ATHENS — Three SEC quarterbacks were drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft last spring and two others that finished fourth and fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting departed for the NFL.
Are people really wondering why so many SEC teams are off to a slow start?
Still, no one would have predicted that Missouri would have the most impressive non-conference victory among the league teams through the first three weeks of the season.
But there it was, a 30-27 Mizzou win over defending Big 12 champ and then-No. 15-ranked Kansas State last Saturday, Harrison Mavis connecting on an SEC-record 61-yard field goal as time expired.
Yes, the Tigers win was more impressive than any other non-conference SEC victory.
This, with all due respect to:
• Ole Miss beating a then-No. 24 Tulane team that was missing its starting QB in New Orleans by a 37-20 count in Week Two
• Auburn becoming the first SEC team (of five) to win at Cal, emerging victorious 14-10 in Week Two
To recap the SEC’s sorrowful start to 2023:
• Alabama lost to Texas
• Texas A&M lost to Miami, Fla.
• South Carolina lost to North Carolina
• LSU lost to Florida State
• Arkansas lost to Brigham Young
Meanwhile Georgia has remained among the unbeatens.
The Bulldogs have not necessarily looked like a No. 1 this season as they have transitioned into an injury-riddled 2023 with a less-dominant defensive front and new cast of skill position players.
But Georgia has proven enough under eighth-year coach Kirby Smart to get the benefit of the doubt with most voters in a season filled with parity.
Here’s a look at how the SEC teams rank among themselves:
Bulldogs came from 14-3 down at home to avoid the upset bug against South Carolina
Tide out of Associated Press Poll Top 10 for first time since 2015
Tigers silenced the Cowbells in Starkville
4. Ole Miss
Lane Kiffin heads to Tuscaloosa looking to deliver knockout blow to Saban Dynasty
5. Texas A&M
Aggies must defend home turf against upset-minded Auburn
Mizzou looks for momentum with Memphis and Vanderbilt on deck
Tigers have everything to gain and nothing to lose in College Station
The Swamp delivered energy and motivation that Coach Billy Napier typically does not
Vols look to regroup after program drops 10th straight in Gainesville dating back to 2003
10. South Carolina
Spencer Rattler looks like the best quarterback in the SEC, which says plenty about rest of team
Wildcats unbeaten, but also unproven headed to Nashville
Tough loss at home to Brigham Young for Sam Pittman
13. Mississippi State
The Bullies had nothing for LSU, head to Columbia, S.C., looking for self respect
A 40-37 loss to UNLV in Las Vegas likely ends Commodores’ bowl hopes