Monday, December 22, 2014 · 4:54 a.m.

The SEC Roundup: Week 7

Print
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. (Photo: David Johnston)

Welcome to the SEC roundup. Nooga.com will look back, look ahead and rank all the SEC teams each Thursday as they prepare for the upcoming week of SEC action.

1. Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC)

The Tide dominated what was essentially a glorified scrimmage against lowly Georgia State on Saturday. Quarterback A.J. McCarron needed just 16 attempts to throw four touchdown passes. The backups were in on both sides of the ball by late in the second quarter. The relatively light portion of their schedule continues this week with a trip to Kentucky. The Wildcats played South Carolina tough last week, but likely won’t be able to hang with Alabama.

Last week: Alabama 45, Georgia State 3

This week: at Kentucky

2. Georgia (4-1, 3-0)

The Bulldogs survived their trip to Knoxville with an overtime victory, but it was extremely costly. Running back Keith Marshall and receiver Justin Scott-Wesley were lost for the year with knee injuries. A few other players were banged up as well and will be questionable going forward. The biggest health question heading into their home game with Missouri is the status of star running back Todd Gurley (ankle), who missed the game against UT, but has at least a chance to return against the Tigers.

Last week: Georgia 34, Tennessee 31 (OT)

This week: vs. Missouri

3. LSU (5-1, 2-1)

The Tigers looked to be in for a battle against Mississippi State before reeling off 31 unanswered points to win in convincing fashion. The offense was huge again, piling up 563 yards of total offense, including 340 through the air. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger continues to be one of the most valuable players in the SEC. It’ll be a battle of LSU’s high-flying offense against Florida’s stingy defense when the Tigers and Gators square off next week.

Last week: LSU 59, Mississippi State 26

This week: vs. Florida

4. Texas A&M (4-1, 1-1) 

What’s the best way to slow A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel? Give him a bye week. The Aggies were off last week, giving one of college football’s greatest offenses a one-week respite. The Aggies are preparing to face Ole Miss this week. Earlier in the season this looked like an extremely intriguing SEC West showdown, but after two straight losses for the Rebels, the Aggies should go in as the clear favorite.

Last week: BYE

This week: at Ole Miss

5. Florida (4-1, 3-0)

The Gators took care of business in The Swamp last weekend, knocking off Arkansas 30-10. Quarterback Tyler Murphy continues to impress after taking over the starting role a few weeks ago. He threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns in the win over the Razorbacks. After three weeks of unranked opponents, the schedule gets tougher for Florida now. It starts with a trip to LSU this weekend to face one of the hottest offenses in the nation. Florida’s talented secondary will be tested by an LSU passing game that averages 291 passing yards per game.

Last week: Florida 30, Arkansas 10

This week: at LSU

6. South Carolina (4-1, 2-1)

For the second consecutive week South Carolina won, but, just like in its close victory over Central Florida the week before, the Gamecocks didn’t earn too many style points for beating Kentucky by just one touchdown. There’s some controversy surrounding star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney declared himself out on Saturday with pain in ribs. Coach Steve Spurrier didn’t seem too pleased, saying “Usually, the doctor or the trainer comes and tells you a guy will be out. That did not happen last night.’’ Clowney’s status against Arkansas is unknown, but the Gamecocks can keep relying on running back Mike Davis, who had another 100-yard effort last week.

Last week: South Carolina 35, Kentucky 28

This week: at Arkansas

7. Auburn (4-1, 2-1)

Just one year after only winning three games, the Tigers appear to be heading for a winning season. They moved to 4-1 after upsetting Ole Miss on Saturday and should have no problem getting win No. 5 against a Western Carolina squad that was blown out by UTC last week. Tough games remain against Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama, but expect the Tigers to continue to show progress and return to a bowl this postseason.

Last week: Auburn 30, Ole Miss 22

This week: vs. Western Carolina

8. Missouri (5-0, 1-0)

The Tigers find themselves in the Top 25 after their 5-0 start that included a convincing SEC victory over Vanderbilt last week. There’s no denying that Mizzou hasn’t played the toughest schedule yet, but it continues to take care of business and pile up the points. The Tigers are eighth nationally with an average of 46.6 points per contest. Their upcoming three games – at Georgia, vs. Florida and vs. South Carolina – will show if the Tigers deserve that ranking or not.

Last week: Missouri 51, Vanderbilt 28

This week: at Georgia

9. Ole Miss (3-2, 1-2)

After starting the season with three straight wins, the Rebels have dropped their last two. The loss to Alabama was certainly understandable, but losing to Auburn this past weekend was surprising. The Tigers gashed the Rebels on the ground, putting up an impressive 282 yards and three scores via the run game. Two interceptions from Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, one returned for a touchdown, didn’t help either. It doesn’t get any easier going forward with Texas A&M and LSU the next two weeks.

Last week: Auburn 30, Ole Miss 22

This week: vs. Texas A&M

10. Tennessee (3-3, 0-2)

Perhaps no team in the nation was as impressive in defeat as Tennessee was last weekend in its 34-31 overtime loss to Georgia. The Vols were right on the verge of upsetting the No. 6 team in the nation. Those are games that UT has to start winning again soon to be taken seriously, but, for now, the Vols can feel good about the progress they’re making. They have a week off before another big home matchup against South Carolina the following week.

Last week: Georgia 34, Tennessee 31 (OT)

This week: BYE

11. Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3)

This off week comes at a good time for Vanderbilt, a team that got blown out by Missouri last week. The offense has been pretty good. The Commodores are averaging over 33 points per game and quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels has put up good numbers. The defense must improve, though. It’s given up 41.6 points per game in SEC play thus far. That’s a scary thought for the Commodores considering their next two games after the bye week are against Texas A&M and Georgia.

Last week: Missouri 51, Vanderbilt 28

This week: BYE

12. Arkansas (3-3, 0-2)

The Razorbacks were a chic upset pick last weekend against Florida, but they weren’t able to keep it too close. After scoring the first touchdown, the Gators took over, outscoring them 30-3 over the final three quarters. Their vaunted rushing attack finally hit a wall, with the duo of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams combining for only 86 yards against the Gators’ stingy D. They’ll be underdogs to South Carolina this week, but keep an eye on that game. The Gamecocks have underperformed in their last two games and seem very beatable at this point in the season.

Last week: Florida 30, Arkansas 10

This week: vs. South Carolina

13. Mississippi State (2-3, 0-2)

The Bulldogs continue to struggle against top competition. They put up some resistance against LSU for three quarters, but the Tigers proved to be too deep and too talented late in that contest. Coach Dan Mullen used both his quarterbacks – Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell – in that game. Both had some success, but MSU needs to find a permanent answer at that spot. The defense will also need to regain some confidence after giving up nearly 600 yards to LSU. Perhaps a two-game stretch against Bowling Green and Kentucky will help the Bulldogs find some answers.

Last week: LSU 59, Mississippi State 26

This week: vs. Bowling Green

14. Kentucky (1-4, 0-2)

The Wildcats played three top 20 teams in the past three weeks – Louisville, Florida and South Carolina – and lost by an average of just 12.7 points per game. That might not sound like much, but for a program in complete rebuilding mode, keeping those tough games within a couple of scores is a step in the right direction. They have little chance at a win over Alabama, but they’ll look to be competitive again this week against the nation’s No. 1 team. Look for quarterback Jalen Whitlow, who was impressive against South Carolina, to take over the position going forward after splitting reps with Maxwell Smith earlier this season.

Last week: Florida 24, Kentucky 7

This week: at South Carolina

Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga

Print
Reader's Recap
Daily news delivered directly to your inbox.   sign up
Press Esc to close