We come down to the final three games of what's been a fairly stagnant Southeastern Conference race. Not a lot has changed since midseason -- the 2011 SEC has a well-defined upper class of LSU and Bama, a well-defined lower class of Kentucky and Ole Miss (more on Vanderbilt later) and a big middle class of varying degrees of mediocrity. There's only one real marquee out-of-conference win this season, LSU over Oregon, along with a couple of nice, but not earth-shaking wins like Bama over Penn State and Arkansas over Texas A&M, but two huge losses in Georgia to Boise State and Auburn to Clemson. Still, the bowl matchups will present something of an opportunity to change that perception relative to the rest of the country.
- Arkansas...Potential key player for the ‘Backs as they try to see if they can erase the memory of that Bama butt kickin' and squeak into a division championship: Dennis Johnson. I've always been a fan of the oft-injured all-purpose back -- he runs very hard for a smallish back and catches the ball well. He's had 567 all-purpose yards in the last three games with two touchdowns, and he's the only other player that's shown any pop in the Arkansas backfield, aside from Joe Adams on the occasional reverse or speed sweep. And Bobby Petrino's offenses are always at their best when they can run effectively. The passing is almost a given at this point. And you can bet Petrino saw LSU's linebackers bust coverage on Trent Richardson out of the backfield last weekend.
- Alabama...The Crimson Tide will not lose in Starkville this weekend. I am sure of this. That said, Bama might want to shore up how they play the speed option, because they're going to see a lot of it. Mississippi State has averaged 189 rushing in their last three, with 6 touchdowns, and have thrown for 546 yards in the last two. Yeah, those two were against Kentucky and Tennessee-Martin, but the point is that the offense seems to be finding something of a groove. And State is a program that is in desperate need of a marquee win over a school that isn't from Mississippi.