The SEC’s awful Week 1 reveals a greater truth: Bama stands alone

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook (4) gets past the Mississippi defense for a gain during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. Florida State won 45-34. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

“Where’d that 22-point lead go?” (AP Photo/John Raoux)

As much fun as it is to see the Tiffany League get dragged along Desolation Row, I’m not sure the convenient narrative — because the SEC had a terrible Week 1, the SEC isn’t any good anymore — is on point. Yes, half the SEC lost. Yes, Tennessee and Arkansas barely won, and Florida was put under pressure, and Texas A&M needed overtime after wasting a 15-point lead, and Georgia trailed by 10 in the third quarter. But how many of those seven losing SEC teams should have won?

Mississippi State lost to South Alabama: Huge upset, yes. But Mississippi State lost quarterback Dak Prescott, the best player Dan Mullen has had in Starkville. The Bulldogs were picked to finish last in the SEC West. It wasn’t as if anyone had them in the Top 25.

Kentucky lost to Southern Miss: The Wildcats were picked fourth in the SEC East, which only goes to show that more than half the division is awful. I’m a UK alum. I am never surprised when Kentucky loses. You shouldn’t be, either.

Auburn lost to Clemson: The wonder here was that it was even close, given that Clemson has a tremendous team and Gus Malzahn was coaching as if he wanted Bobby Lowder to fire him at halftime. Of all the strange things I’ve seen in four decades of covering college football, the crash of the Gus Bus ranks at the top. (Right alongside Gene Chizik getting fired two years after winning a national championship and Terry Bowden quitting in midseason, both of which occurred at, er, Auburn.)

Vanderbilt lost to South Carolina: Because somebody had to lose, not that either deserved to win.

Missouri lost to West Virginia: Mizzou was picked to finish next-to-last in the East and had to play in Morgantown. And the Tigers did break double figures — they scored 11 points — which actually constituted progress. They were held to 10 or fewer points in five of their final six SEC games last season.

Ole Miss lost to Florida State: And blew a 22-point lead in so doing. And yielded 33 consecutive points. But FSU was favored, and FSU has better players and a better coach, and the game was played in Florida.

LSU lost to Wisconsin: This was the one case of an SEC favorite that’s also a good team losing over the weekend, but even this bears an asterisk. LSU kept Les Miles only because it allowed sentiment to intervene, but sentiment can’t mask the obvious any longer: Les Miles has become the Mark Richt of the SEC West. He’s the coach of a gifted team that big games and looks bad doing it. (Also similar: The offensive coordinator — Cam Cameron in LSU’s case, Brian Schottenheimer in Georgia’s — is terrible.) LSU should have fired Miles the same weekend Georgia fired Richt. LSU will fire Miles this fall.

If there was a real theme to Week 1, it’s the one we should have seen before Week 1: Beyond Alabama, the SEC is nothing special. The ACC’s second-best team — FSU or Clemson, flip a coin — is better than the SEC’s second-best team. The ACC’s third-best team — Louisville — might be better than the SEC’s No. 3.

The SEC had three teams in the top 10 of Associated Press preseason poll, but two were LSU, which is badly coached, and Tennessee, which has proved next to nothing. (I did have Tennessee at No. 7 in my Top 25, but I had LSU way down at No. 11.) The SEC doesn’t appear to be vintage this year, but it wasn’t vintage last year. (We note that Florida won the East but lost its final three games by an aggregate 73 points.)

The breaking story in the SEC isn’t that the league has suddenly gone south, figuratively speaking, but that that the King of All Football Leagues has broken into a two-category entity. And we don’t mean West and East. We mean Alabama and everybody else.

Super fun reading:

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UGA holds its nerve and wins No. 1 for Smart.

A Big Orange scare again makes us wonder about Tennessee.

With Lambert, Georgia is banking on no surprises.

A big game in Week 1: That’s why Smart’s here.

The smart money is on Smart and UGA.

Kirby Smart says little, reveals less.

Predicting Georgia’s season game by game.

