CFB Czar Declares War: Last One Standing in SEC West for All the Marbles?
After three weeks of exciting college football action it is hard to argue that there is a better conference than the SEC.
Coming into week three the SEC had four teams in the top ten with three of those in the top five and the No. 1 team in the country, Florida.
All four of those teams won again the three teams from the west won in convincing fashion making the SEC West look a lot like the best division in all of college football.
In fact, Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU have done very little to separate themselves from each other but are making a strong argument that they are far ahead of EVERYONE else.
With a trip to Atlanta and an opportunity to play for a national title almost certainly in the future for the winner of the west you can bet there are going to be some epic battles to determine who will be the last one standing.
So with that in mind, I, your (self) appointed CFB Czar, have declared war in the wild wild-west
Here's a look at the warring factions and how they stack up.
By Henry Ball (Southern Man) Syndicated Writer & Bleacher Report Scribe
Alabama's Crimson Tide (No.4) 3-0 (0-0 SEC)
The Tide entered week three riding high after convincing wins over FIU and then No. 7 Virginia Tech in the Chic-fil-a kickoff classic.
The preseason questions surrounding Greg McElroy and a revamped offensive line have been answered.
After the 53-7 rout of the North Texas Mean Green on Saturday in Tuscaloosa the Junior QB from Southlake, Tx is 46 of 69 on the season (70.56%) for 647 yards and four touchdowns with just one interception and he has only been sacked three times.
The defense is as good as advertised allowing ‘Bama to outscore its opponents 127-45 (24 of those points came in the opener versus VTech)
Nick Saban's only complaint prior to the North Texas game was that his team had yet to 'play for 60 minutes'; problem solved! The Tide played hard from start to finish and look like the team to beat in the SEC West.
With Florida and Texas looking vulnerable against unranked teams and USC falling to Washington it might be time to start talking about the Crimson Tide as the No. 1 team in the nation.
Ole' Miss Rebels (No.5) 2-0 (0-0 SEC)
After a very impressive first year in Oxford Huston Nutt had Ole Miss poised to make some noise in the SEC West.
With junior quarterback Jevan Snead and senior receiver Dexter McCluster on everyone’s watch lists and with four of the top five receivers returning for the Rebels they aren’t just whistling Dixie.
Ole Miss has outscored two opponents 97-20 while battling a serious outbreak of swine flu.
Snead has led the way completing 55.8% of his passes for 384 yards and five touchdowns. Sophomore RB Brandon Bolden has averaged eight yards a carry, McCluster is a threat from the backfield or lined up as a receiver and this team has a lot of weapons.
They have yet to prove themselves against a worthy opponent but they'll get their chance next week as they travel to Columbia, SC to face the Ole' Ball Coach and a stout Gamecock defense.
The Rebels are definitely a contender and a date with Alabama (10/10) in Oxford looms large.
LSU's Fighting Tigers (No. 9) 3-0 (1-0 SEC)
On September 6th the big questions were how could LSU ‘only’ beat Washington by eight? (After all the Huskies couldn't win a game last year.) Shouldn't the Tigers blow them out? Is LSU's defense any better under new defensive coordinator John Chavis?
On September 20th that win in Seattle suddenly looks a lot better considering that same UW team hosted No. 3 USC and beat them 16-13 in Husky stadium.
And Chavis' defense has allowed just ten points since the opener.
Maybe we should take another look at these Tigers.
Jordan Jefferson, despite his first interception in over 175 attempts, continues to manage games exceptionally well.
He has completed 64% of his passes on the year for 475 yards and five touchdowns. He has also added 77 yards on the ground and has picked up several crucial first downs running the football.
The running game, while not flashy, has netted 491 yards on the year with three touchdowns.
The passing game by comparison has produced 486 yards (almost ten yards per catch) and six touchdowns.
Indeed the Tigers' balanced attack can be lethal with weapons galore. They'll need to unleash the fire power over the next three weeks. (@ MSU, @ No. 23 UGA and No. 1 Florida) If they survive they will be set up for a late season run through the SEC West with visits to Oxford and Tuscaloosa on the horizon.
After the game Les Miles said that the Tigers continue to get better each week. "In fact", said Miles “this team will prepare hard for every team and we WILL get better every week, if Jordan Jefferson continues to progress as he has so far it will be special”
Some Tiger fans had lowered their expectations after the Washington game. As ESPN’s Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friends!”
The Rest (Don't Sleep)
Auburn's Tigers 3-0 (1-0 SEC) - Gene Chizik apparently did not get the memo.
Despite the questions (and outright fan revolt) surrounding his being hired to replace Tommy Tubberville, Chizik and new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn have their team making some noise.
They have outscored three FBS opponents 127 - 67. A great comeback against WVU has the Auburn faithful believing - War Eagle!
Arkansas Razorbacks 1-1 (0-1 SEC) - Petrino wanted to make some bacon in his second year.
So did Georgia. Despite a valiant effort in a classic shoot out with No.23 UGA the hogs came up short 41-52.
Nevertheless, Arkansas with a long history of giant killing may be capable of knocking anybody off on a given Saturday.
Unfortunately the next five could all be against ranked teams, including Alabama, Florida and Ole' Miss. They will likely finish at the bottom of the West but the Hogs will not be an easy win.
Mississippi State Bull Dogs 2-1 (1-1 SEC) "I need more cow bell"
Dan Mullen brings offensive prowess and a new attitude to Starkville. With two wins, including one in conference the Bull Dogs are barking. There may be some bite but probably not enough to run with the big dogs.
Look for MSU to stay on the porch but again they will not be an easy win.
Basically, don't sleep on anybody in this division. There are three legitimate national contenders and a dark horse or two capable of winning the West.
If there is a better division in college football I'd like you to break it down for me!
Bonus Slide - Perfect 10
This SHOULD be the Top 10 (based on performance)
1. Alabama - Most impressive (Best Win - VTech)
2. Texas - TTech was closer than it should have been
3. Florida - If UT had a QB Kiffin would be singing
4. LSU – Two wins over BCS Conferences and the best of the Sun Belt
4. Ole Miss - No big wins yet but no reason not to believe
6. Cal - Jahvid Best is the early Heisman leader
7. Penn St. - Impressive wins over nobody
8. Boise State - BCS Busting still in play
9. Miami - The U sent an RSVP to a party they were not invited to - look out.
10. Houston - The other BCS Buster?
15. Washington Huskies – Win over No.3 USC and an impressive loss v. No. 9 LSU