Week 10 SEC report card: Mizzou? Yes, we said Mizzou gets highest grade
Week 10 in the SEC might be best remembered as the week of survival. Alabama, Georgia and Auburn each won by two scores. Solid, but not spectacular. Mississippi State and Arkansas survived potentially embarrassing upsets. What kind of grades do they get for survival? Well, you came to the right place to see. As is our custom, we grade all the teams, then honor (or dishonor) the best and worst teams in all three main areas of the game.
New this week, we’ve calculated a grade-point average for each team, based on a 4.0 scale. By our year-to-date numbers, Georgia tops the SEC class slightly ahead of Alabama. Tennessee sits at rock bottom but could pass Arkansas before the football year ends.
GPA calculation: On a 4.0 scale, A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0. We added or subtracted a quarter point (0.25) for pluses/minuses, tallied up the season-to-date points and divided by the number of games.
The Tigers won solidly … but never really put the pedal down in this one. They led 35-13 in the middle of the third quarter and let A&M hang around. Still, the potential CFP spoiler is in good form.
GPA: 3.028 (↑0.028). YTD: A- ¦ C ¦ C ¦ A- ¦ A- ¦ A- ¦ D ¦ A ¦ I ¦ B+
The Tide won, and they never really looked doubtful. But they were outgained by LSU, and their offense looked stuck in the mud for much of the game.
GPA: 3.583 (↓0.042). YTD: A ¦ A- ¦ B ¦ A ¦ A ¦ B- ¦ A- ¦ A- ¦ I ¦ B+
Ole Miss: B+
Jordan Ta’amu did a pretty good Shea Patterson imitation, throwing for 382 yards and leading the Rebels to a last-second win at Kentucky. On the down side, the Landshark defense gave up 455 yards, and the Rebels needed a last-second play to grab the win.
GPA: 2.111 (↑0.142). YTD: C+ ¦ C+ ¦ C- ¦ I ¦ D+ ¦ C+ ¦ B+ ¦ C ¦ D- ¦ B+
The Tigers did what they needed to do — outgaining Bama on the ground and in total yardage, winning time of possession, and turning the ball over only once. Unfortunately, they didn’t score enough points to win, but it wasn’t a bad effort.
GPA: 2.861 (↓0.014). YTD: A ¦ A- ¦ D+ ¦ B- ¦ F ¦ A ¦ A ¦ B+ ¦ I ¦ B-
Texas A&M: C+
The Aggies simply were outmatched against Auburn. The defense needed a big day and didn’t have it, giving up 496 yards and getting hurt in the air and on the ground. A&M did well to keep fighting and keep the game from getting embarrassing.
GPA: 2.222 (↑0.003). YTD: F ¦ D- ¦ C- ¦ B+ ¦ B ¦ A- ¦ B+ ¦ I ¦ C ¦ C+
Mississippi State: C-
It’s really hard to say whether this game was intrinsically any better than the whippings that State suffered from Auburn and Georgia. The Bulldogs trailed UMass at halftime and didn’t grab control of the game until late in the fourth quarter. They outgained the Minutemen by just 43 yards, and also threw three interceptions, leaving them lucky to escape.
GPA: 3.056 (↓0.163). YTD: A- ¦ B+ ¦ A ¦ C- ¦ C- ¦ I ¦ B+ ¦ A ¦ A ¦ C-
The Razorbacks trailed a 1-8 Coastal Carolina team 38-25 with 12:57 to play. Yes, they did win, 39-38. But this was a hideous stumble against one of the worst FBS teams in the country.
GPA: 1.417 (↓0.083). YTD: B- ¦ D ¦ I ¦ D ¦ C+ ¦ F ¦ C- ¦ F ¦ B+ ¦ D-
Yes, we did just say that. Everybody who believed the Tigers would win a conference game by 29 while executing perfect offensive balance (228 yards passing, 227 yards rushing), please stand up. Head of the class this week, the Missouri Tigers. We’re as dumbfounded as you are.
GPA: 1.833 (↑0.270). YTD: C ¦ D+ ¦ F ¦ F ¦ I ¦ C ¦ D ¦ B+ ¦ B ¦ A
It wasn’t always pretty, but it was a solid two-score win over the second best team in the division. The numbers suggest it wasn’t that close. Georgia outgained Carolina by 168 yards, and held the Gamecocks to 43 yards rushing. Also, 9-for-14 on third- and fourth-down conversions is impressive.
