We’re at the half way point of the college football season and it’s not disappointed. In this article we’ll take a look at the accuracy of our off season predictions for the SEC. We’ll also give props and recognition to those who’ve earned it! So here it is. Our view of the SEC at the half way point.
Where does the conference stand in the eyes of neutrals?
There were some rough match ups in the early weeks of the season for SEC teams. Florida lost to Utah of the PAC 12 in week 1 whilst LSU got blown out by Florida State. Then in week 2 the Aggies got beat by Miami of the ACC whilst Alabama got turned over by Texas of the Big 12.
Couple this with the big time play of QB’s in the PAC 12 in particular you could say the SEC in a bit of a slump!
The Heisman hunt
The SEC is looking increasingly unlikely to provide any serious Heisman contenders at seasons end. Brock Bowers potential season ending ankle injury has robbed him of any hope of becoming the first tight end to win the award since Leon Hart in 1949!
LSU QB Jayden Daniels has the numbers to rival some of the best in the country. However his team has struggled to see out games and that will work against him.
How competitive is the SEC this year?
In terms of competitiveness, back to back national champions Georgia have sleep walked through games so far and look a lock to win the Eastern conference.
LSU are challenging Alabama in the West but are a game behind. The Tide hold a head to head win over other challengers Ole Miss.
How did we do in our off season predictions?
Why is nobody talking about…
We told you all to watch Will Rogers of Mississippi State carefully as he stood on the fringe of breaking several meaningful SEC QB records. Well Rogers has struggled without the late Mike Leach calling the offense and everywhere he needed to take a stop forward, he simply hasn’t. VERDICT – MISS
We were all over the talent of South Carolina wide receiver Antwane “ Juice” Wells. This is a tough one. He’s been injured! In very limited play, he has 3 receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown was an incredibly impressive play as he gained significant YAC and weaved through one of college footballs best defenses in Georgia. A reminder of what a healthy Wells can do. In his absence teammate Xavier Legette has shown to be one of the countries most impressive break out receivers! VERDICT – INCOMPLETE
We prepped an article we forgot to release on why you should watch running back Ray Davis after the senior transferred from Vanderbilt to Kentucky. Typical! Well the offense has ran through Davis and he’s rumbled to 781 yards on the ground with 8 scores as well as 193 yards on the ground on 15 receptions with a further 5 TD’s. VERDICT – HIT WE CAN’T CLAIM
Our freshman fever article highlighted three players we though could make an immediate impact on Saturdays. Nyckoles Harbor has dealt with a nagging hamstring injury and not had the impact we’d expected but the talent is clearly there. Kentucky receiver Anthony Brown has hardly featured as the offense is running through the aforementioned Ray Davis. We did hit on Alabama safety Caleb Downs. He looks like a bonafide star already. He’s the Crimson Tides leading tackler, has a forced fumble and leads the team with two interceptions. He’ll be a first round pick in 2 years time VERDICT – 1 OUT OF 3
In our worst to first article we explored which last place side from each division showed the most chance of improving this year. Would it be Texas A&M or Vanderbilt? We said it would be the Aggies (not much of a gamble given it was them or the Commodores). Whilst A&M have still been underwhelming there were signs of improvement with Conner Weigman under centre before his season came to an early finish due to injury. Evan Stewart has battled injuries and looks like he’s a legit star but other than that Jimbo Fisher’s men have still been less than inspiring. VERDICT – HIT
Mid season Awards
SEC MVP – Jayden Daniels – QB – LSU
In the summer we published an article about how this current crop of SEC QB’s stacked up on the Bill Parcells’ scale. In that exercise Daniels came out on top. Should we be surprised therefore that he is currently lighting up the SEC and putting up numbers comparable to the best QB’s in the country? He’s second in the FBS for touchdown passes and total touchdowns. He is also on a current streak of 6 consecutive 500 yard games at the time of writing.
Biggest Surpise & Breakout Player – Missouri Tigers and Luther Burden III.
7 weeks in and the Missouri Tigers have a 6-1 record. Their only defeat coming at the hands of LSU in a 49-39 barn burner of a game. To understand what a surprise this season has been for Eli Drinkwitz’s men, the over under on their seasons win totals at most betting outlets was set at 6.5.
One of the major reasons for this incredible run has been more consistent play from quarterback Brady Cook. secondly the form of the impressive sophomore receiver Luther Burden III. We featured Burden in our Sophomore break out list all the way back in May and he hasn’t disappointed. He has 808 receiving yards on 56 receptions, collecting 5 TD’s along the way. Burden looks like he could be Devy fantasy WR1 next year once the current crop move to the NFL.
Best game LSU @ Ole Miss (Week 6)
I can’t see this one changing in the second half of the year. An all time classic that will be talked about for years to come. It was difficult to catch your breath watching this game! 14 total touchdowns and 1343 yards of combined offense. It was edge of your seat stuff as two late lead changes lead to a 55-49 win for the Ole Miss Rebels. It was also the second loss of LSU’s season that could ultimately knock Daniels out of the Heisman running although it really couldn’t be down to him in this game!
Comeback player of the year – Spencer Rattler – QB – South Carolina
People might not want to hear it, but the enigmatic Spencer Rattler is playing excellent football. The once lauded and much maligned QB has shown serious growth as a leader. He’s demonstrated a level of maturity that he had previously lacked. He’s looking after the ball and playing smart football. Rattler is the heartbeat of anything good that South Carolina does offensively. If you want a perfect example go back and watch the Georgia game and see how shook the national champions. A year or so ago we thought he was a lost cause and he’d become a bit of a joke. The joke might just be on us though as he’s playing at a level that will certainly intrigue NFL front offices again.
What do we want to see in the second half of the season?
Who will make the college football playoffs? Georgia look a lock but outside of that don’t be surprised if nobody else from the SEC makes it this year. Alabama have a fighters chance but can’t afford another loss after losing to Texas.
As always we can’t wait to see how the junior and senior classes finish their individual seasons and see who throw their hats into the NFL draft. Can players like Dallas Turner (a good shout for SEC DPOY at this point) and Malik Nabers cement their place amongst the top prospects at their positional groups by continuing to play at a high level? Obviously non SEC stars will have similar ambitions which always make for a compelling end to the season.
Who will miss out on bowl games? Arkansas look like they have a real chance of missing out right now! Can KJ Jefferson revive their season? Much was expected of him this year. Can he deliver?
One thing we do know is that we can’t wait! We’ll be there watching with you every step of the way!