How ’bout that newfangled SEC parity?

After those Tennessee and Vanderbilt wins, you couldn’t turn to a media site covering college football without tripping over some resident pundit’s proclamation that we were witnessing the remaking of the order of the SEC. Even Mike Slive chirped in about that.

So how did the new kidz do this week?  Welp, the Commodores traveled to College Station, went +2 in turnover margin, recovered an onside kick (and dodged a bullet on a successive onside kick that went out-of-bounds), forced turnovers on four straight possessions by a Texas A&M team that started a Johnny Manziel who obviously wasn’t 100% healthy… and lost by 32.  Tennessee looked outclassed literally from the opening kickoff in this year’s version of the third Saturday in October (who was that red team?).  Same old, same old, in other words.

The reality is that this story was way overblown.  There is some newfound parity in the West, but it’s at the margins.  TAMU isn’t as good this year because its defense has taken a step back.  Auburn is the most improved team in the conference because Gene Chizik turned out to be the head coach we all thought he was when he came from Iowa State.  And Hugh Freeze with that excellent recruiting class has given Ole Miss a puncher’s chance in every game it plays.  But the big picture hasn’t changed.  LSU is the LSU we expect under Les – great when they put their minds to it.  Alabama is just great, period.

The story in the East isn’t that there’s a new sheriff or two in town.  It’s that two of the old sheriffs got the crap beat out of them in a bar fight and are in recovery mode.  You’d think everyone would have figured out that health is the name of the game in this division after watching Missouri’s return behind a healthy, experienced group this season.  If every team in the East were as healthy as the Tigers, does anyone honestly think the division would look like this today?

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35 Comments

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35 responses to “How ’bout that newfangled SEC parity?

  1. TennesseeDawg

    If Missouri doesn’t make it to the SECCG after the position they were in last week, it will be an epic meltdown.

  2. sniffer

    In a word, hell no. Missouri looked smallish to me, along the line. And way too many white boys. They got some ‘cruitin to do. It was a nice story for two weeks and they may still win the East, but…

    I don’t know what to think about going to Atl. It would be nice, but do we really want to face Bama or LSU, again? I don’t. I’ll just say it. I don’t see us staying in the game with either team, from the kickoff! Nor do I care what bowl game we get to. I say, let SCe or MO go get a whoopin.

    • Merk

      Getting to the game helps recruiting and recruiting helps getting to the game….

      • sniffer

        I fail to see how recruiting is helped by getting drilled. And, I believe we would get beaten badly. 9-4, win or lose the Chik-fi-lay, really?

        • Puffdawg

          I question the fandom of anybody who wants another team to represent the East in Atlanta. Because, you know, like, upsets never happen.

  3. Beer Money

    Given that Missouri has already found themselves being in uncharted waters what with being the FAVORITE to win the East as of the last 2 weeks or so, then to have a meltdown like that in that game last night, I could see the wheels coming completely off for Missouri. They had the game in hand and got outcoached by Spurrier and did not have an answer to Shaw (who by the way, is one helluva player…hat’s off).

    If UGA had either 1) put Reggie Davis in to field all punts, 2) been able snap a punt properly, 3) had a referee crew that was not blatantly looking to get Slive’s attention with bogus targeting calls like the ass kissers they are…ANY OF THESE, the Dawgs would have woke up this morning tied for the lead in the SEC East. Sigh…

  4. Will Trane

    CMR, “Vandy always plays us tough in Nashville”. Code for “more than likely we get beat” and “staff never does a good job of game prep and game management for Vandy”. After all Vandy is always highly ranked when we play them

  5. Even if we were healthy, every game would still be a shootout and there would be little margin for error.

    • Inaccurate. Neither the Vandy nor Missouri games would have been shootouts if we were healthy. I know the majority of fans speak with their hearts and all, but I’ve been seeing way too many comments like this all over the place. You have to understand the difference that having players like Gurley and Mitchell and Bennett in the lineup makes. 3-and-outs become 3-series drives. Defenses get worn down more. Murray’s timing is better. Play is elevated. These things make a difference over the long haul. Does Vandy come back with those guys in the game? No. Why? Because our offense keeps the ball out of their hands. That’s not even mentioning the defenders we’ve had out as well. Purely having all of our offensive weapons makes our defense better.

