Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes 10/18
Mark Ingram = Heisman front-runner
Mark Ingram = Heisman front-runner
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 18, 2009


CFN SEC Blogger Barrett Sallee shares three thoughts, comments or observations about week seven in the SEC.

By: Barrett Sallee


Someone not named Tim Tebow emerges as a Heisman front-runner, the defending national champion gets a scare, and a high octane SEC offense gets shut down at home. Here are the three most important things to take out of week seven in the SEC:

Hello Heisman
Coming into 2009, the general consensus was that the 2009 Heisman Trophy would be awarded to either Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy. The award has evolved into an award for the best player on the best team. Most recently, it seems that it's almost exclusive to quarterbacks. With Bradford suffering from a nagging shoulder injury, McCoy looking very average in his biggest game of the year so far and Tebow not playing up to the Superman-like standards that he's set for himself during the previous two seasons, the college football world has been waiting for someone to step up and take charge in the race.

Mark Ingram did that Saturday night.

The sophomore running back from the No. 2-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide steamrolled through the South Carolina defense, generally regarded as one of the SEC's best, to the tune of 246 yards and one touchdown in a 20-6 win over No. 22 South Carolina. In just seven games, Ingram is only 95 yards away from topping the 1,000-yard mark on the season, and that includes games against defenses like the Gamecocks, Virginia Tech and Ole Miss – not exactly the sisters of the poor.

Ingram shouldn't just be in the Heisman conversation, he should be leading it. He ran for more yards Saturday night than anyone else in the history of Bryant-Denny Stadium. It was the third-best performance by an Alabama running back in history, behind Shaun Alexander's 291 yards against LSU in 1996 and Bobby Humphrey's 284 against Mississippi State in 1986. Not bad company.

The nation seems to want to give the award to McCoy, but the Texas QB hasn't played the way he did last year...when he deserved it. That game against Oklahoma was one of the sloppiest I've ever seen from both teams – and I've seen a 3-2 game. Sadly, Bradford's recurring shoulder injury has knocked him out of the race; as has the wrist injury Cincinnati's Tony Pike suffered. Tebow has been good, but not "Ingram-Good."

If the Heisman were to be handed out today, Ingram deserves it. The mission statement of the Heisman Trophy states that the award annually recognizes the most outstanding college football player. So far in 2009, that's been Mark Ingram without a doubt.

This Year's "Ole Miss," or something more?
Coming into Florida's game vs Arkansas, it was discussed on message boards and airwaves that this game could be a trap game for the Gators, after going on the road to beat LSU the previous week in a slug fest in Death Valley. Could this game be this year's "Ole Miss" for the Gators? Following Florida's 23-20 win over the Razorbacks, it's apparent that it was – only this time, the Gators won.

Some cynics will argue that the Florida offense hasn't looked the same since Louis Murphy and Percy Harvin left Gainesville, and there's some truth to that. Even without those guys the Gators are still one of, if not the, best teams in the nation.

They got the best game possible from Arkansas. Dennis Johnson ran like a man possessed, Ryan Mallett made huge throws (usually to Greg Childs) against the stout Gator D, and had the ball with a chance to win late in the fourth. Against the Gators, that's as good as it gets. Alex Tejada's missed field goal opened the door for Tim Tebow to be...well...Tim Tebow, and lead his team down for the game-winning score tied, rather than playing from behind, like they were last year vs. the Rebels.

Just like last year against the Rebels, the Gators played sloppy. Four fumbles in the first three quarters dug the hole. In the fourth, Tebow dug them out. This was this years version of the "Ole Miss game." Only this time, the Gators prevailed thanks to a late missed FG from the Razorbacks, a clutch catch from David Nelson and a late FG from sophomore PK Caleb Sturgis.

No team can play at their optimum level on a week-in, week-out basis. This game was the aberration, not the start of a trend. Something tells me it won't happen again.

Tigers Offense is Regressing
After spending the better part of the first half of the season hanging around the top 10 teams in the nation in total offense, the Auburn Tigers offense has taken a big step back the last two weeks. The Tigers gained 375 yards in a loss two weeks ago at Arkansas, and 315 yards Saturday night, in a home loss to Kentucky. A far cry from the 500+ yard performances that the Tigers put up in September.

So, what's the problem? It's certainly not Ben Tate. The senior has rushed for 316 yards in the last two games. It's certainly not the play-calling. Gus Malzahan is still utilizing the wildcat, no-huddle and unorthodox formations that has made him known as one of the most innovative offensive minds in college football. The problem is the passing game.

Chris Todd threw 12 touchdowns in the first five games of the season, leading the Tigers to a 5-0 start. Since then, he's thrown zero touchdowns and one interception. The senior, who underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season, is 25-for-52 during that two-game stretch for only 213 yards. Even more concerning for the Tigers, is that Todd doesn't appear to have the zip on the ball that he had early in the season. He under-threw several receivers in Saturday night's loss to Kentucky, including a crucial one to Mario Fannin late in the third quarter that could have put the Tigers up by two touchdowns.

Maybe the downturn is a result of a few off-nights, or maybe it's something more. But, whatever it is, the Tigers need to fix the passing game quickly. With five wins already in the bag and Furman still on the schedule, the Tigers will go bowling this year. But, anything better than Shreveport seems very questionable, considering the Tigers defense has been shaky all year and the offense seems to be regressing.

Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at
barrettsallee@gmail.com, or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BSallee_CFN



Three & Out Archive:
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - October 18, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - October 14, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - October 11, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - October 7, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - October 4, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - September 30, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - September 27, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - September 23, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - September 21, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - September 17, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - September 13, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - September 10, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - September 7, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes - September 3, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Media Days, Day 3 – July 24, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Media Days, Day 2 – July 23, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Media Days, Day 1 – July 22, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 16, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 12, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 9, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 3, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 30, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 26, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 18, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 15, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 11, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 7, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 3, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – February 28, 2009

Click here for the 2009 blog archive


Related Stories
Alabama Moves Up To No. 1
 -by BamaMag.com  Oct 18, 2009
A Couple Of Marks For Tide Football
 -by BamaMag.com  Oct 17, 2009
Ingram Selected For Weekly Honor
 -by BamaMag.com  Oct 19, 2009








Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
TB Mark Ingram (profile)
[View My HotList]
Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Alabama
Football > Auburn
Football > Florida
[View My HotList]