That didn't go so well.
Two big games. Two, incorrect predictions from yours truly. Wake me up when September ends... Oh, that was the last weekend of games in September. Moving on.
Aaron Murray, despite losing Todd Gurley (more on that later), went toe-to-toe with Zach Mettenberger and the LSU Tiger was the first to blink (or, rather, the Georgia defense made their first, important stop of 2013!).
Ole Miss (Sorry. I will always refer to them as such) came up... short. To say the least. After Bo Wallace had much to say earlier in the week about his offense's ability. Saturday saw all the guys in grey go quiet.
Except for Donte Moncrief. That guy is a beast (Ravens, please draft Donte Moncrief).
In other news, Arkansas' gaudy record is being exposed as the product of a soft schedule as they got Manziel'd at home. Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Missouri had glorified scrimmages in an effort to sneak to six wins and bowl-eligibility without really having to do anything in conference (which is a good idea given their talent).
Also, the Tyler Murphy experience continued humming along in the "hostile" environment of Lexington.
Lastly, it looks like Connor Shaw got injured again as the Gamecocks got all they could handle from a very game Golden Knights squad from Central Florida.
I know last week I dedicated most of the intro and the article title to Jeff Driskel, but if I did that for every Shaw injury. Well, this would basically be a Connor Shaw-centric entry.
On to the rankings!
1. Georgia (Last Week: 1)
Lost in Aaron "No! I'm not the tennis player!" Murray's five touchdown showcase was the standout play from Keith Marshall. The forgotten man in the running back tandem picked up the slack left from the injured Gurley to the tune of 96 rushing yards.
While he didn't make anyone forget his more heralded teammate, he stepped up with the most carries he's had this season when the Bulldogs needed him most. His timely gains kept the Tigers honest and his blocking allowed Murray a little more breathing space for his big day. If Gurley is unable to go this weekend, look for Marshall have another big day against their rivals. Prediction: Georgia 34, Tennessee 10
2. Florida (2)
While Tyler Murphy hasn't made anyone forget about Tebow (or Chris Leak, for that matter), he did put together a, relatively, flawless performance against an overmatched Kentucky team. Good job. Also, kudos to Matt Jones. His 176 yards and touchdown go a long way to helping him separate from the rest of the nameless mass of skilled players for the Gators.
Though, after having missed a lot of time with a viral infection, its good to see the young man finally put up a performance expected of him this season. With all the injuries, they'll need it again to get by a pesky Arkansas team desperate to get a meaningful victory. Prediction: Florida 30, Arkansas 20
3. Missouri (3)
A 4-0 Tigers team has only two more points/votes? than a 2-2 Notre Dame team in the AP Poll (neither are anywhere near being ranked). Maybe it could be bias (I think people like Notre Dame) or it could be the fact that Missouri found themselves down in the third quarter to the mighty Red Wolves of Arkansas State.
Tough to say. Though, I do know the sweet dream of being undefeated comes to an end this weekend. All the beautiful, deep bombs from James Franklin to Dorial Green-Beckham can't save them (which, surprisingly, there hasn't been as many as you'd think this season). Prediction: Vanderbilt 34, Missouri 23
4. South Carolina (4)
Early reports have Connor Shaw out 2-3 weeks. Tough break. Though, it may be a blessing in disguise for the Gamecocks (as awful as that is to say). At times, Shaw's running and streakiness through off the rhythm of the offense.
Dylan Thompson gives them a more stablizing, consistent presence (albeit, he is not the playmaker Shaw can be). Regardless of who is under center for South Carolina, that person should be giving the ball to Mike Davis. A lot. That dude can play. He should have another big day as the Gamecocks welcome the Wildcats to town. Prediction: South Carolina 31, Kentucky 0
5. Vanderbilt (5)
I use to have a coach that said "Luck is opportunity meeting preparation". While that sounds cool, it isn't particularly all-encompassing. Some times, you're prepared, but never get an opportunity. Maybe "bad luck" is just the absence of one or both priciples.
I bring this up to summarize the Commodores' season. Two losses thus far in heart-breaking fashion to Ole Miss and South Carolina. Either one of those games could've swung on a play, here or there. Unfortunately, it didn't go the preferred way for Vanderbilt.
Maybe this weekend is the make-up for that. Will Austyn Carta-Samuels and Jordan Matthews be able to match the Tigers big play for big play? Jerron Seymour will be an x-factor in this game. Prediction: Vanderbilt 34, Missouri 23
6. Tennessee (6)
There is something for always being prepared, though. Justin Worley lost the quarterback job just for an injury to hand it back to him. He could've sulked and not been prepared when he got the job back or he could've taken it like a man and gone about preparing as if he were still the starter (thus, being ready when he, inevitably, got the job back).
I think he did the latter, but he did still manage to throw three interceptions against South Alabama. Conversely, how much confidence do you think his teammates have in him? Probably about as much confidence as a studio has in green-lighting a blockbuster starring Taylor Kitsch. Rajion Neal deserves better. Though, shout out to Jason Croom and his arrival on the scene. Remember his name. The Volunteers will lose, but they'll do so in cool jerseys! Prediction: Georgia 34, Tennessee 10
7. Kentucky (7)
The Wildcats are in week three of four, straight ranked opponents capped with a game against Alabama next week. Ouch. Pray for Mojo. Prediction: South Carolina 31, Kentucky 0
1. Alabama (1)
Another, personal anecdote: My freshman year in college, we played a team that had an all-american defensive tackle.
