A year ago, we figured the 2012 SEC Championship Game would be another walkover for the West Division team. A few weeks ago, we figured Alabama would roll virtually uncontested to a division title. And yet here we are, with LSU showing some life after all in the West, while Florida and South Carolina are demonstrating flashes of national-title-caliber play and Georgia, despite the debacle in Columbia a couple weeks ago, isn't out of it yet. Not a bad way to live, particularly when you've already got the last six national titles backing you up. Full poll will be tallied at Team Speed Kills on Wednesday.
1. Alabama — It goes without saying that the Nov. 3 matchup with LSU in Baton Rouge will be a big one, but am I crazy to think that, win or lose, the following week's game against Texas A&M presents a very real hangover opportunity?
2. Florida — Bulldog Nation rides with you in Gainesville this weekend, Gators. No, I can't believe I said that either.
3. LSU — Nowhere near dead in the SEC West race just yet.
4. South Carolina — Didn't look so hot a) on the road and b) against a defense that had a clue what it was doing, which doesn't bode spectacularly for this weekend's trip to the Swamp.
5. Georgia — You've got one last tuneup before the season lives or dies in Jacksonville, boys. Make it count.
6. Mississippi State — They'll roll into Tuscaloosa in two weeks at 7-0 without having played a single ranked team.
7. Texas A&M — Averaging 53 points per game over the course of their five-game winning streak. I'm guessing both of those stats hit a brick wall in Baton Rouge this weekend.
8. Ole Miss — Not to rain on their parade, but their FBS victories have come against teams that are currently a combined 3-16. Very interested to see how (or if) their defense holds up against an Arkansas team that suddenly seems to give a rip.
9. Vanderbilt — Notched the first 10 points that have been scored in the fourth quarter against the Gators all season. I guess that's one of those moral victories we were led to believe they weren't going to be content with anymore under James Franklin.
10. Tennessee — That big win over N.C. State in the Dome sure seems like it happened a long time ago, dunnit?
11. Arkansas — It was Auburn and Kentucky, so I'm not penciling them in for a bowl bid just yet. But they look functional, at least, which is certainly a marked improvement from a month ago.
12. Missouri — "Welp, at least we didn't get beaten by Alabama as bad as Arkansas did" is about as good as it got for Mizzou on Saturday.
13. Auburn — Currently in the top half of the SEC in exactly two statistical categories: net punting and kickoff returns. They've gotten plenty of practice at both.
14. Kentucky — It's a shame they don't play Auburn; that'd be about the only chance either team has for an SEC win this season.