Week 2 of the college football season provided quite a few exciting storylines, especially in the SEC where some big teams took major hits. Here’s a look around the SEC following a wild second week.
The Aggies find their College Football Playoff and SEC Championship chances all but finished following a disastrous loss to Appalachian State in College Station. It was an all around sloppy performance by A&M as they finished with only 186 total yards, 7 penalties, and 4 fumbles. Defensively, the Aggies gave up over 300 yards and allowed three fourth down conversions by the Mountaineers.
All aspects of the Texas A&M squad needed work on Saturday, and that is exactly what Jimbo Fisher spoke on following the loss.
“We’ll evaluate everything this week,” he said. Fisher also hinted at the possibility that playcalling may change hands after the lackluster offensive performance.
Things do not get any easier down the road for the Aggies, who will likely need to win out if they want any chance at the CFP or SEC Championship. A&M still has five ranked-opponents left on their schedule, including a trip to Tuscaloosa to face off against Alabama.
Texas A&M paid Appalachian State $1.5 million to have them come to College Station. They lost.
Notre Dame paid Marshall $1.25 million to have them come to South Bend. They lost.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 10, 2022
The Crimson Tide escaped week 2 with another victory to remain undefeated. That is the only good news for Alabama. Aside from the result, the Tide were disappointed with their effort Saturday which saw them narrowly escape from an unranked Texas Longhorns team. While Alabama held onto the ball, they also gave up almost 400 yards to a team that lost their starting quarterback, Quinn Ewers, in the opening quarter.
The most notable part of Saturday’s escape: 15 penalties.
Nick Saban could be seen on the sideline visibly frustrated as his team committed penalty time after time. The 15 flags are the most ever committed in a game under Saban and one shy of the Crimson Tide program record from 2002. This was something new to see from a Saban-coached team, and ultimately cost Alabama the top spot in the rankings this week, which they relinquished to Georgia.
Nick Saban praised the resiliency of the team after “not playing Alabama football for the first three quarters.”
— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) September 10, 2022
What does the road ahead hold for the Crimson Tide? A matchup with UL Monroe this Saturday should not create any problems. However, they will start October with three straight games against ranked opponents, highlighted by a trip to Knoxville to face rival Tennessee.
Excitement has returned to Knoxville. The Volunteers have had fewer than nine wins every year since 2017, but hopes are high in Tennessee. They climb into the top 15 following a win against #17 Pittsburgh.
The offense led by Hendon Hooker looked explosive, throwing for over 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Vols were certainly tested, as they coughed up a few fumbles and gave up a blocked punt. Nonetheless, Tennessee in their second year under Josh Heupel look to be a different team than the past couple years. They continued to battle and escaped Acrisure Stadium with a gritty overtime victory.
The Volunteers still have the full brunt of an SEC schedule ahead of them, with matchups against Florida, Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia looming.
The environment at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, “The Swamp,” is known to be one of the best in college football. Tell that to Will Levis who waved goodbye to the crowd after clinching a victory against #12 Florida.
Kentucky played well, but it was the combination of good play by the Wildcats and poor play by the Gators that saw UK pick up their second win.
Anthony Richardson posted a poor stat line for the Gators, going 14/35 with 2 INTs and 0 TDs.
Still, it was an impressive showing for Kentucky as they were disciplined and threw the ball well for over 200 yards.
The biggest news out of Lexington, however, is the return of Chris Rodriguez Jr.. Rodriguez is the lead returning rusher in the SEC, but missed the first two games because of some legal issues.
The Wildcats should have a bit of a break with back to back games against Youngstown State and Northern Illinois. They then move into the bulk of their SEC schedule with a trip to Ole Miss.