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SEC Banter: Early schedule shakes up conference teams
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It’s mid-September. Still hot in these parts despite summer’s rumored departure, as autumn’s crisp air has yet to appear.

I always thought September was an odd month; fall-ish things happen like football and school, but the weather is usually blah.

But I’ll tell you who are big fans of September: you guessed it, the legendary 1970s funk/R&B/jazz band, Earth, Wind & Fire. Their hit single “September” is one of my all-time favorites.

I had the band play it three times at our wedding.

Not making that up.

The song, with its powerful horn section and whimsical lyrics, asks if we remember dancing in September, when there never was a cloudy day.

Whether your SEC team is still dancing in September or has encountered some clouds along the way, the season’s first few weeks have provided some shakeups, and it’s time to tour the nation’s finest football conference, SEC Banter style:

Georgia: First and goal from the four and a touchdown secures victory over Sakerlina. UGA had four options in this situation: (1) hand the ball to the best player in college football, Todd Gurley; (2) hand the ball to the best player in college football, Todd Gurley; (3) hand the ball to the best player in college football, Todd Gurley; or, last but certainly not least, (4) hand the ball to the best player in college football, Todd Gurley.

UGA chose differently and walked out of Williams-Brice Stadium winless in the SEC.

Missouri: Don’t look now, but the Tigers are quietly becoming the SEC East favorite. What a cute story if Mizzou somehow makes it to Atlanta in just its third year in the league! Sept. 27 will show us more from the Show Me State team when they visit South Carolina.

South Carolina: Only a true moron would’ve predicted the Old Ball Coach would drop two home conference games in a row. M-O-R-O-N.

The Gamecocks’ win over Georgia put them right back in the center of the SEC East race.

Florida: The Gators needed three overtimes to beat Kentucky. In football. In the Swamp.
Will Muschamp’s seat grows hotter by the minute. (I don’t really know if his seat is hot temperature-wise; it’s just an expression.)

LSU: I’ve got the Bayou Bengals on mild upset alert Saturday against Mississippi State. LSU hasn’t played tackle football since August and the Starkvegas pups, with their Cousin Eddie-from-Vacation lookalike coach and stingy run defense, enter Death Valley with confidence.

Texas A&M: The Agriculturals may drop 70 points on hapless SMU in Dallas this Saturday.
While SEC money and exposure has elevated A&M’s program, SMU sure was better when boosters lavished playerswith oil-soaked cash back in the early 1980s.

Alabama: The Tide hasn’t made waves this year. Just gone about its business of winning, Nick Saban style.
But oh the drama set to unfold in Tuscaloosa this Saturday for the Bama-Florida game. Muschamp’s golden opportunity for a student-schools-the-master moment, as the embattled coach, once under Saban’s tutelage, tries to shock the college football world and pull off a monumental upset.

Uh, no.

Alabama continues its preseason schedule with an easy win.

Arkansas: The Hogs ran the ball 30 times in a row (!!!) against Texas Tech. That’s all I have to say about that.

SEC West: Hands down the strongest division in college football. The SEC West is 19-1 this season, with the lone loss an intra-division contest as Auburn beat Arkansas.

The division is so strong that 12 SEC West teams appear in the AP poll’s top 10 this week.
Kidding aside, and speaking to the depth of the SEC as a whole, seven SEC teams are in the AP poll’s top 15, the most from any conference in the poll’s history, which dates back to 1936.

Best of luck to your Southeastern Conference football team this weekend and I hope it’s been a September to remember.

In the meantime, I just saw that Earth, Wind & Fire is playing at the Horseshoe Casino in lovely Tunica, Miss. — on my anniversary. My wife will be so thrilled!