Your defending SEC East champions. Again.
Want to know how the SEC will turn out week-by-week before it happens? Don't we all. So we hooked up the closest thing college football fans have to a time machine and will simulate each week of the season using EA's NCAA Football '13. Please keep in mind that it's all in good fun and we're not saying this is how it actually will happen. Though that would be pretty cool and a little bit eery.
Stability finally arrives for the SEC. There are no major upsets this weekend, and the best chance at one (Georgia-Florida) passes pretty uneventfully. With the win, the Dawgs wrap up their second consecutive SEC East. But Georgia long ago jettisoned that as the main focus of the season. Atlanta is hopefully just a warm-up act for Miami.
GEORGIA 31, FLORIDA 17
The Dawgs get very close to their second straight week of 500+ yards -- they end up with 498 -- and force three turnovers in a game that they lead for the final 47 minutes. Florida puts together 311 yards despite the three picks, but the ground game never gets started; the Gators have 87 yards on 27 rushes. By now, one can guess that Mark Richt has no problem with Jacksonville as the setting for the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
ALABAMA 48, MISSISSIPPI STATE 13
The more things change, etc. The Tide puts it all together on offense, passing for 280 yards and rushing for 211 in a rout of the Western Division Bulldogs. State actually gets some decent yardage out of the pass (243), but only 67 yards in the rushing department. They do score on both trips to the red zone (positive thinking!).
AUBURN 27, TEXAS A&M 22
The Aggie insurgency is suddenly reeling after a 13-point fourth quarter rally comes up just short. Auburn actually gets massively outgained, by a 490-363 margin, but A&M commits a pair of turnovers, and that's all that Auburn needs to defeat A&M. This being the SEC West in fictitious 2012, though, it's too early to count anybody out.
SOUTH CAROLINA 28, TENNESSEE 3
South Carolina doesn't put this game away until the fourth quarter (sense a theme here, Tennessee fans?), but they're also never really in trouble. The Vols generate seven first downs off 121 yards of total offense -- the comparable numbers for South Carolina are 29 and 484, respectively. With seven total turnovers in the game, it's not a model of crispness, but the Gamecocks need a convincing win at this point.
ARKANSAS 41, OLE MISS 3
Back to the drawing board for Hugh Freeze. The eight first downs and 221 yards of offense for the Rebels won't get it done against the Hogs' 22 first downs and 446 yards. The two Ole Miss turnovers are just icing on the proverbial cake. Arkansas has started out way behind the eight-ball ... but, again, they're in the West.
MISSOURI 27, KENTUCKY 3
At this point, it's pretty impressive whenever the Wildcats break 200 yards, as they do here with 206 in total offense. Missouri has 350, though, and that's enough for the easy win. Catching Georgia is out of the question, but the Tigers are setting themselves up for a nice bowl invitation.
Vanderbilt 22, UMass 7
*Denotes clinched division
20 South Carolina
22 Texas A&M