The initial knee-jerk reaction on the state of Arkansas football is the defense looked better while the offense is cause for concern after a 37-10 faceplant against Georgia.
Let’s wait until after Mississippi State to start forming any opinions.
The reality is the Razorbacks’ defense was improved for about a quarter until the Bulldogs figured out D’Wan Mathis wasn’t quite ready at quarterback.
After halftime, Kirby Smart and his staff had made the adjustments, but you could see the change starting in the second quarter.
In just the second and third periods, Georgia had 27 first downs while the Hogs managed just 3 (all in the third period). The Dogs had 241 yards of total offense to the Hogs’ 112.
Add in a 91-10 edge in return yards and you have defense and special teams not playing as expected and Georgia wins in a blowout.
The Bulldogs’ offense will finish in the middle of the pack in the SEC and their special teams aren’t anything particularly special. The Hogs’ defense and special teams made them look good.
But it wasn’t realistic to expect the Hogs’ offense to run up and down the field on what will be one of the best defenses in the country, particularly up front.
Arkansas’ defense couldn’t stop an average at best offense struggling at quarterback when it counted the most, particularly in the passing game where the Bulldogs had 266 yards, but 166 of that in the second and third periods.
That’s when the Razorbacks couldn’t get a stop. And Georgia didn’t manage to stop itself.
Now they face an offense that had over 600 yards in passing against an LSU defense that was put together with bailing wire and chewing gum. We’ll find out Saturday night if that’s still better than what the Hogs have.
Mississippi State doesn’t have a defense like Georgia.
The key this week is going to be pretty simple. The Hogs have to score points and keep up with Mike Leach’s offense.
Alabama’s preseason type win
It was strange watching Nick Saban treat the Crimson Tide’s opener like an NFL preseason game, which is exactly what happened in a 38-19 win.
Saban backed off the throttle midway through the third quarter and started playing backups, including highly-touted freshman quarterback Bryce Young.
What he did was get some valuable road game experience for his backups because even though the Tigers got a couple of scores late that game could have been 63-10 if Alabama had kept playing.
Just one interesting observation.
As usual, the Aggies are still the Aggies
Maybe no team has failed to live up to expectations more in the last 45 or so years than Texas A&M.
The latest exhibition of that by the Aggies was a struggle win (17-12) over Vanderbilt … in College Station.
If Jimbo Fisher can’t show that to be just a first-game issue with all of the craziness involved this year in just managing to play games, he’s going to have a problem.
He’s not getting paid $75 million to have the Aggies holding their breath to win a game at home against Vanderbilt.
So, Arkansas State could beat Oklahoma
The truth is, no, that probably wouldn’t happen. Yes, I remember the Red Wolves beating Kansas State at home but that probably wouldn’t happen again, either.
An old saying in the football world is the most improvement a team makes is between the first and second games of the season. The Wildcats certainly did while the Sooners once again hit the wall head-on against a K-State team that shouldn’t have stayed close.
The reality is Oklahoma got comfortable and let up.
How Lincoln Riley handles it will be interesting.
Auburn is over-rated maybe as badly as A&M
Despite what you heard from the talking heads all day Saturday, Chad Morris hasn’t exactly made Auburn’s offense any better.
Kentucky was absolutely hosed on a touchdown call that would have made it 14-8, eliminating the pass inerception return Gus Malzahn got so worked up about.
The Wildcats out-gained the Tigers 384-324 on offense, but committed three turnovers that killed them.
As if Gus Malzahn wasn’t goofy enough all by himself, he’s added Morris as the offensive coordinator and alleged caller of offensive plays … and there are people that think that’s going to get them to the top of the SEC West.
It will be somewhat surprising if quarterback Bo Nix is not in the transfer portal by Thanksgiving … that is if Morris is actually in charge of anything on offense.