Last season, the SEC West produced three of the top five teams in the final AP and coaches' polls.
Different verse, same as the first?
Maybe, but it might not be the West bloating the top of the standings in 2012.
Georgia has established itself as one of the nation's premier offensive football teams, much to the chagrin of the Dawg Nation contingent that objects to every Mike Bobo play call. Freshman running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have established themselves as true home run hitters, and quarterback Aaron Murray is in the discussion for the Heisman Trophy.
South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country, and along with running back Marcus Lattimore, comprises a very dangerous one-two punch for the Gamecocks. Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor are as dangerous of a tandem off the edge that any defense in the country can boast.
Florida has solved all of its issues from last season. Mike Gillislee has emerged as a legitimate every-down threat at running back, and quarterback Jeff Driskel has taken the reins of the Gator quarterback job and run with it.
Georgia, South Carolina and Florida are all squarely in the mix for the national title, and all have big games this weekend that will separate the contenders from pretenders...for now.
In the case of Georgia and South Carolina, the winner of this week's matchup will essentially have a game-and-a-half lead on the loser.
But don't think that will clear up the SEC East logjam, because the fun could be just getting started.
The three SEC East favorites will all play each other before Halloween, which means that the muddled division picture could be cleared up by then.
Or it could be more blurry, especially if Florida and South Carolina both get by LSU in the process.
If the favorites beat up each other, don't discount a situation in which all three teams are featured high atop the BCS Standings late into the season.
LSU, Alabama and Arkansas were ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3 when the Week 6 BCS standings were released on Nov. 20, 2011, and it took an LSU win over Arkansas on the final weekend of the season to prevent a three-way tie atop the SEC West.
That could happen again, which would create a giant mess not only in the fight for the SEC East crown, but in the fight for a spot in the BCS National Championship Game.
The rules for the three-team tiebreaker in the SEC (Section B.8) state that the highest-ranked team in the final BCS standing would represent the division in the SEC Championship Game unless the second-place team is within five or fewer places. In that case, the tie would be decided by the head-to-head result between the top two teams.
It's far down the road, and there's plenty of football left to be played between now and the end of the season. But judging from the way each of the top three teams in the SEC East have looked this season, we may be seeing a power shift in terms of the better top-to-bottom division in the SEC.
That shift may bring with it a similar logjam to the national landscape that the SEC West produced last season.
If that happens, "SEC fatigue" will kick into overdrive.
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