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SEC Spin Zone: Week 4

What can your team take from its loss?

Florida v Tennessee Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

This week’s spin zone features six teams as conference play really gets rolling and that’s music to some fans’ ears. There’s nothing like the camaraderie that comes from bragging and trash talk, but also the statements that begin with phrases like “Well, at least we,” “At least we didn’t” or “Just wait ‘til.” So who’s “just waiting ‘til” after Week 4’s games?


Arkansas & Tennessee

These teams are going together because it’s obvious at this point that this is a new coach adjustment period/rebuilding year for both teams. This past weekend however, the Arkansas Razorbacks displayed one reason to be a little excited. Compared to how the season had been up to that point, at least.

The 34-3 loss included a 96 yard kick return touchdown by Auburn’s Noah Igbinoghene and a short Tiger TD drive following a Jordyn Peters blocked punt. The block was returned all the way inside the Razorback 10. Arkansas managed to hold the Auburn offense to 225 total yards. This was after allowing Colorado State and North Texas to rack up 429 and 376 yards respectively in their previous two games.

The offense still needs to come around, but there are some signs of life on D in Fayetteville.

Up on Rocky Top, the Tennessee Volunteers delivered an absolute stinker vs. the longtime rival Florida Gators. The Gators had won 12 out of the last 13 meetings in the series coming in and it was obvious early that this would extend to 13 of 14. I mean just look at this. These were the Vol drives to open the game.

After taking a glance at the next few games on the Tennessee schedule, I have to be honest and say that I really don’t have much besides that if turnovers are cleaned up, maybe one of these match ups can be interesting in the 4th quarter. Remember, it’s a rebuilding year.

Missouri

A funky affair played out on a sunny afternoon in Columbia between the Georgia Bulldogs and Missouri Tigers. The Tigers were chasing for pretty much all of the game and lost 43-29, but they didn’t look particularly horrible during any point in the game. This was another case of Georgia’s athleticism taking over at critical points in the game.

The UGA offense was only responsible for three of their touchdowns, all on long pass plays. Two of those came after acrobatic catches from Riley Ridley and Jeremiah Holloman and then another from Mecole Hardman breaking loose with his elite speed. So the defense played relatively well, but questions do remain in the secondary.

Scoring 29 points against a swarming Bulldog defense is nothing to scoff at, especially when Drew Lock had an inefficient day. This offense should only continue to impress as the schedule rolls on and defenses like Georgia’s aren’t across the line of scrimmage every week. Not a bad first loss.

Vanderbilt

There’s no question that this was a step backwards against South Carolina after the close loss at Notre Dame. A lot of factors were at play in Nashville. The Commodores were likely still in a funk after coming so close to beating a top 10 team. The Gamecocks were rested and hungry after their bye week forced by Hurricane Florence.

Vanderbilt turned in an all-around flat performance in the 37-14 loss and made what had been sort of an ineffective rushing attack from South Carolina look pretty good. For the day, the Vandy surrendered 534 total yards after giving up only 380 to Notre Dame.

To this point, we’ve seen the Jekyll and Hyde of the Commodores and thankfully they have a game against Tennessee State in Week 5 to gain some confidence and fine tune some of the negative areas. This Vanderbilt offense has another gear that hasn’t been reached yet.

Mississippi State

The Mississippi State Bulldogs traveled to Lexington having won 8 of 9 vs. the Kentucky Wildcats and were favored to leave with another win. Instead, it was a wake up call as they were soundly defeated 28-7. Benny Snell ran wild and both the offensive and defensive lines were pushed around.

With the ugly night in Kroger Field now behind them, the Bulldogs are now conducting a self-checkout (I’m sorry). This is still a good football team, but it’s clear that Joe Moorhead and his new staff will have to find ways to better execute on offense. A little bit too much was put on Nick Fitzgerald’s plate against UK and the chaos up front led by Josh Allen did not help things at all.

Before Florida, ways to re-integrate Aeris Williams and Kylin Hill back into the game plan will surely be discovered in practice. While I do believe that Kentucky is a good team, I also think State deserves a mulligan for this performance. Honestly, they were too overconfident and continuously thought they would be able to fit square pegs into round holes. The Dawgs eventually wore down from their futile efforts.

Texas A&M

You covered! Now a loss is never anything to celebrate, but the Texas A&M Aggies held this iteration of Nick Saban’s Alabama behemoth to under 50 points AND covered the spread. This was the best anyone has done against the Crimson Tide.