SEC report cards for Week 10
A big statement by the best student in our class, and some bumbling and stumbling below — this was the story of Week 10 in the SEC. Some people are getting ready for bowl games, some are getting ready for a long, long winter. We’ll sort it all out soon.
But first, let’s line everybody up and give them all a grade for their Week 10 efforts.
As usual we’ll also pick a couple of teams for hall passes (good work) or detention (bad work) on offense, defense, special teams, and coaching.
Mississippi State: A
Everybody who thought a 3-5 Bulldogs team would save their season by upsetting No. 4 Texas A&M, please raise your hands. Me, either. Super impressive win for Dan Mullen.
They are who we thought they were. Actually, there were a little underwhelming on offense, although the defense did its thing as usual. Still on top, still the team to chase.
This game was almost as much of a statement game as the Hogs’ horrible loss in their previous game. They lose a little credit because Florida is awful right now, but it’s still a quality sixth win.
“B” is for barely good enough. After boat-racing Arkansas and crushing Ole Miss, the Tigers outgained Vandy by a humble 386-341 margin. Not a season-crushing loss, but too close.
Ole Miss: C+
Still the most disappointing team in the SEC. Winning by 10 against Georgia Southern does nothing to change that.
The LSU defense actually backed up some of its trash talk. Unfortunately, Bama continues to own Leonard Fournette, and without his spark, LSU was hobbled from the opening kickoff.
Texas A&M: F
The Aggies ruined their season in one game. A&M had consistently looked like the second best team in the SEC. No longer. No shot at the playoff, probably a 9-3 team.
South Carolina: B+
Many folks were skeptical of Will Muschamp’s decision to pull the redshirt off QB Jake Bentley. A 5-4 Gamecocks team is a win over Western Carolina in two weeks from a bowl game.
The Bulldogs looked like they had quit on their season against Florida, but rebounded for a determined road win at Kentucky, which will also end up salvaging UGA’s bowl chances.
What can you learn about beating Tennessee Tech 55-0? Well, you can learn that it’s a lot better than losing. UT still has a reasonable shot to win the East, but for some reason, that feels unlikely.
The Commodores lost, but they made it a lot tougher on Auburn than was expected. If they can win at Mizzou, they could still make a bowl with a home win against either a slumping Ole Miss team or a beat-to-death UT team.
Given the chance to be a division contender in November for the first time in program history, Kentucky instead picked up a tough loss to Georgia. Still ahead of the chains for this season.
The Tigers’ seventh loss ensures no bowl appearance — well, almost ensures it. Who knows with 87 bowl games or whatever? Worst team in the league.
The Gators have a tough D, plus absolutely nothing else right now. Florida could have gotten a grasp on the East, but instead left things open for another week.
Mississippi State: 365 rushing yards, 574 total yards? Dan Mullen is still an offensive wizard.
Arkansas: 466 total yards against Florida is no small thing. Got to love the balance to — 243 in the air, 223 on the ground.
Florida: 14 carries for 12 yards? That’s what Florida has done to opponents, but they handed out an offensive egg this week.
LSU: Sure, we all understand them not scoring a lot of points. But holding Alabama to 10 points was a big gift from the defense. And the offense wasted it with zero points and just six first downs.
Alabama: Two sides of the same coin. Sure, the LSU offense underachieved. But holding Fournette, Guice and Co. to 33 yards on 27 rushing attempts is an accomplishment.
Arkansas: Filling up the Razorbacks’ trophy case this week. Florida is awful offensively, but holding anybody to 9 percent on third down conversions should be honored.
Texas A&M: When A&M couldn’t beat Jalen Hurts, we understood. But Nick Fitzgerald? More late-season Kevin Sumlin shenanigans.
Missouri: Jake Bentley is tough. But look at the touchdown off the back of a Mizzou linebacker and see if you can figure out how Carolina put up 31 points.
Georgia: Rodrigo Blankenship nailed four field goals, including the game-winner, on a day when UGA suddenly looked much better on special teams.
Missouri: Mizzou missed two field goals and did nothing special in the return game on a day when they lost by 10 points.
Mississippi State: Kudos to Dan Mullen for the upset of the year in the conference.
South Carolina: Likewise to Will Muschamp for coaxing some points out of what looked to be the league’s worst offense.
Texas A&M: Kevin Sumlin struggling late. Again.
LSU: Ed Orgeron’s magic comes to an end, as it turns out that he can look clueless on offense just as well as Les Miles.