Mitchell: SEC fans should be discussing...
A tale of two halves
A tale of two halves
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 10, 2012


SEC fans are some of the most educated college football advocates around, but like everyone they tend to focus on the big picture. Ten things every SEC fan should be talking about in week seven, but isn’t?


The following is an excerpt from the SEC staple Y’all Play Nice, Week Seven. Read it every Thursday at College Football News.

By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb

Well, that leaves out anything to do with how badly UGA played in Columbia, how much worse LSU’s offense is this year vs. last, or just how quickly the folks in Auburn can pass the plate for $7.5M...

(i) Breaking my own rule here, and starting off all-things War Eagle. Auburn is looking down the barrel at an 0-8 SEC season. They’ll lose to Ole Miss on Saturday, and you haven’t been watching the Rebs this year if you think otherwise. Ole Miss’s offense can score against good defenses; they’ll score in bunches against Auburn. And while the Rebs’ defense has struggled, that’s come more defending against the pass than the run…and the Tigers are dead last in the SEC in pass and pass efficiency offense. Ole Miss is also fourth in the SEC in sacks…they have to be licking their chops to get after this Auburn O-line. After that it’s Vandy on the road before TAMU, Georgia and @ Bama…

(ii) While we’re at it... Don’t look now, Auburn, but Alabama A&M is undefeated and playing some good FCS football. Six wins and impressively ranked in the top three of every Southwestern conference statistical category except net punting. Don’t think they get a lot of practice punting. Tick. Tock…

(iii) Talk about taking your heads out of the oven… Missouri fans, it’s not that bad. Really. I tried repeatedly this summer to convince you 2012 would be a season of adjustment, and that’s what it has been (don’t worry, TAMU’s reckoning is coming – though their lines were more SEC ready). The situation was only exacerbated given the early injuries to an already thin/inexperienced offensive line, though we expected that too, didn’t we. We tried repeatedly to warn you that Vandy was far from a sure thing. Please trust me now – this is exactly what was supposed to happen. You’ve got a solid coach in Gary Pinkel – get your finger off the button. He’ll recruit this offseason better than he ever has. As for Saturday, you knew Bama was going to win this before the season started; so relax and enjoy the spectacle of a #1 team visiting a sold out Zou…

(iv) On several occasions since the SEC Media Days circus, Mizzou’s Pinkel has noted that since joining the SEC, the one thing that stands out most unexpected to him is how much having the SEC brand has improved his access in recruiting. Patience, grasshoppers…

(v) The first half of the LSU/Florida game went exactly as expected. Even being repeatedly pinned deep inside its own 10 yard line by the Gator’s talented punter Kyle Christy (49 ypp on seven punts), LSU’s defense absolutely crushed this Gators’ offensive line (figuratively) and quarterback Jeff Driskel (literally). The SEC player of week 6 wasn’t a player at all…he was a coach. Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease came out for the second half with the strategy, “Well, passing didn’t work…let’s line up seven or eight and just run it like a red-headed step mule.” Mass kicks ass, indeed. The Gators would only attempt four passes in the second half in outscoring the Tigers 14-0. In fact, after going up 7-6 midway in the third, Florida wouldn’t throw another pass again. You see that, Spurrier?

(vi) Quarterback Connor Shaw and the Gamecocks played like champions last Saturday behind what can only be labeled a historically special defensive line. Shaw was a solid 6/10 for 162 yards, two touchdowns, and a passing efficiency rating of 262. There was little need to pass after the first quarter, and even then Shaw picked up some of the rushing load. However, as has been the case in every game since Vandy, Shaw’s receiving targets were wide open last Saturday. Georgia’s pass efficiency defense is ninth “best” in the SEC. Kentucky’s is ranked thirteenth. Mizzou’s: tenth. You’re getting the picture. Care to guess what LSU’s is? #3 (third best in the nation too, behind Bama’s #1 and SC’s next opponent, Florida). Not to mention LSU’s total defense is still ranked third best in the nation, Miles is 10-1 coming off a loss and it’s a night game in Baton Rouge. If SC tries to throw in this game, we reckon it’ll look a lot like the first half of the Florida/LSU game. Of course, as bad as LSU’s offense is playing, why bothering throwing at all?…

(v) Hey, Johnny Football, great comeback in the final seconds last Saturday to claim A&M’s first SEC road win. Now time for a splash of cold water – that was Ole Miss you should have lost to. If Hugh Freeze’s Rebs had just a little more experience closing teams out, you lose by 10 in Oxford. Sure, it was something to build on, and you can start by learning how to hold onto the ball. Six turnovers, Aggies??? Don’t look now, but y’all are back on the road again to play a very good Sonny Dykes La Tech program that can score a lot of points too (and surrender a lot of yards). After that it’s LSU, @ Auburn, @ State and @Bama…

(viii) Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley had hip surgery on Tuesday – happy to report the word is he’s OK and will coach the Mississippi State game from the booth. Certainly I’m no doctor, even if in my mother’s heart there’s still time. But unless this was an emergent situation (and the reports don’t make that out to be the case), or unless he coaches better from the booth (again unlikely), was this really the best timing? This is a critical, career game for Dooley – all the more so with Bama and SC up on the docket next. If this was elective, Tennessee had a bye last week…why not do it then? Very unusual. We hope coach Dooley is OK; clearly far more important than football… But this distraction is another hurdle for an underdog Tennessee program that really needs this road win in Starkville…

(ix) In our weekly installment of “Introducing the World of CFB Outside the SEC”: New Mexico State could be Auburn’s next, and final, win of the 2012 season. The Aggies are 1-5, 0-2 in the WAC, with their only win coming at the expense of Sacramento State (FCS). NMSU’s rushing offense is ranked 117 in the nation, though its total offense is better than Auburn’s heading into week 7. Their mascot has SEC ties in that it is none other than the great Pistol Pete! Actually, if that sounds extra familiar it’s because Pistol Pete is also the mascot of Oklahoma State and the University of Wyoming. Sorta like a timeshare, I suppose…

(x) The SEC currently has three teams ranked in the top 25 in total offense (TAMU 12, Tenn 17 and UGA 24), and five teams ranked in the top 25 in total defense (Bama 1, LSU 3, SC 11, Florida 12 and State 25)…


Russ Mitchell is CFN's lead SEC Columnist. Follow Russ @russmitchellcfb and improve your CFB IQ.