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SEC PowerPoll Roundtable II

Hey Jenny Slater, the blog your mother warned you about, is hosting the second SEC Power Poll roundtable. Some questions were posted and our answers are below. Enjoy.

1. What's your prediction for the matchup in the SEC championship game, and has that changed at all from what you were predicting in the preseason?

It hurts my heart to type this, but I see the SEC Championship game being between LSU vs. UGA with an LSU victory. Les Miles is a good coach. We Rebels have been trying to rationalize the idea that he isn’t such for quite a while but this season has completely put that to bed. The fact that he’s able to toss-out LSU’s most highly-touted quarterback ever and still put together the conference’s best offense says a lot about his abilities. I mean, who would have thought that a freshman + a transfer from Harvard = an undefeated quarterback corps down in Baton Rouge? Les Miles, that’s who.

In the preseason, I was thinking Auburn would represent the West…. Oops. I’m sure everyone thought the winner of the Cocktail Party would represent the East and that still seems to be the case. That is, until Vanderbilt takes a colossal, septic tank-busting dump on one of those two teams’ seasons.

2. Knowing what you now know about your team, how have your expectations for this season changed? What would constitute a successful season in your eyes, and what would be a disappointment?

It’s funny that you ask this, because after the first six weeks my expectations have changed a lot but are currently no different than they were at the beginning of the season.

Allow me to clarify. Early on, I, along with a lot of Rebel fans, were saying something along the lines of 5-7 wins. Most were saying 6 with fewer saying 5 or 7 and even fewer saying 4 or 8. We figured we would win the games we were supposed to (3), win a couple of in conference tossups (2-3), and sneak up on somebody for an upset (1). Well, we’ve already beaten two of the "supposed-to’s" in Memphis and Samford and we cashed in our upset against the Gators. Now it’s just a matter of winning a few in conference. It seems that we could beat Auburn, Arkansas, or State and I imagine we’ll take two out of three. Toss in a victory over the Warhawks of ULM and our early prediction of six comes true.

However, during the process of our preseason predictions in terms of "# of wins" going as planned, we got the typical Ole Miss cocktease. We beat Memphis like a prison bitch and we played Wake close at Wake Forest. "Wow, this quarterback is good and our offense can really put up points," we thought. "We could pull out 7 or 8 this season! Egads!"

Samford and Vandy brought us down to earth again. "Eesh, what happened to Jevan? Our secondary is horrible. Et cetera."

But lo! A victory against the Gators in the Swamp! "Yes, we’ve turned this around! 7, 8, 9 wins! Cotton Bowl! Yippee!"

Then comes the South Carolina game and, by now, you’ve surely gotten the picture.

For us Rebels, a successful season would just be a bowl berth. We haven’t had one of those in five years. A disappointment would be anything short of that.

3. If your team has Vanderbilt coming up at some point on its schedule, are you worried? If not, which team should be the most worried?

Well, we weren't worried, if that counts for something. Honestly, this Vanderbilt team is simply stunning. They weren't the better of any of the SEC teams they've faced so far (The 'Cocks, the Rebs, the 'Gers) as far as talent or coaching prowess (key word) is concerned yet, somehow, they're winning. They're not doing it in convincing fashion either but, as any Ole Miss fan can tell you, a win is a win, no matter how sloppily you come by it. This Vandy team is like that asshole in cycling races who drafts the leader the whole fucking time waiting for fatigue to kick in or some sort of accident to happen along the final stretch, giving him that golden opportunity to overtake the leader with a few hundred meters remaining and thrust their arms skyward in victory. Vandy is gonna win more games with this "cycling victory ruse" tactic, and God bless 'em for it.

Who should be worried is Tennessee. Hell, you know they already are. The crowning jewel of this Vanderbilt season isn't going to be any sort of bowl victory, but rather being the last team Phillip Fulmer will ever lose to as a Tennessee Volunteer. This may end up being the greatest moment in the history of Vanderbilt athletics. I’m serious.

It’s gonna hurt, Tennessee. Trust me, I’m an Ole Miss fan. I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of another school’s shining athletic moment. You know, that shining moment that they play on highlight clips every. single. fucking. March!? Bryce Drew’s game winning 3 lifting a 13-seed Valparaiso over the 4-seed Rebels? Gah, it burns like horrible, horrible acid reflux and you’re gonna feel it^3 when your dweeb-ass rivals march off of the field victorious to the tune of foghorns

4. Other than perhaps Alabama's season-opening win over Clemson, the SEC doesn't really have any marquee non-conference wins thus far, and a couple of traditional powers (Auburn and Tennessee) are struggling in high-profile fashion. Is it too early to call this a "down year" for the conference?

It is too early to call this a "down year" or "up year" for anybody. Conference play has only begun and the next few weeks will give us true indicators of how good each conference really is. Having that been said, it's hard to argue that the SEC is better than the Big XII right now. If I were to rank the three best teams from each conference and then match up the number 1’s, 2’s and 3’s, I imagine it would look something like this:
  1. Oklahoma vs. LSU – OU wins 6 out of 10
  2. Mizzou vs. Alabama – Mizzou wins 6 to 7 out of 10
  3. Texas vs. UGA – Push…. with a slight advantage to Texas.
Heresy, I know, but I doubt you’d be hard-pressed to find many who disagree at this point in the season. Before USC shat the bed against the Beavers, I was saying the better between OU and Mizzou would play the Trojans for the BCS title game. Now, I’m thinking LSU/Bama vs. OU/Mizzou.