Monday, September 3, 2012
Week 2 in the SEC
By Edward Aschoff
Here's a quick primer for Week 2 in the SEC:
Auburn (0-1) at Mississippi State (1-0), Noon ET, ESPN: Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is looking for his first win against a West opponent not named Ole Miss. Auburn is looking to rebound after its rush defense was shredded against Clemson. It won't get easier for that defense Saturday. This game set the tone for both teams last year and probably will again.
East Carolina (1-0) at No. 9 South Carolina (1-0), 12:21 p.m. ET, SEC Network: Quarterback Connor Shaw's shoulder will be monitored all week, and the receivers have got to step up this week. The good news is that Marcus Lattimore shook off the rust early in his return against Vanderbilt and is back to his bullish ways. The Gamecocks know all too well that they can't sleep on the Pirates, so the focus should be good this week.
No. 23 Florida (1-0) at Texas A&M (0-0), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Gators have named Jeff Driskel the starting quarterback and that's a step in the right direction. This offense struggled mightily in the opener, but now those players know who their quarterback is. That can only help with chemistry and timing. The Aggies are opening the season with Florida after their original opener was postponed. Florida's defense could provide first-time starting quarterback Johnny Manziel with a bunch of problems, but this team will be itching to get on the field. Expect an electric environment in College Station.
Western Kentucky (1-0) at No. 2 Alabama (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network: The defending champs proved to still have a little something left in the tank after routing Michigan on Saturday. The secondary needs some work, especially on the deep ball, but this will be a chance for the Tide to work out some of those kinks. Expect Alabama's offense to try and go down field with its passing game even more in Week 2.
Georgia State (0-1) at Tennessee (1-0), 4 p.m. ET, PPV: The Vols showed that they still have some flash in their offense without Da'Rick Rogers. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson had quite the opener and he should add to his impressive start against Georgia State's defense. It's important that Tennessee's secondary make adjustments in Week 2. This team should once again show the power of its depth this weekend.
UTEP (0-1) at Ole Miss (1-0), 7 p.m. ET, FSN: It was a solid opening night for coach Hugh Freeze, but he'll get a little more of a test when UTEP comes to town. Led by new quarterback Bo Wallace, the Rebels showed a lot of offense in their blowout win over Central Arkansas. The secondary had a little more bend in it than the coaches would want, but at least there's a little more excitement in Oxford when the Rebels have the ball.
Washington (1-0) at No. 3 LSU (1-0), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN: LSU went through the motions in Week 1 and dominated an overmatched North Texas team. It's clear that the offense will sling the ball much more with Zach Mettenberger under center. The competition gets a little tougher with Washington in town, and that secondary will be tested, but the Huskies struggled in their close win over San Diego State on Saturday.
Louisiana-Monroe (0-0) at No. 10 Arkansas (1-0), 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU: We still know that Arkansas can put up points and yards when it has the ball, but the defense still has some questions it has to answer. The defense gave up 21 first-half points to Jacksonville State, but adjusted to have a solid second half. Still, the defense is considered somewhat of a mystery in Fayetteville. This is a good week to make adjustments out there.
Kent State (1-0) at Kentucky (0-1), 7:30 p.m. ET, CSS: The Wildcats looked overmatched at Louisville Sunday. Both the offense and the defense had a handful of issues, but it does look like Maxwell Smith will throw it around a lot more this fall. He attempted 50 passes against the Cardinals and threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns. The Wildcats have to get more out of their running game and the defense has to step up considerably.
No. 6 Georgia (1-0) at Missouri (1-0), 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN2: We still don't know if Georgia will be without starting defenders Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree, and it became apparent that this defense needs them. Buffalo moved the ball well on the Bulldogs at times over the weekend and that has to be a concern with the Tigers up next. Mizzou will spread the field and look to attack the Bulldogs' secondary. The atmosphere in Columbia, Mo., for the Tigers' first-ever SEC game should be great.
Vanderbilt (0-1) at Northwestern (1-0), 8:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network: The Commodores are yet again coming off of another heartbreaking SEC loss. No one would be surprised if that team felt it missed a golden opportunity against the Gamecocks. Vanderbilt wants to play faster on offense and be more productive running the ball. Northwestern is coming off a shootout win over Syracuse and provides a tough matchup for the Commodores.