GPA: 3.688 (↑0.006). YTD: B+ ¦ B+ ¦ B+ ¦ A ¦ A ¦ A ¦ A- ¦ I ¦ A ¦ A-
The Commodores beat a pesky Western Kentucky team by two scores. They did allow WKU to pass for 355 yards, but they also sacked Hilltoppers passers six times and held WKU to negative rushing yardage. On their side, Vandy showed an improved running game and continued Kyle Shurmur’s efficient season.
GPA: 2.278 (↑0.184). YTD: B+ ¦ B ¦ A- ¦ D ¦ C- ¦ D ¦ D+ ¦ I ¦ C- ¦ A-
On the bright side, it was a win. On the down side, UT was held to 210 yards by a middle of the pack CUSA opponent. This Tennessee team played hard and was fairly clean, but the Vols just aren’t very good.
GPA: 1.361 (↑0.173). YTD: C ¦ B ¦ D ¦ C- ¦ F ¦ I ¦ F ¦ C- ¦ F ¦ B-
South Carolina: C+
Hey, they played Georgia about as close as anybody not named Notre Dame. The weaknesses of this Carolina team are, more or less, what we thought they were. The Gamecocks don’t run the ball exceptionally well. Their defense is competent but not awe-inspiring. The good news is that in this year’s SEC East, that’s still good enough for second place.
GPA: 2.722 (↓0.091). YTD: C+ ¦ B+ ¦ C- ¦ C+ ¦ C- ¦ A ¦ A- ¦ I ¦ B+ ¦ C+
As they have in virtually every game this season, the Wildcats played to a last-second finish. This time it bit the Wildcats, who are clearly the worst pass-defending team in the SEC. Jordan Ta’amu looked like Joe Montana out there slinging the pigskin. Benny Snell might run for a bajillion yards, but if he doesn’t get some help from the defense, it gets ugly fast.
GPA: 2.167 (↓0.052). YTD: C+ ¦ C- ¦ A- ¦ C ¦ C ¦ C+ ¦ I ¦ F ¦ A- ¦ C-
The last team to lose a conference game to Mizzou by 29 was Kentucky during Mark Stoops’s first season, which was a 2-10 campaign. The Gators played like a 2-10 team on Saturday. The Randy Shannon promotion didn’t correct anything — instead of losing by 35 to a great team, UF lost by 29 to a bad one. What a train wreck.
GPA: 1.781 (↓0.255). YTD: D ¦ I ¦ C+ ¦ B+ ¦ A- ¦ C+ ¦ C- ¦ I ¦ F ¦ F
Missouri: Balance is important — and has often been missing for Mizzou. So Saturday, the put up 45 points by passing for 228 yards and rushing for 227.
Mississippi: Jordan Ta’amu made big play after big play. Sure, Kentucky is bad defensively. But this kid has some skills — and some superb receivers.
Georgia: The Bulldogs held South Carolina to under 300 yards and 2.5 yards per carry, also picking up two turnovers. Solid week for a solid group.
LSU: Sure, the Tigers lost, but Jalen Hurts was held to a very human 11-for-24 passing and Bama rushed for just 3.2 yards per carry. The Tigers’ defense certainly did its part.
Mississippi State: On a day when the Bulldogs’ offense and defense had issues, the special teams were special. Punt returner Deddrick Thomas broke an 83-yard touchdown return. Jace Christmann was perfect on kicks.
Tennessee: Kick returner Evan Berry was back and looked good on a 46-yard return. With the offense looking putrid, the special teams helped out, with Aaron Medley making all his kicks and Trevor Daniel having a good punting game.
Tennessee: Only 210 total yards against Southern Miss? Just a snoozer of a game from UT, whose defense had to carry the day.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs’ passing game was brutal, going for just 139 yards and giving up three interceptions. As usual, the ground game was efficient. But good teams will make State pass, and then it’s all over.
Kentucky: We can’t say the Wildcats didn’t warn us, as they were allowing 266 yards per game in passing coming into this week. Still, allowing backup Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu to pass for nearly 400 yards, including the game winning score, was not a good look.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks gave up 38 points to one of the worst teams in the country, including 228 yards passing. Coastal Carolina was 8-for-15 on third downs.
South Carolina: The special units really weren’t that bad, but a missed field goal on the game’s opening drive hurt.