10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to after Week 3 in and around the SEC

It ain’t often that the SEC East is the source of pride in these parts.

But then Saturday happened. (All the more reason to kick Missouri to the West for … Auburn? Texas A&M? Maybe we’ll just keep it the way it is.)

Those are just some of the 10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to after Week 3 in and around the SEC.

10. Texas Anger & Misery: Yes, the Aggies rallied. This is pretty much how Les Miles’ final month went, too.

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9. Gus Malzahn told A&M to hold my beer: Auburn fans lit up my mailbox last year when I put Malzahn on the hot seat. I’m just not sold on his ability to adjust to personnel. I think he lucked into Kamryn Pettway saving the season last year, so while I think Jarrett Stidham can play, I wasn’t convinced he could play in Malzahn’s system.

Three games in, I’m less convinced.

A 14-point victory over Mercer? I suppose it could be worse. Mercer once knocked Duke and Coach K out of the NCAA Tournament.

8. Barry Odom told Malzahn to hold my distribution center: There aren’t many printable words you can use on Sunday morning to describe Mizzou’s mess. Sad comes to mind, though.

7. B1G disappointment: What was worse? The two losses to Group of Five teams, or No. 7 Michigan struggling to put away Air Force?

Can you please stop pretending this is the best league in the country? The Big Ten continues to make AP voters look foolish.

Ohio State has been outscored 62-16 in its past two non-conference games against Power 5 opponents. That screams Top 8 to you? That shouts “Florida” to me.

Penn State handled Pitt by 19 at home. Awesome. Oklahoma State nearly doubled the Lions’ point total, destroying that same Pitt team, on the road, by 38 Saturday.

Wen you’re celebrating Purdue’s victory over Missouri, that’s kind of telling.

6. Told you Florida has its quarterback: I’ve criticized Jim McElwain plenty for mishandling Florida’s quarterback situation. Not just this year, but since he arrived.

Time to credit McElwain for (finally) getting it right. He started Feleipe Franks and stayed with him, even after a costly interception helped Tennessee tie the score late in the fourth quarter.

Franks rewarded McElwain by bailing him out after he completely botched the clock management on the final drive. Florida had two timeouts when Franks was tackled a yard short of a first down with 35 seconds left.

McElwain didn’t call timeout. Florida wasted more than 20 seconds getting off the next play. A first down run stopped the clock and set up Franks for one final, improbable, perhaps legend-launching throw.

Even that wasn’t the byproduct of a genius play call. It was all Franks, who avoided the rush, calmly slid to his right, stopped just in front of the line of scrimmage and launched a 63-yard strike to Tyrie Cleveland.

Barring injury, the Malik Zaire experiment is over, especially with Kadarius Toney making people miss every time he touches the ball. Any change of pace snaps now will go to Toney, who very nearly provided his own spectacular diving catch on a beautiful ball from Franks.

Florida’s offense has found its playmakers.

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5. Told you Dan Mullen was a better offensive coach than McElwain, too: I spent close to 600 words Saturday morning making the case that Mullen has done so much more with so much less than McElwain, then Mullen spent 60 minutes Saturday night reinforcing that argument with exclamation points. As in, 37 of them.

Dave Aranda, one of the best defensive minds in the game, had no answers. He had better athletes, more decorated recruits, more NFL prospects, but he had zero answers.

Mullen is the best offensive coach in the SEC and he doesn’t get nearly enough credit.

With so many SEC seats on fire, how much longer will he be in Starkville? That might be the most interesting question this offseason.

4. Lamar Jackson isn’t overrated, but …: He isn’t going to repeat as the Heisman Trophy winner, either. It was a long-shot even before Clemson did to him what LSU did to him last year. Just appreciate the highlights. There will be more.

3. De-rek Ma-son … De-rek Ma-son: I also wrote Saturday that it was impossible to gauge how real Vandy’s 2-0 start was based on the competition. Well, now we know. That D is legit.

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What a win. What a defensive stop. Watching Kansas State QB Jesse Ertz run around, dodging defenders, creeping closer to the first-down marker before being tackled 2 yards shy at Vandy’s 11 … that had to be the longest 10 seconds in Mason’s coaching career.

Alabama at Vandy in Week 4. Who would have thought that might be a game?

2. What a weekend for the SEC East: Franks and Florida gave us a moment we’ll never forget, Vanderbilt provided a signature victory over a ranked Power 5 opponent and Kentucky jumped into the race to Atlanta.

Welcome back. It’s been awhile since you were this interesting.

Well, not everybody in the East was happy with Saturday’s events.

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Didn’t South Carolina lose to The Citadel, like, two years ago?

And y’all think I overreact …

1. Clemson should be ranked No. 1 and is going to repeat: I didn’t think it was possible, given the key losses on offense, but these Tigers are as scary as last year’s group. And that new quarterback?

Well, let’s just say he has a huge admirer.

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Alabama has more gears to get to, but through Week 3, nobody has been more impressive than the defending champions.


Source: Saturday Down South

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