A Look Around The SEC

Before I delve into the Clash of the Titans known as UK-U of L let's take a quick 360 look around the SEC.  So far, there are very few surprises.

West

Alabama Crimson Tide- The Tide obviously took care of business on Saturday with a convincing win over #23 Penn St. Alabama appears to have settled on a quarterback in A.J. McCarron.  Sophomore RB Eddie Lacy has emerged as a second running threat behind Trent Richardson, and Nick Saban's squad is 12th in the country in scoring defense.  In other words, the beat goes on in Tuscaloosa.  Alabama will bring a 3-0 record into an interesting two game stretch vs. Arkansas then at Florida after beating up on North Texas this weekend.  Assuming it wins those two, Alabama is overwhelmingly likely to be 8-0 when LSU comes to town on November 5th.

Arkansas Razorbacks- Arkansas has won its two games by a combined score of 103-10, so it is hard to tell much except that they can light it up against Missouri State and New Mexico.  The plot shouldn't thicken much against Troy on Saturday.  After the aforementioned Alabama contest, the Razorbacks host newly minted SEC member Texas A&M and Auburn on successive weeks.   We should know by then whether they are a legit BCS contender.

Auburn Tigers- I watched nearly the entire second half, and I still cannot believe Auburn managed to pull out its win against Utah State two weeks ago.  With one very notable exception, the Tigers aren't playing a lick of D, but they are 2-0. Special kudos  go out to backup safety Ryan Smith, who made the play of the year in the SEC so far, popping Chris Relf one inch from the goal line to preserve a 41-34 victory against Mississippi State Saturday.  A lot has been said about the play call, but not enough about the remarkable effort by Smith.  Auburn heads to Clemson for the Ag Bowl this weekend.      

LSU Tigers- Sitting pretty at 2-0 with a huge win under their belts and a significant road test on Thursday night on ESPN.  Had Mississippi State managed to pull it out against Auburn, this would practically be the game of the week. As it is, this will be a test roughly equal to what Alabama faced last week up at Penn State. The difference is LSU already has Oregon's scalp on its wall.  The Tigers have the toughest schedule in college football, and could likely drop a game and still go to the BCS title game. But probably not this one. I don't expect they will.

Ole Miss Rebels- Who cares.

Mississippi St. Bulldogs- My sleeper pick to climb the ranks of the SEC West did me no favors last week, losing a tossup game to the Fighting Newtons of Auburn.  Beat LSU, and all is forgiven as far as I'm concerned.  I still love the Bulldogs running game, and I expect them to win a lot of games still.

East

Florida Gators- I am a little worried for the Gators this weekend.  They are 2-0 and #16 in the country, but haven't played anyone.  John Brantley has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns.  On the other hand, Tyler Bray is playing out of his mind and this week's opponent Tennessee is getting some confidence. Honestly, I would take UT if the game were in Knoxville. I would root for Satan against UT, so I hope Will Muschamp's squad can pull it out. Florida should be okay based on far superior speed and talent, provided they aren't looking ahead to their contest against Kentucky next week. 

Georgia Bulldogs- Ok, I am going to say it.  Georgia has terrible fans.  Just awful.  First, half the crowd files out of the Boise State game with eleven minutes left in the game.  Then, this past weekend, fans start leaving in droves when South Carolina took at ten point lead with 3:15 left. As in the Boise State game, Aaron Murray led UGa to a TD in one minute, and it became a game again.  The Bulldogs should pull to 2-2 over the next two weeks with Coastal Carolina, then Ole Miss.  After that, a three game stretch v. Mississippi St., @UT then @Vandy will go a long way to determining Mark Richt's fate.  If I were Richt, I might flip Georgia fans the bird and go fishing.  

Kentucky Wildcats- When I look at this team, I start to wonder what is separating it from those of the early Brooks years.  I've decided that the talent level has improved to the point where either the offense or the defense will be pretty good from year to year.  UK isn't going to go 2-10 any time soon. But when I look at this year's offense, I believe it may prove as punchless as any since the Curry years.  Time will tell the tale, and I hope I'm wrong.  The Cats need to win this next one, as there are precious few games in which they'll be favored remaining.

South Carolina Gamecocks- Don't laugh, this could be the year for the Old Ball Coach.  Look at their schedule.  The Gamecocks will be favored in 8 of their last 9 games.  The ninth is a roadie @Arkansas, not impossible by any means.  There is no better 1-2 Punch in the country than Alshon Jeffery and Marcus Lattimore.  Watching Stephen Garcia play QB is like it was watching Marat Safin play tennis.  His fight against himself is more compelling than the one against his opposition.  He is probably my favorite SEC foe since David Pollack.  

Tennessee Volunteers- Don't look now, Cats fans, but that sound you hear might just be the window closing.  We'll have a much better idea after this weekend.  

Vanderbilt Commodores- SEC..SEC..SEC. The 'Dores did the conference proud last Saturday, coming back to beat UCONN.  A lot of people are pronouncing Vandy over the hump.  I'm not buying.  Their offense is a Vandy offense.  I swear, these guys could put on any color jersey and show up playing against anyone in football, and I'd still know a Vandy offense anywhere.  If they can get past Ole Miss at home this weekend, we'll see what happens when they're 3-0 and the big boys get out of school and come calling.  Next up for the Commodores?  Road trips to USCJr. and Alabama.  

Follow me on Twitter @AlexScutchfield

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