As everyone knows, the Bulldogs took on the bye week over the weekend, and they walked away in pretty good shape. When all of playing finished Saturday, the Bulldogs found that they had moved up in the polls, taking the No. 20 spot in the AP poll and the No. 19 spot in the Coaches' Poll.
Since Mississippi State did not play Saturday, the good, the bad, and the ugly will take a look at the Mississippi State season to this point.
The Good: Mississippi State has to be thrilled overall with their defense. Yes, they looked a bit pedestrian against Troy, but this team still leads the nation in turnover margin. That cannot be understated. Darius Slay leads FBS in picks per game, and Johnthan Banks tied for sixth. Mississippi State ranks 13th in the nation in FBS scoring. While those stats may have come against some suspect opponents, they cannot be discounted. If Mississippi State is going to have a magical year, the defense will propel it to that level.
The Bad: Mississippi State television coverage has been suspect to say the least. Many fans had no way (without shelling out some jack) to watch Troy or South Alabama. With the "SEC Network," one would think it would not be necessary to have Pay-Per-View games or ESPN3 games, but alas, there were.
The Ugly: The Bulldogs have had a bad habit of fading in and out of some of their games this year. This has to be in the past now for the Bulldogs if they want to venture into the 9 or 10-win plateau. This seams to be the biggest Achilles to this team.
Missouri 21, UCF 16: Some folks picked this as a loss for the new kids in the SEC, but the Tigers went down to Orlando, and they walked away with a victory. Outside of a special teams touchdown, the Tigers did nothing flashy to win the game. They just hung in there and won. However, if Marcus Murphy had not brought a 66-yard punt return touchdown, the Tigers may have been in trouble. The fact they went 1-11 on third down stands out.
Texas A&M 58, Arkansas 10: The dumpster fire in Arkansas continued against the Aggies at Kyle Field Saturday. The Hogs raced out to a 10-7 first quarter lead, and they quit playing. The fans at Kyle Field saw a historical win, the first for Texas A&M in the SEC.
No. 5 Georgia 51, Tennessee 44: In what resembled a Big 12 matchup, the Bulldogs held on for a victory over Tennessee in Athens. Todd Gurley and Aaron Murray continued their phenomenal play, combining for five touchdowns, and Tyler Bray continued his inexplicable late game meltdowns by tossing two picks and losing a fumble to end the last three Volunteer possessions. It will be very interesting to see what type of Tennessee team comes to Starkville in two weeks.
No. 6 South Carolina 38, Kentucky 17: In one that had to make the Ole Ball Coach mad, the Gamecocks found themselves down 10 at the half before pitching a shutout the rest of the way in Lexington. The Wildcats have shown consistent improvement over the past few weeks, perhaps making them a bit of a tougher challenge in Starkville.
No. 3 LSU 38, Towson 22: In what might be the most headscratching result of the season in the SEC, LSU actually fell behind 9-7 early to Towson. The deficit did not last, but lingering questions about the Tigers have. A team that seemed a solid No. 2 in the nation two weeks ago has found itself in battles against Auburn and Towson in the last two weeks.
No. 1 Alabama 33, Ole Miss 14: In the game that might have sprung the most moral victory tweets by one fan base ever, the Crimson Tide took down the Rebels with relative ease. Bama jumped out to a 27 -7 lead and never looked back. Yes, Rebel fans, this was a moral victory...or a 19-point loss.
SEC Offensive Player of the Week: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: It may not be fair that he had this performance against Arkansas, but anytime a freshman tosses for 453 yards and tosses three touchdowns, he deserves consideration. When he runs for 104 yards and another score, he wins the award.
SEC Defensive Player of the Week: Sanders Commings, Georgia: When players make big plays to end a game, they deserve consideration. Yes, the Georgia defense gave up a ton of points, but Commings ended the game by securing his second interception of Tyler Bray.
SEC Standings East: 1. Georgia (5-0, 3-0), T1 South Carolina (5-0, 3-0), T1 Florida (4-0, 3-0), T4 Missouri (3-2, 0-2), T4 Tennessee (3-2, 0-2), T4 Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2), T4 Kentucky (1-4, 0-2)
SEC Standings West: Mississippi State had been first in the west for 21 days, but finally gave up that crown...for now. 1. Alabama (5-0, 2-0), 2. Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0), T2 LSU (5-0, 1-0), 4 Texas A&M (3-1, 1-1) 5 Ole Miss (3-2, 0-1), T5 Auburn (1-3, 0-2), Arkansas (1-4, 0-2)
SEC POWER RANKINGS:
1. Alabama (1)
2. Georgia (3)
3. LSU (2)
4. South Carolina (4)
5. Florida (5)
6. Mississippi State (6)
7. Texas A&M (8)
8. Tennessee (7)
9. Ole Miss (10)
10. Missouri (9)
11. Auburn (11)
12. Vanderbilt (12)
13. Kentucky (14)
14. SEC Golfers in the Ryder Cup
15. Arkansas (13)
Things I Did Not Like in Sports this Weekend: Yes, Tiger Woods may have slipped a bit, but no one from Europe wanted to see him paired up against them on Sunday. Congrats to Davis Love to render him meaningless in the epic US collapse. Also, great job on the captain's pick of Stricker. The FWtCT crew won as many Ryder Cup points this weekend.
I enjoyed watching Baylor and West Virginia, but I do not like people calling that shootout a great game. It wasn't. This was not a case of two out of this world offenses, but two teams that struggled with basic defense. That said, Gino is a best.
Till next week---