When we were doing our conference call for the Legends Coaches poll this week other coaches around the country were giving the Southeastern Conference guys on the panel grief about all of the weak opponents SEC teams played last Saturday.
Coach (Vince) Dooley and Coach (Gene) Stallings are on the panel along with me from the SEC. They were kidding us about those games so I told them, “Yes, that’s right, but that is what you call good scheduling because of the teams that are on the schedule this week.”
Many of the teams in the SEC are playing their big rivals this week. Auburn is playing Alabama, Georgia is playing Georgia Tech, Florida is playing Florida State, South Carolina is playing Clemson and there are other rivalry games, too.
I thought the teasing was funny. It’s not like SEC teams don’t play a tough enough schedule during the regular season.
Around the country, and not just football coaches, a lot of people like to take a shot at the Southeastern Conference because of the league’s success in a lot of sports, most notably the domination of the BCS Championship Games.
Auburn goes into its rivalry game a huge underdog and the Tigers could end up losing by a huge margin to a good Alabama team, but I am not sure that is going to happen. Most of the time the Tigers play well in Tuscaloosa and I think there is a chance they will play better than they did in their last SEC game vs. Georgia, but that is difficult to predict based on the way the Tigers struggled. From an Auburn perspective it will be worth watching to see who is going to stand up and be accounted for on Saturday.
The Bulldogs have a potentially challenging rivalry game against Georgia Tech. Even though the Yellow Jackets have lost five ball games they are scoring a lot of points with 110 points in their last two games. This could be a tough test for Georgia a week before the Bulldogs play in the SEC Championship Game.
Florida has a major test, too, playing at Florida State. Both teams are sitting there with one loss going into this game in Tallahassee. You know the Seminoles would love to win this one. Another SEC vs. ACC rivalry is the South Carolina at Clemson showdown. Those are two teams that aren’t exactly fond of each other.
All of these rivalry games are big deals for the teams involved. The ACC has had some struggles in recent years and this is an opportunity to earn respect against three of the top teams in the SEC. I would say these SEC-ACC matchups are monumental to Georgia, Florida and Florida State with those teams jockeying to line up spots in the BCS Championship Game.
No championships are on the line, but for the state of Mississippi this year’s Egg Bowl should be interesting. Mississippi State is having one of its best seasons and Ole Miss has been one of the pleasant surprises in the league this year. Coach Freeze has done a great job of reviving the enthusiasm at Ole Miss.
Another coach who has done a really good job this season is Jim Mora out at UCLA. His team has a big game this weekend vs. Stanford and there are other good matchups involving Pac-12 teams with Oregon traveling to Oregon State and Southern Cal looking to upset No. 1 Notre Dame.
The UCLA vs. Stanford game is particularly interesting to me. Both teams will come into the game riding high after impressive victories with UCLA knocking off Southern Cal and Stanford winning on the road against previously unbeaten Oregon.
There are other promising games on the schedule around the country so it should be a good weekend for folks who love to watch a lot of college football.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat’s Picks.
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