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SEC Football Week 8 Topics for Discussion

Is that it for the SEC West? No disrespect to Alabama, but Auburn looked pretty much unbeatable Saturday in what was one of the most impressive 24-17 wins I've ever seen. LSU's solid run defense could not stop Cam Newton, and Auburn's defense looked good enough to keep the team winning as long as the offense keeps running at that level. On the other hand, Alabama looked pretty impressive in its annihilation of Tennessee: 538 yards of total offense, a pretty convincing case from Greg McElroy for remaining the starting quarterback, a jaw-dropping 221 receiving yards by Julio Jones. About the only thing that didn't go the Tide's way was that Tauren Poole met his goal of 100 yards rushing for Tennessee.

Is Cam Newton the Heisman Trophy winner? I hate anointing anyone with more than a month left in the season, but we're talking about a buy who has already set the SEC record for rushing yards in a season with four or five games to go before the ballots are cast. And while Newton hasn't thrown the ball that much, don't think that he can't. Are we just talking about the margin of the vote here? Or is there someone in the SEC or in another conference who can actually upset Newton for the award?

Does Georgia have a chance in the SEC East? Remember that South Carolina already holds a tiebreaker against the Dawgs, meaning Georgia either needs to win out while the Gamecocks lose two more games OR defeat Florida and end up in some three-team tie with South Carolina and Florida that includes a South Carolina loss to Florida and the right tiebreakers to all go the Dawgs' way. Which is also to say that the Dawgs are far more alive in the division race right now than they were a month ago.

South Carolina and Mississippi State: What happened? Neither team looked impressive this week, but both won, something that is a distinct improvement for the Gamecocks over last week's game and enough to wrap up bowl eligibility for the Western Division Bulldogs. While the 21-7 South Carolina win against Vanderbilt was in line with what your humble correspondent predicted, it was an ugly win. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs had to rally from a point behind with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter -- against a two-win Conference USA team. State outgained UAB by all of 24 yards.

Which of these teams make bowl games: Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Tennessee? Those are the only teams who don't have at least four wins in their first seven games, which means they're approaching must-win territory. Let's go with there being enough .500 teams this year to fill all the NCAA's bowl slots; Ole Miss can only lose two of its last five games and Tennessee and Vanderbilt can lose one. Unless you're adamant that 5-7 teams are going to make the postseason. In that case, name the teams you think will be chosen despite their records.