- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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It wouldn’t be a Monday without our weekly look at who’s hot and who’s not in the SEC:
The Mad Hatter: As Les Miles says himself, it’s not the way he wears his hat or what’s in his hat … or even in some of the odd things he says. It’s more about getting a team to believe, getting a team to play its best in the biggest games and getting a team to a point where it has a chance to either win a championship or play in a BCS bowl. For all the things that have been said about Miles (many of them by his own fans), the one thing you can’t say about him is that doesn’t play to win. The fourth-down play call on the reverse was as good as it gets, maybe the play call of the year in college football.
LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis: After having a down game for his standards two weeks ago against Auburn, Nevis made life miserable for the middle of the Alabama offensive line last Saturday.
Alabama’s running game: The Crimson Tide were held to a mere 30 yards rushing in the second half against LSU. There was a time when two plays might have netted the Tide 30 yards.
Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray: Talk about successful debuts. Bray, making his first start, threw five touchdown passes in the first half against Memphis. Looks like the Vols have their quarterback of the future and present.
November patsies: Some of these November nonconference games around the league are embarrassing, and there were three of them last week. Auburn routed Chattanooga. Georgia beat up on Idaho State, and Kentucky did the same to Charleston Southern. It doesn’t stop there. Florida’s gearing up for Appalachian State next week, and Alabama is bracing for Georgia State.
Arkansas running back Knile Davis: Arkansas was looking for some pop in its running game and found it in Davis, who’s scored eight rushing touchdowns in his past three games. He’s also averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
South Carolina’s defense: For some reason, the Gamecocks have lost their edge on defense. The biggest problem has been pass defense, but Arkansas also managed 140 yards on the ground last week. The Gamecocks are playing beneath their talent level on defense right now.
LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson: It’s been a tough season for Jefferson throwing the football, but he came through with some clutch throws last week in the 24-21 win against Alabama. He’s handled the criticism like a champ, too, which tells you a lot about his character.
Vanderbilt’s kicking game: The Commodores had a pair of punts blocked in their 55-14 loss to Florida. The first blocked punt was recovered at the 3 and led to an easy Florida touchdown. The second blocked punt was returned for a touchdown.
Eastern Division: Never has the Eastern Division been this down. We already know that for the first time ever the East champion will have three SEC losses. But after the Florida-South Carolina game this Saturday, which will determine who goes to the SEC championship game, everybody in the East but the divisional champ will have four SEC losses. The West has dominated the East in inter-divisional play. In fact, the East’s only two wins this season were South Carolina beating Alabama and Vanderbilt beating Ole Miss. So, is it the “East” or the “Least?”
16hSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
2dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney