SEC Football: 5 Teams Most Likely to Spoil a BCS Contender's Season
The SEC is widely considered the deepest conference in college football. Even this season, where many of the teams seem to be vulnerable, nearly all of the 14 teams are still loaded with talent and have the potential to destroy a possible BCS run.
Which teams have the best chance?
It's the teams that may not have the prettiest record halfway through the season but have showed potential. They may run the ball effectively, play great defense or have a rising quarterback who's capable of taking over a game.
You can never sleep in the SEC, especially against the teams that have nothing to lose.
It all depends on which Tennessee team decides to show up, but the Volunteers have potential to pull off an upset for the ages. In fact, they almost pulled it off last week against Georgia. The Bulldogs needed overtime and a heartbreaking fumble to put Tennessee to bed.
It must have been the uniforms!
Hey, call it want you want but the Volunteers looked like a completely different team. They were motivated, the crowd was feeling good and both sides of the ball were playing at an elite level. Quarterback Justin Worley managed the game well, running back Rajion Neal provided 100-plus yards on the ground and the defense held Aaron Murray to only 196 passing yards.
Can Tennessee build on this performance?
But with Alabama, South Carolina and Missouri still on the schedule, somebody could fall victim to a team feeling good about itself after last week's moral victory.
The Rebels have proven that they aren't quite there yet, but don't give up on them after two straight losses. They weren't going to beat Alabama on the road and, well, we'll give credit to Auburn and chalk up the loss to it being a must-win game for the Tigers.
This doesn't mean that the Rebels still can't do damage in the SEC West.
Although young, they have an extremely athletic and feisty defense. Guys dominate in the trenches, players fly to the ball and they do a lot of gang tackling. This type of aggressiveness has led to eight turnovers in the first five games.
Offensively, there is more speed than the Pac-12, as Jeff Scott, Donte Moncrief and Laquon Treadwell are all capable of taking it to the house at any moment.
Ole Miss can match most teams on a talent level, but this youthful bunch still needs to learn how to close games. An upset against Texas A&M, LSU or Missouri shouldn't be written off just yet.
Arkansas was flying under the radar after starting the season 3-0. Now, after three consecutive losses, some may have even forgotten the Razorbacks are in this conference.
This isn't the time to fall asleep.
While the Razorbacks still have plenty to work on, they do the two things that SEC teams pride themselves on: having success running the ball and pressuring the quarterback.
Believe it or not, Arkansas leads the conference with 17 sacks and also has 18 quarterback hurries. The backfield includes a two-headed monster in Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, who have combined for 1,154 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
If you can run the ball and sack the quarterback, you have a chance to win in the SEC.
Arkansas still has a shot at South Carolina, Alabama and LSU. While the team from Fayetteville are sure to be heavy underdogs in all of those games, don't count them out.
Auburn is that team that seems to be peaking at the right moment. These are the teams that nobody wants to play near the end of the season when everybody is making a push for a BCS bowl.
The Tigers have won four of their first five games and looked fairly competitive in a 35-21 loss to LSU. A defense that is ranked 13th in the SEC certainly needs work, however, quarterback Nick Marshall is beginning to find his groove. His completion percentage has improved to 59.2 percent, and he's making more and more plays with his legs.
With his arm strength and athleticism, SEC defenses can't help but wonder how good he can be once he gets a little more comfortable in the pocket.
Marshall also has help from running backs Tre Mason, Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant, who have all topped more than 200 rushing yards and have combined for nine touchdowns.
Auburn can keep things dangerously close with its offense, which is scary for teams such as Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama.
Can I brag for just a second?
Missouri is 5-0 to begin the season. Yeah, yeah, none of the wins came against top tier opponents. But a convincing 51-28 win over Vanderbilt turned enough heads to put the Tigers in the AP Poll. After all, the Commodores were considered the next team to make a push for a conference title.
The Tigers are getting fabulous play from quarterback James Franklin and Dorial Green-Beckham is finally starting to blossom into a No. 1 wide receiver. The offense is averaging 46.6 points per game and nearly 259 rushing yards per contest.
However, it's the defense that has made great strides. Although it allows an average of 412 yards per game, it makes up for it with 15 sacks and 11 turnovers. The momentum changing plays are key for this team and are the reason the Tigers are undefeated.
Many will find it hard to believe in Missouri this early, but games against Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Texas A&M provide plenty of opportunities to become the SEC's biggest spoiler.