Week 2 SEC Report Card
Another week of school means time for another edition of the SEC report card. While there are a few bad grades out there, in general, there’s reason for optimism for most of the league in Week 2.
As per our tradition, we’ll give each team a grade and then pick a couple of teams for hall passes (good work) or detention (bad work) on offense, defense, special teams, and coaching. Buckle up.
Welcome to the head of the class, Razorbacks. Bret Bielema’s team looked like a team that will finish in the upper half of the SEC West, maybe third, after upsetting No. 15 TCU on the road. In double overtime, of course.
Texas A&M: A-
Very little not to like here, except that this domination was wasted on Prairie View A&M. I love the balance that A&M has shown offensively, and they look as good as any team that’s not Alabama.
I’m not Nick Saban, so I’m not as angry as he was about this 38-10 victory over Western Kentucky. Bama showed no reason to be considered anything but the No. 1 team in the nation.
There’s plenty to like from the Tigers’ 51-14 whipping of Arkansas State. Gus Mazahn bagged the quarterback rotation and stayed the course with his offense, and was rewarded with 706 total yards.
Mississippi State: B+
After last week’s stunning loss, Dan Mullen regrouped, and led his Bulldogs to their first SEC win, with a 27-14 victory over South Carolina. Big story here was the emergence of Nick Fitzgerald as the kind of duel threat that makes Mullen’s teams tick.
Ole Miss: B-
The Rebels never really struggled with Wofford in their 38-13 win, but did show some defensive weaknesses. That run defense won’t cut it next week against Alabama.
Playing without Leonard Fournette, the Tigers took care of business, albeit in fairly ugly fashion. Until the Tigers offense shows up, it’s hard to imagine life getting much better for them.
Florida was clicking on just about all cylinders in their 45-7 win over Kentucky. They certainly looked good, but much like A&M against Prairie View, it’s hard to know what that means.
Vandy’s 47-24 win over Middle Tennessee was kind of an odd game, as MTSU outgained Vandy by 151 yards in the loss. But the Commodores did what they needed to do to get a victory — and much of that was hand the ball to Ralph Webb.
Everybody who had Drew Lock putting up 450 yards passing and five TDs, step forward. An actual passing game is an exciting development — if it exists against decent competition, which we will see next week against Georgia.
A slow, slow start for the Vols wasn’t super impressive, but everything else was. A nice win against a very decent Va. Tech team early the Vols a respectable grade.
Well, they didn’t lose. But terrible focus, and if the line can’t open holes on Nicholls State … well, it doesn’t bode well for the SEC.
South Carolina: C-
The Gamecocks will fight, but they just aren’t very good. They’re an interesting team to watch because they have some excellent freshmen.
Losing for a 30th time in a row to Florida isn’t surprising. Looking like a JV team in Mark Stoops’ fourth year is. Looks like a long season.
Auburn: Sure, it’s Arkansas State. But 706 total yards? Two 100-yard rushers? Sean White going 17-for-23 for 244 yards and 3 scores? That’s hall pass material.
Arkansas: Sure, they were outgained by 169 yards. But when the going got tough in that game, the Arkansas offense did what it needed to do. Austin Allen looked like a wily old veteran. A&M had the better stat line, but Arkansas did it against a top opponent, so edge to the Hogs.
Kentucky: The Wildcats completed three passes. In the game. And three more to Florida defenders.
Georgia: With some of the best offensive personnel in the league, the Bulldogs struggled to hold off an FCS team by two points. Nick Chubb, better known as one of the best players in the world, rattled off an underwhelming 80 yards on 20 carries.
Tennessee: Gave up 14 points early, but after that, did a great job of both creating turnovers and of making big play stops to take control of the game over the final three quarters.
Alabama: Admittedly, the Tide were playing an inferior foe. But WKU has had little trouble scoring points against just about anybody, and Bama held them to 239 total yards, including 1.0 yards per carry. Aside from one garbage-time score, Bama gave up a field goal.
South Carolina: Giving up almost 500 yards to Hail State involved making Nick Fitzgerald occasionally resemble Dak Prescott. Not one that Muschamp will put on his highlight tape.
LSU: Jacksonville State has talent. But for LSU to outgain them by 3 yards? Scary stuff. JSU outpassed LSU 248-127, which doesn’t bode well for the Tigers against Texas A&M or Ole Miss.
LSU: Tre’Davious White’s punt return TD was the wildest SEC play of the week. The Tigers also hit a nice kickoff return, which more than makes up for a missed extra point.
— Y'assssssss Al Ghul (@beauty_jackson) September 11, 2016
Arkansas: Enormous left tackle Dan Skipper’s block of TCU’s potential game-winning kick was a play as big as the man himself. Arkansas got two field goals from Cole Hedlund and punter Toby Baker averaged over 50 yards per kick.
The old professor must be getting soft, because while there were some kicking game mistakes (TWO missed extra points, Missouri?), they were offset by some nice plays by more or less everybody. Detention canceled this week for special teams.
Arkansas: Bret Bielema had some great stuff up his sleeve Saturday night, and used it to beat a ranked TCU team for a rare quality out-of-conference win for the SEC.
Mississippi State: Dan Mullen deserves some credit for having an offense that looked very different from week one to week two.
Kentucky: Getting harder to imagine a scenario in which Mark Stoops keeps his job. His buyout is $12 million, but Kentucky takes in much more than that just for being in the SEC, and an empty stadium speaks volumes.
Georgia: Kirby Smart has to keep his young team focused regardless of the opponent. He avoided an embarrassing slip-up, but Georgia definitely was doing less with more in week two than anybody else.