      • Macallanlover

        Exactly right, nice post. You cannot overstate the impact the enormity these injuries have had. I liked this teams chance to shoot it out with Bama at the start of the season, now I don’t even want a part of Ole Miss. The bowl matchup could be difficult too given our problems in coverage and lacking the offensive firepower to get into a shootout.

      • IveyLeaguer

        I don’t think the Missouri or Vandy games would’ve been real close. But I’m not sure about Florida and Auburn. Maybe not as well played, but I suspect both games would have been similar to SC and LSU, the League being what it is.

        This was never a solid, championship team, even with the great talent on offense. We know that now. For one, we don’t have the defense or the special teams. However, the injuries (the loss of the extraordinary offensive firepower) exposed a fundamentally unsound team that was being carried by the great offensive balance that firepower provided.

        It’s not a shock. We were not solid in the Clemson game. It’s just that some of us were hoping we had left the old ways behind with the SC and LSU performances. That we were, at long last, heading in another direction and were finally, once again, learning how to win.

        Because the first step in learning how to win is learning how to not beat yourself. We were, essentially, in the same place the 2002 team was at that point in the season. The difference is that team learned. They were well-prepared and solid enough every week to force their opponent to beat them. They got better every week, appropriating the confidence and momentum that naturally accumulates with each success.

        Because of the injuries, we needed really good coaching performances these last two games. And we didn’t get it. We didn’t need any magic, gimmick, or even anything extraordinary. All we needed was to make sure we were well-prepared so we could play solid, fundamental football with the players we had. Nothing more than that.

        Instead, we were the sloppy, poorly-focused Georgia team the country has come to know so well. Had we not reverted to our old ways of beating ourselves, we would be 6-1 right now, ranked #3 or #4, and looking forward to the return of Gurley and Bennett with everything in front of us.

        But we are not that kind of team. Once again, we don’t know how to manage our way through a schedule. It’s true you can’t be emotionally high every week. But you CAN be well-prepared every week. And Georgia has not been able to do that consistently since 2003, Richt’s 2nd year. Since 2006, it has happened so often that beating ourselves, and thus underachieving, has become our trademark.

        And ‘good .. but never good enough’ has been, and still is, our well-deserved reputation.
        ~~~

      • Olddawg 55

        You’re right on all counts, of course…but, it’s like me being born rich instead of good-looking, it might have changed my life. It is what it is and that’s the way it is…hopefully, we’ll win out with a great deal of luck, and then get a “decent” bowl, have fun, and go home.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        Disagree…with a handful of exceptions, our teams of the last few years have seemed to play down to the competition. Add this year’s defense to the equation and a shootout is the rule, don’t you think?

  6. Will Trane

    Mirror teams and coaches. Georgia and Nebraska. Latter will make a change. Think the fan base and alums at Nebraska are tired of the same old same. What is CMR noted for…failed ST, alot of players with injuries evey year, queationable S&C, a position coach that only coaches 2 players , loyalty to former FSU assitants…same old same.

    • D.N. Nation

      Nebraska gave up 60+ points twice last year, were generally clueless against us in the Capital One, and Pelini’s speciality is freaking defense. The two situations are not comparable.

      Though “we should emulate Nebraska” isn’t as ridiculous as your suggestions about Todd Gurley’s manhood, so there’s that.

  7. Will Trane

    In 53 years Bama lost to Vandy twice. Mark Richt has lost to Vandy twice in 8 years. I would definitely say that is parity.
    Or is it having a “football program” and “coaching”. Have not talked to any Dawg alum who is not feed up with “loses to Vandys”, constant injuries year after year, and mediocre coaching.

    • I’m pretty “feed up” with people who can’t spell simple words, but feel they have a critical grasp of a football program. Also, in what world does a 2-6 record indicate “parity”?

      Buy a dictionary, and turn on spell check.

      • JonDawg

        Spanked that whiner quite nicely, there, Dukes..

      • Macallanlover

        Let him alone, he only posts when he can grind his feet on a team knocked to its knees. Doesn’t post so much when we are at full strength and doing well, just likes to criticize…him with all the answers.

  8. Bright Idea

    We got a lot of mileage from the moral victory loss to Alabama and just like the Hawaii Sugar Bowl we immediately got complacent. Running an overly complicated scheme with a bunch of rookies on defense and injuries just added to it.

