Iron Bowl

USA Today Sports

Deke's Weekly SEC Rankings

Plus an Iron Bowl preview

Deke Bellavia
November 21, 2017 - 6:30 pm

Once again the SEC has come down to the final week of the season with still a game to settle who wins the Western Conference.  And while other rival games in the nation play on the final week of the regular season, no other rival can compare to the one dubbed the “Iron Bowl.”

In the Nick Saban Era alone since the 2006 season, the Iron Bowl has produced more thrilling moments, more national titles and more drama than an entire season when you throw in the meetings in 2010 and again in 2013.

Since the 2009 season the Iron Bowl has produced six national title game appearances and five national titles.  And yes no other game, and no other conference has come even close to evening that feat that the teams from the great state of Alabama have put up.

I mean Alabama Fans have the clout when it comes to most wins in the series and most titles.  But when it comes to talking smack about which team has captured the two most action packed Iron Bowls, well that honor without question belongs to the Plainsmen of Auburn.

Now I’m not even talking about the six straight that Coach Tommy Tubberville helped the Tigers win over the Tide.  I’m talking about the two games in 2010 and 2013.  Down 0-24 to the Tide in Bryant Deny Stadium I was standing in the stadium in amazement that the Tide had completely shut down the 11-0 Tigers and their Heisman Winning QB Cam Newton.

But the Tigers would come back and outscore the Tide 28-3 the rest of the game to win a classic in T-Town 28-27.  And then the ultimate took place on the Plains as three seasons later the Tigers won perhaps the strangest ending game in the history of this institution type game.

With one second left in regulation Alabama lined up for what was going to be an game winning field goal.  But the Tide only became a victim of one of the greatest plays, greatest endings and greatest wins in Auburn Football as well as college football history.

Auburn Defensive Back Davis caught the missed 57 yard FG attempt in the back of the Auburn End Zone and then returned it 109 yards sending the Tigers to the SEC Title Game and on to the National Title Game as well.

So this week the SEC rankings are pretty much down to three teams being Alabama, Auburn and Georgia.  Now there is a lot on the line for LSU, Mississippi State and South Carolina as those clubs can really enhance their bowl status.

Over in the East the Gamecocks have locked up the #2 spot behind UGA.  But should SC pull off a major upset over rival Clemson it would go a long way into bigger bowl committee higher ups in picking hot teams for bowl games.

And in the SEC West it has come down to two teams to see who finishes behind Alabama in the standings.  LSU currently owns a 5-2 SEC mark with their two losses coming at the hands of Alabama and Mississippi State.

An LSU win along with a win by the Crimson Tide would place LSU second in the SEC West and give the Tigers perhaps the 3rd best bowl spot of SEC Teams.  An Auburn win along with a MSU Egg Bowl win and Aggies win over LSU would put the Bulldogs in 2nd place in the SEC West which would send the Auburn Tigers to the SEC Title Game to battle the UGA Bulldogs.

So as much as it seems to be just one big game this weekend in the SEC that is certainly not the case what so ever.  So with all of the above said CFB and SEC talk here are my Top 5 Teams in the SEC entering the final week of the regular season.

  1. Alabama – A win and the Tide go to Atlanta to face the Bulldogs.  A loss and the Tide might get some extra time off (like they did in 2011) and still land in the four team playoffs.  Either way the Tide, in my opinion are already in the four team playoffs.
  2. Auburn – Can they do it again like they did in 2013?  Four seasons ago the Tigers lone SEC loss entering the Iron Bowl was to LSU.  And that would be the only league loss by the Tigers who advanced to the SEC Title game and lost in the BCS Title Game to Florida State.  I’m not sure if Auburn has faced a more injured Bama Team in quite some time.
  3. Georgia – UGA has already locked up a spot in the SEC Title Game and just need to avoid an upset loss to rival Georgia Tech. 
  4. LSU – Hey if someone told you before the season began that LSU would finish second in the West behind Alabama many would have taken that bet.  But would those same folks have taken that same bet at the end of September.  Hell to the NO!
  5. South Carolina & Mississippi State – Both have exceeded their pre-season expectations.  In my very own humble opinion that is.


This week’s best games

Georgia @ Georgia Tech

Clemson @ South Carolina

Texas A&M @ LSU

Ole Miss @ Mississippi State

Alabama @ Auburn.



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