Two things about the conference become more readily apparent each week: the bottom part of the conference is worse than it’s been in a while and the superiority of the West has vanished.
We’re a third of the way through the season. While that’s not a definitive sample size (Ole Miss hasn’t played a conference game yet), it’s enough to start drawing some general conclusions about a program’s health. I’ve added net yards per game numbers to the ballot this week as illustration. Given the time of year, the cupcake factor is outsized, but on the other hand, any team running a net negative ypg figure now is not going to contend for a division title in 2012.
- Alabama (+240). The Tide just keeps on keeping on.
- LSU (+242.5). That’s actually the best net number in the SEC, but playing a tight game against a weak Auburn squad doesn’t strengthen the Tigers’ case.
- Georgia (+186.7). Given the suspensions and the reliance on true freshmen at key spots on offense and special teams, it’s fair to say that so far things have gone as well as Mark Richt could have reasonably hoped.
- South Carolina (+124). The defense hasn’t missed a beat without Ellis Johnson.
- Florida (+102.5). A bye week and then it gets interesting with three top six teams in the following four weeks.
- Mississippi State (+49). Undefeated, but the net yardage figure suggests that’s something of a mirage.
- Texas A&M (+182.6). Played Florida close in the opener and overwhelmed two cupcakes. In other words, we really don’t know much about the Aggies yet.
- Tennessee (+121.5). The Vols handle another non-conference opponent with ease. Too bad they’ve got four straight games against ranked SEC foes coming up next.
- Missouri (+31.5). South Carolina exposed the Tigers’ weakness on both lines. This year is shaping up as a tough one for Mizzou.
- Ole Miss (+114.7). Enjoy that shutout high, Rebel Black Bears. This week’s game is going to be short and brutish.
- Vanderbilt (+56). Weirdly enough, I look at Vanderbilt and think the ‘Dores should be doing better than they are. Is that a culture change?
- Auburn (-121.5). A quintessential moral victory: made LSU sweat bullets, but in the end found themselves essentially eliminated from the SEC West race after two conference games.
- Arkansas (-66.3). If Kentucky had been able to play Maxwell Smith against the Gators, I suspect the Hogs would still be in my cellar. Them’s the breaks.
- Kentucky (-25.5). Morgan Newton’s passer rating against Florida: 23.96. Funny, I thought it would have been lower.