingly always around the ball, as is Edgerrin Cooper. This is the most challenging matchup Corral has faced all year. That includes the Alabama game. A&M’s group is more consistently good, and it has more NFL-ready talent. How he navigates that will be a major question, especially if his pass-catchers are still banged up. It would help if Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner could get going, though even at home, that could be an uphill battle against an A&M defense who allowed 5 rushing scores all year.

The winner of this one will have a favorable path to a New Year’s 6 Bowl and potentially a top-10 ranking. We should have a treat on Saturday night in Oxford.