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    • "Inside the SEC" with Tony Barnhart

      For the fourth consecutive year, the No. 1 team in the nation will play in the SEC championship game. And if LSU beats No. 14 Georgia, for the sixth consecutive year the SEC will have a team in the BCS championship game. And there could be more than one SEC team in the BCS championship game.
    • "Inside the SEC" with Tony Barnhart

      What kind of odds could you have gotten this summer that at Thanksgiving the top three teams in the BCS Standings would be: 1) LSU, 2) Alabama, and 3) Arkansas? Here we are at the final Saturday of November and all three are capable of winning the SEC championship and all three could win the national championship. Wow!
    • "Inside the SEC" with Tony Barnhart

      The Game of the Century is behind us but there is much, much more left to this season. Just to prove that point, here are our Five Burning Questions about SEC football for Saturday, Nov. 12.
    • "Inside the SEC" with Tony Barnhart

      Yes, we have finally arrived at The Game of the Century between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama. But that’s not the only compelling story line in the SEC as play begins in November.
    • "Inside the SEC" with Tony Barnhart

      Tony Barnhart examines our five burning questions about SEC football as we finish up the month of October and set the table for next week’s Game of the Century.

    "Inside the SEC" with Tony Barnhart

    Our five burning questions as we prepare for another Saturday of SEC football:

    1. Can Auburn do it one more time? I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t think Auburn would be 4-1 when Oct. 8 rolled around. But the Tigers have shown an incredible resiliency that goes beyond their talent. Auburn went on the road to South Carolina and simply found another way to win, 16-13. Now the Tigers have to go on the road to play an Arkansas team that had a major gut check of its own by rallying from 18 points down to beat Texas A&M, 42-38, in Arlington. Auburn is going to miss its best receiver, Emory Blake (high ankle sprain). Auburn has to find a way to generate more offense because 16 points will not get it done at Arkansas. Keep an eye on freshman quarterback Kiehl Frazier. He may get a bunch of snaps in this game.

    2. Can Isaiah Crowell go north of a 100 against Tennessee? If the Georgia freshman can post his third consecutive game over 100 yards, I like the Bulldogs Saturday night at Tennessee. In his first five college games Crowell has been named the SEC rookie of the week three times.  Tennessee’s rushing defense was eighth in the SEC last season. Through five games this season the Vols are giving up just under 140 yards a game on the ground. Georgia has lost in its last two visits to Knoxville but if the Bulldogs can run the ball and limit the possessions of quarterback Tyler Bray, they have a real shot to go to 3-1 in the SEC. Georgia’s defense has been playing very well of late. The Bulldogs are No. 2 nationally in third down conversion defense at only 25.35 percent. But it should be noticed that Georgia’s last three wins have come against Coastal Carolina, an FCS school, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, who are a combined 0-5 in the SEC.

    3. Has any freshman faced a tougher first start than Jeff Driskel? Florida quarterback John Brantley is out for an indefinite period of time after suffering a high ankle sprain last Saturday against Alabama. So the starting assignment for Saturday’s game with LSU falls to true freshman Jeff Driskel,  who played the second half against Alabama and completed only two of six passing attempts. All Driskel is being asked to do is to make his first collegiate start at LSU’s Tiger Stadium against the No. 1 team in the nation in the AP poll. Sure, there’s nothing tough about that. Don’t be surprised if coach Will Muschamp elects to take the redshirt off freshman Jacoby Brissett in an effort to jump start his offense on the road.

    4. Will South Carolina’s Connor Shaw play the entire game against Kentucky? Shaw, the sophomore who started at quarterback in South Carolina’s first game against East Carolina, will start ahead of senior Stephen Garcia when the Gamecocks host Kentucky on Saturday. Coach Steve Spurrier went with Garcia as long as he could. But in last week’s 16-13 loss to Auburn in Columbia, Garcia threw two more interceptions, giving him an NCAA-high nine on the season. Spurrier said that, barring injury, Shaw will play the entire game against the Wildcats. It will be interesting to see if Spurrier is able to keep that promise. He probably will because a week ago Auburn’s defense was able to hold running back Marcus Lattimore in check. Kentucky will not be able to do that.

    5. Will Alabama work on throwing the ball down the field? Vanderbilt leads the nation in interceptions with 14. Alabama’s only unresolved issue, it seems, is the ability to throw the ball down the field for significant yardage. So the question becomes whether or not the No. 2 Crimson Tide will use Saturday’s game with Vanderbilt to let quarterback AJ McCarron work on that part of his game. We certainly know that Alabama can run the ball after watching Trent Richardson (29 carries, 181 yards) dominate a Florida defense that was giving up less than 60 yards per game on the ground. But as Alabama points to the rest of the schedule coach Nick Saban knows he’ll see more defenses with eight in the box. He knows that to beat LSU on Nov. 5, Alabama will have to get its vertical passing game in shape. It’s probably time to starting working on it.


    Barnhart Bio

    •  1988-Present: College Writer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    •  2004-Present: Contributing Reporter, "College Football Today on CBS"
    •  2009-Present: Host, "The Tony Barnhart Show," The CBS College Sports Network
    •  2006-Present: Co-host, "Talkin' Football," CSS (Nominated for Southern Regional Emmy Award, 2007)

    • The Southern Football Kickoff Show

    •  "Southern Fried Football"

    •  2008 Edwin Pope Vanguard Media Award
    •  2007 Fred Russell Contribution to Sports Writing Award