An argument can be made for
An argument can also be made for Croom, whose team is one victory away from being bowl eligible for the first time since 2000. The Bulldogs have had their share of dark moments this season, especially their 45-0 loss to LSU in the opener and a 38-13 loss at
Then again, a 19-14 victory at
This isn't a pretty team by any means. If the Bulldogs can't run the ball and play tough defense, they're not going to win by spreading the field and throwing the ball 40 times a game. True freshman quarterback Wesley Carroll has exceeded expectations and shows potential to be a quality SEC quarterback; but if the Bulldogs need him to carry the team, they're not playing the way they've been taught by Croom and his coaches.
The Bulldogs can take that path to a bowl, but it won't be easy. Following last week's open date, State faces
A 6-6 record would be acceptable. Anything less would be painful. A 7-5 record would be outstanding at this point. An 8-4 record? Probably too much to expect, but then again, who thought the Bulldogs would win at
"We've got a great opportunity ahead of us, and it's going to be a great challenge," Croom said. "It's not going to be easy. The three teams we have to play down the stretch, they're not going to give us anything. And it's at that point of the season right now where just about everybody in our conference is still fighting for something."
While the SEC still has a team left standing in the national championship race in LSU, and possible BCS bowl teams in
At this point in the season, every SEC team but Ole Miss has at least five overall wins, including Vanderbilt at 5-4.
It's way too soon to start predicting bowls with any sort of accuracy, but here's what we do know: The SEC starts with one guaranteed spot in a BCS Bowl (Sugar) for the winner of the SEC championship. If LSU plays for the BCS national championship, that's two SEC teams in BCS games. Then the SEC has bowl tie-ins with the CapitalOne, Outback, Cotton, Chick-fil-A,
That's nine possibilities for 11 teams. So what happens? The Poinsettia Bowl in
Another possibility for the SEC would be the Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl in
"My concern is there are six teams already bowl-eligible, and there are five other teams in the SEC with five wins,"
Richard Scott is a Birmingham-based sports writer, author and Tiger Rag's SEC expert. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.