Preseason Top 25: Clemson at the top, UGA No. 13.

Why Smart’s Year 1 has breakthrough potential.

Reader Comments 0

171 comments
TOJacket
TOJacket

ACC and Big 10 account for 4 of top 5.......if not for Bama the SEC would be very average...UGA will be in the Top 10 for 2 weeks and then as Vince used to say.....it's Ova.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Wonder why Urban isnt playing Va Tech at Bristol? Still recovering from that can of whoop-@$$ they put on them in the cess pool shoe?

OH:IO
OH:IO

I wonder if the dogs will play Bama  in the next 10 years?

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Techeye getting slapped around pretty good early in the season by you and Flat. Hilarious.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO I wonder if the dawgs will still be keeping you up late at night for the next 10 years.

Peachs
Peachs

Playoffs are like cashing in a stock, you quickly realize the real market value of conferences.  All the hype from the AJC, still has reality to deal with. The SEC wouldn't be playing a real first week schedule ,if there were no playoffs.  The emperor has always been naked, except for Alabama. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

@OH:IO Wally and 12/13 are having a sleepover........they got some new Kirby PJ's.

STHornet1990
STHornet1990

@OH:IO So they let him go free because of fame and fortune. Good for the Pokes and no one else.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO Wonder if that has anything to do with the new BMW in her driveway.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH:IO 

Bucky ,

Really Posting this story from a Ohio State Fan Site(Eleven Warriors) by a reporter who wrote for the OHIO STATE student newspaper. Of course it would not give an objective angle on why the prosecutor declined to continue the case. And the Quote by Stacy Elliott is priceless. 

Come on if a Dog fan used this story about a UGA football player ,you would be the first to yell BS. 

At least use a newspaper article , by a newspaper that is not a media outlet for OHIO State football.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

The SEC is weak, other than Bama! No other SEC team is top 20

worthy, sorry!

Big Wally
Big Wally

@LOGS1973 Every poll out so far completely disagrees with you, so you would be wrong.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

If Tech woulda shoulda coulda had Kirby and Chubb in 1990 they coulda woulda shoulda beaten UNC and wouldnt have SHARED the mythical NC.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@twelveofthirteen Tech will clobber the leghumpers . as UNC should have. Without

the power back the dogs are nothing.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@twelveofthirteen By the way fourteen of twelve....

Tech didn't share anything they won the Championship.. You aren't too bright are you dog? You got that home economics degree??

Harlemdawg
Harlemdawg

Boy it must be painful to have to make that correction.......

FlatTire
FlatTire

@LOGS1973 um in cased you missed it Colorado was the AP National Title winner in 1990


sorry everyone remembers Colorado as the champion that year.  


your so called national title game was in the Citrus Bowl against #19 Nebraska


Home economics degree?  You might want to sit in a history class sometime.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@Harlemdawg Try to spell

calculus dog>>> Come on try now..Bring it from

the Harlem Heights....

Harlemdawg
Harlemdawg

I actually aced calculus without ever buying the book. Integrals, derivatives, rate flows, the whole nine yards....but that's really irrelevant just like the team you pull for...oh what a bitter pill huh?

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Chubb = SEC offensive player of the week.

Chubb now leads ESPN heisman predictions.

Chubb and UGA made coastal champs their whipping post Saturday.

Dawgs now ranked 9th.

Flat took techeye to the Woodshed.

Ocendot
Ocendot

@twelveofthirteen How much Kool-Aid did you drink? BTW in other news, two Lanier High football players got arrested for armed robbery. UGA recruiters sign them in 3...2...1...

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@Big Wally

No one of the players had already signed a letter of intent with Kent State , which is in what state...............OHIO.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

UGA owns the little ten! See Flat's stats below techeye.

ACC Coastal = UGA's whipping post.

Is it time for another little ten cream puff opener?

OH:IO
OH:IO

@twelveofthirteen


We tried to schedule a Southland Conference team but the SEC! SEC! had scheduled them.