Week 8: Around the SEC, Part 1

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Anyone want to take a guess at who will be the And The Valley Shook SEC Offensive Skill Position Player of the Week

There wasn't a whole lot of drama in the SEC this week.  There were no big upsets or gaudy blowouts.  Just reasonably close games won by the teams that were supposed to win them, for the most part.

Georgia 24
Vandy 14

Once again, Georgia dominates a game statistically, wins it handily, yet somehow we leave the game a little. . . dissatisfied.  

Georgia out-gained the Commodores 425-245, a very decisive advantage.  They had 25 first downs to Vandy's 14.  They held a time of possession advantage of almost 5 minutes.  They beat a ranked team without ever seeming to be in danger of losing it.

In all honestly, I can't quite put my finger on why I was so unimpressed with this win.  Maybe it's just a matter of Vandy doing to Georgia what South Carolina did to us.  They played just good enough defensively to avoid getting blown out, and in the process made a very good offensive team look quite pedestrian.

On a brighter note for Georgia, freshman receiver AJ Green is steadily working his way up the ladder of SEC receivers.  He had 7 receptions for 132 yards in this game.  He's averaging 5.1 receptions per game (which ranks near the top of the conference) and 81.9 yards receiving per game (which ranks at the top of the conference).  He's the most productive true freshman wide receiver this conference has seen in quite some time.  

Really, this game was won by Knowshon Moreno, who had 172 yards rushing on 23 carries to go along with 10 yards receiving on one catch, and one rushing touchdown.  He took it to a pretty solid Vanderbilt defense and carried the offense on a night when Matthew Stafford was fairly average, for him.

Bama 24
Ole Miss 20

Bama just keeps winning.  This is a conference where you just can't look impressive every week, and Bama certainly didn't look that great in this one, at least in the second half.  They fell behind by 3 early, then did their usual run-out to build a big lead, then did their usual 2nd half phone-in.  At least they won though.  It could have been worse.  Had Ole Miss been able to bring just a little bit more at any stage of the game, this would have been a victory for Colonel Reb.

And that's really what I want to talk about.  I expected Ole Miss to be a very solid team this year, and they have been.  At times.  At other times, they've been awful.  They were awful in the first half of this one.  They were solid in the second, but just dug themselves too deep of a hole to get out of it.

Jevan Snead has not been the quarterback I thought he would be.  His completion percentage is so-so, and his ypa is solid at 7.91, but he's thrown as many interceptions as touchdown passes, and those interceptions have been killer.  In this one, Snead threw a bad interception that gave Bama the ball in scoring position and that led to a touchdown.  It's pretty easy to see how bad that one hurt.

The Wild Rebel formation has been only modestly effective with Dexter McCluster behind center.  It was good against Florida, but has been something of a dud since then.  In this game, it appeared to hurt Ole Miss more than it helped them, and not just because McCluster threw an interception, which also led to a Bama touchdown.  He also fumbled, and was generally unproductive running the ball

This is just not as good of a team as I thought they'd be.  I thought, before the season started, that they could be good if they found a good running back and found good defensive backs.  Well, they haven't found any of those, and as a consequence they are only average.  They're still dangerous, but I don't think they can be consistently good the way they're currently configured.  I would drop the Wild Rebel except as a very occasional changeup, and I'd try to find a running back come hell or high water.  Take advantage of the athletic receivers more as well.

Anyway, that's all for now.  More Around the SEC tomorrow.

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