What I Learned in the SEC – Week 3


As a sports fan I have plenty of opinions. I go into each weekend with predictions for each game, and like to think that I have a pretty good idea of what’s going down.

And every week without fail, something I thought I knew gets blown up just like Daylon Mack blew up Nevada’s poor offensive line.

The passionate and crazy nature of college football is what makes it the best sport of all time.

So, without further ado, here are seven things I learned in the SEC in week 3.

1. Chad Kelly is for real

Even before Ole Miss’ 43-37 upset of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, I knew that the Rebels were a talented unit. I thought that Hugh Freeze could push Nick Saban down to the wire, but the lack of an experienced SEC quarterback would doom Ole Miss. In my weekly predictions, I said that Ole Miss would hang close but would not be able to finish the Tide at home because of Chad Kelly.

Boy, was I wrong.

Chad Kelly was brilliant, throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, more importantly with no interceptions. Kelly made some big plays to give Ole Miss a big lead over the Crimson Tide and then took care of the ball in the final frames. The Tide nearly pulled off the win regardless, but Kelly played like a champion on Saturday.

2. Auburn’s defense is still bad

Maybe it’s poor coaching, maybe it’s a lack of talent. Or perhaps it’s the unfortunate occurrence of having to play Leonard Fournette in Death Valley. #7 for the LSU Tigers ran past, through, over (and in one case under, as seen below) a beleaguered Auburn defense for over

Sep 19, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Auburn Tigers defensive back Trey Matthews (28) jumps over Louisiana State Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) to try to get the ball loose in the second half at Tiger Stadium. Fournette kept running to score his second touchdown of the game. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

200 yards as the Tigers romped past, well, the Tigers, in a 45-21 rout. When you play in the SEC and the opposing quarterback throws the ball just 17 times, you’re doing something wrong. Will Muschamp simply had no answers for Fournette, and it’s back to the drawing board for the Tigers. If the offense also continues to rumble, Auburn could be looking at a bad, bad season.

3. LSU will go as far as #7 will take them

Leonard Fournette is without a doubt the best running back in the land. All due respect to Ezekiel Elliot, but with Cardale Jones and JT Barrett taking snaps, a bit of the glory and shine is taken away. Fournette comprises about 98.4% of LSU’s offense, and is the reason that LSU is 2-0 in SEC play. Behind his special play in back-to-back weeks, new quarterback Brandon Harris hasn’t had to throw more than minimally necessary, meaning that more pressure is relieved from his shoulders. And until LSU runs into a team that can contain Mr. Fournette, the Tigers will continue to run right through everyone who stands in their path. If such a day comes when Fournette cannot bear the load, LSU will fall, and it could get ugly if Brandon Harris is unable to have a big game. But it appears the Tigers will not have to worry about that for a while, as they will not play another SEC West team until November 7th when they head east to Tuscaloosa.

4. Arkansas is reeling

Nothing more can be taken from a 16-12 loss to Toledo followed by a thorough beating by Big XII middle-weight Texas Tech. Arkansas’ spectacular ending to 2014 did not translate to this season, and the Hogs have been unable to recover from the losses of

Sep 19, 2015; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes II (5) rushes against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the second half at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Texas Tech defeated Arkansas 35-24. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Trey Flowers and Darius Pylon on defense, and the devastating injury to Jonathan Williams on offense. Bret Bielema has also not done himself any favors with his big mouth, and nearly everyone in the nation will not let him soon forget it. With SEC play opening next week, the Hogs will be hard-pressed to reach the postseason. Arkansas plays your Texas A&M Aggies next week in Dallas.

5. Alabama is still a playoff contender

As if this could possibly be in doubt.

Ole Miss handed Alabama an early-season loss last year and the Crimson Tide soared back to the top of the rankings, and eventually lost by just 7 to Ohio State. The Tide certainly shot themselves in the foot enough times to take a year off of Nick Saban’s life, and consequently were unable to steal a win from Ole Miss. Ole Miss looked dominant,

Sep 12, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban talks to defensive back Tony Brown (7) during the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

but the fact is the Tide were able to control much of the Rebel’s running game and were able to exploit some deficiencies in the defense. Alabama lost the turnover battle 5-0 and still almost won. Had a break or two gone the other way, Alabama could have easily won this football game. That in mind, Alabama has plenty of opportunities for signature wins (Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU, Tennessee) to help the playoff committee overlook this loss.

And you know Nick Saban will use this as a teaching moment to his young team, that if they don’t shoot themselves in the foot, they can beat anybody. Which, by the way, they still can. The margin of error is now nearly non-existent now, but this is Nick Saban we’re talking about. The Crimson Tide will always be a tough out with him roaming the sideline.

6. The SEC West is still wide open

While LSU has made a strong case to be deemed the frontrunner, Ole Miss put themselves in the best position to win the West by successfully crossing the toughest game off of their schedule. Behind those two, Texas A&M is still undefeated and is reenergized by John Chavis and Alabama is still Alabama. Mississippi State has shown it has the fight to be a factor, and Auburn and Arkansas still have the talent to possibly make things interesting by playing spoiler. Four teams still have realistic claims to the top of the SEC West, which is still the toughest division in the nation. And with 10 weeks left to go, we are in for another wild ride in the SEC. (isn’t is amazing?)


After Saturday’s events, my record of predicting SEC games is now 29-5 after I missed Ole Miss, LSU, and Arkansas. At least I picked every game correctly in the East. This week’s predictions will be online Friday as I look to go better than 7-3 next week.