SEC Power Rankings Week 6: Go West to the BCS National Championship Game
Horace Greeley is credited with popularizing the "Go West Young Man" quote during the diabolical Manifest Destiny days.
He didn't know the SEC would take his advice and manifest itself into the top division in college football by sporting the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the AP Poll this week. One of them will likely be playing for the national championship this winter.
The BCS National Championship Game will be held on Jan. 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana, west of most SEC school's headquarters.
The SEC West is flexing in every football quarter. The division also boasts the defending BCS National champion and the SEC's four highest-ranked AP teams this campaign.
The top two SEC East teams, Florida and South Carolina, were bounced by teams from the West last weekend. Every team in the East has at least one conference defeat. There are three undefeated teams in conference play residing in the West.
I'd call it the Wild West, but I'm too original and fresh for that. You cats and cattetes should join me now in a wild and fresh journey through the power of my pen and pictures. I double Bulldogs dare you.
Beware of dog, ladies. My pen is big. Woof!
12. Kentucky Wildcats: When's the 1st Jump Ball of the Season?
Beware: I'm not referring to a daring jump ball thrown to a Wildcats wide receiver. No, I'm talking about round ball played on the hard wood...floor. The kind of ball your chick loves me to cover.
Can't wait for baller season, ladies and other Wildcats fans? Don't worry, you're not alone. The Wildcats cheerleaders can't wait more than you.
I can't wait to cover Kentucky basketball. Did I mention UK had a football team (2-3, 0-2 SEC)? No? So? No one else does. Don't bust my balls.
11. Ole Miss Rebels: Did I Mention They Have Sports at the University?
If it wasn't for Dexter McCluster and Patrick Willis, would anyone, including this nice young lady, care about Ole Miss football? No? I didn't believe so.
Next slide, please...
10. Vanderbilt Commodores: Black and Gold, Rah, Rah Rah! Yawn...
"You mean we, Vanderbilt, have a football team? Get out. No, seriously, get out...of the SEC."
The Commodores will try to throw my mocking them back in my face when they travel to face Alabama this weekend at Bryant-Denny Stadium. That's Paul "Bear" Bryant.
Vandy's defense has been somewhat of a bear showing stout legs so far this season by being ranked No. 15 in the FBS for points given up per game (16).
The big pen and picture could come into focus after they face the Crimson Tide, who could post 16 in the first quarter. Caution: Don't try this picture at home.
9. Mississippi State Bulldogs: Dogged by the SEC's Top Dogs
Mississippi State lost the battle of double Bulldogs last Saturday and fell to 0-3 in the SEC's big picture. MSU is 2-3 overall.
This was a team with big expectations coming into this season, but they've fallen short so far. They still have time to kick it in gear, but they'll have to come close to going undefeated the rest of the way in the mighty SEC to sniff the conference championship.
The Bulldogs aren't that bad if you look at the FBS statistics, but the game is played on the field. The Dogs have been taking themselves for walks; now they'll have to walk it like a dog on the road against winless but upset-minded UAB.
8. Tennessee Volunteers: Passing Game Proper, Ground and Pound Play Poor
The upsetting headline says it all, as the Vols are the No. 11 FBS team in the nation when it comes to passing yards per game. Averaging a cool 337 yards per contest, Tyler Bray is a big reason.
The tall sophomore has thrown 14 touchdowns, and for almost 2,000 yards worth of knowledge that he's receiving from former Volunteer Peyton Manning.
Manning the rushing game has been a different story for the Vols, who rank No. 98 in the FBS with only 111 yards grounding and pounding per game.
Tennesse's next opponent, Georgia, averages 176 rushing yards per game, and the Bulldogs are only ranked No. 46 in the FBS rushing per game category.
The Vols (3-1, 0-1) have to to run the ball better, or they could go without an SEC win.
7. Georgia Bulldogs: Woof!
The Georgia Bulldogs were victorious in the SEC's tale of two dogs matchup against Mississippi State. The SEC's top Bulldogs have been barking back since they lost to Boise State and got edged by South Carolina to open the season.
Georgia has won three in a row and hopes to keep their edge at Tennessee's Neyland Stadium on a Saturday night show scheduled for ESPN2. Dawg Nation needs to be convinced that their team (3-2, 2-1) is ready for prime time in the wide open SEC East.
6. South Carolina Gamecocks: Knocked Back
South Carolina beat Georgia, their sworn East Division enemy, by three points in a high-scoring game earlier this season, 45-42.
The Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1) have cooled off since then and dropped to No. 18 in the AP and No. 14 in the USA Today Poll despite losing only one game. They were ranked No. 10 in the AP Poll and No. 9 in the USA Today's survey when they faced outranked Auburn last weekend, who weren't on either top 25 list.
Steve Spurrier's squad will try to get back on the winning track against the UK basketball team this Saturday afternoon.
5. Florida Gators: Charlie Weis' Offense Was Swamped in Alabama
New coaches Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis were turned tipsy-turvey against talented and visiting 'Bama.
The wise guys from Florida looked dumbed down against one of the best defensive coaches in America. The Gators may have lost their quarterback to injury and will need to repair their injured egos.
4. Arkansas Razorbacks: Their Only Loss Was to the Mighty Alabama Crimson Tide
The Razorbacks (4-1, 0-1) were toppled by the Tide earlier but topped a very talented Texas A&M team last week and sent Aggie Nation's ego into further turmoil.
A&M will join the SEC next season and fell by four after blowing an 18-point lead to their old Southwest Conference rivals.
Arkansas is ranked ahead of their West rivals, Auburn, and welcomes them to Razorback Stadium in prime time Saturday night on ESPN.
The Razors have the No. 7-ranked passing attack in the FBS and could shut me up and my SEC list this week down by tossing the ball all over the yard against the rising Auburn Tigers.
3. Auburn Tigers: Feeling Disrespected and Playing Like They Mean Business
The defending national champions (4-1, 2-0) are coming on strong and made a big splash back into the top 25 and the SEC after being out of the rankings for two straight weeks.
The Tigers' only loss came to the surprising and undefeated now No. 8-ranked Clemson clan who showed Auburn they were the top Tigers that day. Clemson was unranked and Auburn was No. 21 when they played.
Auburn is undefeated where it counts, and showed South Carolina why going West won't be easy for any East team. Even though the Gamecocks were at home, they lost to a hard-charging SEC West team.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide: Nick Saban's All-Seeing Defensive Eye Traps Wild Gators
The powerful college football team and their coach called Saban who once ran the Miami Dolphins managed to run the wild Florida Gators offense into their own sticky Swamp.
The Tide rolled at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, aka The Swamp, last Saturday. Most of Alabama's opponents have been swamped this season. For scoring points against per game, they sport the No. 1 defense in the FBS this season.
Only vaunted Arkansas has posted as many as 14 points against the Tide. If Saban's system beats LSU coming up in November, then he'll give the Bayou's providence a black eye.
1. LSU Tigers: Bye and Bye Before the LSU All-Seeing Eye
If the all-seeing eye of the LSU Tigers isn't haunting enough for opponents, it conjures up thoughts of the Illuminati for some of the school's political opponents.
Shining bright on LSU, the Bayou Bengals will likely light up another opponent, the Florida Gators, this weekend. It could be a squeaker and an upset in the making. I'll be watching and bringing you the best entertainment in the written world next week.
Catch me in Week 7 at Bleacher Report on Lake's Superior SEC Shot Out. You've been warned.
Contact Lake Cruise if you dare: LakeCruise@att.net