Georgia 41, Tennessee 14
Only one of these two teams checked in under "completely incompetent" on Saturday with a touch of downright "horrendous and sad." And judging from the score, you can figure out which was which (hint: NOT Georgia). Tennessee, fresh off one the most painful losses in recent memory, was thoroughly thrashed by a Georgia team that seemed slightly irritated and ready to finally win a game against a team other than a former directional school. I didn't watch the entire game because I had anything better to do, so I'll need confirmation that Tennessee did actually play with five offensive linemen for most plays. From what I saw, each play went something like this:
-Matt Simms takes snap
-Simms looks downfield
-Simms assumes duck and cover earthquake position
-Simms smashed into the grass
And those four steps took place in about 1.2 seconds. So either Tennessee played with three offensive linemen or Georgia unveiled a new 10 defensive linemen package that kept the Volunteers guessing. And then there's the third option, which is that Tennessee just stinks. Probably a combination of all three.
I was one of the idiots that jumped all over the Tennessee +11.5 line, failing to remember from Ole Miss' ups and downs with Ed Orgeron that bad teams do not play or compete well two games in a row. Granted, Georgia is not a very good team, but their depth and talent are much greater than that of Tennessee. I would be willing to wager a not-so-significant amount of money that the Vols give Alabama a pretty good game in two weeks, then will be obliterated by South Carolina the week after that. Or they could save all that energy and focus on Ole Miss, which, other than Vandy, is probably their best chance to avoid an Ed Orgeron/Bobby Johnson 0-8 season in the SEC.
Arkansas 24, Texas A&M 17
Instead of handing out interceptions and fumbles in large quantities, Jerrod Johnson dialed things back this week and gave out incompletions with great zeal. Johnson, in 40 passing attempts, threw 25 of them, and amazingly, his only interception came on the last play of the game on a desperation throw. So a tip of the hat to you, Jerrod Johnson, for solid self-improvement. However, Texas A&M somehow managed to give the ball away at least four times for the FOURTH CONSECUTIVE GAME. Being a Texas A&M fan would suck.
South Carolina 35, Alabama 21
Not only was I wrong about South Carolina's lack of discipline that was sure to undermine their efforts (1 turnover, 4 penalties), but they even survived and rebounded a Stephen Garcia decision that should have led to one of the great collapses of our time. If you recall, Garcia had the ball snapped through his hands while in the shotgun on his own 19-yard line on the first play of the second half. He picked up the ball on the 5 and instead of falling on it, THREW IT THROUGH THE END ZONE, giving Alabama a safety and crushing the first half momentum South Carolina had built. Had Spurrier not briefly blacked out from rage (but not before throwing his play sheets on the field), I'm quite certain that would have been the end of Garcia's life. Amazingly, the HBC stuck with Garcia AND it paid off. Of course, it helped that South Carolina was able to run the ball with Marcus Lattimore (praise little tiny baby Jesus that Ole Miss doesn't have to play him this year) and it always helps to have Alshon Jeffery (again, more praise to little tiny baby Jesus), who is physically unstoppable.
South Carolina was the first team Alabama played (and may be the only team) that has an offense strong enough to take advantage of Alabama's young secondary and effectively run the ball. And on defense, they were strong enough to hold up against the running game of Alabama and forced Greg McElroy to be the offense (of course, it helps when your offense jumps on them so quickly). McElroy did a pretty nice job when speaking of just his throwing, but really killed Alabama by hanging on to the ball way too long, which resulted in most of the seven sacks by South Carolina. Obviously, that's partially the result of the Gamecocks' secondary providing excellent coverage, but McElroy should know by now that losing chunks of yards is unacceptable. He's got to throw it away or try to pick up a few yards. A good defense defending in third and long situations all of a sudden becomes a much better defense.
I'd like to say we'll see this matchup again in Atlanta, but I refuse to place South Carolina in Atlanta until my eyes see them on television in the Georgia Dome. There's no question the East is now South Carolina's to lose and that gives me little to no confidence that we'll see them in Atlanta because Stephen Garcia remains Stephen Garcia and South Carolina is still South Carolina.
Vanderbilt 52, Eastern Michigan 6
I'll have to get The Belly of the Beast research staff to confirm this (I will not actually do this), but I believe 52 points is as many as Vanderbilt has scored during the 2007-2009 seasons.
LSU 32, Florida 29
From Thursday's post:
"I'm taking Florida, but fully expect to have that pick smashed to pieces by something I've never seen before in a college football game."
