Friday, November 15, 2013
SEC Friday mailbag: Week 11
By Alex Scarborough
Jared Moore (@TheJaredMoore): Why isn't Ole Miss getting any respect in the polls? Beat LSU and Texas, both of whom are ranked.
Hugh Freeze's Rebels are only a win away from getting back into the top 25, I think. Right now they're the top team receiving votes in the AP poll, and it's likely that someone will get knocked out of the rankings with a loss this weekend. But as to why Ole Miss isn't ranked today, I'm not sure. You raise a good point about its wins over LSU and Texas, though you could argue that neither is an elite team this season. That streak of three straight losses to Alabama, Auburn and Texas A&M killed the Rebels in the polls. Had Ole Miss found a way to hang on against the Aggies late, we could be having a much different conversation. But it's all about momentum. A victory Saturday over Troy would give Ole Miss three consecutive wins and set it up for a nice close with Missouri and Mississippi State to end the regular season. Win both of those games and the bowl-game scenarios start looking very good for the Rebels.
Chris Flynn (@Chris_Flynn1): Do you think Auburn's ineffective passing game will finally catch up to them against Georgia and Alabama's defense?
Against Georgia? No, I think the Gus Bus will continue to roll this weekend. Mark Richt's defense has gotten better since the beginning of the season, but there are still a bunch of holes on that side of the ball. I can't get out of my head what Vanderbilt and Florida's offenses were able to do against them the last few weeks. As far as Alabama's chances of stopping Auburn's running game, I think there's a possibility of that happening. Nick Saban's chief goal is to make an offense one-dimensional and Auburn's offense is already just that. While I think calling Nick Marshall an ineffective passer is a tad unfair because he simply hasn't had to throw the ball much lately, I think it is reasonable to question his ability to drive the ball downfield through the air consistently. I know Auburn fans will point to the Texas A&M game, but let's face facts and recognize just how bad a defense the Aggies have. When you look at Marshall's Pass EPA -- his clutch-weighted expected points added on plays with pass attempts -- he ranks an uninspiring 84th nationally at 15.6.
Billy (@CuzzinBailey): 'Obligatory Gators offense 2014 question'
That's a nice way of putting it, though I'd argue you didn't really ask a question there. I could go on and on about Florida's offense but I'll try to keep this short and sweet: The Gators have zero identity on offense and that's only their second-biggest problem. Watching Florida try to move the ball on offense is painful. I don't know if they're a control-the-clock power running team or if they want to spread you out and throw the football around. It changes by possession sometimes. I understand Will Muschamp wants to run a pro style, but he doesn't have the tools to do that. He doesn't have a quarterback who can execute throws down the field and he certainly doesn't have the receivers to create separation. He had some good running backs and a decent offensive line, but we saw what injuries did there. And that, to me, is the biggest concern. Florida needs to pick an identity, stick with it and find the right guys for the system. That's a lot to ask in one offseason, even with UF's impressive recruiting class. It's really a two-year project, and nobody in Gainesville seems willing to allow that much time.
Just Me (@JustMe227): When are you hacks going to go a full year without writing about your hope that Auburn loses the Iron Bowl?
Oh, please. I wrote a few weeks ago about how Auburn's rise has reinvigorated the Iron Bowl. No one here hopes either team loses. The only thing I look for is that it's a good game because the last few haven't been. And the way things are shaping up, I think it will be a fair contest. Gus Malzahn is quickly becoming my favorite play-caller in the country. He has a feel for it and he doesn't worry about the run-pass ratio, which I like. The game being at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, it could go either way. But, hey, why don't we let a few weeks pass before we start getting too far into the matchup? I'm sure by the time Nov. 30 rolls around, both sides of the rivalry will be asking the same question you just did. If you don't think so, check out this editorial from The Wall Street Journal.