Is the Southeastern Conference loosening its stranglehold on football in the South?
It’s far too early in the season for any definitive trend to be seen yet, but in the first two weeks the SEC definitely has taken some hits from its next-door neighbor, the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Florida’s loss at Miami left the SEC just 2-2 against the ACC, a league it has dominated to the tune of 20-10 over the last four seasons.
Georgia lost at Clemson the opening weekend, when the SEC posted two wins with Alabama over Virginia Tech and South Carolina over North Carolina.
Last year the SEC was 5-2 against the ACC with both of the losses involving Clemson. Clemson beat Auburn in the season opener and close out the season with a win over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
South Carolina achieved some sort of consolation by beating Clemson in the regular-season finale.
Over the last four seasons combined, or since the two leagues split a dozen such meetings in 2009, the SEC has gone 19-12 against the ACC.
Only four games between the two conferences are left on the schedule this year, all of them on the final weekend of the regular season.
Three of them involve heated in-state rivalries.
Florida is host to rival Florida State and South Carolina entertains Clemson, but Georgia must go to Georgia Tech.
The fourth meeting has Vanderbilt hosting Wake Forest.
FIVE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 2 IN THE SEC
1. Georgia got a leg up in the East race. By beating South Carolina, the Bulldogs have the advantage in the tiebreaker against the Gamecocks, and Florida’s woes in the loss at Miami makes Georgia the obvious early division favorite.
2. Florida’s offense must get right. After giving up some early scores, the Gators pretty much contained Miami defensively, but they were miserable on offense in the red zone and gave up far too many turnovers.
3. First-year coach Bret Bielema has Arkansas on the run. The Razorbacks have rushed for a league high 625 yards in just two games, which is nearly half of the 1,424 they ran for all of last year.
4. LSU has found an offense. First-year coordinator Cam Cameron and QB Zach Mettenberger are definitely on the same page as the Tigers have upped their passing production to 272 yards per game from last year’s 200 average.
5. Is Auburn for real? This week will be a big measuring stick for both the 2-0 Tigers and 1-1 Mississippi State Bulldogs when they clash in the Loveliest Village on the Plains.