CURRENT SEC PECKING ORDER
1a. Florida. 10-0 (8-0), remaining schedule: vs. FIU, vs. Florida St.
1b. Alabama. 10-0 (8-0): vs. UT-Chattanooga, @Auburn.
3. LSU. 8-2 (4-2): @Ole Miss, vs. Arkansas.
4. Ole Miss. 7-3 (3-3): vs. LSU, @Miss. St.
5. Georgia. 6-4 (4-3): vs. Kentucky, @Georgia Tech.
6. Auburn. 7-4 (3-4): vs. Alabama.
7. Tennessee. 5-5 (2-4): vs. Vandy, @Kentucky.
8. Arkansas. 6-4 (2-4): vs. Miss. St., @LSU.
9. South Carolina. 6-5 (3-5): vs. Clemson.
10. Kentucky. 6-4 (2-4): @Georgia, vs. Tennessee.
11? Miss. St. 4-6 (2-4): vs. Arkansas, @Ole Miss.
Good heavens, what a muddle.The dream of six different 7-5 SEC teams remains alive, though barely.
AS A REMINDER, YOUR SEC TIE-INS
1. BCS Bowl 1 2. BCS Bowl 2 3. Capital One 4a. Cotton 4b. Outback 4c. Chik-Fil-A 7a. Music City 7b. Liberty 9. Independence 10. Papajohns.com
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ONE MAN’S GUESS AT HOW THE NON-AUBURN PORTION OF THE SEC WILL SHAKE OUT
1. Florida (12-0) 2. Alabama (12-0) 3. LSU (9-3/8-4) 4. Ole Miss (8-4) 5. Georgia (8-4/7-5) 6. Tennessee (7-5) 7. Arkansas (8-4/7-5) 8. South Carolina (7-5/6-6) 9. Kentucky (7-5/6-6) 10? Miss. St. (not likely to make 6-6)
MEANING THAT IF AUBURN FINISHES 7-5
It depends. Auburn is rooting like crazy for LSU: if Ole Miss knocks off the Tigers in Oxford this week, you can just about peg the Rebels for the Cap One, LSU for the Cotton, and Auburn for Nashville or Memphis. Likewise, if the Hogs take care of business against MSU and upset LSU the last week of the season, they’ll leapfrog Auburn in the pecking order faster than a … a … leaping frog. Or something.
LSU winning out, however, would send Los Otros Tigres to the Cap One and leave the Cotton with some seriously lacking options: an Ole Miss team that was just there last season, 7-5 Auburn coming off of a two-game losing streak, 7-5 Arkansas whose biggest win came over Auburn back in Week 6, or 7-5 Tennessee. As I’ve said for the last couple of weeks, it’s possible they pick Auburn out of this group, but I’m betting they take the hype-magnet Vols unless for some weird reason the Outback only has eyes for Lane. Better bet: 8-4 Ole Miss goes to Tampa, Vols go to Dallas.
And unless Georgia takes the pipe against both Kentucky and Tech, the Dawgs go to Atlanta. No way the Chik-Fil-A folks pass on the home crowd in this economy, especially if they can rig a Georgia-Clemsonmatchup that would have both fanbases (or at least, the longer-memoried parts of both fanbases) foaming at the mouth.
Which sends Auburn to either the Music City or Liberty. As I’m guessing the Liberty would rather take a likely 7-5 Hog team, I’m guessing that means Nashville.
AND IN THE EXCEEDINGLY UNLIKELY EVENT AUBURN FINISHES 8-4
It all hinges on LSU-Ole Miss: if the Rebels win and go to the Cap One, the Tigers go Outback. If LSU wins and heads to Orlando, Auburn will go to the Cotton. I think it’s pretty much that cut and dry unless LSU loses both of their final two games and Miss. St. upsets the Rebels; that might get Auburn to the Cap One, but that kind of scenario is way, way too far-flung to contemplate.
AND FINALLY, THIS WEEK’S FINAL OFFICIAL WBE SEC BOWL PROJECTION
We’re right back to where we were two weeks ago:
Florida (12-0) to BCS Championship, Alabama (12-0) to Sugar, LSU (9-3) to Capital One, Ole Miss (8-4) to Outback, Tennessee (7-5) to Cotton, Georgia (7-5) to Chik-Fil-A, Arkansas (7-5) to Liberty, Auburn (7-5) to Music City, South Carolina (6-6) to Independence, Kentucky (6-6) to Papajohns.com.
Auburn’s potential opponent in Nashville could be any number of ACC teams: Boston College, North Carolina, Florida St., or even Duke. UNC seems maybe the most likely candidate, since FSU’s likely to wind up at 6-6 (thanks to the Gators) and the Eagles played the Music City last year.