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College Football: Around the SEC Week 3 Edition

A lot of questions were answered on Saturday as many teams kicked off league play.

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Conference play started for many teams around the SEC on Saturday, and as expected, we are beginning to see some separation between the contenders and pretenders in this league.

A lot of teams around the country have sky high expectations when they enter weeks one and two of the college football season. By week three, when it’s time to take on conference play and play “big boy football” as we call it in the South, many of those teams are left to face some harsh realities. Such was the case on Saturday, where big time match ups and rivalries took place with each team looking to get a leg up on their race to Atlanta.

#1 Alabama 41 Colorado St. 23

Alabama took on their last opponent before beginning SEC play next week. The victim this time was Colorado State. Not much to see here, other than the Crimson Tide doing what they usually do: winning and dominating their opponent in the process. They will head to Nashville with a 3-0 mark, setting up a battle of unbeaten’s when they face Vanderbilt next Saturday.

Mississippi State 37 #12 LSU 7

Did any of you honestly see this one coming? What promised to be one of the better games in the SEC on Saturday wasn’t. Mississippi State dominated LSU for 4 quarters, only giving up one touchdown to a Tiger offense that had outscored their previous two opponents, 72-10. However, what was even more astonishing was the way Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald carved up that highly regarded and talented LSU defense. Fitzgerald put up 188 yards in the air while adding 88 on the ground and two touchdowns. This will set up a monster show down in Athens next week when Mississippi State takes on Georgia between the hedges.

#13 Georgia 45 Samford 14

Georgia, reeling off their win over Notre Dame in South Bend last week, showed no signs of let down at home in a dominating win over FCS’ Samford. This game served as a nice tune up as the Bulldogs will take on the Bulldogs from Starkville at home next Saturday in what promises to be a big time SEC showdown in week 4.

#15 Auburn 24 Mercer 10

There was never really any doubt that Auburn was going to win this game at home, but it was far from pretty on the Plains. After being held to just two field goals at Clemson last week, the last thing Gus Malzahn and Auburn needed was another boring offensive performance. The Tigers go on the road next week to take on Missouri, where both teams really need the win.

Vanderbilt 14 #18 Kansas State 7

How about Vandy? The Commodores are 3-0 following an upset over Kansas State in Nashville on Saturday night. It was a classic defensive struggle which is what Derek Mason has done so well during his tenure. But Vanderbilt did enough offensively to pull off the win and they will be undefeated when top ranked Alabama comes to town next Saturday.

#24 Florida 26 #23 Tennessee 20

Speaking of defensive struggles—well, I don’t know if I’d call this one a defensive struggle. It was just more of a struggle, period. Both teams could argue that they should have been up by more in the fourth quarter as they seemed to be having a contest for which team could screw themselves over more, but in the end, Tennessee won that contest. Both teams combined to score 37 points in the 4th quarter after it was only 6-3 for most of the game. Florida emerged the victor, but there is still no identity for either of these teams heading into week 4. Florida goes to Lexington where they may actually be the underdog to Kentucky for the first time in a long time, while Tennessee takes on UMass at home.

Texas A&M 45 Louisiana 21

Kevin Sumlin may have had the hottest seat in the SEC entering week 3, and trailing the Ragin Cajuns 14-21 at home at the half didn’t help a bit. However, the Aggies rattled off 31 unanswered in the second half to win. Texas A&M will begin conference play versus Arkansas next week with their annual showdown in Dallas.

Purdue 35 Missouri 3

In week one, Missouri put up 72 on Missouri State, breaking all kinds of conference and program records in the process. That offense has been missing since. What’s worse, that Missouri defense hasn’t shown up at all this season. A week after Missouri fired their defensive coordinator, the Boilermakers were pretty much able to walk up and down the field the entire game. The Tigers will host Auburn next week, which could set up a 1-3 start to the season.

Kentucky 23 South Carolina 13

A week ago Will Muschamp was looking like the best coach in the SEC East and many were ready to hand Jake Bentley the Heisman trophy. What a difference a week can make as neither looked that good in Columbia on Saturday night. Kentucky, who struggled through their first two games against Southern Miss and Eastern Kentucky, held the Gamecock offense when they needed to the most, getting several critical stops in the red zone. While Bentley threw for over 300 yards and two TDs in the game, he threw two interceptions, including one in the final minute of the game. South Carolina’s defense was able to hold the Wildcats to a few field goals, otherwise this one would have looked a lot worse. Kentucky should be feeling good about themselves as they host a Florida team they haven’t beaten in 30 tries in Lexington next Saturday night. South Carolina will look to rebound at home when they take on Louisiana Tech.

California 27 Ole Miss 16

This looked like a game where the Rebels could score a big win for a hurting program when they led 16-7 at the half. However, Shea Patterson and the Ole Miss offense couldn’t replicate their first half success in the second half as Cal scored 20 unanswered to get the win at home. The Rebels will get a much needed bye week before they head to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama on September 30th.