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Mitchell: SEC fans should be discussing...
State's Ladarius Perkins
State's Ladarius Perkins
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 24, 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 nine, but isn’t?


By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb

Well that leaves out anything to do with how many SEC coaches are likely to be fishing next season (4), whether or not Florida is really the nation’s second best team or anything to do with LSU linebacker Kevin Minter...

(i) The Tennessee Vols are now dead last in the SEC in defense, and they’ve accomplished the feat by spreading around the incompetence. Tennessee is ranked twelfth in the conference in run defense and thirteenth in pass defense. Next up for the Vols: the South Carolina Gamecocks, whose collective back is up against a wall this weekend...

(ii) A lot of folks are high on the Hogs again. With Arkansas winning its last two games, many have suggested the Razorbacks are back on track. Easy now… As we projected three weeks ago, the SEC is likely to have two teams go winless in conference play for the first time since 2002: Auburn and Kentucky. Arkansas’ last two wins? Auburn and Kentucky...

(iii) Ole Miss was my most underrated team heading into this season, with the expectation that the Rebs would be far more competitive. But we didn’t expect that to translate into a bowl game, particularly given their 2012 schedule was arguably the toughest in the nation. But if Ole Miss beats Arkansas and then Vandy, the Rebels are practicing in December – a major accomplishment for first year head coach Hugh Freeze...

(iv) Before the season, LSU head coach Les Miles enthusiastically suggested that with Zach Mettenberger under center, the Tigers would employ the deep pass as a means of keeping opposing defenses from crowding the line of scrimmage; even just the threat of the deep ball. Well, so much for that. Against A&M last Saturday, Mettenberger was 11/29 for 97 yards with a 77 passing efficiency rating. LSU’s longest completion was the 29 yard touchdown pass to Kadron Boone right before halftime, and what few 20-30 yard passes LSU attempted were grossly overthrown. Only four players caught passes, and of those, Jeremy Hill and James Wright had only one. Not surprisingly, A&M regularly kept 8-9 men in the box. The Tigers proved they could still run against a stacked TAMU, but if Alabama has 8-9 players in the box on November 3, LSU will run for less than 100 yards as a team. Don’t believe me? Here’s a refresher...

(v) Not sure if South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier just gave up at halftime of the Florida game, but with Connor Shaw and Marcus Lattimore both standing impotently on the sideline, Carolina didn't even get a first down in the third quarter. As a result, Florida started its three possessions on their 41, 40 & SC's 44 yard line – scoring each time. Ballgame, Ball Coach...

(vi) As we noted early in that SC/FL game Saturday, Gators’ punter Kyle Christy is to 2012 what LSU’s Brad Wing was to 2011. Christy had seven punts more than 50 yards and set a Florida record with a 54 yard average. His success has helped Florida flip the field, which has in turn placed more pressure on opposing teams. Not surprisingly then, the Gators have radically improved this year in turnover margin. Florida was dead last in the SEC last year in turnover margin, and 113 in nation. So far this season they’re third in the conference and ninth overall...

(vii) As Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin also suggested Wednesday, I don't think Vandy has ever had a -3 turnover ratio and won an SEC game before…the 2012 Auburn Tigers...

(viii) On both offense and defense, Mississippi State is a very balanced team. But many SEC fans are unaware that State has the conference’s leading rusher in Ladarius Perkins. Perkins is averaging 103 rushing yards per game. Only one other SEC player is averaging triple digits: TAMU QB Johnny Manziel (100). (Since many don’t pay close enough attention to State, may we point out that Vick Ballard ranked fourth in the conference rushing last year, and in 2009 – the year Bama’s Mark Ingram won the Heisman – State’s Anthony Dixon actually led the conference in rushing...)

(ix) In our weekly installment of “Introducing the World of CFB Outside the SEC”: Kent State is a good example of what happens when you leave your school nickname up to the student body. The Golden Flashes were so named in 1926. No, not for lightening - in fact, there's no explanation for the name, though it's likely this silly decision spawned the October stock market crash three years later and the subsequent Great Depression. They've been represented by a golden retriever called Flasher, a golden palomino named Golden Flasher and a golden eagle called Flash. Next up: a goldfish named Flush...

(x) With Tennessee falling out, the SEC currently has just two teams ranked in the top 25 in total offense (TAMU 9 & UGA 18), but still five teams ranked in the top 25 in total defense (Bama 1, LSU 3, Florida 7, SC 9 and State 25). Florida and SC switched places from last week…

Russ Mitchell is CFN's lead SEC Columnist. Follow Russ @russmitchellcfb.


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