Although Florida is not on the regular season schedule, the Tigers could certainly be playing the Gators because I think there is a good chance Florida will beat South Carolina and play in the SEC Championship Game so Auburn may finish its Amen Corner playing against the Gators.
If Florida was playing South Carolina in Columbia this week I am not sure the Gators would win the game that will decide who represents the SEC East in the championship game in Atlanta, but Florida is hard to beat in Gainesville.
If Auburn takes care of business, I think there is a good chance the Tigers will find Florida waiting as their opponent at the Georgia Dome, but up next are the two most important games of the year starting with Georgia on Saturday. Auburn's focus needs to be totally on the Bulldogs because despite Georgia's record this is a very talented team coming to Auburn.
It is hard for a layman to look out there and really comprehend what type of talent Georgia has got. Defensively, they have improved throughout the year. Offensively, getting receiver A.J. Green back has been a big plus. Every game the young quarterback (Aaron Murray) is getting better and Georgia has an experienced offensive line.
Georgia has a great kicking game, too. This is a very, very dangerous football team. Being in football my whole life, I can't believe Georgia has lost five games with the type of talent on that team. They have lost basically because of turnovers. If the Bulldogs turn the ball over again this week, Auburn's chances of winning will be greatly enhanced.
Auburn needs to play as well as it can to win this Saturday. It should be an advantage for the Tigers to be at home. It is also a plus that the coaches were able to rest their starters in the second half against Chattanooga, but I am sure Georgia did the same thing in its win over Idaho State on Saturday.
Looking at the SEC, I was shocked that Arkansas beat South Carolina like they did in Columbia. I think it was one of those cases where one team was extremely ready to play and the other one wasn't. That is what can happen when you have two good teams playing. I certainly expect South Carolina to be much more ready this week against Florida, but that may not be enough.
I think Florida has improved tremendously since it got its quarterback rotation worked out and Chris Rainey has given them a spark on offense since he got back.
I am not shocked about LSU's win last Saturday in Baton Rouge, but I thought Alabama would win. You have got to take your hat off to LSU particularly when every trick play they did worked. LSU was able to come up with two or three big plays when they really needed them that had a significant impact on the game.
LSU did a great job of scouting Alabama and knew their tendencies. Les Miles wins in some quirky ways, but something that stands out to me about the LSU coach is that his kids play hard for him.
Another big game in the SEC West is Mississippi State at Alabama. The Bulldogs have had a week off to get rested and work on their plan. I predict this will be a very close ball game. Mississippi State is playing extremely well on defense. The Bulldogs are ranked sixth in the conference this week in total defense, but there is only about 50 yards difference between first and sixth.
Mississippi State has lost just twice this year. The Bulldogs could have won their conference opener against Auburn and in the loss at LSU?they turned the ball over six times trying to be a passing team, something they couldn't be. Now they have established their identity as a hard-nosed, running football team with a little passing mixed in to the offense.
The top four teams in the polls this week are Oregon, Auburn, TCU and Boise State. I think if Auburn loses a game the Tigers won't make it to the BCS Championship Game. Auburn has tough games remaining, but the Tigers control their own destiny. There is no depending on somebody else to beat another team and back in and that is a very good thing.
From the mailbag:
I think you are right on with your observation of a revolution in college football taking place. My daughter cheers for Ft Payne High School and they just completed their 3rd 10-0 season in the last five years with this offense.
I think we will eventually see this progress to the point where you have two QB's in the backfield that can run or throw. Center may snap to either one. What do you think?
That is what Florida is doing now although they don't have both behind the center. Florida is doing that a lot so your observation is certainly not too far off. Auburn plays with two quarterbacks on the field, too, with Kodi Burns and Cameron Newton out there together. Auburn hasn't lined them up side by side yet, but you might see that some time.
Editor's Note: This part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn who was also head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming, Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns a week--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)