The SEC is the best conference in college football no matter which way you slice it. It has the best athletes, it annually puts the most players in the NFL and its teams have won the national title the last five years.
For the 2011 season, however, the SEC is being overrated by the voters.
It currently has five ranked teams, and it has two teams lurking just outside the rankings in the "others receiving votes" category.
In many years, that might be acceptable. This is not one of those years.
Every ranked SEC team has question marks that should keep it from being ranked where it is.
LSU and Alabama are both worthy of being ranked in the Top 5, but I'm not sure that either of them are good enough to challenge Oklahoma, the runaway favorite to win the national title at this juncture.
Both have offensive issues. For LSU, you have to wonder how long Jarrett Lee can continue to get the job done. Alabama has to settle on a quarterback. A.J. McCarron has the lead on Phillip Sims at this point, but neither has been all that impressive.
South Carolina, Florida and Arkansas make up the next tier of SEC teams. Thanks to Stephen Garcia being Stephen Garcia, I'm not a big believer in South Carolina. Its close win over Navy doesn't do much to change my mind.
Arkansas hasn't played anyone yet, and without running back Knile Davis, the Razorbacks are in for an uphill battle.
I wouldn't have believed you two weeks ago if you told me this, but Florida might be the best team of that group of three. John Brantley is ably leading the offense, and the Gators defense is as good as it has ever been.
I'm not sure that the conference has an elite team this year. I'm confident in the fact that each of those championship teams from the SEC over the last five years would handily beat any and all of the ranked SEC teams from this year.
The SEC is in for another very successful season in 2011, but I think its success will have as much to do with college football on the whole being down this year as it will with the conference fielding great teams.