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SEC October Roundtable

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The calendar has flipped to October. How does the TSK staff see things as they are now?

NCAA Football: Alabama at Texas A&M Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

First thing’s first: One month into the season, is Georgia legit in your eyes?

Cam Newton: Do I think Georgia has what it takes to win the SEC East? Absolutely; it would take an incredible slip-up of Richt-esque proportions to keep them out of Atlanta. Do I think Georgia has what it takes to make the playoff? Not really. After losing to Alabama in the SEC title game, they’ll make a New Year’s Six Bowl and probably crush a G5 team or something. However, if Jake Fromm continues to progress like he has been, I might be changing my tune here shortly…

Brandon: Right now, Georgia is the best team in the SEC East division, and a viable threat to Alabama and Auburn to win the SEC. After Florida’s loss to LSU, it looks like the Bulldogs will be able to snap a three-game series skid to the Gators. Georgia will fall at Auburn and struggle against Kentucky at home, but will ultimately come out on top to earn a spot in the SEC Championship game for a rematch against the Tigers

Tom Stephenson: That depends on how you define “legit.” Best team in the East? Yes. Top 10-ish team? Sure, why not. A threat to win the SEC and make the CFP? Uhhh… we’ll see on that one. The thing is, we’ve seen this from Georgia plenty of times before. I’ll believe it if they beat Florida, because they almost always seem to trip in Jacksonville regardless of how good they look going in.

Nicholas Sullivan: Yes. Best team in the East. Not sure it’s particularly close.

Jess Leslie: Georgia in 2017 reminds me of Alabama in 2008. The affectionate term is “Bama Lite.” Best team in their division? By far. Do they have everything it takes to win the SEC Championship and make the CFP in year two under Kirby Smart? Not quite.

Boone: The defense appears to be. Smart and Tucker have the thing rolling and Fromm has been competent at times and sometimes even brilliant. I worry about their recent struggles against Florida and Auburn, but they do look to be pretty good. Win in Jacksonville and I may be a believer although I do not expect them to be a CFP contender after Thanksgiving.

Who’s a bigger threat to Alabama? Alabama themselves, or Auburn?

Cam Newton: I don’t really view any SEC team as a threat to Alabama, but if you tied my hands and forced me to choose, I suppose the biggest threat to Alabama is Nick Saban leaving to go coach the Chargers, after which the Crimson Tide hires Larry Fedora or something.

Brandon: Auburn

Tom Stephenson: I’ll say it’s Auburn -- if only because I don’t view Alabama as being a threat to Alabama right now. Saban has this team locked in, and I’ll be shocked if they lose a game.

Nicholas Sullivan: I would have to say Auburn. If only because I don’t see Alabama beating itself.

Jess Leslie: Heart says Auburn; head says Alabama.

Boone: The Auburn defense is a top 10 defense right now but it’s the teams with offensive wrinkles that usually get to Saban and I don’t know if Auburn has shown enough there. Of any team it would be Auburn, but still think Alabama is the only SEC team that could keep Alabama from the CFP.

Who’s your biggest surprise and your biggest disappointment?

Cam Newton: The biggest surprise is definitely how well Jake Fromm has stepped into the quarterback role for Georgia. He won the initial quarterback battle over the seasoned Jacob Eason, and he hasn’t relented since. He’s playing like an absolute star as a true freshman, and perhaps he can lead the Bulldogs to Atlanta for the first time since 2012. The biggest disappointment? Well, if you follow me on Twitter, you know what that is.

Brandon: Jake Fromm State Farm completing owning the quarterback competition and breaking out onto the scene at Notre Dame. My biggest disappointment is Texas A&M blowing a 34-point lead. It was the most crushing loss for the Aggies since the 2003 Oklahoma game.

Tom Stephenson: Maybe my expectations were just too low going into the season, but I’ve been surprised by Georgia. In the span of a few months, it’s gone from “does Kirby Smart know what he’s doing here?” to “this team is a buzzsaw.” While the easy answers for biggest disappointment are LSU and Tennessee, I’m going to go with Missouri here -- I didn’t think Missouri would be all that good, but I also didn’t think they’d be the steaming pile of excrement that they are.

Nicholas Sullivan: Biggest surprise has to be Kentucky. They should, frankly, be undefeated right now. I definitely didn’t see that—or even their current 4-1 record—coming. At this exact moment, LSU has been the biggest disappointment relative to expectations. Missouri, though, is on pace to be easily the worst team in the conference. That result would end up being the most disappointing.

Jess Leslie: Biggest disappointment has been Auburn RB Kamryn Pettway. He was a machine this time last year, but it’s clear that he hasn’t been 100% healthy all season. Biggest surprise has been Alabama’s offense. First year OC Brian Daboll has Jalen Hurts and company rolling. (See what I did there?) That group is fun to watch.

Boone: The biggest surprise would be Matt Canada. Call me gullible, but I fully expected LSU to fire out of the gates on offense and so far the offense looks less capable than last year’s Auburn game that got Les fired. I’d have to say the biggest disappointment has to be that the The young, struggling Gator offense is still without their top two offensive weapons (and 7 other potential contributors) BECAUSE THEY BOUGHT DELIVERY GUMMY BEARS ON STOLEN CREDIT CARDS. Also all that other stuff they stole. That is disappointing.

If you had to pick ONE coach that wasn’t going to be on the sidelines in 2018, who would it be?

Cam Newton: Barry Odom is the most logical choice here because someone like Ed Orgeron would require LSU to fork over $12 million to fire him. Oh, and Butch Jones will also be fired.

Brandon: Barry Odom

Tom Stephenson: If you’re limiting me to one, I’ll say Butch Jones. Between the 41-0 loss to Georgia and some player transfers and recruit decommits over the past couple of days, that just seems to be the direction this is going. Of course, I think there will be more than just one…

Nicholas Sullivan: There will be at least three coaches—maybe more—that won’t be back in 2018. As bad as Missouri has been, the answer has to be Butch Jones. I’m not convinced he’ll make it through the 2017 season.

Jess Leslie: Is Matt Luke too obvious an answer? Is this a trick question?

Boone: Sgt. Carter (Butch Jones)

Name your SEC Championship Game representatives:

Cam Newton: Alabama and Georgia

Brandon: Auburn and Georgia

Tom Stephenson: Alabama and Georgia. Is this even a question at this point?

Nicholas Sullivan: Alabama and Georgia

Jess Leslie: Auburn and Georgia

Boone: Alabama & Florida... for now.