Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Sorry I've been away, but I haven't been able to log in to Blogger consistently, at least on Mondays. So let's give Tuesday a try. The big game in the SEC turned out to be Kentucky-LSU. I'm sure everyone's seen the ending of that game, where after Kentucky had rallied to lead with seconds remaining after trailing big most of the game, LSU hit on a miracle Hail Mary to win it. I've no doubt that Kentucky isn't as good of a team as LSU, but they are such a pain to play, and they just don't stop playing even when you think you have them beat. Turns out they will stop playing when they think you have them beat, though.

Alabama was slapped with a ton of penalties but beat Mississippi State anyway. The last couple of weeks Alabama has morphed into a passing team, but they're unpredictable. They play LSU this week and I'm sure both teams will have surprises in store... Tennessee was crushed by Miami, to no one's surprise. They just aren't a very good team. Though the Vols did manage to keep Miami out of the end zone most of the time, Miami marched up and down the field at will... Vandy was game but lost to Florida anyway, because they're Vandy.

The SEC race is settling down now. At this stage, there are essentially five teams involved, two eligible potential winners in each division and one ineligible team that will have a big say in the West. LSU leads Auburn by a half-game (in the loss column), but Auburn won the battle of the Tigers earlier this year so holds the tiebreak. LSU has three games left on their schedule, none of which is an automatic win. They should beat Ole Miss, but Alabama is, I think, a better team and it will be a fight this weekend in Baton Rouge. Auburn still has to host Georgia and go to Alabama; they'd be lucky to split. Arkansas hosts LSU to end the season and the Razorbacks are still vaguely in it, but need to win out and have Alabama sweep LSU and Auburn to tie, and Auburn to lose to Georgia as well to get the trip to the Championship Game. Alabama's ineligible, but probably the best team in the division and they really want to show it.

Meanwhile, the East is simple. Georgia is a game up on Florida but Florida won head-to-head, so the Dawgs need to finish ahead of the Gators to win. Each team has one game left in conference play, both this weekend: Georgia is at Auburn and Florida at South Carolina. If Georgia wins or Florida loses, Georgia takes the short trip to Atlanta. Both teams have out-of-conference but in-state games left to finish the schedule.

Note on bowls: If I understand the criteria properly, six wins, even in a twelve-game schedule, will do for bowl eligibility. Five SEC teams (Georgia, Florida, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas) are bowl-eligible to date. Vandy and MSU are out, and Alabama and Kentucky ineligible (but would qualify if they were). Tennessee, South Carolina, and Ole Miss all need one win to make it. UT has Vandy left, so they shouldn't have any problem, and USC has a weak Clemson team to finish the year. Ole Miss has winless MSU to finish the year, but weird things happen when those teams play. The SEC has agreements to get eight teams to bowls most years; last year they actually couldn't find a bowl for an eligible team. Won't happen this year.


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