SEC's Soft Underbelly Is Really, Really Cushy

Published on 2-Sep-2016 by Alan Adamsson

Football - NCAA    NCAA Football Daily Update

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SEC's Soft Underbelly Is Really, Really Cushy

Dynamite games from some of college football's big names are rolling it out this weekend.

That also means the usual bleating about which conference is the best turns it up a notch, as well.

It's the same as any political election: its purpose is to frame perspective. After all, one of the Power Five champs is gonna sit out the playoff, and that could be two if the likes of Louisville or Houston go balls-out and run the table.

But amid the cherry-picked arguments, one inconvenient truth remains. How low are the lower regions of each conference?


First-week games used to be shakedown cruises -- some still are -- but with all the sked-juggling to accommodate TV's big bucks, some schools are doomed to open with conference opponents.

In a pairing only an alum or chalk-watcher could love, two of the SEC's weak sisters did their best to fly under the radar.

Here's Vanderbilt's play of the day:

And here's South Carolina's:

Maybe it's just something in the Tennessee air, because down the road from Nashville, the quality factor wasn't much better in Knoxville.

Ninth-ranked? Please. Pre-season polls have always been clickbait, and the SEC's image capitalizes it better than anyone.

But is this really what the Volunteers have to do to overcome a 13-3 halftime deficit to the Sun Belt's Appalachian State and claim a game in overtime:

All of which left the Mountaineers -- who'd dominated the clock all game by running the rock -- with a fourth-down passing play to keep it going:

These teams combined for 300 yards on 52 passes -- that's stinking up Neyland for an average of 5.7 yards per, dudes -- with 67 of them coming on this Joshua Dobbs-to-Josh Malone connection:

Here's hoping the starters for Alabama, LSU, et al, bring sufficient reading material to keep them occupied on the sidelines in the second halves when it's their turn to meet these clubs.

And all a probable two-loss titlist from, say, the Big XII or Pac-12 can do is shake its collective heads.