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Random SEC Thoughts on Week 9

A few random SEC thoughts while I do my Thursday night TV watchin'...

Alabama...By the time Alabama plays again it will have been more than a month since Brodie Parker McElroy has thrown a touchdown pass. Not surprisingly, the Tide's touchdown percentage in red zone scoring is not very high at just 50 percent - even Vanderbilt's is higher. You have to wonder if Julio Jones is going to really go off this season. He's struggling to catch the ball as well as he did last year, and he's just not getting open as easily. It looks like maybe he spent a little too much time in the weight room this offseason and has lost a bit of the quickness that made him so special as a freshman.

Arkansas...They looked like crap against its two biggest Western Division opponents this year, but the Auburn and Florida games showed that this team can be downright scary. If Ryan Mallett's on his game their passing attack is pretty damn hard to stop even for a really good defense. While the defense has been equally bad, there are just enough playmakers in the front seven, like Malcolm Sheppard, Wendel Davis and Adrian Davis, to scare you on a good day.

Auburn...This last month may say a lot about Gene Chizik. Auburn's just not that good of a team, but if he can keep spirits and effort levels high, WarTigerEaglePlainsmen fans should see that as a positive for the future if Chizik can start bringing in more talent.

Florida...Here's a question - all we've been hearing is how John Brantley really is one of the best passers in this conference despite almost no appreciable evidence to back up that assertion. So why isn't he playing? Florida's getting virtually no consistent pop from its passing game. Urban Meyer's shown he's more than willing to platoon quarterbacks, so why not give Brantley some snaps to try and spark the offense a little? Unless the hype is a lil overblown on the kid...and, well we all know that never happens, right?

Georgia...Kind of feel like this year's version of the Cocktail Party (and no, I don't care what I'm supposed to call it) will be closer than most think. Georgia's definitely not a great team but there is talent there (A.J. Green may be playing his position better than any other player in the league is), and Florida's won every big game ugly this year. The Bulldogs are at least good enough to keep that trend going.

Kentucky...Mediocre as Kentucky's offense can be, Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb are two of the best all-purpose threats in this league. Any team in the conference could use these guys and they'd probably be stars on more high-profile squads.

LSU...God, it would be good for the Tigers to have a boring ol' skull-dragging this week versus Tulane. The Green Wave are terrible and it might not be all that meaningful a football rivalry anymore, but it would be good just to see the Tigers flex their muscles against a team we know they can do it against. It'd be a confidence booster for the team and the fan base before this final month.

Mississippi State...Dan Mullen and crew is kind of in the same boat as Auburn. A bowl's probably not in the cards, but State's played tough football and made almost every opponent work hard to beat them this year. If that continues down the stretch it should be a good sign for the future. They may even ruin somebody's season yet.

Ole Miss...So which Ole Miss team is the real one? The one locked down by South Carolina and Alabama's defenses or the one that ran wild on Arkansas's porous unit. This week's game kind of screams "Houston Nutt upset alert," but it's hard to believe this Auburn team is good enough to take advantage.

South Carolina...Has anybody noticed how South Carolina's offense is quietly setting up to be one of the league's best next season? Stephen Garcia is avoiding mistakes and is third in the league in passing yards per game. Alshon Jeffery is emerging as one of the league's top big-play receivers (averaging 18 yards per catch). If they can just develop a line that doesn't give up so many sacks, they may be on the cusp of becoming a very dangerous team.

Tennessee...Lane Kiffin may be a full-of-shit blowhard who's best appreciable skill is his ability to ace a job interview, but personally, I'm glad he called out the SEC officiating office this past week and I think he should continue to do it. Not because there's some sort of conspiracy to get Florida and Alabama through the season undefeated, but because there seems to be a tolerance of the problems. To the point where nobody really takes Rogers Redding seriously anymore.

Vanderbilt...Honestly, Vanderbilt's not THIS bad. This team has some talent and can improve. The offense will lose some experience up front next year but returns the entire backfield and receiving corps. This may not be a bowl team year-in and year-out, but Bobby Johnson seems to have a better process for this program than any of his recent predecessors.