Week 1 is in the books, so it’s time to check out where things stand around the SEC.
Which coaches are breathing easier after the opener? Who’s feeling the heat? How did that new quarterback do in his debut? And who came out of the opening week of the season looking better than expected?
Here are the momentum rankings for each SEC school leading up to Week 2:
Rolling: Pretty much everyone who played a role in the demolition of Southern California. QB Jalen Hurts (4 total touchdowns), WR ArDarius Stewart (113 yards receiving, 2 TD) and DL Jonathan Allen (2 sacks) are especially noteworthy.
Neutral: Bo Scarbrough (11 rushes, 38 yards) didn’t impress as much at running back as Damien Harris did (138 yards on 9 carries). He’ll need to pick it up to remain in the timeshare at the position.
In reverse: Quarterbacks Cooper Bateman and Blake Barnett are playing catch up after Hurts’ star turn in the opener.
Rolling: After missing most of 2015 with a broken foot, Keon Hatcher hauled in 6 passes for 86 yards in Week 1.
Neutral: Austin Allen had a good completion percentage (20 of 29), but tossed 2 interceptions in his debut.
In reverse: The offensive line must play better. Louisiana Tech had 4 sacks and held the Razorbacks to 2.7 yards per carry. TCU’s defense, on paper, is a better one.
Rolling: The defense was better than expected against second-ranked Clemson. Kevin Steele’s group kept Auburn in the game by allowing only 19 points.
Neutral: The quarterback play was as inconsistent and ineffective as it was for large stretches of 2015. Quantity clearly isn’t the answer, as five players took snaps in the game.
In reverse: Gus Malzahn’s reputation as an offensive guru is taking a beating. His quarterback shuffle and odd play calling dominated the headlines after Week 1.
Rolling: The new-look defense was stout, holding Massachusetts to 187 yards. Redshirt freshman end Jabari Zuninga was particularly impressive, recording a pair of sacks. Luke Del Rio was also solid in his first game as starting quarterback.
Neutral: The lack of style points in the 24-7 win didn’t do much for the outside perception of the Gators this season. Most pundits have them pegged third in the SEC East, and Week 1 likely didn’t change any minds.
In reverse: The running game never really got going against the Minutemen. Florida gained 107 yards on the ground on 29 attempts, which is just under 3.7 yards per carry.
Rolling: Kirby Smart got his first win as a head coach. Nick Chubb rushed for 222 yards, and the Bulldogs rallied from a 12-point deficit to post an impressive win over North Carolina.
Neutral: Both were efficient, but neither Jacob Eason nor Greyson Lambert separated themselves at the quarterback position.
In reverse: Terry Godwin, touted as the Bulldogs’ No. 1 receiver heading into the season, had 1 catch for 23 yards.
Rolling: After Week 1, quarterback Drew Barker leads the SEC in passing yards (323), rating (222.22) and is tied for the league high in touchdowns with 4.
Neutral: Stanley “Boom” Williams had 94 yards on just 13 carries. It was his 21st game for Kentucky, and he’s never had 20 carries in any of them.
In reverse: The defense was terrible, allowing 44 points and 520 yards in the loss to Southern Miss. The performance didn’t say much for coordinator D.J. Eliot and coach Mark Stoops, either.
Rolling: Arden Key (2 sacks), Davon Godchaux (9 tackles) and the rest Dave Aranda’s defense was up for the challenge in the 16-14 loss to Wisconsin.
Neutral: Leonard Fournette is still one of the best backs in college football. He had 138 yards rushing, but was kept out of the end zone.
In reverse: Brandon Harris still looks lost in big spots at quarterback. Cam Cameron still befuddles fans and analysts alike with his play calls and Les Miles is still letting it all happen.
Rolling: Damien Williams led the Bulldogs in rushing with 93 yards and may have established himself as Dak Prescott’s heir at the quarterback spot.
Neutral: As it did for all of 2015, Mississippi State is still looking for that feature back to take pressure off the passing game. The backs rushed 16 times for 74 yards on the day, with Brandon Holloway leading the way with 48.
In reverse: On defense, the Bulldogs couldn’t get off the field when it mattered. South Alabama converted both of its fourth-down chances in the second half. Of course, we have to mention that Westin Graves missed two field goals, including a 28-yard try at the horn.
Rolling: Linebackers Donavin Newsom and Michael Scherer combined for 18 tackles, and the defense forced West Virginia into four field goal tries in five red zone possessions.
Neutral: As a 10-point underdog, Missouri was always going to struggle to win in Morgantown. It’s not an especially harmful loss in the grand scheme of things.
In reverse: The offense gained more yards than in any 2015 contest, but the 11 points scored is actually slightly worse than last year’s average of 13.6.
Rolling: Evan Engram caught 9 passes for 121 yards and a score against Florida State.
Neutral: The Rebels haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Dexter McCluster in 2009. With Akeem Judd’s 44 yards leading the way in Week 1, they aren’t on pace to change that this year.
In reverse: Chad Kelly didn’t play up to his usual high standards. Dark horse Heisman Trophy candidates don’t turn the ball over four times in national spotlight games.
Rolling: When Elliott Fry’s 55-yard field goal sailed through the uprights, the Gamecocks carried over the buzz and excitement from the spring and summer into the season itself.
Neutral: Brandon McIlwain still has potential, but early on, Perry Orth appears to be the safest option at quarterback for this team.
In reverse: None. With a road conference win under their belts, the confidence is surging in Columbia.
Rolling: Linebacker Cortez McDowell made the most of some extended playing time, tying for the team high with nine tackles.
Neutral: Pretty much the rest of the roster. The Volunteers were fortunate to escape with an overtime win, and stuck in neutral is probably a good way to describe the overall effort.
In reverse: Jalen Reeves-Maybin was ejected for a targeting call in the first quarter against Appalachian State. It was not malicious, but it was an odd way for him to start his season.
Rolling: John Chavis’ defense harassed UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen all day, sacking him five times and forcing him into three interceptions. Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford also served as a nice 1-2 punch at running back.
Neutral: Josh Reynolds, Christian Kirk and Ricky Seals-Jones combined for 16 receptions for 193 yards, continuing the solid wide receiver play the Aggies enjoyed for most of 2015.
In reverse: With a 24-9 third-quarter lead, Texas A&M let the Bruins back into the game. It’s nitpicky, but it’s a growth area.
Rolling: Zach Cunningham was everywhere, recording 12 tackles from his linebacker position. Running back Ralph Webb added 97 yards on 20 carries to pace the offense.
Neutral: The Commodores are known for their stingy defense, and South Carolina only managed 13 points and 308 yards on the night.
In reverse: The Commodores are also known for being anemic on offense, and they were again in the opener. Scoring 10 points at home while passing for less than 80 yards just isn’t going to cut it.