With just two weeks to play in the regular season, we thought it would be a good time to assess the bowl hopes and title hopes around the SEC. The schools are listed according to their current overall record. (Rankings are opponents’ current BCS placement.)
Alabama (10-0, 7-0, BCS #1)
Have Beaten: Virginia Tech, Texas A&M (#12), Colorado State, Ole Miss (#24), Georgia State, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU (#22), Mississippi State
Still To Play: Chattanooga, Auburn (#6)
Possibilities: Barring the biggest upset ever versus Chattanooga, the Tide will reach Atlanta and the SEC Championship Game with a win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Win the SEC title game to improve to 13-0 and Nick Saban will go for his fifth BCS crown overall, his fourth at Alabama, and his third in a row.
Auburn (10-1, 6-1, BCS #6)
Have Beaten: Washington State, Arkansas State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss (#24), Western Carolina, Texas A&M (#12), Florida Atlantic, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia
Still To Play: Alabama (#1)
Possibilities: A win in the Iron Bowl would send Gus Malzahn’s team to Atlanta as West champions. Beat Missouri or South Carolina there — and get some help with at least two of the remaining unbeatens (Florida State, Ohio State, Baylor) — and Auburn could reach the BCS title game.
Missouri (9-1, 5-1, BCS #8)
Have Beaten: Murray State, Toledo, Indiana, Arkansas State, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky
Still To Play: Ole Miss (#24), Texas A&M (#12)
Possibilities: Unfortunately for Mizzou, their toughest two-game stretch of the season comes at the end when an SEC East title is within sight. If the Tigers survive both Mississippi and Texas A&M they’ll head to Atlanta as the East representative. Knock of Alabama or Auburn in that game — to move to 12-1 — and get some help with a couple of the remaining undefeated teams (Florida State, Ohio State, Baylor) and Gary Pinkel could land his team in the BCS Championship Game. Very tough path, though. Very tough.
South Carolina (8-2, 6-2 BCS #11)
Have Beaten: North Carolina, Vanderbilt, UCF (#18), Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri (#8), Mississippi State, Florida
Still To Play: Coastal Carolina, Clemson (#7)
Possibilities: The Gamecocks will be watching Missouri’s final two regular-season games with great interest. A single Mizzou loss will propel Steve Spurrier’s team to the SEC title game for just the second-time ever. If Carolina wins in Atlanta they’ll be off to the Sugar Bowl. With no realistic shot at the national championship, the Clemson game would really for bragging rights only. If Missouri loses a game.
Texas A&M (8-2, 4-2, BCS #12)
Have Beaten: Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU, Arkansas, Ole Miss (#24), Vanderbilt, UTEP, Mississippi State
Still To Play: LSU (#22), Missouri (#8)
Possibilities: The 2013 season hasn’t turned out to be the cakewalk many Aggie fans expected. A&M has two losses already and still has a pair of ranked foes left on its schedule. Losses would leave the Ags at a very disappointing 8-4. Win both and a BCS bowl might just select the Aggies, their hotshot quarterback, and their fevered fanbase to come to town.
LSU (7-3, 3-3, BCS #22)
Have Beaten: TCU, UAB, Kent State, Auburn (#6), Mississippi State, Florida, Furman
Still To Play: Texas A&M (#12), Arkansas
Possibilities: Like A&M — who they’ll face this weekend — LSU is trying to avoid a four-loss season. With a win over the Aggies, the Bayou Bengals would likely finish 9-3 with a pretty good bowl waiting for them at year’s end. A BCS bowl would be unlikely, but that would depend on what else happens around the SEC and the nation.
Ole Miss (7-3, 3-3, BCS #24)
Have Beaten: Vanderbilt, Southeast Missouri, Texas, LSU (#22), Idaho, Arkansas, Troy
Still To Play: Missouri (#8), Mississippi State
Possibilities: A nine-win campaign isn’t out of the question. If the Rebels upset Missouri at home and take care of business in the Egg Bowl, Hugh Freeze’s bunch — and a fanbase hungry for a nice bowl trip — could find itself in one of the SEC’s better holiday games.
Georgia (6-4, 4-3)
Have Beaten: South Carolina (#11), North Texas, LSU (#22), Tennessee, Florida, Appalachian State
Still To Play: Kentucky, Georgia Tech
Possibilities: This has been a nightmare season for the Bulldogs. Multiple injuries handicapped UGA’s offense. There were some controversial calls at Vanderbilt. And a flukish Hail Mary cost the Bulldogs at Auburn. Kentucky is a likely win, but Tech in Atlanta will present unique challenges for a Georgia defense that’s struggled all season. An 8-4 mark, considering the bad breaks Mark Richt’s team has experienced, wouldn’t be too bad of a year. Again, all things considered.
Vanderbilt (6-4, 3-4)
Have Beaten: Austin Peay, UMass, UAB, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky
Still To Play: Tennessee, Wake Forest
Possibilities: The Volunteers and Demon Deacons are both 4-6 at the moment. At the very least, those games could be called toss-ups. In reality, Vanderbilt should probably take both. Either way — 7-5 or 8-4 — James Franklin will have his team bowling again. It’s fitting Franklin’s based in Nashville because he’s living out the lyrics to an old Jerry Reed song… doing what they say can’t be done.
Florida (4-6, 3-5)
Have Beaten: Toledo, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas,
Still To Play: Georgia Southern, Florida State (#2)
Possibilities: If Georgia’s suffered bad breaks, Florida’s suffered literal ones. It’s hard to remember a team being dealt so many major injuries to key players. As a result, the Gators have dropped five games in a row for the first time since the Earth cooled and now they’re staring at a seven-loss season with #2 FSU still to play. UF will once again go with their third-string quarterback against Georgia Southern on Saturday. Florida will need to win both its final games to avoid missing a bowl for the first time since the 1986 season.
Mississippi State (4-6, 1-5)
Have Beaten: Alcorn State, Troy, Bowling Green, Kentucky
Still To Play: Arkansas, Ole Miss (#24)
Possibilities: The Bulldogs have seen the injury bug bite them right in the quarterback position time and again this season. Still, they’re within striking distance of a bowl game if they can win at Arkansas and then take down Ole Miss in their season finale. It wouldn’t be pretty, but for many MSU fans a bowl’s a bowl.
Tennessee (4-6, 1-5)
Have Beaten: Austin Peay, Western Kentucky, South Alabama, South Carolina (#11)
Still To Play: Vanderbilt, Kentucky
Possibilities: Thanks to its last-second upset of Carolina, the Volunteers’ bowl hopes are still alive. Considering the schedule Tennessee has played — seven ranked foes in the course of eight games — any bowl should be viewed as a success in Butch Jones’ first season.
Arkansas (3-7, 0-6)
Have Beaten: UL-Lafayette, Samford, Southern Miss
Still To Play: Mississippi State, LSU (#22)
Possibilities: The Razorbacks will attempt to climb out of the West Division cellar with a win over MSU this weekend. But currently riding a seven-game losing streak, a 3-9 finish should not surprise anyone. As we showed you last week, playing for pride rarely works in the SEC.
Kentucky (2-8, 0-6)
Have Beaten: Miami (OH), Alabama State
Still To Play: Georgia, Tennessee
Possibilities: Mark Stoops’ team has displayed some fight at times — at South Carolina, for example — but the Wildcats just don’t appear to have a lot of SEC-caliber talent. Anything’s possible, but Kentucky is probably headed to a 2-10 finish.