Our Five Burning Questions as we head into Week 3 in the SEC:
1) South Carolina has the home field and the Head Ball Coach (Steve Spurrier). Is that enough to upset No. 6 Georgia? Before South Carolina lost to Texas A&M on Aug. 28, the Gamecocks had won 18 straight at Williams-Brice Stadium. So they traditionally play well at home. Steve Spurrier has a lifetime record of 15-6 against Georgia and has won three of the last four meetings. And we all know how much Spurrier likes to beat the Bulldogs. Georgia’s offense normally goes into hibernation as soon as it enters the city limits of Columbia, S.C. Georgia has scored 7, 6, 14, and 18 points in its last four visits to South Carolina and hasn’t scored more than 20 there since 1994. Georgia is the better team and odds maker Danny Sheridan has the Bulldogs as a 6 1/2-point favorite. I’m picking Georgia to win but if I’m a Georgia fan I’m feeling very, very nervous.
2) Tennessee has looked pretty good in its first two games with Utah State and Arkansas State. So do the Vols have any kind of shot at No. 4 Oklahoma? The Volunteers have looked efficient and very well-coached in their first two wins. They have scored in 12 of 13 red zone trips. Quarterback Justin Worley has been very accurate. While the Volunteers are certainly better than a year ago, they are not ready to go on the road and win a game against a team like Oklahoma. Bob Stoops, the Oklahoma coach, is 87-5 at home. For Tennessee, this is about hanging in there and using this opportunity to grow up and get ready for the SEC schedule.
3) Florida has won 27 straight against Kentucky. Does that streak end Saturday? Nope. Like Tennessee, Kentucky is a much improved team because of the play of quarterback Patrick Towles and an overall upgrade in talent across the board. The Wildcats will compete very well down in the Swamp, where they haven’t won since 1979. But I liked what I saw in Florida’s 65-0 win over Eastern Michigan. The new offense looked sharp, rolling up 655 yards on 86 plays. Florida had five scoring drives of 1:18 or less. The Gators roll in the second half and start getting ready for a trip to Alabama next week.
4) Should anybody in the SEC be on Upset Alert? I like Mississippi State (2-0) a lot but the Bulldogs have an interesting trip to Mobile to play South Alabama (1-0). It will the first home sellout (40,000-plus) ever for the Jaguars, whose football program is only six years old. In fact, the largest South Alabama crowd to date was its inaugural game (26,783) in 2009. The Jaguars, coached by former Alabama player Joey Jones, won their opener at Kent State (23-13) and have won four straight dating back to last season. Mississippi State should win comfortably but…….
5) How good is Amari Cooper? Alabama’s junior wide receiver had over 1,000 yards as a freshman and then tailed off a little in his sophomore season due to injuries. I said before the season started that, barring injury, this would be his final season in college and would also be his best. In two games Cooper has 25 catches for 319 yards. His 13 catches against Florida Atlantic tied a school record for a single game. West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen, who saw him catch 12 balls against the Mountaineers on Aug. 30, said Cooper could be the first overall pick in next year’s draft. Cooper should have another big outing on Saturday against a bad, bad, team from Southern Mississippi.