Top Dawgs? SEC Football Heats Up

Chris Dell'Amour

For those of you who have missed Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno you-tubing a Central Michigan defender or Florida’s Brandon James 78 yard punt return in which he made six defenders whiff, the writing is on the wall. These teams are playing for a national title and nothing less. This year is possibly one of the most competitive in recent memory in the prestigious SEC. Prior to this week, five of the top ten teams in the country were from this conference. Heisman candidates Tim Tebow (QB-Florida), Percy Harvin (WR-Florida), Knowshon Moreno (RB-Georgia) and Matthew Stafford (QB-Georgia) are all battling to bring a national title back.

The SEC East is quite possibly the hardest BCS sub-conference this year. Of course the perennial powerhouses of #3 Georgia and #4 Florida are the front-runners in the conference, but a dark horse has emerged in the conference. Emerging as quite the dual-threat quarterback has been Vanderbilt quarterback Chris Nickson. In his third year starting at Vanderbilt the senior has the Commodores (4-0) sitting atop the SEC East with Georgia, Florida and Kentucky. The Commodores are looking to show that they are for real after knocking off a highly touted #24 South Carolina squad in week two with a 24-17 victory. Riding their three game win streak into this past weekend, Vandy edged Ole Miss in the waning moments of the game 23-17 to finally earn a #25 ranking in the AP poll. However, the Commodores will have to step it up in a couple of weeks as they take on #15 Auburn (3-1). The other undefeated team in the SEC East is Kentucky, which has had a cupcake schedule until this point in the season. Thus far, the Wildcats would probably have more competition playing against an intramural team. Let us all say a prayer for sophomore quarterback Mike Hartline as he takes on #8 Alabama on October 14.

Early season favorites to knock off Georgia and Florida were Tennessee and South Carolina. Both teams already have two losses and not only did Tennessee lose to Florida this weekend by twenty-four points, but special teams return specialist Brandon James accentuated the drubbing as he embarrassed Tennessee at home with punt return and kick return touchdowns. Also, Tim Tebow felt it was perfectly all right to only throw for two touchdowns this game because he wanted to save his energy for his trip over to Galveston where he would single-handedly rebuild the city. What a nice guy.

One of the most exciting games of the week was the Georgia vs. Arizona State game. Georgia solidified its place as one of the elite teams in the nation in their 27-10 win against the Sun Devils. The stingy Georgia defense held the high-powered Sun Devil offense to only ten points and an unbelievable four rushing yards. In the meantime, Herschel Walker, I mean Knowshon Moreno, rushed for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns while looking to bring the Dawgs back to the promise land.

The SEC West also has its share of championship-caliber teams in #15 Auburn, #8 Alabama and #6 LSU. The big game of the week was the match-up between bitter rivals LSU and Auburn. To measure the importance of this game, the winner of it in six of the past eight seasons has gone on to play in the SEC championship game. This helter-skelter game with five lead changes, running backs throwing touchdowns and defensive linemen intercepting passes for touchdowns, lived up to all the hype it was given. In the end, the LSU Tigers pulled out the victory (26-21) with 1:03 left in the fourth quarter as wide receiver Brandon LaFell caught an eighteen yard touchdown pass from Jarrett Lee.

The other top team in the SEC West that played this weekend was #8 Alabama. The Crimson Tide headed over to Arkansas where they squared up against the Razorbacks. This game had the makings of a barn-burner…if it took place a year ago. The Tide jumped out to an early 21-0 lead in the first quarter and went on to rout the Razorbacks 49-14. Freshman standout wide receiver Julio Jones scored a touchdown for the Tide and running back Glen Coffee rushed for 162 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In related news, Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick was the first Razorback to score a touchdown in four years not named Darren or Felix. Just kidding, but not really.

This weekend, the SEC really heats up as Georgia and Alabama square off in the ESPN game of the week on Saturday at 7:45 p.m. Alabama comes into this game with a chip on its shoulder and Coach Nick Saban hopes his talented senior quarterback, John Parker Wilson, and sensational freshman class can outplay the Dawgs. This is a must win game for Georgia as they consecutively play Vanderbilt, LSU and Florida starting October 18. Is the burden too much to bear for the sophomore running back from New Jersey? Knowshon Moreno seems to think not.