For the duration of the first half, he didn't do much and we put in a touchdown just before halftime to go up by two touchdowns.
Unbeknownst to the rest of the team, our freshman tackle, on said play, taunted the star player by saying "I thought you were supposed to be an all-american".
Well, the second half he proved his worth. He had half a dozen tackles for loss along with two forced fumbles, one of which he picked up and returned for a touchdown and we lost by two scores.
After the game, our head coach berated the tackle, "Son, he was happy to not do nothin'.
Why'd you provoke him!? Let sleepin' dogs lie!". Bo Wallace, why'd you provoke them?
The Crimson Tide were content to keep it in cruise control. The element of surprise was irrevocably lost with a careless remark at a press conference. While the defense showed up, AJ McCarron had an underwhelming performance that was the opposite of what TJ Yeldon did.
Wow. Him and Kenyan Drake are becoming a formidable duo. They may combine for 400 yards against Georgia State. Prediction: Alabama 36, Georgia State 0
2. Texas A&M (4)
The Aggies gave up 33 points to Arkansas -- 33 is nine more points than the Razorbacks were able to put up on an 0-4 Southern Miss team. Even more troubling, 33 is two more points than Arkansas scored on FCS-Samford.
Sure, Deshazor Everett had a dazzling interception return for a touchdown, but Texas A&M can't expect to survive the season on offensive fireworks and occassional defensive brilliance. Sooner or later, Johnny Manziel will have an off-game.
Mike Evans won't be able to out-jump everyone. Ben Malena can't outrun everyone. Ok. They are yet to score below 42 this season, but, at some point, they'll have to do better than merely keeping their opponent under 40. Prediction: N/A (BYE... though, the defense might still give up a couple touchdowns).
3. LSU (2)
While there are no "good losses" to most coaches, LSU can take pride in coming up just short in Georgia. A tough road game against a great team produced one of the season's best games. While people may try, there wasn't one moment that lost this game (Even your inability to field a punt, Odell Beckham).
It just wasn't meant to be for the Tigers (especially their defense which gave up 494 yards). Fortunately, they still remain in the hunt as they dropped only to No. 10 in the polls. With November showdowns with Texas A&M and Alabama looming, they could very well get back into the SEC Championship game, as well as the BCS National title. There's still plenty of football to play starting this saturday with Mississippi Sate. Prediction: LSU 41, Mississippi State 10
4. Auburn (5)
The Tigers were glad to have the bye week as it gave them a chance to regroup and get healthy. While they're not ready to compete with the conference's elite, they're knocking on the door. This weekend brings another measuring stick opportunity for Nick Marshall, Tre Carson, Quan Bray, and the rest of Auburn.
Ole Miss will be out for blood after their humbling loss. Will the young Tigers be able to defend their home turf? No. The Rebels were able to harass and throw a poised veteran like AJ McCarron off his game. What will happen with the fledgling, Auburn attack? Prediction: Ole Miss 35, Auburn 24
5. Ole Miss (3)
As I sat in the twilight of Saturday becoming Sunday in my Norwegian apartment, I could only think of one word to describe what I was watching from the Rebels in Tuscaloosa. Deflating. It was as if all the hype and high hopes that had been building in Oxford (from the recruiting coup to early season returns) was drained in a 60 minute beat down.
I've often needled Bo Wallace for his decision-making, but to say anything resembling what he was alleged to have said is inexcusable (He says he was misquoted). There's a reason why the Brady's and Manning's have boring news conferences.
Everyone is looking for something. Writers are trying to break a great story. The opponent is looking for some type of edge. It is part of the game. Wallace is a very good qb and I'm sure he'll use this as a learning experience and, maybe, added motivation to shut up the haters. Additionally, Laquon Treadwell should be given a "only throw this if he is WIDE OPEN" conversation. Turn the page this week in Auburn. Prediction: Ole Miss 35, Auburn 24
6. Mississippi State (6)
What a welcome back this will be for Tyler Russell. Three weeks out getting the cobwebs out of his head from a nasty concussion to get a motivated, angry LSU team.
Will Dan Mullen stick the fifth-year senior out there or go with Dak Prescott, a sophomore quarterback who, while filling in adequately, is not ready for this game and risk ruining the young man for the next two years?
Not an easy choice. Hopefully, Jameon Lewis and the rest of the offense can make plays for either quarterback to give them some breathing room.
Jamerson Love and the rest of the defense is going to have to bring their lunch pail in this one. It'll be a long day in Starkville. Prediction: LSU 41, Mississippi State 10
7. Arkansas (7)
Brandon Allen makes a huge difference (even if he gives away points). However, he doesn't play defense. Jonathan Williams is a star in the making. There's a lot of promise here, but let's be realistic: Arkansas wasn't as close to beating the Aggies as the score indicated.
Manziel, despite only contributing two scores, was having his way with the Razorback defense. However, scoring 33 points is still a good way to build momentum going forward. Though, going to the Swamp and getting smacked will slow that down. Prediction: Florida 30, Arkansas 20