The NCAA football season is entering Week 9, and with six undefeated teams in the Top 10, the BCS picture is starting to shape up.
Among those six teams, only two are from the SEC, with four teams from the conference in the Top 10.
This is a conference that just a year ago had two teams in the national championship, as well as seven other teams in bowl games.
Don't get me wrong. The conference is still good. Alabama and Florida look like very good football teams and could each make a run at the BCS title.
But this is a conference whose biggest hitters have been flopping. Arkansas, a consensus Top 10 in the preseason, is no longer ranked. As the weeks go on, LSU's championship dreams are dwindling.
While the SEC is still a power conference, no doubt it's had three big teams overrated in the preseason.
Arkansas ranked No. 10 on both the preseason AP and Coaches Poll.
Nine weeks later and it's nowhere to be found on the rankings. That's what happens when you're 3-4 on the season and 2-2 in conference play.
A year ago, this team was averaging 438 yards of offense and 37 points per game. It finished the year 11-2, with its only losses coming to superpowers Alabama and LSU.
Oh, the difference a year can make.
The Razorbacks are now struggling to find a foothold for their final stretch of the 2012 season.
That offense is averaging just 27 points per game, having already been shutout once this season in a 52-0 loss to Alabama in Week 3.
Senior quarterback Tyler Wilson already has five interceptions on the season—he had six total in 2011.
That defense isn't doing the team any favors either, giving up 31 points per game. It ranks 37th in the FBS in run defense—not bad, but not good in a run-heavy conference like the SEC.
The Hogs have been an enigma on the season. When they win, they look very good. When they lose, they look very bad. And unfortunately, they're doing more losing than winning right now.
Don't get me wrong, LSU is a good team. A 7-1 record is nothing to be ashamed of, especially if your only loss came against a strong Florida unit.
But based on the preseason, the Tigers are the most overrated team in this conference.
The AP Poll had them at No. 3—coaches poll at No. 1—in the preseason. They would remain within the top three on both polls until Week 6, when LSU would drop to No. 4 in the AP.
Right now, the Tigers are ranked No. 6 in the BCS. Unless they beat Alabama in two weeks, chances are they could finish the season outside of the top 10.
This is a team that was supposed to be in the National Championship picture. A team that was in that picture just a year ago.
And through the first three weeks of the season, they looked like that team, outscoring opponents 145-31.
Then they stumbled against a bad Auburn team, escaping with a 12-10 win. A week later, they gave up 22 points to Towson—an FCS team.
Since losing to Florida in Week 6, LSU has won its last two—both by a slim margin.
This has become a team that has to lean on its defense for wins. Offense has been the big issue, ranking 76th in the FBS in total yards per game.
Those woes can be tied to quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who has failed to throw for more than 160 yards the last three weeks in a row. He also has just seven touchdowns—and four interceptions—on the season.
Until the offense starts playing better, this team can't expect to break the Top 5. And with Alabama on tap, it has its work cut out for it.
Auburn didn't kick the season off as a team everyone loved—cracking the top 25 in just the preseason Coaches Poll. But it was seen as a team with potential, a team that could make a splash.
It's been making a splash alright, but not a very positive one.
The Tigers are 1-6 on the season, 0-5 in conference play, with their only win coming against Louisiana-Monroe—a game they barely won in overtime.
Two years ago, this was a team with a high-powered offense playing for a National Championship. This season, it's lucky to score 20 points in a game—something it's only done twice.
While the offense has struggled, things are just as ugly on the defensive front.
Opposing teams are averaging over 400 yards and 25 points per game against the Tigers. They're allowing almost 200 yards on the ground per game.
The team's turnover differential sits at an ugly 1.4.
Like I said, the Tigers weren't a huge favorite for anything this season. But they were a team with Top 25 potential.
Now, they'll be considered lucky if they can win another game.
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