Most SEC Teams Pleased After Week One

Blake Sims

College football has begun and after the opening week of games some in the Southeastern Conference are quite pleased, others not so much. Here’s a look at the “Happy Scale” as we prepare for Week II, which is a depressing schedule.

Alabama had a win, 33-23, over West Virginia and there were some good things, but the Crimson Tide faithful can be only moderately happy. Although Bama’s offense accumulated 538 yards, it never seemed that way because the Tide never had enough separation to put the Mountaineers away.

Bama followers had to be pleased with the play of Blake Sims in his first start. Just as disappointing, though, was not seeing transfer quarterback Jake Coker in anything but mop-up duty. Coker appeared to have an issue with his leg.

Speaking of issues, for Alabama there was also the issue of pass defense. Bradley Sylve had been getting good reviews from Tide Coach Nick Saban (who, of course, coaches the cornerbacks in practice), but Sylve seemed to be the poster child for what is wrong with Bama defense against hurry up offense teams. There are better hurry up attacks ahead, though not this week.

Alabama hosts Florida Atlantic at 11 a.m. CDT at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Owls got nipped by Nebraska, 55-7.

Texas A&M will have an attack to worry about if the first weekend is any indication. The Aggies have to be ecstatic after taking down the self-proclaimed Ball Coach and his South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia. A&M was a double-digit underdog against South Carolina, in great part because the Aggies had lost quarterback Johnny Manziel. Hello Kenny Hill! The new A&M qurterback completed a record 44 passes (in 60 attempts) for a record 511 yards.

Although the Aggies looked like Alabama in the secondary, for the first time since joining the SEC Texas A&M did have some up-front defenders who were making actual tackles.

And if A&M is at the top of the happy scale, you can imagine where South Carolina ranks; particularly Defensive Coordinator Whammy Ward (the former Bama defensive back).

Georgia moved to the favorite’s role in the SEC East with its dominating performance over Clemson. Todd Gurley was no secret, but he was magnificent in the Bulldogs’ victory with 243 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns.

LSU had a great comeback win over Wisconsin in a battle of top 15 teams to open the season. Down by 17 points at one time, the Tigers scored the final 21 points of the game in a 28-24 win.

The Tigers got a great game from tailback Kenny Hilliard, who had 99 of his 110 rushing yards in the second half. But the LSU faithful may be wondering if freshman runner Leonard Fournette is only human as he struggled to get to double figures in rushing – 8 carries for 18 yards with a long run of 5 yards.

Auburn has to be happy as the Tigers discovered that just because their quarterback and leader had to sit out awhile after a summer marijuana incident that the Tigers can still pile up the points. Tied at 21 with Arkansas at halftime, Auburn cruised to a 45-21 win over the Razorbacks.

Arkansas had to be encouraged by its first half offensive performance, but overall it looks like there won’t be much enthusiasm in the “Whooee”s for another year or so.

Mississippi State has to be happy as the Bulldogs rolled in-state foe Southern Mississippi, 49-0. The Golden Eagles haven’t recovered from the one-year Ellis Johnson Era. MSU has one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC in Dak Prescott, who passed for 284 yards and the Bulldogs piled up 550.

It looked for a long time that Ole Miss might find itself in the depressed camp, but the Rebels are happy happy happy after beating Boise State, 35-13. Mississippi had only a 7-6 lead going to the fourth quarter in Atlanta last Thursday. On the good side, quarterback Bo Wallace completed 25-36 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns. On the bad side he threw three interceptions and the Rebels managed only 71 yards rushing.

Missouri’s pleasure at its 38-18 win over South Dakota State was tempered by the disappointment of 2013 defensive end Michael Sam being a victim of the NFL cut.

Best performance by a quarterback you never heard of? Soph Patrick Towles completed 20 of 29 passes for 377 yards and Kentucky was happy to get a 59-14 victory over UT-Martin.

The real UT – well, at least the real UT in the Southeast – also got good quarterback play as Just Worley completed 27 of 38 passes for 273 yards. Tennessee also showed solid defense in throttling Utah State, 38-7.

Vanderbilt fans are furious at James Franklin. Franklin, who had given Vandy respectability, has moved on to Penn State. He may have left the cupboard bare as under new coach Derek Mason the Commodores were embarrassed in Nashville by Temple, 37-7. The Crafty Commodores also got caught with illegal jerseys, though the bigger issue was the men wearing the jerseys. The ship went down with the anchor.

But Nashville is not the saddest place in the SEC.

The Florida Department of Tourism is lower than a tropical depression after Florida and Idaho waited for about three hours through lightning and pouring rain before their Saturday night game was cancelled.

Florida and Idaho could play the game Oct. 25, but to do so would mean the Gators were playing that day and Georgia would not be playing the weekend before the UF-UG game in Jacksonville. To not play the game, though, might cost Florida when it comes time for bowl selections.

Speaking of depressing, here is this week’s SEC schedule:

Florida Atlantic at Alabama.

Nicholls State at Arkansas.

San Jose State at Auburn.

Eastern Michigan at Florida (weather permitting).

Ohio at Kentucky.

Sam Houston at LSU.

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss.

UAB at Mississippi State.

Toledo at Missouri.

East Carolina at South Carolina.

Arkansas State at Tennessee.

Lamar at Texas A&M.

Georgia has an open date to get ready for South Carolina.

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