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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Five Questions From Around the SEC

It seems like the season just got started, but it's also worth noting we're now one-fourth of the way through the year. With most teams (not named Georgia) opening against some weak competition, however, we really don't know too much yet about how the SEC is going to shake out.

With that in mind, here are five questions I'm curious about as we head into Week 4...

1.) How much does Florida miss Percy Harvin?

Tim Tebow certainly didn't look all that special against Tennessee, throwing for just 115 yards, and he was responsible for 24 of the Gators' 44 runs. Rainey, Moody and Demps had their moments, but the Gators have really not yet identified that true playmaker on offense, and while I've said this before and been wrong, I just can't believe that Tebow can survive a full season of punishment trying to be the entire offense.

I don't think the win over Tennessee was anything Florida fans should light up message boards about, but I do think it showed that the Gators are more vulnerable than a lot of people may have previously assumed.

2.) Why is the media so stupid?

Remember when Notre Dame almost beat USC and for the next two years everyone thought the Irish were great, Charlie Weis was great and Brady Quinn was great? Well, yeah, Tennessee didn't get blown out by Florida, but the game was never particularly in doubt, the Vols offense mustered just 210 yards and Johnathan Crompton is still terrible (93 yards!). Oh, and remember nine days ago when the Vols lost AT HOME to a middling Pac-10 team that had to fly cross country?

This is a classic case of a team simply exceeding incredibly low expectations. The Vols have Monte Kiffin and Eric Berry, and it was stupid for people to assume Florida would score 70 on them to begin with, but this was hardly a performance for the ages.

But think about this for a second: A two-score loss to a top-10 team in which your offense struggles to fewer than 250 yards total, the QB looks bad, but the defense is surprisingly effective.

When Tennessee does it, it means every pundit in the country loves them and Lane Kiffin is the next big thing.

When Georgia did it three weeks ago, it was the death knell of the Mark Richt era in Athens and perhaps the end of the world as we know it.

Amazing. And the Vols fans can only wish Crompton was suffering from the flu.

(As a side note: THIS is great, and I hope it continues for the rest of the season. Keep talking, Lane. Keep talking.)

3.) How good is Ole Miss?

It's hard to have many questions about a team that has outscored the competition 97-20 through two games, but I can't help but have sort of a nagging feeling that the Rebels just aren't all their cracked up to be. Maybe it was watching that lackluster three quarters of action in the opener against Memphis. I don't know. But this just doesn't feel like a great team. That's the least analytical thing you'll probably ever read here on this site, but I can't shake that impression. Am I wrong here?

4.) Will the real LSU please stand up?

Rushing offense for the Tigers? Tenth.

Passing offense for the Tigers? Ninth.

Total offense? Twelfth.

Um, I thought this O was supposed to be really good.

I'll give LSU some credit, however. The Tigers are 3-0, won against a clearly improved Washington team on the road and have won pretty easily the past two weeks. But it looks like Vandy is clearly the worst of the SEC this year and Louisiana-Lafayette is probably the fourth best team in the state of Louisiana.

Worse yet, the defense is allowing 320 yards per game without having played anything resembling a strong offensive attack.

Hard to say for sure what to expect out of the Bayou Bengals, but Georgia fans will find out firsthand in two weeks.

5.) Who will push Florida in the East?

Blame the Georgia defense if you must, but Stephen Garcia has made some serious strides. Mike Hartline has done the same at Kentucky. And once again, say what you want about Georgia's defense, but the O looks pretty solid. The East is looking like it might be a bit more stout than we might have thought before the season.

So… what's intrigued you around the rest of the SEC so far?

11 comments:

Silver Dawg said...

I think your senses are right on target, Sir David, regarding Ole Miss. I suspect that SC is set to ambush. If SC plays with the same intensity and performance, there will be an ambush. No doubt.

TDawg said...

I believe if our Defense can tighten up, UGA can play with anybody. That being said, the intensity still has to be there on both sides of the ball every week. Vegas seems to think that Ole Miss is in for a ball game this week also with the line being at -3. We'll definitely know more about LSU on the Oct.3rd. Auburn has shown good improvement and Bama looks solid as well. Hopefully our team will continue to get better because it looks like on any given Saturday anything can happen. Nothing like having fun!

Ant123 said...

David, I have not seen enough of the other teams to really know enough to say much at all. But I have seen Georgia.
Really as much as I hate to say it we don't look that great. We know our defense has sucked as you and Texas Dawg pointed out yesterday.
But consider in a year when we were supposed to have a strong Offensive line and alot more playmakers (this part I agree with) in the SEC we are:
8th in total offense
7th in scoring and worse we are 11th in rushing this against ARK and OK State that are weak in that area. We are 11th in penalties (saved only because our opponents have been worse in this area than we have). And we are last in turnover margin.
My point here is that we clearly have not played the top teams in the SEC yet we are in these areas and in almost all the defensive catagories in the bottom half of the league. The games we have won have been won almost entirly because we have executed in the red zone (we are tied for first in this area). But, we will play sombody with the defensive atheletes to drastiacally slow down our passing game (ie TN, FL).
Our Strengths have not been that strong. Where does that leave us when we play a team that can rush the passer a little and play pretty good pass defense as well as score? David am I missing something?