Have I ever seen a fake field goal attempted with 35 seconds left by a team trailing by three, the fake field goal involved a flip-over-the-head pass by the holder, the pass went as close to forward as possible, the pass hit the ground, the ball then bounced PERFECTLY STRAIGHT UP IN THE AIR, it was grabbed by the least athletic person on the team (the kicker), the kicker then runs five yards for a first down (aided by a Florida defender falling down), the following play is a quick slant in which Florida misses another tackle and the ball winds up at the Florida 3, the quarterback, and arguably one of the worst in the conference, throws two straight fade passes into the end zone, and the second of which is a perfect throw to win the game?
No, no I have not. And that makes two straight weeks of something I've never seen in a college football game from Les Miles, which confirms that he and the Dark Prince (again, for clarification, not Jackie Sherrill, but the real one) have some sort of contract. However, unlike last week, this was a game LSU deserved to win. If not for two turnovers which gave Florida easy scores and a kickoff return for a touchdown by the Gators, LSU probably wins this game by three or four touchdowns. They looked, and GASP!, like a competent football team. Offensively, they figured out how to make the two quarterback system work (for at least this week) and did a nice job of continuing to encourage Jordan Jefferson to run (though he still threw way too much), which is something he's never really done, either by command or choice (2008: 49 carries, 134 yards 2009: 112 for 171 2010: 58 for 231). Defensively, it helps when Florida is missing its best running back and the Gators keep running the option attack with John Brantely, who moves as if Steve Addazio's legs are carrying him. But, give credit to LSU's defense for shutting down whatever it was Florida was trying to do.
Make no mistake though, LSU is still not a good offensive team. At least for one night, they managed to get themselves in the meaty part of the below average curve, which is multiple notches above where they were. If their defense can continue to play well and face bad quarterbacks, I might not be so inclined to jump off a bridge when this team wins 10 games.
Auburn 37, Kentucky 34
We found out what Las Vegas knew when they set this line at Auburn (-6): Auburn's defense is terrible. I think many of us thought this to be true, but it was finally brought into the light on Saturday night. Luckily for the Tigers, they have Cam Newton, who is dangerously close to becoming Bo Jackson on Tecmo Super Bowl (if Jackson had been allowed to throw). It also helps that Kentucky's defense is much worse than Auburn's. The Tigers may very well win 10 games, but with a defense that cannot protect leads (led 31-14 with one minute before half; gave a up a field goal to lead 31-17 at half), they're going to lose one or two games they shouldn't. HINT: ARKANSAS.
Mississippi State 47, Houston 24
Houston's run defense is still missing in action and missing so badly that I'm not sure Chuck Norris could locate and rescue them out of the deepest and darkest of Vietnamese jungles. 57 carries for Mississippi State, resulting in 409 yards.
GAME I DIDN'T PICK BUT DESERVES MENTION HERE
Ohio State 38, Indiana 10
I'm not sure I'm ready to live in a world in which Ohio State is the number one team in the country. And I know my fragile psyche cannot handle the Buckeyes in yet another BCS title game. So the hopes of a nation rest on your shoulders, young men of Wisconsin and Iowa. DON'T SCREW THIS UP FOR THE REST OF US.
DEUCE MCALLISTER OF THE WEEK
Given to the player who dominated with or without the help of his teammates and coaches
Stephen Garcia, QB, South Carolina
17-20, 201 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Though he was a little shaky in the second half, it was Garcia's ridiculous performance in the first half that win him this week's award. Three touchdowns and terrifying accuracy. A major assist goes to Alshon Jeffery, who will also be on stage with Garcia when he accepts this award.
ERIC OLIVER OF THE WEEK
Given to the player who caused his team’s fans the highest degree of wailing and gnashing of teeth due to blown assignments and generally piss poor play
Urban Meyer, Florida
Steve Addazio, Florida
Seriously, how much more of John Brantley running option plays do you need to see before you make the call that this needs to never happen again? Adjustments are allowed in this game.
JOHN VAUGHT OF THE WEEK
Given to the coach who dominated whatever task was in front of him
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
The HBC finally pulled of a big one while at South Carolina. Well done, sir, well done.
2010 Jevan Snead Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Quarterbacking Failure Leaderboard
Awarded to the SEC quarterback who throws the most interceptions during the season
1. Jordan Jefferson 7
2. Ryan Mallett 6
3. Jeremiah Masoli 5
Tyler Russell 5
Cam Newton 5
6. John Brantley 4
Matt Simms 4
8. Aaron Murray 3
Chris Relf 3
Greg McElroy 3
Mike Hartline 3
Larry Smith 3
WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS WEEK
Arkansas at Auburn
Will Cam Newton continue his rampage through defenses across the South? Will Auburn's secondary give up 500 yards passing? Can Trooper Taylor wave his towel more than he did last week? Is his arm sore? Has he ever worn his hat facing forward? Is his headset even turned on? I CAN'T WAIT TO FIND OUT.