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Leeman Bennett is a former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and is the current chairman of the Chick-fil-A Bowl’s Team Selection Committee. He writes a weekly team selection blog to give fans an inside look into the Chick-fil-A Bowl’s team scouting and selection process.
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Oct. 23: Halfway Home

Halfway through the season is a good time to take a look at the standings in the ACC and SEC and reflect on some of the surprises and some of the blockbuster games looming for teams that look to be in our mix at team selection time. 

We’ve had our eyes on a number of big games so far this season and are gearing up to put our Team Selection Committee into action. We’ll hold our first official meeting Monday, Oct. 28 and our scouts will hit the road for the first time Nov. 2. Generally, we’ll scout 5-7 games each week, making sure to every team in the ACC and SEC at least once the rest of the way. It all leads up to Selection Sunday on Dec. 8. 

Here’s a look at both conferences and some thoughts on what stands out to me so far.

ACC Standings 

ATLANTIC   CONF OVR    COASTAL   CONF  OVR 
#2 Florida State  4-0 6-0         #14 Virginia Tech   3-0  6-1 
#9 Clemson   4-1  6-1    #7 Miami   2-0  6-0  
Wake Forest  2-2  4-3    Georgia Tech  3-2 4-3 
Maryland  1-2  5-2    Pitt  2-2  4-2 
Boston College  1-2  3-3    Duke   1-2  5-2 
Syracuse   1-2  3-4    Virginia   0-3  2-5 
NC State  0-3  3-3    North Carolina   0-3  1-5  

ACC Power at the Top
The ACC has announced itself as a power conference in a big way this year and is fresh off a blockbuster game of two top-5 teams that was a must-watch for the entire nation. The top two teams in each division are a combined 24-2 and are all ranked in the top 14 in the nation. I can easily see the ACC getting two teams up into the BCS this year if the season continues to play out like this.

More Big Games to Come
There are obviously a lot of big games left to be played, but with the Chick-fil-A Bowl selecting first after the BCS in the ACC, we’ll be most interested in the Miami-FSU game Nov. 2, the VT-Miami game Nov. 9 and Clemson’s games against Georgia Tech and South Carolina. Right now, it’s hard to see someone other than these four teams in our Bowl this year, but as we saw in the SEC last week, things can change. 

EAST  CONF  OVR        WEST  CONF  OVR 
#5 Missouri   3-0  7-0    #1 Alabama   4-0  7-0 
Georgia   3-2  4-3    #11 Auburn   3-1  6-1 
Florida   3-2  4-3    #13 LSU   3-2  6-2 
#21 South Carolina  3-2  5-2    #16 Texas A&M  2-2  5-2 
Tennessee   1-2  4-3    Ole Miss  2-3  4-3 
Vanderbilt   1-3  4-3    Miss. State  0-2  3-3 
Kentucky   0-3  1-5    Arkansas  0-4  3-5  

The Definition of Parity
With “only” six teams in the SEC ranked in the top 25, skeptics might say this is a down year for the league. What I see is a conference stacked with quality teams who all have to play each other in a world where anything can happen (see last week’s games).  

Welcome to the Party
Last year it was Texas A&M announcing itself as a legitimate SEC team who could compete with the best the conference had to offer and earning respect around the league. This year, Mizzou appears to be making the same statement. The Tigers control their own destiny and appear to be on their way to claiming their first SEC East title. 

Don’t look now, but Auburn is back! The Tigers made a huge statement by coming out of College Station with a 45-41 win over the Aggies and are sitting pretty at 6-1. Auburn is right in the middle of it at #11 and could still find a way to come out on top in the SEC West. 

What a Week in College Football
What a week we just had in college football! Nine, that’s right, nine teams in the top-25 were beaten and five of those were by unranked teams. And two others, Miami and Ohio State, were pushed to the limit. 

Games to watch this week:
ACC:
Duke (5-2) at Virginia Tech (6-1)
– Upset alert in Blacksburg? Keep in mind, the Hokies are undefeated since losing to #1 Alabama in our Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
Clemson (6-1) at Maryland (5-2) – Look for Tajh Boyd to lead a refocused team into College Park, but the Terps are an improved team under Randy Edsall and will not go down easily at home.

SEC: 
Tennessee (4-3) at Alabama (7-0) – Always a great rivalry game and the Vols are headed in the right direction under Butch Jones, but the Tide has met every challenge this year, so far.
South Carolina (5-2) at Missouri (7-0) – #21 vs. #5 with the SEC East on the line. A huge game for both teams, and it looks like both may be competing with back-up QBs this week. 

We want to hear from you. What other games are “can’t miss” this week in the ACC and SEC? Give us your picks here and let us know why.

Enjoy this week’s games!

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  Comments

New Comment
Created by Anonymous in 10/27/2013 11:28:03 AM
Georgia would be great to see
New Comment
Created by Gerald Gaia in 10/24/2013 10:57:37 AM
Why is Ole Miss not on your preliminary list ?Just went thru the number 1 toughest schedule in college football and stand at 4-3 with wins over Texas ans LSU.
Go Pack!
Created by Jackie in 10/23/2013 2:27:50 PM
My Wolfpack are gonna get that upset over FSU 2 years in a row!
New Comment
Created by Chris in 10/23/2013 2:21:57 PM
Can someone just beat Bama already?

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