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SEC Thoughts Four Weeks In

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Taking stock of the SEC West before LSU hits that portion of the schedule.

Colorado State v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

We’re at the five week mark of the college season. LSU might not be in action this weekend, but these breaks always offer a good chance to take a breath and look around the rest of the league. Especially the SEC West, since we’re about to hit division play in a couple of weeks.

Alabama

Gross. Ridiculously good still, no excuse to lose a game I don’t care how many defenders they lose. And even if they do drop a game it won’t matter because they’ll still make the playoffs.

Arkansas

Somebody poke these guys with sticks. To date, Chad Morris has done everything but win in Fayetteville, and I think everyone involved here understood this was going to be a long-term rebuild. But it’s going to be really tough to sell progress if you don’t build on a 2-10 year one. The good news is Arkansas has matched that win total, but the bad news is that with the exception of Western Kentucky, there isn’t another sure win left on this schedule. This team really needed a fast start to think about a bowl game, and 2-2 wasn’t it.

But the funniest possible week five result, at least in my opinion, would be an upset over the Aggies on Saturday. So let’s root for that.

Auburn

I thought we’d see a fast start from the Other Tigers coming into this season, mostly because I thought we’d see the running game uptick along with another fantastic defense. But is it sustainable? I think we’ll find out a lot over the next two weeks, in advance of the match-up with LSU at the end of October.

A lot’s being made of Bo Nix right now, but this offense goes where the running game takes it. And Auburn’s overall numbers are heavily padded by a 467-yard game versus Kent State right now. If Mississippi State’s defense is at full strength this weekend, that might be an interesting match-up.

Mississippi State

This is still the division’s wild card. They have last season’s running game — freshman Garrett Shrader adds a dimension there at quarterback. Not last year’s defense, but they’re currently the league’s best at getting teams off the field on third down. We could learn a lot about them this weekend against Auburn.

Ole Miss

Well, at least they aren’t last in the league right now with Arkansas struggling. But this team is about as bad as I expected. The NCAA restrictions — and the affects that their specter had on Hugh Freeze’s last couple of recruiting classes — kill you on the line of scrimmage and that’s where this team is just not very good right now. I almost feel bad for Matt Luke, because there aren’t many other coaches that would do better with this roster. And its not like Ole Miss had a ton of options when they made that hire anyway.

Texas A&M

Same thing here — I always expected this team to have a rough time with a very difficult schedule. There’s nothing really dependable about this offense right now. The running game is short-handed (and apparently purposely not using a potential asset) and Kellen Mond isn’t the kind of player that can just make it work without some sort of security blanket at receiver. And the defense doesn’t have enough horses right now.

The question is can they survive a downturn and persevere. I still think that Georgia game is ripe for an upset. Especially after what we saw from the ‘Dawgs against Notre Dame last week.


A few more thoughts about some other teams relevant to LSU:

  • So...was Feleipe Franks’ injury a good thing for Florida’s offense? I don’t mean to sound callous, but so far Kyle Trask looks like he might be a more consistent passer. Question is, can they find the same punch in the running game. And the defense, which made a ton of big plays in the season-opener against Miami, but not so many since. The week six match-up with Auburn will be a big one.
  • Color me unimpressed by Georgia’s win over the Irish last week. The atmosphere was certainly impressive — pretty light show — but let’s be real here. Georgia was a significant favorite, had Notre Dame completely outclassed on both sides of the ball and still had to sweat this game out. They scored just 7 points in the first half and had all of 59 passing yards. But we’re going to pretend that Jake Fromm checkdown charlie-ing his way to that number on 11-of-12 completions is special? That’s basically a well-run version of LSU’s offense under Les Miles. And that’s with a group of targets that’s every bit as highly-recruited as any fielded here. I’ll say this much for Fromm — he made some big throws down the stretch and he deserves credit for that. But if he can make those throws why aren’t Kirby Smart & Co. letting him do it more often? Yeah, they’ll roll over the East, because how could they not. But in a tight game against any team with a pulse, I don’t see how people can trust this team right now.