Week 2, time to step it up

The Covington News - - Sports - BEN PREVOST COLUM­NIST

The old coaches’ adage says your team im­proves the most be­tween its first and sec­ond games. Seems that’s only nat­u­ral; plenty of things in life im­prove the sec­ond go ’round.

I’d like to think my par­ent­ing skills im­proved with lit­tle-girl-Prevost-No. 2. I’m more re­laxed, more con­fi­dent, and have more fun.

Most U.S. pres­i­dents his­tor­i­cally have more suc­cess­ful sec­ond terms. They’re more re­laxed, more con­fi­dent, and prob­a­bly have more fun.

But you don’t have to be a par­ent or the pres­i­dent to know what I’m talk­ing about. Heck, if you’ve ever tried your hand at a new recipe, for ex­am­ple, you know it’s usu­ally bet­ter the sec­ond time. Last week­end, I hon­choed some ba­con-wrapped-cream-cheese-stuffed-jalapeno-chicken on the grill. Wow. You must try this at home.

Cut some chicken into just larger than bite-sized pieces, spread on a dol­lop of cream cheese, add a jalapeno or two, then wrap in ba­con and toss on the grill. Tell your friends they’re called SEC Ban­ter pop­pers since “ba­con-wrapped-cream-cheese-stuffed-jalapeno-chicken” doesn’t ex­actly roll off the tongue. Where were we? That’s right — im­prove­ment from game one to game two.

Only Alabama and Texas A&M fans can say there’s no room for their teams to im­prove in week two of this fledg­ling col­lege football sea­son. The for­mer be­cause the Tide looked dis­gust­ingly good in a rout of Michi­gan and the lat­ter be­cause A&M didn’t play last week.

There’s plenty room for im­prove­ment, how­ever, among teams in the SEC’s games of the week. Ge­or­gia heads to Mis­souri and Florida goes to Texas A&M in a his­toric day for the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence. In their in­au­gu­ral trip to Columbia, Mo., the Dawgs’ de­fense could im­prove if sus­pended starters Bac­cari Rambo and Alec Ogle­tree re­turn. They’ll need them to slow down Mizzou’s spread of­fense and dual-threat quar­ter­back

James Franklin.

This is a scary game for UGA. First SEC game for the Tigers, at night in “The Zou,” and a bunch of firedup fans as crazy as Mis­souri­ans get, which I un­der­stand is quite ex­cited. Though Mizzou head man Gary Pinkel has a sterling 9-2 record against cur­rent SEC teams, I’ll take Ge­or­gia in an over­time win.

UGA will know at kick­off how its SEC East ri­val, Florida, fared in the other mar­quee con­fer­ence match up. Texas A&M hosts the Ga­tors in the Ag­gies’ first SEC game and, if you think Mizzou fans will be pumped, wait un­til you see the A&M fans.

The at­mos­phere will be charged at Kyle Field. Florida needed two late scores at home to beat Bowl­ing Green last week. First-year A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is a sharp cookie and will have his team ready. The Ga­tors may im­prove but it won’t be enough Satur­day. Other SEC teams need to make strides in week two. Auburn hopes to avoid an 0-2 start and bet­ter watch out in Starkville against Mis­sis­sippi State.

Steve Spurrier’s Sak­er­lina squad didn’t look like world beat­ers against Vandy and East Carolina has been a thorn in the Game­cocks’ side.

Some LSU fans are in melt­down mode af­ter a per­ceived ho-hum per­for­mance against North Texas and look for im­prove­ment against Wash­ing­ton. Here’s hop­ing the old coaches’ adage holds true for your SEC team this week. Im­prove­ment comes nat­u­rally the sec­ond time around. Even my SEC Ban­ter pop­pers from last week could use some im­prove­ment. More jalapenos should do the trick. Give ’em a shot and let me know how yours turn out.

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