Things have not gone well for the SEC during Week 1. Title contender LSU did nothing on offense against unranked Wisconsin. Mississippi State lost to South Alabama. Kentucky blew a 25-point lead against Southern Miss, while Tennessee and Arkansas had to mount late rallies against App State and Louisiana Tech, respectively. Mississippi State lost to South Alabama.
The most consistent theme in that twisted wreckage of conference ego? Poor quarterback play. There were exceptions—Bama may have found something in true freshman Jalen Hurts; Trevor Knight looked competent while outlasting UCLA; superstar freshman Jacob Eason impressed for Georgia—but by and large, things look shaky behind center in the SEC right now.
That is of course great news for Ole Miss, which will trot out Heisman candidate Chad Kelly against Florida State on Monday night. He faces a serious challenge in FSU’s talented and rangy secondary, but it’s safe to assume he’ll fare better than this lot.
Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs
If you’ve encountered a Vols fan at any point during the last eight months, you’ve probably been told that 1) THE REBUILD IS FINALLY COMPLETE and 2) Dobbs, not Kelly, deserves the title of Best Quarterback in the SEC. About that...
Dude completed just 55 percent of his passes for less than 200 yards and was a non-factor on the ground during an overtime win over Appalachian State. Hell, if it wasn’t for a lucky bounce, Dobbs’ fumble-turned-fluke-touchdown would have probably lost the game in OT. The orange-clad hordes on Rocky Top are already calling for him to be benched. Dobbs will be better than he showed on Thursday, but we can definitely put away the Kelly comparisons for a while.
LSU’s Brandon Harris
So yeaaaaaaa, all those concerns about LSU’s quarterback situation were well-founded. Harris showed he’s still the inept option he was down the stretch of last season, completing just 12 of his 21 passes for 131 yards, one score and two picks, all of which adds up to a whopping QBR of 6.9. This great decision ended the game against Wisconsin and dropped the supposed No. 5 team in the country to 0-1:
Auburn’s three-headed mess
If Auburn had any form of competence behind center, it would have pulled off the upset over Clemson on Saturday night. Sean White started and saw most of the action (10-of-21 for 140 yards, no scores and a pick), but Gus Malzhan mixed in Jeremy Johnson and John Franklin III at seemingly random intervals. Things could get ugly on the Plains this year.
Mizzou’s Drew Lock
Lock was having a pretty nice day against West Virginia until the coaches yanked him off the field mid-drive. Here’s Mizzou blog Rock M Nation:
Lock was playing the best football of his young career when the coaching staff yanked him for Marvin Zanders in the middle of a drive. I’m all for Zanders getting on the field, and I think he deserves to have a chance to lead a drive or two per half. But Lock is the guy, and I was really puzzled for the quarterback change in the middle of a series when the Tigers were driving. That could have taken some wind out of Lock’s sails, as he couldn’t reach the peak he was at in the second half.
He finished the day 23-of-51 for 280 yards and a touchdown.
State’s Damien Williams
TFW Dak’s replacement throws for 143 yards and you lose to South Alabama.
Back and to the left. Back...and to the left. Evidence clearly shows another shooter. pic.twitter.com/GPmZ8QkzTG— JizzJohnson (@RealJizzJohnson) September 3, 2016
Vandy’s Kyle Shurmur... er, I mean Wade Freeback... wait, Shurmur’s back in
South Carolina’s Perry Orth
The QB management on the sideline opposite Mason wasn’t a model of consistency either. Will Muschamp started Orth but pulled him for Brandon McIlwain after two unsuccessful drives. Orth eventually took back over and led the Cocks to a comeback win, but he threw for only 152 yards and no scores.
Arkansas’ Austin Allen
Brandon’s little bro showed promise while completing 20 of his 29 passes and leading a game-winning drive, but he also threw a pair of bad picks that put his team in a 20-14 hole midway through the fourth quarter... against Louisiana Tech. The Hogs had a mediocre 191 yards through the air and converted just three of 12 third downs. Not great, Bert.
Kentucky’s Drew Barker
Barker was incredible in the first half against Southern Miss, throwing for 277 yards and four touchdowns to give UK a 35-17 halftime lead. Then he coughed up three turnovers in the second half while USM came all the way back to win it.