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What "else" is going on around the country

The off week (and my extreme disgust with the level of play lately) gives us the chance to review this young football season outside of the Clemson spectrum. This will give us a chance to evaluate how some legitimate football teams play, overall takes on the season, what to look for down the stretch, and whatever other ramblings are felt necessary. I will look primarily at ACC and SEC teams, as that is all anyone around frequenting this blog really cares about anyway.

Let's begin at the top, the Florida Gators: The gators have been steady early in this football season. I was a little disappointed with their effort in the Tennessee game, as my disdain for all things Kiffin and UT begged for Urban to throw up half a C-Note on the Vols. After the Myer job done on UGa last season, this was nothing more than a let down.
I think everyone understands the ramifications of "As Tim Tebow Turns". We all get constant updates on him from ESPN errrrrr Tebow-TV. It will be interesting to see how these guys respond with or without Tebow. Either way they are talented enough to run the table. The other positive UF has going for it is Corrine Brown's sparkling endorsement. What more could you want on Capital Hill?

Alabama may very well be the best overall team in all the land. After battling early mistakes to beat a good VTech team, Bammer has looked nothing less than fantastic this season. In the Tide's victories over Arkansas and Kentucky, UA did whatever it pleased. Rushing the football, Ingram and and freshman T. Richardson have blown it up. The real surprise has been the Greg McElroy. A 9:1 TD/INT ration coupled with over 1000 yards passing allows the Tide to Roll seamlessly even with the loss of JPW. The biggest concern for Bammer will be the loss for the season of LB Dont'a Hightower during the Arkansas win. Hightower is a dynamic player and was a key to the Tide's defensive success last season.
Bama's schedule lays out nicely for a return trip to Atlanta: Ole Miss (in the Grove), the Cocks in Denny-Bryant, LSU at home, and a trip to the Plains rounds out this year's key opponents. This is a program that will be fighting for a MNC each and every year under Saban. Nobody is more excited about this than Bamafan:

Staying in the SEC West, we get to discuss a program that no one can understand--the Bengal Tigers of LSU. No doubt LSU has talent. No doubt LSU has tradition. The only doubt is when the luck will run out. Yes, Les Miles is the freaking wild card who, by some unexplainable and mysterious turn of events, will end up winning in spite of some of the stupidest decisions in the history of college football (see Dr. B's previous assessment here). LSU has looked less than impressive to this point of the season (sloppy game at Washington, somehow holding of Mississippi State at the goal line, and screwing around with a mediocre Gerogia team last week). The Tigers host #1 Florida and #17 Auburn over the next two weeks then a trip to Tuscaloosa the first week of November. Judging by the play to this point, it is very likely that LSU will lose two of these three games...particularly with Joker Les steering the ship.

Virginia Tech will win the ACC again this year. Their victory over a good Miami team (in the rain, though) a few weeks ago and ability to overcome and obvious letdown last week against Duke indicates this is the ACC cream of the crop. While Tech has looked sluggish at times this season, I have been impressed with their play against quality opponents, particularly playing tough in the season opener. VT continues to do what has made it successful in the good defense, don't let your offense fuck it up, and score a couple TD's on special teams.

Miami has been a pleasant surprise this season. After an entertaining start to the season against Florida State, the Canes have impressive victories over Ga Tech and Oklahoma. The loss to Va Tech was extremely sloppy, and weather conditions seemed to adversely effect the high flying offense all day. Miami should be able to cruise home, as the only currently ranked foe left on the schedule is South Florida, with other opponents including reeling Clemson and North Carolina teams. Miami's qb, Jacory Harris has been extremely impressive in his sophomore campaign. In early ACC play, he showed great mobility, arm strength, accuracy, and awareness in carving up both FSU and GT's defenses. Props to Randy Shannon for straighting the U's train wreck out. Is the swagger back?

Auburn has been impressive this season (at least in comparison to the previous season's Tony Franklin experiment). While I am not sold on Gene Chizik over Tubberville, Auburn has played well against their (weak) opponents to date. I am not sold on Auburn, as their only achievement this season was a close win over an average Tennessee team. The final evaluation on this squad will definitely need to wait until they get a little deeper into their SEC schedule.

Ole Miss has been what I expected them to be all along--overrated in the preseason. Miss looked extremely sloppy in the season opening win over Tommy West's Memphis Tigers and looked absolutely pitiful in their trip to Williams-Brice. I will be eager to see if Jevan Snead can overcome the woes experienced against Carolina and Memphis and live up to the preseason hype. There is no doubt that he is talented enough, as Snead would more than likely be starting at Texas now if it weren't for Colt McCoy. Dexter McCluster was really impressive against South Carolina, and Ole Miss probably wins that game if they get him involved earlier. We will get to see what the Rebels have this week against the Tide...I expect a huge letdown from the boys from Oxford.

South Carolina...this one is difficult because I really don't know what to expect from the Cocks. Steve Garcia is much improved from a year ago. Getting rid of John Hunt and getting an offensive line coach seems to be paying dividends for USC to this point. Currently, though, I am not sold on S. Carolina. Georgia is not that good of a football team this season. SC could not put away Ole Miss and almost gave that one away. To date, I think that Steve Spurrier (or whomever is calling plays) tries to get a little too cute with the playcalling. For instance, why they would attempt to throw the ball up 16-3 in the 4th qtr against Mississippi? I really like their big TE, and everyone knows how good Norwood is. After UK this weekend, the schedule toughens to include a trip to Tuscaloosa on the 17th, @ Tenn, @ Arkansas, the gators, then CU. SC lacks defensive depth, and constant power rushing turns the area between the tackles into I-95. I don't expect too much from this team down the stretch.

I will give a shout out to Texas. After getting over TT the other week, it is an obvious statement that Texas should be the in the National Championship game this season. Oklahoma should not be the constant thorn in UT's side this year. With OU's problems (mainly injuries to Bradford and Jermaine Gresham and an inexperienced offensive line), the rest of the schedule sets up fairly nicely for Mack Brown. No surprises here.

Georgia is one team that everyone loves to hate. Consequently, no one outside of Athens is crying over the fact that Willie Martinez is getting his ass handed to him on a weekly basis. I don't think that Richt can cover for this guy again, especially with the uproar by the UGa faithful. I don't have time to get into all the problems with Georgia defensively and philosophically, but the guys over at have put together a comprehensive look at Martinez after last season's loss to Ga Tech here. The gist of the defensive failure of Georgia in my opinion lies in the lack of aggressiveness by the defense. Too often you will see the Georgia football team sitting back and waiting for things to happen to them. Their DB's play 9 yards off the freaking football and really don't make plays. When UGa has the ball, I really have not been impressed with anyone but AJ Green. You have to give credit where is is due, the Summerville native is one hell of a football player and will be playing (a lot) on Sundays.