In which we take a quick look at how our 2011 opponents fared the preceding week
Finally, some teams on our schedule moved past their cupcakes to some real meat while we took advantage of the pastry cart that rolled Between the Hedges Saturday. Sugar high, anyone? That’s all fine and good, but let’s not experience a crash in Oxford this coming weekend, aight?
Hereafter follow brief -- and I mean brief -- glances at how everybody else did this weekend.
Ole Miss Rebels (1-2, 0-1 SEC) lost to Vandy 7-30. Coach Giggity earned a rare and special distinction by leading teams in losing efforts against three different Vanderbilt coaches. Out of the last seven games between the Commodores and the Rebels, Vandy has won five, which is how many interceptions they got on Saturday in Nashville. Folks are asking whether Vandy is that good or Ole Miss is that bad, and consensus seems to say it’s the latter. Expect Ole Miss to have circled the wagons a bit by the time Georgia shows up in Oxford this coming weekend. In other words, it’s a trap.
Mississippi State Bulldogs (1-2, 0-2 SEC) lost to LSU 19-6. First of all, 19-6 is a Football Score. There was a time when a score like 26-21 in the 1980 Georgia-Florida game (and the 1981 game, too, for that matter) felt like an out-of-control shootout, prompting one to wonder whether anybody played defense any more. I’m serious. Second, I still am sold on Mississippi State as a pretty good football team. Not many teams will stop the Other Bulldogs’ Chris Relf and Vick Ballard as easily as LSU did. I certainly don’t expect us to, but maybe our defense will be effective enough.
Tennessee Volunteers (2-1, 0-1 SEC) lost to Florida 23-33. I didn’t watch this. I loosely followed the game’s progress via Twitter while sipping bourbon outside a bar on Broad Street in Athens after our game. I was especially amused by the complaints about all the penalties, especially of the pass interference variety. You mean somebody’s actually calling the Gators on all that crap they’ve been getting away with for years? Alas, 150 penalty yards notwithstanding, Florida managed to stave off a Tennessee comeback effort.
Vanderbilt Commodores (3-0, 1-0 SEC) defeated Ole Miss 30-7. Oh, Vandy. I remember all my life, you’ve never fielded very good teams, even though you were good for an occasional upset. I don’t think this qualifies. But now Ole Miss fans are crying in the breeze, the pain calling. Oh, Vandy.
Florida Gators (3-0, 1-0 SEC) defeated Tennessee 33-23. Did I mention Chris Rainey is a beast? Yes, I did. Yes, he is. Anything else? Not really seeing it (also, not taking anything for granted, but just sayin’).
New Mexico State Aggies (1-2, 0-0 WAC) lost to UTEP 10-16. The Aggies beat a Big 10 team last week then fell to a team that’s in last place in C-USA’s Western Division. This almost certainly is a meaningless comparison, and I freely admit to knowing next to nothing about those we call "mid-majors". New Mexico State QB Andrew Manley better have been manly, as he was sacked six times while throwing for 242 yards and a touchdown. The Aggies could get nothing going on the ground: 16 yards on 29 carries. Defensive lines take note.
Auburn Tigers (2-1, 1-0 SEC) lost to Clemson 24-38. I told you the Faustian deal would not last 24 years. It lasted 17 games. Conference pride, you say? Pffft. I hate Auburn.
Kentucky Wildcats (2-1, 0-0 SEC) lost to Louisville. The Wildcats weren’t able to mount a late comeback, although they did manage a touchdown in the final five minutes to come within seven. Kentucky’s offense did reasonably well through the air, numbers-wise (27 of 41 for 255 yards) but had only 35 rushing yards. This is not how we win football games east of the Mississippi.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-0, 0-0 ACC) defeated Kansas 66-24. Fun with numbers: Tech had 768 total yards on offense, 604 of which were rushing, but their time of possession was almost five minutes less than Kansas’s. The Jackets’ passing game became a little less prominent, proportionately speaking, but if you can run for more than 600 yards against a defense, why bother throwing the ball? Things seem to be ticking pretty well for the Tech offense. I’m not quite ready to be all that concerned about a defense that gave up 24 points to Kansas, however.
Boise State Broncos (2-0, 0-0 MWC) defeated Toledo 40-15. I watched most of this game, and I got a little worried early on that Toledo pull the upset, making our loss to the Broncos look even worse (at least, worse from the standpoint of W-L records only, because I’m not sure it could look much worse than it did for those who actually saw it). But Kellen Moore did what he does; the Boise State Broncos picked up steam; and the Broncos ran off with the game.
South Carolina Gamecocks (3-0, 1-0 SEC) defeated Navy 24-21. The triple option can be tricky if you don’t go up against it on a regular basis. Just ask the Jayhawks. And if you’re a Gamecock fan at the end of a regular season in which you were undefeated, but with a whole bunch of 3-point wins in your record, I’m pretty sure you’re cool with that. While it’s happening, however, you fret. Honestly, I wish the Gamecocks well, as long as they find at least a couple of SEC games to lose.