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Week Five: The State of the SEC Nation

Week Five: The State of the SEC Nation

OXFORD, Miss. — Here’s a quick look back at last week’s Southeastern Conference action as well as what lies ahead in league play. As we head into our fifth week in the college football season, a few things are becoming clear in the SEC:

Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Auburn are good. They are really good.

Arkansas, Tennessee and Vanderbilt are bad. They are really bad.

The rest? We really don’t know yet.

Here is a look at last week’s action and a look forward to this Saturday’s Week Five games. (Rankings are as of September 22, 2019.)

No. 2 Alabama

The Crimson Tide took care of Southern Miss easily last weekend, and it was never in doubt. The final was 49-7 and it wasn’t that close. Tua Tagovailioa threw five touchdown passes but his receivers were running around the field freely as the USM secondary decided coverage was optional. If Tua had not thrown five touchdowns, THAT would have been news.

Alabama (4-0) will continue to cruise along until it plays LSU. Unfortunately, Ole Miss goes to Tuscaloosa this week.

No. 3 Georgia

The Bulldogs welcomed Notre Dame last Saturday between the hedges and took care of its business. It was not the prettiest game, but UGA finally put away the seventh-ranked Irish, 23-17.

One player who is not getting the credit he deserves is kicker Rodrigo Blankenship. Possibly the best kicker in the country, he drilled three field goals and a pair of extra points. When a game gets close down the stretch, he could be the difference for the Bulldogs.

Georgia (4-0) is off this week.

No. 4 LSU

When the Heisman voting starts being bantered about, look for LSU quarterback Joe Burrow to get some serious recognition. He’s already moved up to second in the Vegas Heisman odds. Last week in the Tigers’ 66-38 dismantling of Vanderbilt, Burrow threw for 398 yards and six touchdowns. LSU with a passing game? Look out, world.

LSU (4-0) has an open date this week.

No. 7 Auburn

The Tigers were easily the most impressive team last week as they whipped No. 17 Texas A&M, 28-20. True freshman Bo Nix has looked like a veteran at quarterback for Auburn. Maybe there is room for two stars at Auburn named Bo.

Auburn (4-0) takes on Mississippi State in the plains this week.

No. 9 Florida

The Gators bulldozed Tennessee last week, 34-3. Florida might be getting its sea legs after a shaky start to the season while the Vols are simply seasick. Kyle Trask threw for 293 yards in his first start for Florida – and his first since his freshman year in high school – and frankly (pardon the pun) the Gators look better with Trask under center than the injured Feleipe Franks.

Florida (4-0) has another scrimmage this week when FCS-ranked Towson comes to Gainesville. It will be interesting to see if the Gators have more success against the lower-division team than they did against the Vols. Tennessee (1-3) doesn’t play this week and are probably still a three-point underdog.

No. 23 Texas A&M

Texas A&M (2-2) can get back on track with its game against Arkansas Saturday. The Aggies struggled throughout most of their loss to Auburn last weekend. If A&M doesn’t step up its game the rest of the way, head coach Jimbo Fisher’s seat might warm up a tad.

Ole Miss

It was plain to see in the waning seconds of the Rebels’ 28-20 loss to No. 23 Cal last week that the instant-replay rules don’t make much sense. Not only did Ole Miss lose the game, the Rebels appear to have lost starting quarterback Matt Corral to a rib injury–at least for this weekend’s game in Tuscaloosa.

A couple of true freshmen quarterbacks in John Rhys Plumlee and Grant Tisdale could get most of the action as the 2-2 Rebels go to No. 2 Alabama. Talk about a baptism under fire for those kids.

Mississippi State and Kentucky

In an uninspired game, Mississippi State took care of Kentucky, 28-13, last weekend. In a battle of new quarterbacks, State’s freshman Garrett Shrader outdueled the Cats’ graduate transfer Sawyer Smith. It was predictable Kentucky would have a letdown after nearly beating Florida the week before. Mississippi State is just average.

The Bulldogs (3-1) pack the cowbells and head to Auburn this week, while Kentucky (2-2) limps into Williams-Brice Stadium and a winnable game against South Carolina.

Missouri and South Carolina

Speaking of Columbia, South Carolina left its home to visit Columbia, Mo., last week and fell to Mizzou 34-14. Kelly Bryant seems to be getting the hang of the Missouri offense, while the Gamecocks’ freshman Ryan Hilinski is still learning the ropes.

Mizzou (3-1) gets the week off while Carolina (1-3) hosts Kentucky.

Arkansas and Vandy

Last, and certainly least now, are Arkansas and Vandy.

The Razorbacks were beaten by San Jose State 31-24 as the Spartans threw for over 400 yards. That was the good news. Arkansas had to score 14 points in the fourth quarter to make this one look respectable. 

It can’t get much worse for the 2-2 Hogs. Oh wait, yes it can. They meet A&M Saturday in Arlington at AT&T Stadium.

Vandy (0-3) has its best chance to get a win so far this year when it hosts Northern Illinois Saturday. But the way this season is going for Derek Mason’s crew, who knows?

About The Author

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for, and as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers. He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio. A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series. Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time. He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk. Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

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