Well, the first weekend of college football has come and gone, and the Mississippi State Bulldogs put up a fantastic effort, knocking off the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 49-0 in Starkville. The rest of the SEC had some surprises throughout the weekend. Let's dive in:
The Good: At the end of the night, much of the Mississippi State Bulldog football team looked good. The offense played well—for the most part— and the defense mauled the Golden Eagles. Among the good on offense, Dak Prescott tossed four touchdowns, and De'Runnya Wilson looks like he could be engaging beast mode. Fred Ross came back in a big way, and three running backs never took a loss on a carry.
Defensively, the Bulldogs just swarmed to the ball, hit the quarterback and made big things happen all night.
The Bad: The offense completely sputtered on one trip early inside the five yard line. Mississippi State had just snagged a big interception and could have salted the game away early. Instead, the Bulldogs were stuffed on the goal line. That could have led to a big momentum shift for the Golden Eagles, but it was not happening. However, against a better opponent, that result could have been pretty bad.
The Ugly: The only thing Mississippi State fans cannot feel good about after the game was special teams. I swear I could just copy and past this from last year. The Bulldogs had a horrible field goal attempt. Bad snap, shaky hold, terrible kick. The Mississippi State punt returning left a bit to be desired as well. Credit however, should be given to Devon Bell. The punter pinned USM inside the 20 on 75% of his punts. The field goal block team also managed to snag a touchdown with a blocked field goal attempt as well.
SEC Offensive Player of the Week: Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M: With all of the excitement that happened on Saturday, one could easily forget Texas A&M knocking off South Carolina. However, Hill made it all but impossible to forget him as he debuted to the tune of going 44-60 for 511 yards and three touchdowns. Here is a tip of the hat to Todd Gurley who also played like a beast this weekend. All he did was pick up 198 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries. He also had a 100 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Maybe they should be co-winners....
SEC Defensive Player of the Week: Preston Smith, DL, Mississippi State: Maybe it is a bit of homer pick, but Smith had a solid effort for Mississippi State. Not too many players pick up an interception, a blocked field goal, a quarterback hurry, and some tackles in the same game, especially from the defensive line.
No. 21 Texas A&M 52, No. 9 South Carolina 28: In a game that went
as everyone expected a bit of the script, the Aggies stunned most football fans with a dominant win over the Gamecocks. Kenny Hill looked absolutely amazing in the game, and the Aggies defense looked solid as well. Yes, it is just one game, but, Texas A&M looks like they will be a strong player for the SEC West title.
No. 18 Ole Miss 35, Boise State 13: In a game that stayed much closer than the final score indicated, the Rebels put everything together in the final quarter to avoid a close one against the Broncos. Bo Wallace and the offense looked off most of the night, but the Rebels pulled together at crunch time. This is a big win for a squad expecting to compete in the SEC West.
Temple 37, Vanderbilt 7: This might be the "what the heck just happened" game of the week. Yes, we all knew Vanderbilt would be down this year, but down enough to lose by 30 to Temple?!?! As if that was not bad enough, the Commodores wore illegal jerseys, which brought out the most rare equipment violation penalty, which comes at the expense of a time out and an another at the start of each quarter in which the violation is still ongoing. However, that penalty was reversed when Vanderbilt officials proved they had permission to wear the jerseys, even though they shouldn't have had them.
Kentucky 59, UT-Martin 14: Kentucky looked solid against their FCS foe, but no one should be ready to proclaim Kentucky to be contenders in the SEC East just yet.
No. 24 Missouri 38, South Dakota State 18: The Tigers took down the team with one of the best names in college football when they defeated the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Missouri is a team replacing a quarterback, even though Matt Mauk has decent experience. All-in-all Missouri will feel good with the comfortable victory.
No. 2 Alabama 33, West Virginia 23: The Crimson Tide did not look as dominate as some would have expected in this contest, but they did find a way to pick up the win. While the Alabama quarterback situation looks like it has some issues right now, the running game should be enough to keep the team winning for a while. Remember, Alabama did not look great against Virginia Tech, but they still would have most likely had played for a national title last year if not for the wildest ending to a major football game ever.
No. 6 Auburn 45, Arkansas 21: The Razorbacks looked like a better team than they did in 2013, so fans in Fayetteville should have a little hope. Fans of the Tigers should be worried that their defense still does not look world class. Auburn found a way to survive that last year with the help of approximately 3593 breaks last year. Here's a hunch that cannot continue all of 2014.
No. 12 Georgia 45, No. 16 Clemson 21: In the game that proved that Florida State really does not have much to compete with in the ACC, the Bulldogs established themselves as the favorites in the SEC East. Todd Gurley is a complete beast, and no one in the SEC can be looking forward to that. Should the Bulldogs stay healthy, watch out for the in the SEC and beyond.
No. 13 LSU 28, No. 14 Wisconsin 24: In the game of the night, the Tigers hung around and rallied to a win over the Badgers. For most of the night, it looked like LSU would not get things together in time, but when they did, they looked good. Wisconsin struggled from the quarterback position, and the LSU run game wore the Badgers down. LSU should only get better from here with the combination of experience and players returning from suspensions and injuries.
Florida-Idaho: Terminated: That just sounds like something Vince McMahon would do to a game. It will be interesting to see if the teams make up the contest. The sad thing is this kept us from a #LOLIDAHOWINS moment.
Tennessee 38, Utah State 7: In a game that some that had picked as a trendy upset, the Volunteers took care of business against the Aggies.
SEC POWER POLL
Full disclosure, I have no idea how to sort out the top of the conference after the first week of play.
1. Georgia (2)
2. Alabama (1)
3. LSU (4)
4. Auburn (5)
5. Texas A&M (10)
6. Mississippi State (7)
7. Missouri (6)
8. Ole Miss (8)
9. South Carolina (3)
10. Florida (9)
11. Tennessee (11)
12. Arkansas (13)
13. Kentucky (14)
14. Vanderbilt (12)
Five Thoughts from the Weekend
1. If week one is any indication, the SEC is going to be an absolute blast to watch sort out. After one week, the West looks to again be the stronger of the two divisions in the SEC. Everyone but Arkansas looks like they could find a way with just a few breaks to win the West. It is hard to imagine anyone walking out of that division undefeated. With South Carolina looking rough against Texas A&M, Georgia looks like the team to beat in the East.
2. I absolutely enjoyed watching Dak Prescott throw the ball much more than run the ball. It looks like the coaching staff determined before the game to limit the amount of contact on Prescott. This is a great idea given that there will be games that he has to take a beating for the Bulldogs to win.
3. The more I think about it, the more I would like to see the Bulldogs play in an international game. Overall, the cost of travel would not be much more for fans than a trip to the west coast for a game. For example, airfare from Jackson to Tempe costs about $900 right now. Airfare from Jackson to Dublin, Ireland costs $1100. The bigger costs on the trip would be on the exchange rate of the Pound Sterling against the Dollar and getting accustomed to the VAT. However, if the difference comes in at about $400-500, it would be well worth the fun experience.
4. Great efforts by the Bulldogs in other sports this weekend as well. The soccer squad picked up a win over Southern Miss and Cross-Country picked up a pair of first place finishes in Memphis.
5. We've got a new post set up on the blog each week where we get fan reaction in five words or less. Check it out! Kudos to our staff for a great week one of the season, and thanks to our readers for swinging by and interacting. It should be a fun year.