Silverberg: The good, the bad and the ugly from week 1

Norman, OK – September 1, 2018 – Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium: Coach Lane Kiffin of the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Owls during a regular season game
(Photo by Joshua Gateley / ESPN Images)

By Joel Silverberg / @JoelSilverberg

We made it, football fans.

With all due respect to the ACC and Big 12, the opening weekend of SEC football felt like a new season was finally ushered into the fall in its appropriate manner. Top ten upsets, overtime survivals and Tennessee hanging on in nail-biting fashion made Saturday feel like a typical September weekend.

I’m a big fan of nonconference games, but I can get used to this season’s conference-only format. Seven SEC games was fun on Saturday.

And with the new SEC weekend, it’s time for the year’s first edition of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good: Florida. Kyle Trask set a record with six touchdowns in the Gators’ SEC opener. His 416 yards weren’t bad either and he led Florida on nine total scoring drives in Florida’s 51-35 win over Ole Miss. Tight end Kyle Pitts caught four of those six scores and the Gators are off to a hot start in 2020.

Honorable Mention: Mississippi State. K.J. Costello was impressive and made up for several mistakes that nearly cost the Bulldogs the game against LSU. He also had several dimes during Saturday’s win over the defending national champs. There was much skepticism for Mike Leach in Starkville. It’ll return eventually, but Leach has shut up his critics for at least another week.

The Bad: Texas A&M. This was too close for comfort. Vanderbilt’s only touchdown came on a drive that started on the Aggies’ side of the field and Kellen Mond was underwhelming in Texas A&M’s 17-12 win over the Commodores. The Aggies turned the ball over three times and committed eight penalties. Not the performance Jimbo Fisher was looking for before his team faces Alabama this week.

Honorable Mention: LSU. Yes, Joe Burrow and a handful of players from last year’s national championship squad are gone, but despite that, the Tigers were still 16.5-point favorites against Mississippi State at home. Myles Brennan threw two picks, LSU’s defense couldn’t stop Costello or Kylin Hill and looked really vulnerable at cornerback. The Tigers also allowed the Bulldogs to go 8-16 on third downs. This weekend’s game against Vanderbilt will be a welcome sight.

The Ugly: Oklahoma. Remember when Spencer Rattler was the big challenger to Trevor Lawrence for the Heisman this year? It could still happen, but three interceptions against a Kansas State team that lost to Arkansas State earlier this month is the sort of performance that makes pundits forget about a player entirely. The Sooners blew a 21-point lead with less than 17 minutes left to go in the game and were outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter to lose to the Wildcats again.

Honorable Mention: Big 12. Nobody in this league looks impressive. Sure, Oklahoma made the College Football Playoff after losing to Kansas State last year, and Texas did technically win its game over Texas Tech, but who is worth buying stock from in this league? Oklahoma’s offense has been lackluster through two games, Iowa State and Kansas State have bad losses and TCU’s defense got carved up in a loss to the Cyclones. Oklahoma could run the table again and make a run for the playoff, but there may not be many impressive wins to put on the resume.

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