Our apologies to our readers. Despite our in-depth coverage of conference realignment this summer, we apparently missed the SEC East joining the ACC.
How else to explain a division that no longer makes any sense? South Carolina loses narrowly to Auburn, defeats Alabama and then loses to Kentucky. Georgia looks lost for the first five weeks of the season, then annihilates Tennessee and Vanderbilt by a combined 84-14. Florida is the only team in the East that hasn't lost to another team in the division, but the Gators have made up for that by losing all three of their games against SEC West foes.
The latest blow was the 10-7 loss to Mississippi State in Gainesville despite outgaining the Western Division Bulldogs by 116 yards. And despite the fact that State completed four passes. Out of nine attempts. Mississippi State scored all 10 of its points in the first quarter. Chas Henry missing two field goals for Florida was less than ideal, as were the two turnovers.
Meanwhile, South Carolina became the second Top 10 team to stroll into Lexington expecting a win, take a big lead and then cough it up. The difference is that the Gamecocks went the extra mile, actually losing where Auburn had managed to stage a comeback. The Gamecocks led 14-0 after the first quarter and 28-10 at halftime but crossed the 50-yard line just twice in the second half, including a drive that ended with South Carolina in position to kick a field goal and send the game into overtime -- save for Stephen Garcia's second interception of the night, which clinched the 31-28 Kentucky victory.
All we know to this point of the season is that all of the results cannot possibly be "correct" in the manner of the better team winning each game. Kentucky cannot be better than South Carolina if South Carolina is better than Alabama and Alabama is better than Florida and Florida is better than Kentucky. But Florida cannot be better than Kentucky if Kentucky is better than South Carolina and South Carolina is better than Alabama and Alabama is better than Florida. I could go on like this all night, but you get the point. A genuine upset has occurred somewhere in that thicket, and it's currently skewing the way we see the results.
And until we get enough data to figure out which one of those outcomes was "false," it's almost a pointless exercise to try to figure out who is the favorite. Save Vanderbilt and maybe Tennessee -- maybe -- a fan from anywhere in the SEC East can make a plausible case for your team simply based on the process of elimination
Perhaps this is just the flip side of having no unquestioned preseason favorite. When everything starts going haywire, who do you give the benefit of the doubt?