By Cole Frederick/Messenger Sports Correspondent
Alabama Week 1 recap
For the Alabama Crimson Tide, the 2012 season could not have started any better.
What was expected to be a primetime matchup between two of college football’s powers quickly turned into an embarrassing 41-14 defeat for 8th ranked Michigan. Despite losing three first-round NFL draft picks, Alabama’s defense quickly reloaded and shut down Wolverine offense.
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson failed to adjust to Nick Saban and Kirby Smart’s defensive schemes, and the game was essentially over before halftime.
Auburn Week 1 recap
In Atlanta, the Auburn Tigers lost their season opener to Clemson, 26-19. New Tiger defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s defense surrendered 528 yards to Clemson despite the absence of top receiver Sammy Watkins.
Auburn’s offense sputtered at times in quarterback Kiehl Frazier’s first career start, but head coach Gene Chizik saw potential room for growth throughout the game. The running game looked strong behind fullback Jay Prosch, and both Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb carried the ball well, with the exception of one Mason fumble.
Auburn’s biggest problem offensively was production in the red zone, as the Tigers settled for four Cody Parkey field goals. While Clemson was clearly the better team, Auburn still had several opportunities to win the game.
Week 2 schedule
New Beginnings for the SEC
SEC newcomers Texas A&M and Missouri open conference play this weekend, and both schools will host their first SEC game. The Aggies welcome the Florida Gators into College Station, while Missouri will host the Georgia Bulldogs. Missouri won its opener, 62-10, over Southeast Louisiana, but the Aggies first game against Louisiana Tech was postponed due to Hurricane Isaac. Both teams look to open up their tenure in the Southeastern Conference with wins over traditional East Division powers, and both teams are capable of pulling off the victories.
Week 2 Power Poll
1. Alabama (1-0)
2. LSU (1-0)
3. Georgia (1-0)
4. Arkansas (1-0)
5. South Carolina (1-0)
6. Tennessee (1-0)
7. Florida (1-0)
8. Mississippi State (1-0)
9. Auburn (0-1)
10. Vanderbilt (0-1)
11. Missouri (1-0)
12. Texas A&M (0-0)
13. Ole Miss (1-0)
14. Kentucky (0-1)
SEC Week 2 Predictions (Week 1 result: 11-0)
Auburn at Mississippi State (-3.5) While Auburn suffered a close Week 1 loss to Clemson, Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs routed Jackson State, 56-3. Mississippi State will seek revenge against Auburn after losing very close games the past two seasons. In 2010, Auburn barely squeaked by the Bulldogs with a 17-14 victory, and last season the Tigers stopped MSU quarterback Chris Relf on the 1-yard line to preserve a 41-34 win. Dan Mullen has only beaten one SEC West foe – Ole Miss – in his three years as head coach in Starkville, and a win over Auburn would potentially launch a very successful 2012 campaign for the Bulldogs. Prediction: MISSISSIPPI STATE 27, Auburn 23.
Western Kentucky at Alabama (-40) Coming off of a huge 41-14 victory over Michigan, the Crimson Tide will look to work out the kinks on both sides of the ball before next Saturday’s showdown versus Arkansas. Look for Alabama to establish a big lead early, and for backups to get quality playing time. Prediction: ALABAMA 45, Western Kentucky 6.
Florida at Texas A&M (-1.5) The Aggies SEC opener certainly won’t be an easy game. Florida is coming off of a shaky opening performance against Bowling Green, as the Gators won by a pedestrian 13 points over their MAC opponent. However, it seems as if coach Will Muschamp has decided on Jeff Dri-skel as the permanent starting quarterback, so look for the Gator offense to show more consistency this week. It’s a huge week for the Aggies, as ESPN’s College GameDay will make the trip to College Station. This one will be tight throughout, but Florida’s defense will prevail in the end. Prediction: FLORIDA 31, Texas A&M 20
Georgia at Missouri (+2.5) Both teams are coming off of lopsided victories in week one, and Missouri’s first SEC game will be against the sixth-ranked Bulldogs. Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson stated that Georgia played “old man football” in an interview this week, which might provide Georgia with some extra motivation after a lackluster Week 1 performance. Mi-ssouri quarterback James Franklin could cause Georgia’s defense some problems early, especially with key defenders Baccari Rambo and Alec Ogletree still suspended for the Dawgs. However, look for Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and freshman running back Todd Gurley to dominate the second half. Prediction: GEORGIA 38, Missouri 20
Other SEC game predictions:
SOUTH CAROLINA (-21.5) 34, East Carolina 13
OLE MISS (-7.5) 27, UTEP 16
LSU (-23.5) 45, Washington 13
VANDERBILT (-3.5) 31, Northwestern 30
KENTUCKY (-7) 34, Kent State 24
ARKANSAS (-30.5) 63, Louisiana Monroe 17
TENNESSEE 55, Georgia State 13