SEC Stock Report, Week 1
A tired meme that played itself out during the offseason was the one which accused the SEC West of being overrated for all of 2014. This was based off an objectively poor performance in bowl season, sure, but anyone who couldn’t tell this was still the best division in America was fooling themselves. Case in point? 12 hours on Saturday.
The East had a few closer games, but traditional powers Georgia and Florida (and in the last 20 minutes) Tennessee did what they needed to do. It’s too early to definitively rank the teams 1-14, so let’s see what happened with their respective stocks after week 1.
BUY- Week 1
Got to start with the two primetime winners. Alabama’s 35-17 win over Wisconsin was everything Alabama– methodical, physical, and suffocating. That defensive front is going to be nearly impossible for anyone (yes, anyone) to run against. Jake Coker was by no means spectacular, but he was good enough to navigate the Wisconsin D after a couple of rough series. To help with that, Derrick Henry proved yet again that he is a monster.
Texas A&M, on the other hand, was an underdog prior to their 38-17 against a very strong Arizona State team. They maintained a 7-14 point lead while trading blows throughout, and you never really felt like the Aggies were in danger of losing. The defense was dominant at times, a horrifying prospect for any and everyone watching. Kyler Murray definitely adds a dimension that nobody else in the country can add, but I think the true freshman’s speed overshadowed an excellent showing from Kyle Allen, who needs to be the guy if A&M is going to step back into the ‘national contender’ category.
Other big winners in week 1, albeit in games where we didn’t learn too much:
- Ole Miss, with its 76-3 win over UT-Martin, got a dazzling performance from Chad Kelly and (obviously) the defense.
- Florida (61-13 over New Mexico State) did what Georgia fans did not want to see: play a competent offensive game. Both Treon Harris and Will Grier looked good while splitting time.
- Arkansas (48-13 over UTEP) showed balance, and if Brandon Allen can be half as efficient (308 yards, 4 TD on 18 attempts) as he was on Saturday…good lord. Rockfights with cannons!
HOLD- Week 1
Don’t be alarmed, but I’m going to slap a big, fat hold on Georgia’s week 1 performance. Why? This will be covered at length on the ‘week in review’ podcast, but the offense looked to me like one that was very capable of getting in its own way. The Dawgs started the game unable to contain the backside rush, causing a few early negative plays for Nick Chubb. The line seemed to have smaller splits and was only creating openings through cutback lanes (which is more a credit to Chubb’s awesomeness than anything else). Running heavy formations all game looked to have more Schottenheimer fingerprints on it than one would want after the effective (and balanced) Mike Bobo days.
The defense was sturdy, even if it allowed way too much to Rashon Ceaser underneath. It’s a whole lot harder to score on a sustained 10-12 play drive than it is on one or two big plays. The approach somehow seemed like a convergence of ‘bend but don’t break’ with aggressive football, and it was fascinating. Props, as always, to Jeremy Pruitt.
A 51-14 win in just over 50 minutes is definitely nice. But there was plenty of room for improvement that will be necessary to avoid another disappointing season.
Auburn overcame three Jeremy Johnson interceptions and held off Louisville, 31-24. The defense played lights out under Will Muschamp for a half, and then failed to contain Louisville’s dual-threat backup in the second. As Auburn is wont to do, they took advantage of multiple Louisville gaffes. Failed mesh point on a read option? 80-yard AU touchdown. Two other blown redzone opportunities? Of course. Finally, in the biggest Bobby Petrino mistake since a certain motorcycle ride, he called his last timeout prior to a third down in the last minute while the clock was stopped. The consequence of that was pretty simple: instead of getting the ball back with 40 seconds, Auburn ran out the clock. Ballgame.
With the D’s second half collapse (partially caused by Carl Lawson’s hip injury) and a less explosive week 1 offense, Auburn doesn’t look like a title contender (yet).
Tennessee gave up 30 points to Bowling Green, and they weren’t garbage time points either. Josh Dobbs, the best receiving corps in the East, and a powerful running game looked scary, though.
- Mississippi State kicked off at 11pm EST, and played as such in a sluggish win at Southern Miss. Not really sure what takeaways to have on them, or their week 2 opponent…
- LSU, who got rained out. Can’t buy or sell on that!
- Mizzou showed a familiar formula in week 1: a strong defense and fairly inept offense. Their 34-3 win over Southeastern Missouri State showed me nothing.
SELL- Week 1:
We’ve got three who I somehow believe LESS in than I did a week ago, no small task for anyone in week 1. Spoiler alert: they all play in the East!
South Carolina’s defensive performance on Thursday night against UNC looks great on a box score, but they got pantsed between the 20’s all night by the Tar Heels. ‘Bend but don’t break’ doesn’t even begin to describe it. The offense failed to get out of its own way for most of the night, as a good bit was manufactured on the ground and one explosive, game winning run by Shon Carson.
The Cocks were the slightly less mediocre team on the field in Charlotte, and that was the difference.
Kentucky needed 59 minutes and 13 seconds to make its lead over Louisiana-Lafayette stick, and that’s not good. Holding the opposing QB to 6 yards per attempt, no touchdowns and 2 picks should be a recipe for a GREAT defensive performance. The Wildcats gave up 33. Ouch.
And finally, there’s Vanderbilt. They scored late to bring it within two, and then multiple Western Kentucky players were quoted saying they knew exactly what the Commodores were going to run for the two-point conversion. WKU gets the stop and holds on, 14-12. Never change, Derek Mason.
Posted on September 8, 2015, in Alabama, Arkansas, Arkansas, Auburn, Blog, Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, SEC, South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.