SEC Week 5 Recap

I don’t buy into the idea of “upset weekends”, but having the No. 1 and No. 4 teams go down to teams they should have destroyed drives home the most important point of all – what matters most is simply winning.

And watching Ole Miss make Florida pay dearly for its mistakes earlier in the day leaves me without much desire to pick apart LSU’s less-than-stellar win over the other Mississippi school.

We got past the Bulldogs, got valuable full-game experience for Jarrett Lee and would up after the poll shuffle sitting at No. 2 in the poll that matters. All things considered, that’s not too shabby.

Statistically, Lee had a really good night. 18 of 27 for 261 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. Behind the numbers, he’s still not quite there – his pick was a horrible throw, he should have had another soft swing toss picked and several throws were just off – but I think that’s OK. I would imagine the LSU coaches have a good sense of what he’s mastered and what he needs to work on, and they have two weeks until the Florida game to sharpen his reads and throws. Considering that we missed the Troy tune-up, I think Miles and Crowton have done a great job bringing him up to speed. Taking more risks with him against MSU was pretty smart as part of the preparation for the Gators. I like where he is now.

The Tiger running game was very solid again, putting 166 yards down to go with Lee’s 261 in the air. Charles Scott dropped his 4th-straight 100-yard game and served as the closer, carrying the ball eight times in the 4th quarter to put down any notion of a Bulldog comeback.

Defensively, injuries to Ricky Jean-Francois and Charles Alexander showed both their value – MSU’s 110 yards on the ground was more than they should have gotten – and the depth of LSU’s D-line because the Bulldogs didn’t get even more than that. I’m not bothered that they cracked 100 yards under those circumstances.

Against Auburn, the biggest problem for LSU was pass defense. LSU made Chris Todd look much better than he is and kept the War Eagles in the game by leaving receivers completely undefended downfield. So a close look at the coverage against MSU is very much in order.

New MSU quarterback Tyson Lee rang up 175 passing yards on 17 completions against LSU. Of those 17 completions, seven were for more than 10 yards and accounted for 139 yards. Looking back at those seven plays, just one was a result of poor downfield coverage – the 41-yard completion on MSU’s final drive (you’ll remember it because of the crap late-hit call on linebacker Jacob Cutrera at the end of it). Cutrera was left to cover MSU receiver Jamayel Smith and couldn’t keep up. But the problem there wasn’t with Cutrera, it was with Chris Hawkins and Curtis Taylor, who let the play get behind them.

But the defensive backfield play was much improved since the Auburn game, and – again – the coaches have two weeks to tighten things up for Florida. Also needing improvement is LSU’s outside tackling (MSU’s second-longest pass came on a screen pass that should have been snuffed out but ended up being a 29-yard gain). LSU is also feeling the loss of Darry Beckwith, as poor linebacker coverage led to a couple of MSU’s bigger gains.

It was a pretty ugly game last night, but I came away from it seeing some very good improvement from last week, impressed with LSU’s D-line depth, confident that the LSU staff knows where improvement is needed … and very happy to have the win.

Elsewhere in the SEC:

Mark Richt “calling a blackout” and then having his team get destroyed by Alabama is one of God’s greatest gifts to the world. Players dressed in black; coaches dressed in black; fans dressed and painted black; that stupid little dog in a black sweater – they painted the freaking end-zone lettering black, for Chrissakes. All to get your asses kicked by Fonzie. The world is a beautiful place.

I picked Bama, of course, but my 31-28 score prediction wasn’t intended to show Alabama’s first-half total and Georgia’s second-half total. It was, though, as I predicted – Bama exposed the piss-poor Georgia pass coverage and hammered them with the run because of it. And Georgia couldn’t do anything on the ground, and thus gave Alabama the ability to shut down the pass.

Give credit to Georgia for sticking around for the second half of the game, and Saban is thrilled to have something to hammer his guys on there. But the Dawgs have a long way to go to be a complete team. And the penalties – Jesus. Once upon a time, Richt was known as a disciplinarian – those days are long gone. It’s not surprising, I guess, that when the coach “loosens up” and starts ordering unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that his team would end up being the most penalized team in the country.

The bad thing, of course, is that Alabama is now the media darling (as reflected by the meaningless media poll – in which 32% of the nation’s sportswriters who make up the AP poll now consider Bama to be the best team in the country a week after none of them held that opinion. Only 3% of coaches in the meaningful poll do). Ultimately, that will not matter much, as LSU and Bama play each other Nov. 8, but heads are certainly swelling in and around Tuscaloosa.

Ole Miss beating Florida I did not predict. The Gators, of course, killed themselves. But credit has to be given to Ole Miss for actually having an offense. No. 3 in SEC total offense now, in fact. Of course, they have no defense and Florida is rightfully very embarrassed to have blown the game.

Tennessee at Auburn was as ugly as I thought it could be, and the War Eagles should be grateful for a rankings shake-up that actually saw them rise two places after a horrid game. UAB put more yards on the Vols than Auburn did, and the fourth-quarter of this game was like a reenactment of World War I. Nobody wanted to win it; it’s too bad somebody had to. But I got the pick right.

The pigs were killed by the bulls with the big horns, as I expected. The Hogs are now giving up 38 points a game and scoring 20 points a game. I know math isn’t encouraged in Arkansas, but that’s not good. Oh to have Houston Nutt back. Unsurprisingly, I got the pick right.

South Carolina and Kentucky both won their patsy games, which I figured they would.

For the week: 6-1
For the season: 36-7

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2 Responses to “SEC Week 5 Recap”

  1. Hofo says:

    Geezus Cap’n, what did Richt ever do to piss you off?

  2. Cap'n Ken says:

    I’m not pissed at Richt – I just find great hilarity in the embarrassment of this “blackout” garbage. It was funny when he turned to motivational gimmicks to gets wins out of his team; downright hysterical how stupid this one makes Georgia look.

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