10 Things We Learned About the SEC in Week 4
Following LSU's lackluster performance in their 12-10 win against Auburn in Week 4, Alabama is the undisputed best team in the conference.
But more importantly, LSU might not be the team to challenge Alabama this season. After Georgia, Florida and South Carolina all had impressive victories last Saturday, the SEC East might provide the team to dethrone the defending national champions.
But hey, it's still early into the season, and teams like LSU have plenty of time to improve. So keeping that in mind as this season really begins to unravel, this is what we've learned after an eventful Week 4 in college football's premiere conference.
Zach Mettenberger Not Worthy of the Hype
For the entire offseason, fans and media alike were singing the praises of Zach Mettenberger.
"This is the guy. He is the one that's going to take LSU to the next level," they said. Heck, I said it myself. So far, that prediction hasn't come to fruition.
While a lot of the blame for LSU's showing Saturday night should be placed on the offensive line, Mettenberger deserves just as much criticism.
He didn't climb the pocket, some of his passes were inaccurate and he made some critical mistakes, including fumbling the football.
This guy still has the potential to be something, but he's going to have to improve dramatically if he wants to lead his team to victory against Alabama and other dominant teams in the SEC.
He'll have a nice tuneup game against Towson before LSU needs him to shine at Florida on Oct. 6.
James Franklin's Toughness Should Never Be Questioned
James Franklin came up short in his performance against South Carolina but he should be commended.
Franklin underwent a lot of scrutiny for not playing against Arizona State after being medically cleared to play.
If he's cleared to play, he should play, right Pawwwwwl? This is the SEC and you have to man up in this conference. Well, that's exactly what Franklin did.
Franklin was banging around on speed options and hung in the pocket with moxy before receiving big hits from Jadeveon Clowney and company.
Franklin may not have led the Tigers to a victory against the Gamecocks but he regained a lot of respect that he had lost before the game.
Cobi Hamilton Is Actually Playing This Season
Cobi Hamilton has awoken.
Hamilton, who is without a doubt one of the most explosive players in the SEC, has really underperformed so far this season for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Before Arkansas' game against Rutgers, Hamilton only had 126 receiving yards on the year. Because of how storied Arkansas' struggles have been, it's somewhat understandable.
But eventually, you had to know this guy would have a breakout game, and boy, did he have a big one against Rutgers.
Hamilton recorded 303 receiving yards and three touchdowns against the Scarlet Knights.
How does that stack up with some of the great performances in SEC history? Well, his 303 yards is a new record in the league for most yards in a single game.
Joker's Time Is Limited
"Why so serious," Joker?
I know what you're thinking—"I thought my jokes were bad."
Joker Phillips has a reason to be serious, and that's because his days as a head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats are numbered.
With the 38-0 loss to Florida, the Wildcats now hold a 1-3 record. Not pitching a single point against the Gators' defense sure isn't helping Phillips' case to remain head coach of the program.
With the Wildcats potentially finishing last in the SEC East, let's hope Phillips shares The Joker's enthusiasm for chaos.
Jeff Driskel Becoming a Top SEC QB
Hop aboard the bandwagon of Jeff Driskel, ladies and gentlemen.
Driskel outperformed Tyler Bray in Florida's win against Tennessee in Week 3 and he didn't have a dropoff in Week 4.
In fact, despite throwing an interception against the Wildcats, he made intellectual reads from the pocket and made some superb throws down the field.
This marks the third straight week that Driskel has impressed in the SEC, and he's now thrown for 698 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.
Not bad for a guy that was battling for the starting job in Week 1.
Missouri's Special Teams Are Dreadful
Though Franklin received most of the blame for Mizzou's loss, the Tigers' special teams should receive the most.
This unit was dreadful. In fact, they made Ace Sanders look like Neon Deion.
With their lifeless kick coverage, Missouri gave Connor Shaw great field position on a day where Shaw was nearly perfect throwing the ball.
You have to be complete to win in the SEC. As long as Missouri's special teams keep losing the field position battle, Mizzou will continue to be exploited.
Diaper Dandies Has a New Meaning
Dick Vitale's "diaper dandies" phrase in college basketball should become the new nickname for Georgia's backfield.
After Isaiah Crowell impressed as a freshman for the Bulldogs last season, Georgia upped the ante by rotating two freshmen running backs in 2012.
It's worked out magnificently.
Freshman Todd Gurley leads the team in rushing with 406 yards and six touchdowns, while Keith Marshall is second on the team with 264 yards and three touchdowns.
Simply put, these kids can play, and their combined 212 rushing yards and four touchdowns against Vanderbilt reinforced that notion.
Vanderbilt Is Still Vanderbilt
Just when you think James Franklin is going to turn around the SEC's notoriously bad football program, Vanderbilt loses three of its first four games of the season.
And after losing to Georgia 48-3, it looks like Vanderbilt is once again nothing more than Tennessee's little brother.
Heck, at least in their losses last year, they competed and made their losses respectable. As the score with Georgia suggests, that's not the case for 2012.
The Commodores may have playmakers in the form of Trey Wilson, Zac Stacey and Jordan Matthews, but this team is not performing like they did a year ago.
Back to the drawing board for the Commodores.
It Can Get Worse for Arkansas
Randy Bachman's words, "you ain't seen nothing yet," couldn't be more fitting for Arkansas' program.
First, they lose their head coach Bobby Petrino. Then, they lose to ULM in overtime, and following the heartbreaker at home, they get dismantled by Alabama.
The program is reeling but surely the Hogs will make a comeback with Tyler Wilson back in the lineup, right? Wrong.
Arkansas falls to 1-3 on the year following their 35-26 loss to Rutgers. Turns out it can get worse.
LSU Is Not a Top 5 Team Right Now
The LSU Tigers are lucky to still be ranked in the Top 5 of the polls following that outing against Auburn.
It's just one game and it's just one performance, but come on, this team is too talented to post 12 points on a defense that gave up 28 points to Mississippi State and UL-Monroe.
The loss of Chris Faulk is visible upfront. They're still able to muscle around defenders and open up holes for the running backs, but protecting Mettenberger has been a problem.
Because of a mixture of both Mettenberger holding on to the ball too long and Josh Dworaczyk's trouble with protecting his blindside, this passing game hasn't manifested the way many had hoped.
LSU's a great team, but as of right now, Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Georgia and South Carolina look more impressive. The bright side for LSU fans are the key words "right now." This team will get better and improve as they gain some valuable experience.
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