SDS Mailbag: SEC teams bouncing back, throwback SEC uniforms, biggest Power 5 surprises/disappointments and more
There is a lot of disappointment to go around in the SEC world this week, and you’ll see that in some of the questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag.
However, there are still 11 games to go for each team, so there’s still time to turn things around. Yes, 5 SEC squads had their hopes for perfect seasons dashed early, but each could still end up in a bowl game.
Which teams will improve to 1-1? Which teams, if any, will fall to 0-2? We’ll find out this weekend!
That said, here are your questions for this week’s Mailbag:
With Week 1 in the books, which teams from each Power 5 conference do you think will be the biggest surprises and disappointments?
Many people will say one week is too small of a sample size to draw any real conclusions, but when you only get 12 regular season games, each one matters. So here are my picks for the biggest surprises and disappointments for the 2019 season:
- Surprise: North Carolina — I thought the Tar Heels showed some great poise in beating South Carolina in Week 1. Great job by freshman QB Sam Howell. Solid coaching debut from Mack Brown.
- Disappointment: Florida State — What else is there to say? The Seminoles led 31-13 in the first half against Boise State and then were shut out in the second half and lost. New year, same FSU.
- Surprise: Oklahoma State — The Cowboys went out to Corvallis and took down Oregon State in Week 1. I liked what I saw from freshman QB Spencer Sanders (cool first name!), who threw for 203 yards and 3 touchdowns. RB Chuba Hubbard looks like a stud, too. He leads all FBS running backs with 221 rushing yards.
- Disappointment: Iowa State — The Cyclones entered the year ranked, but the fact that they needed 3 OTs to beat FCS Northern Iowa really concerns me. I’ll need to see a lot more to think they can live up to preseason expectations.
- Surprise: Wisconsin — The Badgers absolutely destroyed USF in Week 1, winning 49-0 in Tampa. Jonathan Taylor’s Heisman campaign is off to a good start, as he ran for 135 yards and 2 scores and had 48 receiving yards and 2 additional touchdowns.
- Disappointment: Purdue — Going to Nevada and losing, especially when your quarterback throws for 423 yards and 4 touchdowns, isn’t a good look. The Boilermakers’ rushing attack could be in trouble this year.
- Surprise: Washington — Yes, they only beat Eastern Washington, but the Huskies and QB Jacob Eason looked good. And I mean really good. With Oregon losing to Auburn in Week 1 (a much tougher opponent, for sure), Washington could be the class of the Pac-12 North this year.
- Disappointment: UCLA — There are a lot of Pac-12 teams to choose from, but UCLA laying an egg at Cincinnati in a 24-14 loss wasn’t what people expected from Chip Kelly’s squad in the opener of his second season. It could be a long year in Los Angeles.
- Surprise: Auburn — Yes, there’s still a lot the Tigers need to do to navigate their brutal schedule, but you have to be impressed with the poise true freshman QB Bo Nix showed in that game-winning drive. He should be an exciting player.
- Disappointment: Tennessee — There’s no justifying an 8-point home loss to a team like Georgia State, which was 0-10 against Power 5 teams in program history. Add in all the trolling that followed and this could be a long, long season on Rocky Top.
We’ll see how these teams fare moving forward, but these were the teams that caught my attention last weekend.
South Carolina is breaking out some cool throwbacks in Week 2. What’s an old SEC uniform you would like to see come back?
Anything but those Florida gator-skin uniforms they wore against Texas A&M in 2017, to be honest. To seriously answer your question, though, I like how traditional a lot of the major SEC uniforms are — Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU, etc. don’t change things up much.
I will say that I liked Mizzou’s “Sailor Tiger” helmets that they wore during the Liberty Bowl last year:
That’s a really cool look. Mizzou is one of the few teams in the SEC that changes its uniform in major ways on a weekly basis. I enjoy most of them, but “Sailor Tiger” is one of the all-time best.
BONUS: Dobbe’s Locks of the week went 2-1 last week. Here are his picks for this weekend’s action:
- LSU at Texas (+6.5) — I would be all over the Tigers, but with GameDay in town, plus the night game, it makes this a tight one. LSU by a field goal.
- Coastal Carolina at Kansas (-7.5) — I hate kU. Even with Les Miles, they’re a terrible team, but this is a disrespectful line. They’ll have confidence after last week’s win and with the debut of RB Pooka Williams. They may even have some fans in the stands for an early season night game.
- Western Michigan at Michigan State (under 46.5) — Take advantage of the MSU unders while you can. They showed their usual smothering defense last week, along with the lack of desire or ability to score offensively.
- Extra standing bet: Oregon State at Hawai’i (-6.5) — If Hawai’i is on the island, I’ll be betting them until they prove me wrong.
Dobbe’s Locks of the Week 2019 record: 3-2
Which SEC team that lost in Week 1 is most likely to bounce back and at least make a bowl game?
I know I just praised Mizzou in the last answer, but I’m going to do it again. Yes, I was embarrassed by the Tigers’ loss at Wyoming in Week 1, but when you look at the schedules for Mizzou, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and South Carolina, the answer is clearly the Tigers.
We’ll learn a lot about them on Saturday when they host West Virginia, but I do think there are still 9 or 10 potential victories on the schedule if they look good against the Mountaineers. The talent is there on the roster, too.
After West Virginia, the Tigers have 4 more home games in a row, facing Southeast Missouri State, South Carolina, Troy and Ole Miss. Those are all winnable games, so they could be 5-1 before they go on the road again this season. They just need the NCAA to #MakeitRight.
Which SEC player surprised you the most with their Week 1 performance?
I really liked what I saw from LSU QB Joe Burrow in the Tigers’ opener against Georgia Southern. I know it wasn’t the best competition he’ll face this year, but he seemed to be much more polished as a passer.
Burrow threw for 278 yards and 5 touchdowns while completing 23-of-27 passes. He has a solid offensive line, a decent running game and several talented receivers at his disposal this year, so he could take a major leap forward as we head toward SEC play. This weekend at No. 9 Texas will be a huge test for him and the Tigers as a whole.
Honorable mention goes to Kentucky QB Terry Wilson. I predicted Toledo to upset the Wildcats, and Kentucky did struggle early, but Wilson settled into the game and finished with 246 passing yards and 2 touchdowns.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.