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SEC Thoughts at the Midpoint...

Midpoint of the college football season -- here are some thoughts on the Southeastern Conference thus far.

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports
  • Year of the Offense -- there are currently three SEC defenses in the national top 30 in scoring defense: Alabama, Florida and Auburn. In 2012 and 2011, six teams finished in that number. Meanwhile, nine teams are averaging 6.4 yards per play or better. That's not only more than double last season, it's a five-year high.

  • Missouri's big win in Georgia, while somewhat predictable given the Dawgs' MASH unit of a team, puts them in the driver's seat in the SEC East, provided they can overcome the separated shoulder of James Franklin and whatever absence it leads to. The other, OTHER Tigers are mostly doing this with offense, obviously. But don't discount their defense -- currently top three in the league in rushing D and second in the league in tackles for loss. Senior defensive end Michael Sam is also currently tied for the league lead in sacks with Arkansas' Chris Smith.

  • With last week's effort of holding Kentucky to just 170 yards of offense, Alabama has begun to encroach on Florida's spot as the SEC's top defense. Of course, as you might expect, schedule's helped. The Tide has faced all of one top-50 offense (Texas A&M, who topped the 600-yard mark). Three of the offenses on the slate aren't even in the top 100.

  • As bad as Auburn has looked at times this season, here they are at 5-1 with a big game coming up in College Station. Gus Malzahn's gotten the total offense into the league's top five, bolstered mostly by a league-leading 287 yards per game on the ground. The question now is whether Jeremy Johnson's four touchdowns last week are a sign of possible competency through the air. Don't get me wrong -- Auburn has little, if any chance of stopping the Aggies and Johnny Manziel. But Auburn's going to be able to move the football.

  • How good has Jarvis Landry been this year? His 15 catches for 282 yards on third down lead the SEC by nearly 60 yards (over Mike Evans) and seven catches (over Trey Burton). The 14 first downs those catches have generated double Evans and ODB, who are tied for No. 2 in that stat with 7 first downs each.

  • Is this weekend a must-win for Dan Mullen against Kentucky? Mississippi State faces South Carolina, Texas A&M and Alabama in the next month. If the Wildcats can somehow spring an upset in Starkville on Saturday, it's going to make a winning season awfully difficult, even with a closing twosome of Arkansas and Ole Miss.

  • Speaking of Arkansas, four straight losses set up a rough finish. At Alabama this week, then Auburn, at Ole Miss, Mississippi State and the season-ender in Baton Rouge. The Mississippi games might be winnable, but that's it. Still, if you really want to find some silver linings for year one of the Bert Beeslemma Project, it's that the Razorbacks are, slowly, adopting to his style. Rushing yards per game are up by nearly 100 a game (216 compared to 118 in '12), and the Hogs have allowed just five sacks through seven games. But they're in the bottom of the half of the league in every passing category, and dead last in both completions (84) and completion percentage (49).

  • Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams are at least a heck of a running back tandem though, and I'm very curious to see how they perform against Bama on Saturday. LSU was able to learn a lot from watching Arkansas attack Florida before the game got out of hand. The Hogs might give LSU some more notes this weekend.