The Tigers have struggled with teams that do both sides of the ball reasonably well. Here comes the best of all of those on their schedule.
I'm still not sure how good this team is, but it sure is interesting to watch. Also, I'm cautiously optimistic about Jordan Jefferson's light finally turning on. If he uncorks a classic 10-for-22, 105 yard, 0/2 effort this week then forget it, but he might finally be coming around.
The teams that have been able to challenge the secondary have given the Tide the most problems. Now comes Cameron Newton, who is good enough to challenge the secondary with both his arm and legs. How Alabama's back eight play might very well determine the game.
In most other years, Arkansas would be getting tons of recognition for its stellar year so far. I bet most people have forgotten that the Razorbacks were half a quarter away from beating Bama. Anyway, a win over LSU this weekend would vault the Pigs back into the spotlight and, if Auburn takes the Iron Bowl, quite possibly put them in a BCS bowl.
5. South Carolina
The epic beatdown of Troy was far more a classic Spurrier thing than it was a normal South Carolina thing. If the Gamecocks soundly put away a thoroughly mediocre Clemson team this weekend, then seriously watch out in Atlanta.
6. Mississippi State
Poor Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are much better than they were last year, but because this year's SEC West is perhaps the best conference division there's ever been, they're stuck back in fifth place behind the four top-12 teams that beat them.
So which Florida team will show up on Saturday? The Gators have had their way with Mickey Andrews's defense, but he's retired now with a Stoops brother at the helm. The 2008 team, which no one would ever confuse the 2010 squad for, had a Stoops brother defense and was held to just 24 points. FSU doesn't have the personnel that the '08 Sooners had, but this Gator team doesn't have nearly the personnel that '08 Gator team had either.
This team is really not all that far off from where it wants to be, despite the 5-6 record. Not getting Ole Miss from the West didn't help, nor did South Carolina finally putting the pieces together. It should beat a down Georgia Tech team this weekend, but you never know with this bunch.
One of two things must be true: either Tyler Bray wasn't ready earlier this year, or he's just slicing up bad defenses. The third option is Tennessee's coaching staff being too inept to play him earlier, but I don't know if we're there yet with that bunch.
Soft scheduling netted another bowl, but when you're talking about Kentucky, I guess you can only complain so much about that.
11. Ole Miss
Has there been a stranger team this season? It lost to Vandy by two scores, yet pushed LSU for four quarters. Having an unreliable team makes for high variance, I guess.
Vandy is sitting on the same 2-9 that its weekend opponent Wake Forest is. Here's hoping the Commodores come away with that one.