SEC Football: What We Learned About Each Team in 6 Weeks

Jeremy HillmanContributor IOctober 9, 2011

SEC Football: What We Learned About Each Team in 6 Weeks

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    Every week, we learn a little more about each team in the SEC.

    After Week 6, we confirmed some things we already knew and uncovered new information that we hadn't known previously.

    Although Saturday was mostly a parade of blow outs, outside of the game in Knoxville, the games still gave us another glimpse of the strengths and weaknesses of each team.

    Click through the slide show to see three things we learned about the teams of the Southeastern Conference. The teams are listed in order of my current power ranking of the teams...

12. Kentucky Wildcats

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    Best Player: Kentucky LB Danny Trevathan

    What We Know on Offense: The quarterbacks are struggling mightily. Morgan Newton was the much anticipated starter for Kentucky at quarterback. He has been beyond bad. He has completed just 45 percent of his passes and thrown seven interceptions and just six touchdowns.

    They went to back-up freshman quarterback Maxwell Smith this week, and he went 0-for-4 and threw two interceptions.

    What We Know On Defense: Pass defense has been relatively good. Rush defense has not been good. They only allow 163 rushing yards per game. However, they are allowing a poor 213 passing yards per game this season.

    The defensive players are good, especially Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy Jr, but are repeatedly put in bad position by a poor Wildcat offense.

    Updated Bowl Projections: No Bowl

     

11. Ole Miss Rebels

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    Best Player: RB Jeff Scott

    What We Know:  The running game has been silent. The Rebels are averaging just 115 rush yards per game. However, the quarterback position has been poor as well. The Rebels passing game is tenth in the SEC, averaging just 158 passing yards per game.

    What We Know On Defense: The defense has been awful. The Rebels have given up 193 rush yards and 215 pass yards per game and have proven to be one of the worst defenses in the conference.

    Updated Bowl Projections: No Bowl

10. Vanderbilt Commodores

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    Best Player: DB Casey Hayward

    What We Know on Offense: The offense has been weak in most games. The Commodores average just 244 yards per game and rank 11th in the SEC with just 20 points scored per game.

    What We Know On Defense: The defense has been pretty solid. They were exposed against a good Alabama team, but have averaged giving up just 19 points per game and have the sixth best defense in the SEC, giving up just 307 yards per contest.

    Updated Bowl Projections: Liberty Bowl (Vanderbilt Vs. Houston)

9. Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    Best Player: RB Vick Ballard

    What We Know On Offense:  Mississippi State has run the ball effectively. The Bulldogs have run for a solid 188 yards per game.

    However, inconsistency in the passing game have lead to Mississippi State scoring just 26 points per contest, which is good for just ninth in the conference.

    What We Know On Defense: The rush defense has been poor. The Bulldogs are 10th in the conference in rush yards allowed per game, giving up 193 rush yards per contest.

    The struggle to stop the run has led to State allowing 25 points per game.

    Updated Bowl Projections: Compass Bowl (Mississippi State Vs. Rutgers)

8. Tennessee Volunteers

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    Best Player: WR Da'Rick Rogers

    What We Know On Offense:  Tennessee has had a solid passing game and is averaging over 400 offensive yards per game.

    The thumb injury of star quarterback Tyler Bray could cause problems for the Volunteers, who have shown they can not run the ball in conference play. Tennessee is averaging a horrendous negative-14 rushing yards per SEC game.

    What We Know On Defense: The pass defense has struggled, as Tennessee is allowing over 200 passing yards per game.

    On the other hand, the rush defense has been very good. The Vols are giving up just 139 rush yards per contest.

    Updated Bowl Projections: Music City Bowl  (Tennessee Vs. North Carolina)

7. Florida Gators

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    Best Player: RB Chris Rainey

    What We Know On Offense:  Florida lost starting quarterback John Brantley, and his backup, to injury and are struggling at quarterback. The Gators have averaged just 186 pass yards per game.

    Outside of one poor game against a tough Alabama defense, the run game has been pretty solid. Florida is fourth in the SEC with 194 rush yards per game.

    What We Know On Defense: Two tough games against Alabama and LSU have exposed the defense a bit, but for the most part, the Gators have been effective stopping the run and pass this season.

