In our first installment, we went through two of the biggest games on the schedule this week, at least in result. In this installment, as usual taken in chronological order, we start weak and end strong.
Western Kentucky 3
Once again, Kentucky gets a win without us really finding out anything about them. They're the most mysterious 4-and-0 team in the country. Kentucky both passed and ran efficiently, though did neither exceptionally. I'm still not a believer in Kentucky, but they have blown out the teams they were supposed to blow out, except Middle Tennessee State.
They get thrown in the deep end of the pool next week.
Next Week: Kentucky @ Alabama, 2:30pm CBS.
South Carolina 26
A last-minute touchdown by UAB made this one look a little closer than it should have. South Carolina may be crap, but they are a lot better than UAB. They outgained UAB 353-207. This game may be most important though as the debut of Stephen Garcia as South Carolina's primary quarterback. He was effective, going 13 for 20 for 131 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception, adding 86 yards rushing along with another touchdown.
South Carolina with a mobile quarterback is actually pretty dangerous, as it helps negate their problems on the offensive line. Of course, their opponent here is UAB, and it will only get harder from here.
Still, this is a team that could have folded up their tents after a bad loss to Vandy, but they haven't. They will continue to be a threat for the time being, particularly if they have found a way to move the ball.
Next Week: South Carolina @ Ole Miss, 1:00pm, no television
Mississippi State 24
We've looked at this over and over again from our perspective, but what of Mississippi State? Maybe they've found a quarterback. Tyson Lee has a passer rating of 126.0 on 71 attempts. Wesley Carroll has a passer rating of 98.2 on 95 attempts. Tyson Lee has taken care of the football while Wesley Carroll has thrown 6 interceptions in this short season.
And interception every 16 pass attempts is awful, especially if you're throwing one touchdown pass every 32 pass attempts.
Even if Tyson Lee is the answer, Mississippi State still has a ton of problems. They aren't rushing the ball effectively. They're not stopping teams defensively. They're not generating the big defensive plays that helped them win games last year. Things are going very poorly for them, and they have very little additional room for error if they're going to make it to a bowl game this year.
I know a lot of people thought MSU did it with mirrors last year, and that they really weren't that good. I don't entirely agree. MSU was a team that fought hard defensively last year. They struggled on offense, sure, but they got after it on defense. This year, I don't see that same spark. They didn't really put up much of a fight against us until the game was out of reach. They held Auburn's moribund offense down, but that seems more an Auburn thing than anything else. They let Louisiana Tech and Georgia Tech move the ball effectively.
I think you can look at the LSU game as a significant step in the right direction. They kept trying, even when the game was out of reach, and did some things effectively on offense. But right now even under the best of circumstances they look like a 5-7 team.
Well, I sure didn't see this one coming. Alright, we can't be cautious in our descriptions of Bama anymore. They're really good. What's more, they seem to be able to turn it up a notch when the games get bigger, such as in the first half of this one and against Clemson.
Once again, despite all predictions to the contrary, it appears that line play is more important than skill players. I would still put Georgia's skill players ahead of Bama's skill players, but Bama's lines are among the most talented around. That was the difference in this game.
And the thing is, no one saw this coming. I thought defensive line play would be the Achilles Heel of this team, but it is perhaps their greatest strength. I thought offensive line play would be average at best, but it's outstanding. That line play has made up for what I consider to be a deficiency at the skill positions. This is not to say that Mark Ingram and Glen Coffee are not good. They are. But they aren't C.J. Spiller and James Davis. They aren't Knowshon Moreno. John Parker Wilson is not now nor will he ever be Matthew Stafford, but give him solid line play and the running attack that comes with it and he can hurt you.
I watched little of this game, but Mrs. ATVS tells me that Bama benefited early from some penalty calls that extended Bama drives, and that they simply overwhelmed the Bulldogs with their intensity early. Like Clemson, Georgia just didn't fight back until it was too late (Clemson still hasn't fought back, apparently).
It seems this Bama team is going to be a fast starter in big games. Opponents will have to withstand the initial onslaught or counter it, and then wear them down.
Kentucky is up next, and Bama should crush them unless they come out and play a bad game.
Next week: Kentucky @ Bama, 2:30pm, CBS; Georgia is idle.