While waiting for the Tigers to travel to Fayetteville and continue this work-in-progress season, there are some interesting facts to consider.
- Auburn is still undefeated in the SEC and appears to have a decent shot at staying that way until October 22.
- Should Auburn pull off wins against ranked Arkansas and Florida, they could face LSU as a Top 10 team.
- Auburn has improved every week this season. The Auburn team that played in Week 5 is miles ahead of the Auburn team that lost in Week 3.
- Neither LSU nor Alabama have a defensive line much better than that of South Carolina. In fact, South Carolina stacks up quite favorably in that area against both teams.
- Neither LSU nor Alabama are much (if any) superior to South Carolina in rushing offense. Marcus Lattimore averaged 3.9 yards per carry against Auburn.
While no one thought to begin the season, and it still appears to be simply a pie in the sky, Auburn is not only still in the SEC championship race, but that of the BCS Championship as well.
Should Auburn win over Arkansas and Florida, they will face the current top team in the nation on their home field on October 22 and possibly as a top 10 team.
If they should pull off that monumental upset, then they could face another top team in the nation to close the season on November 26. Without another loss, Auburn would likely be a top five team at that point in the season.
No other team in the Top 10 would have faced a schedule comparable in difficulty to that of Auburn.
Should Auburn get that far, they would have dispatched at least five Top 25 teams and possibly six. Included would be likely be two teams ranked No. 1 in the BCS when they play Auburn.
Will this scenario happen? It is not likely.
Could this scenario happen? Certainly, if this Auburn team continues to work hard enough and improve quickly enough they could find themselves in heavy contention for the BCS Championship.
What team is the best in college football this week?
The point of bringing this scenario up is not to promote the chances of Auburn to pull this off, but simply to expose a fatal flaw in the perception of the modern sports media.
The media have not only declared LSU and Alabama as the only two teams with a chance at the SEC, but have already started a debate of which defense is the best ever.
This is an absolutely silly debate that has no place in college football at this point. It is so early in the season that the initial BCS rankings have not come out. There are a ton of teams like Auburn, which have not peaked in their potential this season.
Such premature speculation and putrid prognostication does nothing to help college football and adds nothing to the current season. Let us take a look at exactly why this is the case.
LSU is currently ranked on top of the college football world. This ranking was earned and well deserved at this point in the season. They are certainly a formidable team.
The fact remains that they still have to play the two best SEC offenses from 2010 in Auburn and Arkansas. The LSU defense was ripped by both in 2010, and there are no guarantees they will be able to shut them down this season.
While there is little doubt that LSU can and likely will shut down the Alabama offense, it is also very likely that Alabama can return the favor. It is simply too early to assume this LSU team is “the best ever” at anything.
Alabama has earned their preseason ranking at this point. They are very likely either the second-best or possibly even the best team in the SEC as of this week. This is the team most often mentioned in these ridiculous diatribes of “best ever”.
Alabama has looked very impressive while facing the teams on their schedule so far. They were able to hold a very potent passing offense down in an earlier game.
The truth is, they have not faced even a mediocre power rushing attack this season. They also have yet to face a competent balanced attack on offense.
With LSU and Auburn still left to play and old rivals like up-and-coming Tennessee still on the schedule, it is way too early to mention this team as “the best ever” in any area. The truth is that they are good, but still a work in progress at this point in the season.
No one has mentioned Oklahoma in these ridiculous “best ever” conversations since early in the season. This is wise, as they still have Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State left on their schedule.
They have also only played one mediocre team this season, with the remainder being weak.
One “best ever” conversation that does seem appropriate at this point involves Clemson. The 2011 Clemson team certainly could be discussed as one of the “best ever” teams at that particular institution. No one gave them any chance in the preseason, but now, look at where they are.
This has already been a remarkable season for the surging Clemson Tigers and only looks to improve with the meat of their schedule behind them.
With only Georgia Tech and South Carolina remaining on a schedule that seems to have a chance at causing a stumble, this is a team that deserves to be talked about.
To be the best, a team must beat the best. The best is yet to come in this young season. It is way too early to start hyping Heisman candidates and “best ever” teams. If a team is the best they will be at this point, it is unlikely they will be the best in November.
We have just reached that point in the season when teams really start to gel and play well. It is a time of the season to sit back and enjoy some great football while looking at all teams with an objective eye.
We do not have any idea of what team is the best in 2011 at this point, and to talk about the ‘best ever” is simply ridiculous in the extreme.
With the initial BCS rankings due to be released soon, it is now time to turn the attention on what teams might be worthy of those coveted 25 positions at the top of college football.
For this week, this is how we see them. How do you see them?