Not so Fast My Friends, the SEC Is Way More Than Alabama and LSU

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 11, 2012

The perception around the country is that the SEC is a top-heavy league led by juggernauts Alabama and LSU.

In college football, perception usually is reality.

In this case, however, it's not.

The Tigers and Tide may have met for the crystal football in January in New Orleans, but the SEC is far from a two-team show.

Alabama and LSU have won three of the last five SEC championships, with Florida and Auburn taking turns as the top team in the SEC during that time frame.

That's fairly dominant, but it certainly doesn't mean that they're the only noteworthy teams in the conference.

South Carolina posted its first 11-win season in program history in 2011 and looks to be in the national title mix in 2012, as long as Connor Shaw stays healthy.

I know, I know. The Gamecocks looked awful on opening night. 

They went on the road in the SEC and won with a quarterback whose arm was falling off.

The Gamecocks shouldn't be criticized for that; they should be applauded for it.

Georgia isn't the most complete team in the world, but the Bulldogs have a top-10 defense that can take control of any game. Don't believe me? Just ask Missouri quarterback James Franklin.

If 2012 is any indication, Tennessee looks like it has solved most, if not all, of its major question marks after just two games.

Florida's defense, combined with the emergence of running back Mike Gillislee as a legitimate every-down running back, will allow the Gators to compete with any team in the country.

Arkansas finished sixth in the final BCS standings last season and just lost to Louisiana-Monroe, but last year's squad was as good as any team in the country not named Alabama or LSU. That was without running back Knile Davis.

This year's squad has plenty of issues, namely the health of quarterback Tyler Wilson and a defense that looks worse than it did last season. But if Wilson is healthy, that's a dangerous football team, even with head coach John L. Smith calling the shots.

Alabama and LSU may dominate headlines, and the two may meet in Baton Rouge on Nov. 3 with everything on the line. But enjoy the process, because there's still plenty of good football to be played between now and then.