Bulldogs Beat

The SEC East is least no more

ATHENS - It's still early, but suddenly the SEC East isn't automatically the weaker of the two divisions, and Georgia's schedule isn't quite as comical as earlier perceived.

This week's AP poll has five SEC teams in the top 14 - and three of them are from the East: No. 5 Georgia, No. 7 South Carolina and No. 14 Florida.

Yes, the top two are Alabama and LSU, both out of the West. But Arkansas is no longer a part of the Western triumvarate, having dropped like a rock. Mississippi State is unbeaten and entered the poll at No. 23, but it hasn't beaten anybody that great. Auburn looks pretty mediocre. Texas A&M lost at home to Florida. And Ole Miss is Ole Miss.

In short, the SEC West looks to be top-heavy. The East, meanwhile, goes a bit deeper, with a Tennessee team that was looking good until the second half of Saturday's loss to Florida, and a Missouri team that just beat Arizona State. Vanderbilt gave South Carolina a good fight in the opener. (And then you have Kentucky, which cancels out Ole Miss.)

Then there is this joke, making the rounds on the blogs over the past 24 hours, in relation to Steve Spurrier's oft-repeated complaint about Georgia's schedule: It's unfair that South Carolina gets to play Arkansas, and Georgia doesn't. (Of course the Gamecocks still have to play at LSU, while Georgia gets Ole Miss and Auburn.)

Still, Georgia head coach Mark Richt said the events of the past few weeks back up what he was saying before the season.

"It's like what I said at the beginning of the year when everybody keeps wanting to ask about the schedule, schedule, schedule: Well, we'll see how it looks like at the end of the year who had the toughest schedule," Richt said during his Sunday media teleconference. "We'll see what everybody thinks when it's over, because you can't really predict that. You can predict it but you can be wrong. So we'll just see. I do think that we've got some outstanding teams in the East. And I think time will tell, will prove, that the Eastern Division is pretty strong."