One thing about this weekend’s SEC slate

Outside of Alabama and Missouri, there’s uncertainty about how much of the conference shapes up.  Some of that should change, based on these four games:

  • Tennessee – Florida
  • LSU – Mississippi State
  • Kentucky – South Carolina
  • Kansas State – Vanderbilt

Florida’s gotten an unexpected bye week to prepare for the Vols, and based on what we saw against Michigan, the Gators needed it.  One question there is whether the suspensions continue.  [UPDATE:  They will, apparently.]

Mississippi State has played weak opposition, but Bill Connelly notes that the Bulldogs have still managed to punch considerably above their S&P+ weight.  They’re at home and getting almost seven points against an LSU team that’s looked better than I thought.

Here’s what Matt Melton has to say about the third game:

Is South Carolina the most statistically unimpressive 2-0 FBS team? No way. Take a look at the overall numbers for Illinois or Old Dominion. However, the Gamecocks are the probably the most statistically unimpressive 2-0 team with a pair of legitimate wins. The Gamecocks have beaten a pair of Power Five opponents away from home despite being outgained by over 300 total yards and despite averaging nearly half a yard fewer per snap than their opponents. How have they done this? They have pretty much run the board in ‘The Little Things Bingo’. The Gamecocks have returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, have a turnover margin of +4, and have stopped their opponents three on fourth down. While it is possible to walk this tight rope for a full season (hell my alma mater did it in 2006), expecting it to continue is a good way to be disappointed. Teams will eventually stop kicking to Deebo Samuel and for a few games here and there, the turnover margin will probably swing the other way. This team feels like a lite version of Muschamp’s second Florida team. The defense is not nearly as good, but the passing game is better. That Florida team was able to skate by all season on middling per play numbers, but then 2013 happened. The bill usually comes due. Anyway, while that Florida team was able to keep winning all year, they were not very good against the number as a favorite, posting a 3-5 ATS mark in the role with two outright losses. Kentucky has flown under the radar in the early going with less than impressive wins against Southern Miss and Eastern Kentucky. However, Kentucky has actually won the last three games in this series despite being an underdog twice and the Gamecocks have only covered once against the Wildcats since 2009 (the first game after Stephen Garcia was dismissed in 2011). Look for more of the same this week. South Carolina may move to 3-0, but the Wildcats will put up a fight.

That’s a good point about the resemblance to Boom’s 2012 Gator team, except that team actually beat some really tough opposition.  In that regard, the jury is still out on South Carolina.  That being said, I’ve seen nothing out of Kentucky so far that impresses me.

As far as Kansas State and Vandy go, that’s an interesting cross-conference meeting.  I’ve made a note about Shurmur’s hot start, but Matt notes that Ralph Webb’s start hasn’t been nearly so impressive, particularly when you consider the opposition.  He’s not kidding; right now, Webb’s 2.78 ypc ranks 37th in the SEC.  Is Shurmur thriving because defenses are keying on Webb?

What are y’all’s thoughts?

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24 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

24 responses to “One thing about this weekend’s SEC slate

  1. AusDawg85

    Gators have so many distractions going on for weeks now, hard to see how they’ll have the same kind of focus UT should bring to Gainesville. McE doesn’t strike me as the kind of coach who rallies the team beyond their capabilities. LSU should roll. I like Vandy’s chances. KY vs. USCe is probably the most interesting match-up to see if either looks ready to break-out above their pre-season predictions.

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    • Got Cowdog

      I hope this meteor game is as good as UT/tech. Lots of gator tears, lots of hillbilly angst. Then they could almost both lose, that would be great.

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  2. 3rdandGrantham

    SCU fans are besides themselves and feel they have a ’05 USC type season upon them, but IMO they are fools gold and will fall back to earth rather quickly. How in the world NCST didn’t win that game with double the total yards and almost 3 times as many first downs is beyond me. And while they indeed got a road win at Mizzou, they are a total mess, and gave up 40+ points to Missouri State the week before. With that said, they have a chance to be 6-1 with their easy schedule ahead, so I’m sure they’ll be jacked up when we play them.

    I think UF beats UT in what will be an ugly game, and Vandy will beat KSU. I’m very impressed with LSU’s D, and OC Canada seems to have turned things around after years of mediocrity at best under Miles. LSU very well might give Bama a run for their money out west.

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    • Sides

      Mizzou is a mess on D but that is not why they lost that game. The D actually played pretty well. The offense only scored 13 points and turned the ball over in the red zone resulting in a quick TD. I’ll bet that 13 points is their lowest offensive output of the year and it happened at home.

