The Dye-Log: It's Too Early to Tell

Hall of Fame football coach Pat Dye gives his opinions on Southeastern Conference football in his column for Inside the Auburn Tigers at AUTigers.com.

The season kicked off with a so-so schedule, but it was an interesting weekend of football, particularly in our conference. Some of it was good, some of it was bad and lot of it was in-between.

I still think it is too early to make any bold predictions right now and the reason being is that a lot of the games were so one-sided and we really don't know how good some of the teams were that played against each other. It takes about three weeks to get that kind of sorted out and then after that you can get a better feel about what is fact and what is fiction.

The shocking thing that happened the first weekend was Jacksonville State beating Mississippi. That has got to be the biggest upset since Appalachian State beat Michigan. We don't know if Jacksonville State is that good or if Mississippi is that bad--time will tell with both of them.

The other interesting game to me was LSU vs. North Carolina. LSU was playing a severely handicapped, undermanned North Carolina team and was leading 30-10 at halftime before hanging on at the end to win. There are a lot of questions out there about LSU right now.

Tennessee got off to a brilliant start. Georgia got off to a brilliant start. I was certainly impressed by South Carolina in their win over Southern Mississippi. I didn't realize they gave up as much yardage (404) as they did, but South Carolina certainly looked like a stronger football team to me than they were last year. They got good quarterback play from (Connor) Shaw and (Stephen) Garcia.

Stephen Garcia is South Carolina's veteran quarerback.

The surprising thing in the SEC East was Florida. They only had 212 yards of offense. That, to me, is as shocking as Mississippi losing to Jacksonville State.

I watched the early part of the game and Florida was having problems in all areas except interceptions. If Florida hadn't intercepted four passes that game would have been much closer than it was so we really don't know about Florida, but just looking at the first week's games you would say that South Carolina and Georgia are just as good as Florida, and maybe better, in the East. Tennessee is still a question mark out there, but we will know about Tennessee after they play Oregon this weekend.

You have got to be impressed with Mississippi State and the way they handled Memphis as they head into the conference opener against Auburn.

There were some great things in the Auburn game and some things that were not so great. I think Auburn is still a work in progress in getting all of the stuff together with the penalties and turnovers. They are a football team that needs to grow up in a hurry and I believe this game with Mississippi State on Thursday night, in my opinion, is as big a game as Auburn is going to play all year long.

Starkville is the toughest place to play in the Southeastern Conference. They can talk about Gainesville, they can talk about Death Valley, Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Knoxville, Athens or South Carolina, but there is not a tougher place to play in the SEC for a visiting team than Starkville, Mississippi. That is going to be multiplied since they let them bring their cowbells back into the stadium. Auburn has got their work cut out for them this week, I can assure you, because this looks like it is a much improved Mississippi State football team.

I think Auburn is better, too, so this should be a great game on Thursday night.

We will know more about Alabama when they play Penn State this week. I think Alabama will win, but Penn State is going to be a much stronger, more physical football team than San Jose State.

The big game in the conference this week has got to be South Carolina vs. Georgia. Both of them looked good in their opening games. That thing in Columbia, S.C., will be a war. It has always been close and it won't be any different this year.

At this time next week we will know a lot more about our conference, which is the way it is almost every year. That is why we don't do our Legend Coaches Poll until after the third week of football because we really don't know how good we are and how good the opponent is. It just makes sense to let the teams get into the season a little bit so we can know where they are before we vote.

(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)

Editor's Note: This part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, Dye participates weekly in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye will write three columns a week--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.

Pat Dye's Crooked Oaks Hunting Preserve and Lodge

Pat Dye's Quail Hollow Gardens

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The Dye-Gest, September 1, 2010

The Dye-Log, August 30, 2010



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