  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Lost me with the last paragraph, brother Bluto. Our sheriff didn’t lose in a bar fight, and I don’t agree with blaming injuries for a loss to #@% VANDY! Our sheriff resembled the incompetent, but funny, Barney Fife against vandy.

    • So you’re telling me that if Georgia was fully healthy, the Dawgs still would have lost to Vandy?

      • Skeptic Dawg

        It was not that Vandy beat the Dawgs, but rather Mizzou beat the Dawgs twice. Once the final whistle blew in the Mizzou game, this team found itself with nothing to play for. All of their hopes and dreams gone. The coaching staff was unable to shake the cobwebs and bring the team together for 4 quarters in Nashville, hence the mental and physical blunders against the ‘Dores. Will the team regroup and rebound for the remainder of the season? That is where we stand heading into Jax this weekend. I doubt a completely healthy Georgia team beats Vandy. Healthy or not, their dreams and goals would be gone.

        • I doubt a completely healthy Georgia team beats Vandy.

          Oy.

          Let me suggest that whatever perceived funk might have been generated by a Mizzou loss would have been offset by the return of Gurley, Marshall, Mitchell, Scott-Wesley, Bennett, Matthews… aw, hell, just Gurley alone would have been enough.

          Do you really get that much pleasure out of wallowing in pessimism?

          • Macallanlover

            Of course he does Senator, and he has a full sized basketball team of colleagues who help him shovel dirt onto the program every chance they get. Very predictable. Screw ‘em, Bama has plenty of empty seats at the end of all their games so he, Will, Carolina, JRW, etc. can slip in and watch that team.

        • JonDawg

          Well I doubt a completely healthy Georgia team loses to Mizzou, so your point then becomes moot. Have people forgotten we were in that game with just minutes remaining? The wheels came off when we had no room for error, yet had we played our our entire team, we win that game , and the following week against Vandy. But I’m sure you are convinced that if aliens came down and abducted about a 4th of our team, mostly starters and upperclassmen, you would find some way to blame the coaches. You and others of your ilk are just like my back pain, i guess at least you are consistent.

  10. Will Trane

    Spell checker and spelling is parity. Bama drops 2 in 53 years and CMR drops 2 in 8. How do you spell parity at Bama. Not in their dictionary. Standard and level of play is. You are right, parity is in the CMR playbook..

  11. Will Trane

    What was the injury situation in the North Texas game? Not as bad as the STs and the coach.

  12. JRW7

    Will, I think you are on to something, I have been saying for years that CMR sure can recruit, but he can’t coach, and that his recruiting keeps him in games that he won, and some games has been lost due to his lack of coaching skills and his lack of management skills!

    • Todd

      Bingo! Mark Richt teams have made a living off being more talented, and not better coached. Sure Georgia had 641 yards against a bullshit team. And what happened? The special team screw ups were still there like before, but they take a backseat to a “victory” One difference between Bama and Georgia is that Bama will acknowledge a problem and fix it. Georgia just talks about “getting the W”. That is why Georgia can’t beat teams with more talent. If they can, please share with me a win in the last 10 years that this was the case? This fan base has been reduced to USCe fans…..”ifs, ands, buts, coulda, woulda, …wait ti next year, moral victories” It truly is sad.

      • You think this year’s Georgia team is more talented than this year’s LSU team?

        • Todd

          Georgia being healthy, yes I do think Georgia is more talented. At home was a big advantage also. I’ll play though. I’ll give you LSU this year(just for fun). Who else you got over the last 10 years? Sadly, I think this team unhealthy is more talented than Missouri and Vandy for damn sure.

          • By Georgia We Did It

            I agree with you Todd, even about LSU this year being less talented. There aren’t many but the exceptions I would list would be LSU in the 2005 SECCG, and maybe Auburn 2006 (#5). It’s not within the last 10 yrs but the hobnail boot would qualify as well. CMR usually wins against a superior team less often than he loses to an inferior one (UCF, Vandy (twice), GT, UK 2009, Colorado, UT 2007, etc. . You could say we have more chances to lose to inferior ones based on schedules but the reality is good teams don’t lose to inferior teams. They crush them and get some PT for the back-ups. Sometimes it’s not the fact that we lose to better teams it’s the inexplicable nature of the defeat…Alabama 2008, USCe last year, almost every Florida loss, Boise state, WVU.