By Wayne Hester
If you were like Rip Van Winkle, who fell asleep and woke up 20 years later, you might not recognize the game of college football.
Teams are racking up points by the sacksful, and the old saying “Offense wins games, defense wins championships” is taking a beating.
Last week in Starkville, Mississippi State rolled over Auburn 38-23, while Ole Miss was cruising past Texas A&M 35-20.
If Van Winkle was a football fan back in fantasyland, surely he would be surprised to see the Bulldogs No. 1 and the Rebels No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press poll. Both have 6-0 records.
Auburn checked in at No. 6 ahead of Alabama at No. 7 and Georgia at No. 10. All have 5-1 records.
That’s five SEC teams in the top 10. No other conference has more than one, and surely no one could argue there’s a tougher conference than the SEC.
Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn and Alabama seem to be playing ping pong with each other. State beat Auburn last week, and the week before, Ole Miss beat Alabama 23-17.
The four may be headed for Nov. 29 showdowns when Mississippi State goes to Oxford and Auburn to Alabama. It’s tough not to look ahead, but you can bet Hugh Freeze, Dan Mullen, Gus Malzahn and Nick Saban are warning against it.
Who knows how it will play out, but fans can look forward (or not) to a lot of drama over the next seven weeks.
This week’s picks:
Georgia 24, Arkansas 20
Missouri 27, Florida 13
LSU 20, Kentucky 17
South Carolina 55, Furman 13
Alabama 27, Texas A&M 26
Upset of the week: Not in the SEC, but Notre Dame 24, Florida State 23.
Wayne Hester is a retired sports editor and metro editor for the Birmingham News–and a big college football fan.