SEC Football Roundup: Week 4 Scores, Rankings, Reactions

Week 4 SEC Football Roundup

Thoughts on each SEC team following Week 4, as well as ranking and picks recap. 

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SEC Player of the Week

For the third week in a row, it’s the LSU star. Leonard Fournette ran 26 times for 244 yards and two scores in the win over Syracuse.

The SEC has started to sort itself out.

This obviously isn’t the SEC of the last few seasons, but it’s still the best conference in college football. It’s just not as deep, and it’s just not as dangerous. Now the picture is starting to become clear even after the conference slate just got underway.

With Auburn struggling, Arkansas’ problems, Tennessee’s loss to Oklahoma a few weeks ago, and South Carolina’s struggles, at the moment, there’s Georgia, Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M, and that’s it among the stars. Florida is unbeaten, but it’s shaky, and Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Missouri all seem to fall into the same bucket of okay teams, but not true contenders.

But as the SEC once again showed, it doesn’t matter who’s struggling and who’s not – it’s always a fight.

Arkansas might be having issues, but it has Texas A&M in big trouble in the loss. Had the Hogs won, then the losses to Toledo and Texas Tech really wouldn’t have mattered. Ole Miss got all it could handle from Vanderbilt, Florida found a way to keep the streak alive against Tennessee, and Mississippi State got a road win at Auburn – which is impressive no matter what.

The stars might have emerged, but the Any Given Week aspect to the SEC still exists. But now one of the mid-level teams has to rise up and beat a big boy to start shaking things up. Of course, it’ll happen soon.

SEC EAST

Florida

W, Tennessee 28-27

It might not be the prettiest brand of football, and this is hardly a complete team, but it’s 4-0, it seems like it’s rock-solid in terms of where it’s overall head is at – there’s a sense of consistency about this year’s team that last year’s version didn’t have. But now comes the brutal stretch with Ole Miss next before going away for Missouri, LSU, and up the road to face Georgia. Kelvin Taylor is bringing some thump, and Will Grier is moving well and making plays – call him Mr. Fourth Down going forward after hitting all five of his tries, including the “Run, Antonio, Run” moment. Now he and the Gators have to be better on third downs to have any chances against the Rebels.

Georgia

W, Southern 48-6

Now the Bulldogs are going to be as ready as they’re ever going to be to make a massive national statement. Greyson Lambert has missed on just two passes in two razor-sharp games, Nick Chubb is walking among the Georgia gods in terms of rushing records, and the defense isn’t giving up much of anything. Of course, the Dawgs have yet to play anyone – considering South Carolina has been awful – but if they can get by Alabama at home and then get past Tennessee on the road, they’re going to be double-digit favorites the rest of the way.

Kentucky

W, Missouri 21-13

It didn’t look like a masterpiece in any way, and the offense still can’t move, but the Wildcats held on to get their win over Missouri, and now with Eastern Kentucky and a shattered Auburn team up next, there’s a great chance to get up to five wins before the middle of October is done. Manufacturing points is going to be a grind, and it’s going to be a disaster against anyone who gets up 14-0, but at 2-1 in SEC play, and with Charlotte and Vanderbilt down the road, the Wildcats are going to go bowling. Now they can start pushing to make an honest push for more – if the O can move, first.

Missouri

L, at Kentucky 21-13

Eventually the lack of offensive pop was going to come back and bite the Tigers in the butt. With no running game and little downfield passing attack, Mizzou has had to rely on the defense to come through, and it didn’t when it really counted. Kentucky came up with the third down chances, Mizzou didn’t, and Patrick Towles was too accurate. Offensively, it’s time to see what Drew Lock can really do in a full-time role. Maty Mauk isn’t getting any help, but he’s also not making the plays and passes he needs to.

South Carolina

W, UCF 31-14

There’s no passing game, and there’s no scoring pop, but the team is still 2-2 with a chance to make things interesting if it can beat a punchless Missouri next week. If nothing else, Lorenzo Nunez added some pop as a runner, giving the offense something it could work around, but took too much work to put away a bad UCF team. It’s going to take some creativity, and the defense might have to piece a few things together to get into the backfield, but it’s going to be a painful grind.

Tennessee

L, at Florida 28-27

The offense tried to get Joshua Dobbs rolling and moving, and he came through on the ground running for 136 yards, but there’s still no downfield passing game and the team still can’t put good teams away. The Vols might be really, really close to being 4-0, but they couldn’t come up with the stop needed against Oklahoma, and they couldn’t come up with a fourth down stop – any fourth down stop – against Florida. After getting physical against the Gators, now the Vols have to deal with a desperate Arkansas team that’s about to pound away. Uh oh.

Vanderbilt

L, at Ole Miss 27-16

The Commodores pushed a seemingly unfocused Ole Miss team about as much as they possibly could. Johnny McCrary was okay throwing the ball, and Ralph Webb and the running game shockingly found a little bit of room against a defense known for losing up against the ground attack. The scoring pop still isn’t there, but more than anything else going forward, the offense has to produce when it gets its chances. On the year, Vandy is dead last in the nation in red zone offense. The team can’t afford any missed opportunities.

SEC WEST

Alabama

W, ULM 34-0

Where’s the downfield passing game? There was no reason to take any chances against ULM, other than to try to see if the passing game works deep after all the errors against Ole Miss. Jake Coker wasn’t bad, but he only averaged five yards per try. It’s not just the idea of bombing away – there need to be more yards after the catch, and that means the receivers have to start doing far more. The biggest pass play against ULM was just 19 yards.

