With only one week to go before championship week, things should be interesting in the SEC this Saturday. With two teams playing head to head for a division crown and the late-season rivalries being renewed once again, here’s where everyone stands.
O.K., obviously: the Crimson Tide didn’t have much competition this past week, blowing past Mercer by a score of 56-0. Although ‘Bama ranks in the top 10 in the nation in rushing, the Crimson Tide have thrown more passing touchdowns than 10 teams in the SEC, so the offense is anything but one-sided. On the other side of the ball, the typical Nick Saban defense hasn’t wavered — the unit is only allowing 244.1 yards per game.
The Tigers got off to a slow start against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday: Gus Malzahn’s team was left clinging to a single-touchdown lead at the halfway mark. However, the Auburn offense recovered and the team went on to win big, 42-14.
Quarterback Jarrett Stidham has settled into the offense nicely, and he has the best completion percentage of any passer in the league at 67.8 percent. Oh yeah, and they have this guy named Kerryon Johnson who’s just leading the conference in rushing. As bad as the blood already is in the Roll Tide/War Eagle rivalry, look for it to have a little more of an edge with the winner punching a ticket to Atlanta.
The Dawgs’ train lost a little steam two weeks ago when they were handled by Auburn, but don’t let that get in the way of the fact that they swept the SEC East and have (for the first time in program history) won every game by at least two touchdowns.
Georgia’s defense has been unforgiving against the run, allowing just over 100 yards per game. If they can minimize Georgia Tech’s unique attack, they may be looking at a spot in the College Football Playoff regardless of the outcome in the Championship Game.
Hats off to Will Muschamp, man. He deserves all the credit for coaching this team to an 8-3 mark on the season. His quarterback, Jake Bentley, is very young and his main playmaker, Deebo Samuel, went down with a season-ending injury in Week 3. The Gamecocks take on a playoff-hopeful Clemson team this weekend with hopes of derailing their season.
The main question around the program in Starkville is whether or not coach Dan Mullen will return next season, and for good reason. Mullen has the Bulldogs playing great football, as they came up just short against Alabama two weeks ago and sit comfortably at eight wins. Avoiding a total collapse, the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss this weekend should have Hail State written all over it.
They better get the supplies together to build a statue of Mark Stoops. Seven wins is uncharted territory for Kentucky football, but it looks as if Stoops may have changed the culture in Lexington. They took their lumps against Georgia, but few (just one, really) haven’t. Look for the Wildcats to solidify a better bowl game with their eighth win on Saturday against a rather inconsistent Louisville team.
Coach O was drawing a little heat on his seat at the beginning of the season, but has since cooled it. With a rather sizable win last weekend in Knoxville against a helpless Tennessee team, the Tigers are currently 8-3 and have a very good chance to tally a ninth win against Texas A&M on Saturday night in Death Valley
When you come into a season with as much pressure as Kevin Sumlin had on him and blow a 34-point halftime lead in the opener. there really isn’t much to salvage. With Sumlin being everything but fired already, there is not very much excitement around this program, despite having won seven games.
Happy trails, Bret Bielema. It’s been nice seeing your weight gain since you’ve came to the SEC — The Hogs are just abysmal. Arkansas sits at 4-7 haven’t won a single conference game. There will be a new coach in Fayetteville very soon
The Gators have came a long way from being last season’s SEC East champions. Their coach has since been fired and they won’t even be bowl eligible regardless of what happens against Florida State on Saturday. The Gators are 4-6 on the season and have had very subpar quarterback play. Things are uncertain in Gainesville during this coaching search.
Every year. Commodores’ fans are optimistic for more than just skx wins, and every year they are let down. With just one game to go, the ‘Dores are winless in conference play and are just 4-7 overall. They started off 3-0, but ever since they poked the giant before playing Alabama and said they would “show them what SEC football is all about,” things have plummeted in Nashville.
If you can think something could go wrong for Tennessee this year, it likely will (or already has). Butch Jones was relieved of his duties two weeks ago following a 50-17 thrashing by Missouri. The Volunteers are currently 0-7 in the conference and are in danger of losing eight games for the first time in program history. There won’t be a fourth-straight bowl win for the Vols this year. The Ugly Bowl will be in Knoxville on Saturday afternoon.