The SEC Power Poll Roundtable, held every third week during the college football season, is being hosted this time by Hey Jenny Slater, an excellent Georgia blog. I am just a bit late to the party owing to the huge mass of stuff I have had to post this week, it's kind of like the perfect storm of blogging.
But anyway, time to dive into the round table questions and offer whatever insights I can. But just in case I don't do a great job, I expect the Big Blue Nation to step up in the comments and straighten me out.
1. What's your prediction for the matchup in the SEC championship game, and has that changed at all from what you were predicting in the preseason?
My prediction today would be Alabama and Georgia. I would not have picked 'Bama earlier this year, as I didn't expect them to be nearly good enough to go up to Athens and dog the Dawgs. But they did.
It would be an interesting rematch, and I'll bet the Dawgs would be all kinds of fired up for revenge and all. I kind of hope it happens, unless of course the Kentucky Wildcats find their way there. But then again, I just might flap my arms and fly to the moon, who knows?
2. Knowing what you now know about your team, how have your expectations for this season changed? What would constitute a successful season in your eyes, and what would be a disappointment?
A little. My expectations for this year were a minimum of 6-6, and a realistic 7-5. Right now, I have raised those expectations to 7-5 minimum, and a realistic 8-3. It doesn't look near as hard now as it did early this year, now that we have found out that Florida and Georgia are human after all.
Of course, the Vanderbilt Juggernaut might derail my whole plan. They haven't been beaten yet, and no other team in the SEC other than Alabama and LSU can make that claim.
3. If your team has Vanderbilt coming up at some point on its schedule, are you worried? If not, which team should be the most worried?
Nah. We have 'em at home. But I am certainly not thinking as highly of our chances as I once was, that's for sure. Vanderbilt has traded in an equal measure of good fortune and good football, and I'm betting the former is going to begin wearing off sooner rather than later. These things have a tendency to equal out in the end.
But Vanderbilt is playing quality football right now, and I must say they are much better than I expected. If I were, for example, the Tennessee Volunteers, I would be very much concerned about the possibility of losing to an in-state rival as well as a long winning streak against Kentucky back-to-back.
If that happens, peasants with coon hounds, moonshine bottles and pitchforks will lynch Phillip Fulmer and burn his ample carcass at the stake while singing "Rocky Topm" as if it were "Kum Ba Yah" at a barbecue. My only question is will Auburn fans bring Tuberville up to Knoxville for the party?
Throw another log on the fire, boys ...
4. Other than perhaps Alabama's season-opening win over Clemson, the SEC doesn't really have any marquee non-conference wins thus far, and a couple of traditional powers (Auburn and Tennessee) are struggling in high-profile fashion. Is it too early to call this a "down year" for the conference?
It's still too early to tell. There's still a few high-profile out-of-conference games left on the schedule, and a lot of redemption can happen there. But what we seem to be seeing is the traditional bottom-feeders in the SEC getting better lately, and some of the Great Powers going through a down period.
But if Florida, Georgia or South Carolina fall to their remaining big OOC games, I think you might have to say that this year isn't a typical SEC year, at least as far as the more traditional powers are concerned. The SEC still ranks #1 in overall winning percentage against other conferences, so I don't think we can say this is a "down year" in the SEC just yet.