The third week of the college football season gave us plenty to discuss. Here are four things we learned and maybe we already knew after this past weekend.
1. Missouri is again a darkhorse in the SEC.
There were concerns and questions surrounding the Tigers heading into this season. Who would Maty Mauk throw to? How were they going to replace Michael Sam and Kony Ealy?
So far, those questions have been answered.
The (18) Tigers are 3-0 and are gearing up for a real run at the SEC championship.
Mauk has been outstanding through three games. The sophomore has thrown for 647 yards, 12 touchdowns, and three interceptions and is getting better each week. He has some pretty good receivers around him too. Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt, and Darius White each have at least three touchdown catches.
Missouri has revamped a defensive line that left some Tigers fans nervous from attrition, but they haven’t missed a beat.
Defensive ends Shane Ray and Markus Golden look like the next in line from Missouri to play on Sundays. The two have combined for 37 tackles and nine sacks through three games and may be the scariest duo in the country.
Watch out for Missouri. They are well coached and far more talented than expected.
2. The Georgia/South Carolina rivalry is underrated.
What a game that was this past Saturday.
After an hour and a half lightning delay, the Gamecocks edged out the Bulldogs in a thriller, 38-35.
Sure, the winner of this rivalry has gone onto the SEC championship game only two times this past decade but that should not undervalue the meaning of this game.
We will see if the Gamecocks can re-write that trend and make an appearance in Atlanta.
3. The SEC West is the toughest division in college sports, but we already knew that.
Five teams ranked in the Top 10 are from the SEC West…. Are you kidding me?
That’s right. (3) Alabama, (5) Auburn, (7) Texas A&M, (8) LSU, and (10) Ole Miss/
Many feel Mississippi State should be ranked in the Top 25 and Arkansas looks to be much improved this season as well. The Razorbacks dominated Texas Tech in Lubbock this past weekend, 49-28.
The competition is fierce and it’s very likely the winner of this division winds up with one or two losses. Whoever comes out will likely feel they deserve a berth in the College Football Playoff on strength of schedule alone.
4. Tough times in Austin
After an embarrassing 41-7 drubbing to BYU, the Texas Longhorns followed with a tough loss to UCLA, 20-17. The Longhorns endured a wild off-season filled with suspensions, dismissals, and injuries that cast a dark cloud over the season before it really got under way. It’s not often you see Texas start out of the gate 1-2, but head coach Charlie Strong is familiar with the process and believes the future is bright in Austin.
Strong was positive after the loss to the Bruins.
“I like how we battled. I just like overall how this team bounced back from a week ago,” Strong said. “I just told them to keep fighting, keep battling and good things are going to happen and these close games we’ll be able to win. It’s hard right now. It’s tough in that locker room. They laid it out there and gave everything they had.”
*Section Photo credit to Erich Schlegel/Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Raj Mehta, USA Today Sports