Biggest story line for each SEC team in Week 4
With three games of data from which to draw conclusions, there will be plenty of narratives pushed in the days leading up to Week 4.
Here is a look at the biggest story line for each SEC team entering Week 4:
Story line: Can the Crimson Tide turn the page from the Ole Miss disaster in time for a trip to Georgia?
The focus of Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Monroe is likely to be about cleaning up mistakes from a 43-37 loss to Ole Miss, as well as solidifying the Crimson Tide’s quarterback game plan in advance of perhaps the most important road game of Alabama’s season.
Story line: Will the Razorbacks right themselves in time for a chance to win their conference opener?
The Arkansas program is a hot mess right now, with injuries and non-conference losses putting a damper on what was supposed to be a coming-out season. The good news? Arkansas has a chance for a clean slate with its SEC opener looming.
Story line: Can the Tigers continue to trot Jeremy Johnson out there as the starting quarterback?
The Tigers stock is dropping faster than any team in college football, going from the projections as a potential College Football Playoff team to a performance that may not be worthy of a bowl game at all. QB Jeremy Johnson has struggled, and fans are looking for something to turn things around. Change could be in the air.
Story line: The Gators extended their winning streak against Kentucky, can they do the same against Tennessee?
It wasn’t pretty, but new Florida coach Jim McElwain passed his first conference test by defeating Kentucky to keep a 29-game winning streak going. He’ll be asked to extend a 10-game winning streak against Tennessee this week, which while at home, should prove to be a tougher task.
Story line: How long do the starters play against Southern before getting them some rest in advance of Crimson Tide visit?
Some shrewd scheduling has given the Bulldogs a quasi bye week with a visit from Southern on the schedule. Fans and media alike are already licking their chops for the Oct. 3 date with Alabama that comes next.
Story line: Was that disastrous performance by QB Patrick Towles simply a blip on the radar, or something more concerning?
Towles had a bad night, to put it politely, during Kentucky’s 14-9 loss to Florida during Week 3. Wildcats fans are concerned that the remnants of that performance may show up against Missouri this week.
Story line: Leonard Fournette hysteria continues to grow.
Fournette had one of those special performances during Week 3’s 45-21 win against Auburn that will simply dominant the news cycle until the Tigers take the field once again. The team is surely focused on a visit to Syracuse, but all fans and media will talk about is what Fournette has already done.
Story line: Can Dak Prescott re-assert himself as a feared rushing threat?
QB Dak Prescott ran wild on Auburn last year, to the tune of 121 yards and two touchdowns during a 38-23 win. LSU RB Leonard Fournette ran all over Auburn last week. Can Dak make it a bad day at the office for Auburn two weeks in a row?
Story line: Will the offense get going, or is the defense going to have to carry the load for the duration of the season?
We’ve learned two things about Missouri through three non-conference games: 1. The defense, led by LB Kentrell Brothers, is likely one of the best in the league. 2. The offense, on the other hand, is in a bad place right now. The Tigers will look for some better results there against Kentucky this week.
Story line: Can the Rebels maintain the momentum from a victory against Alabama this time?
Much like they did last season, the Rebels have shot up the polls following an upset of the Crimson Tide. The question everyone wants answered this week is if Ole Miss is better prepared to handle the pressures of being a Top 3 team this season.
Story line: Can the Gamecocks rebound from a close loss to Kentucky, and the loss of QB Connor Mitch, to avoid an 0-2 start in SEC play?
The Gamecocks pulled out a close win against North Carolina in Week 1, but were not as fortunate in another close one against Kentucky in Week 2. Without the services of his starting QB due to a shoulder injury, coach Steve Spurrier is going to need a big-time performance from his squad to grab a win in Athens.
Story line: Can Butch Jones get over the hump in a big game and end this 10-game losing streak to Florida?
Tennessee fans are still steaming from the way the Vols blew a lead against Oklahoma in Week 2. If this program is going to continue what seems to be an upward ascent, Jones needs a win in Gainesville in the worst way.
Story line: It is time to show what the Aggies can do in conference play.
Much to the delight of the fan base, Texas A&M has taken care of business in out-of-conference play against Arizona State, Ball State and Nevada. But now it is time to see how the Aggies measure up in league play, and they draw a struggling Arkansas team for a chance to get their feet wet.
Story line: Was there any positive moment to be gained from simply putting a tally in the win column last week?
Look, Austin Peay is a really bad football team. But the Commodores beat them by 40 points, and seemed to come away with a much better self-image on offense thanks to big games from QB Johnny McCrary and WR Trent Sherfield. Will that factor into the results of their game against Ole Miss? We’ll see.