10 Things We Learned About the SEC in Week 5

Jake Martin@JakeMartinSECCorrespondent IIISeptember 30, 2012

10 Things We Learned About the SEC in Week 5

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    Despite Week 5 boasting the weakest lineup of SEC football this season, the conference matchups delivered compelling action.

    Besides a few unsurprising scores such as Alabama's 33-14 victory against Ole Miss, games that were thought to be blowouts on paper actually turned out to be barn-burners.

    South Carolina found itself in a brawl with Kentucky, LSU struggled early against Towson and Georgia escaped by the skin of Uga's teeth at home versus Tennessee.

    But what does it all mean moving forward? Here's what we've learned from Week 5 in the SEC.

Arkansas Can Make Johnny Manziel Look Like Cam Newton

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    The Arkansas Razorbacks are horrendous on defense.

    I'm talking Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez's Gigli bad.

    The Hogs gave up 716 total yards of offense against Texas A&M, but even more so, they made Johnny Manziel look like Cam Newton.

    Manziel passed for 453 yards, including three touchdown passes, while rushing over 100 yards with a score on the ground. Manziel's good, but come on, this freshman quarterback shouldn't be putting up these types of numbers in conference play.

Shootouts Can Occur in the SEC Too

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    What's that, Big 12, you think you're the only conference that can put points on the board?

    The SEC prides itself for being a conference built by defensive struggles and physical play, but Georgia and Tennessee decided to light up the scoreboard on CBS's game of the week.

    Was it a 70-63 affair with absolutely no defense? Naw, but Tennessee and Georgia certainly had some big plays from the likes of Cordarrelle Patterson, Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley.

    The SEC has the offensive playmakers to put the scoreboard keeper to work, but it's the quality of the defenses around the league that keeps the scoring to a minimum on Saturdays. That's why rare shootouts like this in the SEC are so much fun. Perhaps it's a guilty pleasure for football purists.

South Carolina Is Resilient

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    If it's anything Dwayne Wade and his commercials have taught us as Americans, it's that falling seven times doesn't matter as long as you stand up eight times.

    Cheesy right? Well, that advice came in handy for South Carolina Saturday night when it trailed a hungry Kentucky Wildcat team 17-7 at the half.

    Kentucky hit South Carolina in the mouth at the very beginning of the game and bullied the Gamecocks for the entire first half. The second half was a completely different story. Led by Connor Shaw and Marcus Lattimore's combined four touchdowns and the stout play of the defense, the Gamecocks rallied and won the game 38-17.

    There's a lot of fight in South Carolina, and you're going to have to throw your best at this team for 60 minutes if you want to beat these guys.

LSU Passing Game Is Abysmal

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    Different year, same story for LSU.

    In fact, LSU fans have to be wondering when their team's passing woes will disappear. Hold that Tiger—the end may not be in sight.

    LSU's passing game has always been the chink in LSU's armor since Jarrett Lee took over in 2008, but the passing game in 2012 is egregious.

    That pass protection has been a weak link, but even when the offensive line holds up, Zach Mettenberger is unable to get anything going. His inconsistency and lack of awareness in the pocket must improve before the Tigers head to The Swamp next week.

Marcus Lattimore Is Back, Knile Davis Is Somewhat Back

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    Marcus Lattimore and Knile Davis have both been trying to shake off the rust in these first five weeks of the season.

    Lattimore has been more successful than Davis. After both guys missed last season for injuries, Lattimore finally looks to be back to the player he was before the knee injury. His 120 yards and two rushing touchdowns against Kentucky speak for itself.

    But Davis still needs a little work before being declared "back." Minus the fumbles, Davis showed signs of his old self, but he was inconsistent.

    He had a 64-yard touchdown reception early in the game, but he continues to put the ball on the turf and cost his team. The power and speed looks to be coming back, but he has to become better fundamentally before he can become the premier back he once was.

Tennessee Is a Pretender

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    Tennessee isn't ready to challenge for the SEC title just yet.

    Despite having numerous offensive playmakers, the Vols are now 0-2 in the SEC, and Derek Dooley's supporters are starting to diminish. 

    Tyler Bray and company gave a valiant effort in their 51-44 loss Saturday, but they were unable to capitalize on Georgia's turnovers to win the football game.

    Does Tennessee have a good team that's capable of still salvaging the season? Sure, but you have to be great to compete for an SEC title, and that's too strong of an adjective to describe this club.

Alabama Can Trail in a Ballgame

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    Yeah, Alabama may have defeated Ole Miss, but the Tide trailed in the second quarter.

    Yeah, that's right, not as dominant as you thought, huh? Well, they still are.

    The Crimson Tide trailed Ole Miss for a total of 15 seconds. Following Jeff Scott's touchdown scamper to put Ole Miss on top 7-6, Alabama took the ensuing kickoff to the house and regained the lead.

    Must be nice to rock crimson and white on Saturdays with a smile on your face screaming "Roll Tide!" Every other fan around the league envies you.

Best Case for Arkansas Is a 4-8 Season

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    The fanbase that envies Alabama fans the most has to be the depressed Arkansas supporters.

    Arkansas' season is over. Heck, it's been over.

    The Razorbacks' season continues to take a downward spiral, and after competing with the Aggies for a quarter, the Hogs folded and lost 58-10.

    Looking forward, this team will be lucky to gain four wins this season. Tulsa, Ole Miss and Kentucky are winnable games, but other than that, these Hogs should serve as cupcakes against the powerhouses in the SEC.

Georgia's Deep Enough to Overcome Own Mistakes

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    The Georgia Bulldogs may very well be the second best team in the SEC.

    Despite turning the ball over numerous times in the first half and allowing Tennessee to go on a 20-3 scoring run, they were able to recapture the lead and keep it.

    Credit that to the Bulldogs' depth and athleticism. Georgia totaled over 560 yards of offense against Tennessee, and it showcased a balanced attack.

    Last season, this team was unable to escape its mistakes against South Carolina and LSU, but it might be talented enough this season to overcome mistakes against any team in the country.

AJ McCarron Is the Best Quarterback in the SEC

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    It's all about intelligence, accuracy and efficiency when it comes to quarterbacking in this conference, and it's about time AJ McCarron gets the credit he deserves for being great in all three of those categories.

    Furthermore, if the season ended this past weekend, McCarron would have to be the consensus pick for First Team All-SEC.

    Sure, McCarron is surrounded by incredible playmakers on the outside, an unstoppable offensive line and an unmovable defense, but give this guy credit for what he's been able to accomplish.

    So far this season, McCarron has 819 yards, 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions. Though he might not be as talented as Tyler Wilson or sling it as hard as Bray, McCarron's decision-making and efficiency makes him the best quarterback in the league.