We have one more week to go before the end of September, which means that the real SEC fun is just getting started.
The month of October features several key matchups, including all three SEC East contenders—Florida, South Carolina and Georgia—all playing each other. In addition, LSU will cross the division lines to play Florida and South Carolina in the month of October.
Meanwhile, SEC West power Alabama will take off the first week of the month before traveling to Missouri and Tennessee and hosting Mississippi State to close out the month.
Which SEC teams will run the table in October?
LSU and Alabama.
A lot of people have written off LSU after its 12-10 escape from Auburn last weekend, and that's incredibly unfair to head coach Les Miles' team.
It was a road win in the SEC, and those aren't easy to come by.
LSU's offense clearly needs to work on its pass protection which, in turn, will help quarterback Zach Mettenberger look less like a deer in headlights. They will work on that this week vs. Towson in preparation for an October run at Florida, vs. South Carolina and at Texas A&M.
It's certainly not the easiest stretch in the world, but it is one that LSU certainly can handle. Until the protection issues and Mettenberger's poor decision-making become trends, I'm not ready to write the Tigers off. That roster is still loaded from top to bottom, and very much capable of making a run to the crystal football.
Alabama's October should be a relative breeze by SEC standards.
Games at Missouri, at Tennessee and at home vs. Mississippi State will all present some challenges, but if we have learned anything from the first month of the season, it's that Alabama doesn't rebuild, it reloads (and I hate that cliche).
The defense is only giving up 185 yards per game and 62.25 rushing yards per game, and it is second in the nation after giving up an average of 5.3 points per game.
Those three teams may present more of a challenge than teams like Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic, but it's not enough to threaten Alabama's perfect season before its Nov. 3 showdown with LSU.
Aside from those two teams, no other SEC programs will have an unblemished October.
Georgia, South Carolina and Florida are all bunched together in terms of record and talent in the SEC East. But the October round robin among the three schools—coupled with the presence of LSU on the schedule for the Gamecocks and Gators—will prevent any of them from running the table.
With games against Tennessee, Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State heading into the final weekend of the month, Mississippi State has a chance to be 7-0 heading into its Oct. 27 showdown at Alabama.
That game will likely prevent the Bulldogs from having a perfect October.
Auburn has games vs. Arkansas, at Ole Miss, at Vanderbilt and vs. Texas A&M, which isn't exactly difficult on paper. If Auburn plays defense like it did vs. LSU, it will keep the Tigers in games, but will the offense improve enough? Maybe, but judging from what we've seen this season, it'd be foolish to expect it to be good on a consistent basis.
With games at Auburn, vs. Kentucky and vs. Ole Miss, the October slate sets up well for Arkansas. But much like Auburn, are we really to assume that the Hogs can be consistent after what we've seen this season?
October will separate the SEC contenders from the pretenders. Alabama and LSU will run the table and get to their Nov. 3 showdown undefeated, while the SEC East will be equally intriguing after the top teams in the division beat each other up for a month.
We may be one-third of the way through the season, but the fun is just getting started.