Starting 11: SEC Blueboods Triumph Over Newbies

The third quarters of Florida–Texas A&M and Georgia — Mizzou were eerily familiar. The Aggies had a 17-7 lead and the Tigers led 17-9, both early in the third quarter. It would be the high point for both SEC newcomers, the Gators scored the final 13 in College Station and Georgia outscored Mizzou 32-3 in the final 16 minutes of that game. Just like that both upset bids died on the vine. I think you’ll probably see quite a bit of this for the duo this year, competitive for much of the game but just not able to flip the switch and come back for the win. (For Texas A&M fans I have no idea what you guys must be feeling. Your curse of double digit leads continues, even with a new coach).

I’m going to write on my Mizzou trip tomorrow because Monday has already gotten away from me, so in the meantime here is this week’s Starting 11.

Yes, that’s really R2D2, which I will replicate for you below.

1. Bobby Petrino is making millions by not coaching this year.

Arkansas’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe was the biggest story from week two. Because this wasn’t your garden variety thirty point upset loss where a few plays conspire to wreak havoc on the favorite. Louisiana-Monroe dominated Arkansas.

The Warhawks put up 550 yards of total offense, nearly two hundred more than the Razorbacks. Including 412 yards passing and 69 yards rushing from Kolton Browning.

That’s 481 yards of total offense, including a Vince Young like 16 yard scoring scamper on the final play of the game.

Somewhere Bobby Petrino’s agent is smiling.

Arkansas entered this season as part of a grand experiment, how much does a head coach really matter? The answer? A ton.

No matter how bad your week was, at least you didn’t file for bankruptcy and then lose to a thirty point underdog.

And now a photo interlude — LSU fans, the best in the SEC — have created an R2D2 keg.

2. Jarvis Jones is a legitimate Heisman candidate.

He won the game against Mizzou with two killer defensive plays down the stretch, a near pick six and a caused fumble.

Bang, 14 points in a road SEC contest.

He’s got 3.5 sacks, an interception, and a caused fumble so far this season.

Defensive players are operating at an incredible deficit to offensive players, but don’t miss Jones.

If Georgia continues to win and he continues to make plays like this, he should be in New York.

Period.

3. The Big Ten’s Saturday scorecard: Wisconsin, Nebraska. Iowa, Penn State, and Illinois all went down.

The Big Ten now has three ranked teams, only two of whom are actually undefeated, Michigan State and Ohio State. The other ranked team, Michigan, squeaked by Air Force a week after getting dominated by Alabama.

Given that Ohio State is ineligible for any postseason, the entire conference’s national title hopes now rest on Michigan State. Which even Michigan State fans think is ludicrous. And, oh, by the way, it’s September 10th. 

If Michigan State lost to Notre Dame this weekend then the Big Ten would be eliminated from the national title picture by the middle of September.  

Honestly, picking on the Big Ten is getting too easy.

4. USC looked very wobbly against Syracuse.

The Trojans led just 21-16 after three quarters against Syracuse.

More alarmingly, USC gave up nearly 500 yards of total offense to the Orangemen.

I’m not calling for the upset at Stanford this weekend, but Vegas isn’t that impressed with the Trojans, opening them as just over a touchdown favorite.

Everyone has been focused on that Oregon game, but suddenly those games at Arizona and at UCLA look a bit ominous.

If USC played Alabama or LSU next weekend, both the Tide and the Tigers would win by double digits.

5. Gene Chizik has a $7.5 million buyout. 

$7.5 million!

I mean…I just…

Welcome to karma, Auburn fans. Better get the bag man to start making deliveries to your coach.

Last week I wrote that intelligent Auburn fans were starting to realize that Super Cam was all that was keeping Chizik from being fired this season. After his team was dominated by Mississippi State, it’s becoming increasingly clear that I was correct.  

Gene Chizik is who we thought he was, a mediocre coach.

Chizik’s career coaching record without Cam Newton is now 21-31, 7-10 in the SEC.

