Week 7 was a lucky one for LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina. But when it’s grade card time, good luck isn’t all that matters. As usual, we grade all the teams, then honor (or dishonor) the best and worst teams in all three main areas of the game. Without further pomp or circumstance, it’s grade card time:

SEC West


Football isn’t a beauty contest, which is good, because this grade is more about grit than grace. LSU seems to have played out of a hole all season, so when the Tigers fell behind Auburn 20-0, maybe it was just business as usual. The defense had its struggles early, but earned its stripes late. Welcome to the head of the class.

Alabama: A-

This performance is devalued a bit just because it was almost to be expected against Arkansas. But at the same time, anytime you win the rushing battle in a conference game by a 308-27 margin, you had a pretty good day.

Texas A&M: B+

What a huge win for the Aggies. This grade isn’t an A because Florida owned the ground game, outgaining A&M 242-83. But if the Aggies needed to be lucky, they were lucky at the right times.

Ole Miss: B+

The Rebels showed signs of life not expected to be seen in Oxford in 2017. The offense was superb, and the defense, while it bent often, didn’t break. The outlook might not be as rosy against a more robust offense, but for this week, things clicked for the Rebels.

Mississippi State: B+

Much like with Alabama, State’s performance is a bit devalued because it was what was expected. Outgaining BYU on the ground 306-29 felt kind of routine. More significant was that Nick Fitzgerald had a decent passing day and State kept moving the chains on third downs. The competition will be harder next week, but turning third downs into first downs is always a critical skill.

Arkansas: C-

If you don’t think this could be worse, pull out the game film from Vandy or Ole Miss’s match-ups with Alabama. The Razorbacks were outmanned in all areas. The good news is that so are 95% of FBS teams when matched up with Alabama. The bad news is that it happens to Arkansas against other SEC teams as well.

Auburn: D

When Daniel Carlson hit his second field goal of the game, extending Auburn’s lead to 20-0 two minutes into the second quarter, ESPN calculated Auburn’s win probability at 95.4%. Quicker than Jim Carrey asking “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”, the Auburn Tigers did little rest of the way but watch those 20-1 odds evaporate. Auburn isn’t awful, but the team is awfully disappointing.

SEC East

Georgia: A-

The Bulldogs did little to hurt themselves this week, although they did get burned early in the passing game by Mizzou (253 yards on 25 attempts). When your team is as good as Georgia’s is, you’ve got to focus on the small things, because they may become the difference in a CFP appearance or not.

South Carolina: A-

Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The Gamecocks did exactly what they had to do to win the game. They practically held a picnic lunch in the Volunteers’ backfield, played turnover-free football, and when they had to not allow a touchdown to win, they (barely) did not allow a touchdown.

Florida: C-

This passing game is just painful. When Luke of the River made things better during a brief stint, it should have spoken volumes about how much the Feleipe Franks era has been a struggle. The last two years, the Florida ground game has struggled. It’s actually going well now, but between the suspensions (Callaway) and injuries (Cleveland), Florida just isn’t making it work through the air.

Vanderbilt: D+

Call them “Vanerbilt” after this one, because they didn’t bring any “d” whatsoever against Ole Miss. Offensively, the ground game more or less reappeared after being absent all season, but it really didn’t matter.

Missouri: D

The Tiger offense came out full of fire and made this game competitive for about a quarter and a half. That was good. The rest was bad. This may be the worst SEC defense in memory.

Tennessee: F

A quarterback change did absolutely less than no good. The defense was adequate, but didn’t do enough for a win. The entire program is absolutely beleaguered. We all know what’s going to happen, the only mystery left is when. I mean, seriously, would it feel odd if Butch Jones walked through muttering about walkin’ the green mile? Not really.

Kentucky: Incomplete

Kentucky had a bye week, which was good because they evened their all-time record against the bye after a confusing 11-7 loss in the Bill Curry years.


Georgia offense: Sure, it’s Mizzou. But 696 yards? Jake Fromm’s career passing day (326 yards) meets a 370-yard ground game? Watch out, foes of the Bulldogs.

Mississippi offense: There was a time when Vandy was one of the top-ranked defenses in the country. Not this week. More impressive than the 351 passing yards for the Rebels were the 252 rushing yards. That kind of balance has been MIA in Oxford for a long while, and could signal good things to come.

South Carolina defense: Not only did they hold Tennessee without a touchdown, they sacked UT quarterback Jarrett Guarantano seven times. Guarantano only completed 11 passes in the game.

LSU defense: The stats won’t tell the full story as Auburn had its way early, but QB Jarrett Stidham’s passing stats just got uglier and uglier, and that was in large part due to the LSU defense.

Texas A&M special teams: On a week when the Aggies’ offense had a fair share of problems, the kicking game had to be superb. It was, between Daniel LaCamera’s four field goals, including the game-winner, and Shane Tripucka’s 48.6 yards per punt.

LSU special teams: Again, if you’re going to win big games without a huge offense, it takes a few tricks. Enter D.J. Chark’s 75-yard punt return touchdown, which was probably the biggest play in the Tigers’ win over Auburn.


Tennessee offense: Sure, Carolina had something to do with it, but 253 total yards, 3.1 yards per carry, and 3 of 13 on third downs? That’ll lose a bunch of ballgames.

Florida offense: The Gators have some talent missing on offense. But 129 yards passing with a pair of interceptions? Until they find some passing game continuity, they’re begging people to stack the box and make them throw. Except in prevent situations, UT!

Vanderbilt defense: Ole Miss can throw the ball. We all knew that. But it’s unclear whether the Rebels have ever gained 6.1 yards per carry on the ground. The Commodores were turning Rebels RB Jordan Wilkins into Walter Payton on Saturday.

Missouri defense: Most teams that play Georgia try to take away one facet of the Bulldogs’ offense and make UGA beat them with the other. Not Mizzou. The Tigers happily watched Georgia destroy them with the run (370 yards) and the pass (326 yards). Despite a surprising 28 Missouri points, the defense gave up more yardage either in the air or on the ground than the Tigers’ offense gained altogether (312).

South Carolina special teams: This game was very nearly lost on a botched extra point. And an ugly one at that.