Thursday, September 20, 2012
Behind The Scoreboard
SEC has larger look
(Editor’s Note: This week’s column was written prior to college football games this past Saturday).
It is only week three in the collegiate leagues and conferences, but the season has an ominous feeling of being a little bit older.
I am sure that no one has missed the fact that the strongest conference in the NCAA (SEC) has a strangely larger look. There are now 14 teams gracing the slots. In the East, the Missouri Tigers have taken up residence and were formidably bitten by the Georgia Bulldogs in their SEC opener.
The Aggies of Texas A&M have settled in the West and, they too, lost their first game against a new conference opponent. They were gobbled up (just barely, 20-17) by the 18th (AP, 17th USA Today) ranked Florida Gators. Both the Tigers and Aggies will play outside the SEC this weekend. The former will host the Sun Devils of Arizona State and the latter will travel to SMU to try and corral the Mustangs. A&M has won the last 10 games against SMU. Both of the teams will perhaps use this first season to try and adapt their programs to the grueling regimen in their new conference.
It was probably lost on no one that the season began with USC ranked number one. Everyone I talked to was hard-pressed to explain, or agree, with the Trojans being rated over the Tide. After the first week the raters saw their error and returned Alabama to its rightful place. The polls listed six SEC teams in the top 25. They were pretty much the same in the AP and the Today.
The difference was that Arkansas fell off the grid in the AP after the overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe. The Hogs had been ranked number eight. They were listed at 21 this week in the USA poll. The other teams were LSU (2), Georgia (7), South Carolina (8), Florida (18) and Tennessee (23).
The game drawing the focus for Saturday was the unranked Rebels (but 2-0), preparing for the Longhorns of Texas (14th in the AP/12 in the Today). Texas is also starting the season 2-0.
The Longhorns have been known to travel with a voracious entourage and this game probably won’t be any different. Both teams have put up impressive numbers in their two early wins but the competition wasn’t all that stellar. The scales are probably tipped in the Longhorns’ favor because they lead the all time series 5-1. All of us Rebel fans have to be a little patient during this rebuilding phase.
The rolling Tide will be in Arkansas this weekend. The Razorbacks finished last season ranked but they had to make a coaching change and their stellar quarterback, Tyler Wilson, suffered a head injury during last week’s loss to UL-Monroe. If Tyler Wilson can’t meet muster, I am afraid the Hogs are going to be barbecued.
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