What we know now in the SEC: Some calm in the chaos - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

What we know now in the SEC: Some calm in the chaos

(Source: Mark Lagrange) (Source: Mark Lagrange)

With a pair of top ten match-ups and another huge upset in the SEC, we're starting to to get a clearer picture of the chaos. 

That's right. Chaos. Because there's no doubt that in the next month and a half, we'll see more madness.

Let's start close to home with LSU and their thriller against Florida. It wouldn't be Tigers and Gators without a crazy finish and an even crazier call from purple and gold head coach Les Miles. With just under 11 minutes remaining, and the Tigers' offense sputtering while Florida was outscoring them 14-0 in the second half, the Mad Hatter dialed up a fake field goal to kicker Trent Domingue. The junior from Mandeville said he blacked out during the play, but his touchdown run proved to be the game-winner and the only LSU score in the final 30 minutes.

What we know now about LSU:

Provided Leonard Fournette continues with his outstanding production (now up to 1,202 yards rushing and 14 TD in six games), the Tigers have the total offense to contend for a national title.

In the past two weeks, quarterback Brandon Harris has 430 yards, four touchdowns and, most importantly, zero interceptions. The latter statistic being one that's stood tall all season long. Harris and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron have been very smart with the football, while also taking smart risks, such as the flea flicker that set up the Tigers third touchdown in the first half and Harris's 50-yard bomb on the run to Malachi Dupre to take a 14-point lead to halftime.

The extremely matured Harris couldn't help but smile on the sidelines after the play while Tiger Stadium erupted and the thought set in that they finally have a vertical passing game.

What we still want to know about LSU:

Will special teams correct their mistakes before the Tigers begin their November gauntlet of Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M?

Had the Gators completed the second-half comeback, we wouldn't be talking about how good Brandon Harris was, but rather how the punt / kick return teams continue to struggle. Antonio Callaway's 72-yard punt return touchdown was the second special teams touchdown the Tigers surrendered in two weeks. It may not sound like much, but under coach Miles especially, LSU is much better in that aspect of the game.

For example, through six games in 2014, LSU opponents totaled 404 yards in kick and punt returns. That's nearly doubled in 2015. Opponents have 637 yards alone in kickoff returns and another 164 in punt returns for a total of 801 yards. Special teams is no minor issue, and when the games get as tight as they did Saturday, it's an area that they'll have to clean up if the Tigers want to stay perfect.

What we know about Alabama:

They're back. After an uncharacteristic home loss to Ole Miss in their first SEC game of the season, the Crimson Tide are averaging more than 35 points per game against conference opponents. 

That includes their latest rout of Texas A&M, racing out to a 28-6 lead before winning 41-23. Most notable, Alabama's defense doesn't look anything like they did tripping over themselves against the Rebels. They picked off Aggies quarterback Kyle Allen three times Saturday and returned all of them for touchdowns.

What we still want to know about Alabama: 

What kind of quarterback is Jake Coker? He's still yet to be really called upon to win a game. Even in their blowouts against Georgia and Texas A&M, he passed for just 328 yards and one touchdown combined. Of course much like LSU, that's partly due Alabama's "want" to run the ball a lot. But Coker's also been turnover prone. We'll see how much he's tested against Tennessee next week before LSU heads to Tuscaloosa on Nov. 7. 

What we know about Ole Miss:

They're going in the wrong direction. Since knocking off the Crimson Tide, they're 2-2 after road losses to Florida and Memphis, which to their credit, both appear to be the real deal.

The best way to describe Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly might be "Better Bo," a mix between their former quarterback with split passing personalities bad Bo Wallace and good Bo Wallace. With their non-existent run game, the pass attempts will always be there, and so will the yards, but that's come with turnovers as well.

What we still want to know about Ole Miss:

How much fight do they have left? Despite Memphis being their second loss, they still only have one loss in the SEC, and the tiebreaker over Alabama. And they still have Texas A&M and LSU on the schedule. If they get it together, the Rebels are still a tough win, especially in Oxford.

What we know about Texas A&M:

They're still perceived as "soft." The flashy spread offense and style points only get you so far in the SEC. LSU's proved that against them for several years now, and minus former quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel's breakout win in Tuscaloosa in 2012, Alabama's punished them ever since. Case and point, the Aggies still have a little ways to go before they're the slugger they need to be in this conference. Power running and slowing down your opponents big backs are what equates to victories in the SEC. Derrick Henry's 236 yards in Alabama's win Saturday brought Texas A&M back down to Earth, but they can still give some teams fits if they don't turn the ball over.

What we still want to know about Texas A&M:

Will they rebuild momentum before closing the season in Baton Rouge? After next week, the Aggies will be through the toughest stretch of the schedule that includes Arkansas, Mississippi State, Alabama and Ole Miss all back-to-back. The slate leading up to the season finale against LSU is much more favorable: South Carolina, Auburn, West Carolina and Vanderbilt.

Following what you'd expect to be four straight wins, the Aggies could be charged up (that's two Drake references in two paragraphs for those keeping count) and ready to take some revenge on the Tigers.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the unpredictable SEC West at chagan@fox8live.com. 

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