Up next for UF: Georgia gives SEC power its lacked

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Georgia running back D'Andre Swift (7) and offensive lineman Justin Shaffer (54) leave the field after Georgia defeated Missouri 53-28 Saturday in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
The Southeastern Conference is not the behemoth it was when the league dominated college football for almost a decade, but for the first time in a few years, it has a team other than Alabama that could threaten to win a national championship.

Georgia crept up to No. 3 in the AP college football poll on Sunday, and a case can be made the Bulldogs are still being undersold. The top-ranked Crimson Tide are now a unanimous No. 1 for the first time this season and, after four ranked teams lost last weekend, Penn State is No. 2. The Nittany Lions have not been ranked this high since 1999.

As for the SEC, overall depth is lacking, but Georgia is providing strength at the top that has been missing.

From 2006-12, four SEC schools combined to win seven straight national titles, and there was almost always another SEC team or two near the top of the final rankings. But in 2015, the SEC was down to two top 10 teams in the final poll: No. 1 Alabama and No. 10 Mississippi. Last year, Alabama finished No. 2 and next best in the SEC was LSU at 13.

Last week the SEC had only three ranked teams, the fewest for the league in any week since 2009, when the conference’s depth was so-so but Alabama and Florida finished first and third, respectively.

This season is starting to feel like that one, when the Crimson Tide and Gators were undefeated headed into the SEC championship game.

Is the SEC back? Heat check is unconcerned. It’s about teams not conferences, but right now no conference has two teams better than Georgia and Alabama.

No. 1 Alabama (7-0)

The Crimson Tide is the only team in the nation ranked in the top 10 in yards per play (7.01, 10th) and yards per play allowed (4.09, fifth).

Next: vs. Tennessee.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 2 Penn State (6-0)

Nittany Lions have been dominant. The competition has been OK. Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State over the next three weeks will change at least one of those.

Next: vs. No. 19 Michigan.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 3 Georgia (7-0)

Roquan Smith might be the best linebacker in the country.

Next: Florida at Jacksonville, Florida, Oct. 28.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 4 TCU (6-0)

After watching several good teams lose or barely get on the road, there is even more to appreciate about the Horned Frogs. TCU has won three away from home against Power Five teams by an average of 18 points.

Next: vs. Kansas.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 5 Wisconsin (6-0)

Yes, the Badgers have played no ranked teams and won’t play more than one before the Big Ten championship game. But Clemson, Washington, Washington State and Auburn just lost to unranked teams. Simply taking care of business every week is not easy.

Next: vs. Maryland.

Heat check: Too hot.

8 COMMENTS

  1. As a Gator fan I do not look forward to playing Georgia this year. We are going to get stomped. After we lose by 30 points, and are thoroughly embarrassed, maybe just maybe the administration will “open their eyes” and have the guts to fire Coach Mac. Please, end our suffering. Bring back Gator football.

  2. the defense is a large problem for gator nation. The defense will be a large problem moving forward for gator nation. If you guys don’t pull in a top 7 recruiting class nationally moving forward will be a large problem for gator nation. happy holidays!