Linked Up: SB Nation Looks at the SEC

Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Is Kentucky really as bad as Arkansas? Can Tennessee beat Georgia? How big a story is Florida's apparent revival? Dawg Sports takes you around SB Nation for the answers.

One of the intended benefits of the SB Nation redesign rolled out this morning was to provide greater integration throughout the network. Just as our goal here is to make Dawg Sports your one-stop-shopping source for information and insight regarding the Georgia Bulldogs, so, too, is one of the objectives of what is being called “SB Nation United” to make this sports blogging network your one-stop-shopping source for all your sports needs. Accordingly, bloggers around the network have been asked to illustrate this principle in action in “Linked Up” postings like this one. Please be advised that this will not---I repeat: will not---affect the unique content you expect here. Yes, RedCrake will have his weekly printable college football TV schedule available later tonight.

In the SEC Power Poll, consensus is vanishing. Oh, sure, we all agree that the Alabama Crimson Tide are the consensus No. 1 team in the conference, but the LSU Tigers’ hold on the second spot is shakier, as the Bayou Bengals lead the Bulldogs by a scant four points. There is a logjam near the bottom, as well, where the Auburn Tigers and the Mississippi Rebels are tied for tenth and the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Kentucky Wildcats are tied for last. While I agree in principle that last week’s performances by the Plainsmen and the Wildcats justify moving those teams up and down, respectively, I cannot see where Auburn deserves to be ranked ahead of Ole Miss, or where any SEC team deserves to be ranked as low as the Hogs, based on the season’s first four games.

Because he believes Georgia is “too balanced and too good,” Joel predicts his Tennessee Volunteers will lose in Athens this weekend, but, since the series “has been so often unpredictable,” he’s “still holding out a bit of hope.” That’s certainly a fair position for a Big Orange fan to take, for three reasons. First of all, the thing Tennessee can’t do (run the ball between the tackles) is something no one can do on Georgia, while the thing the Vols can do (throw deep) is something to which the Bulldogs are susceptible, particularly if Bacarri Rambo is as rusty in his first game back from suspension as Sanders Commings was in his. Secondly, after Tennessee looked less than impressive against the Akron Zips, this is a classic trap game: Georgia is coming off of a stellar performance and looking ahead to the following Saturday’s showdown with the South Carolina Gamecocks, so the ‘Dawgs are at risk of overlooking the dangerous Vols. Finally, since the advent of divisional play made Georgia and Tennessee annual rivals two decades ago, this series has produced more than its fair share of head-scratching results. It would be folly to assume that the Red and Black’s wackiest annual affray (now that the Auburn series has begun to look a bit more normal) suddenly will stop being strange.

I am a big fan of Matt Hinton, but I take issue with Sunday Morning Quarterback’s claim “that the round robin between Florida, Georgia and South Carolina is shaping up as the most interesting development in that division in at least five years.” Even if we assume for the sake of argument that the Gators are all they’re cracked up to be, it still is a mighty bold statement to argue that the apparent equality among the present incarnation of the SEC East’s “big three” represents the most intriguing event on this side of the Alabama state line since September 2007. During that period, we have seen Mark Richt revive the Red and Black twice (during the 2007 stretch run following the debacle in Knoxville, then again last autumn after the 0-2 start that came on the heels of a 6-7 season the year before); Lane Kiffin take a one-year whirlwind tour at Tennessee; Urban Meyer win a second national title, proclaim Tim Tebow the greatest player of our era, and retire temporarily twice; Steve Spurrier take South Carolina football to the next level with a division championship one year and an eleven-win season the next; the sudden retirement of Bobby Johnson, the folksy ascent of Robbie Caldwell, and the infusing of a new attitude at Vanderbilt; and the addition of Mizzou to the Eastern Division. I’m going to go out on limb and say that three teams in the SEC East being good at the same time isn’t that earth-shattering a development.

Those were my thoughts when I looked around the network. What do you think? What have you seen that caught your eye?

Go ‘Dawgs!

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