South Carolina vs. Auburn: Who ya got? Back when the Gamecocks were playing every game the way they played against Florida, the Tigers won by eight points in a game that wasn't decided until
Steve Spurrier decided to put his inexperienced backup in the game the very end. If South Carolina's program history and this particular team's track record are to be believed, the game against Troy will be an uninspiring win and the showdown with Clemson will be a dogfight. We'll say for the purposes of this question that Cam Newton will play. That doesn't mean the media firestorm that surrounds Auburn will be any less intense, which could either distract them or give the Tigers a chip on their shoulder that makes them want to win by 30. We'll have a whole week later this month to slice and dice this game, so let's leave it at that for now. But who do you think has the advantage for right now? And since almost everyone with any sanity is going to say Auburn what's the margin?
What do you make of Mississippi State? Alabama buzz-sawed through the Western Division Bulldogs in State's first game as a premiere SEC team. Alabama passed for 277 yards and rushed for 175 more en route to a 30-10 annihilation in Tuscaloosa. Mississippi State managed 149 yards on the ground, but that wasn't enough to offset the usual subpar play of their quarterbacks in the face of the Tide's offensive onslaught. The Bulldogs' last two games are against Arkansas and at Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. So how do they finish the year?
Are the Razorbacks a running team now? Granted, it was against an overmatched UTEP team. But Arkansas ran for 326 yards Saturday night -- and passed for 251. Knile Davis rushed for only 33 fewer yards (182) than Ryan Mallett passed for. Bobby Petrino called 41 runs and 31 passes. And so on. It's not that I'm questioning the play calling here; the Hogs rolled UTEP, 58-21. It's just odd to see a post-Houston Nutt Arkansas box score and be impressed by the running game.
Are you more surprised that LSU scored 51 points, or that they did it with 251 yards of total offense? Despite the rap that it's a lucky team, LSU has many strengths this year; one of them is not the ability to score lots of points. But the Bayou Bengals hammered Louisiana-Monroe 51-0, a game that featured the most points LSU has scored since clobbering Louisiana Tech 58-10 a few days more than three years ago.
Who will be the second BCS team from the SEC? The obvious answer is LSU, but the Bengals still have to defeat Arkansas and Ole Miss to get to the bowl season with one loss. And a loss to Arkansas would arguably put the Hogs in the driver's seat, depending on what else has happened up until then. Don't forget that an at-large team has to be ranked in the Top 14 and have at least nine regular-season wins to get into a BCS bowl. And just for chaos' sake, let's say that South Carolina upsets Auburn at the Georgia Dome; does the BCS take Arkansas, Auburn or LSU?