Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Whew, several close calls this week in the SEC. In some cases, teams just downright got lucky. That would be you, Kentucky. In other cases, teams found ways to win and were lucky they didn't lose. That would be you, Georgia. Here's a look at what we learned about the SEC in Week 3:
Offense anyone? A celebration of offensive football it wasn't around the league for some teams. Auburn and Mississippi State played for 60 minutes, and nobody scored a touchdown in a 3-2 game the Tigers won thanks to their defense. The clincher was that the Bulldogs' only points came on defense thanks to a safety when the Tigers were called for holding in the end zone. Georgia scored one touchdown in its 14-7 win over South Carolina and was held to 83 yards of total offense in the second half. Kentucky managed just two touchdowns in its 20-14 escape against Middle Tennessee. The Wildcats, trying to put the game away in the final seconds, had a field goal blocked that nearly cost them the game.
LSU doesn't miss a beat: Despite a week off and all the distractions that come with waiting, watching and wondering about a hurricane, LSU looked as strong as ever in a 41-3 dismantling of North Texas. The Tigers have yet to play what you would call stiff competition, but they head to Auburn next week looking as complete as any team in the league. Their defense is menacing. Tailback Charles Scott has run for 100 yards in each of the first two games. They add speedy playmakers by the week. Trindon Holliday, and quarterbacks Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee have been steady even though they haven't had to throw the ball down the field yet. What has really separated the Tigers, though, is that they appear to have the best combination of offensive line and defensive line in the conference. Now, they've got to go prove it.
The spread is spared: At least, this time it was ... but barely. Through three games, Auburn's new spread offense is missing more than it's hitting. Auburn was a train wreck offensively against Mississippi State, prompting Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville to utter the understatement of the year so far. "Obviously, we need to go back to the drawing board a little bit," said Tuberville, who knows what kind of defense he will see this Saturday against LSU. The jury is still out on quarterback Chris Todd and whether he can get it done, but it wasn't all his fault against the Bulldogs. The Tigers had nine penalties on their offensive line and lost three fumbles, two of those in the final five minutes when they were just trying to run out the clock.
Vols still not there: The 35-3 win over Alabama-Birmingham doesn't tell you a whole lot. Defensively, the Vols are talented enough to play with Florida, but will they make the plays in the second half that count? The bigger question is Tennessee's inability to stretch the field to this point offensively. Even first-year offensive coordinator Dave Clawson admitted that the Vols would have to be more effective throwing the ball down the field and couldn't rely on just underneath stuff if they were going to be able to move the ball against Florida next Saturday. Quarterback Jonathan Crompton was better against UAB, but Clawson asked him to do a lot less in that game. The Vols won't be able to get away with such a simple game plan against the Gators.
Moreno needs some help: Knowshon Moreno didn't have a great game against South Carolina, but he's still a great player. His 4-yard touchdown run -- the Bulldogs' only touchdown of the game -- was as good a 4-yard run as you're ever going to see. As great as he is, though, he needs some help. The Bulldogs don't need to look any further than freshman receiver A.J. Green to find that help. He's the second best playmaker on the team and getting the ball in his hands more will be imperative if the Bulldogs are going to improve offensively. He's their best threat down the field and the toughest matchup for opposing cornerbacks.