Alabama, Ole Miss and Texas A&M can redeem the SEC, which went 0-3 in marquee matchups in Week 1


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference was sort of a no-show in Week 1. The powerhouse league, which boasts 13 of the last 17 national championships, went 0-3 in marquee matchups.

Florida (at No. 14 Utah), South Carolina (vs. No. 21 North Carolina) and then-No. 5 LSU (against eighth-ranked Florida State) each lost by double digits in primetime, non-conference games. The trio got dumped by a combined 48 points and showed significant flaws in their season openers.

The SEC gets a chance to redeem itself in Week 2 showdowns featuring No. 3 Alabama, No. 20 Ole Miss and No. 23 Texas A&M. The Tide host 11th-ranked Texas. The Rebels play at No. 24 Tulane. And the Aggies travel to Miami.

It’s hard to image any of those three being as dreadful as their Week 1 counterparts.

The Gators turned in arguably the worst performance of any of them, a mistake-filled debacle in Salt Lake City that prompted questions about second-year coach Billy Napier’s play-calling, his clock management and how he organizes special teams.

“Success is a dirty process,” said Napier, who has the first four-game losing streak of his coaching career. “You've got to navigate a world that has doubt, that has fear. There’s always disruptions, there’s always challenges. It challenges everything inside of you. If you’re a competitor, this game will challenge you. I think it demands all that you’ve got.

“For many, it’s not worth it. But for the select few out there, they wouldn’t have it any other way. We certainly embrace the things that come with this challenge.”

South Carolina and LSU had their own challenges.

The Gamecocks were overmatched at the line of scrimmage, allowing a whopping nine sacks, and some would argue the Tigers should give up the “D-B-U” monicker after their defensive backs had trouble covering FSU’s Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson.

Coaches Shane Beamer and Brian Kelly, much like Napier, were primary punching bags afterward. Beamer was ripped for postgame comments in which he blamed the “chain crew” for delaying the start of the second half — and a successful onside kick — by being “in the locker room eating hot dogs.” Kelly pointed the finger at himself while also partially blaming his Tigers.

“This is a total failure from a coaching standpoint and a player standpoint that we have to obviously address and we have to own,” Kelly said. “I’m confident our guys and our coaches will rally in the manner that they need to.”