SEC's top five

dshirley@macon.comSeptember 16, 2013 

1. Alabama can win a shootout, too: The Crimson Tide are known for defense and running the football, but their quarterback, AJ McCarron, is elite. And he showed that Saturday. Alabama spotted Texas A&M to a 14-0 lead and gave up 42 points and 628 yards ... and won. McCarron threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. He's not just a game manager like past Alabama quarterbacks.

2. Manziel isn't distracted: Johnny Manziel always seems to have a lot going on, but once he steps on the field, he's special. Sure, his Aggies lost to Alabama, but it wasn't because of their quarterback. He threw for 464 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 98 more yards. His two interceptions did hurt, but the Aggies would be gotten beat by 40 if not for him.

3. Marshall's not overwhelmed: Nick Marshall is 3-0 as Auburn's starting quarterback, and he had his first big-time moment in leading the Tigers to a game-winning drive over Mississippi State. That came at night, on national TV and in the SEC opener for the Tigers. That's heady stuff for the former Wilcox County standout.

4. Gamecocks have an offense, too: Most of the attention on South Carolina's team focuses on the defense, and with good reason. But the Gamecocks have two wins this year because of their offense. The defense has been OK but not great. The offense, led by Connor Shaw and Mike Davis, however, has been, and that's why the Gamecocks beat Vanderbilt on Saturday.

5. LSU is dangerous: With all the hype surrounding Alabama and Texas A&M in the West, some folks are overlooking LSU. That would not be wise. Zach Mettenberger looks like a different quarterback with Cam Cameron working with the offense, and the Tigers are as talented and dangerous as ever on defense. 


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