1) THERE IS NO GUARANTEED WIN OR LOSS IN THE SEC
-Tennessee and Kentucky are both 0-3 in the conference. Auburn andLSU are both undefeated in conference. Tennessee should have beaten LSU in Baton Rouge. Kentucky could have beaten Auburn this weekend. That tells you all you need to know about the conference this season. I don’t think the 12 teams have ever been bunched up so much from top to bottom. I still think Alabama is the best team in the conference, but as Arkansas and South Carolina showed, they are not unbeatable. Could Vandy or Kentucky beat the Tide? Almost certainly not. But it is not out of the question. What this means is that it is unlikely an SEC team runs the table, and thus the odds of an SEC national champion are smaller than normal. I would say Auburn is the most likely candidate, but they play at Alabama this season. But every game should be competitive, and that means entertainment for us.
2) THE TEAMS MAY NOT BE GREAT BUT THE PLAYERS ARE JUST AS GOOD
-Is there a national champion team in the conference? Alabama maybe, Auburn or LSU maybe. But the star players in the conference are as good as ever. Randall Cobb, Derrick Locke, Cam Newton, Jordan Jefferson, Alshon Jeffery, Julio Jones, AJ Green, Marcus Lattimore, Jeremiah Masoli, and Ryan Mallett just to name a few. These are All-American caliber players that seem to have a knack for stepping up in big games. So while there are not any teams at the level of the Florida and Alabama’s of the past few years, the players in the conference certainly make it an exciting league to watch, week in and week out.
3) AUBURN HAS INSIDE TRACK TO SEC WEST TITLE
– They get Arkansas and LSU at home over the next 2 weeks. They also get Georgia at home. Their road games remaining are Ole Miss (dangerous) and Alabama. If they can get past Ole Miss, then the Alabama game likely will decide the SEC West championship. And while that game is in Tuscaloosa, I think Cam Newton gives the Tigers a real chance at that game, plus the Tigers are due to beat Bama. Newton shows you what one great QB can do for a team.
4) SOUTH CAROLINA LEADS SEC EAST, BUT THE NOT THE FAVORITE
-Yes, the win over Alabama makes South Carolina a legit threat to win the SEC East. But the schedule is not pretty for the rest of the season. Games still remaining at Florida and at Clemson. They also get Arkansas at home. And let’s be honest, at Kentucky and at Vanderbilt are not gimmies either. Just how bad is the situation for the Gamecocks? They could win every game the rest of the season, except losing to Florida, and the Gators would win the SEC East, assuming they win out. Florida has only home conference games remaining, outside of a trip to Vanderbilt. I would say that Florida is still your favorite to win the east.
5) THE BOWL PICTURE IS QUITE CLOUDY
-The SEC has NINE bowl tie-ins for the 2010 season. Six teams (Auburn, Arkansas, Alabama, LSU, Florida, and South Carolina) are nearly guaranteed to have 6 wins. Vanderbilt and Tennessee are going to need to catch some serious breaks to reach 6 wins. Other than that, Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State will battle it out for the rest of the spots. Kentucky’s two biggest games the rest of the season are Georgia and Mississippi State. Because beating those teams will also knock those teams further back in the bowl lineup. Ole Miss and Mississippi State may very well be playing for a bowl spot in their rivalry matchup at the end of the year. Now, assuming the SEC gets 2 BCS spots this year, here is what it looks like:
BCS BOWLS (SUGAR AND ????): Auburn and LSU
CAPITAL ONE: Alabama
CHICK FIL-A: South Carolina
There are your 6 top bowls with SEC tie-ins and 6 teams that look like they have separated themselves from the pack. The other bowls for the SEC, to be split between 4 teams, assuming those teams get to 6 wins:
Now, if the SEC only gets 1 BCS Bowl bid this year, one of those top 6 teams would drop down into the Gator Bowl, likely Florida or South Carolina. That would leave 3 bowl spots for a potential 4 teams. Should be an exciting 2nd half of the SEC season. And if Kentucky can win some games they will be underdogs in, the Gator Bowl is not out of the question.