Even though it was the first week of the season, a handful of future LSU opponents played teams with a pulse, and there are some other things to say about the other teams.
In the SEC, there were two pretty big bits of news. First, Georgia lost to Oklahoma State, 24-10, and didn't look particularly good in the process. To make matters worse, their starting left tackle was lost for the year with another knee injury. I was bullish on Georgia before this, and needless to say, I am no longer bullish. The story of this game was the turnovers. Georgia committed 3 of them, while OSU did not commit any. Oklahoma State scored 10 points off of those turnovers, both on short fields. Oklahoma State also outgained Georgia, though both defenses played well. Georgia only allowed 307 yards of offense. A.J. Green was held in check, catching only 4 passes for only 52 yards. No one really stepped up to replace Knowshon Moreno's ground game. This was an important game for Georgia, as they were out to prove that the doubters were wrong, but they couldn't do it.
Gene Chizik and, in particular, Gus Malzahn announced their presence in the SEC with authority, as Auburn whipped up on a Louisiana Tech team that many thought might pull an upset. The passing game was good, but the ground game dominated, as two different Auburn running backs went for over 100 yards, including true freshman Onterrio McCalebb. Auburn had over 500 yards of offense. Louisiana Tech receiver Phillip Livas was not really a factor, though I still wish we had him on our roster. Sadly, I didn't watch any of this game because I was busy cooking gumbo. I can't really say much about it, unfortunately. Still, it's a pretty impressive stat line. Auburn is starting to look like a formidable opponent.
One other SEC team played an opponent with a pulse, as Alabama wore out Virginia Tech early and beat them late, eventually winning 34-24. It went pretty much as expected, as Alabama used a strong running game and OK passing to run up a few points, while the defense clamped down on the Virginia Tech offense. If not for an early kickoff return for a touchdown, this would not have been a particularly close game. Still, Virginia Tech took a lead to halftime, but couldn't get anything going after that, though it was still a contest until Alabama scored a clinching touchdown with under 3 minutes to play. Mark Ingram made a case to be named ATVS SEC Offensive Speed Position Player of the Week by racking up 150 yards rushing and scored the clinching touchdown on a swing pass out of the backfield. Alabama clearly had the most impressive debut of any of our future opponents, when you take into account the quality of competition.
Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, and Florida all played patsies and none of them had any trouble or suffered any significant injuries as far as I've heard.
Outside of the conference, future LSU opponents Louisiana-Lafayette and Tulane were in action. ULL beat Southern University 42-19, but they gave up a lot of yards to a SWAC team. They gave up over 8 yards per pass attempt and gave up pretty good points, though they were certainly never in danger of losing. This is a game that does not exactly announce ULL as a difficult opponent.
Tulane was blown out by Tulsa and appeared to be badly overmatched the entire game. They do not appear to have the line play to keep up with a good team, but I was pretty impressed with Tulane's running back and their #1 wideout, Jeremy Williams, who made some big plays.
It was a good first week, as first weeks go. Still, coming weeks will tell us a lot more.