Starting 11: The SEC East is Better than the SEC West

BY foxsports • September 24, 2012

Through one-third of the season, the SEC East, erstwhile conference division whipping boy, has surged back into the lead, surpassing the SEC West for the first time in several years, as the best division in college football. Alabama has been dominant, we know this, but what else has the SEC West done at the top of the division? LSU looked incredibly wobbly against Auburn. I still believe the Tigers are very good, but are they head and shoulders above Georgia, South Carolina and Florida?

We'll know soon since the Tigers play Florida and South Carolina in back-to-back weeks.

Arkansas, the expected third-best team in the conference, is in the midst of a freefall collapse. Texas A&M already lost to Florida and has been otherwise hard to judge. Mississippi State, who I predicted to win ten regular season games, has been solid. Ole Miss hasn't played anyone yet but Texas, who destroyed them, and is a 33 point underdog to Alabama.

And Auburn, oh man, Auburn.  

Meanwhile Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina have all looked like bona fide national title contenders at times. Tennessee would have a good shot at finishing third this year in the SEC West. That's assuming, of course, that Tyler Bray and Derek Dooley don't simultaneously strangle each other to death. Vandy and Kentucky appear to be bad, but what else is new there? Meanwhile, Mizzou has a win against Arizona State, which is better than any out-of-conference win in the SEC West beneath Bama and LSU.

Put simply, the top teams in the SEC East are better than the top teams in the SEC West. And it's possible that the SEC East has the second, third, and fourth best teams in the conference. Did anyone see this coming? Not me.  

On to the Starting 11.  

1. Most destructive mistresses or affairs of all time?

After a home loss to Rurgers, Jessica Dorrell is definitely on the list now.

Here's my top ten list (with help from Twitter this morning):

1. Helen of Troy

Pro: The Iliad is amazing.

Con: The closest thing to World War that could happen when we thought the world was flat broke out over Paris's seduction and elopement with Menelaus's wife.

2. Wallis Simpson

He gave up the crown for a thrice-married American. (The king wasn't married at the time, but he had an affair with a married woman, which we're counting here).

Which, in a roundabout fashion, led to the future queen, Kate Middleton, topless on a roof.

So maybe we all actually won?

3. Cleopatra

She doubled down as the mistress of both Caesar and Mark Antony. The latter relationship ended in double deaths and ruin.

4. Anne Boleyn

The Catholic church's relationship with England was severed and then Anne lost her head.

A double decapitation.

5. Sahel Kazemi

Steve McNair's mistress shot and killed him. Then killed herself.

It can't get much worse.  

6. Bathsheba

This was much more destructive for Uriah than it was for King David.

Still, when you manage to get a man killed so you can marry his wife, God is displeased. (See, Absalom). 

7. Rielle Hunter

Remember when John Edwards was going to be President?

Then came Rielle.

8. Tiger Woods' Perkins waitress

I'm using the Perkins waitress because if you're willing to throw your marriage away with a Perkins waitress then you're basically willing to sleep with anyone.  

Which Tiger was.

9. Jessica Dorrell

All of Arkansas is burning.

10. Monica Lewinsky

What did this really cost Clinton? He kept the presidency, his wife stayed with him, and now, in an amazingly ironic and perfectly symmetrical poll number, he has 69% approval ratings, the highest for any politician in America.

On to more of the Starting 11 after that mistress interlude.

2. Da'Rick Rogers had 18 catches for 305 yards for Tennessee Tech.

To celebrate he lit 19 joints.

Seriously, though, this guy is going to be a steal for someone in the NFL.

3. Connor Shaw destroyed Missouri. 

I picked South Carolina to win the national title.

After the Vanderbilt game, I thought, "Clay, you're an idiot."

After the Mizzou game, I thought, "Clay, you're a genius."

Assuming the Gamecocks take out Kentucky this weekend, then the Gamecocks have Georgia, at Florida, at LSU, back-to-back-to-back. 

Good lord, that's tough. 

But win two of those -- especially if its Georgia and Florida -- and the Gamecocks will be sitting pretty with a big time slingshot game for the SEC title. 

4. Ohio State's president, Gordon Gee, has spent $64,000 on bowties and bowtie cookies

Imagine what would happen if Braxton Miller got $64,000 in free bowties.

I mean, the college football world would spin off its axis, right?

This is all you need to know about the NCAA and those who protect it, they get rich off the indentured servitude of the poor. In fact, the NCAA's entire job is to ensure that the poor remain poor. That's it.

5. Tennessee struggled to put away Akron.

This week the Vols are two touchdown underdogs at Georgia.

Outside of an overtime win over Vandy, Dooley has not won an SEC game since November of 2010.

Jon Gruden is interested, trust me.

6. Kansas State proved that so long as Bill Snyder lives forever they will win a national title.   

Bill Snyder will be 73 years old in October.

His career record at Kansas State is 163-83-1. That's a winning percentage of .659

Without him Kansas State is 312-532-40. That's a winning percentage of .352

Is there any coach now coaching who has made a more significant difference to a program relative to the past historical record? Snyder's worth nearly double the program's historical average when it comes to wins. Frank Beamer is the only coach that comes to mind and his career record vs. the history at Virginia Tech, while stellar, is nothing like the improvement that Bill Synder has shown.

7. Florida State is back, party like it's 1999.

But look how weak this Seminole schedule is.

Other than Florida is there any team on here that can beat the Noles before the BCS title game?

I don't think so.

While Florida State plays no real teams between now and the end of November the Gators still play LSU, Georgia, South Carolin, and the Seminoles, that's four of the top six teams in the country. If the Gators miraculously won all of these games then they would still have to play Alabama.

That means that in their next nine games, the Gators could play five of the top six ranked teams in America. And if they beat Bama they could play Oregon in the BCS title game to make it all six.

How crazy is this?

Anyone think Florida State could run that gauntlet undefeated?

Me either.

8. Alabama would be a full touchdown favorite over Oregon or Florida State.

And I think the Tide would beat both teams by double digits.

9. How about Sgt. Brody's wife last night at the Emmy's?

Morena Baccarin.

If you aren't watching Homeland, watch. (She's topless in the first episode, but you might need to mute the dialogue.)

Plus, women might be even more impressed by her than men are. My wife actually commented on how hot she was before I did.

Season two of "Homeland" begins on Sunday and I'm obsessed with the show. So watch.

And if you aren't watching "Veep," watch that too.   

10. Morena Baccarin's husband?

41 year old Austin Chick. 

Is this the greatest outkick ever?

He's not even rich.

Read about your new idol here.

Gotta be a unanimous hall of fame inductee, right?

11. Okay, here are my weekly SEC power rankings. Again, these are based on the games that have happened, not on what may happen in the future. Yes, I went with a three-way tie for second. The teams are too even otherwise.

1. Alabama

2. Florida

2. South Carolina

2. Georgia

5. LSU

6. Mississippi State

7. Tennessee

8. Texas A&M

9. Ole Miss

10. Missouri

11. Auburn

12. Vandy

13. Arkansas

14. Kentucky


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