We’re now officially all marking time until next weekend’s SEC West showdown settles, once and for all, the question of which conference team is the best in the league, and in the land. Until that definitive clash occurs, though, this is the best I can do in compiling my SEC Power Poll ballot:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0 overall, 5-0 SEC): I chose between Alabama and Louisiana State by asking myself, "Which team would I less rather see my team face in the SEC Championship Game?" If, you know, hypothetically, Georgia managed to win the East, somehow.
2. LSU Tigers (8-0, 5-0): Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to imagine how Les Miles spends an open date. You will officially boggle your mind.
3. South Carolina Gamecocks (7-1, 5-1): Winning with defense in Knoxville strikes me as more impressive than winning with offense in Nashville, and I say that as a fan of a team that has done both this season.
4. Arkansas Razorbacks (7-1, 3-1): Suddenly, I’m not feeling nearly as awful as I did about Georgia’s high-scoring nailbiter against Vanderbilt.
5. Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 5-1): I know, I know; the Bulldogs still haven’t beaten a Division I-A opponent with a winning record. Just let me enjoy this one for a while, all right?
6. Auburn Tigers (6-3, 4-2): Tied with Ole Miss at halftime at home? Really?
7. Florida Gators (4-4, 2-4): Last Saturday’s loss mathematically eliminated the Gators from contention for the Eastern Division championship. Florida is mired in its first four-game losing streak since 1988. Will Muschamp is the first non-interim Orange and Blue head coach to start out 0-1 against Georgia since Charley Pell. Yep, I’m still enjoying this one.
8. Tennessee Volunteers (3-5, 0-5): Personally, I think those atrocious orange pants are bad luck. Even if they’re not, my word, they’re an eyesore.
9. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (4-4, 1-4): There’s only so much solace to be taken from discovering that you’re better than Kentucky. Honestly, if you lost to Kentucky in Japan, you’d have to kill yourself to restore the lost honor of your ancestors.
10. Vanderbilt Commodores (4-4, 1-4): When a head coach who encourages his athletes to play dirty consistently loses close games, is it proper to call them immoral victories?
11. Mississippi Rebels (2-6, 0-5): Can we arrange for Ole Miss and Tennessee to play one another, and shorten the game to 30 minutes? Because I’d be willing to bet that’d be a heck of a ballgame!
12. Kentucky Wildcats (3-5, 0-4): Urban Meyer thinks this team represents the bottom one per cent of the bottom one per cent.
Naturally, I am still euphoric over the Bulldogs’ victory against the Gators in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, so the probability is high that my thinking is far from clear. Consequently, I invite your questions and constructive criticisms in the comments below.