Lessons Learned from the SEC in Week 1

Matt Hicks

Staff Writer, SEC Football & Fantasy Football

It was a huge opening weekend for SEC fans. Y’all saw everything from blowouts, to comeback wins, to embarrassing comeback losses. It was intense, thrilling, and it also was pretty telling for what’s to come this season. Here’s five big takeaways from Week 1:

  1. The SEC is still the best conference in the country. This isn’t really a surprise, but the SEC came out strong in Week 1, piling up a total of 12 wins and 2 losses. This includes a 3-0 record against the ACC (wins for Alabama, South Carolina, and Tennessee). In total, the SEC outscored their opponents 530-271.
  2. Alabama didn’t look like Alabama. Although they left Atlanta with a win over the 3rd ranked team in the nation, Alabama shouldn’t be too happy with their win. They looked rusty in the first half, failing to gain any real momentum until the end of the second quarter. They also shanked two field goals and produced only 10 points of offense in the first half. Bo Scarbrough (15 carries for 40 yards) and Hurts (10 completions, for 96 yards and 1 TD) look thoroughly unimpressive throughout the entire game. The upside is their defense looked as good as always, it was enough this weekend but I don’t expect it to be enough for the whole season. I’m sticking to my pre-season statement that they won’t win the SEC West.
  3. Let’s not get too hype on Drew Locke just yet. Yes, his stat line from this weekend is impressive. He totaled a very impressive 521 yards and 7 touchdowns on Saturday, for a QB of 96.4. Don’t forget, however, that he played Missouri State, a FCS team. This game aside, his career TD-INT ratio is 27-18 and his career QBR is below 50. Missouri is still not a contender, and Locke is not a threat to the SEC.
  4. Florida may not be the team to beat in the East after all. Florida didn’t just lose to Michigan, they looked bad doing it. They totaled just 192 yards of total offense. 106 of those yards were from Malik Zaire who bailed out an unimpressive Felipe Franks in the second half. Of those 192 total yards, just 11 of them were rushing yards (including the -29 yards Zaire racked up on the ground). If you’re a gator fan, this isn’t necessarily shocking or concerning. Florida’s offense hasn’t been their strong suit since glory days of Timmy Tebow. What is concerning is that their defense gave up 433 total yards. Their 2016 and 2015 SEC East titles were won on the back of the Florida defense, if they continue to play like this the SEC East will be up for grabs.
  5. The Vols are still the Vols. For the 3rd year in a row Tennessee has taken their season opener in OT. Overall, they looked bad. Georgia Tech controlled the majority of the game, possessing the ball for 41 minutes (compared to 19 for Tennessee. The Vols defense looked absolutely helpless, giving up a school record 535 rushing yards, and 655 total yards. Dormandy, although his box score could indicate otherwise, was not impressive. He looked absolutely lost during the first half, and let’s be honest he just looks like a skinny, less skilled Peyton Manning. He consistently threw behind receivers, and threw into double, triple, and even quadruple coverage. There are highlights for the Vols tonight though: Marquez Callaway appears to be the key to the Vols passing game, once he came onto the scene Dormandy’s stats rose sharply. Callaway finished with 4 receptions for 115 yards and 2 TDs. If Dormandy continues to click with Callaway, it just may save his job. John Kelley also looked very impressive, totaling 128 yards and 4 TDs on 19 carries. The Vols have weapons, but they don’t have much time to get better before facing Georgia and Florida.

There’s a few other storylines I’ll be keeping my eye on for Week 2, including: how Georgia produces with Fromm as their starter, how Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies keep pushing forward, and we’re going to see if this Auburn team is for real when they face off against the defending national champions Clemson Tigers.

SEC Games to Watch Next Week:

Auburn at Clemson, 7:00 PM ESPN

Georgia at Notre Dame, 7:30 NBC

South Carolina at Mizzou, 7:00 ESPN 2

About Matt Hicks

Matt’s writing at Top2 is focused on dynasty fantasy football. He loves blending his experience writing research in the field of education with fantasy football stats. Matt currently lives in Baltimore, MD and graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. You can follow Matt on Twitter: @Top2Matt

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