For better or worse, here's how the SEC opening acts compared to my preseason perceptions:
Tennessee — Worse.
Most UT fans had the same complaint when they woke up Sunday morning — or Sunday afternoon — the day after their team's 42-16 victory over Montana.
Short version: "We can't run the ball."
Long version: "We can't run the ball against Montana."
Alabama — Worse.
So what if the Tide beat Kent State 48-7? Star running back Trent Richardson managed only 37 yards on 13 carries.
Shouldn't he be able to do that on one leg against Kent State?
Arkansas — As expected.
The passing game hummed right along in the quarterback transition from Ryan Mallett to Tyler Wilson, the running game was unimpressive without injured Knile Davis, and the defense held an overmatched opponent to nine first downs.
Auburn — Worse.
By rallying from a 10-point deficit in the last three minutes, the defending national champions proved they still know how to make a comeback. But they have forgotten how to tackle.
They made freshman quarterback Chuckie Keeton look like Cam Newton, and their running game (30 carries for 78 yards) was almost as deficient as their tackling against a team picked to finish sixth in the WAC.
Florida — Better. But not as good as Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger thinks.
He was so dazzled — or dazed — by the Gators' 41-3 victory, he predicted they would be "in the hunt for the national championship."
They're at least in the hunt for an adequate offense, which would be an improvement over last year. Another good sign: A defense that included two true freshmen in the secondary held Florida Atlantic to 137 yards.
Georgia — Worse.
I actually thought the Bulldogs would upset Boise State. What's wrong with me?
Maybe I just forgot that Boise usually comes up big on a big stage, and Georgia's program is shrinking by the game. If it gets much smaller, it will need a toy bulldog for a mascot.
One more thing: If you are a traditional program wearing nontraditional uniforms, you better win.
Kentucky — Worse. And I picked the Wildcats last in the East.
By the end of the first quarter of a 14-3 victory over Western Kentucky, Wildcats fans had to be ready for basketball season — or at least the return of former quarterback Mike Hartline.
Congratulations to Vanderbilt. It no longer has the worst passing attack in the SEC East.
And I write that without having seen Vanderbilt's offense.
LSU — As expected.
All of the Tigers' off-the-field problems, including the arrest and suspension of quarterback Jordan Jefferson, didn't faze them in a 40-27 victory over No. 3 Oregon. At one point, with the Tigers leading 33-13, the game was starting to look almost as one-sided as a barroom brawl between players and the general populace.
Never mind that quarterback Jarrett Lee couldn't complete half his passes. The Tigers can run the ball, and they're fast and deep on defense.
How many other teams will hold Oregon under 100 yards rushing?
Mississippi State — Better.
The Bulldogs might have more playmakers than last year based on the play of redshirt freshman wide receiver Jameon Lewis in a 59-14 victory over Memphis. Power-running quarterback Chris Relf continues to improve as a passer.
Ole Miss — Better. But I picked them last in the West.
The offense, which lost running back Brandon Bolden to a first-half injury, was a mess. Yet the Rebels still had to blow a 13-0 lead in the last 10 minutes to lose 14-13.
That tells you how much their defense has improved since 2010 when it was last in the conference against scoring.
South Carolina — Worse.
It took a half for coach Steve Spurrier to remember that he needs Stephen Garcia — baggage and all — at quarterback. Now, it's up to defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson to determine what's wrong with a supposedly competent Gamecocks defense, which gave up four touchdown passes in a 56-37 victory.
Vanderbilt — Better.
You say: But it only beat Elon (45-14).
I say: But it's only Vanderbilt.
If the Commodores showed up at your family reunion and beat whatever team you assembled by 31 points, I would be impressed.