SEC Football Roundup: Week 2 Scores, Rankings, Reactions

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SEC Week 2 Scores, Rankings, Reactions

Week 2 SEC football scores, rankings and reactions from the second weekend of the 2015 season, including Arkansas vs. Toledo and Tennessee vs. Oklahoma.

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Scroll down for thoughts on each SEC team, recaps and picks

SEC East Rankings After Week 2

1. Georgia (2-0)
2. Tennessee (1-1)
3. Missouri (2-0)
4. Florida (2-0)
5. Kentucky (2-0)
6. South Carolina (1-1)
7. Vanderbilt (0-2)

SEC West Rankings After Week 2

1. Alabama (2-0)
2. Ole Miss (2-0)
3. LSU (1-0)
4. Texas A&M (2-0)
5. Arkansas (1-1)
6. Mississippi State (1-1)
7. Auburn (2-0)

SEC Player of the Week

LSU RB Leonard Fournette ran 28 times for 159 yards and three scores in the 21-19 win over Mississippi State

SEC, get ready for everyone piling on.

Ole Miss blowing out Fresno State isn’t going to register, and Alabama’s yawning blowout over Middle Tennessee doesn’t really matter, and Texas A&M’s tremendous start is going to be blown off, and why? This is the week the SEC haters get to rise up and have their moment.

Auburn was awful against Jacksonville State and probably should’ve lost, Missouri was mediocre against Arkansas State and Florida stunk it up against East Carolina, but at least they won.

Tennessee once again proved that all the young talent in the world doesn’t matter if it doesn’t know how to close – the Vols had Oklahoma dead and couldn’t figure out how to do the burial. And, the big one, if you’re Bret Bielema and you spend your week grousing about Ohio State’s schedule, you don’t go out and lose to Toledo.

Yeah, Toledo might be the best team in the MAC, and this is a strong program capable of doing big things, but no, you don’t lose to a MAC team at home – or at least close to it, in Little Rock – if you’re a team gunning for greatness.

And that’s the biggest all-around issue for the SEC this week. After going 12-1 to start the season with a terrific 4-0 start against the Power Five teams, and after getting ten teams into the top 25 rankings, this wasn’t quite the time come up with a big national egg.

But that’s life as the best conference in college football. There will be losses, and there will be upsets.

And there will be the rest of the college football world ready to point out all the mistakes.

SEC EAST

Florida: W, East Carolina 31-24

Where’s the pass defense? Yeah, Vernon Hargreaves III was dinged up, but even so, the Gators can’t be giving up 346 passing yards. Fortunately, the run defense was dominant holding the Pirates to -13 yards – the defensive front was camped out in the backfield. Will Grier was fine as the main man at quarterback, and the Gators got the win on a weird overall day for the SEC, but this wasn’t quite the primetime performance the coaching staff wanted. Again, though, 2-0. Take it.

Georgia: W, Vanderbilt, 31-14

At some point the passing game has to be stronger. Nick Chubb was Nick Chubb, and the defense wasn’t going to let the Vanderbilt offense breathe, but Greyon Lambert completing 11-of-21 passes with little happening down the field isn’t going to fly. With the SEC East looking very, very vulnerable, Georgia has it all there for the taking. All the parts have to be rocking, first. The passing game has been efficient, but now it has to be effective.

Kentucky: W, at South Carolina 26-22

It might have taken a little work to hang on after a great start, but Kentucky, after looking lousy against Louisiana-Lafayette, got the gigantic win the program needed last year. South Carolina might not be the South Carolina everyone was hoping it would be, but still the Wildcats are keeping the mistakes to a minimum and – most importantly after two games – they’re finding ways to come up with close wins. No comes the real test – can UK break the Florida hex?

Missouri: W, at Arkansas State 27-20

Maty Mauk is who he is. He’s never going to be Aaron Rodgers in terms of accuracy, but he can rise up when needed and ball. The Tigers were a bit sleepy against Arkansas State, but the offense perked up just enough to get out alive. It also helped that the defense dominated in key parts. The schedule hasn’t kicked in yet, but so far the secondary has been a brick wall. That’s not going to get challenged against UConn this week.

South Carolina: L, 26-22

Uh oh. If you can’t beat Kentucky, you can’t win the East, because the bigger boys are coming. Connor Mitch didn’t set the world on fire in his first game-and-a-half, but it was generally acknowledged that he was the best option on the lot and good enough to grow into something special as the year went on. Now he’s hurt, and for an offense that couldn’t seem to close out drives – there were way too many field goals – not having the starting quarterback around is obviously going to be an issue.

Tennessee: L, Oklahoma 31-24 (2 OT)

C’mon, Tennessee. You have a slew of NFL-caliber, four-star and up receivers. Where’s the downfield passing game? Where are the big moments to take advantage of a hot start to put a team like Oklahoma away? This needs to be a learning experience for a program full of them over the last few years. The passing attack hasn’t been efficient and the running game couldn’t carry the team once everything started to bog down. Tennessee let Oklahoma hang around … hang around … hang around … and then came the puzzling collapse. Fortunately, Western Carolina will ease the pain next week.

Vanderbilt: L, Georgia 31-14

There’s still no scoring pop. The Commodores held up relatively well against the Bulldogs, and the defense is doing a decent job overall, but the turnovers have been a disaster – they’re -3 on the year – and they’re not coming away with points once they get a shot. There has to be some semblance of a downfield passing element, and there just isn’t. Against Austin Peay, it’s time to air it out. It’s time to see if there is some vertical part to the offense before going on the road for five of the following six games.

