The first weekend of college football’s 2013 season is in the books, and fans across the nation were treated to numerous compelling match-ups pitting SEC teams against out of conference competition.
The conference’s weekly power rankings have been laid out accordingly, as has the first ever SEC stock report. This weekly analysis evaluates SEC football teams as though they were stock, complete with advice on whether fans should buy, sell, or hold.
2. South Carolina
5. Texas A&M
7. Ole Miss
13. Mississippi State
An initial glance at the 35-10 score may not present any concerns for Crimson Tide fans, but a look at the statistics might. The Alabama offense only managed to put up 14 points in the victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday, and the Tide didn’t even have 100 yards of offense at halftime. But the electric Christion Jones stepped up in a big way, as he returned a punt and a kickoff back for touchdowns. In the end, points are still points, and Alabama is still Alabama.
All-world defensive end Jadeveon Clowney may have been neutralized in South Carolina’s 27-10 beatdown of North Carolina, but quarterback Conner Shaw certainly wasn’t. Shaw tossed a 65-yard touchdown pass to Shaq Roland on the game’s third play, and the Gamecocks never looked back.
In new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s debut, LSU rolled up 450+ yards of offense against a tough TCU defense, while quarterback Zach Mettenberger was impressive in all facets. The Tigers’ defensive unit is fast, but green, however, and if LSU is to challenge Alabama this season, it will need better red-zone production than what was shown in Saturday’s 37-27 victory.
Hugh Freeze’s squad escaped Nashville with a victory over Vanderbilt on Thursday night, and Ole Miss fans will remember the 39-35 thriller for years to come. The visiting Black Bears demonstrated impressive resilience in the come-from-behind win, and quarterback Bo Wallace displayed toughness in a tight spot. It’s only one game, but as of now, Ole Miss is a “buy.”
Despite the suspension of four players, Florida shut down Toledo for a 24-6 season-opening victory at The Swamp. The defense was dominant, and quarterback Jeff Driskel was efficient in his role as game manager. A more accurate reading on the Gators won’t be available until this Saturday, however, when Florida hits the road to take on in-state rival Miami. If the wide receivers emerge, this team has all the tools to compete for a championship, but let’s hold on this squad until after this weekend.
Another chapter in the legend of Johnny Football unfolded Saturday in Texas A&M’s 52-28 win over Rice, but it proved to be one of the more forgettable passages in the story. In addition to tossing three touchdown passes in one half of football, Manziel taunted opposing players, yelled at referees, and brushed off his angry head coach. The A&M defense also yielded 28 points to Rice, which leaves plenty of room for improvement before the Tide rolls in on September 14th.
Yes, Georgia stepped up to the plate and went on the road to face a Top 10 team last Saturday. No, they didn’t represent the conference very well in a 38-35 loss to Clemson. Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs offense held up their end of the bargain, but the defense was simply unable to contain Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd. Mark Richt’s squads have stumbled out of the gates in years past, though, only to rebound and reach the SEC Championship Game. We’re holding on the Dawgs, for now.
After the abomination that was the 2012 season, Arkansas fans enjoyed watching a markedly improved football team on Saturday. In a convincing win over Louisiana-Lafayette, the Razorbacks showcased their new, run-heavy offense. Bigger tests are on the way, however, so we’ll hold on the Hogs.
After a critical fanbase voiced some concerns following Auburn’s 31-24 win over Washington State on Saturday, new head coach Gus Malzahn was quick to remind everyone that his Tigers won the game. But like Arkansas, a better reading on Malzahn’s squad won’t be available until they delve into conference play.
The Tigers roared out of the starting blocks in 2013 with a 58-14 trouncing of Murray State. Quarterback James Franklin threw for 318 yards and three scores, but Missouri must show me against SEC competition before they’ll become a legitimate “buy.”
Tennessee may have blasted Austin Peay 45-0 in coach Butch Jones’ Rocky Top debut, but Volunteer fans have to remember one thing: It was Austin Peay. Much bigger challenges are on the way, and this year’s Vols have done nothing to convince anyone to consider buying. At least, not yet.
James Franklin’s team is undeniably mentally-tough and full of heart. Unfortunately,Thursday night’s home loss to Ole Miss revealed something else about these Commodores – they don’t have the depth to make noise in the SEC this year.
Many thought Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs would have packed a little more bite against Oklahoma State, but instead, we got the same old Mississippi State. In a 21-3 loss, the Bulldogs defense held its own in the first half, but the home standing Cowboys simply had too much firepower.
The Wildcats fell on their faces Saturday with an embarrassing loss to Bobby Petrino’s Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. New Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops is fighting furiously to change the football culture in Lexington, but it’s safe to conclude that he has an awful lot of work to do.