How The West Can Be Won: Alabama vs. LSU vs. Auburn
The SEC West is a three horse race this season with #1 Alabama, #2 LSU, and #9 Auburn all gunning for a ticket to Atlanta. With only one loss between the 3 teams, a case could be made that any of the 3 could be CFP champions come January. The teams have a lot of buzz surrounding them as we go into week 10, so we’ll try and break down how each team can get to the SEC Championship.
Alabama: Arguably the favorites to win it all this season, Alabama have gone undefeated in their first 7 games, winning by a total margin of 341-115. However, Alabama are yet to face a ranked opponent so it is hard to judge how good they would actually be in the playoffs as of now. Alabama will face Arkansas this weekend but could face some struggles without star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who is out with an ankle injury. Tua is expected to be back for the Crimson Tide’s first ranked matchup against LSU on November 9th. Alabama would have to beat both LSU and Auburn to be locked in for the SEC Championship, but even if a loss to either of those teams see the Tide out of Atlanta, they could still end up in the CFP. As we all saw in 2017, Auburn beat Alabama 26-10 at Jordan-Hare Stadium which put Alabama out of the Sec Championship, but since they were still a one loss team, the committee allow Alabama in the Playoffs and eventually became champions beating Georgia 26-23.
LSU: Joe Burrow is leading the Tigers offense with an impressive 79.4% completion percentage, 29 passing touchdowns, and 2,484 total passing yards. LSU has shown why they belong in the top 4 by navigating through the 2nd toughest schedule in college football, beating #15 Texas away 45-38, and wrangling the #7 Florida Gators to a 42-28 win at Death Valley. LSU will face its two most challenging opponents in back to back games as they take on Auburn in Baton Rouge, and, after a bye week, Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Beating those two teams would guarantee LSU a spot in the SEC Championship, and perhaps a rematch with Florida on neutral ground.
Auburn: Undoubtedly the team with the hardest schedule in all of college football, Auburn still clings to a chance at the SEC Championship if they go undefeated until the end of the season. #11 Oregon in Dallas, #7 Florida away, #2 LSU away, #10 Georgia at home, and the Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare make up the Tigers grueling schedule. Auburn managed to come back against Oregon 27-21 in the final seconds of the game with a pass from Bo Nix to Seth Williams but fell against the Gators in the swamp when freshman quarterback Bo Nix threw 3 interceptions and lost the game 24-13. The best thing about Auburn, though, is their strong defense which has restricted their opponents to just 94.3 rushing yards per game. Auburn will have to rely heavily on their defense to get the job done against the three high scoring ranked teams they have yet to face this season if they want to salvage this season.