SEC Football Midseason Update

Caption%3A+Florida+beat+LSU+in+one+of+the+most+important+SEC+matchups+of+the+season+so+far.
Caption: Florida beat LSU in one of the most important SEC matchups of the season so far.

Caption: Florida beat LSU in one of the most important SEC matchups of the season so far.

Caption: Florida beat LSU in one of the most important SEC matchups of the season so far.

Bennett Carollo, Staff Writer

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We’ve reached the halfway point of the 2018 college football season, and the SEC has once again established itself as one of, if not the best, conferences in the nation, with many teams still in contention for a College Football Playoff berth. In fact, the week 8 AP Top 25 Poll features seven SEC teams, more than any other conference. There are also three SEC teams in the top ten. This includes the consensus top team in the country, Alabama. The conference is also highly competitive, as three teams in both the SEC East and West still have a legitimate shot at reaching the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.

After seven weeks, three teams sit tied atop the SEC East, each with one loss. Number eight Georgia is easily the least surprising of the contenders, as they are coming off a 2017 season that saw them finish as SEC champions and National Championship runner-ups. However, the play of the other two hopefuls, number 11 Florida and number 14 Kentucky, is somewhat shocking, as the Gators and Wildcats were 3-5 and 4-4 respectively in 2017 SEC play. The Gators appeared to be on their way to another disappointing season after losing their first SEC game of the year, 27-16 at home on September 9th. What made the loss so terrible was the fact that it was at the hands of Kentucky, a team Florida had beaten 31 straight times. However, as the season has gone on, it has become clear that Kentucky is no slouch, as the Wildcats followed up their upset win at the Swamp with two more conference wins, before a 20-14 overtime loss at number 17 Texas A&M brought them back down to earth a bit. As for Florida, they haven’t lost since, rattling off four straight SEC victories, including an impressive 27-19 win versus number five LSU. Speaking of LSU, Georgia was undefeated until this past Saturday, when they were humbled 36-16 by the Tigers. All of this sets up a pivotal clash between Florida and Georgia in two weeks. It is very likely that the winner of this rivalry game will represent the East in the Championship Game. However, Kentucky also still controls their own destiny, and can improve their chances by beating Georgia when the Bulldogs come to town on November 3rd.

In the SEC West, the defending National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide sit at the top with an undefeated record. Alabama has steamrolled every opponent that has gotten in their way this season, with their smallest margin of victory being 22 points. However, they have not locked up the division by any means. The one loss LSU Tigers and, to a lesser extent, Texas A&M Aggies are still in it. Texas A&M faces more of an uphill battle by virtue of already having lost their game in Alabama on September 22nd, 45-23. On the other hand, LSU, despite their loss at Florida, can still win the West by winning out. Of course, winning out would have to include defeating the Crimson Tide on November 3rd. In this way, LSU and Alabama are on a collision course much like Florida and Georgia are. The stage is set for a wild and entertaining finish in the SEC.

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