Monday, November 9, 2009
Crompton hot, SEC love not
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
It’s that time of week again we all look forward to. Who’s hot and who’s not in the SEC?:
Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton: He’s gone from getting death threats a year ago to leading the SEC with 21 touchdown passes this season. Crompton has been a different player for the Vols. He’s playing with confidence and precision, and the players around him are playing a lot better, too. He threw five touchdown passes last week in the 56-28 win over Memphis and set a school record for most passing yards in a half with 305 of his 331 yards in the first half. Not even Peyton Manning threw for that many yards in one half when he was at Tennessee. Crompton has thrown 12 touchdown passes and just two interceptions in his last four games and is playing the kind of football everybody in Knoxville envisioned when he came out of Waynesville, N.C., five years ago as one of the most highly rated prep quarterbacks in the country.
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett: Another SEC quarterback who’s red-hot right now, Mallett was 23-of-27 for 329 yards last week in the 33-16 win over South Carolina. He’s gone 121 pass attempts without an interception.
Vanderbilt’s offense: Mackenzi Adams is now running the show at quarterback with Larry Smith out injured, but it didn’t make much difference against Florida. The Commodores haven’t scored more than 10 points in an SEC game all season.
Alabama coach Nick Saban: He’s not only hot about all the grumbling going on about the officiating. He sounds downright steamed and says it’s about time somebody stood up for the officials in this league.
South Carolina’s running game: The Gamecocks are last in the league in rushing offense, averaging 121.6 yards per game. They’ve been held to 65 yards or less in three of their last four games and don’t scare anybody running the football.
SEC assistants: Get ready to hear a few names of SEC assistants popping up as possibilities as head coaching jobs come open. LSU’s Larry Porter may be in play at Memphis and Kentucky’s Steve Brown at Western Kentucky. Auburn’s Gus Malzahn will also be a commodity, and maybe this is the year that Florida’s Charlie Strong finally gets his shot.
Title game drama: Just like last year, there won’t be much drama down the stretch about who’s going to play for the SEC championship. Alabama and Florida have already locked up their trips to Atlanta. Can they lock up more?
Auburn receiver Darvin Adams: He leads the SEC with nine touchdown catches, including four in his last two games. Adams has 10 catches for 183 yards the last two weeks and is making a strong push for first-team All-SEC honors at receiver.
Instant replay: Remember when everybody was all giddy about instant replay being added in college football and how it was supposed to eliminate all the controversy? Ask Dan Mullen and Les Miles how they feel about that.
Ice, Ice Baby
SEC love: If you haven’t noticed, they’re not real fond of the SEC in other parts of the country. The growing sentiment is that there are two legitimate powerhouses in the league and that everybody else is overrated. And if you look at this week’s BCS standings, there are more Big East teams in the Top 25 than SEC teams. Now you can spin that any way you want depending on which side of the fence you sit. But the bottom line is that the SEC’s in prime position to play for its fourth straight BCS national championship and its fifth in the last seven years. You think the outcry (or jealousy) is at fever pitch now? Watch what happens if a one-loss SEC champion manages to navigate its way into the BCS National Championship Game over an unbeaten TCU, Cincinnati or Boise State.