Around the SEC
by Bob Epling
The Campus Game
Don’t you know Democrats just hate the Southeastern Conference?
It’s because of the old “rich get richer” scenario, and no amount of taxing or spending figures to change the college football status quo anytime soon.
For the first time in nearly four decades, three teams from one conference are among the top four football teams in the AP poll.
Florida maintains the top spot, Alabama ranks third, and Ole Miss follows in fourth. The last time one conference dominated the top of the polls in similar fashion was 1971 when Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Colorado held the top three slots for the old Big Eight.
If you recall, that ’71 season culminated with a legendary Nebraska victory over Oklahoma on Thanksgiving Day in a battle of unbeatens.
We could be looking at an SEC title game of similar proportions.
While getting through the conference unscathed is difficult, both Florida and Alabama may be up to the task. Should that happen … two unbeaten teams ranked at the top of the polls … the championship game could take on historical significance.
In off-the-field news, the College Football Hall of Fame announced it will be leaving South Bend and moving to Atlanta.
The HOF has been in the shadow of Notre Dame since 1995, but has never drawn the number of visitors or gotten the exposure sought by the National Football Foundation. The move (the new Hall will most likely open in 2012) provides further evidence that Atlanta is a major force in the college football landscape.
The city already hosts the SEC Championship Game, the very successful Chick-fil-A Bowl, and the hugely popular season-opening primetime Kickoff Game on ABC. The new site looks like it will be adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park, a popular tourist area already home to the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coke, the Atlanta Children’s Museum, and just a short walk from the Georgia Dome.
SEC Rankings for Week 4:
1. Alabama (3-0 0-0) … The Tide rises to the top of TCG’s weekly conference poll, due not so much to Florida’s close win, but to how easy Bama is making it look. Arkansas visits T-Town.
2. Florida (3-0 1-0) … As written at this site last week, the Gators would’ve had to beat Tennessee 100-0 to satisfy everyone wanting to see Lane Kiffin put in his place and that was not feasible. Still, the play of the wide receivers and of the defensive front seven leaves some questions. Visiting Lexington is not a cakewalk.
3. LSU (3-0 1-0) … I like this team, and the Tigers have played a tougher schedule on average than the teams ahead of them. Still, that schedule makes it difficult to see the boys from the Bayou moving to the top of the list. Bengals travel to improved Miss State.
4. Ole Miss (2-0 0-0) … this ranking is made largely on faith and last season’s finish … which makes me nervous. Rebels face first real test with trip to Columbia.
5. Auburn (3-0 1-0) … Trooper Taylor’s high school antics notwithstanding, the Plainsmen have been impressive. Ball State should not make them look any worse.
6. Georgia (2-1 2-0) … OK, Stafford and Moreno go to the NFL and the Dog offense is … better? Arizona State travels between the hedges.
7. Kentucky (2-0 0-0) … Cats struggled after building solid lead over Louisville. Better not letdown against mighty Gators.
8. Tennessee (1-2 0-1) … Last week I predicted the Vols would play Florida closer than expected and Lane Kiffin would then claim he outcoached Urban Meyer … in so many words – told you so. Bobcats of Ohio should let Kiffin win as many games as Meyer has national titles.
9. South Carolina (2-1 0-1) … the old ball coach is close to being 3-0 and his Gamecocks whipped Ole Miss last season.
10. Mississippi State (2-1 1-1) … The Bulldogs shut down the anemic Vandy offense and now host LSU.
11. Arkansas (1-1 0-1) … Hogs are scoring over 40 points per game, but the defense helped Georgia’s Joe Cox earn national offensive player of the week honors. Visit to Bama should not be any worse.
12. Vanderbilt (1-2 0-2) … 12 points in two SEC games will not get the job done. Cooking Rice might be easier.
Thursday Night Prediction:
Ole Miss at South Carolina
Comment: Will the Rebels explode and live up to (what I consider) the exceptionally high national rankings, or can the Gamecocks slow them down and win a tight game? First significant conference upset pick of the season.
Professor’s Pick: SOUTH CAROLINA
Check back soon for Week 4 of Professor’s Picks!