published Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Paschall: Is the SEC too top-heavy this season?

The Southeastern Conference needed 72 years to have two of its members vie as the top-ranked teams in the Associated Press football poll.

It may take just 12 months for a second occurrence, as Alabama and Florida continue toward a repeat showdown at the league title game in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide and Gators have won every game this season by double digits, but has their dominance lessened the league's perception overall?

"I don't think that's true at all," Bama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday. "I think this year is absolutely one of the best years in the conference in terms of depth and the quality of the teams and coaches. When you play each other, somebody is going to get beat. LSU has a really good team but played a really good team and got beat."

SEC teams are 25-5 so far against outside opposition and don't have a losing record against any league.

"I think people take for granted the environments," Florida's Urban Meyer said. "I've coached in the East, West, North and everywhere else, and with all due respect to everybody else, it's just different. I don't think the SEC has to go worrying about critics right now."

Pasquali's Pix:

Georgia at Vanderbilt: Methinks this is the first of two trips the Bulldogs will be making to Nashville this year. Bulldogs 19, Commodores 10.

Oklahoma vs. Texas: It's hard to tout this as college football's game of the year when the loser could be 3-3. Longhorns 31, Sooners 24.

Southern Cal at Notre Dame: The Trojans have defeated the Irish 38-0 and 38-3 the past two seasons, and 38-6 won't qualify as improvement for Irish coach Charlie Weis. Trojans 24, Irish 17.

Arkansas at Florida: Every SEC West team has defeated Florida at least three times since the league went to divisional play in 1992 with the exception of the Razorbacks, who are 0-7. Gators 31, Hogs 10.

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech: Will this be the last football game of significance in the ACC this year? Hokies 22, Jackets 21.

UTC at Georgia Southern: Russ Huesman's 80 percent career win clip as a head coach tops those of Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno, who are each around 75 percent. Mocs 21, Eagles 19.

Kentucky at Auburn: Gene Chizik's Tigers are 4-0 at home this season, and they're 5-0 at night. Tigers 30, Wildcats 23.

South Carolina at Alabama: Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin said Wednesday that the Crimson Tide are the "best-coached team in the conference." Early props for Saban, or a late dig at Meyer? Crimson Tide 24, Gamecocks 10.

Last week:

Winners.....................21

Crompton touchdowns..4

Pasquali is now 114-36 overall (76.0 percent) this season.

OTHER PICKS

Miss. State 30, MTSU 27

Ole Miss 37, UAB 6

Boston College 21, N.C. State 17

Clemson 26, Wake Forest 13

Virginia 27, Maryland 24

Miami 34, Central Florida 9

South Florida 27, Cincinnati 22

Ohio State 34, Purdue 16

Wisconsin 20, Iowa 17

Penn State 33, Minnesota 10

TCU 42, Colorado State 7

Nebraska 35, Texas Tech 28

West Virginia 38, Marshall 19

Oklahoma State 33, Missouri 31

Kansas 29, Colorado 24

Houston 42, Tulane 20

BYU 35, San Diego State 14

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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