Sunday, August 31, 2008

SEC Football: Week 1 Grades

Alabama: A+
Hard to call that game an upset. I don't think there's any doubt the better team won that game, which really shows the discrepancy between the SEC and a weaker conference like the ACC. The Tide executed nearly flawlessly on offense and defense, holding the Purple Pant Pansies of Clemson to 0 rushing yards while rolling up 239 of their own. Major statement game for the Tide.

Vanderbilt: A
Yes, it was against a MAC team, but the 'Dores thrashed an opponent on the road with nearly 270 yards rushing and forcing 3 turnovers. In what is supposed to be a worse year than normal in Nashville, this was an impressive opening statement.

Florida: B+
Anytime you go on a 56-0 run over 2 quarters, you'll earn a nice grade. The maligned defense played well, giving up only 240 yards of offense and forcing 6 turnovers. Much of that had to do with the opponent, but it had to be encouraging for the Gator Nation to see those kinds of numbers. Only reason they didn't get an "A" was the quality of opponent.

Georgia: B+
Ho hum game for the 'Dawgs. Played it very safe with Moreno - only 8 carries - but he still managed 3 TDs. Stafford was efficient, throwing for 275 yards. D didn't give up anything until it was 38-0.

Kentucky: B+
Whodathunkit? The Big Blue winning it with a hard hitting defense? The D needed to be great as the offense produced just 210 yards. UK did force 5 Louisville turnovers though and held the Cardinals to 205 yds.

Ole Miss: B+
"Ed Who?" was probably muttered around Oxford last night as the new look Rebels rolled up 438 yards of offense in Houston Nutt's debut. The 41 points is the most the Rebels have scored since Eli's senior year. The defense needs some tightening up - 450 yds allowed - but they forced turnovers to negate some of those yards.

Impressive day for LSU in the trenches and running the ball, which should come as no surprise. They struggled throwing the ball though - 13/24 for 193 yards between the 2 QBs - but against App State, it din't matter. If the QBs develop, LSU will be scary as usual.

Auburn: B-
Breaking in two new coordinators and an overhauled offense, the Tigers shut out a decent opponent and rushed the ball for 321 yards. The passing game needs some work though - 13/27 for 85 yards between the 2 QBs, and most of that came in the 4th quarter. The Tigers managed only 3 first downs passing. The defense and running game were both dominant.

South Carolina: B-
Strange to give a 5 TD shutout over a BCS-opponent just a B-, but anyone who watched the game knows why. The USC D was awesome... and they had to be. The offense was terrible until garbage time. Lots of work still to be done in Columbia.

Arkansas: D
Under no circumstances should an SEC team need to score a TD with less than two minutes left in a game to beat a team called the Leathernecks. None whatsoever. Hog fans have been clamoring for more pass attempts... Well, I hope they're happy. 41 attempts and 300+ yds. Of course, they only mustered 76 yds rushing and were -3 on turnovers and only had the ball 23 minutes. But at least you threw the ball more, right Hog fans?

Tennessee: D
Can't give UT an "F" as they were breaking in a new OC and QB thousands of miles away from home on opening day, but this was a disappointing loss. The D picked off 4 passes in the first half and the Vols still couldn't deliver a win here. Fulmer was outcoached by Neuheisal, and that's bad.

Mississippi State: F
By the same token, no SEC team should lose to Louisiana Tech anywhere. The Bulldogs are now facing a major uphill battle to prove that last season was not a fluke.

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