What they're saying about the SEC after Week 3
With Week 3 of college football action in the books, we decided to take a look at what the media buzz is around the nation regarding the SEC:
PAUL MYERBERG & DANIEL UTHMAN, USA TODAY SPORTS
Myerberg and Uthman didn’t pull any punches when recapping the SEC’s Week 3 performances. In their weekly Winners and Losers column, four out of their five losers from the week are in the SEC–Auburn, Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina. Missouri is the only one of those four that actually won its game. But is beating UConn by three points really a win by SEC standards? The USA TODAY Sports college football analysts think not.
“Missouri’s 9-6 win against Connecticut does little to boost the reputation of the Southeastern Conference East Division. Nor does it support the idea that Missouri is poised to capture its third divisional title in a row, though the rest of the division — outside of Georgia, maybe — has done little to separate itself from the pack.”
COLLEGE FOOTBALL STAFF, ESPN
ESPN’s SEC Blog has several posts that focus on how the SEC is shaping up after Week 3, as well as recaps and reaction from many of the conference’s games this past weekend. With its big win in Tuscaloosa over Alabama, ESPN’s Greg Ostendorf believes Ole Miss has put itself in a prime position to make the college football playoff. He also goes on to predict which bowl games each SEC team will play in at the end of the year and reminds folks not to count the Crimson Tide out just yet.
“Ole Miss is now the team to beat in the SEC and the league’s top playoff contender after the Rebels went to Tuscaloosa on Saturday night and took down Alabama in a game that felt like it would never end. As we learned last season, the Crimson Tide aren’t out of it. But they did slide in this week’s bowl projections.”
By continuing to scroll down, you can read all about the Rebels’ win, Leonard Fournette’s big performance and Greyson Lambert’s record-setting day.
COLIN BECHT & CHRIS JOHNSON, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
In his three biggest takeaways from college football’s Week 3, Becht writes that one of his biggest observations from the weekend was the shift in power atop the SEC. With big wins over Alabama and Auburn, Ole Miss and LSU have emerged as the teams to beat in the SEC West.
Speaking of LSU’s impressive performance, SI also took a closer look at Tigers running back Leonard Fournette, whose play is exceeding even the lofty expectations that were set out for the former five-star recruit. Johnson’s column points out that Fournette has been even better than advertised for LSU.
“While it’s rare that a five-star recruit actually exceeds the hype that preceded his arrival on campus, particularly at a football-mad place like LSU, Fournette—the top-rated running back and No. 4 overall prospect in the class of 2014, according to Rivals.com—is better than most observers expected he would be. Fournette’s numbers are impressive, and he’s so dominant that NFL observers are already comparing him to one of the best running backs of this century. Though he was already considered a Heisman Trophy contender, Saturday’s performance may have vaulted Fournette into the front of the race.”
PAT FORDE, YAHOO SPORTS
Forde puts himself in the position of a college football playoff selection committee member each week and gives his picks for the four teams that will play for a national championship at the end of the season. After Week 3, Forde has the playoff turning out to be a showdown between the Big Ten and the SEC. He predicts that Ole Miss will be the No. 1 seed and play No. 4 seed Ohio State in the national semifinal, while No. 2 Michigan State and No. 3 LSU battle it out for the second spot in the national title game.
JON SOLOMON, CBS SPORTS
Solomon goes over many SEC-related topics in his weekly wrap-up. But one point he makes seems to be getting a lot of attention, at least from Auburn fans. Solomon calls for the replacement of Tigers quarterback Jeremy Johnson, who had a ton of hype surrounding him entering the season but has played poorly through the first three weeks and has Auburn plummeting in the rankings.
“I’m not sure I’ve seen a player who was expected to be so good struggle as much as Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson. At one point Saturday, Johnson started wearing a glove on his throwing hand after bizarrely losing a fumble. According to CBS Sports sideline reporter Allie LaForce, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee took the glove off Johnson’s hand, threw it behind the bench and told him he doesn’t need a glove, it’s mental. If your offensive coordinator feels he must do that, it’s probably time to change quarterbacks. Johnson’s body language has been bad for three weeks.”
However, CBS’s Robby Kalland the next day wrote that Auburn intends to keep Johnson as the team’s starting quarterback, at least for now, as the Tigers get set to face Mississippi State next week.
Coach Gus Malzahn told CBS heading into halftime of the game that they would look at a possible change, but the team ended up sticking with Johnson for the rest of the game. On Sunday, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashley spoke with the media and said Johnson is still “expected” to be the starting quarterback when Auburn plays Mississippi State on Saturday.