SEC Week 5 Recap

Who would have thought playing an 11 a.m. game in New Orleans in the world”s ugliest uniforms would result in a sluggish start? Once the daquiris finally made their way out of LSU”s system just before halftime, everything started to happen like you would expect. The first-half problems were laid at the feet of LSU”s offense, which sputtered throughout 30 minutes of mistakes, penalties and breakdowns in protection. On its eight first-half possessions, the Tigers averaged just 12 yards per drive. Outside of the two scoring drives, the average LSU possession went for a scant 1.6 yards. And despite the pressure put on it by the inept offense and Bob Toledo”s bag of tricks, the LSU defense gave up only 7 points and 135 yards to Tulane in that first half.

In the second half, the LSU offense averaged 33 yards per possession and scored on four of their seven drives. That”s much more like it.

So, in the end, the Tigers ended up beating Tulane 34 – 9 while racking up 391 yards of total offense and giving up 88 yards on the ground and 227 total. Not bad for only playing about 40 minutes of football.

That performance, and the bumbling of USC in Seattle led the Associated Press to hand over their meaningless No. 1 ranking to the Tigers. Like Leslie said – those voters must have slept in on Saturday and missed most of the LSU game. USC was playing a conference game on the road; LSU was beating up on Tulane in a semi-home game. Neither played a great (full) game, so just based on last weekend”s results, I don”t see pushing LSU ahead. Of course, maybe the human voters are waking up to the big picture, but the No. 1 ranking is meaningless for a couple of reasons:

- It”s meaningless. The AP poll is wholly irrelevant. I”m sure there”s some blogger in Tampa who says South Florida is No. 1, and that bears as much impact on the season as the opinion of AP writers. LSU is No. 2 in the only rankings that matter.

- It”s early. LSU will face No. 7.5 Florida (4-1), No. 7.5 Kentucky (5-0), No. 33.0 Auburn (3-2) and No. 44.5 Alabama (3-2) in the next four weeks. If the Tigers don”t successfully run that gauntlet, they won”t be No. 1. If they do win these games, only a biased human could keep USC – which plays unranked Stanford (1-3), unranked Arizona (2-3), unranked Notre Dame (0-5) and No. 13 Oregon (4-1) in the next four weeks – at No. 1 ahead of LSU.

And I don”t like having the distraction of “being No. 1″ hanging over the game this weekend. Leslie is doing a good job of poo-pooing that notion, but it gives a little extra motivation to a wounded Florida team that already has a ton to play for Saturday.

Elsewhere in the SEC:

The Gators succumbed to a revived Auburn offense and maybe a little bit of looking past the lesser Tigers a week before the LSU game. It wasn”t the level of upset it”s being made out to be (this is the SEC, after all), but shame on me for not believing in SEC Justice.

Fonzie and Major Applewhite left their offense back at home, which gave Old Man Football a win in his first shot at redemption against his once-beloved Tide. I didn”t see the lack of Alabama offense coming.

All else played out as I picked. Stock rising for South Carolina, so the showdown (seriously – showdown) between the Cocks and Kentucky this week is a big deal now. Not much to glean from Arkansas taking apart North Texas, and Georgia posted what seems like a good win – though at least one Dawg fan might disagree.

For the week: 6 – 2

For the season: 35 – 8

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