I'm back and ready to blog again. A lot has happened over the weekend in the SEC football world, and today I'll be taking a look at the biggest games of this weekend around the conference, and see what conclusions can and have been drawn.
South Carolina at Georgia
Well, the 'Ol Ball Coach predicted that his South Carolina team would contend for the SEC championship this year, and you have to believe that defeating Georgia between the hedges is a major step in that direction. Matthew Stafford went in one game from being lauded as the class quarterback of the SEC to a 19/44 showing with 1 INT. But Blake Mitchell ruled the day for the Gamecocks by completing 65% of his passes, most of them short and safe, and despite only 3 forays into the red zone, managed 16 points. Georgia's offense was even more futile, managing to achieve the red zone only twice. The combined third-down efficiency of both teams was only 10%.
Cocknfire at Garnet and Black Attack looks at 5 reasons explaining what this game means from a Gamecock perspective. Noteworthy is that the Gamecocks have converted every red zone opportunity this year, and grades out the effort perhaps lower than you might expect. He also asks for forbearance from Gamecock fans. Flounder at Leftover Hot Dog also grades the team in critical areas, and says it sends the league a message that the Gamecocks are ready to contend for the East. Hard to argue against that, at this point.
The Georgia blogs are, understandably, less pleased with the outcome. Tommy at Apropos de Nada says loosing to South Carolina is a "very ugly catharsis for Georgia fans." There was apparently a little home-team booing going on also, and Tommy is rightfully chagrined at those participating. Kyle King of Dawg Sports gives credit where credit is due, particularly to the South Carolina defensive front. Like the sportsman he is, Kyle refuses to dive into recriminations and waxes philosphical:
While there certainly is plenty of room for constructive criticism of Georgia's performance, this game is more about giving credit than assigning blame. We should congratulate South Carolina on its victory in a well-coached, well-played game of football that the Gamecocks deserved to win . . . then the Bulldogs should turn their attention to getting back on track against Western Carolina in preparation for their September 22 showdown with the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.
David Ching at the Georgia Bulldog Blog examines Mark Richt's press conference Q&A. Paul Westerdawg at the Georgia Sports Blog looks at the team's shortcomings in detail, and can't bring himself to be angry with a defense that surrenders only 16 points. But the offense is another matter. Senator Blutarsky runs down a number of Georgia shortcomings, and predicts the outlook for the rest of the season bleak, at least as far as winning the East is concerned.
Doug at Hey Jenny Slater says that this game was a "Get-Laid Loss" for Georgia fans. Interesting take. Ludakit at The Dawg-gone Blog blames the offense, the defense, the fans and says Georgia played "without any heart or aggression."
Later, we'll be looking at Auburn, LSU and how the SEC fared overall.