With all the chaos in the top 25 this season, you have to wonder who if anybody is going to rise to challenge LSU, who is the only top team so far who has demonstrated the consistency to be ranked at the top. USC, subject of most of the pre-season hype, has fallen to lowly Stanford and in the process, promoted a redshirt freshman to starting QB for the Cardinal. This weekend, LSU brings its powerful, athletic team into Commonwealth Stadium to try to tame the Kentucky Wildcats. Some are wondering about a letdown by the Tigers and a surge by the recently-defeated Cats.
But there is a lot more going on than #1 playing this week. First of all, we get to find out if last Satuday's game between the Vols and the Dawgs was a fluke, or the real thing. Tennessee travels to Starkville to visit the other Bulldogs of the conference. This is MSU's chance to show the SEC it is much better than expected, and Tennessee's chance to return to relevance in the race for the East.
Then, there is Georgia at Vanderbilt. It is easy to lose whatever faith we had in Vanderbilt after their meltdown on the Plains. Still, Earl Bennett hasn't left the squad, and Chris Nickson, as bad as he has been lately, could still rise up to bite the Dawgs in Nashville. Diezba at Star and Stripe has discarded the sack cloth and ashes and takes a frank look at the Commodores' problems. He also notes that Georgia seems preoccupied with the thumping delivered to them by Vanderbilt's arch foe, but still hasn't forgotten about last year:
Down in Georgia, they're trying to find time to spare from their Tennessee-debacle recriminations (remember their score against Yew Tee was barely better than our score against the Tigers) to focus on previewing us.
In the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, David Ching writes that the quarterback who led Vanderbilt to shock the 'Dawgs at homecoming last year may not be starting this game. So much for hoping they'd forgot about that little win between the Hedges.
Kyle King at Dawg Sports definitely hasn't forgotten, and describes an outlook reminding me very much of Vandy fatalism:
UGA 24, Vandy 17. These teams are each coming off a road game in which they got dominated to the tune of a 28-0 halftime score, and lost by nearly identical final scores (us to Great Pumpkin U. and the 'Dores to the Tommy Tuberville School for Oversized Prosthetic Aural Devices). This one will be a dogfight, and Bulldog Nation's mood afterward is likely to be either continued trepidation (because a close win against Vanderbilt doesn't prove much) or outright meltdown (back-to-back losses to Vandy would send our fans, me included, into spasms of animalistic rage which can only be sated by the destruction of some cheap handtools). Back tomorrow with Thursday's cocktail and some recruiting news. Until then . . ."Animalistic rage." Well, that sounds fearful, indeed, and handtool destruction is never pretty. But if I read Kyle correctly, only a dead-bang blowout of Auburnian proportions would yield any positive feelings whatever to the Dawg faithful. A simple victory would be joyless.
Speaking of Auburn, they are visiting Darren McFadden and the Razorbacks in a Western division showdown that neither team can afford to lose, but one of them will. Walking on Sunshine at Razorbloggers thinks the Hogs are going to have to go "all in" on this one:
Is it just me…or does anyone else like watching poker on TV? From ESPN’s World Series of Poker to Poker Superstars and the World Poker Tour, you can watch it all day if you want. For the Razorbacks, the game with the Auburn Tigers on Saturday is essentially an ‘all in‘ bet: a chance to double up…or go broke.I think he's right. The Hogs lose this, and they go 0-3 in the SEC, 0-2 in the West, and McFadden's Hiesman hopes start to fade into the sunset.
Jay Coulter writing for Track Em Tigers knows that Arkansas will be a tough out, and notes that Tuberville is only .500 against the Hogs in Fayetteville. He also notes that ace Razorback receiver Marcus Monk looks doubtful for the game -- advantage Auburn. But Quentin Groves, Auburn's talented defensive end, is also questionable for the game.