The penultimate week of the college football season is sometimes referred to as “cupcake week,” as the typical SEC matchups you find are Alabama vs. EKU, Kentucky vs. Illinois State, Auburn vs. Chattanooga, etc. as teams try to take it easy and catch their breath before the big rivalry games in the finale.
Thus, you enjoy seeing your team win, but it doesn’t do anything for their resume, and everybody else in the league (except Auburn?) wins too, so the needle doesn’t move much. I think the week before January conference play hoops coaches have the same idea: let’s schedule a gimme before the 18-game stretch run begins. No one wants to enter that coming off a loss.
Well, if that’s what everyone wanted that’s what everyone got: all 14 SEC teams won their last game, and all playing in front of their home crowd against a mid-major. It didn’t do much for their bracket seeding, but it didn’t hurt it, either.
The next week will be fascinating. Ole Miss puts their perfect 13-0 record on the line in Knoxville against #5 Tennessee, Auburn goes to Bud Walton Arena, and Kentucky plays in Gainesville.
Get ready for some separation as the pace car leaves and the green flag is raised in the Southeastern Conference.
Now, here’s the latest ESPN Bracketology from Joe Lunardi, which has nine SEC teams in the field, the most of any league.
SEC Bracketology January 5th
The Good: Kentucky floats up to a 2-seed!
The Kentucky Wildcats are taking full advantage of not having lost in over a month, floating like a kid’s helium birthday balloon up and up the bracket each week as teams above them lose and they don’t. This week presents the first two of eight games against unranked SEC opponents. Could a big run through the schedule have them sniffing the 1-line?
The Bad: Not enough food to go around
Several SEC teams scheduled weak or missed opportunities, these past two months, and while they are in the bracket now, the only way they’ll stay in is by beating up on their neighbors, which will force them out. In other words, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi State, Georgia, and Arkansas can’t all make the tournament—their accomplishments and gaudy records these past two months have barely made a dent in the field of 68, and now they’re all going to be playing each other every week. Two or three of these teams will get enough scraps to be comfortable. Another one will just barely make it. The others will be...dinner.
Keep An Eye On: Georgia is not out of NCAA Tournament picture
The Bulldogs haven’t made the NCAAs since 2015, but they’re coming into SEC play with a 10-3 record, no bad losses, and three not-bad ACC wins. If they end up being one of the eaters and not one of the eaten like I was talking about above, there’s a very real possibility they could be back in the bracket for the first time in a long spell.
That’s it for this week! Till next time, go Cats!