With just two and a half weeks until Selection Sunday, the SEC’s historical football parity has struck the hardwood. Nine teams have records falling between 8-6 and 6-8, that includes a ridiculous four-way tie for fifth place.
Six of the league’s eight projected Big Dancers lost on Saturday alone: Auburn, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Florida, Missouri and Alabama. On the bright side for Greg Sankey, Kentucky (allegedly flirting with the bubble) bolstered its resume with wins over the Crimson Tide and then a tough road victory in Arkansas last night. The league needs its standard bearer to be good. Those of us partially riding the rep of the Wildcats depend on it (Gosh, is this what it feels like to be Kentucky in football?!)
So, here’s where we stand going into the big Alabama-Auburn game tonight: The SEC still has eight projected to make the field — barely. CBS Sports’ latest bracketology includes 2-seed Auburn, 4-seed Tennessee, 6-seed Kentucky (a jump), 7-seed Missouri, 8-seed Arkansas (a jump), 9-seed Texas A&M and 11-seed Florida (facing Texas in a play-in game). The high RPIs and lack of clear-cut favorites in this league are actually helping the SEC this year. Call it the Big East Syndrome: everyone beats everyone else half to death and only one or two teams stand out by season’s end.
The net result is positive for ‘Bama: the Tide has managed to surge in the projected seedings this week, despite playing .500 ball for the past month and having an RPI and SOS that didn’t really budge in the past 10 days.
RPI Last Week: 33
RPI This Week: 31
SOS Last Week: 13
SOS Last Week: 13
Projected: 19-12 (10-8), SOS 5
Please just get one win: Oklahoma (No. 33) At the time of Alabama’s victory, OU was No. 10 in the country, and flirting with a 2-line in the tourney. Since that time, the Sooners have lost another six games, to run their streak to eight games. They are in actual danger of now missing the tournament and being the scariest NIT team in a long while. What an unbelievable fall from grace.
Please stop losing: Florida (No. 65) Alabama’s demolition of then-No. 23 Florida doesn’t look so hot now, does it? Mike White’s team has fallen apart in the second half of league play, a schedule that includes going .500 against South Carolina, and being swept by UGA. However, the Gators close their season with Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn, and Alabama — wins are going to be awfully hard to come by. There are grumblings in Gainesville about the job Mike White’s done this season.
Please keep winning: Mizzou (38), Texas (52), Mississippi State (62), UCF (64), Georgia (64) — all were losses Alabama rang up. Like Kentucky, this team probably shouldn’t have any bad losses on its resume (Kentucky has zero losses outside the Top 100, BTW). But now, with these opponents surging late in the season, that leaves the Tide with just three losses outside the Top 100. Sure, that’s three too many, but it’s a lot stronger of a ‘Bama resume than it appeared to be a month ago.
Please ignore these: Minnesota (No. 153 ), Vanderbilt (No. 111), Ole Miss (No. 106). That Vanderbilt game still leaves me shaking my head.
Please never forget these: Auburn (No. 7), Rhode Island (No. 8), Tennessee (No. 13) That Tennessee game still leaves me shaking my head for a different reason.
Bracketmatrix Composite: 7-Seed (up from last week 9-seed)
Bracketmatrix Low Seed: 10-seed (last week 11-seed)
Bracketmatrix High Seed: 6-seed (last week 7-seed)