Two Weeks In, How Does Alabama Stack Up Against the Rest Of The SEC?
After two weeks into the season, and with most teams having played at least one strong opponent, it is safe to make at least a few legitimate observations about the prospects for the rest of the season.
Alabama - After two convincing victories, it is safe to say nobody is playing better on both sides of the ball right now. It has been mentioned ad nauseam, but this has been done without their two best players, Mark Ingram and Marcel Dareus. When Ingram returns, obviously the running game becomes more powerful, but the already potent passing game will in turn become more dangerous. While the D-line showed great promise, no doubt will Dareus take it up many notches.
Many felt San Jose St was such a weak opponent in the first game, but did anyone else see what they accomplished against Wisconsin? They scored two TDs and kept the Badgers to 27 points. Did the Spartans get that much better in 7 days, or did Bama manage to completely shut them down?
Oh, and make that zero TDs in two games for Tide opponents. Could it be three soon?
Florida - What do you make of this team? Have victories of 34-12 and 38-14 ever been so unimpressive? Sure, they have weapons, but if they open games slow like this against anyone in the SEC, it will be a very long year for the Gators. Only someone who watched Florida play Miami (OH) can truly understand how inept they were. They definitely closed the game strong against USF, but again, what happens against Alabama, Georgia or South Carolina?
Out of the top-ranked teams right now, they look the most vulnerable.
South Carolina - The Gamecocks have received a lot of praise for their win against Georgia, but the only praise I could give would be to their freshman RB Marcus Lattimore. He was an absolute beast they leaned on the entire game, and he delivered. Their receivers look pretty good, but Stephen Garcia cannot get the ball in their hands consistently. Why Spurrier continues to call designed run plays for him boggles the mind.
While not the cream of the SEC crop just yet, South Carolina has closed some ground on Florida in the East.
Arkansas - This may be the only team who has yet to play a strong opponent, but that will change in the next two weeks, in a big way. There should be a little concern how they opened up against ULM, being only 7-0 at half and going scoreless in the 2nd quarter. But the passing numbers are there.
However, they could be in the same boat as Florida, when it comes to slow starts. Their next two opponents, Georgia and Alabama, will make them pay for slow offensive outputs.
Auburn - Where is all this praise coming from about their defense? I will be the first to say they have a big playmaker in Nick Fairley. He was everywhere in the MSU game. But did anyone else really stand out like that? Give some credit for stalling out the MSU offense, but the Bulldogs looked inept many times, dropping wide open passes and throwing to phantom receivers. Not so sure it was the defense showing up on those plays.
They do have some good offensive stars. If Newton can put it together for an entire game, he could be dangerous. And Michael Dyer, yet another good freshman SEC RB, looks powerful. Can both of them last the entire SEC season?
LSU - There are more questions than answers for this team. They have two great players in Patrick Peterson and Russell Shepard, who anchor their defense and offense, respectively. They definitely have other good skill players, but something is missing. You don't let a depleted UNC team nearly beat you after leading by 20.
Is Jordan Jefferson that much of a liability? Can their defense finish games against better competition? Can Peterson stay on the field in the 4th quarter? Hopefully they can address these issues, or a long season awaits.
Georgia - Night and day in their first two games. Put up a lot of points against an inferior team, then could not manage much against a good South Carolina defense. It also hurts your team when you fumble in the red zone. If Washaun Ealey scores instead of fumbles, would the outcome be different? Who knows, who cares, he fumbled and they lost. They have work to do.
Not much can be said for the rest of the SEC at this point. Ole Miss was pathetic in their opener, and MSU showed it will take some time before they can compete at the top. Kentucky had a good win at Louisville and put up a ton of points on WKU, and I look forward to seeing what they can do against Florida in two weeks. Vanderbilt is Vanderbilt. Tennessee showed us a great half of football against Oregon, and then completely shut down.
Two weeks in, and Alabama stands out more than anyone else. South Carolina and Auburn could make some noise if they continue to win close games. Florida and LSU are in trouble if consistency continues to be an issue. Does someone else step up? Week 3 may not have the marquee match-ups like Week 2, but I think we start to really see who came to compete in the SEC this year.
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