College Football Week 2 Takeaways: Kirby Smart is Not Mark Richt

Another weekend of college football is in the books. The SEC had a relativelyslow weekend, but week two featured some interesting matchups—both in and out of the conference. For some (Florida), it was a weekend of historic proportions.

Here’s a look at some key takeaways from different SEC programs from week two:

Mississippi State may be as good as advertised.

The Bulldogs have been the recipient of much fanfare during the off season after securing former Penn State Offensive Coordinator Joe Morehead as head coach. Morehead led the Nittany Lions offense to being one of the best in the country and, with the help of Saquon Barkeley, kept their playoff dreams alive for much of the season.

Morehead was tasked last weekend with getting a win on the road against Kansas State. Though the Wildcats aren’t exactly a powerhouse this year, beating a Bill Snyder team at home is a difficult feat.

The Bulldogs, however, rolled with a 31-10 victory that has left many feeling validated in the team’s preseason hype—especially after Mullen’s showing at Florida.

The Gators have a long way to go.

The Gators lost their first game to Kentucky in more than thirty years Saturday. Mullen’s team fell 27-6 to the Wildcats in The Swamp.

While many Gator fans have taken this chance to blame Mullen for the program’s history-making defeat, it’s likely that the new head coach was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Despite recent SEC championship appearances under former coach Jim McElwain, the Gators have simply not been that good in recent years. A rockbottom SEC East helped mask Florida’s issues, but with programs like Kentucky— and especially the Georgia Bulldogs—on the rise, it’s going to be increasingly harder to hide their flaws.

Kirby Smart is not Mark Richt.

Entering a game that many predicted would be an upset, the Georgia Bulldogs stomped the South Carolina Gamecocks 4117.

Though the Gamecocks held tough in the first half, trailing only 20-10, the Bulldogs responded with three unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game away.

It’s a change for Georgia fans which are used to choking in clutch games. Richt, who lost his season opener at Miami despite being a huge favorite, would very likely have cost the Bulldogs Friday’s game—despite the overwhelming talent gap between the two teams.

The Bulldogs have an easy schedule this year, with their only challenges remaining coming against LSU in Death Valley and versus Auburn at home.

Alabama’s offense is on fire.

With quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at the helm, the Crimson Tide offense has found a new dimension. A quarterback unlike any Alabama has seen before, Tagovailoa has turned the top-ranked Tide into a super team.

Tagovailo’s success has helped Alabama on third downs, which the Tide converts roughly 67% of the time.

Defensively, the Tide has remained sound and hasn’t allowed a first-half score all season.

Auburn has more depth this year than before.

The Tigers are strong this year and may be the only team (outside of LSU) who can challenge the Georgia Bulldogs in the regular season. The Tigers still remember their 40-17 dismantling of UGA last year before having their top running back injured against Alabama.

This year, however, the Tigers look to be in better shape, with nine different players scoring touchdowns in their second game against Alabama State. Auburn won the game 63-9. With one of the better defenses in the league, the Tigers have an explosive offense for the first time in years under Gus Malzahn.

The Tigers will need to be on their A-game to make it past LSU this Saturday. It will be tough for LSU to beat Auburn at home, but the Bengal Tigers are currently riding high with Coach Orgeron at the helm. With their first real quarterback in years in Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow, LSU has a more potent offense than in recent years with the same lights-out defense that has come to characterize the program.

Week 3 Key Matchups: #12 LSU at #7 Auburn 3:30 PM CBS #17 Boise State at #24 Oklahoma State #4 Ohio State vs. #15 TCU 8:00 PM ABC

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