By Jacob Horton
Four weeks into the college football season, and we’ve got everything figured out, right? Or at least we like to think that we have. We already know what teams are bound for glory, and what teams are doomed for a subpar season. However, there is one particular division of one particular conference that we’re not really . We’re talking about, of course, the almighty western division of the Southeastern Conference.
The western division’s résumé really speaks for itself: five undefeated teams, four teams ranked nationally in the top ten, and six of the seven teams of the division ranked in the Top 18. Do I have also to mention that five of the last eight national championship winners belong to SEC West teams? No division of any other conference can even compete with the SEC West right now. With all of that being said, here are my week-Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up.
Probably the easiest choice in making this entire list was putting Arkansas last in the division. Nothing against the Razorbacks, who appear to be better than last year’s team which was unable to record a single victory in SEC play. They’re just in way over their heads right now. While they may look better than last year’s team, their tough schedule featuring top-tier SEC West opponents probably will not allow them very many wins this season.
- Mississippi State
This team looked exceptionally well for most of Saturday’s upset victory over LSU in Death Valley. Dak Prescott possesses the potential to be a Heisman dark horse this season, and, defensively, Mississippi State is also a very gifted team. However, they did play a young LSU team very early in the season, so I say let’s wait a few more weeks before we all start drinking the Mississippi State Kool-Aid.
This LSU team has the potential to be really special this year and in the near future. Saturday’s loss to division foe Mississippi State was without question a setback. There’s still a chance for the Bayou Bengals though. The best kind of loss in college football is an early season loss, just like LSU’s case. If they can steer a clear path from here on out, which will be no easy task, they could still pose a threat in this division. If there is one thing I’ve learned from watching college football over the years, it’s that you can never count the mad hatter (Les Miles) out.
- Ole Miss
Here’s another team that is right on the fence of greatness for this season. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to whether or not quarterback Bo Wallace can consistently play at an elite level. He’s got the weapons around him to lead this team to an SEC championship. With several key matchups at home this season (Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State), don’t be surprised if you find Ole Miss representing the SEC West during the championship game in December.
- Texas A&M
Ever since entering the SEC in 2012, Texas A&M has become one of the most exciting teams in the country to watch. They have arguably the best player in college football this season in Kenny Hill. Regardless of whom A&M plays this season, they are going to score points. If their defense can generate more stops this season, the Aggies will be making a trip to Atlanta come December, and possibly a trip to a first round playoff game in January. This is a very dangerous football team that will be taken seriously by every SEC opponent.
This Crimson Tide could be very well on its way to another national championship season. As with most teams in this conference, quarterback play will be the variable that’s going to determine to either the team’s success or demise. If the Blake Sims from this past Saturday can show up on a weekly basis, Alabama will not lose a game this season. Add that to a stable of skilled position players in TJ Yeldon, Derrick Henry and Biletnikoff award-hopeful Amari Cooper, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a very successful season.
This decision between Alabama and Auburn was almost a coin flip. But at the end of the day, the defending SEC West champions look a little bit better than their in-state rival. They successfully survived an ugly performance against Kansas State last Thursday, which very well may be their worst performance for the entire season. The consensus around the league is that this Auburn Tiger football team features a much better offensive unit than last season. With the addition of D’haquille Williams and a more experienced Sammie Coates, expect to see a better passing presence from the Tigers this season. If they can complement that with their explosive rushing attack, the Auburn Tigers have a considerable chance of fighting their way through their backbreaking SEC schedule.
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