SEC recap: What we learned about every SEC West team
Week 2 is in the books – well, Week 1 ¼ for LSU – and each team in the SEC West was looking to make that second-game improvement coaches love to use as a rallying cry.
But how much improvement can there be?
Each team in the division entered the weekend ranked and all had relative cakewalks in the opening week with the exception of LSU, which could not beat Mother Nature. Still, we did learn some things Saturday (including the entire SEC West will not be ranked):
No. 2 ALABAMA: This edition of the Crimson Tide is beginning to remind me of the one from a few years ago. They have a suffocating defense. They have two punishing running backs in Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake that are reminiscent of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon. And they have a quarterback that is not making mistakes similar to AJ McCarron. Should we go ahead and call him A.Jake Coker?
Next: vs. Ole Miss.
ARKANSAS: We learned what Arkansas learned – never overlook an “inferior” opponent. After coach Bret Bielema took to the airwaves to complain about the level of Ohio State’s competition, his team went out and laid a Hog-sized egg against a Mid-American Conference team. The 16-12 win for Toledo was the Rockets first victory against an SEC team. Brandon Allen did throw for 412 yards, but did not throw a touchdown pass. Arkansas only could add 103 yards on the ground. The Razorbacks are definitely one-dimensional and teams like that can only muster 10 points a game along with a gift safety.
Next: vs. Texas Tech.
No. 18 AUBURN: Give credit to the hype machine on the Plains, it had fans believing the Tigers were serious national title contenders and Jeremy Johnson was a Heisman Trophy candidate. Auburn is not the No. 6 team in the country. A top-10 team does not have to go to overtime against Jacksonville State. Johnson is also not good. In two games, he has thrown five interceptions and should have tossed seven or eight. An Auburn fan told me he thought Johnson was the next Cam Newton. The only Newton he is like is Sir Isaac because he continually proves the theory of gravity. Most of his passes – like Newton’s apple – seem to find the ground a lot. Had it not been for a late shanked Jax State punt, Auburn loses. The only thing Auburn has going for it is running back Peyton Barber.
Next: at LSU.
No. 13 LSU: The Tigers only got about a five minute dress rehearsal last week against McNeese State before starting the conference schedule Saturday at Mississippi State. LSU didn’t need the walk through against the FCS Cowboys as it was in midseason form in Starkville. Brandon Harris, Leonard Fournette and others looked in sync and the Tigers’ defense seemed to baffle the Bulldogs.
Next: vs. Auburn.
MISSISSIPPI STATE: It is simple: Dak Prescott cannot do it all by himself. With Josh Robinson now in the NFL, the Bulldogs need to find someone who can run the ball besides Prescott or it is going to be a long year.
Next: vs. Northwestern (La.) State.
No. 15 OLE MISS: We learned the third time is the charm when it comes to transfer quarterbacks. Javon Sneed transferred to Oxford from Texas and saw moderate success. Jeremiah Masoli came to Ole Miss from Oregon and was average at best. Now, Chad Kelly has made it to the SEC from Clemson and he looks like the real deal. He has picked up Hugh Freeze’s offense and throws a beautiful deep ball. It helps him the Rebels might have the deepest receiving corps in the league as well. Not only is Laquon Treadwell back from injury, but Cody Core, Markell Pack and Quincy Adeboyejo are all dangerous and tight end Evan Engram might not just be the best in the SEC, but the best in the country. In just one quarter against Fresno State, Kelly was 13-of-16 for 217 yards and four touchdowns.
Next: at Alabama.
No. 17 TEXAS A&M: The rest of the SEC will be learning the Aggies can kill in a variety of ways. Before the new-car smell of renovated Kyle Field could be appreciated, the A&M faithful looked at the scoreboard and saw 49 points for the good guys. This team has a chance to run the table.
Next: vs. Nevada.