You read that headline correctly. Saturday's SEC Championship Game between No. 2 Alabama (11-1, 7-1) and No. 3 Georgia (11-1, 7-1) has been dubbed a "play-in" for the right to face media darling Notre Dame in the BCS national championship.
Alabama's loss to "Johnny Football" and his Texas A&M Aggies leaves the SEC with no undefeated teams and, according to the national experts, the SEC's streak of consecutive national titles will end at six.
It's been a while since we toured the conference from Alabama to Vanderbilt and, with no marquee matchups teed up for Saturday, let's do just that. Here's a rundown of this week's action, SEC Banter style.
One of the most anticipated matchups of the season takes place Saturday night as No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) rolls into Baton Rouge to take on No. 5 LSU (7-1, 3-1 SEC) in Tiger Stadium. Ever since Nick Saban bolted from the bayou for the NFL, failed, then returned to the college ranks at Alabama, this annual tussle has evolved into the SEC West's most intense game and one of the country's premier rivalries.
The most meaningful rivalry in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division is meaningful again. After years of teetering on the brink of an afterthought, the fizz in the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" is back as Georgia and Florida order up another round at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in The River City.
Nothing beats an SEC road trip. Pack your weekend duffel bag, put the team flags on the car, hop in and hit the road to your favorite college town in the Southeast. Take in the spirit, pageantry, cuisine and revelry that is SEC football.
October, my favorite month. Especially at home here in the South. Sharp blue skies preside over autumn's auburn hues. The comfortable coolness beckons you to don that sweater and break out your old chili or gumbo recipe. The air is crisp and so is the beer. What's not to love about October?
It's finally here. The return of weekly rituals and traditions we hold near and dear. We're passionate about it. We socialize around it. We prepare elaborate meals for it. We argue about it. It permeates our lives throughout the fall. Finally, the new season of "The Bachelor" kicks off this week!
The nation's finest football conference welcomes two new schools in 2012. With the addition of Florida State and Clemson, the SEC opens its arms to two programs that might as well have been in the SEC from day one.
A major perk of SEC Banter is the crystal ball that predicts the fate of Southeastern Conference teams. You'd be amazed at its accuracy. With SEC football just around the corner, let's stare into the crystal ball and learn how the teams from the SEC Western Division - home of college football's national champions in four of the past five years - will fare this year.