Josh Kendall

October 15, 2013

Kendall's Morning Meeting: Both divisions up for grabs halfway through

Eight teams still can make an argument they will be playing in Atlanta in the SEC Championship Game in December. Don't laugh, Auburn is one.

Josh Kendall

News and views about Gamecocks football

    Who can remember the last time more than half the teams in the SEC East, and SEC West for that matter, looks like they had some shot of winning the division halfway into the season?

    Call it parity. Call it losing a step at the top. Call it whatever you want, but at least it’s interesting. On South Carolina’s side of the conference, Missouri of all people leads the division, but the Gamecocks, Georgia and Florida are a game back and all have reason to believe they could go to Atlanta.

    In the West, Alabama still leads the way at 3-0, but the Crimson Tide hardly looks unbeatable. Texas A&M, LSU and even Auburn lurk one game back. (Don’t sleep on the Tigers just yet. They can score.)

    The logjam will begin to sort itself Saturday when Florida and Missouri and Auburn and Texas A&M play what amount to elimination games on their sides of the league, but we’ve got to wait until November to get any definitive answers. LSU and its improving defense get their crack at the Crimson Tide (in Tuscaloosa) on Nov. 9 and then the Aggies (in Baton Rouge) on Nov. 23.

    The East, meanwhile, looks like it will have to wait until the Nov. 16 weekend to be decided as Florida plays at Williams-Brice and Georgia plays at Auburn. Enjoy the next month.

    Around the SEC:

    This Alabama columnist makes a good point. Let’s concentrate on these players as college football players rather than NFL prospects. The point here is about Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron, but the argument can be extended throughout the league.

    It looks like Auburn may have a quarterback controversy on its hands for maybe the next four years. True freshman Jeremy Johnson came in for the injured Nick Marshall last week and looked good (albeit against Western Carolina), and the Tigers say Johnson is going to stay on the field, although not as the starter (for now), the rest of this season.

    Tennessee and Virginia Tech held a press conference Monday to announce their 2016 game at Bristol Motor Speedway. As college football becomes more and more an outlier from the actual college experience, is taking so many games off campus to professional sites a good idea? I don’t think it is.

    After initial reports that Missouri quarterback James Franklin will miss the remainder of the season, Tigers coach Gary Pinkel says his star will be back within five weeks and maybe as soon as three. The problem is the Tigers play their two most important games of the season the next two weeks.

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