Could there be chaos in the SEC this season? Auburn’s trip to PSU may provide some answers | College Football Enquirer

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss the possibility of chaos unfolding within the SEC this season, and what to expect from Auburn’s huge trip up to No. 10 Penn State.

Video Transcript


DAN WETZEL: In the SEC West, the teams that we thought would be a little down, maybe at the bottom, have all played really well. Arkansas blows out Texas. Ole Miss beats Louisville handily. Mississippi State's 2 and 9. They beat NC State fairly well. We'll see what Auburn's got this weekend.

On the other side, Kentucky looks good. I'm not going to say South Carolina is good, but they just got through a 2 and 9 stretch with a grad assistant as their quarterback. Nice win at ECU. LSU obviously struggled at UCLA. A&M did not impress up at Colorado.

Is it more likely we're going to have a little chaos in the SEC than maybe we thought?

PAT FORDE: Oh, I think it's possible, I really do. I mean, yeah, the SEC West is 13 and 1 right now as a league. And I believe all of them have played at least one Power Five opponent, right?

DAN WETZEL: LSU is the only loss, yeah, LSU at UCLA.

PAT FORDE: So that's getting it done. I mean, the old saw, oh, it's just Alabama and everybody else, the SEC is overrated, uh-uh. I mean, you want to be in the SEC West this year? That's where if you're in Texas or Oklahoma and you're looking at this and say, you want to join that? OK.

But yeah, look, we'll find out a lot about Auburn this weekend. That's the one team, they have not played anybody yet. I am impressed by what we've seen from the SEC so far. And yes, I think there could be losses out there for almost everybody in the league. We'll see about Georgia and Alabama. But everybody else, you better be on notice every week.

PETE THAMEL: I agree with everything Pat said. And I think spinning forward, Dan, the thought is this. Is this a glimpse of where college football is going? Now, some of this is quintessential 2021 stuff, right? The bottom half of the league, guys--

I don't know the super-senior numbers off the top of my head. But there's a lot more of them at the Arkansases and Mississippi States and Ole Misses than there are at Alabama, where they all rolled, right? So some of this, like we said-- and I wrote a column about this from some media day.

I think there's the potential for more chaos in college football this year because the top, top, top has lost all the guys to the NFL. And your middle class-- and somebody has to finish last in the SEC West, your lower class, has a lot of seniors and veterans and guys back. And those places are all really attractive destinations in the transfer portal. Guys want to go play in the SEC. The SEC is a destination, arguably the best destination in all of college sports.

So the combination of older guys, some of the better imports, and transfers and different things, I think, have allowed that lower middle class and middle class in the SEC to rise up. And that's why you have the situation where they are. So I agree. There's a chance for quite a bit of chaos in that league this year.

DAN WETZEL: All right, let's talk about this Auburn game at Penn State. It's going to be a white out. It's going to be an incredible environment. I think we've all been to Penn State for those white outs. I don't know how it gets better than that. How big of a game it is it for James Franklin and Penn State to stand up to-- it's Auburn.

Auburn is on a brand new coach. This isn't Alabama coming in, it's Auburn. How important is this game, Pat?

PAT FORDE: Oh, I think it's real important, much more important, I agree, for Penn State and for James Franklin to put Auburn in its place, so to speak. I mean, coming into the year, people were thinking Auburn could be the fifth, sixth best team in the West. If they go up into Happy Valley into a white out and win that game, first, it would be huge for Brian Harsin. But I think it would be a big repudiation for Penn State and the Big Ten.

Forever, they have been saying, oh, the teams won't leave the South. They won't come up here and play. And what they really mean is we want them to come play in November when it's 30 degrees. But still, you're getting them now. You are getting Auburn to come to Happy Valley.

And they're going to put on everything they can put on them. And you should be the better team. So for Big Ten purposes, which just took a big kick in the teeth with Ohio State losing, and for Penn State purposes specifically to say, hey, maybe we can be the big dogs in the East, maybe we can win the Big Ten, maybe we can go to the college football playoff, you take care of business here.