Josh said...

In true UGA fan style we have someone questioning the offense after we score 93 points against two SEC teams the last two weeks.

The offense is fine...look at the teams the rest of the conference has racked up those stats against.

Clearly we have to worry about our secondary and getting some pressure on the QB but please leave the O out of it. I could care less if we put points up running/passing/returning kicks etc...when you are averaging 46.5 points vs. SEC competition you are doing ok.

Anonymous said...

That is the problem with this team. Either the defense shows up and the offesne does not or the offense shows up and the defense does not. Special teams are a special problem. If the turn overs would stop, the defense would play consistently well and the offense shows up, this is a team that could win 10 games this year. If not, hopefully we still win 8 games.

Xon said...

UGA lags in offensive categories for one simple reason: the statistical oddity of the South Carolina game. We only ran 53 plays, but we put up Big 12-esque yards per play (nearly 6 ypp). That meant that, while our offense was incredibly efficient with the opportunities it had, it didn't generate a lot of yards.

And we lag in scoring offense b/c the season is young, the sample size is small, and the bad first game skews everything. 10 points in one game, 93 points in the other two games. Technically, that puts our average at 34 points per game, but in reality the last two weeks we played like a team that is much better than that and it was against actual SEC competition. The other SEC teams that might be averaging more points per game have done so against much lesser caliber teams, for the most part. (Kentucky is averaging 36.5 in scoring offense. Ooh, they must be better on O than Georgia, right?)

IveyLeaguer said...

I've been saying all year that Kentucky and South Carolina would be good and Tennessee would be good except at QB. That looks to be the case. Vandy, I don't know & haven't seen them.

Preseason hype is rarely accurate.

Certainly USC is good enough to beat Ole Miss, it should be a great SEC game.

~~~

OldDawg55 said...

Looking for a chance to contact you and will use this blog...some comments: On Samuels, popular lament:"take away his 80 yard run and what have you got..24 yards" can be likened to "Other than that Ms Lincoln, how was the play?"...he made the run, accumulated 104 yards, period. But he put the ball on the ground two times! Check Cox out on fumgles..did we throw him under the bus? Now check him out..he's a definite keeper! Our expert couch coaches want to relegate
Samuels to LB...I remember Herschel in high school..at linebacker..damn good, but he made a better TB. Willie reminds me of the nursery rhyme, paraphrased,:"when he is good, he's very, very, good but when he's bad he's horrible" I spent a career evaluating young officers and it was a weighty responsibility..as the old jab goes, they never made the same mistake twice, BUT, they made them all at least once! Richt evaluates his coaches constantly, I'm sure...when he points out an erroneous trend, I'm sure again they seek to change it..you must show loyalty until it endangers the mission...can the trend be changed, with both coaches and indiviual players? I think so. The calls are easy to make when all you have to do is peck away on your compute...try doing it looking at the individual and weighing the consequences..CMR knows his coaches and his team..he will make the right decision without our brilliant analysis..just cool it Bulldog Nation..pull with the team, show your loyalty not shallow opinions. We have a great team so get behind it or stay the Hell away!

Ant123 said...

Josh, The facts are that we are averaging 40 yds a game and almost 1 yard a carry less than last year and we finished second in the east. And we have done it against two of the worst rushing defenses we will see all year.
I would like to see us in the SEC championship game. I beleive we will have to run the ball better than we are, and eliminate some of the penalities if we are going to get there. You don't have to beleive that if you don't want to. I was not questioning the offense or the team. Nor did I say we could not improve it. Just pointing out the facts as they are today.

Anonymous said...

Is it fair to criticize our offense based on performance rankings created for the first three games? I think not. We play much tougher teams than most of the teams we're being compared against (i.e. we're at OK State while Florida is playing Charleston Southern, we're against South Carolina while Florida is against Troy), so it's not really a fair comparison.
If the powers that be chose to do so, we could stack our early games full of easy teams too... but we don't. Let's not criticize our offense because their stats don't match up with teams who haven't really been tested at all yet.

Sage McLaughlin said...

1. A lot. A whole, whole lot.

2. They spend their time in J-school and get congratulate themselves for being "controversial" while actually being subservient to the party line at all times. (e.g., "UF is going to win by 70 points," and "This is a huge victory for UT.")

3. Btter than they looked against Memphis, worse than they looked against SE LA.

4. What you're seeing is the real Les Miles.

5. Only Georgia this year, South Carolina and Georgia next year.