Arkansas

L, Texas A&M 8-21 OT

Here’s the biggest problem and concern for the Hogs. For the second week in a row, the formula worked and it didn’t matter. Against Texas Tech, Arkansas ran well, controlled the clock, and controlled the game – and lost. Against Texas A&M, the Hogs had the ball for over 39 minutes and outrushed A&M 232 yards to 65. There were two giveaways, and the 11 penalties didn’t help – especially on the O line – but Arkansas was busy being Arkansas, and it didn’t matter to the bottom line.

Auburn

L, Mississippi State 17-9

The Sean White experience was okay. He completed 20-of-28 passes for 188 yards with a pick, and he ran for 29 yards, and the running game came up with 137 yards from Peyton Barber, but the offense settled for field goals instead of touchdowns. The Tigers might not have looked like they’re supposed to, but they were in the game and outplayed MSU in several ways. They just couldn’t put the biscuit in the basket. With San Jose State up next, there’s time to take a deep breath and see if this thing really can work again before going to Kentucky.

LSU

W, at Syracuse 34-24

Up 24-17 in the third quarter, and with the momentum all on Syracuse’s side after a touchdown, LSU showed what it’s potentially capable of. Leonard Fournette is going to win the Heisman – it’s a done deal – and he’s unstoppable, but at some point he will actually be stopped as the SEC season goes on. LSU can go from being a true SEC title contender to a true player for the national title if it can unleash all of its weapons, and that means the receiving corps has to be utilized. On that ensuing drive, LSU ran Fournette a few times, and then on 3rd-and-9, got a 51-yard pass play from Brandon Harris to Travin Dural. That was followed up by an 11-yard strike do Malachi Dupre for a touchdown. Boom, bam, ball game. The O will work around No. 7, but LSU has to keep bombing.

Mississippi State

W, at Auburn 17-9

Mississippi State has Dak Prescott, and you don’t. This isn’t a pretty team, and the running game isn’t going to fly – running for just 2.7 yards per try against Auburn – but Prescott has turned into much more than just a strong running quarterback at this point. To get just 17 points off of 41 passes isn’t a plus, and there wasn’t much happening down the field, but he threw two scoring passes and he led the way to points when absolutely needed. It wasn’t much, but MSU is 3-1 overall and now gets Troy, Louisiana Tech, and Kentucky at home to potentially fatten up on. Now it’s time to get the other parts working.

Ole Miss

W, Vanderbilt 27-16

It’s nice when you can play poorly and still come away with a double-digit win in the SEC. Yeah, it was Vanderbilt, but Chad Kelly threw for over 300 yards, Jaylen Walton ran for 133, and the offense moved just enough to get through the sandwich game. With the spotlight on going to Florida next week, now it’s time to tighten up again. It was a sloppy, unfocused effort against the Commodores, but that okay – for now. The SEC is looking like it’s right there for the taking with Auburn and Arkansas struggling and with Texas A&M and LSU coming to Oxford.

Texas A&M

W, Arkansas 28-21 OT

That was a big-time mental test for the Aggies. Arkansas pounded away, controlled the clock, and physically beat up the Aggie front line, but the team still held tough. Missed field goal that would’ve won the game in regulation? No biggie. Come back out and score right away in OT and hold firm to get the win. This might not be the high-flying Aggie team of the recent past, but it’s making big plays when needed, and it proved that it can hold up under pressure. That’ll be tested now with Mississippi State and Alabama up next.

SEC Football Rankings After Week 4

SEC East

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

SEC West

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

Scores & Picks: How’d We Do?

2015 SEC Football Picks Through Week 1: Straight Up: 38-5, ATS: 24-11-2

LSU 34, at Syracuse 24

Line: LSU -24.5, o/u: 46.5, Prediction: LSU 34, Syracuse 10
Three Thing Recap & Analysis

at South Carolina 31, UCF 14

Line: South Carolina -14.5, o/u: 45 Prediction: South Carolina 27, UCF 10
Three Thing Recap & Analysis

at Georgia 48, Southern 6

Line: No Line, o/u: No Line, Prediction:
Three Thing Recap & Analysis

at Florida 28, Tennessee 27

Line: Florida -1, o/u: 48, Prediction: Florida 23, Tennessee 20
Three Thing Recap & Analysis

at Alabama 34, ULM 0 SEC Network

Line: Alabama -39, o/u: 55, Prediction: Alabama 44, ULM 7

Three Thing Recap & Analysis

Texas A&M 28, Arkansas 21 OT (in Dallas)

Line: Texas A&M -7, o/u: 58, Prediction: Texas A&M 37, Arkansas 27
Three Thing Recap & Analysis

at Ole Miss 27, Vanderbilt 16

Line: Ole Miss -24.5, o/u: 55.5, Prediction: Ole Miss 41, Vanderbilt 14
Three Thing Recap & Analysis

Mississippi State 17, at Auburn 9

Line: Auburn -3, o/u: 55, Prediction: Mississippi State 27, Auburn 24
Three Thing Recap & Analysis

at Kentucky 21, Missouri 13

Line: Kentucky -3, o/u: 43.5, Prediction: Missouri 20, Kentucky 17
Three Thing Recap & Analysis

MORE: Week 4 College Football Rankings, No. 1-128