Here is Mandel's wrap-up column from the weekend and here's his self-pat on the back regarding Tennessee's performance bursting a myth about SEC defenses:
"That SEC scores were so low because of the league's dominant defenses. Hmm. Notre Dame didn't seem to have quite the same problem moving the ball against Tennessee's defense (QB Brady Quinn went 20-of-33 for 295 yards and three touchdowns) as undefeated conference leader Alabama did in its infamous 6-3 victory over the Vols. Furthermore, the Crimson Tide couldn't even score an offensive touchdown against 2-7 Mississippi State. And these guys are winning the conference right now. What does that say about everybody else?"
Yes, Quinn passed for 295 yards. Notre Dame also managed 343 yards of total offense, which was their second lowest total of the year. Georgia gained 405 yards in Knoxville. South Carolina gained 307. What did Notre Dame do that SEC teams have not? They scored more points, but could that have something to do with two returns for touchdowns, along with scoring drives of 27, 17, and ten yards? Gee, you think that Tennessee's disastrous special teams and offense had something to do with Notre Dame scoring 41 points? After Notre Dame scored a touchdown on one of their two good drives of the game to take a 28-21 lead, the mighty Vol offense gave the Irish the ball on the UT 34 and 20 to start their next two drives and the UT defense held Notre Dame to field goals both times.
As for Alabama not being able to score an offensive touchdown on Mississippi State, Mandel does have a point there. You would think that Tyrone Prothro is the second coming of Don Hutson, given how the Tide offense has completely ground to a halt in the past two weeks. In their defense, Bama has a long tradition of sitting on leads and once they scored on defense and special teams to take a 17-0 lead, they pretty much shut up shop. Still, that doesn't justify three offensive points against a bad team. Personally, I think that Bama's green offensive line, which was a major question mark coming into the season, is being exposed.