Lots of drama this week. Let's get right into some of the most compelling elements:
1. It's Showdown Saturday in the SEC
The SEC is almost always at the heart of the action on a weekly basis, but this Saturday is even more intense than normal: No. 1 Florida visits No. 4 LSU, No. 3 Bama goes to Ole Miss and upstart Auburn -- and its heralded offensive whiz, Gus Malzahn-- returns home to face Arkansas.
Let's start with UF vs. LSU. The team that has won this game in the previous three seasons has gone on to win the BCS National Championship. It's a rare thing for the past two national title teams to meet up in the regular season -- prior to last season's UF-LSU game, the last previous such meeting was in 1990 when '88 champ Notre Dame and '89 champ Miami met.
Two big stats are working against the Gators: the last four No. 1-ranked teams that had to go on the road to face an opponent with at least a 5-0 record all lost, according to ESPN Research. (The most recent example of this was last season's top-ranked Texas Longhorns, who saw their national title dreams ruined by 6th-ranked Texas Tech in Lubbock. Prior to that the 2000 Nebraska team lost to No. 3 Oklahoma; 1996 Florida lost to No. 2 FSU and '93 FSU lost to No. 2 Notre Dame.)
The other stat hinting at a UF loss: The Gators have lost to an SEC West opponent every year for the past decade. In fact, Urban Meyer's team is a surprising 6-6 vs. SEC West in the regular season.
And: Urban Meyer has lost his last two in Death Valley.For more of Bruce's thoughts on UF-LSU, as well as Bama-Ole Miss, Arkansas-Auburn, Wisconsin-Ohio State, Michigan-Iowa and what should happen with Bobby Bowden at FSU, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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