10 Things We Learned About the SEC in Week 8
After Week 8 in the SEC, it's safe to say that the Florida Gators are a legitimate national title contender.
The Gators squashed the South Carolina Gamecocks as if they were the Kentucky Wildcats or the Auburn Tigers. 44-11? Yeah, Florida isn't messing around, friends.
The Gators look so dominant right now that an SEC championship matchup against Alabama in December looks inevitable.
But what else did we learn about the SEC this week? What's new about those Tigers, Bulldogs and ol' Johnny Football?
Florida Is Officially the No. 2 Team
Think anyone will question Florida as the No. 2 team in the nation this week?
There shouldn't be a debate of any kind. In fact, Florida might be the best team in the nation at this point.
You can hear those Alabama fans murmuring now. "Um, come again?" Like it or not, the Gators have beaten better teams and have a more impressive resume than the Crimson Tide.
Sure, Alabama is a well-oiled machine that's efficient to the bone, but wins against LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina are more impressive than wins against Michigan, Arkansas and Ole Miss, wouldn't you say?
LSU Defense > Johnny Football
"Johnny Be Good" played to a different rhythm against LSU.
Rather than happily shouting "Go, Johnny, go go go," Texas A&M fans were urging, pleading "Run, Johnny, run run run!'' to avoid the onrushing LSU defenders. Simply put—Johnny Manziel is great, but this LSU defense is better.
Give Manzeil credit, though. This kid came out throwing the ball accurately and marched the Aggies down the field to go ahead of the Tigers. That's the good part.
The bad part is that John Chavis coaches on the other sideline, and he made superb adjustments that allowed LSU to disrupt Manziel and create four turnovers. The defense also allowed LSU to score 24 unanswered points.
Amari Cooper Is the Future
There's no more ignoring Alabama's Amari Cooper.
He is the best freshman wide receiver the SEC since Julio Jones was racing down the sidelines in ol' Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fancy that.
Alabama fans have been raving about this guy for quite some time, and against Tennessee, Cooper had his coming-out party.
He had a career-high 162 receiving yards and two touchdown catches. He straight-up butchered Tennessee's secondary. After his sensational performance, the freshman wide receiver has 425 receiving yards and five touchdown receptions on the season.
Georgia Is Not Ready for Florida
Georgia isn't ready to face this animal. Heck, few teams are at this point.
After Georgia was squashed by South Carolina 35-7, the Bulldogs were mediocre Saturday in a 29-24 victory over Kentucky, a team that lost to Arkansas 49-7 in the week prior? That's not exactly flattering.
Here's a team with more firepower than Ironman in The Avengers, yet Georgia can't seem to put anybody away unless it's Vanderbilt.
As Georgia sleepwalks its way into "The World's Largest Cocktail Party," Florida comes in with more momentum than Hot Wheels on a sky-jump track.
Total Yards Are Overrated
Whoever said yards are important in football?
Florida proved otherwise Saturday against South Carolina. Despite only having 29 yards in the first half, the Gators led the Gamecocks 21-6.
Yeah, that's right, Florida nearly had more points than they had yards. As for Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel, he was 5-for-7 with 15 passing yards in that same half. But here's the kicker—he had three touchdown passes.
Great teams capitalize on other team's mistakes, and the Gators certainly did that against South Carolina. They scored off three crucial Gamecock turnovers in the first and second quarters.
Tyler Bray Has Officially Underachieved
Tyler Bray is officially a letdown.
Here's a gunslinger who has the tools to take the SEC by storm, but that's just not been the case.
Though he has a cannon connected to his body and great talent surrounding him, Bray has been unable to break out this season, and Tennessee has struggled as a result.
In Bray's past three SEC games, he's thrown six interceptions and only four touchdowns. He's facing elite defenses, but it's hard not to expect more from this talented quarterback.
Zach Mettenberger Can't Throw the Long Ball
From one disappointment to another, Zach Mettenberger's offensive production is stagnant at best.
Actually, what are Mettenberger's best attributes? Seriously, what does he offer LSU's offense that separates him from LSU's backups?
Well, he can throw the deep ball, but he can't throw it accurately. That was evident in LSU's win against Texas A&M, when Mettenberger was an alarming 11-for-29. That's less than a 40-percent completion percentage, folks.
Most of Mettenberger's passes were deep throws, and though that was thought to be his greatest strength, it's proving to be Mettenberger's greatest weakness.
It's Not Going to Get Any Better for Auburn
It'll get better, right?
Hang on, Auburn fans, it looks like things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.
Auburn has been abysmal all season, and after losing to Vanderbilt 17-13, it's safe to say these Tigers won't be playing in a bowl game this season. Don't worry, there's always next season for Gene Chizik to get this ship headed back in the right direction.
But then again, with their 1-6 record, who's to say Chizik will be around to see it?
LSU Is a Terrible Road Team
Oh, where art thou, Tyrann Mathieu?
Go back just one season. Remember how LSU would dance onto the field and take over stadiums in the SEC?
With glamorous trash talk and hard-hitting action, LSU would silence stadiums. So far this season, that seems like a distant memory. In LSU's three road SEC games, the Tigers lost 14-6 to Florida and won by a total of seven points against Auburn and Texas A&M.
Did LSU's road swagger disappear with Mathieu's departure? It certainly looks like it.
South Carolina Is out of SEC Picture
All hope is not lost for South Carolina. But at this point, it's a stretch to have it qualifying for an SEC Championship Game berth. In fact, it's a given that it's not going to happen.
With the loss to the Gators, South Carolina not only has two SEC losses, but an undefeated Florida team has a huge advantage over the Gamecocks.
The Gators would have to lose three SEC games for South Carolina to win the SEC East.
Seeing that Florida only has two conference games remaining, that's an impossible scenario.