The freak-out meter is running hot at South Carolina and Vanderbilt. Sure, it’s one game and plenty of season remains.
But the Gamecocks and Commodores either needed more preseason prep time or they aren’t who we thought they were. We’ll know more in a couple of weeks.
Either way, it may bode well for others with title aspirations in the SEC East. Georgia, Missouri and Florida just saw the division favorite smacked around on its home turf by the team projected to finish sixth in the West in the media poll released at SEC Media Days.
Or could the West be that much farther ahead than the East? Missouri has seen such imbalance before. It was a part of the Big 12 in the 2000s when the South started dominating the North. It got so bad that in 2004, Colorado and Iowa State won the North with 4-4 records.
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Texas A&M’s 52-28 no-doubter against South Carolina produced this line from the Aggies’ not-Johnny Manziel quarterback Kenny Hill: 44 of 60, 511 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions. His dad, pitcher Ken Hill, had a near no-hitter for Montreal against the New York Mets in 1992. His son’s debut as a starting quarterback trumped that occasion.
Vanderbilt had an equally terrible showing. First, coach Derek Mason’s debut was delayed by 98 minutes by rain and lightning, and that turned out to be the least miserable part of the night. The 37-7 loss to a Temple team that went 2-10 last year exposed many problems, not the least of which is quarterback. Three played, none well.
“Listen, this is one football game in a season,” Mason said. “I’ve been here before. What you have to do is take it and learn from it. You try to coach your guys, try to get your mistakes corrected.”
South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier, so disgusted with his team that he flung his headset at halftime, said about the same thing, but only as he can.
“It was obvious the oddsmakers don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said. “That team was so much better than us it wasn’t funny.”