The Twists and Turns of SEC Football in 2012
Aside from the Razorbacks’ bad season, Southeastern Conference football has been really fun this season. And, of course, by fun, I mean mind-blowing and frustrating.
Before the season started, most fans thought Alabama and LSU would be fighting for the right to represent the SEC in the National Championship game and everyone else would be fighting for third.
In the first week, three SEC teams lost. Two of the losses were not a surprise. Sorry Vanderbilt and Kentucky, but most college football fans are pretty accustomed to you losing. But by most accounts, at least at the time, Auburn should have beaten Clemson.
Nobody expected Auburn to be a world beater this season, but they should have been able to beat those ACC Tigers.
Of course, all Razorback fans are well aware what happened in the second week, but for the rest of the conference, it was really business as usual, as was the third week..
By the fourth week of the season, most fans were pretty sure both Arkansas and Auburn were awful. Then LSU barely beat Auburn, 12-10. Was LSU overrated or was Auburn back on track?
In week six, Arkansas beat Auburn 24-7, Florida beat LSU 14-6 and South Carolina beat Georgia 35-7. So Auburn was the worst team in the league, Florida was back, LSU really was overrated and South Carolina was really good.
At least that’s what everyone thought until the next weekend. That’s when LSU beat South Carolina 23-21. So LSU just had a couple of bad weeks, right? Or South Carolina was just really overrated? That means Georgia must have been overrated too.
This reasoning made even more sense after week eight when Florida defeated South Carolina 44-11 and LSU defeated Texas A&M, who had somewhat quietly become one of the better teams in the conference.
Going into week nine, the only two undefeated teams were Alabama and Mississippi State (really, it was Mississippi State). Then the Tide defeated the Bulldogs 38-7. So Alabama had to be awesome to beat another undefeated team that badly.
The same week Georgia made the SEC East even more confusing by beating Florida 17-9. Maybe Florida wasn’t really back. Or maybe Georgia just played a couple of bad games earlier in the season.
In week 10, Alabama needed a late-game comeback to defeat LSU 21-17. Also, remember Texas A&M? Well, they beat that previously undefeated Mississippi State team 38-13.
This weekend, the Aggies did something even more impressive. Texas A&M beat No. 1 Alabama 29-24. Despite the loss, all Alabama has to do to make it to the SEC championship game is beat Auburn.
Georgia defeated Auburn 38-0 to earn the right to represent the east in the SEC championship game.
After Alabama’s loss to A&M, it looks like the SEC will not have an opportunity to play for a seventh-consecutive national title.
Coaches and players are always saying that every week in the SEC is a battle. This has never been more true than it has this season.
The SEC has essentially beaten itself this season.
Now, the real question is: Is the SEC as a whole overrated?
Are the teams in the conference able to beat up on each other because they are all bad and inconsistent? Or is it because they are all just that good?
I like to think it is the latter. I guess we will find out in the final weeks of the season when teams like Florida and South Carolina play their in-state rivals Florida State and Clemson, and when bowl season rolls around.
Haley Markle is the assistant sports editor for The Arkansas Traveler. Her column appears weekly. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.