Despite it only being week 6 of the college football season, two teams may have already punched their tickets to the SEC Championship game.
The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 SEC) is the heavy favorite to win the West, having already beaten Texas A&M, and go on to a third consecutive BCS National Championship. Meanwhile, after facing three top-ten opponents in their first four games and winning both of the conference games, the seventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (4-1, 3-0 SEC) have a much easier path to Atlanta with only one top-25 opponent in their way, the arch-rival Florida Gators.
There are other contenders, of course, but, for No. 10 LSU (5-1, 2-1 SEC) to win the West, they will need to beat the undefeated Tide and hope that Alabama drops another game -which would be hard to foresee seeing as Saban and co. don’t have another ranked team on their schedule. No. 9 Texas A&M’s (4-1, 1-1 SEC) chances are even more unlikely seeing as they lost early to Alabama; their road to Atlanta would have to include two conference losses by Alabama and a win over LSU.
In the East, the secondary contenders are less menacing, but have a better chance of dethroning the Bulldogs. No. 17 Florida (4-1, 3-0 SEC) just needs to win out to stamp their ticket to Atlanta, but that is much easier said than done. The rest of the Gators’ conference schedule includes #25 Missouri, #10 LSU, #7 Georgia, and #14 South Carolina. But, if Florida does drop one of those conference games, as long as they beat Georgia they will own the tiebreaker, but they can only lose one. Speaking of Mizzou (5-0, 1-0 SEC), the dark horse candidate Tigers have a tough road ahead as well -playing Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina in the next three weeks, but winning out would put them on top of the East. However, dropping just one of those three games would more than likely put them out of the race. The Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1 SEC) just have Missouri and Florida to contend with, but neither are pushovers. And, for South Carolina to make it to Atlanta, they need to win out and Georgia would have to lose at least one conference game.
It may be early, but its safe to say that the Tide and the Bulldogs have the easiest path to the Georgia Dome. The view from the top isn’t easy, but its manageable. As long as they don’t screw up.