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SEC Spin Zone: Week 2

So your team lost. You’re sad and maybe even mad. It’s not ALL bad, however.

Georgia v South Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Week 2 appeared to some as a mediocre week in the world of college football. Georgia @ South Carolina and Clemson @ Texas A&M looked to be the only super marquee showdowns. In the end, Week 2 was not a bust at all. Even with tempered expectations, the exciting Saturday it turned out to be didn’t come as a big surprise to anyone who watches this beautifully chaotic and often logic defying game regularly.

Unfortunately, someone has to be at the wrong end of the chaos and on Saturday in the SEC, this was the fate of four teams.


Texas A&M

We’ll start off in College Station, where in reality we saw a loss only in terms of the final score. Almost everything else could actually be considered positive. Kyle Field was rocking in the pouring rain as the #2 Clemson Tigers came to town. The Aggies fought tooth and nail and made the Clemson secondary look outmatched at times. Kendrick Rogers reminded Aggie fans of Mike Evans as he made play after play in his #13 jersey. Kellen Mond’s dynamic play convinced viewers why he was chosen to be the guy at QB. The defense held the Tigers to only 115 yards on the ground and should be able to maintain stout play going forward.

Who knows what we’d be saying today if that controversial touchback had been overturned? Either way, Jimbo Fisher appears to already have the Aggies poised to rise and become regular conference championship contenders during his time at A&M.

Arkansas

Saturday night was bizarre. The Razorbacks jumped out to a 27-9 lead against the Colorado State Rams in Ft. Collins, then just hit a wall. That’s the simplest way to describe this game. The quarterback fiasco seems to be far from over as well, but an encouraging offensive stat line came from Devwah Whaley who put up 165 yards on 26 carries. The second half was rough for the defense as Washington transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels finished with 389 yards passing. Also, the Hogs only managed one sack, which is concerning when Carta-Samuels had 47 pass attempts.

Now with that said, the real reason Arkansas hit this wall could have been because of the Colorado altitude. Seriously. After some extensive research on winsipedia.com, I discovered that an SEC team has won only ONE true road game played in Mountain Standard Time or Pacific Standard Time THIS DECADE. Some teams in the conference haven’t won any games that fit this criteria at all. It’s wild how little the SEC goes out West and even more wild how little they win.

The SEC out West

School Last True Road Win in MST or PST
School Last True Road Win in MST or PST
Alabama 2002 (Hawaii)
Arkansas 1987 at (Hawaii)
Auburn N/A
Florida 1958 (UCLA)
Georgia 2008 (Arizona State)
Kentucky N/A
LSU 2009 (Washington)
Mississippi State 1981 (Colorado State)
Missouri 2009 (Colorado)*
Ole Miss 2011 (Fresno State)
South Carolina N/A
Tennessee 1997 (UCLA)
Texas A&M 2008 (Colorado)*
Vanderbilt N/A
*Former conference opponent

I apologize for any dizziness this extreme spin may have caused, but maybe you actually can just chalk this loss up to unfamiliarity, Hogs.

South Carolina

Another year, another spoiled coming out party. After losing the much anticipated SEC opener to Kentucky last season, Carolina looked to make an even bigger statement on a bigger stage vs. the third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs this year. No such statement was made. The Dawgs swiftly jumped out to a 14-0 lead and never really looked back despite only leading by 10 at halftime. Georgia proved that they are still dominant on both sides of the ball and put blazing speed on display while cruising to a 41-17 victory.

Georgia is elite. On paper, a loss for the Gamecocks seemed likely, but the one thing that MUST improve is the rushing offense. This looks to be a lingering issue from last season where they averaged only 117 rushing yards per game. This simply won’t get the job done if you’re looking to rise to the ranks of the elite in the SEC.

If the game against Marshall ends up being played (in jeopardy due to Hurricane Florence), Bryan Mclendon and the offensive staff should use it as a tuning session for the RBs. This will more than likely be the case before a gauntlet of seven straight conference games. Fixing the rushing attack and finishing the season strong could have bowl selectors looking back at the Georgia game as a famed “quality loss” and an early one at that.

Florida

Sheesh! So the streak is over. As a Florida Gators fan, you are likely surprised that this is the first history Dan Mullen has made at the helm and you may not know how to cope. The Kentucky Wildcats came to town and frankly, hit your team in the mouth.

Trench domination by Kentucky on both sides of the ball set the tone of the game. The Cats’ defense was able to have Feleipe Franks flustered and off balance for most of the game. The UK offensive line allowed zero sacks, but also zero pressures. Florida simply did not show the toughness needed to pull this win off and looked completely out of character.

Senior DL Cece Jefferson (suspension) and junior LB David Reese (injury) were both missing from the defense that was gashed for 303 rushing yards, so it’s hard to say that things would have been the same if they were playing. This duo combined for 23.5 TFL in 2017. Once these two are back on the field, some leadership and grit should return to this defensive unit.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Florida won’t face another team hungrier than Kentucky was on Saturday night. Sheer frustration from last year’s encounter surely fueled the fire for the Wildcats. The streak had to come to an end eventually. Look for Dan Mullen to right the ship as the season wears on.

Florida can surely recover from this game with their actual play, but as far as on-field banter goes, there’s no guarantees they can pick themselves up from this. ^^^