Championship Week begins right now: Who you got? In this corner, Auburn, which spent its season coming back from two- and three-score deficits with one of the best offenses the league has ever seen powered by the best player ... well, at least since Tim Tebow in 2007 and 2008. In the other corner, a Head Ball Coach who knows a thing or two about winning the SEC and whose team took Auburn to the wire in the regular-season game. South Carolina's play hasn't always been a thing of beauty, but it has been effective; Auburn was one of its three losses and another was against a team that is likely to play in the BCS. (On the subject of the Kentucky game, I got nothing.) The other game was arguably lost by the kind of turnovers Stephen Garcia hasn't made in a while and one of the worst decisions of Steve Spurrier's coaching career, when he decided that behind at Auburn was the perfect time for Connor Shaw's SEC debut. If Spurrier plays this game a little smarter, could he pull off his greatest upset yet?
Did Robbie Caldwell ever get a fair chance at Vanderbilt? Caldwell had no real chance to prepare for the season and took over a team facing at least an outside chance of a winless season. His team didn't always look good, but who could have been expected to do well under such challenging circumstances? And who can be expected to do better at Vanderbilt? Sorry to break it to any Commodore fans that don't already realize this, but Gus Malzahn is not going to Nashville. And the pool of programs looking for head coaches has already apparently grown by two, with the firing of Randy Shannon at Miami and the reported retirement of Bill Stewart in West Virginia. And with other jobs already in play and the dominoes that could fall as some programs poach other coaches, the Commodores could be in for a long search.
Speaking of Shannon -- are you ready for the rumors about Richt, Georgia fans? Whether you want to hear it or not, the talk is already out there that one of Miami's first calls will go to former Hurricane quarterback Mark Richt. Could Georgia fans go from debating whether to keep Richt to hoping they can? Richt has always said he wants to stay in Athens, and has never given anyone a reason to doubt what he says, but could he finally be fed up with feeling like he's under siege every year? (Like dealing with the Miami fan base would be a solution to that, but anyway.) Some reports have Miami waiting to see if Richt is fired or resigned; I don't see that happening. But if he's ready for a graceful exit and his alma mater calls ...
Best quarterback in the SEC East in 2011
2010: Tyler Bray, Stephen Garcia or Aaron Murray? If you think there's another candidate in the race, feel free to name him. But with all the rebuilding that has to be done in Gainesville, these guys are likely to be the anchors of three of the favorites, even if Florida can't be counted out of the race just because of one bad year. Sure, Bray won most of his games when the team had nothing to lose and Murray played best when the competition was worst, but that's how you break in SEC quarterbacks if you get the chance. And if you can figure out what that means for the divisional race, more power to you; it looks like a giant jigsaw puzzle to me. Then again, does anybody know who's the favorite in the West if Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett both go pro?
Meanwhile, how do they fix things in Florida? Firing Steve Addazio is obviously the most important step on the list, but is it the only one, or are there deeper issues that need to be addressed? (Finding just one quarterback would also be a priority if you asked me, but what do I know?) You would think that Urban Meyer gets at least 2011 as a mulligan before having to worry about things to much, but this is Florida that we're talking about here. Remember that Steve Spurrier once left because he thought the bar had been raised too high.