An entertaining bye week

The SEC pretty much lived up to the hype this weekend.  All I know is that as a Georgia fan, it was nice to kick back and watch the carnage involving the other teams.  (Except for UAB-Arkansas, which nobody cares about anyway.)

  • Mississippi State 45 Kentucky 31.  In my last Power Poll ballot, I asked how the Bulldogs would handle success.  It may not have been pretty at times, but they got the job done.  It was something of a back and forth affair, as the teams combined for more than a thousand yards of offense, but you never really felt that Kentucky was on MSU’s level.  Still, it took one of my favorite plays, a touchdown return on an onside kick (I hope Lou Holtz still remembers the one he served up in Athens) to put the game away for good.  From a Georgia perspective, there are a couple of things to be concerned about.  First, Danielson’s comparison of Patrick Towles to Ben Roethlisberger has some truth to it.  He’s a big kid with a big arm who can run just well enough to be a pain in the ass.  And Danielson made another good point picking up how well Stoops adjusts his defense after the offense makes its pre-snap read.  That’s something Mason has to stay focused about.  One the other hand, both of UK’s lines are inconsistent and they had no answer to MSU’s rushing game.
  • Missouri 24 Vanderbilt 14.  It is one of the bigger mysteries of the season, how this mediocre Missouri team is still in the hunt in the SEC East.  But at 3-1 in the conference, there the Tigers are.  Mauk stepped his game up from awful to merely average, so I suppose that’s something to build on.  But I don’t see how this team can run the table on its schedule.
  • LSU 10 Mississippi 7.  So, they still can play some defense these days.  This was a bruiser of a game, from start to finish.  LSU finished minus-3 in turnover margin (minus-4 until the last nine seconds, if you want to be technical about it), whiffed on an easy field goal, fumbled in the red zone, had a joke of a downfield passing game and still came away with the win.  Contrary to Herbstreit’s fixation, it wasn’t so much because the Ole Miss defense hadn’t faced a power running game as it was Bo Wallace picking a bad time not to show up.  Plus, Hugh Freeze’s weird attempt to out-Les Les Miles after the timeout and run another play may not have been the smartest call in the world, given how his quarterback had played in the second half.  Ole Miss’ defense is fabulous, but when the offense doesn’t show up, it’s simply not enough to win.  And LSU’s having a heckuva rebuilding year.
  • Auburn 42 South Carolina 35.  Love him or hate him, you have to admire Steve Spurrier’s ability to craft a game plan and adjust during the game.  He knew going in that his defense was seriously undermanned and that the only way he was going to steal a win on the road was to do everything he could to outscore the Tigers.  And with a variety of moves – a terrifically executed onside kick, five of six fourth-down conversions and steady, aggressive playcalling on offense – he almost pulled it off.  The problem was, as we’ve seen all season, his team just isn’t talented enough.  Two interceptions in the end zone were killers.  At this point, the ‘Cocks are playing for pride, and you know that’s a huge letdown for Spurrier.  For Georgia, Auburn confirmed what Auburn’s about:  it can run the ball better than anybody, its passing game is efficient, but there are holes on defense that can be exploited.  Look for a shootout in Athens.
  • Alabama 34 Tennessee 20.  Hey, the Vols outscored the Tide in the second half.  It’s a moral victory!  That’s nice.  But for some reason Butch Jones decided to start Nathan Peterman, who plays more like J. Peterman, and the defensive staff decided it wasn’t really necessary to focus on Amari Cooper, so there was the little problem of trying to dig out from under a 27-0 deficit first.  If Cooper ever gets hurt, the Alabama offense is going to be in bad shape, because it looks like Junior doesn’t know how to call anyone else’s number (Cooper caught nine of Alabama’s fourteen completions).

At this point, the West remains one crazy-ass place.  You can’t even say that LSU is out of it yet; the Tigers face the Tide, and if they somehow pull that off, they’ve still got a shot to win the division if a few more chips fall the right way.  Auburn has Ole Miss, so there will be another two-loss team in the division after next weekend.  The whole thing may come down to the last week of the season.

The East is a two-team race now, with Georgia in control of its destiny.  That worked out just fine in 2011 and 2012, but 2014 is turning out to be too weird a year to get comfortable yet.  Hang on.

35 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

35 responses to “An entertaining bye week

  1. dudemankind

    Ole Miss turned a 42 yard field goal attempt into a 47 after they waited until around 18 seconds on the play clock to send in their unit. Blown call of the game IMHO.

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    • Bright Idea

      If Freeze were Richt the AJC, Finebum and every talking head alive would skewer him over the end of that game. With 9 secs left and 3rd down and 0 timeouts he could not afford a sack so his FG team should have been sent out immediately. Happiest man alive is that freshman kicker who didn’t have to be the goat.

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  2. We’ve all said it before, when Spurrier is “on”, he’s the best in the game. It’s not like AU played poorly. I don’t think any other coach in the country could have taken that SC team into AU last night and had a shot at the end. Spurrier said afterwards too that he was gonna go for 2 if they had scored there at the end, he knew that was his best chance to win. Wouldn’t been a helluva win. Spurrier’s problem is he just isn’t “on” as much as he used to be. Always for us and always for Clemson, but the rest of the year is a crapshoot. They had the talent to overcome in most games the last few years, but this year they don’t.

    And is there any doubt in your mind that if the shoe had been on the other foot in the Ole Miss-LSU game, and it was LSU needing a score and threw an ill-advised pass towards the endzone, that the ball would have ricocheted off at least 4 players before falling gently into the arms of a wide open LSU receiver?

