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Friday, September 13, 2013
Tracking BCS title chances for the SEC

By Edward Aschoff

Last week we looked at six teams with arguably the best chances of bringing the SEC its eighth straight BCS national championship.

As we head into a very eventful Week 3 in the league, it's time to take another look at those six teams and see how they are trending in the hunt for another national championship for the nation's top conference:

Alabama: The Crimson Tide were off last weekend, but still remained No. 1 in all of the polls. Saturday's showdown with No. 6 Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, will either keep Alabama on its title path or serve up a bit of a setback. A victory, and Alabama will still be in the driver's seat to Pasadena, Calif. A loss, and the Tide will need some help to make it three BCS titles in a row. Trending: Same

LSU: Quietly, LSU has been one of the SEC's most impressive teams, both offensively and defensively. The Tigers are actually throwing the ball downfield and still have a hard-nosed running game that can wear down any defense. When it comes to stopping teams, the Tigers are giving up just 277.5 yards per game. Bringing down the 22 points allowed per game during conference play will be essential for a title run. Trending: Up

Johnny Manziel
We'll find out a lot more about the title chances of Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M on Saturday afternoon.
Texas A&M: The Aggies walked over back-to-back cupcakes but now get a real test: No. 1 Alabama. The defense will finally return some key starters, which should help a unit that is giving up 449.5 yards and 29.5 points per game. What has probably been the most impressive part of the relatively new-look Aggies' offense is the maturation of Johnny Manziel as a passer. He's going through his progressions, checking down and thinking pass first. If that continues, A&M's offense could be even tougher to stop. We are really going to see what this team is made of Saturday. Trending: Same

Georgia: Two weeks ago, the Bulldogs' defense looked lost in the tackling department. Today, this team is feeling pretty good about itself after getting a big victory over SEC East rival South Carolina. The defense still needs a lot of work (34 points and 460.5 yards allowed per game), but this offense (540.5 yards and 38 points per game) will be able to keep the Dawgs in a lot of games. Todd Gurley and Aaron Murray could make legitimate Heisman runs, and getting an early lead in the Eastern Division is a nice way to get back into the title hunt. Trending: Up

South Carolina: I expected a lot more from this South Carolina defense. I knew there were holes, but I thought that vaunted defensive line would help mask some of those issues. Well, Georgia found every single hole and exploited them by racking up 538 yards and 41 points last weekend. Now, the Gamecocks are licking their wounds heading into a very important game against a scrappy Vanderbilt team. The good news for South Carolina is that this is a night game at home. If South Carolina is going to stay on this list, it has to win Saturday night. Trending: Down

Florida: If not for some awful red-zone play in their loss to Miami, the Gators would be higher on this list and might look like legitimate contenders. Florida sports the SEC's best defense statistically and actually moved the ball better down the field through the first two weeks than they did for most of last season. When the Gators weren't in the red zone against the Canes, they averaged 6.1 yards per play and accumulated 399 yards. Inside it, Florida mustered just 14 yards, averaged 1.2 yards per play and turned it over three times. Mistakes are still killing this team when it has the ball. Trending: Down