Can Georgia win the battle up front with Tennessee?

Our Five Burning Questions about the SEC as we head to Week Five:

1) Can Georgia win the battle up front against Tennessee? The Bulldogs should and if they do then it will probably be a reasonably comfortable day against an improving Tennessee team. The Volunteers are certainly better at the skill positions but there is no getting away from the fact that they lost 92 percent of their snaps from the offensive line from a year ago. Tennessee OC Mike Bajakian is compensating by giving QB Justin Worley a lot of three-step drops to get the ball out quickly and allowing the talented Volunteer receivers a chance to make a play. Still, through three games, Tennessee has allowed nine sacks (3.0 avg) which is dead last in the conference. Conversely, if  Worley has time to throw Tennessee has the advantage with their receivers against Georgia’s secondary.

2) How many offensive possessions will Texas A&M get against Arkansas? Arkansas already has a road map of how to upset No. 6 Texas A&M in Arlington. On Sept. 13 the Hogs went to Lubbock and played keep-away from a good Texas Tech offense. Arkansas held the ball for over 40 minutes and gave Texas Tech only 11 possessions (3 in the second half) in a 49-28 win. In four games to date Texas A&M leads the SEC in scoring offense (55.2 ppg) and has averaged 12.5 possessions per game. If Arkansas can control the ball with that stable of good running backs and hold the Aggies to less than 12 possessions then it has a shot. Seems doubtful.

3) Will Ole Miss get caught looking ahead? ESPN’s College Game Day has never been to Oxford, Miss. That will change next week if No. 10 Ole Miss can beat Memphis on Saturday, setting up a Top 10 SEC West showdown with No. 3 Alabama at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Ole Miss fans have been talking about the Alabama game for over a year. But remember that Memphis (2-1) was tied 35-35 at UCLA inside the last three minutes of the game before losing 42-35. For the Memphis kids this is a big, big game. I’m just sayin’.

4) Is Kentucky ready to take the next step? Two weeks ago the Wildcats had Florida on the ropes but lost 36-30 in triple overtime. There is a familiar pattern in a rebuilding a program. First you find a way to put yourself in a POSITION to win. Then you learn HOW to win. Kentucky (2-1) is now working on that second step and it’s pretty important for the Wildcats to make that next step on Saturday against Vanderbilt (1-3). Kentucky has lost 17 straight SEC games dating back to Nov. 26, 2011. Part of the building process is to eliminate the negative numbers surrounding the program. So this is a big game for head coach Mark Stoops as he makes the case to fans (and recruits) that things are changing in Lexington.

5) Will the Head Ball Coach get his kickoff coverage straightened out? Steve Spurrier was upset about a lot of things after his team’s sloppy 48-34 win at Vanderbilt. He was really incensed after watching Vanderbilt’s Darius Sims return kickoffs of 91 and 100 yards for touchdowns. He threatened to take over those special team duties. Instead he’ll be the “assistant kickoff coverage team coach” for Saturday’s big SEC East game with Missouri in Columbia, S.C. Worth noting: Missouri’s Marcus Murphy had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first game with South Dakota State. He has returned only four kickoffs this season but leads the conference with a 39.0-yard average per return.


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