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Three & Out returns in 2011 to give you three SEC thoughts, news and notes. In our Week 5 wrap-up, we take a look at Alabama's dominating win over Florida, Mississippi State's return to being "Mississippi State" and the end of the Auburn/South Carolina game. Three & Out still fully supports the "Mathieu for Heisman" campaign.
YEAH, ABOUT THAT...
I caught a lot of heat for saying in our CFN Final Thoughts that Florida would beat Alabama outright. I was wrong...WAY wrong.
Did Alabama win with Trent Richardson, who rushed for a career high 181 yards? A little bit. Was it due to a defensive touchdown, which was Alabama's fourth non-offensive touchdown in the last two games? Kind of. But the overwhelming reason Alabama dominated Florida was the same reason they've been dominant all season, and will continue to be dominant going forward - the defense.
Alabama held Florida to 15 rushing yards for the game. Not a half, not a quarter, not a drive...FOR THE GAME. All three of Florida's primary running backs each had four rushing yards for the game, and its leading rusher was backup quarterback Jeff Driskel with 18 yards. But even those 18 yards are deceiving. Driskel was essentially running for his life, and only gained positive yardage after a 31-yard scramble.
This is the same Florida team that was averaging 259 yards per game coming in.
Would the game have been different if Florida quarterback John Brantley hadn't have left with a leg injury? Yes. That's not an excuse. That's a fact. Alabama wouldn't have stacked up so much against the run and the game would have been different in certain capacities.
After watching this Alabama team play defense Saturday night, the outcome, on the other hand, would not have.
THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE
My inbox is still recovering from the onslaught of profanity it received after Iranked Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen the No. 7 among SEC head coaches prior to the season, and then followed it up by saying that the Bulldogs would barely make a bowl game. Five weeks into the season, it's clear that last season's 9-4 mark was Mississippi State's ceiling, and the program is back to being the same ole Mississippi State.
Mullen is known as an offensive guru, but the Bulldogs failed to score an offensive touchdown in their 24-10 loss to Georgia between the hedges, and only crossed the 50-yard line twice. The 14 point loss isn't indicative of how much of a blowout this game was. Mississippi State got run out of the building.
Mississippi State is as one-dimensional as they come, and that again proved true on Saturday. Vick Ballard, one of the most underrated running backs in the SEC, carried the ball only eight times for 33 yards, and quarterback Chris Relf gained only 31 yards on 15 carries. When you're one-dimensional, you're very beatable, and that's exactly what Mississippi State is.
After Georgia started the season 0-2, there were some grumblings that UGA should go after Dan Mullen as the successor to embattled head coach Mark Richt. Now that Mullen has played a game between then hedges in Sanford Stadium, I'd say that the natives in Athens are just fine looking in another direction, should Richt be shown the door.
If Richt's defense continues to play the way it's been playing the last two weeks, that won't happen though.
TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE A RIGHT
Let's get this out of the way right off the bat - the officials made the wrong call and there should have been one second on the clock at the end of the Auburn/South Carolina game.
With that said, the officials made the right call by ending the game.
South Carolina wasn't going to be able to get off the field, run its field goal unit on, line up and snap the ball during the time that it took the officials to mark the ball, move the chains and wind the clock. Should the Gamecocks have had the opportunity to? Sure. That's clear. But the likelihood of actually being able to do that is slim-to-none, and slim left the building. Yes, I know we shouldn't dabble in hypothecials, but that's where we are considering the circumstances of the game's final play.
So how was ending the game the right call? Once players and media started trickling out on the field, there was no way for the officials to accurately re-play the final second during normal game conditions. It would have been just as unfair to Auburn to allow South Carolina to line up over the ball once the field was clear, and snap the potential game-tying field goal once the official signaled the ready for play. That's not the way the potential game-tying kick would have played out had the right call been made initially.
The only way to accurately rectify the situation would have been to get all 22 players and every offical on the field during the game's final play to go back to the exact spot they were, blow a whistle, and see if - through all the moving parts - South Carolina could get a kick off. That would probably be the most ridiculous scene of all time.
Was it the wrong call? Yes. Could it be fixed after the call was made? No. Two wrongs don't make a right.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee
2011 Three & Out Archive
Three & Out – October 2, 2011
Three & Out – September 25, 2011
Three & Out – September 18, 2011
Three & Out – September 11, 2011
Three & Out – September 5, 2011
Three & Out – August 29, 2011
Three & Out – August 22, 2011
Three & Out – August 15, 2011
Three & Out – August 8, 2011
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