Halfway through the SEC season, a few things have been learned. For starters, Alabama is darn good. Georgia may be pretty darn good too. Are we heading to a collision course between an unbeaten Alabama and Georgia in the SEC Championship Game? Or should we be mindful of what’s going on at Auburn right now, with the Tigers’ only loss coming in a defensive battle on the road against the defending national champions from Clemson?
While things may be going well for those three, the story is quite different-looking at Tennessee, Arkansas, and LSU, while Kevin Sumlin may be in the best position to fget things going towatd a strong enough finish to cool the hot seat discussions.
What has gone as expected
The Alabama Crimson Tide continue to dominate, which was to be expected this season. At this point, the only game that was expected to be a bit of a hurdle going into this season (Florida State) turned out to be just another example of how overpowering the Tide can be. Even a relatively close call at Texas A&M was never really ever in much doubt. Georgia playing well may have been expected, although maybe not quite to this extent, but Florida having no offense and Butch Jones seeing his hot seat come to a boil in Knoxville have pretty much been expected this season.
Is Kentucky flying under the radar? The Wildcats are off to a 5-1 start to the season and a blown coverage in the endzone play away from a possible 6-0 record at the midway point. Mark Stoops has Kentucky ready to lock up bowl eligibility and with a 2-1 record in conference play he actually has the Wildcats in the SEC East hunt with a rather favorable conference schedule up until their SEC regular season finale on the road against Georgia. If all goes according to plan, that could potentially be for the SEC East division.
Arkansas is 0-2 in SEC play after giving up 50 points to Texas A&M in an overtime thriller in Arlington and losing on the road against South Carolina by a lopsided score of 48-22. Things likely won’t be turning around anytime soon with the next two games on the schedule at Alabama and home against Auburn. Bret Bielema is receiving plenty of criticism as the Razorbacks continue to struggle to improve and contend in the SEC West Division.
Bielema buyout under $15M; UA owes $5.9M if he’s fired at season’s end, per contract https://t.co/eh4JugUu6Z
— Blake Rutherford (@blakerutherford) October 12, 2017
Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm stepped in to replace an injured Jacob Eason and he has quickly become a sensation around the SEC. Fromm has completed 60 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Fromm benefits from running an offense that is heavy on the run, so his passing numbers aren’t off the charts. But he has provided a steady level of confidence to keep Georgia’s SEC and possible playoff hopes in reach.
Eighth-year running back Nick Chubb continues to pound out the yardage for the Georgia Bulldogs and is a large reason why Georgia is thinking big this season. Chubb leads the SEC with 618 rushing yards and his eight touchdowns are the second-most among SEC running backs (Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson has 12 for an honorable mention). He is also the only running back in the conference to be averaging 100 yards per game (103.0 ypg to be precise).
Three Questions for the Second Half
* * Who has better shot at Alabama: Auburn or Georgia?
** Will Bret Bielema, Butch Jones and/or Ed Orgeron survive the regular season?
** Does the SEC have a shot to get two teams in the College Football Playoff?
Games to Watch
Mississippi State vs. Kentucky, Oct. 21
Georgia vs. Florida, Oct. 28
Auburn vs. Georgia, Nov. 11
Georgia vs. Kentucky, Nov. 18
Auburn vs. Alabama, Nov. 25
Not counting the SEC Championship Game, the fate of the SEC seems to boil down to three games toward the end of the regular season. Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia should be the top three contenders for the SEC at this point, but just keep an eye on Kentucky to see what they do to either stay in the SEC East as a Cinderella or if they’ll fall off before getting a crack at Georgia in mid-November. We could be heading toward some mega games between Auburn and Georgia, and Alabama and Auburn, and perhaps Alabama and Georgia