SEC Weekend Recap
By Jeremy Hillman
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From close calls in Baton Rouge and Gainesville, to lopsided affairs in Starkville and Athens, Saturday was a fun day of Southeastern Conference pigskin.
The tenth weekend of the 2012 SEC football season gave us plenty of storylines and action. From close calls in Baton Rouge and Gainesville, to lopsided affairs in Starkville and Athens, Saturday was a fun day of Southeastern Conference pigskin.
There were big wins, big plays and painful losses along the way. Here is my weekly review of the SEC action:
Biggest Win: Alabama 21, LSU 17. Alabama was on the ropes Saturday night in Baton Rouge, and looked like they may lose their first game of the season. However, a dramatic last-minute touchdown drive by QB A.J. McCarron and the Tide gave Alabama the win, and allowed them to retain their undefeated season and their No. 1 national ranking.
Worst Loss: Vanderbilt 40, Kentucky 0. This blowout loss by Kentucky was followed by the Wildcats releasing head coach Joker Phillips of his job. It was a very ugly performance by Kentucky, and cemented the Wildcats as the worst team in the conference for 2012.
Offensive Player of The Week: Georgia QB Aaron Murray. The talented Bulldog QB connected on 21 of 28 passes for 384 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in the big home win over Ole Miss.
Defensive Player of The Week: Florida S Matt Elam. Elam and the Gator defense continuously held Missouri in check, and were a big reason Florida was able to escape with a win. Elam racked up six tackles, including two tackles for a loss, and grabbed an interception that he returned 45 yards in the close victory over the Tigers.
1. Alabama QB A.J. McCarron. Not only did McCarron lead the offense to a last-minute game-winning touchdown drive in the LSU win, he also added to his impressive streak of pass attempts with no interceptions. He has now thrown 19 touchdowns without a single interception this season.
2. Georgia. The Ole Miss win was big, as Georgia avoided overlooking a capable Rebel squad. With a win next Saturday over Auburn, Georgia will earn a spot in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. That will give the Bulldogs a shot at Alabama, and keeps them at least in the SEC and national championship discussions.
3. Texas A&M. The Aggies are playing some of the best football in the nation right now, and they beat a good Mississippi State team soundly on Saturday. That sets up a huge matchup with Alabama this upcoming weekend, and a shot for Texas A&M to pull the upset and to continue to rocket up the rankings.
1. Les Miles. Many people are questioning all of the gimmicks and tricks LSU used in the loss versus Alabama. A fake field goal on fourth-and-long seemed ridiculous, and the onside kick attempt was questionable as well. The play-calling on offense and defense late in the game will also be scrutinized. LSU had a good overall gameplan, and the team was focused and ready to play. Unfortunately, the odd calls may be remembered more than the solid effort the players put forth.
2. Tennessee defense. Tennessee was able to avoid an embarrassing upset loss to Troy on Saturday, thanks to a big passing game. The Volunteer defense almost cost them the win, allowing Troy to gain an eye-popping 721 yards in the game. That places the Vols last in the SEC and 115th in the nation in total defense, allowing an awful 483 yards per contest.
3. Mississippi State. Two weeks ago, the Bulldogs were 7-0 and flying high with expectations. Now, they have been beaten soundly in two consecutive games by a combined score of 76-20, and sit at 7-2 on the year. It has still been a good season for Dan Mullen and State, but expectations are being appropriately realigned.
Updated Bowl Projections:
BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Vs Oregon
BCS Sugar Bowl: LSU Vs Clemson
Capital One Bowl: Georgia Vs Michigan
Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M Vs Texas
Outback Bowl: Florida Vs Wisconsin
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Mississippi State Vs Miami (FL)
Gator Bowl: South Carolina Vs Michigan State
Music City Bowl: Tennessee Vs Virginia Tech
Liberty Bowl: Ole Miss Vs UCF
Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt Vs Arkansas State
Updated Top 10 Players Ranking (based on performance, not potential):
1. Texas A&M DL Damontre Moore
2. Georgia LB Jarvis Jones
3. South Carolina DL Jadeveon Clowney
4. Alabama QB A.J. McCarron
5. Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
6. Arkansas WR Cobi Hamilton
7. Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson
8. Georgia QB Aaron Murray
9. Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews
10. Georgia RB Todd Gurley
Updated Awards Projections:
SEC Coach of The Year: Nick Saban, Alabama
SEC Offensive Player Of The Year: Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
SEC Defensive Player Of The Year: Texas A&M DL Damontre Moore