The Good: No, it was not the prettiest of contests, but a lot of good came out of Mississippi State's win over UT Martin. One of the biggest things is that the Bulldogs moved on without suffering any injuries. Basically, Mississippi State got in an exhibition game and walked away in good shape.
Several players made confidence building plays as well. Jamoral Graham came in and easily took care of a punt. Joe Morrow snagged a long touchdown pass. Ashton Shumpert looked great when he played, and so did Brandon Holloway. One of these guys may be called on later in the year to do something big, and maybe this game helped give a little more confidence for that.
The Bad: All in all, it was a go through the motions performance for Mississippi State, and it is hard to blame them. One just has to hope that they are the type of team that can turn it off and on when needed.
I was hoping to see Damian Williams look more in control of things like he did as a starter last year, but he still looked a bit off. That could be because he is playing with he backups, but he does not look as sharp as he did last year. Also not looking sharp, MSU's tackling. That better be cleaned up for Saturday.
The Ugly: Some of the tackling might best fall in this category. There were way too many arm tackles in the contest by Mississippi State. Mississippi State has now turned the ball over deep in their own territory in back to back games resulting in touchdowns for the other team. That is very ugly.
SEC Power Poll:
1. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs stand as the line unbeaten team in the SEC, and they can all but wrap up a trip to Atlanta with a win Saturday. In what might be the biggest game in program history, they get to prove their spot against the most dominant team in the SEC over the past five years.
2. Alabama: Many folks were quick to write off the Crimson Tide, but here they stand with a game to take over the driver's seat in the SEC West. LSU made one mistake, and Alabama jumped on it and stole a win. That is what championship-caliber teams do.
3. Auburn: The Tigers finally ran out of luck, but they are still a good football team. With their hopes of an SEC Championship on life support, it will be interesting to see how they finish the season.
4. LSU: Oh, what could've been for LSU. The Tigers outplayed Alabama for 59 minutes before an errant kickoff have Alabama a new lease on life.
5. Ole Miss: Injuries have started to hurt this team, but they have a chance to prove themselves still strong against Arkansas next Saturday.
6. Georgia: After what had to be an embarrassing loss to Florida, the Bulldogs responded with a public disemboweling of Kentucky. They are all but out of the national title hunt, but they could still contend for the SEC.
7. Texas A&M: Everyone had written off the Aggies, but the snuck up on Auburn. Their defense is still not good, but when clicking, the offense can keep them in every contest.
8. Arkansas: The tough luck team of the west should pick up a win to end their SEC losing streak before the season ends.
9. Florida: The Gators have reinvented themselves, and don't look now, but they can still win the SEC east.
10. Missouri: There is not a more confusing team than Missouri. Being so up and down probably makes them a for everyone fears a bit before playing them.
11. Kentucky: The Wildcats are young, and it shows. They have had competitive contests against good teams and bad contests against good teams. A win Saturday to become bowl eligible would be huge for this team.
12. Tennessee: Butch Jones looks like he has everything going the right way. A win over Kentucky to work on bowl eligibility would be huge for the squad.
13. South Carolina: The Gamecocks have fallen from some lofty heights, and they have to be looking towards next year. However, they should slow down as a bowl game is still a remote possibility.
14. Vanderbilt: Good luck on exams, guys.
Five Weekend Thoughts:
1. I loved the fake punt call and the throwback to Blaine Clausell. The Bulldogs have gotten a bit more into gadget plays with Dak Prescott at quarterback, but they still do not go overboard. However, while we will probably not see these plays again this year, getting them on tape gives opponents a little more to think about.
2. One argument I am tired of hearing: Is the canna ligation of the SeC because the conference is so strong or because the conference is so mediocre. I think having a playoff will help answer many of those questions this year. For the record, the conference is just that strong.
3. As far as the Heisman goes, this is probably do or die week for Dak Prescott. When your team is in its biggest game in perhaps program history, you have to shine bright. A 200, 100 day plus a few TD will probably push him to the front of the list.
4. Has anyone noticed the sheer joy that appears on the faces of so many of the football program? These guys are all enjoying this. Yes, winning makes everything better, but it is awesome to see guys really enjoying the building process and the pressure of the season.
5. I had a chance to take my parents to their first ever game at Davis Wase this weekend. They had a blast, and I was glad they were there. They have no idea about how much better the stadium looks today compared to 10-15 years ago.