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  3. MT Dawg

    Thank you! Don’t get too comfortable… My feeling exactly!

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  4. Goat Balls

    AU – good offense Ok defense. I like our chances.

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  5. Macallanlover

    Good observations, Senator. Kentucky will be a tough out for us, that ability to escape pressure up the middle worries me based on past UGA defenses. Miss State won’t win the West if they aren’t better than what I saw yesterday in Lexington. I really hope we get the night game against Auburn, it will be a shootout. The changes Pruitt made to the weight and speed of our defensive line could pay off for us in that game. Mizzou has at least two more losses to come unless they find some magical cure for that offense.

    Spurrier used that off week well to wake SC up but it took all his creativity to keep them in the game. I think the TN game this week could take the fire out of SC, it would be tough to lose to games coming out of the mid-season break. Man. this is a tough league.

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  6. Inept coaching continues to post moral victories on Rocky Top. Why would Butch Please not play Dobbs earlier this season? I have to think that UT pulls out a win in the SEC (maybe last week against Ole Miss) with Dobbs running the O.

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  7. You make an interesting point about junior’s tendencies as an offensive play caller. At USC (as head coach), it was apparently a point of contention in the locker room that kiffin’s whole strategy appeared to be getting the ball to marqise lee. He doesn’t distribute the ball enough like did when he was OC at USC. Over the course of a season, it hinders an offense’s development, particularly when late-season defenses-with the benefit of a lot of film–figure out an answer.

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  8. Spike

    If Kentucky had tackled better they might have pulled it off. Boy, they missed a lot.

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    • uglydawg

      Esp as the game went on. Arm tackling and missed tackles are the sign of a tired defense. Maybe Georgia can exploit that some….the Dawgs certainly have the running backs to wear a defense down.

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      • I’m kinda worried about Kentucky now to be honest. Stoops has definitely changed the culture and even seems to have fans buying in. Wonder if he’ll stick around for a bit or pull a James Franklin and bolt as soon as he gets a bigger offer.

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        • No One Knows You're a Dawg

          I think he’s gone when he gets a better offer. Wonder if Foley would take the chance on him. Michigan? I can’t think of any other big programs that are going to be open due to firings.

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      • Cojones

        Think that caught a lot of UGA fan eyes. They just don’t have the depth to a bunch of fine athletes.

        Another take-a-way was the offensive scoring on a #1 team’s D. Certainly made me feel better if we face MSU in Atl.

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  9. SouthGaDawg

    Last night makes me think that Spurrier is calling it a career when this season is over. SC is out of the NC and SEC hunt, the way her called that game last night ( went for it on 6 4th downs?), plus he goes out having beaten GA this year. Just a hunch…

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  10. uglydawg

    That would put Florida, and SC both in the hunt for a new HC….plus TN if Michagan comes after Sgt. Carter. I’m thankful for the present stability at UGA right now.

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    • Cojones

      A lot of us are with you, Ug. Notice that the yowling has subsided here? This coaching situation at UGA feels mighty good. Player spirit and resolve feel better as well.

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  11. I’m worried about the gators. I know they are bad and I shouldn’t lose too much sleep but I grew up in the era of UF and UT kicking our asses. Hopefully boom has already lost this team and there won’t be any rallying on their part.

    Almost a bad time to have a bye after the momentum from the last two games. Anyone got any guesses, inside info, wild conjecture if Gurley will be reinstated this week? Or hopefully Michel is healed up to spell Chubb.

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    • Cojones

      Sorry you grew up in that era, but you should listen to old farts trying to fill you in for your past games missed so that you might share that feeling of Program confidence that many of us have, no matter their travail that appears from time to time.

      Never short this Dawg football team when times are bad. That’s when they need all the accolades and screaming that you can pour in as a supportive fan; not needed so much when they are cruising high. Get yourself seated on the bandwagon, apply some loyalty glue and stick with them when the wagon begins to tilt from time to time.

      You can enjoy and appreciate this sport and this team more as they overcome problems and excell.

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      • I’m trying to my man. I’m a pessimist by nature but I’m trying to take a much more positive outlook on sports. Especially the Dawgs. Sports are supposed to be fun after all or at least I’ve been told lol.

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  12. Bright Idea

    Spurrier not going to retire now IMO. He will change DCoordinators and keep calling ball plays, which is about all he does. He’s got to hang around until his sons land coaching jobs.

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  13. Will Trane

    Bo Wallace has more game experience than any QB in the SEC. He would sit on the bench behind a Murray There are no passing QBs in the SEC this season.
    Les Miles is a true word-smith. The Percy Shelley and John Keats of SEC coaches. His comments going in at half time were, in some many words, we got them where we want them and they have no clue about it. The turnovers from a young offense is what kept this game close score-wise. So much for an what many think is a very good Ole Miss defense. Coming from out of their goal line with the 4th quarter clock and scoreboard against you is putting a stake into the Ole Miss defense.. LSU annihalted the Ole Miss linebackers and defense ends.
    Bama and LSU will decide who goes from the SECW Makes you wonder now why Bama did not attack the gaps like LSU did against OLe Miss.
    Kentucky proved that if try to tackle a strong physical running back up high you are going to give up some yards after contact, even perhaps a score or two.
    Best spoken words post game from Michigan States coach. Like that. Way to go coach…jsut tell Big Blue to go to hell…damn if that arrogant bunch does not deserve it..

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