SEC Football Swagger: One big step forward and two steps back

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 16: Head coach Derek Mason cheers with teammates and the crowd after a 14-7 Vanderbilt victory over Kansas State at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 16: Head coach Derek Mason cheers with teammates and the crowd after a 14-7 Vanderbilt victory over Kansas State at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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Last week we posed the question of whether SEC football is reclaiming its swagger in 2017. In CFB, week 3, the SEC took a big step forward and two steps back.

Alabama football failing to win the 2016 national championship was only one crack in the SEC football foundation. Going into that national championship contest, SEC football had won 11 out of the past 20 national championships.

Clemson slammed a door on that run. For Alabama football fans the loss was devastating. Worse for other SEC football fans was the 2016 slippage in SEC performance against Power Five teams. In the 2016 season, the SEC football record against Power Five teams was 11-15. Hardly a perch from which to claim superiority.

The 2017 season has started out better for SEC football. In the college football weeks, one and two, SEC football went 5-4. Not great but a decent start. Admittedly the five wins were not strong across the board. The Alabama football win over FSU was impressive. The other four wins, less so.

The losses to Michigan, UCLA, TCU and Clemson were more than a bit troubling. Georgia did take down the Irish in South Bend but any clout from that victory may fade as the Irish season unfolds.

What about week three?

Purdue 35 – Missouri 3

The SEC football week three performance began with a thud. In Columbia, MO the Purdue Boilermakers scored on its first three possessions and built a 28-3 lead at halftime. Missouri managed just 10 first downs while Purdue ran up 477 yards of total offense. Missouri’s second-half possessions were two interceptions, four punts and time expired.

How good is Purdue? The ESPN FPI (yes the same FPI we have criticized in the past, and continue to do) has the Boilermakers as the No. 60 team in the FBS. How bad is Missouri? We refuse to answer.

Cal Golden Bears 27 – Ole Miss 16

SEC football took another hit on the west coast Saturday night or for those of us in the east, Sunday morning. The late hour, fortunately, obscured the Rebels-Black Bears performance from most viewers.

Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson is a marvelous player but his team does not provide adequate support. Ole Miss does not look like a team with many Air Raid explosions in it.

Vanderbilt 14 – Kansas State 7

Derek Mason’s Commodores fought through a defensive battle to win a non-conference game against a ranked opponent for the first time since 1946. Were the Wildcats over-rated as the No. 18 team in the land? Can Vandy take down another ranked team this season?

Alabama football will have something to say about that next Saturday in Nashville. After two losses earlier on Saturday, the Vandy win was a big step forward for SEC football.

Following the week three games, the SEC football record against Power Five teams now stands at 6-6 for 2017. There are five more SEC v Power Five games in the regular season. The next game is September 23 when LSU looks to rebound against Syracuse.

Next: The 50 Best Alabama Football Players Ever!

Check back with us soon. We will review the history of football contests between Alabama football and Vanderbilt. The next game is 2:30 PM, Saturday afternoon in Nashville.