SEC Football: Three Things to Watch For in Week Three

Sep 3, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Sean White (13) looks on during the fourth quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Week Three of the SEC Football season promises to be an exciting one, with several interesting conference games. Alabama heads to Ole Miss to take on the Rebels. Nick Saban and company will be looking to avoid dropping their third straight to the home team. Chad Kelly will be looking to test the Tide’s vaunted defense. It should be a fun one.

Auburn hosts Texas A&M. This is an interesting matchup. It’s an opportunity for both teams to show that they are contenders in the West. Also, it’s an opportunity for two unproven quarterbacks to show what they’ve got.

Georgia travels to Mizzou. The Dawgs will be looking to bounce back after a horrible showing against Nicholls. Meanwhile, the Tigers will be looking to build on the momentum they picked up against Eastern Michigan.

Finally, the Mississippi State Bulldogs go to Death Valley for a clash with LSU. This is another showdown between untested quarterbacks. LSU’s Danny Etling will look to stretch the field and create running lanes for Leonard Fournette. On the other side, Nick Fitzgerald will try to use his running ability to offset Arden Key and a nasty Tiger pass rush.

With so many good games this week, it was tough to pick just three storylines to keep an eye on. But that is what we have attempted to do with this post. Undoubtedly there are other interesting ones out there this week. So be sure to let us know which ones you’ll be keeping an eye on in the comment section. Off we go!

Sep 10, 2016; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb (27) runs the ball against the Nicholls State Colonels during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Nicholls State 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

3. Which Georgia Will Show Up?

Georgia started the season with a hard-fought victory against North Carolina. Nick Chubb had an amazing game in his return from a gruesome injury. And the Bulldogs looked like they might be a legitimate SEC East contender.

Then Week Two arrived. Nicholls came to Athens and gave the Dawgs all they wanted before ultimately losing 26-24. Chubb was contained, rushing for just 80 yards. Quarterback play was uneven at best. All in all, it was an awful day for Georgia.

So the question is then, which Georgia shows up in Columbia this weekend. If it’s Week One Georgia, then Nick Chubb will eat the Tiger defense whole and the Dawgs will cruise to victory.

But if Week Two Georgia shows up, this game could get ugly. Drew Lock is a promising young talent at quarterback, and the Missouri defense is tough as always. Georgia can’t afford to sleep-walk through this game.

Fortunately for Dawg fans, I don’t think they will. I think last week is an anomaly. Georgia didn’t respect Nicholls and it almost cost them. Hopefully they’ve learned from that mistake. Either way, don’t expect them to make it a week later in a road game against a division rival.

I think Nick Chubb eats, and the Dawgs win going away. What do you think will happen? Let us know.

Sep 10, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Trevor Knight (8) attempts a pass during the second quarter against the Prairie View A&M Panthers at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2. Is A&M the Real Deal? Is Auburn?

Over the first two weeks, Texas A&M has looked like a team that could win the SEC Championship. They beat a good UCLA team in Week One. Then, they completely obliterated Prairie View in Week Two.

The Aggies are stacked on offense. Trevor Knight is a talented quarterback. And, it doesn’t hurt that he’s surrounded by weapons at both running back and wide receiver. In addition, the Aggies have a scary defensive line led by famed quarterback killer Myles Garrett. The Aggies look legit.

However, they face a tough challenge this week. They travel to Auburn to face a suddenly dangerous looking Tiger team. Auburn’s offense sputtered in Week One against Clemson. Then, in Week Two they caught fire against Arkansas State.

It goes without saying that the Aggie defense is better than Arkansas States’s. Nevertheless, Malzahn’s decision to stick with Sean White should prove to be a good one. Rotating three quarterbacks was not the answer.

So which, if either, of these teams will show themselves to be a legitimate SEC West contender this week? I think A&M will. The Aggies are a tough team. I think this will be a good game, but ultimately the Aggies will pull it out. But I wouldn’t be too surprised if Auburn was able to find some magic at home. It should be a fun time.

Sep 10, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Danny Etling (16) runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown in front of Jacksonville State Gamecocks linebacker Quan Stoudemire (35) during the second half at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Jacksonville State 34-13. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

1. Can the LSU Offense Find Balance?

Leonard Fournette and Darius Guice are the best one-two running back punch in the country. Unfortunately, they haven’t had a quarterback who can make teams respect the pass. This has led to stacked boxes, which even the best running backs of all-time would struggle to find success against.

However, last week Tiger fans were given a glimmer of hope. Much maligned quarterback Brandon Harris was benched in favor of Purdue transfer Danny Etling. Etling threw a lovely touchdown pass, but otherwise had a quiet night. He completed just six of his 14 passes for 100 yards and the aforementioned touchdown with one interception. He also had a rushing touchdown.

Despite the mediocre stats, Tiger fans are excited about Etling’s potential. The feeling seems to be that if Etling can just be average, which Harris couldn’t, then that will be enough to bring balance to the LSU offense. As an Alabama fan, I for one don’t want to see Etling succeed. A balanced LSU offense would be terrifying to play against.

I’m not sure if Etling has what it takes to balance the LSU offense. His stats at Purdue were pretty average as well. However, if he does there’s no doubt in my mind that LSU is a playoff team. The only SEC team who would pose a real threat to the Tigers would be Alabama. And the Tide is not as deep up-front as they were a season ago. I think LSU would run the table from here on if Etling could be the guy.

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