Alabama Week Away From SEC Games
Alabama, of course, is the top team in the Southeastern Conference and in the nation, ranked number one in both polls. The Crimson Tide still hasn't played an SEC game and won't until next week, the start of a brutal three-game schedule.
All six SEC teams are ranked in the top 16 of each poll. SEC teams account for 27.3 percent of all points in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 26.4 percent of total points in the AP poll.
Ten of the 12 SEC teams have received points in either the Associated Press poll or the USA Today Coaches polls this season. Seven teams have been ranked in either the AP or USA Today Top 25 at one time this season.
This marks the first season since 2006 that the SEC has had six teams ranked in the AP or USA Today Top 25 after the second week of the season. From 2007-09, the SEC had five ranked after the second week of the season.
Since the preseason poll of 2008, ten of the SEC's 12 schools have been ranked in either the pre-season AP or USA Today poll in the top 20. Mississippi State and Kentucky have received points in the poll during this time.
Following today's non-conference game at Duke, Alabama will be on the road at Arkansas to face Ryan Mallett talented passing arm. That's followed by the muc-anticipated Alabama vs. Florida rematch of the past two SEC Championship Games in Tuscaloosa. The three-game stretch concludes with a trip to Columbia and what appears to be Steve Spurrier's best South Carolina team. The Gamecocks are the first of the six SEC teams that have a convenient open date before playing Alabama.
Today's game against Duke is an ABC telecast because ABC has the contract for Atlantic Coast Conference games. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. EDT (2:30 p.m. central time). Beth Mowins will do the play-by-play on television.
The big news concerns a couple of pre-season All-America players for the Crimson Tide who have not yet played this year. Tailback Mark Ingram is coming back after knee surgery and defensive end Marcell Dareus has completed his two-game suspension for improper contact with an agent.
Here are some notes from the SEC:
The Ole Miss-Vanderbilt series is one of the most competitive in the SEC. Since 2000, in series that are played each year, it is the third closest in terms of scoring margin. In 10 games, the average winning margin is 9.7 points per game. The top two are Tennessee-South Carolina (8.50 ppg) and Georgia-South Carolina (8.73 ppg).
For the second straight week, ESPN GameDay is visiting an SEC campus. Last week, the crew was in Tuscaloosa for the Alabama-Penn State game. This week, they are in Auburn for the Auburn-Clemson game.
In Alabama's 24-3 win against Penn State, the Tide was flagged for its first offensive holding penalty in 42+ quarters – a stretch of 10+ games dating back to October 3, 2009 against Kentucky.
Arkansas has won seven of its last eight games dating back to last season. Alabama and Florida are the only two other schools in the SEC to win at least seven of their last eight.
Auburn has totaled at least 500 yards of total offense in five of Gus Malzahn's (offensive coordinator) 15 games as offensive coordinator, after not reaching that mark in its last 40 games prior to his arrival.
Florida's eight interceptions through the first two games of this season are twice as many as any SEC school has and two more than any other school in the nation. UF is one of only two teams in the nation to have multiple interception returns for a touchdown (other is Nebraska).
Georgia leads the SEC in fewest penalty yards this season with an average of 27.5 through two games (9th in the nation). An offside penalty in the third quarter against South Carolina was the first defensive penalty of the season against the Bulldogs.
In its first two games this season, Kentucky has not turned the ball over. Kentucky is seventh nationally and first in the SEC in turnover margin at +4.
By keeping Vanderbilt out of the end zone in the first quarter last week, LSU ran its streak of consecutive SEC games without allowing a first quarter touchdown to seven straight games dating back to last year's Mississippi State contest.
Eight Ole Miss players have receiving plays for 10+ yards this season, including Markeith Summers, who has five plays of more than ten yards, and Brandon Bolden who has four. In the first two games this season, Ole Miss has 16 pass plays of more than 10 yards.
Since 2000, Mississippi State is 6-10 in games following a defeat by 7-points-or-less, bud under head coach Dan Mullen, the team is 1-1 after a close loss. Last year, the Bulldogs fell to Georgia Tech after losing to LSU by four and bounced back with a victory over Middle Tennessee after losing by seven to Houston.
South Carolina is ranked among the nation's top 15 for the first time in three seasons and looks for its first 3-0 start to a season since that 2007 season. In 104 years of Carolina football, the record stands at exactly .500 (536-536-44).
Tennessee is ranked fourth in the nation among true freshmen playing this season with 12. Florida is first at 15 followed by Air Force (13) and Florida State (13). Five schools are tied for fourth with Tennessee and Auburn among them.
The Vanderbilt depth chart features 28 sophomores, 14 redshirt freshmen and 20 true freshmen. After two weeks, only eight seniors have seen playing time.
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