Alabama and LSU seem destined for BCS games, and everyone else is a couple of steps behind those two. As our drunken friend Lee Corso would say, however, "Not so fast!" Ole Miss and Georgia both believe that they have legitimate shots at special seasons IF they can pull off big wins this weekend. By the end of Week 5, we will truly know who the real SEC contenders are this season.
My record on the year is 30-6, which is much less impressive when one considers that the vast majority of those 30 were easy cupcake picks. This week, the matchups start getting more balanced ... and I, for one, think it's about damn time. Long live competitive football games!
As always, games are listed in order of general watchability, and all game times listed are Central.
LSU @ Georgia: 2:30 p.m., CBS
LSU has looked like the most complete team in the SEC, and Georgia has looked downright awful against mediocre competition, so naturally the Bulldogs are 3-point favorites at home. It's really just this simple: If Georgia plays against LSU like it played against North Texas, Jeremy Hill can add another name to the list of people he's abused. LSU should be able to march into Sanford and get the win, but you never know when Mark Richt's teams are going to randomly start playing elite football (it's usually against Auburn). If Georgia gets it together, we may see the Dawgs make a run just like last season. Have you heard about that new drinking game in which you take a shot every time the TV cameras show a player in the LSU-Georgia game who has a criminal record? DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN THAT GAME.
Ole Miss @ Alabama: 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Ole Miss seems to be on the rise. Alabama seems to be pretty vulnerable this year. Could this create a perfect storm for the Rebel Black Bears to leave Tuscaloosa with a huge win? Doubtful. Ole Miss' best chance in this game was always to sneak up on 'Bama, but it's not happening. I have a feeling that this is the game when we see the Tide finally put together a complete game ... BUT if Ole Miss somehow comes away with the victory, you have to take the Rebs seriously as national title contenders. I know, I can't believe I typed that out either.
South Carolina @ Central Florida: 11 a.m., ABC
So how many of you thought that this would be one of the more interesting games of the week? This is turning out to be an extremely dangerous game for Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks. The UCF Knights started the season by blowing out Akron and Florida International, and followed that up by upsetting Penn State in Happy Valley. Did we mention that South Carolina is actually going TO Central Florida for this game? Before you ask, the Knights' stadium holds more than 45,000 people -- which is about 5,000 more than Vanderbilt's stadium. I like South Carolina in this game, but don't be surprised if it comes down to the wire.
Florida @ Kentucky: 6 p.m., ESPNU
The Gators are hoping that Tyler Murphy can provide the offense with some kind of spark in his first career start. They'll need him to acclimate quickly, because they lost stud defensive tackle Dominique Easley to a season-ending torn ACL. Easley was arguably the best defensive player on a team that had been winning games solely because of its defense. Despite the loss, there is still plenty of defensive talent to beat Kentucky in Lexington --provided Murphy can find the end zone once or twice.
Texas A&M @ Arkansas: 6 p.m., ESPN2
Arkansas is not a very good football team. Arkansas has struggled on offense. Arkansas has struggled on defense. Arkansas might not have its starting quarterback again on Saturday. Arkansas has to play the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, who leads one of the nation's premier offenses. Arkansas plays against team ranked in the top 20 in five of the next six weeks. Arkansas will not enjoy the result one bit.
Arkansas State @ Missouri: 6:30 p.m., CSS
Arkansas State got drilled by Memphis last weekend and showed us that it isn't nearly as good as many of us thought it was. Missouri looks to continue its winning formula of scoring lots of points on out-of-conference teams without a pulse. Thanks to the scheduling wizards in the Missouri athletic department, the Tigers play their last non-SEC team this week -- meaning that they won't get a break from the SEC schedule for the rest of the season. Enjoy your win this weekend, Tigers. They get harder from here on in.
South Alabama @ Tennessee: 11:21 a.m., SECN
Tennessee came up with some creative and innovative ways to let Florida hang 31 points last week. South Alabama has defeated Tulane and Bobby Petrino's Western Kentucky team. The Jaguars really don't have the talent to stay on the field with the Vols, but if they can somehow quiet Neyland early, don't be surprised to see them hanging around. By the way, can we talk about starting football games at 11:21 a.m.? What's the deal there?
UAB @ Vanderbilt: 6:30 p.m., FSN
UAB kinda stinks. Vanderbilt's kinda decent. This one really shouldn't be that competitive. Need a reason to watch? Vandy wide receiver Jordan Matthews is one of the most underrated players in the entire country. And I'm almost positive he's one of the Vandy players who HASN'T sexually assaulted anyone.
More from College and Magnolia:
- Auburn football: Bye week Q-and-A with Team Speed Kills
- TAKES: 2ND EDITION, VOLUME 4
- Wednesdays with (Oscar) Whiskey
- College football viewing guide: FINALLY some decent games
- The Plainsman's Kitchen: Bye week is test week