SEC Recap: What we learned about every SEC East team in Week 9
Last weekend was much more competitive throughout the SEC than Week 8 proved to be, as four of the six Week 9 matchups were one-score games at some point in the fourth quarter. The SEC East had five teams in action, including three teams matched up against SEC West foes. The East was 0-3 against the West last weekend, and Missouri beat Vanderbilt 24-14 in the lone all-East game of the day.
Here’s what we learned about every SEC East team following Week 9 action.
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Week 9 result: Bye
What we learned: Florida was off last week, but we still learned UF athletic director Jeremy Foley really doesn’t want to make a coaching change until after the season. It would have been understandable if Florida had fired head coach Will Muschamp following a humiliating Week 8 loss to Missouri, but Muschamp still has his job and will coach the Gators against Georgia in Week 10. It’s unlikely Muschamp is retained once the season ends, but the fact he still has a job today leads us to believe he’ll get to finish out the year with Florida.
Week 9 result: Bye
What we learned: Georgia was also off last weekend, and although head coach Mark Richt formally filed for star tailback Todd Gurley’s reinstatement his indefinite suspension has still yet to be lifted. As a result we didn’t learn much about the Bulldogs last week, but we have to imagine they are well-rested and hungry to finish the season strong with an SEC championship and playoff berth still realistic possibilities for the Bulldogs come season’s end.
Week 9 result: Lost 45-31 to No. 1 Mississippi State
What we learned: Kentucky followed an embarrassing 38-point loss to LSU with an inspired showing in a 14-point loss to No. 1 Mississippi State last weekend. The Wildcats taught us that although they may not be an established contender in the SEC on a week-by-week basis, they have the talent to beat any team in the conference on any given weekend. We’ve learned all season that this Kentucky team is trending in a positive direction and growing at a rapid pace, and the same held true on Saturday. Patrick Towles looked like an emerging star at quarterback, and the Wildcats proved they’re not to be taken lightly in the final weeks of the season.
Week 9 results: Defeated Vanderbilt 24-14
What we learned: The Tigers proved once and for all that their offense is among the worst in the SEC this season. Missouri struggled against a Vanderbilt team the rest of the SEC has feasted on this season, and it did so on its home field in Columbia. Maty Mauk once again completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes for fewer than 150 yards, and Mizzou was stuck on 17 points until the final minutes of the game. The Tigers’ struggles can no longer be blamed on off weeks or bad matchups — this team’s offense laid an egg against a woeful Commodores team, and the offense is going to hold Mizzou back the rest of the year.
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Week 9 results: Lost to Auburn 42-35
What we learned: South Carolina taught us that not only does it have the SEC’s worst defense in 2014, it has perhaps the worst defense in the conference during the last 3-5 years. The Gamecocks’ offense stayed on the field for five fourth downs on Saturday, and the Cocks attempted an impromptu onside kick in the middle of the game all in an attempt to keep their defense off the field as much as possible. Auburn scored on six straight possessions in a 42-35 win over South Carolina Saturday, all while losing the time of possession battle to indicate just how quickly the Tigers were scoring. South Carolina’s defense has been awful all year, but we got a better idea of just how putrid the defense really is in Saturday’s loss.
Week 9 results: Lost to Alabama 34-20
What we learned: Tennessee’s future at quarterback is bright in the form of sophomore Joshua Dobbs, who shined in a Vols’ loss to Alabama Saturday. Dobbs completed 59 percent of his passes and threw for two touchdowns with just one interception in the loss, all while coming off the bench to replace Nathan Peterman against the top 5-ranked Crimson Tide. We learned Saturday that while Tennessee is not a finished product in 2014, it has the pieces to return to dominance in the SEC East in years to come. Dobbs is one of those pieces, and he has Tennessee fans felling optimistic despite the loss to ‘Bama.
Week 9 results: Lost to Missouri 24-14
What we learned: Vanderbilt taught us that although this season has been a disaster, it has no intentions of quitting on the season with games still remaining. The Commodores pushed Missouri to the brink in a tough road test, and freshman quarterback Johnny McCrary showed great upside in his first career start. The ‘Dores may not be a threat in the East this season, but they’re going to play every game like they are, forcing opponents to take them seriously no matter their record.