Last week the Dawgs seized control of the SEC East — this weekend we find out once and for all whether Alabama will dominate the West.
It won't be official unless the Dawgs take care of business and knock off Ole Miss and Auburn, but let's just say it'd be the shocker of the decade if Georgia didn't win a second straight SEC East title after their upset win over Florida. This week the focus is on the West Division, as every eyeball in the nation swivels to LSUBamageddon for yet another year. By the time the dust clears in Baton Rouge, we should have our SEC Championship Game matchup; in the meantime, you can look for this week's full poll results at Team Speed Kills on Wednesday.
1. Alabama — You hesitate to say "Well, this here's pretty much the season" even with a game as big as LSU coming up, but . . . well, this here's pretty much the season.
2. Georgia — Shawn Williams challenged the defense and it delivered in spades, albeit against a one-dimensional Florida team that was probably waiting to get exposed by somebody. You know what would really prove this defense is all the way back, though? Avoiding a hangover and managing not to get run all over by an Ole Miss team that's defied nearly everyone's expectations.
3. Florida — Hard-hitting defense and a rugged running game is a pretty good recipe for success in the SEC. It is not, however, an infallible one.
4. LSU — Anyone who thinks the Tigers don't stand a chance of knocking off Alabama this weekend apparently has never heard the name "Les Miles" before.
5. South Carolina — Had to watch Marcus Lattimore's knee get destroyed and a Georgia team they obliterated just three weeks ago ease into the SEC East driver's seat, all in the same afternoon. I'm guessing a three-point win over Tennessee doesn't exactly make up for all that.
6. Texas A&M — I thought they'd go 5-7 this season. Instead, they're already bowl-eligible. And Kevin Sumlin's only begun striking fear into the hearts of the SEC's defensive coordinators.
7. Mississippi State — Combined current record of MSU's first seven opponents: 20-37. Combined current record of their next five, including Alabama: 29-11. And there you have the story of State's 2012 season.
8. Ole Miss — Still have yet to beat an FBS team with a winning record, but they're on their way to a bowl invite in Hugh Freeze's first season, and if I were a Rebel fan that'd be all that mattered.
9. Vanderbilt — Ditto Ole Miss. They can probably find two more victories in the last month of the season, which would mean back-to-back bowl invites for the first time in Vandy football history — and that's all anyone on the Vandy campus needs to care about right now.
10. Tennessee — Hung close with a very good South Carolina team until the bitter end, but Derek Dooley is still 4-17 against SEC competition at Tennessee. That's not going to earn you a fourth year of employment no matter what kind of mess you stepped into.
11. Arkansas — Well, those dreams of a bowl invite were fun for a couple weeks, anyway.
12. Missouri — Wait, they made commemorative T-shirts to celebrate beating Kentucky? I know it was your first SEC win, but . . . no, guys. Just no.
13. Kentucky — Well, despite being 1-8 you're apparently still the kind of team someone thought it was worth making a T-shirt about. I guess that can keep you warm until basketball season starts.
14. Auburn — I talked to an Auburn fan last week who was seriously entertaining the possibility of losing to Alabama A&M in a few weeks. That pretty much sums up the emotional state of the Auburn Family right now.