    Florida is fifth in the SEC in total defense, giving up just 291 yards per game.

    Updated Bowl Projections: Gator Bowl (Florida Vs. Penn State)

6. Auburn Tigers

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    Best Player: RB Michael Dyer

    What We Know On Offense:  The running game has been solid. The Tigers are in the top three in the conference with over 200 rush yards per game.

    Barrett Trotter, the starting quarterback, has had some struggles and could be replaced by freshman Kiehl Frazier. Auburn is ninth in the SEC in pass yards with just 170 pass yards per contest.

    What We Know On Defense: The rush defense has been very poor, outside a solid effort in the win over South Carolina. The Tigers give up over 200 rushing yards per game.

    Even more troublesome, is after the Arkansas game, Auburn is dead last in pass defense in the SEC, allowing over 230 pass yards per game.

    Updated Bowl Projections: Chic-Fil-A Bowl (Auburn Vs Georgia Tech)

5. Georgia Bulldogs

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    Best Player: QB Aaron Murray

    What We Know On Offense: The offense has been good all season. The Bulldogs have gained over 400 yards per game.

    Murray and the passing game have been effective, but the nice progression has been the play of freshman running back Isaiah Crowell, who has Georgia averaging over 170 rush yards per game.

    What We Know On Defense: Georgia is third in the SEC in total defense, allowing only 260 yards per game.

    Particularly impressive has been the rush defense, allowing just 85 yards per match-up.

    Updated Bowl Projections: Capital One Bowl (Georgia Vs. Michigan)

4. South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Best Player: RB Marcus Lattimore

    What We Know On Offense:  Marcus Lattimore and the Gamecock running game is dangerous. The Gamecocks are averaging an impressive 212 yards per game.

    While the Carolina passing game has been inconsistent in recent weeks, this week, star receiver Alshon Jeffery had his biggest game yet, as new starting QB Connor Shaw had a big game for South Carolina. The Gamecocks threw for 351 yards on Saturday and average over 200 per game.

    What We Know On Defense: The Gamecock defense has been effective against the pass all season and leads the SEC in pass defense, allowing only 128 pass yards a game.

    However, South Carolina has given up almost 150 rushing yards per game in 2011.

    Updated Bowl Projections: Outback Bowl (South Carolina Vs. Michigan State)

3. Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Best Player: QB Tyler Wilson

    What We Know On Offense:  The passing game is very dangerous. Arkansas leads the SEC, averaging 336 passing yards per game.

    However, the Razorbacks have struggled to run the ball, and average just 129 rush yards per contest.

    What We Know On Defense: Arkansas has given up plenty of yards on defense this season. They rank ninth in the SEC this season, allowing 390 yards per game.

    They have particularly struggled to stop the run and are giving up 189 rush yards per match-up.

    Updated Bowl Projections: Cotton Bowl (Arkansas Vs Kansas State)

2. LSU Tigers

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    Best Player: DB Tyrann Mathieu

    What We Know On Offense:  The Tigers are just averaging 366 offensive yards per game. That is good for just ninth in the SEC in total offense.

    However, the offense has been very balanced. As a matter of fact, LSU is averaging 183 yards per game in run and pass offense.

    What We Know On Defense: The LSU defense has given up just 69 rush yards per game and have held opponents to just 184 passing yards per game.

    Not bad considering they have already played high power offenses like Oregon, West Virginia and Florida.

    Updated Bowl Projections: BCS Sugar Bowl (LSU Vs Oklahoma)

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Best Player: RB Trent Richardson

    What We Know On Offense:  Alabama runs the ball very well. They lead the SEC with 217 rush yards per game. Star running back Trent Richardson is a Heisman candidate that already has 11 touchdowns in just six games.

    Young quarterback A.J. McCarron struggled out off the gate, but has matured each game is averaging over 200 pass yards per game.

    What We Know On Defense: Alabama has the best defense in the country. The Tide are allowing just 39 rush yards per game.

    The pass defense is solid too, giving up only 151 pass yards per game.

    Updated Bowl Projections:  BCS National Championship Game (Alabama Vs Wisconsin)