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Topics for Discussion: Questions About the SEC After the First Week

Talking about the perception of the SEC and its teams after a weekend full of football action

Rob Foldy

Outside of Texas A&M, did anyone really impress you? Alabama struggled longer than it probably should have to put away West Virginia. LSU had no business winning its game against Wisconsin after falling behind 24-7. Georgia dominated Clemson, but it might have been an entirely different story if Todd Gurley weren't on the field. Auburn did beat Arkansas pretty handily -- but we're still talking about Arkansas here.

Speaking of -- what did you think of Texas A&M? Kenny Hill looked outstanding as the Aggies offense rolled up 680 total yards. A&M was 12-of-17 on third down and held a 15-minute edge in time of possession. Was Thursday's score a result of how good A&M is, how bad South Carolina is or a little of both? Is it time to start talking about the Aggies as potential contenders in what is looking like it could be a jumbled race for the SEC West?

How far can Todd Gurley take Georgia on his own? The running back's 198 yards -- on just 15 carries, by the way -- accounted for more than 43 percent of the Dawgs' total offense against Clemson. Hutson Mason didn't do much that hurt Georgia, but he also didn't have what you would call a spectacular day. And while the defense clamped down in the second half, it allowed drives of 70, 78, 68 and 65 yards in the first half. Is Gurley alone enough to propel the Bulldogs to the top of what's looking like an ever more suspect SEC East? Or does UGA need someone else to step forward as the season wears on?

Who had the worst weekend in the SEC? Not everybody won, of course. South Carolina opened what was supposed to be the best season in program history by getting clobbered at home by Texas A&M. Vanderbilt followed the best three years in its football existence by getting waxed by Temple. Arkansas pushed Auburn a little, particularly in the first half, but ended up losing by 24 anyway. Which of those teams is most likely to rally and salvage the goals they had before the season? Or are they all headed for the worst-case scenario? Or does the honor of worst weekend go to Florida, which didn't even get to play Idaho thanks to the weather?

Is this a down year for the SEC? Look the prior questions, and there's a theme of disappointment running through many of them. Conference perception might be more important now than ever in the playoff era, when a handful of men and women control which teams get to play for the national title. (DECIDING IT ON THE FIELD!) How badly did this weekend's stubbed toes hurt the SEC's chances of getting one or perhaps even two teams in the playoff? Or will those memories be long gone by the time that the final week of the season rolls around?