SEC Football Roundup: Week 1 Scores, Rankings, Reactions

Week 1 SEC Football Roundup: The Great Start

Follow and/or Contact @PeteFiutak

Because you forgot, SEC football is still really, really good

After all the ridiculous talk about how the Pac-12 was about to overtake the SEC  as the best conference in college football, and after all the grave-stomping after a mediocre bowl season – at least among the top teams – at least in Week 1, the reports of the SEC’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

And insane.

Pac-12 lovers were all over the idea that Arizona State was about to make a statement against Texas A&M.

Nope.

North Carolina’s offense was supposed to push South Carolina’s still-ragged defense.

Not quite.

Of course, Alabama was a double-digit favorite against Alabama – it was supposed to win big. Auburn was supposed to beat Louisville, Tennessee was supposed to beat Bowling Green, and all the dates against the FCS programs were going to be an obvious walk in the park.

But that’s the point.

SEC football teams were supposed to win those games, and they did, going 12-1 – it would’ve been 13-1 had the LSU-McNeese State game not been cancelled – with the lone gaffe Vanderbilt’s loss to WKU. Even then, that’s – probably – the Conference USA’s best team needing to hang on for dear life to slip past the SEC’s worst team.

There was no Stanford losing to Northwestern. There was no Nebraska losing at home to a backup quarterback. There was no Penn State getting sacked by Temple. This was the SEC winning going 4-0 against the other Power 5 conference teams in games of significance.

The conference did its job. Business as usual.

Arkansas: Brandon Allen was fantastic

UTEP finished 38th in the nation in total defense last season and 15th in pass defense. Arkansas QB Brandon Allen carved it up like it wasn’t there, completing 14-of-18 passes for 308 yards and four scores. The last thing the rest of the SEC wants to worry about with Arkansas is a passing game.

Auburn: Jeremy Johnson wasn’t

For all the hype and talk about Cam Newton Part 2, Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson’s debut against Louisville was hardly showstopping. He ran for a touchdown and threw for another, but he also threw three picks and guess a bit too much completing 11-of-21 passes. The Cardinal defense is good, but going forward, the spotlight will be on Johnson to be far sharper, especially because …

Auburn: Will Muschamp can coach

And so can Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis, who took the miserable D and helped is keep Arizona State to under 300 yards. And so can Jon Hoke, whose South Carolina defense picked off North Carolina. Muschamp’s Auburn defense put the clamps down on Louisville – really, the game wasn’t as close as the 31-24 final score – with two huge, game-changing turnovers early on.

Alabama: When you have a dominant offensive line, everything else works

Wisconsin might have the best secondary in the Big Ten, and the defensive front is terrific, but it didn’t matter going against an Alabama offensive line that gave Jake Coker nine days to throw and allowed Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake to run amok. Center Ryan Kelly killed the Badger interior – KILLED it – and despite some strange penalties, the rest of the line out-Wisconsined Wisconsin.

Florida: The two quarterback system

No one seemed to care that the LSU layup against McNeese State was lightninged-out – if that’s such a term – but it matters for the target practice. The Tiger quarterbacks need to get better, and they needed that game for Brandon Harris to get in some at-bats before going to Mississippi State followed up by Auburn. Why do you schedule a New Mexico State if you’re Florida? So your young quarterbacks can fire away. Treon Harris was good, completing 14-of-19 passes for 215 yards and two scores, and Will Grier was equally strong, hitting 15-of-17 throws for 164 yards and two touchdowns.

Vanderbilt: The run defense

With Georgia on deck, the Commodores have to prove that the performance against Leon Allen and a good WKU running game was no fluke. It was a loss, but Vandy held the Hilltoppers to 37 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, helped by good pressure on QB Brandon Doughty.

South Carolina: Connor Mitch

No, that’s not going to work. North Carolina’s defense is better with coordinator Gene Chizik at the helm, but it’s still not the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. Mitch was awful, completing an erratic 9-of-22 passes for 122 yards and a score. He didn’t get much help, but with Kentucky and Georgia up next, he has to complete a downfield throw.

Ole Miss: Robert Nkemdiche can do it all

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

SEC Player of the Week

Alabama RB Derrick Henry ran 13 times for 147 yards and three touchdowns in the 35-17 win over Wisconsin

SEC Football Rankings After Week 1

SEC East

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

SEC West

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

Week 1 SEC Football Scores & Picks: How’d We Do?

Week 1 SEC Football Picks: Straight Up 13-0,  Against The Spread 9-3

South Carolina 17, North Carolina 13 (in Charlotte)
Line: South Carolina -3, o/u: 64, Prediction: South Carolina 34, North Carolina 30

WKU 14, Vanderbilt 12
Line: Vanderbilt -1.5, o/u: 65, Prediction: Western Kentucky 31, Vanderbilt 24

Georgia 51, ULM 14
Line: Georgia -35, o/u: 52, Prediction: Georgia 42, ULM 13

Ole Miss 76, UT Martin 3
Line: NO LINE, o/u: NL, Prediction: Ole Miss 45, UT Martin 7

Auburn 31, Louisville 24 (in Atlanta)
Line: Auburn -11, o/u: 58.5, Prediction: Auburn 35, Louisville 20

Arkansas 48, UTEP 13
Line: Arkansas -33, o/u: 49, Prediction: Arkansas 49, UTEP 10

Missouri 34, Southeast Missouri State 3
Line: NO LINE, o/u: NL, Prediction: Missouri 40, SE Missouri State 17

Tennessee 59, Bowling Green 30 (in Nashville)
Line: Tennessee -21, o/u: 60, Prediction: Tennessee 48, Bowling Green 24

Kentucky 40, Louisiana-Lafayette 33
Line: Kentucky -16, o/u: 60.5, Prediction: Kentucky 44, Louisiana-Lafayette 23

Texas A&M 38, Arizona State 17 (in Houston)
Line: Texas A&M -3, o/u: 66, Prediction: Texas A&M 38, Arizona State 34

Florida 61, New Mexico State 13
Line: Florida -36, o/u: 57.5, Prediction: Florida 55, New Mexico State 7

Alabama 35, Wisconsin 17 (in Arlington)
Line: Alabama -10, o/u: 53, Prediction: Alabama 34, Wisconsin 20

Mississippi State 34, Southern Miss 16
Line: Mississippi State -23.5, o/u: 55.5, Prediction: Mississippi State 42, Southern Miss 13

McNeese State at LSU CANCELLED – Weather
Line: NO LINE, o/u: NL, Prediction: LSU 41, McNeese State 7