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Yes, absolutely. I said before the season that the Alabama vs. LSU game will be the de facto SEC West title game, and nothing we've seen so far this season suggests that prediction will be wrong.
Sure, LSU had some issues against Georgia on Saturday in that 44-41 loss. But the Tigers' offense is legit thanks to new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, quarterback Zach Mettenberger and the dynamic duo of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham at wide receiver.
Are there questions on defense? Sure. But questions about the defense stem from one game—the loss to Georgia. Besides, if you're searching for a complete team in the SEC so far this season, you're going to be looking for a while because that list runs 14-deep.
The Crimson Tide defense—the secondary in particular—looked good against Ole Miss last weekend, but that was really only the second time all year that it has. LSU has the offense to exploit Alabama's weakness, especially if Mettenberger threads needles like he did last weekend at Sanford Stadium in Athens.
Both teams are talented yet flawed, have athletes all over the field and will have two weeks to prepare for each other. It wouldn't surprise me at all if LSU toppled the Tide. In fact, I predicted it in the video below.
@BarrettSallee If LSU beats A&M, Alabama, and then Georgia in the SEC Title game we go to the National Title Right?— Will Rucker (@Will_Rucker3_AD) September 29, 2013
A one-loss SEC champ, in my mind, would be the best team in college football. But depending on how the dominoes fall around the country, there's a good chance it'll get left out of the BCS National Championship Game.
If either Oregon or Stanford (or any Pac-12 champ) runs the table, that team's in without question.
Would undefeated Ohio State be as well? It shouldn't, but you never know how voters will react to an Urban Meyer team that, at that point, will have gone 25-0 over two seasons. The schedule is a joke, but asking voters to ignore an undefeated high-profile program is asking a lot. In the end, though, it won't matter because, as I predicted in our headline piece, the Buckeyes will lose to Northwestern this weekend.
That will effectively end any chance of a Big Ten program playing for the title. No, I didn't forget that Michigan and Northwestern are also undefeated. Get to November first, and then we'll talk.
If Clemson or Florida State run the table, a one-loss SEC champ won't get over either of them. Clemson has the win over Georgia in its back pocket and would have wins over Florida State, South Carolina and the Coastal champ in the title game to pad its résumé. Florida State would have Clemson, Florida and the Coastal champ to help its argument.
Anytime a team loses a game, it has to hope for some help from around the country. A one-loss SEC champ, at least in this particular season, is no exception.
That win over South Carolina is huge because it gives the Bulldogs the tiebreaker over one of its primary competitors. That may come in handy down the line, because even if the Bulldogs lose to Florida in early November, I still see the Gators dropping road games at LSU and South Carolina, which would put that tiebreaker in play assuming Georgia doesn't stumble elsewhere.
That's the benefit of Georgia getting those two tough SEC wins under its belt in the first month. The Bulldogs have gone head-to-head against two of the SEC's best and prevailed. That gives them a ton of confidence moving forward, so I don't see them stumbling.
The front seven looked solid against LSU's vaunted rushing attack, limiting the Tigers to just 2.1 yards per carry. Are there questions in the secondary? Sure. But show me a complete team in the SEC East (or West, for that matter) and I'll show you a unicorn or Sasquatch.
It doesn't exist.
Georgia's the most battle-tested at this point, and with an offense like head coach Mark Richt is boasting this year, the Bulldogs can get into and win any style of game that's thrown their way.
Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC lead writer Barrett Sallee via the B/R inbox, on Twitter @BarrettSallee or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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