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  3. dawgtired

    As unimpressive as SC has been, TAMU and ARK are winnable games for them and both follow SC with Bama. The next four up for SC are UK, LouTech, TAMU & Ark. These are all winnable for them…they could roll into Knoxville undefeated…what??

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  4. Sides

    The stats for SC are a little misleading. They may be outgained by 300 yards but they lost 2 possessions because of kick return TD’s. The turnovers have also been with favorable field position and quick strike TD’s. Basically they are winning the field position and turnover battle, playing good red zone D, making opposing offenses execute a lot of short plays (more opportunities for turnovers), and have been efficient scoring on offense.

    The team definitely has some holes (more depth than starting talent) but the offense should improve through the year and hopefully the D can hang on. They can beat or lose to anyone on the schedule. I think they handle KY this week and start 3-0 with 2 SEC wins and an ACC win.

    Btw, look at QB production for Florida in 2012 vs 2013. I think that explains the difference between the two teams.

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  5. Cojones

    FU’s injury report at Don Best states beside each of 8 suspended players: “is downgraded to expected to miss Saturday vs Tennessee U”. It goes on to list 3 “out indefinitely” with injuries; 1 “out for season” ; 3 questionable and 1 upgraded to probable. That’s a grand total of 16 players with 12 of them out probably.

    Does anyone have an update on Sony’s ankle injury?

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    • Ginny

      Kirby said he will be limited in practice this week but hopefully good to go for Saturday. Thinking unless we absolutely need him (and gawd help us if we do against Samford) then we should just let him rest.

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      • Russ

        Exactly. If we need Sony to beat Samford, then we’ve got much bigger issues. I’m thinking Chubb, Herrien (or is it Henerin?), Swift, and Payne can hold down. Holyfield can play as well. No need to tweak Sony’s ankle any worse.

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  6. PTC DAWG

    UF/Carolina/LSU/KST

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  7. Not sure if you caught this little tidbit from Bill C’s Numerical post earlier this week, but it’s interesting given what they lost on defense last year.

    6. The Commodores are knocking you backward

    That Vandy is 2-0 isn’t a total surprise, but the way the Dores have accomplished it is.

    Despite all-world linebacker Zach Cunningham, they ranked just 55th in havoc rate (tackles for loss, passes defensed, and forced fumbles per play) in 2016.

    Early in 2017, they are an easy No. 1 in havoc right now at 31 percent. Hell, their front seven alone (20.8 percent) would rank in the top 30 overall.

    Linebacker Charles Wright and end Dare Odeyingbo each has 4.5 TFLs already, and corner Tre Herndon has broken up three passes. A havoc rate of over 30 percent is unsustainable, but we’ve seen clear signs of improved aggression here, and that makes Saturday’s visit from Kansas State maybe the most underrated game of Week 3.

    Shorter Bill C. – Derek Mason is a defensive wizard who is about to face the wizard of all wizards in Bill Snyder.

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  8. Hogbody Spradlin

    So Boom can make chicken salad out of chicken shit for a year or two with Florida level recruiting. Let’s see how long it lasts in a recruiting ground with only 5 million people.

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  9. Macallanlover

    Very interested in seeing LSU/MSU, and hoping it is a very physical game. We aren’t where we need to be on offense so we don’t need another tough test before going to Knoxville. Our defense and STs have to carry us until our young offense gets its legs under themselves before we hit the stretch run. We won’t be a highly productive offense until late in the season, but we expected the defense to carry us in 2017 before the season began, and that may still be enough to get to Atlanta, I don’t see anything that has changed that assessment after the first two weeks.

    SC may well beat Kentucky but they are empty suits as a threat in the East. There is a reason no one outside Columbia is buying the smoke and mirrors, they are just average, similar to last season. The trouble is KY was supposed to have upgraded to be average and they just haven’t looked that good so far. The Vandy game with KState will be a telling match up between two well coached teams. I think the Dores are a bigger threat to us than SC, we will see if they are for real this weekend. I don’t thin they can compete for the East, but they have a big say in who does win it.

    Until today I felt FU would take TN down this week but the investigation hanging over the Gators and the suspended players still being out makes this a tossup to me.

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  10. William Abbott

    Totally agree on SC. They only beat NC St on the KR TD & 2 turnovers while NC St QB put up huge numbers. Mizz RB got hurt, WRs dropped passes & turnovers again. Not sold on the Gamecocks

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