Photo: USA Today
One again the SEC was the feature attraction in college football this weekend as the Texas A&M Aggies hosted the defending National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide. In addition to that showdown, the slate also had Ole Miss/Texas, South Carolina/Vandy, Mississippi State/Auburn and Oregon/Tennessee. What did we learn in week three?
ALABAMA LOOKS BEATABLE
At the end of the day, the Crimson Tide beat a really good team and that's what matters but they still have some real issues. Right now, this Tide team looks a lot more beatable than the 2012 squad that lost one game. A team that prides itself on defense gave up 628 yards to Texas A&M, yep 628 yards. Alabama also surrendered 42 points which is the most it has allowed under Nick Saban. The Aggies have one of the most explosive offenses in the Nation but Alabama and it's fans have to be a bit worried right now about the state of the defense and potential future match-ups down the stretch.
THE AGGIES NEED A DEFENSE
Johnny Manziel made some costly mistakes in the game on Saturday but they also wouldn't have been in the game without him. What the Aggies need to find under Kevin Sumlin is a defense. The Aggies gave up 568 yards, and 234 on the ground, to Alabama and also allowed Alabama to grind them down at the end of the game with a couple of long run-based drives that sealed the win for the Tide. Until the Aggies find a defense, they won't be able to overtake Bama, and maybe even LSU, in the West.
AUBURN AND MISSISSIPPI STATE ARE ON OPPOSITE TRAJECTORIES
Is Auburn "back"? It depends on what you mean by "back". Are they now capable of winning conferences games and competing again on the field? If that's what you mean then yes they are back. The Tigers flat out gave up on their coach the last two years. It wasn't a matter of talent, Auburn has talent, but they have to believe they can win and they have to believe in their coach. They believe in Gus Malzahn and despite not having great weapons at the skill positions, they are now out to a 3-0 start and are winning games that they would have lost over the last two seasons. The next three SEC games (LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M) will tell us exactly where this Auburn team is headed this season.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs have made a living off of beating lower-level teams under Dan Mullen. This loss was an indication of exactly where this program is under Mullen. The Bulldogs are going to beat teams that are worse then them and they are going to lose to teams that are as good as them or better. Auburn was not ranked coming into the game (nor did they deserve to be) but when you look back at Miss State's recent history they haven't beaten a ranked team since Oct 16th of 2010. Right now, Mississippi State is stuck in mediocrity under Mullen. Of course, that's better than what they were before he got there.
IF OLE MISS BEATS A TRADITIONAL POWER AND NOBODY SEES IT, DID IT REALLY HAPPEN?
If you are a fan of college football, which I think you are since you are reading this article, then you knew that Ole Miss had a very good chance to beat Texas this past Saturday despite the game being held in Austin. The Longhorns had just gotten destroyed by BYU and had fired their defensive coordinator during the week heading up to the game. Ole Miss ended up winning by 21 and it was a statement victory for the program under Hugh Freeze. The problem? It was on the Longhorn network so nobody saw it happen.
OTHER RANDOM LEARNINGS
– South Carolina's Mike Davis is really good.
– James Franklin's Vandy is like that pesky mosquito. They probably won't beat you but they are going to leave some marks.
– Tennessee is not ready for prime time, or in this case the 3:30 timeslot.
– Kentucky's defense is not horrible. Unfortunately, their offense is.
WHAT'S ON TAP NEXT WEEK?
We only have two conference games and then a couple of under-the-radar out of conference games that could bring some intrigue…
– Tennessee at Florida
– Auburn at LSU
– Arkansas at Rutgers
– Missouri at Indiana