I think Auburn goes 4-8 this year — and that’s giving the Tigers wins over Louisiana-Monroe, Ole Miss, New Mexico State, and Alabama A&M. 

And Ole Miss might be pushing it. The Tigers could go 0-8 in the SEC this year. 

Get the bag man on the phone, now. Except instead of giving it to a player, this time give it to Chizik.  

6. Props to Tyler Russell, who destroyed Auburn and jumped into the SEC’s top quarterback list.

Before the season started I told you that this year’s crop of SEC quarterbacks was the best in the conference’s history. 

Add Russell to that list. 

Presently the SEC has the number 3, 4, 5, and 8 top ranked quarterbacks in the NCAA. (A.J. McCarron, Tyler Bray, Tyler Wilson, and Bo Wallace of Ole Miss). 

Right now if I was ranking the SEC quarterbacks my list would look like this:

1. Tyler Bray

2. A.J. McCarron

3. Tyler Wilson

4. Aaron Murray

5. Tyler Russell

6. Bo Wallace

7. James Franklin

8. Zach Mettenberger

9. Maxwell Smith

10. Connor Shaw

11. Jeff Driskel

12. Johnny Manziel

13. Jordan Rodgers

14. Air

15. Kiehl Frazier   

What’s amazing about this list? The top four guys could all be first round draft picks at the end of this year.

That’s insane.

7. UCLA had 653 total yards against Nebraska.

653!

Anybody else picture Bo Pelini writing 653 over and over again on a yellow legal pad on the flight home until his pen went all the way through to the tray underneath his pad. Then Pelini keeps writing on the tray until the pen shatters in his hand?

At least Nebraska has that fertile Big Ten recruiting market to rely on for future players.

8. When did college girls start wearing one-piece stripper mini-skirts? 

I’m going to write on this in my Mizzou piece tomorrow, but, seriously, these mini-skirts are insane.

This is like the greatest female wardrobe choice since the bikini was invented.

If you’re a college student at Mizzou right now and you’re ever upset about anything school-related, you’re a damn fool. Just wait until there aren’t thousands of girls walking around in mini-skirts all day. Then you can be upset.

Now?

You’re the luckiest damn kids on earth.

9. Where does Georgia fans chanting “old man football” rank in the greatest fan taunts of recent history?

If you can come up with a better post-game taunt than this one, I’d love to hear it. Post it in the comments.

Otherwise, it’s top ranked.

Props to Georgia fans for coming up with this one. (Yes, even the guy with the mullet who wore the David Pollack jersey all day Friday and Saturday).

Not content with the chant, one Georgia fan climbed on Mizzou’s tiger and pretended to have sex with him.

Welcome to the SEC.

10. Vandy has to really work now to get bowl eligible.

The Northwestern game was a must win.

The Commodores lost.

It’s likely Vandy will be 1-5 after the first six. (Mizzou is the best chance for an upset win). Before the season I said the Commodores would be 5-7 and Vandy fans were furious with me. But the schedule was tough and the optimism was very high and somebody had to be realistic. I think Vandy will be better this year than they were last year, but a bowl season was a stretch when you looked at this schedule. 

Vandy will beat Presbyterian and UMass and should beat Kentucky and Ole Miss. Assuming all four of those wins happen then the Commdores nead to beat Wake Forest and either Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Florida or Mizzou to get a sixth win. 

That’s still doable, especially with Auburn tanking. 

Assuming that James Franklin can keep this Vandy team together, even with a 1-5 start, the Dores could go 5-1 on the back half of their schedule to get bowl eligible. 

We’ll see.  

11. SEC power rankings based on what we’ve seen so far this season.

You guys blow me up on Twitter about this so we’re going to start doing it as the final item in each week’s Starting 11. This is based entirely on what we’ve seen and doesn’t reflect who I think is necessarily the best team out there.

1. Alabama

2. LSU

3. Tennessee

4. Georgia

5. South Carolina

6. Florida

7. Mississippi State

8. Mizzou

9. Texas A&M

10. Arkansas

11. Ole Miss

12. Vandy

13. Kentucky

14. Auburn    

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