This is the weekend everything starts to make sense (or becomes more confusing) in the Southeastern Conference.
Four of the league’s top teams, all ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll, square off in a pair of games that will begin to reveal who has the mettle to compete with Alabama for a possible trip to Miami for the BCS National Championship game. Meanwhile, Alabama’s players and coaches have the luxury of kicking up their feet and watching it all shake out. The No. 1 Crimson Tide, which received all 60 first-place votes in the AP poll this week, is off Saturday.
Before the season, the SEC West received most of the national attention, and rightfully so, but the focus has shifted east thanks to the earlier-than-expected resurgence of Florida, a pair of freshmen running backs in Athens, Ga., and a defense in South Carolina that is ranked seventh nationally against the run.
GAME 1: LSU AT FLORIDA
The SEC’s big day begins in Gainesville at 3:30 p.m. CBS’s feature game puts Florida coach Will Muschamp on the national stage for the most important game of his young career.
GAME 2: GEORGIA AT SOUTH CAROLINA
The SEC’s ESPN nightcap begins at 7 p.m. in Columbia, S.C., where South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has been throwing his considerable clout (and possibly his visor) around town in recent weeks in an attempt to have a local columnist fired for being too critical.The rankings: Last season: The background:
(Not a representation of my ballot if the season ended today.)
1. Geno Smith, senior quarterback, West Virginia. 2. Barrett Jones, senior center, Alabama. 3. Manti Te’o, senior linebacker, Notre Dame.