SEC WEST

Alabama: W, Middle Tennessee 37-10

There’s a real issue here before dealing with the Ole Miss showdown. It’s not like Jake Coker has been bad, and it’s hard to argue with a 214-yard passing day and an easy win, but is he looking like a national title quarterback? Is there more to work with overall if Cooper Bateman comes in the game? Bateman might be the step-back-leap-forward sort of option, but there’s no time to figure this out on the fly against the loaded Rebel defense. Fortunately, there’s always Derrick Henry to hand off to.

Arkansas: L Toledo 16-12

Will someone wake up Bret Bielema and inform him that the entire franchise is being built around a grinding, brutish, dominant running game? The Hogs did the ball control thing against Toledo – having it for almost 38 minutes – and they moved the ball okay, but they worked around the 53 passes and 412 yards from Brandon Allen. It’s a dangerous thing going forward that Arkansas can crank up this element to the attack, but if you’re losing to Toledo, you’re not doing something right. (By the way, Toledo will probably win the MAC. Losing this game might not be as bad as Auburn’s close-call win over Jacksonville State.)

Auburn: W, Jacksonville State 27-20 OT

A win is a win is a win is a win is a win. If Auburn goes 12-1 with an SEC championship, it’ll be in the playoffs. Of course, that’s not even on the radar at the moment with Jeremy Johnson struggling way too much to connect with an open receiver, and with the running game not up to snuff yet. Remember, this is a new backfield and there are lots of new parts. Not to make excuses, but give this machine a little bit of time. This is why you schedule Jacksonville State – this is the tune-up. However, there’s no more time for tinkering with the trip to LSU up next.

LSU: W, Mississippi State 21-19

The Tigers had to hold on for dear life, but they went on the road in the SEC without an opener to use as a tune-up, and they came up with a large win. The passing game didn’t do anything big, but Brandon Harris didn’t make any big mistakes and the attack worked around Leonard Fournette and the ground game. And why not? The run defense didn’t let the Bulldogs breathe, and while the secondary got picked apart – Tre’Davious White had himself a night – Dak Prescott is a special college quarterback. He’s going to do that. There’s no rest with Auburn up next, but LSU could have a tremendous 2-0 conference start if all goes right.

Mississippi State: L, LSU 21-19

Dak Prescott can’t do it alone, but he’s certainly going to give it a shot. There was no prayer of a Bulldog running game against LSU, so it was all on Prescott to pull out the win, and he almost did it. He did a great job of spreading the ball around, and WR De’Runnya Wilson did a good job of wearing Tiger defensive backs as a hat in key moments, but there has to be some semblance of balance. MSU never seemed to have control of the game or the clock, and that’s going to come from the ground attack. Northwestern State is up next to figure that out before going on the road to Auburn and Texas A&M.

Ole Miss: W, Fresno State 73-21

And here’s the scary part about scoring 149 points in the first two games – the Rebels are doing this without Laremy Tunsil and with the line a relative weak spot. At least it’s supposed to be a bit of a concern, but it sure doesn’t seem that way so far. Granted, it’s going to be a whole new world against Alabama in a revenge game on the road this week, but everything is clicking with Chad Kelly at the helm. With all the talent on D, and with the O exploding like it was a Baylor wannabe, this is quickly becoming one of the year’s most interesting teams.

Texas A&M: W, Ball State 56-23

The Aggies are in a nice early groove. With the good blending of Kyler Murray in with Kyle Allen at quarterback, and with the rushing game working well, there’s a good balance – 240 passing yards per game, 224 on the ground – along with the explosion. The run defense has to get a little bit tougher, but everything else has been sharp. The special teams have been excellent, and the secondary has been terrific so far. It’s all working, and with Nevada up next, there’s a chance to get the defensive front some work before dealing with Arkansas in the SEC opener.

Straight Up: 22-2 ATS: 16-6

Missouri 27, Arkansas State 20

Line: Missouri -10.5, o/u: 59, Prediction: Missouri 37, Arkansas State 23

Auburn 27, Jacksonville State 20

Line: No Line, o/u: No Line, Prediction: Auburn 48-7

Georgia 31, Vanderbilt 14

Line: Georgia -20.5, o/u: 51.5, Prediction: Georgia 30-14

Ole Miss 73, Fresno State 21

Line: Ole Miss -28.5, o/u: 54, Prediction: Ole Miss 41, Fresno State 16

Toledo 16, Arkansas 12

Line: Arkansas -21.5, o/u: 54, Prediction: Arkansas 34-20

Alabama 37, Middle Tennessee 10

Line: Alabama -35, o/u: 56.5, Prediction: Alabama 45, Middle Tennessee 14

Oklahoma 31, Tennessee 24

Line: PICK, o/u: 61.5, Prediction: Oklahoma 38, Tennessee 34

Three Thing Recap & Analysis

Texas A&M 56, Ball State 23

Line: Texas A&M -30, o/u: 63.5, Prediction: Texas A&M 52, Ball State 17

Florida 31, East Carolina 24

Line: Florida -20, o/u: 53.5, Prediction: Florida 34 , East Carolina 16

Kentucky 26, South Carolina 22

Line: South Carolina -7.5, o/u: 57, Prediction: South Carolina 34-17

LSU 21, Mississippi State 19 ESPN

Line: LSU -4, o/u: 49.5, Prediction: LSU 31-23