(RNN) – Conference play is now up and running and the teams to beat are becoming clear.
Below is a look at three SEC games from the second week of the season and what they mean going forward, followed by a look at three big games from next week and the impact they will have.
Week 2 recap:
Mississippi State 28, Auburn 10
This was a tale of two teams heading in different directions. Auburn's quarterback threw three interceptions while Mississippi State's threw three touchdowns. It's not a surprising outcome when you know that stat, but going into the game, this was a toss-up.
These schools have turned their matchup into an early season must-see the last few years, with the score usually much closer than expected. This year was the opposite. These teams were considered equal. No more. Mississippi State (2-0, 1-0) is now being looked at as possibly going 7-0 before meeting No. 1 ranked Alabama, while Auburn (0-2, 0-1) is in danger of a 0-5 start and missing a bowl game.
It's still too early to know if either of those will happen, but Auburn QB Kiehl Frazier will have to stop turning the ball over, convert when he's called on and soften up the defense for Auburn's sporadic running game if the Tigers are to have any chance at success.
Georgia 41, Missouri 20
Turnovers decided the outcome of this game, too. Missouri's James Franklin had two of the worst timed turnovers in the young football season on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter.
Jarvis Jones intercepted a weakly thrown ball that looked intended for him in the fourth quarter and ran it back to the 1-yard line. Georgia (2-0, 1-0) then went up by two scores. Jones wasn't done. He thanked Franklin for the interception by sacking him a few plays later and forcing a fumble that led to another Bulldog touchdown.
Just like that, Missouri (1-1, 0-1) went from the cusp of upsetting the No. 7 team in the land and establishing itself as a contender in the SEC to being little more than an annoying little brother trying to prove he belongs on the field with the older kids.
The SEC can be very cruel.
But it was deserved. At SEC media days, Missouri receiver T. J. Moe said most of the teams in the SEC were "average" and just days before playing Georgia, Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said the Bulldogs played "old man football."
It's safe to assume that Moe – who had one catch for 4 yards against the 'Dogs – counts his own team among the rank and file and Richardson (two tackles), a junior, is waiting to grow up.
Florida 20, Texas A&M 17
If you turned this game off at halftime and then saw the final score later, you would have wondered what happened. Well, here is the explanation: Florida got tired of a freshman quarterback making its defense look silly.
Cut Florida (2-0, 1-0) a little slack, though, because there was no film on Texas A&M (0-1, 0-1). The Aggies have a new quarterback who was in high school last year, and have a new coach who came from Houston. Their first game of the season was delayed and Florida was flying a little bit blind. But once they got a glimpse of what they were facing, coach Will Muschamp and the Gator defense shut it down.
And, really, shut… it… down. Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel couldn't do much wrong in the first half. Texas A&M opened up a 17-7 halftime lead, and it looked like it would only get bigger. But in the second half, Florida did not let Manziel – or any other Aggie, for that matter – run, and the offense withered as a result.
A&M was shut out in the second half while Florida played field position and stole the lead out from the Aggies' grasp in what was a slow, agonizing defeat in their first game in the SEC.
Games to watch in Week 3 (all times Eastern):
Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn, SEC Network, 12:21 p.m.
This game is being included only for its upset potential. Outside of the other two games listed here, there aren't many games this week that stand out. Because Auburn is in the midst of a potential free fall and ULM (1-0) demonstrated last week it's not to be taken lightly, this game demands attention.
Things can only get better for Auburn this season, unless they lose this game. After a nail-biting 26-19 loss to Clemson and a 28-10 debacle at Mississippi State, ULM was supposed to be a welcome change of pace, a guaranteed notch in the win column and a confidence boost heading into games against LSU and Arkansas.
Then while the Tigers were licking their wounds and lowering their expectations, ULM took Arkansas to overtime – then won. The No. 8 team in the country – a team with SEC and even BCS championship hopes – was reduced to a crumpled heap at the hands of the Warhawks.
Auburn is already a crumpled heap. Auburn had hoped to be 2-0 at this point, or at least 1-1 with a chance to rest up and take aim and two of the conference's biggest challenges. Now, the Tigers are just looking to not start 0-5.
ULM quarterback Colton Browning torched Arkansas for 412 yards. Auburn's passing defense has been its biggest weakness so far this year. The signs all point to another huge win for the Warhawks, but will they be able to deliver?
Alabama at Arkansas, CBS, 3:30 p.m.
Just how big of a loss is Tyler Wilson? No one can answer that question better than Alabama's defense.
Before the season, if you had told Arkansas coach John L. Smith he would have to lose his quarterback to injury but he got to pick when, there is no chance he would have it happen now. Wilson is considered day-to-day after taking a blow to the head and his prognosis is considered good, but no one knows at this point if he will play this week. Even if Wilson is able to come back, the No. 1 ranked team in the nation is not the team you want taking first crack at him, and it certainly isn't the matchup Arkansas wants if it has to turn to freshman backup Brandon Allen.
It's hard to know what Arkansas should try to do. Should the Hogs turn over the offense to the running game and let Knile Davis try to power through Alabama's defensive front, or should they run their offense as normal and expose another QB to potential injury at the hand of Tide's formidable pass rush and blitzing schemes?
Even if the Arkansas offensive line is up to the task of keeping the rush at bay, it will be hard to get open against Alabama's secondary, and every throw will have to be perfect or it will end up in the Tide's hands.
There is blood in the water and if any team has the ability to smell it, it's Alabama.
Florida at Tennessee, ESPN, 6 p.m.
The winner of this game should be set up for a showdown with Georgia with a trip to the SEC championship game on the line, with South Carolina a potential spoiler.
Florida's defense has been a bit suspect, and by that I mean sometimes it looks like Florida's defense is asleep. Taking a couple of plays off against the Vols and Tyler Bray could spell disaster. Florida's offense has not shown it can keep up with another team should its defense falter, so if Bray can hit a few big plays early and build a lead, Florida will be playing from behind the whole game.
The Vols are likely not quite ready for a run at the SEC championship game, but they could very well eliminate some teams from contending. Florida has long been the thorn in Tennessee's side, and no team this side of Alabama is more hated by the Tennessee faithful. If Derek Dooley wants the calls for his firing to quiet down, winning this game will do that.
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